5 Common Mistakes When Using a Wire Stripper

 

Wire safety was not a primary concern in the late 1890s when utility companies installed electrical services in American homes. In fact, it wasn’t until the late 1920s that insulating wire became common practice.

 

Since then, wire strippers have become a staple item in every toolbox. These simple tools can remove the insulation off of wires, allowing you to expose the bare metal and make electrical connections. But if you don’t use them correctly, they can be dangerous.

 

Keep reading for five common mistakes people make with a wire stripper.

1. Using the Wrong Gauge to Strip Wires

Most businesses recognize that wire strippers come in different sizes. However, they may not realize the danger of using the wrong wire stripper instead of purchasing a new one.

 

If you’re not careful, you can end up using the wrong size, making your stripping job much more complicated than it needs to be.

 

Let’s say your goal is to strip some 24 gauge wire with a 20 gauge wire stripper. The result? You’ll end up with a frayed and jagged wire that’s impossible to work with.

 

Not only does this make your job more difficult, but it also increases the chance of injury.

 

If you’re looking for something that will cut through even the most rigid insulation, get a heavy-duty stripper. The self-adjusting wire stripper from HTI fits almost any cable, making it a valuable tool for your team.

2. Working With a Damaged Wire Stripper

Your wire stripper experiences wear and tear just like your other tools. So as you use it, it’s bound to get damaged. This can leave wires with inadequate cover, requiring wire cutters to get back on track.

 

You can avoid that extra step with regular wire stripper maintenance. Trust us when we say it’s worth the time and effort.

 

You wouldn’t want the stripper slipping out of someone’s hands, so remember to check your tool’s handle. It should be secure, not wobbly, so your grip remains steady as you work.

 

Also, look at the spring. If it’s too weak or broken, you won’t be able to apply enough pressure on your workpiece while stripping. This could result in messy cuts and premature wear of other components of your tool set up (for example, blades).

 

Lastly, inspect your tools for cracks between each blade. This can sometimes lead to wires getting stuck inside when you’re stripping them.

 

If you see imperfections in your stripper, it’s best to toss it out. These flaws can lead to more problems down the line.

3. Using a Blunt Wire Stripper

If you want to take ten times as long as is necessary to complete a project, use an old wire stripper. Worn blades don’t cut through wire cleanly, making it more difficult for you to strip off the insulation.

 

To avoid this, use a scrap piece of wire to test the blades’ cutting ability. If in doubt, buy a new one! The easy stripper is an excellent alternative if you haven’t decided which heavy-duty model to invest in.

4. Picking the Wrong Length

As a rule of thumb, you’re supposed to strip your wire at least 1/4 inches from the end.

 

If you strip it too close, the wire will break when you try to take off the insulation. It’s also important not to leave too much extra length, as this can cause cabling problems.

5. Cutting Too Deep

If you cut too deeply, the blade will slice through the insulation around the wire and expose the copper. This creates sharp edges on your wire that can damage other cables when they rub against each other during installation.

 

To avoid this, use a precise stripping tool.

How to Strip Wires the Right Way

You can easily avoid the dangers of wire stripping with the correct technique. Here’s what you need to do:

 

  • Use the notch that best matches your wire
  • Place the end of the wire in its designated spot
  • Squeeze the stripping tool’s handles gently but firmly
  • Rotate the wire stripper
  • Slide the stripper down the wire to remove its insulation

 

If you follow these steps, you'll have no problem stripping wires for any project.

6. Knowing the Downsides of DIY

Building your own toolkit is common practice with the rise of the DIY movement.

 

It’s easy to see why companies would want to cut back on expenses by building wire strippers instead of buying them. This isn’t a bad idea, but it’s far from the best.

To DIY or Not?

Wire strippers are designed specifically for the task of stripping wires. They’re made to be durable, so you can use them thousands of times without wearing the wire stripper out.

 

However, DIY wire strippers won’t give you the same level of precision or reliability as professional tools, so it’s best to leave them alone. Furthermore, they don’t offer the same level of safety as professional wire strippers.

 

DIY tools often have exposed blades that can cut if you don’t handle them cautiously, whereas professional tools are always safe.

Average Cost of a Wire Stripper

Typically, even the best quality wire strippers are unlikely to make much of a dent in your budget.

 

Wire strippers range in price from $15 to $100, depending on the model and its features. The average cost of a wire stripper is around $20.

 

There’s really no excuse not to buy new!

Get Premium Wire Strippers for Your Cabling Customers

So, now you know a few things you need to watch out for when using a wire stripper.

 

If you’re stripping many wires, it’s worth investing in a good set of professional wire strippers. HTI has all the tools you need to get the job done right. You can use our premium wire strippers on various wires, including copper, aluminum, and even fiber optic cables.

 

If you’re looking for high-quality tools that will last for years to come, check out our product lineup today!

Wire Stripper, Wire Cutters, Easy Stripper, Stripping Tool.