Wire strippers are a special kind of plier used to remove the insulation from electrical wires.
Wire stripper come in three different types:
- Adjustable Wire Stripper: this type has a simple design, with a single notch in each blade. It has a stop screw that allows the user to set the cut based on the thickness of the wire to be stripped. To work more efficiently, choose a stripper that reopens after each cut. Some people find that these strippers can be difficult to adjust to the wire thickness, so it can lead to a few mistakes. The Irwin Self Adjusting Wire Stripper is a good example.
- Gauged Stripper: this is a very popular type since it is easy to use. The blades have holes matching wires of different gauges, making the stripping job simpler and quicker since no adjustment is needed. Some types can also work as a cutter or crimper so it is suitable for different types of wiring jobs. There is a limit to the number of gauges on a single wire stripper, so it might be necessary to buy more than one. The Milwaukee 48-22-6109 is a good example.
- Self-adjusting Stripper: just like the name says, this stripper automatically adjusts to wires of different thickness levels. Strippers like the Irwin-2078300 make the work go much faster since there is no need to constantly make adjustments. For added convenience, choose a self-adjusting stripper that has a built in crimper or cutter.
- Gauged Automatic Wire Stripper: this has the qualities of both the self-adjusting stripper and the gauged stripper. You can choose the appropriate gauge for the wire, and after making the cut it returns to the open position. Naturally this is one of the more expensive types, but the benefits make it a good investment. The Southwire SA C1 and Southwire SA822 are great examples of the gauged automatic wire stripper.
- Wire Stripper and Cutter: Combination tools such as the wire stripper and cutter may have a few advantages depending on the type of job. The Irwin Wire Stripper and Cutter with ProTouch Grips, for example has notched holes for proper stripping and a sharp blade for cutting without changing tools. The Klein Tools Compact Wire Stripper and Cutter is a small tool that easily slips into a small tool pouch or pocket and allows you to do quick jobs. This particular wire stripper does not have notches, so you have to be careful not to damage the wires while cutting the rubberized casing off of the wires.