Toolipedia: Wire Strippers

Toolipedia: Everything you wanted to know aboutwire strippers

Wire stripper with labeled parts | Construction Pro Tips

What arewirestrippers?

Wire strippers resemble a pair of pliers or scissors.Most wire strippers are capable of performing several different tasks, but theirprimary purposeis tostrip the insulation off of the end ofwires.Thisisaccomplishedwithslottedcutting bladeslocated in the jaws of the stripper. Thecuttingslotsare sized to fit variousgaugewires but not the wires insulation coating, so when a wire is pulled throughthe slot its insulation is left behind.Wire strippersare madein many shapesand sizes and areequippedwithvariousadditionaltool functions. Here are the basic parts:

  1. Tip/nose forholding,twisting or creating ahooks or loops in wire
  2. Various sizestrippingbladeslots
  3. Wire cutter
  4. Small bolt shear(usually6/32 and 8/32)
  5. Crimpersforcrimpconnectors
  6. Loop holeto create hook or loopin a wire forscrew terminals
  7. Ergonomically shaped handle

How are wire strippers used?

Open the jaws of thestrippers andinserttheendof the wireinto thematchingslot. Each slot has two sets oflabels indicating the various sizes; thatsbecausethe outside dimension of solid wire is not the same as stranded wire. Clamp the jaws down onto the wire and pull. Theinsulation should be removed as the wirepassesthroughthe slot.If the strippers are dull, they may needto bespun aroundor back and forth until the insulation is completely severed.

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What are the different types of wirestrippers?

Some wire strippers can be adjusted tostripone size of wire over and over, which can save time. There arealsoself-adjustingstrippers that will strip almost any sized wire without having to pick a particularslot or makeother adjustments.

Coaxial cables requiretheir ownunique stripperstyle.There arepowerstrippersavailable for extra-large commercial grade wire.For the most part,the variations in wirestrippers depends on the size of wire they canhandle,and which additional tool functions are attached.

Electriciansusually own variouswirestripping, cutting and crimping tools, butwirestrippers like the one shown above are the most commonly used among pros for stripping wire.

What makes a good pair of wire strippers?

  • Well insulated/comfortable grip
  • Well definedwire gauge markings
  • Some prefer a returnspringfor the handles
  • Lockinghandles (for spring models),so they dont get dull inthe tool box/bag
  • Bright colorshelp prevent losing them

Klein makes agood pair of wire strippers.

Wire stripper tip

Different color for different gauge sizes on a wire stripper | Construction Pro Tips

Squint-Free Wire Stripper

Ninety percent of the time, you use your wire stripper to strip the same gauge wire. Now, the days of searching your wire stripper for the right size hole are over. Use a Testors Enamel Paint Marker (about $3 at a home center) to mark a line across the hole. After a couple of minutes of drying time, youll be able to stick the wire in the marked hole with zero eyestrain and work a heck of a lot faster on your latest wiring project. If youre stripping more than one wire gauge size, mark the holes in different colors.


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