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Channellock E337CB Diagonal Cutting Plier
Strong cuts, comfy grips
Channellock’s pliers cut with more power than the competition, and the large, padded handles are among the most comfortable.
Channellock’s E337CB cut far better than its competitors during our tests, managing tough jobs that the other wire cutters struggled with. The wide, padded handles—a surprisingly rare feature among wire cutters—eased hand strain during difficult repetitive cutting. The durability is outstanding as well. After making at least 200 cuts through a wide range of materials, the jaws showed no signs of wear and still had edges that were sharp enough to cut a piece of paper. This pair of Channellock pliers costs toward the higher end of the scale, but it’s worth the money if you want to be secure that your wire cutters have the strength to handle the toughest jobs.
IRWIN VISE-GRIP Diagonal Cutting Pliers, 6-Inch (2078306)
Quality at a bargain
The Irwin pliers represent a great combination of cutting ability, comfort, and cost. While they’re not as powerful as our main pick, they do cut as well as others that cost twice as much.
If the Channellock pliers aren’t available, or if you want to make a smaller investment into a quality tool, consider the Irwin Vise-Grip 2078306 6-Inch Diagonal Cutting Pliers. The 7-inch version was among the least expensive models we tested, and the more available 6-inch version is even cheaper, but they both still have padded handles and cut just as well as their peers—except for the superior Channellock pliers. Irwin’s offering will be able to deal with common tasks like cutting electrical wire and hardware cloth, but because these pliers have less strength, they’ll struggle during hard jobs like cutting nails. For repetitive work, like snipping fencing, your hands will get tired faster than if you were using our top pick.
Bahco 2101G-180 Ergo Cutting Pliers
Great features, not as strong
The Bahco pair had the best handles and most precise jaws. You can also spring-load the handles if needed, but they don’t have the cutting strength of the Channellock pair.
If you’ll be using your wire cutters for a lot of repetitive cutting, like through hardware cloth, and if you’re willing to sacrifice the overwhelming strength of the Channellock pair, we like the Bahco 2101G-180 Ergo Cutting Pliers. They offer the unique ability to toggle in and out of a spring-loaded handle setting, which opens the handles for you after each cut—ideal for continuous cutting and for cutting in tight spots. Of the cutters we tested, the Bahco pair also has the most comfortable padded handles and the smallest, most precise cutting nose with the most agile jaws, making it a nice choice for small jewelry or toy repairs. The downside is that it just doesn’t have the cutting strength of the Channellock pair, so it’ll struggle through thicker-gauge wire. So even though we like everything about this tool, we think most people would prefer the higher strength of the Channellock pair.
Klein 11054 Wire Stripper-Cutter
An AV specialist
Comfortable, spring-loaded handles, as well as large jaws and clearly marked wire-stripping holes, make this tool a solid choice for AV setup.
For the specific needs of the AV hobbyist—which include as much stripping as cutting, and the precision to snip, grip, and bend speaker wire—we recommend the Klein 11054 Wire Stripper-Cutter. We didn’t do comparative testing of this model, but it was recommended to us by Wirecutter AV senior staff writer Chris Heinonen, who likes its comfortable grips, large cutting jaws, clearly marked stripping holes, and spring-loaded handles.
Source: The NY Times
Keyword: The Best Wire Cutter