If you’re turning cables back into raw copper using just a knife, then you’re going about it the wrong way. Not only can a slip of the knife be dangerous, but it’s a slow process which means you’re earning less per hour than you could otherwise make. Wire-stripping machines can exponentially decrease the amount of time you spend stripping wires and can increase the quality of the final copper.
With such a great return on investment, there are sure to be a lot of products on the market, some of which are designed with the end user in mind, and others which are designed to extract as much money out of you as possible.
We want you to be able to buy with confidence. Our reviews walk you through the highlights and flaws on each model, so you know what you’re getting before you buy. We’ve also created a buyer’s guide which walks you through everything you need to consider before you buy so that you can make a great decision, even if you’ve never owned one of these machines.
|StripMeister Automatic Wire Stripping Machine|
|Steel Dragon Tools WRA20||70 lbs||4.6/5|
|CO-Z Wire-Stripping Machine||33 lbs||4.5/5|
|Hand Crank Copper Wire Stripper |
(Best for the Money)
|Happybuy Cable-Wire Stripping-Machine||29 lbs||4.1/5|
|Nordstrand Copper Wire-Stripping Machinery||3 lbs||3.8/5|
The StripMeister Automatic Wire Stripping Machine is the machine you’ll want to get if you need to get wires stripped fast, and at a reasonable price. Since it forgoes a motor, it costs far less than most wire stripping machines with similar capabilities. Just hook up a corded drill, and you’ll be good to go. This model works with ROMEX and braided wire, types that trip up other kinds of wire strippers, and since this machine also does great with standard wire sizes, it’s one of the best all-around machines on the market. It comes with an aluminum body, which keeps weight down while still providing superior strength and durability.
Plus, it comes with a steel blade, which will stay sharp and work well long into the future. It also comes with a spiral groove feeder, which grips wire well so that it can be cut, but doesn’t bend it, leaving you with the high-quality stripped wire you need. The only knock we have against this machine is that it struggles with older wire where the casing may have become soft or flexible. Otherwise, this is a machine that will leave most people very happy with their purchase.
The Steel Dragon Tools WRA20 is another great model, and since it comes with a motor, you don’t need a drill in order to use this machine. The easy automatic operation means you have to do relatively little when feeding wire into the machine, making it one of the easiest models to use on our list. This model can work with four standard-sized cables as well as with ROMEX cables, making it a very versatile buy. It also comes with adjustable tension, which solves the major problem found with the previous model. If the machine gets bogged down by old or stretching sheaths, adjusting the tension can get it back on track quickly.
This model also features a body made from steel, which means it’s incredibly strong and will last for decades unless you make a habit of abusing it. What ultimately keeps this model out of first place is its price. It’s far easier to use than our top model, but you’re also going to be paying more than double the price. For most people, that price increase isn’t going to justify the added features. Still, this is a model you’ll be happy with in the long run.
The CO-Z Wire-Stripping Machine is another great automatic wire stripping machine. It comes with an aluminum body, which gives it great strength and durability but roughly halves the weight of the machine relative to the previous, steel-bodied model. It also comes with a very wide range of accepted wires, as it can handle anything between 1.5 and 25 mm, and possibly more. Plus, the easy-adjust handle on the top makes size changes very fast and minimizes the time you have to spend in setup, which will save you a lot of time in the long run.
However, the best thing about this model might stem from its gearbox. This model can handle up to fifty feet per minute of wire, which makes it one of the fastest models on the market today, and its great gearbox is directly responsible for this. The only thing we don’t like about this model is that it only comes with holes of two sizes for feedings, which is far less than most other models of similar price. Still, if you want an automatic model at a reasonable price, it would be hard to go wrong with this one.
The Hand Crank Copper Wire Stripper is the model to get if you want to save some money but still get a high-quality wire stripping experience. This model comes with an aluminum frame, and since it doesn’t come with a heavy electric motor, it weighs just 2.2 pounds, which means it’s easy to transport, and you won’t ever need to build a special bench in order to use it. It’s also hand-crank powered, so you can use it even if you don’t have access to electricity or a drill. You can also get it for less than a third than you’d pay for any of the three top models on our list, making this wire stripper the best overall value for the money.
However, this machine does have some downsides. It has a decent range of accepted wires, but it’s not as expansive as the ranges found on some other machines on our list. You also need to pay special attention to it while you feed it, otherwise, the wire might kink and cause the machine to snag. If you need an inexpensive model and don’t mind powering it by hand, then you’ll be very happy with this model.
The Happybuy Cable-Wire Stripping-Machine is another decent manual wire-stripping machine. Unlike the previous model, it comes with a very wide range of accepted wire sizes. That puts it on par with the best automatic machines on our list. It also comes with an easily-adjusted blade, which saves you time when getting the machine setup. Plus, it comes with a steel frame, so you should be able to get decades of use out of the machine without the frame failing on you.
However, the blade does eventually wear down. While other brands have replacement blades on sale, Happybuy doesn’t appear to sell them for this model, which is something of a shame. If you could replace that blade, you’d get excellent use out of this machine for years. Given that you can’t buy replacement parts and that it’s more expensive than similar crank-powered machines on the market, it doesn’t provide great value for the price. That’s not the biggest problem you’ll ever encounter, but it’s enough to drop this model to fifth place. While some people with lighter needs will do just fine with this machine, you can save some money and get a better experience with a different model.
The Nordstrand Copper Wire-Stripping Machinery is the least-expensive model on our list. Some people will like it on that factor alone, though it seems to give people more trouble than it’s worth. However, it does have a sturdy stainless-steel frame which still last a long time and resist corrosion better than most models which have an untreated steel frame. However, the big knock against this model is that it’s needlessly complicated compared to other models on our list. While some models can be set up in seconds, this model tends to take minutes to properly set up, especially when you’re first trying to figure out how it works.
It also loses its settings while in operation, sometimes, which results in mis-stripped and sometimes damaged wires, which is a pain to deal with. Furthermore, this machine tends to stop working if the wire is inconsistent in thickness or in density, which means you’ll have to spend more time resetting it to get over small patches of wire. It’s important that you end up with a model that you like using, and while this model can get the job done, it’s not going to do it in a quick and frustration-free manner.
The most important decision you have to make when shopping for a wire-stripping machine is whether you need to splurge on an automatic model or keep costs low with a manual model. The truth is that you can get equally good copper out of both machines, but automatic models are going to get the process done much more quickly and with less effort on your part.
So, the big tradeoff is between price and speed. The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to get an automatic model. The least-expensive automatic models and the most-expensive manual models occupy roughly the same price point, so you’re not necessarily out as much money as you may think you’d be when getting an automatic model.
Ultimately, the amount of wire you’re processing should also play a big factor in your decision. If you’re going to be processing a lot of wire, it’s a good idea to get an automatic model. Some automatic wire stripping machines can strip up to fifty feet of wire per minute, which will save you a lot of time in the long run.
The StripMeister Automatic Wire Stripping Machine is our favorite model due to its aluminum body, steel blade, and compatibility with a wide range of wires. In second is the Steel Dragon Tools WRA20 which operates automatically and comes with adjustable tension but is only available at a high price. The CO-Z Wire-Stripping Machine comes with an aluminum body, easy adjustments, and fast stripping, but its limited feeding options keep it out of the top two. The Hand Crank Copper Wire Stripper is hand-crank powered and has an aluminum frame. Since you can get it for a fraction of what you’d pay for the top models on our list, it’s the best overall value for the money. In fifth is the Happybuy Cable-Wire Stripping-Machine which has a steel frame and an easily-adjusted blade, but the lack of replacement cutting wheels and a relatively high price costs it a few positions on our list. The Nordstrand Copper Wire-Stripping Machinery is inexpensive, but its high level of complication and inconsistent operation mean it can rise no higher than last place on our list.
We hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you find the model which is right for you.
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