Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Bolt cutters can be very useful in many situations in life. Whether in the home, on the construction site or even for the fire brigade, there are many different bolt cutters that can be used in many different ways. Bolt cutters have been on the market for several decades, which in turn means that there is a very large selection. In the meantime, there are also electric and hydraulic bolt cutters.

Due to the large selection on the market, it is very easy to lose the overview and this in turn makes the decision more difficult. To make this easier for you, we have presented and compared the most diverse bolt cutters and named and presented the most important purchase criteria.




Summary

  • Bolt cutters come in many different shapes, whether large, small or electric - there is a suitable one for every purpose.
  • When buying a bolt cutter, you need to consider a wide range of criteria, such as the cutting force or the size of the bolt cutter.
  • If possible, it is very important to know in advance what you will use this tool for, which makes the purchase decision much easier.

The Best Bolt Cutter: Our Choices

Bolt cutters: buying and evaluation criteria

To make your choice easier, we have summarised the most important criteria. These are as follows:

Now we will give you a more detailed overview to know what needs to be considered, so that the decision will be easier for you later.

Size

Since there are different sizes, it is usually difficult to decide on the right one. They range from 200 mm to 910 mm. The larger the bolt cutter, the easier it is to cut things with it. Of course, it also depends on the intended use, so the size should always be adapted to this. In general, however, the larger the lever, the easier it is for you to work because the leverage is also greater.

Smaller bolt cutters from 200 mm are more suitable for everyday use at home. They can be used to cut nails or lighter chains without difficulty. Larger bolt cutters start at around 500-600 mm. These can be used to cut other stronger things such as locks or steel. So having models in this size at home can sometimes be very helpful.

Next are the very large bolt cutters, which start at around 750 mm. These are more suitable for professional use at work. So it is generally very important to know in advance what kind of work you want to do with the bolt cutter. This will make it easier for you to decide on the size.

Grip

Maybe this point is not clear to you at first glance. But the grip is a very important criterion that you should pay special attention to. On the one hand, it is about how the tool lies in your hand. On the other hand, it is also about whether you have a firm grip when holding the tool and whether the bolt cutter does not slip during work.

Mostly, the handles are covered with plastic or rubber and ensure that you do not slip during work. In addition, so-called multi-component handles, which are usually made of plastic, have become popular. These contribute to a very high slip resistance and increase the grip a lot more. Of course, there are also models without rubber or plastic handles.

However, these are not advantageous and can also make your work more difficult, as you do not have such a firm grip. Or at least the handle is much harder to hold compared to bolt cutters with plastic or rubber sheathing. Therefore, you should take a good look at the product beforehand and make sure that it has a sheath or not.

Cutting force

The cutting force is primarily a question of the material of the scissors. These are usually made of chrome vanadium steel and therefore have a particularly high degree of hardness. So the hardness of the blade already gives enough information about the actual cutting force of the bolt cutter in the end. The hardness is usually up to 62 HRC, which is the unit of measurement used worldwide to define the hardness of technical objects. The higher this value, the higher the cutting force.

Of course, it is very difficult to find out the actual cutting force before buying. That is why there is another point of reference, namely the length of the handles. The longer the handles, the higher the cutting force and the easier it is for you to work with the bolt cutter. So if you are planning to do more work, you should consider a larger model.

As you can see, the cutting force is closely related to the size criterion, and in most cases the bigger the better. The larger the lever, the greater the cutting force.

Cutting force

This criterion is about the maximum thickness that can be cut through by the tool. This is because very often the bolt cutter is very large but the opening of the mouth is only a few mm. It is therefore very important that you look at the data very carefully before buying to know whether the opening will be sufficient or whether you need one with a greater cutting strength.

Here, too, it is important to know in advance what kind of work you will be doing later on, so that you can also take this criterion into account. The product description usually states exactly how much the maximum thickness is. These range from 4 mm to 45 mm or even more. If you have objects with a large diameter, electric or hydraulic bolt cutters are often the better choice. These almost always have a higher cutting strength than conventional bolt cutters.

Bolt cutters: Frequently asked questions and answers

Below we answer the most frequently asked questions about bolt cutters. You will find all the important information on this topic in this guide.

What is a bolt cutter?

Bolt cutters belong to the family of pliers and are mainly used to cut through metals. They are made of chrome vanadium steel and thus have a very high degree of hardness. The handles are often covered with plastic or rubber.

What types of bolt cutters are there?

Bolt cutters come in a wide variety of designs; certain models are used by the fire brigade, for example. Of course, there are also many different types for use at home or for professional use at work. Furthermore, there are hydraulic and electric bolt cutters, but also the conventional mechanical ones.

Bolt Cutters, Firefighters

Electric or hydraulic bolt cutters are also used by the fire brigade. They use them, for example, to free the victims of accidents as quickly as possible. (Image source: Jürgen Sieber / Pixabay)

The electric and hydraulic bolt cutters make it possible to cut through thicker metals and also make the work easier, but they are also correspondingly heavier.

What does a bolt cutter cost?

The price range can vary greatly as there are many different bolt cutters. Larger, smaller, electric or hydraulic, the material of the handles can also be decisive for the price.

Price range Available products
Low-priced (11 - 50€) Various sizes and low quality
Medium-priced (50 - 100€) Larger selection, electric and hydraulic available in this price range
High-priced (100€ and above) Many different versions, more for professional purposes

So you can clearly see that bolt cutters are available from a very low price, of course the quality of the tool also suffers from this price. For domestic use, a bolt cutter from the medium price range is already sufficient.

Conclusion

Bolt cutters are available in a wide variety of designs, so there is a suitable tool for every purpose. No matter whether you need to cut a small wire or break open a lock. You can always find the right tool.

Of course, they are not only suitable for home use, but also for construction sites, for example, or for rescue purposes such as those used by the fire brigade. In general, it is very important to know in advance what you want to use the bolt cutter for. This will make it easier for you to estimate what size you will need. In addition, you should always follow the buying criteria we have mentioned to find the right bolt cutter.

(Cover picture: Michael Dziedzic / Unsplash)

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