Not everyone’s tool kit is going to have an RJ45 crimper in it. It’s a specialty tool for the very technical work of making telephone and ethernet connections. Very few DIYers do that sort of work, instead of putting it on a technician from their Internet company.
We get that some people like a challenge and don’t want to see a high-wage labor show up in a bill for a service call and would prefer to do the work themselves. We took a look at a few of the tools on the market that can do this work and wrote reviews of them to give those brave souls a hand in picking the right one. We also added in a short buyers’ guide to help them figure out what features to look for when buying.
We wish you a lot of luck with this one. Actually, take that back. This one is all skill, and if you get it right by luck then you’re still not doing it right. So we wish you the best of enjoyment in putting to use your skills and in getting the right tool to focus them.
|Platinum Tools Clamshell EZ-RJPRO HD Crimp Tool|
|TRENDnet TC-CT68 Crimp/Cut/Strip Tool|
(Best for the Money)
|Klein Tools VDV226-011-SEN RJ-45 Crimper/Cutter/Stripper||1 lb||4.2/5|
The Platinum Tools Clamshell is hands-down on the best RJ45 crimping tools on the market with a price attractive to home hobbyists. A professional might have a crimping tool that costs a few hundred bucks, but if you’re just running telephone and data cables in the house, this is a great option to get the job done right.
These aren’t just accurate, but the tool itself is sturdy. Provided you don’t drop it out of an eight-story window or run over it with a dump truck, it’s going to last you a really long time.
That’s good because it’s also pricey. A lot more expensive than any of the other tools we looked at. You’re getting quality. Be prepared to pay for quality.
We really like TRENDnet’s TC-CT68 RJ45 crimper. If you’re a hobbyist, it’s an affordable crimper that does the job you need it to. It is not as precise or as smooth as a higher-dollar tool that a professional would buy, but for doing stuff around the house to save yourself the expensive of a technician’s service call, it works out very nicely.
One thing to keep an eye on is that the ratcheting mechanism that is supposed to spare damage to the tab you are crimping can get in the way and either cause inadvertent damage to the tab or not allow you to crimp all the way. If you’re using it and it’s not working the way it ought to, that is the first place to check. Otherwise, this is a great option for DIYers.
The Klein Tools VDV226-011-SEN is a pretty good set of cable crimpers. It’s not terribly expensive and does most of the job you need it to pretty well. In fact, when it comes to ranking these tools, it’s often just a small thing that separates out the best from the merely very good. This is one of those cases.
The primary drawback of this RJ-45 crimper is that it is hard to cut wire with it. When it comes to getting into a good workflow, having to put down the crimper and get a wire cutter can be a giant pain in the neck. If Klein Tools addresses that in a follow-on model, this one could compete for our very top rankings because for the price it does an outstanding job in almost every other way. But cutting wire when you’re crimping into specialty connections is a big deal and the fact that it’s a pain is a significant issue.
Prepping wires to connect an ethernet connection is pretty specialized work, and if you don’t get it right your connection won’t work. Most people would suggest, in fact, that you leave it to the professionals. We think of you as a different breed of person, however. We think of you as adventurous always-up-for-a-new-challenge folks. So, we put together a few tips on how to select the right RJ45 crimping tool for you.
There are three basic connectors that you will definitely want your RJ45 crimper to be compatible with, the 4, 6, and 8-positions. Although there are other positions that might create other situations that you might run into, those three are the basic. If the model you’re looking at isn’t compatible with them, keep looking.
Also, while RJ-45 cables used to be exclusively used for telephone connections, advances in technology have expanded their use. There are now category five and category six connections. Make sure your crimper is compatible with the category connection you’re using.
We’re dealing with electronics here, with works on a much smaller scale than electrical work. While an RJ45 crimper has kind of a big head relative to the handle, you want to make sure that it’s not so big that you can’t see what you’re working on. You also want to make sure that while you want small handles for the same reason that there is enough padding that they are comfortable to work with.
One thing you want is the ability to control the knob’s tension. Good crimpers come with a ratchet mechanism to control that so that you don’t damage the connection you’re working on.
Price is almost always a good fallback criterion when looking for any tool. Ethernet crimping is precise work, so you don’t want to scrimp on the tools for it, but if you’ve got a couple of models that are relatively simple and one saves you a few bucks, that’s probably where you want to invest your money.
Other electrician’s tools we’ve reviewed:
An RJ45 crimper is a specialty tool you’re only going to find in the toolboxes of people who work with telephone cable. If that’s where your handyman skills take you, we suggest that you go with gusto because you’ll be in lonely company. But, also take the right tool, because you can’t do the work unless you have it.
We wrote reviews of some of the best crimpers on the market. We liked the Platinum Tools Clamshell EZ-RJPro the best. Next was the TRENDnet TC-CT 68. We liked the Klein Tools VDV226-011-SEN third best. But, before you buy any RJ-45 crimper, we’d suggest you read our buyers’ guide and incorporate some of what we wrote into making a wise crimper choice.