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Which wire cutter is best?

A simple pair of pliers may be able to get you through a project in a pinch, but if you absolutely need a precise and clean-cut, the best option available is quality wire cutters.

With so many shapes, sizes and styles of wire cutters available, it’s well worth your time and money to consider the best model for the job at hand. Whether you need a delicate model for snipping thin wires, a bulkier option for slicing through power cables, or something in between, our buying guide has you covered. 

What to know before you buy wire cutters

Cutting ability

The term “wire cutters” covers a number of tools designed to cut through a wide array of materials, ranging from thin electrical wires to hefty telephone lines. It’s important to look for the best wire cutters for your job. For instance, a large and bulky wire cutter is a poor choice to snip through tiny wires, and a delicate wire cutter is no match for extra-thick wiring.

Ease of use

Some wire cutters incorporate design elements to help make your job more efficient, including ones with long handles to provide additional leverage or a spring that forces the cutters back open after every cut to reduce hand strain. Consider your hand strength and the jobs you plan to work on when choosing a pair of wire cutters.

Jaw shape

The jaw shape of a pair of wire cutters reveals what sorts of jobs it’s intended for. Wire cutters with tapered jaws are made to create precise cuts, while tools with broad jaws are designed to bite through especially thick wiring.

What to look for in quality wire cutters


Although the majority of wire cutters are made of naturally rugged steel, specialists searching for high-end tools should consider wire cutters that utilize high-speed steel to retain their sharpness for far longer, or tools treated with hardeners for additional long-term durability.


Some wire cutters are designed with the user’s safety in mind and have features such as a locking mechanism that holds its jaws closed or a variety of safety markings that signify what sorts of materials the cutters are intended to be used with.

How much you can expect to spend on wire cutters

While an inexpensive $7-$10 pair of wire cutters may get a few jobs done, paying $20 or more for a pair of heavy-duty wire cutters is a great investment if you plan on using them often. The only people who are likely to pay much more than $20 for a set of wire cutters are professional electricians, and even then, these options are specialized tools that the average person may never need to use.

Wire cutters FAQ

Can I sharpen my wire cutters?

A. Most wire cutters are easily sharpened with the help of a smooth file. Some high-end wire cutter manufacturers include refurbishment services with each purchase, which may include sharpening the tool as well.

What does the term “ESD Safe” mean?

A. ESD is an abbreviation for electrostatic discharge, and ESD safe wire cutters are designed to let this tiny charge dissipate harmlessly into the tool’s handle. This handy feature protects both sensitive devices as well as the user.

What’s the best wire cutter to buy?

Top wire cutter


Felco’s Cable Cutter

Felco’s Cable Cutter

Our take: Designed in Switzerland, this durable set of wire cutters can easily slice through wires under a quarter-inch thick. Sure to last a long time.

What we like: Extremely tough. Its triangular jaws make a perfect cut each and every time. Excellent leverage. Non-slip grip and comfortable to use.

What we dislike: A little additional padding on the handle would be nice, but it’s far from a dealbreaker.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top wire cutter for the money

Greenlee’s 722 Wire Rope & Wire Cutter

Greenlee’s 722 Wire Rope & Wire Cutter

Our take: These affordable, American-made heavy-duty steel wire cutters are a reliable tool for snipping softer wires.

What we like: Great leverage. Comfortable grip. Effortlessly slices through 1/4-inch wires.

What we dislike: This model may have trouble with extra-hard materials unless they’re under a 1/4-inch diameter.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Channellock’s 337 Diagonal Cutting Plier

Channellock’s 337 Diagonal Cutting Plier

Our take: This inexpensive wire cutter provides a great value for its price.

What we like: Makes precise and clean cuts. Does a great job of snipping tiny wires. Made in the U.S.A. Comfortable handle. Special coating protects tool from rusting.

What we dislike: This model is designed for smaller and lighter jobs.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Arnold Carreiro writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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