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I love the design of the tool it’s and it’s ease to adjust for a wide range of wire sizers. If you are using the same size wire there is no chance that accidentally cut the wire in the wrong size stripper hole when stripping. The best part is that your hand is holding the tool in the same direction as the stripper motion unlike standard wire strippers that your grip is perpendicular to the motion required to strip the wire. Knipex makes great tools and in the last month as purchased their pliers and plier wrenches and was not disappointed.
These are great for larger diameter (single core) wire. You are more likely to cut individual copper strands of wire with this tool and it is better if you use automatic strippers (which work a lot quicker and are far easier to use on small gauge wire). I find they work best by holding the pliers fixed and acutally twisting the wire 360 degrees in the jaws. If you don't wish to sever the copper wiring by piercing the plastic sheathing too deeply, then it best to incrementally adjust the jaw opening until you reach the desired depth or use a small test piece to set the opening first. Then you can indeed use a twisting motion of the pliers to remove the jacket. It does take some practice and it is finicky and not very precise, but it still works as intended; with a little attention and care.
If properly set a great tool! Those that undersize the opening WILL strip wire-coatings and cut strnds of wire when stripping - the hole MUST be set to slightly larger than the core metal conductor.. so you are actually ‘tearing’ a tiny portion of the (mostly cut) insulation when stripping the wire - that is how the Techs working Mil-Spec connectorization do it without buying the multi-thousand $$$ tools (I used to be one!)!
In short, this tool either won't strip or will "ring" nick the wire. It's very sensitive to the angle of wire going into the tool jaws.
I needed to reach into two dozen electrical outlet boxes and strip some short 14AWG wires that are copper clad aluminum. Very important not to nick or "ring" the wire, because aluminum tends to be brittle and nicking it creates a very definite weak spot. Gouging or nicking through the copper cladding creates a place for the aluminum to corrode and later break.
I adjusted the jaw opening using sample wire and experimented with stripping.
First thing I noticed is that when you adjust the strip opening with the wire going straight into the tool, the adjuster is very sensitive - a small rotation of the adjusting wheel causes a big change in the jaw opening. You quickly go from not cutting through the insulation to cutting into the wire itself.
Second thing I noticed is that after you make the adjustment, the angle of the wire into the jaw during the stripping process must be maintained very precisely. If you angle the wire into the tool a few degrees in one direction, the cutter becomes loose and will not cut the insulation. Angled a bit the other way and the tool will grab, gouge and nick the wire. I tried it a few times in actual practice and gave up very quickly.
From one wire to the next, sometimes this tool would not strip and other times it would gouge the wire. I tried closing the tool jaws on the wire and simply rotating it to cut the insulation, and then tried to pull the cut insulation off with my fingers, but that did not work, because it's not possible to maintain a precise angle of wire entry into the tool jaws while rotating the tool. I also saw that with legacy house wiring, the end of the old wire often has a few bends in it from being stuffed into the outlet box or wrapped around terminal screws, and this tool cannot deal with the bends because the bends create a change in the angle of the wire inside the cutting jaws, so the tool goes from being too loose to so tight that it either won't strip or grabs and gouges the wire as the small bends are pulled through the jaws.
I think the problem is that the jaws are quite thick compared to other cutters I own, and the jaw thickness combined with geometry of the machined cutting grooves allows the effective diameter of the jaw opening to be different depending on the angle at which the wire approaches the opening. Hard to describe, but you can feel it by adjusting the cutting opening with a sample stripped wire held perfectly in alignment to the cutting jaws. Then hold the tool closed while you slide the wire in and out of the cutting jaws at various angles - you will be able to feel the tool grip on the wire increasing or decreasing as you change the angle of the wire entry into the tool jaws. At one angle the wire is gouged, at the other extreme the insulation is not cut.
I was able finish my job, nick free, using a much cheaper "gauged" wire stripper that has thin jaws with fixed size dies to pull the wire through.
TEKTON 3775 8-in-1 Electrician's Combination Tool
Note that this Tekton tool uses an anvil type stripping die cutter, rather than the bypass dies common to most strippers. (In other words, the cutting jaws meet directly rather than move past each other like scissors.) While the position of the stripping dies was very awkward for my job, the positive stop on closing the handles decreases the chance of nicking the wire. The Knipex is an adjustable bypass style cutter.
This Knipex end stripper is sold in various configurations whose price varies from $30 to $70, but they all seem to have the same jaw design, therefore i can't imagine that any of them work any better than this one.
Once I used this stripper a few times, I found that it got better and better at its job. It is excellent in every way, from what I can tell. A bit pricey though. If it lasts me for decades, I will not mind the cost.
Most wire strippers use a Side cutting, you pick the size and slide it. These are you set the gauge correctly, then clamp down slight twist and pull, leaves very clean cut insulation, very quick easy measured end of a stripped wire. They may seem clunky but are one of the best wire stripping tools you'll ever use.
Ease of use. I can strip wire live. I can do this while working on traffic lights with out shutting down intersection. Handle is insulated enough and with gloves on I can still work the tool without surprises.