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Best wire strippers
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Best wire strippers

by mojo on Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:21 pm

My current wire strippers are finally starting to fail after over 10 years of faithful service. It's time to get some new ones, but which type is best?

At the moment I have a pair of these:

Image

The are actually pretty good. Robust, automatically adjusting to a wide variety of wire sizes and capable of stripping 3-4 wires at once. I make up a lot of cables so doing multiple wires at once is very handy.

There are cheap knock-off versions but decent quality ones are easy and reliable. Of course actually finding a good one is not easy as they look mostly the same on the outside so buying is a bit of a minefield. Price is no indication of quality either.

There are also the "end-on" types like these:

Image

I have not used them that much but they seem okay if you avoid the really cheap ones. My biggest concern is how they will cope with cables that need the outer insulation stripping quite far from the end (say 5cm) to split off the inner wires which are then stripped separately. It looks like the depth could be quite limited. With the first type of stripper you can just bend the cable out of the sides to cut further down and it is easy to adjust the pressure you use to avoid damaging the inner wires.

What other options are there? Many years ago at college we had a machine which stripped and twisted the bare wire for you, but it must have been quite expensive. These look rather excellent but don't seem to be widely available outside Japan:

http://www.youtube.com/v/TQisPPBncMg&hl=en_GB&fs=1&

I like the way they cut the outer sheath off but don't damage the inner wires. How they would cope with smaller signal wires is not clear. What about something like these:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Wire-Strippers-/3 ... 483adc8448

I have arthritis so something which requires minimal effort would be good.

mojo
 
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Re: Best wire strippers

by charliex on Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:08 am

I really like the datasharks, http://www.datasharktools.com/view_tool ... 91&pid=256 they're sharp and go to small size, so not a lot of pressure

they may be more difficult to use with arthritis, maybe afix one side to a table/board and add a longer lever or tube, they don't require much force.

paladin have the wrap around ones http://paladin.datacomtools.com/tool-ca ... cutter.htm they also have the datashark style, but i havent seen them go as small.
http://032.la - Null Space Labs.
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Re: Best wire strippers

by mojo on Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:01 am

So you prefer the ones where you have to pull the sheath off yourself? I find them to require more force than the automatic ones but maybe I just need some better quality ones. How do you find them for nicking the wire?

mojo
 
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Re: Best wire strippers

by charliex on Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:22 am

So long as you match the wire to the cut size, its pretty good, i can't say i've really noticed. I do prefer the simpler ones, since there is less to go wrong, lighter and i can easily remove the insulation in the middle of a wire.

but everytime i go to a new dentist they say, you're an electrical engineer right ? ;)
http://032.la - Null Space Labs.
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Re: Best wire strippers

by mojo on Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:21 am

You get that too! :wink:

I find them a bit fiddly to use to be honest. Also you can only do one wire at a time.

mojo
 
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Re: Best wire strippers

by mikeselectricstuff on Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:49 pm

There is no 'best. I have a collection of about 6 different strippers and use most of them at some time or other. There are many types of wire, and different tools work better on different types and for different stripping operations.
The version of those cheap red ones which has an adjuster isn't bad (not sure if they stil lmake them though), but the so-called 'self-adjusting' ones mostly don't.
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Re: Best wire strippers

by mojo on Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:33 pm

Interesting comment mikeselectricstuff. I can still get the ones with an adjuster but in the past I found them more hassle than the automatic ones. Maybe I have just been lucky but my automatic ones have lasted a long time despite occasional abuse with very tough cables.

I was hoping someone with some expensive ones would say if they are worth getting or not. I don't mind spending a bit of money when it is justified, otherwise I will probably end up with the same ones I had.

mojo
 
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Re: Best wire strippers

by westfw on Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:00 pm

I used a set of "automatic" wire strippers pretty extensively at a summer job that involved a lot of wire wrapping. These were the kind with steel jaws with assorted sizes of dies for each wire, and a two-part mechanical action (close jaws, pull off insulation.) They were nice, but in the 25 years since I've never been tempted to shell out the $$$ they cost. (Hmm. Looks like prices have come down some, especially "considering inflation." Interesting.)

If you liked the style you had, and they lasted 10 years, I would say you should get some more of the same kind...

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Re: Best wire strippers

by mojo on Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:13 pm

I have ordered a pair of the end-on types for about £12. I also picked up a pair identical to my original ones, except perhaps a bit stiffer, for £1. Once the end-on ones arrive I will compare them.

In the short term the £1 strippers seem okay. Not quite as good as the old ones perhaps.

mojo
 
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Re: Best wire strippers

by mojo on Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:30 pm

Mini review:

Original Strippers

Image

£9.95 from (IIRC) Maplin

Pros:
  • Lasted 10 years
  • Automatically adjusts to size of wire
  • Can strip small wires easily
  • Easy to strip just the right amount of insulation
  • Easy to operate (arthritis...)
  • Can strip 3-4 wires at a time

Cons:
  • Tends to nick the wire or the insulation of wires inside a cable
  • Has problems with thicker wires and cables

£1 copies of the above

Pros:

  • Very cheap

Cons:

  • Auto-adjust is rubbish
  • Poor quality
  • Same as above

Toolzone Heavy Duty Automatic Wire Strippers

Image

£11.50 from eBay

Pros:

  • Well built and sturdy
  • Does not nick wire or jacket of inner wires in a cable (no blades as such, it nicks and tears the sheath)
  • Copes with a wide variety of wire sizes and thickness without adjustment
  • Can strip 3-4 wires at a time, maybe up to 6

Cons:

  • Requires some force to operate, making it difficult to hold steady when operating
  • The stop for setting the length of wire to be stripped does not go short enough and is thus somewhat useless for most electronics
  • Side on operation means you can't get the very close to the PCB or other end of the wire, unlike the above strippers

I am quite impressed with the Toolzone stripper.

mojo
 
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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.