Any set of pliers with a cutting edge is a suitable tool for cutting wire. If you’re looking for efficiency, however, then there are a few tools that are more suitable than others. Side cutters are a more effective, simple solution than standard pliers with a cutting edge.
What Are Side Cutters?
Side cutters are the most common set of pliers used for cutting. They are suitable for cutting cables and electrical wires. They can also remove nails and screws from timber, cut plastic and cable ties, and open tinned food. But, they were designed specifically for cutting.
How Side Cutters Work
They work by creating an indent to start and then wedge to give a cleaner finish than a standard knife or even scissors. They are most commonly used for cutting aluminium and copper wires. They should not be used to cut through screws or nails. This can chip, crack or gouge the blade, which will shorten the tool’s lifespan. While they aren’t expensive tools, taking good care of your tools will ensure they last longer and work to a higher standard.
Side Cutters vs Wire Cutters
are designed specifically to cut rather than pull or grip. They have handles, a fulcrum point and a pair of jaws that are bevelled and sharp to effectively and closely cut wire. The fulcrum is closer to the jaw for maximum effect for the user.
Side cutters have a fairly narrow purpose. Most tradespeople have multi-use pliers to cover various tasks. Side cutters are well-suited to cutting, but you might need another set of pliers to grab or manipulate. Wire work is precise so, the right tool is a necessity. If you use the wrong tool, it can fray wires, and fray wires can be dangerous. You can only solder wire with a clean cut.
Wire cutters are a common tool in electrical applications. Almost all styles are insulated to protect against electrical shocks. However, you should ensure this is the case before you purchase. A rubber or plastic coating does not guarantee it is insulated against electricity.
Wire cutters make wire cutting simple, whether tackling a tough wire or dealing with electrical current. You can snip and clip with minimal force, which can help cut down on hand fatigue. Wire cutters can also be used to grip, bend wires, unscrew, crimp, and cut through steel, brass, aluminium, iron, and copper.
There are a dozen tools you can use to cut wires. But, certain tools are far more effective at completing the task. A multi-purpose plier might be a handy tool to keep in your toolbox, but it doesn’t cut wires as efficiently as a side or wire cutter.
Side cutters are smaller and easier to handle than wire cutters, especially if you’re working in a small space. While there is a cross-over between what tasks they complete, side cutters are limited to fewer tasks. However, they do the tasks they are designed to do incredibly well.