Upgrading My Wire Strippers

Published at 13:33 on 11 May 2021

Adam Savage (of Mythbusters fame) came out with a video last year singing the praises of automatic wire strippers.

A little quick research uncovered that such strippers work poorly, if at all, on PTFE (Teflon) and THHN insulation. That pretty much killed the deal for me, as I semi-regularly deal with both such wire types. But it got me thinking: stripping wire is something of a headache, because I always chintzed out on wire strippers. I bought some cheapo strippers many decades ago and have used either them or a knife. Stripping wires has always been something of a fiddly process for me.

Conclusion: I could benefit from owning some better tools, and should spend some of my birthday gift money on them. I opted for the Klein No. 11055 and 11057 strippers (yes, both of them, since I routinely have need to strip wire in a wider gauge range than any one set of strippers can accommodate). And let me say, it has been very nice to finally have a proper set of quality tools to do a task I frequently need to do.

Initially, I had toyed with the idea of getting some European-style wire strippers like these, simply because I thought they might be better than the styles used in the USA, and the “not invented here” principle was stopping their adoption. If that were the case, it should be easy to find glowing reviews from the few Americans who had discovered this style of tool. Quite the contrary, however: no such reviews existed, while there were reviews from Europeans raving about the Klein strippers above.

The morals of the story:

  1. If a recurring task has been a continual annoyance (even a minor one) and there exist tool(s) to make it easier, it is probably best to just can the stinginess and buy the tool(s) already. I should have upgraded decades ago; it would have saved a fair amount of frustration.
  2. Do your research. If I had ordered automatic or European-style wire strippers, I would have ended up disappointed.

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