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The 5 Best Wire Strippers – Which One is Right for You?

by The Mind Blown

Everyone knows that you can’t beat a really good stripper. Sadly, if you’re doing electrical work, rewiring, or just trying to add an outlet to your home, you might be forced to settle for a wire stripper rather than the curvaceous kind that accepts dollar bills and unwrap themselves.

Wire strippers aren’t as fun and will suck all the joy out of a bachelor party, but they’re much better for DIY projects.

Choosing a quality wire stripper is about finding one that is comfortable on your hands, strips wires without fraying them or pulling them apart, and get all the way through the insulation without extra pulling or second cuts.

They need to be able to handle multiple wire sizes since different gauges abound, and changing tools over and over is tiresome.

You can choose between those that are adjustable or those that have multiple pre-sets for quicker work.

Whether you’re dealing with the littlest lines or colossal cables, one of our five best wire strippers will cut them down to size.


Ideal Industries Stripmaster Wire Stripper, 16 to #26 AWG
177 Reviews
Ideal Industries Stripmaster Wire Stripper, 16 to #26 AWG
  • Knife-type blades
  • Cleanly strips wire up to 7/8 in. (22mm)
  • One-third less hand pressure for each strip
  • Eliminates nicking, cutting, and fraying of wire
  • Wire Gripper holds wire centered in hole
  • Easy on hands
  • Awkward in tight spaces

Reduced Fatigue: Unless you constantly pump your fists to strengthen them or have forearms like Popeye, grippin’ and strippin’ wires will wear your hands out with a quickness.

For old dogs who suffer from arthritis, this problem is compounded many times.

Rather than sucking down painkillers all day, investing in these wire strippers will reduce a lot of the strain.

The body of the Stripmaster requires 1/3 less pressure than most other strippers, so you can go longer and cut easier.

The head can take wires as large as 7/8″ and has a special holding mechanism that keeps smaller gauges centered in place.

They have some adjustment features, but the head is built with pre-sets to offer you the best of both worlds.

The only real problem is the side opening makes stripping in cramped quarters difficult, though it does offer excellent leverage.

The handles are fairly well padded, though if you have bony digits, you might want to slip a little extra rubber or silicone onto them.

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Klein Tools 1019 Klein Kurve Wire Stripper / Crimper / Cutter for B and IDC Connectors, Terminals, More
1,394 Reviews
Klein Tools 1019 Klein Kurve Wire Stripper / Crimper / Cutter for B and IDC Connectors, Terminals, More
  • Wire Stripper strips 10-26 AWG solid and 12-28 AWG stranded wire
  • Multi Tool crimps 10-22 AWG insulated and non-insulated terminals
  • Crimps B connectors and Scotchlok IDC connectors
  • Reinforced head reduces flex
  • Made in USA
  • Reaches into small spaces
  • Slick handles

Perfect Reach: Frankly, we’re not sure what to say besides, “It’s a Klein, why haven’t you bought it yet?”

The Kurve is largely considered the flagship of the Klein wire stripper family, though the same could be said about almost anything Klein creates.

If the curved handles aren’t for you, or you need a different size, Klein is really all you need to know.

These are great for getting into the tight spaces to clip, strip, pull, loop, and move wires already stuck into your wall with ease.

The tilted handle lets you get the leverage you need at just about any angle while retaining visibility to see what you are doing.

These can handle your standard 10-18 American Wire Gauge (AWG) sized solid wires as well as stranded wires between 12-20 AWG.

They’re built strictly for home use and not able to do much with larger wires or cables. They can shear screws, but not always well.

The handles are also a little on the slippery side, making a tight grip tough to accomplish.

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IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripper, Self-Adjusting, 8-Inch (2078300)
12,653 Reviews
IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripper, Self-Adjusting, 8-Inch (2078300)
  • SELF-ADJUSTING: Strip wire from 10 to 24 AWG with our self-adjusting mechanism. Jaw Width: 2 inches
  • ADJUSTABLE STOPPER: Control the length of the core strip with the built-in adjustable stopper
  • CRIMPING: Crimp 10-22 AWG insulated, 10-22 AWG non-insulated, and 7-9mm ignition terminals
  • STRIPPING: Strip wire from 10-24 AWG while swivel knob micro-adjusts to strip gauges smaller than 20 AWG
  • Affordable for self-adjusting
  • Takes trial and error to use correctly

Best Bargain: Self-adjusting wire strippers are very hit or miss. Claims that they will never over or under-strip your wires are often exaggerated.

Such is not the case with these babies from Irwin.

Unlike pre-sets, you don’t have to hunt for the proper hole – we all know how troublesome it is when you get the wrong one – nor do you have to be concerned that it will chop up the copper in the wires.

The micro-adjustment capability helps you to get as close as you can to perfect.

Can handle wires between 10 and 24 AWG, though when you get below 20, expect to take some extra time finding the right setting. Even then, you’ll have some troubles.

These do suffer from some of the flaws that always plague self-adjusting strippers. Vinyl or nylon-coated wires will frustrate it.

The automatic stop is plastic and not great for going through lots and lots of wire since it tends to shift.

The crimpers can handle 10-22 AWG and ignition terminals between 7-9mm but expect to strain your hands, getting them to collapse.

To get the most out of these, you’ll need to learn a few tricks, so don’t expect to grab them and go to town.

Both Kronus and Neiko make a similar product that you might prefer. Try all three before you buy.

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Xcelite SAS3210 Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper with Spring, 32-10 AWG Stripping Range, 7-1/2' Length, Fiberglass Grip
83 Reviews
Xcelite SAS3210 Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper with Spring, 32-10 AWG Stripping Range, 7-1/2" Length, Fiberglass Grip
  • Tool capable of stripping wires from 32 AWG to 10 AWG without adjustment
  • Widest stripping capacity of any tool of its type
  • Easily interchangeable stripping cassettes enables precision stripping
  • Strips a wide range of insulation types , PVC to PTFE with just one tool
  • The ergonomic design is lightweight, strong, and comfortable
  • Strips very small gauges
  • Uncomfortable handle

Professional Grade: If you’re ready to get serious about self-adjusting wire strippers, then prepare to cough up nearly three times what the amateurs are paying.

That kick in the wallet is well worth it if you intend on taking on larger projects like rewiring a boat, a house, or your mad scientist laboratory.

These take wires between 10 and 32 AWG making them perfect for the tiniest projects. The grip is textured fiberglass, which gives you strength but very little comfort.

The ergonomic design helps with that, as well as reaching wires in difficult locations, but you’ll still need to take breaks when using it, so your hands don’t cramp into unusable claws.

It has interchangeable cassettes for stripping that help make your job smoother, and the cutting feature works quickly and easily.

Best of all, these can take on any and every kind of insulation all the way up to PVC and PTFE.

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Fluke Networks 11231255 Multi-Level Coax Cable Stripper, 2 and 3 Level for RG58/59 Coaxial Cable
164 Reviews
Fluke Networks 11231255 Multi-Level Coax Cable Stripper, 2 and 3 Level for RG58/59 Coaxial Cable
  • Spring-loaded for ease of use
  • Adjustable for stripping multiple cable diameters and types
  • Built-in Allen wrench for blade depth adjustment to prevent damage to the cable when scoring
  • Effortless finger-loop operation
  • Compact
  • Blade cannot be replaced

Cuts the Cord: The bright yellow wire stripper from fluke looks more like a really tacky cigar cutter rather than a decent tool.

The extremely compact design fits in your hand like a set of brass knuckles, which can make it just as useful for dealing with loud drunks after your workday is done.

This is built for dealing mostly with UTP/STP telephone and data cables, CAT5 ethernet and data cables, and coax. It can take some smaller wires but isn’t designed for too much delicacy.

The large, round finger hole and palpable build are for pulling heavy-duty insulation off of serious cords.

The blade depth is adjusted via a simple screw that allows you to get the perfect depth for cutting or just scoring without doing damage to shielding or conductors.

It can flip just as easily from stripping to slicing and works very well in ducts or crawlspaces when working on the fly.

The two drawbacks are the non-replaceable blade and the reinforced plastic construction.

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Last update on 2022-05-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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