Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at thread checkers to identify nuts and bolts, heat-shrink self-solder butt-splice connectors and the Mini-Ductor II that brings the heat of a torch without the flame. This week’s cool tool, the automatic wire stripper, makes removing insulation a much easier processes.
This suggestion comes from readers Taema and Muttons, who agree that the automatic wire stripper — sometimes called the self-adjusting wire stripper — is an essential companion for the wire connectors we featured. Like the pliers wrench, it’s a wonderful evolution of a tool that most of us already have in our toolboxes.
Wiring is one of my favorite wrenching activities. I like getting my hands into a bit of everything from stereos to off-road lights.
But I often find that cutting and stripping wires is harder than it really needs to be.
About a decade ago I bought a very simple wire cutter and stripper from RadioShack. It never failed to cut wires, but even when new it was always a hassle. Either I had to use herculean force to get wires through the cutter or it damaged wires during the cut. Sometimes I felt that cutting wires with my teeth (don’t do this) would have been easier than using that infernal tool. Someone recently stole that tool from me, and I actually giggled. Having to use it will be punishment enough.
So this suggestion comes at a perfect time. As spring approaches I’ll need to make another HooptieX racecar, which means I’ll be digging into the wiring of a junker. This is where an automatic wire stripper may save my sanity. These take all of the work out of wire stripping. You just set the stop block to the length of wire that you want to strip, insert the wire, squeeze the tool and let it do all of the work. You get a perfect strip every time.
But these tools don’t stop there. Many of them will cut wires and crimp them, too. Check out this video from the Cool Tools YouTube channel that goes over various kinds of wire strippers.
Taema recommended the Klein Tools 11061 Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper at about $20 at your favorite online tool source.
Muttons recommended the Neiko 01924A Automatic Wire Stripper. It comes in at about $16 online.
Do you know of a weird or unique but must-have tool you think every wrencher should have? Do you want to see us put a type of tool to the test and see how it performs? Shoot me an email or drop it down in the comments!