Stripper for stripping wires: rules for selecting a tool for stripping cable and wires

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Tatyana Zakharova
Last update: May 2019

The work of an electrician is connected with stripping conductors, for which they use both improvised tools - a construction knife or pliers, and special pliers.

We recommend using a stripper to remove the insulation from the wires, since only it guarantees the accuracy and accuracy of the cut. The range of strippers is extensive, so we will try to understand the features of the most popular types.

What is a stripper for?

If you decide install outlet, change the equipment in the electrical panel or increase the power cable, you need to strip the ends of the wires, that is, remove the insulation. This is exactly what the stipper is designed for - a hand tool resembling ordinary mites in shape.

Literally, “stripper” is translated from English as “puller”, which quite accurately determines its purpose.

Strippers for stripping
Manufacturers compete in the production of a convenient and effective tool, so recently a lot of models have appeared that look like screwdrivers, scissors, wire cutters

Previously, they used knives to clean the braids, but it was extremely inconvenient to work with them, and the result was not always satisfactory: it was possible to damage the cores or reduce their diameter, which subsequently negatively affected the quality of the wiring.

The use of a stripper minimized the risk of damage to the wires, and the process itself began to take less time.

Stranded Stripper
Any person who does not have the skills and experience can use special ticks, since in the process of removing insulation it is no longer necessary to control forces and make precise movements

The main advantage of a stripper over the same construction knife is the maximum protection of a single or stranded wire. Now there is no need to worry that the blade accidentally cuts the current-carrying wire - the tool is equipped with limiters in length and diameter.

A brief overview of the lineup

If you analyze stripping tool, produced by various manufacturers, it can be noted that a certain division into any categories does not exist. All strippers belong to a manual wiring tool, but they can vary greatly in shape, size, function.

It is customary to divide household and industrial wire strippers according to the degree of automation into 3 groups:

  • mechanical, requiring additional configuration;
  • semi-automatic, partially customizable;
  • automatic, not requiring adjustment.

For the most part, this is a kind of pliers or nippers with insulated handles and two "lips" moving due to the hinge fastening them. On the "lips" are holes of various diameters or knives, with which the cable braid is removed.

There is no strict border between the categories, just as there is no single design of the mechanism for biting off insulation. Examples of popular species:

It is not possible to list all types - this is a huge assortment from a small device that fits in the palm of your hand to a compact machine that continuously works in production. But strippers remain popular, which are convenient to carry in the tool box, comfortable to hold in one hand and, if necessary, set up for cutting various kind of cables.

But do not forget to consider that in addition to universal models, there are many special mites - for optical fiber, internet cable, power wires, copper conductors, etc. However, for household chores it is better to purchase universal ones - inexpensive and multifunctional.

Tool Recommendations

Manufacturers in technical specifications usually do not write whether it is mechanical or automatic. However, they indicate whether the main parameters are being adjusted, as well as which section or diameter the tool is designed for.

Consider the main criteria that you need to rely on when choosing a manual stripper.

Criterion # 1 - maximum / minimum cable diameter

In order not to buy the tool "for all occasions", you need to determine in advance what type of wires you most often have to deal with. Perhaps this is a power cable, with which there is still a lot of work in connection with the repair or redevelopment of an apartment, or an 8-wire twisted pair cable for the Internet. Accordingly, we take into account the diameter of the wire.

Stripper with nests of different diameters
A sample stripper designed for stripping wires of various diameters. Removing insulation begins with the selection of the desired socket - the parameters are indicated directly on the working part

The diameter scale indicated by the manufacturer for selection may be different, for example, from 0.13 mm to 90 mm.If you work only with home wiring, then it is reasonable to choose a stripper designed for a diameter of 1.5-2.5 mm. A professional tool usually has a wider range.

Criterion # 2 - the presence of replaceable knives

Usually a tool with monolithic sharpened “lips” is deprived of the possibility of replacing the cutting equipment, since the working part is the main mechanism. But more complex fixtures consist of a large number of parts that can be replaced if necessary.

Replaceable blade stripper
If you constantly work with cables insulated with a rigid polymer braid, it makes sense to purchase pincers with interchangeable blades that become dull and chipped over time

Interchangeable knives look different: it can be a pair of blades with a mounting screw or a full cutting head that connects to the handles with a hinged mechanism.

You should know that for household use you do not need to purchase expensive equipment with replaceable knives (the cost of which is on average 600-1000 rubles), it is easier to immediately buy new pincers.

Criterion # 3 - adjusting the diameter and depth of cut

The ability to adjust is very important, since it is on it that the quality of the cut and the integrity of the bare wires depend. Many electricians refuse an automatic tool in favor of a mechanical one, since they do not trust the devices and are used to setting or choosing the necessary parameters on their own.

Universal stripper for stripping
Sample of universal ticks. To expose the cores, special sockets are not needed - the tool automatically adjusts to the desired diameter, while it can strip 2 or more wires simultaneously

To adjust the depth in some types of strippers, a limiter is installed - a small plastic or metal part that fixes the wires in a certain position. The wire simply cannot be inserted further than the limiter, so the cut is carried out strictly according to the specified depth, for example, 10 mm.

Consider how the work with an adjustable tool. As a sample - the simplest nippers.

If maximum precision is required, purchase an automatic machine or give preference to a stripper for stripping with a set of holes for different diameters.

Criterion # 4 - Additional Features

Some strippers are multifunctional, that is, the removal of polymer insulation is one of the purposes, perhaps the main one. For example, many pincers, even automatic ones, are often equipped with a small blade. It serves to cut the wire to the desired length before stripping it.

Twisted pair pliers
Universal tweezers have two working sockets marked as 8P and 6P - they are designed not only for stripping, but also for crimping network and telephone connectors

Some manufacturers went further and supplied the tool with volumetric handles, from which, if desired, you can get any devices from scissors to corkscrew. Of course, such a technical refinement is not necessary for a simple installer; experienced craftsmen love a simple but reliable tool.

And multifunctional devices, as you know, break down much faster, and most of the built-in devices are most often not needed.

Criterion # 5 - The Best Manufacturer

The release of wire stripping pliers is carried out both by well-known manufacturers and by numerous Chinese companies that do not particularly care about the quality of the products. Of course, branded products are stronger, more reliable and more accurate, and the point here is not in the promotion of the brand, but in the quality of production.

It is known that a German-made instrument undergoes rigorous testing. Durable hardened alloys are used to make the same mites, and the insulation is checked in special baths under voltage.

KNIPEX KN stripper for coaxial cables
The stripper KNIPEX KN, designed to remove insulation from coaxial cables, is equipped with adjustable depth and diameter of the cut. Removes the outer braid, shield and inner sheath in one go. Cost - 1550 rubles

Safety when working with conductive wires is in the first place, therefore it is better to purchase an expensive tool with a manufacturer’s guarantee than to rely on the reliability of an inexpensive stripper “without clan and tribe”.

Popular and established brands: FIT, HAUPA, JTC, KING TONY, Knipex, SHTOK, TOPEX.

KVT stripper for stripping wires
Of domestic products, almost all electricians are known to have KVT strippers, so they are universal, convenient, affordable and rarely fail

The cost of equipment for removing insulation depends on the brand and specifics. The average price of a good household tool is 600-1500 rubles. Keep in mind that cheap models attract only at a price, there can be no talk of a good cut quality or reliability of knives.

We also recommend that you read our other article, where we examined in detail various ways of stripping wires from insulation. More details - go to the link.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Overview of strippers tested on personal experience:

Detailed review of popular models:

Practical video review:

The choice of a tool for electrical work is a purely individual matter. However, there are criteria without which the purchase of a stripper is simply impossible: technical specifications, application features, ease of use.

The advice of acquaintances of electricians is also taken into account, but only on condition that they are experienced skilled craftsmen, and not amateurs who, on occasion, have installed a couple of outlets.

If you have experience using a stripper in practice, please share advice with those who are just learning to use such a tool. Leave your comments, ask questions in the block below.

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Visitors Comments
  1. It seems to me a little far-fetched about the best manufacturer - the operation is so simple that any “noname” will cope with it.

    • Expert
      Vasily Borutsky

      Good afternoon, Egor.

      There is nothing far-fetched - a year ago, for example, German analysts involved in the installation tool market appreciated the popularity of strippers.

      The interviewed audience of masters (not amateurs or home craftsmen) helped to build the top gadgets, focusing on indicators of functionality, ergonomics, and practicality. The last issue was cost estimation against the background of other quality factors.

      The stripper WEICON Super No. 5 won. He is the best-selling. But the main thing is that there are no Russian, world analogues.