Cutting through metal can be a tough task, and that means you need a tool that can stand up to the abuse. However, not all tin and aviation snips are going to be strong enough for all jobs. Unfortunately, shopping online can make selecting the right pair a difficult task, as you get bombarded with many models, and it can be hard to compare them.
Our list features a curated selection of some of the best tin and aviation snips available. That makes it easier to tell which ones truly stand out from the crowd, and which might be worth skipping. With that information in hand, you’ll be able to find the ones for you, and hopefully save some money along the way.
|MIDWEST Aviation Tin Snip MWT-6716B|
|IRWIN 21304 11-3/4-Inch Extra Cut Multi Purpose Snip||1 lb||4.5/5|
|Performance Tool W2043 Center Cut Aviation Tin Snip|
(Best for the Money)
|Wiss METALMASTER M3R 9-3/4" Compound Action Snips||1 lb||4.2/5|
|Stanley FatMax 14-563 9-7/8-Inch||1 lb||4.1/5|
The MIDWEST Aviation Tin Snip MWT-6716B is easily the best sheet metal snip on the market. It comes with a threaded thru pivot bolt, which keeps the two sides in alignment for the tool’s entire life. That means your last cut will be as good as your first, and you won’t lose any power due to misalignment. Speaking of power, this tool can cut up to 18-gauge steel, so it will make short work of the thinner gauges that many people use snips on. It also comes with a soft grip, so you won’t wear your hands out, especially when working with thicker materials.
The best thing about this set might be how long it lasts. It should last for years, even if you use it every day, which is nothing short of incredible. Given the low price, it’s easy to see that these snips give you one of the best price-to-value ratios of any tool, period. If we had one complaint, it would be that these are a bit bulky, though that’s to be expected given their superior power. If you want tin snips that won’t let you down, this is the pair to buy.
The IRWIN 21304 11-3/4-Inch Extra Cut Multi Purpose Snip is another great tool for those who need tin snips that won’t give out on them. These snips can cut up to 24-gauge steel, so they’re not as powerful as the top ones on our list, but they pack enough power to leave most people happy with what they can do. The blades are precision-ground, which most users come to truly appreciate. The end result is that these are some of the most precise snips out there. Whether you’re cutting in a straight line or cutting curves, this tool can handle it.
This excellent precision has a secondary positive effect. This pair doesn’t bend metal around the edges like some other snips do. That makes them an excellent choice for projects with tight tolerances. What keeps this set out of first place is that it doesn’t have the power to cut through thicker metals like our top model does. Still, if you’re going to be working with lighter metals and want to get snips that will do the job with excellent precision, you’ll love this pair.
The Performance Tool W2043 Center Cut Aviation Tin Snip is designed for people who are going to use it a lot. While not all tool companies put a focus on ergonomics, this is a tool that is clearly designed with the end user’s comfort in mind. It has an ergonomic, non-slip grip. That makes it great for working in wet or humid conditions, and it will put less pressure on your hands throughout the day, leaving you feeling fresher at the end. These snips are also great for curves and straight lines like the previous snips, so if you’re going to need different kinds of cuts, this set will take care of you. It also has a reputation for being very sturdy.
That’s a little surprising, given that these snips cost about a third of what the top tool on our list costs. That means that these are an incredible deal and that they’re well-deserving of the title of “best value for the money.” What keeps these otherwise great snips from rising to the top of our list is the fact that they don’t pack the same power as our top model.
If you’re looking for some tin snips with power, the Wiss METALMASTER M3R 9-3/4″ Compound Action Snips may be the ones for you. They have a compound action that multiplies your hand’s power by up to five times. That means you can cut through thicker metals without working too hard. In fact, this set is powerful enough to cut through 18-gauge metals, and possibly thicker ones in some circumstances. If you need a heavy-duty pair of snips, these won’t let you down. They also have a non-slip grip, which makes them great for working in humid or wet conditions.
The spring action helps you reset it for the next cut, saving you time and effort. However, this is a set of straight snips. While you can buy the equivalent right or left snips for tight turns, this pair isn’t as great at navigating turns as many other straight snips. That can be a pain to deal with if you’re looking for a good pair of general-purpose snips. Still, this will be a tool that most people can get good use out of unless a lot of curved cuts are required.
The Stanley FatMax 14-563 9-7/8-Inch has some upsides, but it also has some frustrating problems that will bother many users. The compound action multiplies the power of your hand many times before applying it to the metal. That makes many jobs fast and easy and gives these snips the power to cut through 18-gauge steel, which is something that not all snips can do. It’s also made from chrome molybdenum steel, which is one of the strongest steel formulations. Consequently, these snips should last for a very long time.
Unfortunately, these snips rarely arrive significantly oiled. When they don’t have enough oil, they’ll get stuck closed, and make the whole job harder. While it is a problem you can fix on your own, it’s something that should be taken care of at the factory. They also have trouble holding an edge, so you’ll have to resharpen or retire this tool sooner than many competitors. That means this tool’s overall value isn’t that great. Ultimately, the price isn’t terrible, but most people will be able to get a tool they like better for the same price.
The Malco M2006 MAX2000 Bulldog was designed with power in mind, so if you’re looking for a tool that can tackle almost any job, these may be the set. They have a serrated lower jaw, which helps you get a good grip on the metal while you cut it. That helps prevent slipping and accidental cuts in places where you don’t want them. It also comes with compound action, which multiplies your strength multiple times during the cut. There’s a spring to help you reset between cuts and reduce the chance of this model getting stuck in the metal.
Unfortunately, this set has about a one-inch blade. You can get nearly double that with other sets, and that means that using this one will require more cuts and more of your time. Longer project times are something you want to avoid when buying a new tool, so for many, that should be a dealbreaker. It also costs 50 percent more than our top choice. That’s a huge premium to pay for performance that’s roughly as good or slightly worse. Consequently, this set provides pretty poor value for the money.
The ToolUSA 10″ Heavy-duty Aviation Straight Cut Tin Snip is a model that many first-time buyers will consider because of its low price. More experienced users will see right away that it doesn’t deliver a good experience, despite its low cost. On the plus side, it cuts reasonably well, and that’s the bare minimum one should expect from a pair of tin snips. Unfortunately, these snips don’t go through the greatest quality control. Sometimes they arrive with burrs or other imperfections, which is something that should have been fixed at the factory.
They also aren’t very ergonomic. While not every tool should be supremely comfortable, they shouldn’t be uncomfortable, and these snips are uncomfortable. Even worse, they have underwhelming power. Despite the fact that they’re compound snips, they don’t seem to get the same power transformation that many of their peers do. If you’re looking for something with a lot of power and ease of use, these will disappoint you. Overall, these are low-priced snips, but you run the risk of getting a tool that’s not up to the task when you purchase these. That’s enough to drop them to the bottom of our list.
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The MIDWEST Aviation Tin Snip MWT-6716B is our favorite pair of tin snips because of its threaded thru pivot bolt, soft grip, and excellent power and durability. The IRWIN 21304 11-3/4-Inch Extra Cut Multi Purpose Snip cuts up to 24-gauge steel. It has precision-ground cutting blades that are accurate and don’t bend metal, though their lower power keeps them out of the top spot. In third is the Performance Tool W2043 Center Cut Aviation Tin Snip. It comes with an ergonomic non-slip grip and is good for straight lines and curves, and its standout price makes it the best value for the money on our list.
Fourth place belongs to the Wiss METALMASTER M3R 9-3/4″ Compound Action Snips. They have compound action, a non-slip grip, and spring action, but their poor curved cuts keep them out of the top three. The Stanley FatMax 14-563 9-7/8-Inch has compound action and is forged from chrome molybdenum steel, though its need for oil and rapid dulling drop it to fifth place.
The Malco M2006 MAX2000 Bulldog has a serrated lower jaw and a spring for easy releases, but its high price and short cuts mean it can rise no higher than sixth. Last place is taken by the ToolUSA 10″ Heavy-duty Aviation Straight Cut Tin Snip. It cuts well and has a low price, but suffers from quality control issues and poor power, and it’s uncomfortable to use.
We hope that our reviews have given you a better feel for tin and aviation snips and have helped you get the tool that will make your next project a breeze.
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!