If you’re here, it means you’re looking for the best bolt cutters, and that’s exactly what I’m providing here. I know from personal experience how hard it is to find reliable information about these tools. It’s for this reason why I have here the best bolt cutter reviews so you’ll know what’s available online.
Aside from the reviews, I’ve also compiled a detailed buyer’s guide. You should never buy a bolt cutter – or any tool for that matter – without having an idea of what it’s for, so I’ve collected all the necessary information here so you don’t have to scour the web.
- 1 Why need a Bolt Cutter
- 2 Advantages of the Bolt Cutter
- 3 Types of Bolt Cutters
- 4 Things To Consider Before Buying a Bolt Cutter
- 5 Our Pick For Best Bolt Cutters
- 6 Short Review Of Best Bolt Cutters
- 7 Accessories You May Also Need
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
- 9 My Recommendations
- 10 Final Word
Why need a Bolt Cutter
The best bolt cutters are versatile tools that you can use in different ways. Here are some of their common usages.
- As the name makes clear, bolt cutters were created to slice shipping bolt seals. You can still use bolt cutters for these, though today’s tools are more flexible and useful in other applications.
- Bolt cutters can be used to shorten and customize bike shifter cables and brakes. These cutters are also ideal for any cutting task that ordinary tools cannot cope with.
- Bolt cutters can be used to cut materials and objects that are very difficult to pry loose or break. Examples of these are wire mesh, padlocks and chains, stuff that a traditional can’t handle.
- There are also custom bolt cutters for use on various materials. There are for instance, cutters with specially designed fiberglass handles. These are very strong tools and used by search and rescue teams. The durability also makes fiberglass bolt cutters very effective.
- Bolt cutters are designed for cutting electrical wires, which is why they’re often used by handymen and those who work in similar fields. Depending on the cutter design, you can use it to cut other materials as well.
Advantages of the Bolt Cutter
Bolt cutters come in different shapes and forms, but they all provide certain advantages over other tools.
- Bolt cutters are very strong and capable of cutting different types of materials with ease.
- Their blades are heat treated and can withstand heavy duty use.
- Bolt cutters pack a lot of power, but they’re also comfortable to use as it’s the tool that does the work, not your hands.
- The top bolt cutters are durable, and when necessary it’s easy to replace the parts.
- Bolt cutters are portable tools so you can carry it with you.
Types of Bolt Cutters
Compact Bolt Cutters – 205mm (8″) and 350mm (14″)
These are used on materials with soft and medium hardness such as wire and threaded rod. Those with solid jaws can be used to cut harder materials like chains and bolts.
Medium Sized Bolt Cutters – 450mm (18″) and 600mm (24″)
These are designed to cut the same materials as compact cutters. However their long arms allow you to cut objects with bigger diameters. High end medium bolt cutters are also capable of cutting hard objects.
Large Bolt Cutters – 750mm (30″) – 1.2m (48″)
These have long handles, and they’re built for use on hard materials like steel chains, copper cable and steel rods.
There are some other types of bolt cutters like Center Bolt Cutters, Rather Bolt Cutters, End Cutters and Shear Bolt Cutters. Center bolt cutters have the blades in the middle, and they’re useful for cutting through various materials because their slanted blade edges go down on the material equally. Rather bolt cutters have a ratchet hinge system which lets you put pressure in short intervals instead of continuously. End cutters blades’ ends are flattened so it looks like a pincer. These bolt cutters are used to clip and grip materials. Shear bolt cutters are the most widely used tools for cutting wire.
Things To Consider Before Buying a Bolt Cutter
Blade Quality: The material used for the cutting blade determines what you can do with it. For the best results, a steel blade is preferable. Forged steel with a hardened edge is the most ideal. The best blades also last long and don’t need frequent maintenance. Make sure also the blade is easy to clean.
Handle: The handle must be comfortable, especially if you’ll be using it for long stretches. The grip should also be nonslip. Long handles are preferable if you’re cutting heavy materials that require force. Long handles also provide you with the leverage needed to cut the material. Bolt cutter handles are made from different materials. The most common are plastic grips with steel handles, but some bolt cutters have an aluminum handle. Aluminum handles are lighter but they’re also more expensive.
Weight: A well-designed bolt cutter is portable. When people talk of bolt cutter weight they refer to the handle, but you have to consider the whole tool. A short handle bolt cutter benefits from a solid, heavy design as it adds force to the cutting motion. If you’re using a long handle cutter, lighter weight is better.
Our Pick For Best Bolt Cutters
We made a short list of 5 best bolt cutters for you. Let’s take a look at our best pick.
Short Review Of Best Bolt Cutters
Here is the short review of the best bolt cutters that we selected for you.
1. Tekton 3421 36-Inch Bolt Cutter
Any discussion of the best bolt cutters has to include the Tekton 3421. It is quite simply versatile and made from high quality materials. It cuts through threaded rods, bolts, locks and chains easily. The jaws are durable, but it’s easy to replace when that becomes necessary. I also like the handles as they’re comfortable with a nonslip grip.
- Drop forged hardened alloy steel jaws.
- Compound cutting action requires less effort.
- Tubular steel handles with cushioned non-slip rubber grips.
- Jaw Capacity: 1/2 in.
- Weight (lb.): 10.5 lb.
- Cuts through hard materials easily.
- The jaws are powerful.
- Handle is comfortable.
- Available in different sizes.
- Provides very good leverage.
- The handles feel a bit spongy.
- One customer says the paint came off after a while.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
The best bolt cutter reviews for the Tekton talk about its strength. One reviewer says the Tekton is more powerful than his pliers and hacksaw when it comes to steel cutting. Another customer says they’re inexpensive but effective for cutting locks and chains.
One reviewer says he was having trouble cutting 10 gauge steel wires. He had tried all kinds of cutting tools but they didn’t work. Other tools took too long. One of frustration he went for the Tekton and the steel wire cracked quickly. Another customer had a similar experience. He was having problems cutting cable. He opted for the Tekton and was satisfied with the results.
These are just some of the reviews about the Tekton 3421 that have been posted online. There are a few negative reviews, but the majority are content with its performance. I have to agree.
2. Neiko 00563A 36-Inch Heavy Duty Bolt Cutter
The Neiko 00563A makes it to our list of the best bolt cutters because of its quality. I am impressed by its high quality Cr-Mo steel jaw as it cuts chains, locks, stainless steel; bolts and more. I also like its blades as they’re durable. The blades hang tough even when used on hard materials. More than anything else, these bolt cutters are for heavy duty use and it’s perfect for cutting bolts, chains, padlocks, threaded rods, wires and many other metals.
- Precision engineered lever-fulcrum design.
- Chrome-molybdenum alloy steel.
- Cushioned non-slip rubber grip with texture for greater control and comfort in cutting.
- Cuts through padlocks.
- Powerful jaws cuts through bike cable locks.
- Designed for heavy duty use.
- The handles offer a solid grip.
- Durable construction.
- This bolt cutter is heavy.
- One reviewer says he had trouble cutting very thick rebar.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
The best bolt cutter reviews for the Neiko have focused on its power. One reviewer says he once used the cutter on a steel padlock and it destroyed the shaft easily. Another reviewer says the Neiko cuts through chains without any trouble. The reviewer said he had tried all types of cutting tools but to no avail. With the Neiko bolt cutter he didn’t encounter any problems. Another reviewer gave the same feedback and said the Neiko is “amazing” and perfect for cutting.
These are among the many reviews for the Neiko available online. There are a few criticisms here and there, but for the most part customers are happy with how the Neiko works.
3. KNIPEX 71 12 200 Comfort Grip High Leverage Cobolt Cutters with Spring
The best bolt cutters are powerful and easy to use, and the Knipex fits the bill nicely. What sets this apart is its opening spring locking mechanism. This is built in the handles so you’re more comfortable using it. This is a compact tool but cuts through rivets, bolts, nuts, nails etc. up to 5.2 mm dia without any problem. I particularly like the lever because it recues the effort necessary to cut something.
- Cutting capacity: Up to 1/4-inch for soft wire; 13/64-inch medium hard wire; 5/32-inch hardwire; 9/64-inch piano wire.
- Length: 8 inches.
- Weight: 13.2 ounces.
- Handles: Comfort Grip.
- Exceptional cutting performance with minimum effort because of new lever action design.
- Cutting edge hardness of 64 HRC (approximate).
- Comfortable grip.
- Can be used for cutting various types of materials.
- Provides more strength than other compact bolt cutters.
- Solid construction.
- Joints move smoothly.
- The Knipex can only cut small padlocks.
- One customer complained its pinch quality isn’t that good.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
The feedback for the Knipex is very favorable. One customer said it’s the finest bolt cutter he’s tried. The reviewer says he had tried various cutting tools but only the Knipex is up to par. Another customer said he uses the Knipex to cut chain mails and stainless steel.
The best bolt cutter reviews also say the Knipex works well for cutting all kinds of materials. One reviewer says the tool is well engineered. The reviewer also said he had trouble with other wire cutters. With the Knipex it’s simpler to cut wires, cables and other materials.
This is the general consensus for the Knipex. Just like other products there are a few critical reviews, but majority are happy with it.
4. Knipex 7101200 8-Inch Lever Action Mini-Bolt Cutter
Knipex makes some of the best bolt cutters and this is among their finest products. I find these cutters useful for cutting barb wires, razor wires and other thin metals. The Knipex has a nice, solid body without being too heavy. It is made from chrome vanadium electric steel so it’s durable. It’s not meant for heavy materials, but for precision cutting I give this the thumbs-up.
- Plastic Coated Handles.
- Cutting capacity: Up to 1/4-inch for soft wire; 13/64-inch medium hard wire; 5/32-inch hardwire; 9/64-inch piano wire
- Length: 8 inches.
- Weight: 11.8 ounces.
- Exceptional Cutting Performance with Minimum Effort Due to Lever Action Design.
- Cutting Edges Induction Hardened, Cutting Edge Hardness Approximately 64 HRC.
- Chrome Vanadium Electric Steel, Oil-Hardened and Tempered.
- Provides excellent leverage for cutting.
- The bolt cutter is comfortable to hold.
- The bolt cutter has a solid feel to it.
- Cuts through various materials.
- One customer complained the cutter rusts quickly.
- Another reviewer says the Knipex is hard to use.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
The feedback for the Knipex is mostly in its favor. One review comes from a long time user of bolt cutters. He says the Knipex cuts wires easily. He says he uses the Knipex daily for his CNC machine and the cutters work perfectly.
Some of the best bolt cutter reviews have come from those who have used Knipex for a long time. One such customer says this version is better than the others which the company has released before. One customer gave it five stars for being smooth and simple to use.
The Knipex 7101200 is one of the most widely reviewed bolt cutters online. Most of the reviews as I’ve mentioned are in its favor. That alone should tell you what it’s capable of.
5. Capri Tools 40209 Klinge Mini Bolt Cutter, 8″, Blue/Black
The Capri is one of the best bolt cutters period. I’ve tried this on chains, thread rods, wires and bolts and its jaws go through them quickly. I find the grip comfortable, and it doesn’t slip from my hands. It is also sturdy and holds up well even after prolonged use. The 10 year warranty tells you how good it really is. The leverage is also exceptional.
- Easily cut through wires, threaded rods, bolts, chains, and more.
- Extremely handy for cutting on the go.
- Double heat treated CrMo blades cut through tough materials with a vengeance.
- High leverage design gives you more force with less effort.
- Specially designed ergonomic grips make these cutters comfortable and secure.
- The bolt cutter cuts materials smoothly.
- Doesn’t require a lot of effort to work.
- Versatile enough to be used in different situations.
- Well-designed handles.
- One customer complained it doesn’t cut 3/8" stranded wire cables.
- Another customer says the cutter wears off after just a few years.
Summary of Customer Reviews:
The reviews for the Capri Tools are mainly favorable. One reviewer said it’s good value for your money and works great for general wire cutting. Another reviewer said he having trouble with his old cutting tool. He decided to buy the Capri and says he’s happy with the results.
Some of the best bolt cutter reviews have been from those who have never tried the Capri tool before. One reviewer said it’s better than known brands and not as expensive. After going through the tool myself I have to agree with these assessments. It is not the most powerful bolt cutter, but I can say that it is very effective and does what it is supposed to do.
Accessories You May Also Need
Knipex 7401250SBA 10-Inch High Leverage Diagonal Cutters
You’ll find the 7401250SBA useful if you have to cut materials on a continuous basis. It has a 64 HRC hardness cutting edge, and it is made of chrome vanadium electric steel. Lastly, the handles are comfortable and ergonomic so you won’t tire even with prolonged use.
Knipex 2611200 Long Nose Pliers with Cutter, 8 Inch
These pliers are the perfect companion for your bolt cutters. Its jaws have been specially designed so it can go through locations that other cutting tools can’t. The gripping surface is serrated, you’re assured of nonslip grip, and the side cutter is for different types of wires and materials.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can all bolt cutters cut padlocks?
Answer: Most bolt cutters can, but you should check its specifications to be sure it’s designed for that.
2. What is the best material for bolt cutters?
Answer: For blades it is steel, and for the handle steel and plastic or aluminum.
3. Are all bolt cutters capable of cutting through bicycle cables?
Answer: Not all of them, as only specific types, i.e. the heavy duty ones, can.
4. What type of bolt cutter should I use for protruding screws and bolts?
Answer: Get a clipper cut and angled bolt cutter as its blades are designed for the task.
5. Can I use bolt cutters in narrow spaces?
Answer: End cutter bolts are best suited for this, and the more compact bolt cutters are effective too. But if you’re going to use it regularly, get an end cut tool.
I recommend the TEKTON 3421 36-Inch Bolt Cutter and the Neiko® 00563A 36-Inch Heavy Duty Bolt Cutter. These are two of the best bolt cutters that I’ve tried and they’ll get the job done.
The Neiko is easy to use, and it’s precision design makes cutting easy. The handles are comfortable to hold provides the right amount of leverage. The blade is powerful and can crush almost anything you put between it.
I can say the same thing about the Tekton 3421 as it is one of the most versatile bolt cutters that I have seen. It’s capable of cutting through a wide range of materials but doesn’t compromise when it comes to comfort.
It’s not really that hard to find bolt cutters. They’re available in any hardware store and online retailers carry these as well. The challenge lies in finding the right bolt cutters for the job. With so many products to choose from, deciding what to buy can take a long time.
I hope that this review guide for the best bolt cutters has made it easier for you to find what you’re looking for. These are tools we take for granted until we need them, and only then do we realize how important they are.