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10 Best Bolt Cutters Reviews In 2019 - Editor's Choice

Bolt cutters or bolt croppers are one of the few tools that every household should have! They are a versatile tool and can be used for a variety of purposes, such as cutting wire fence, cutting off padlocks, cutting through chain and other household and construction site tasks.

There are many features that makes the best bolt cutters, from the amount of leverage generated through the handles, the alloy that they are manufactured from and how comfortable the grips are, just to name a few. A good pair of cutters is always handy to have, you might not need them on a regular basis, but you will miss them if you don’t!

I have provided comprehensive reviews to make your life easier when you are looking to purchase a set.

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Product Name

Material

Dimension (in)

Weight (lbs)

Price

TEKTON Bolt and Wire Cutter

Metal

8.5 x 2.25 x 0.5

0.57

Neiko 00563A Heavy Duty Bolt Cutter

Cr-Mo Steel

37 x 8 x 2

12.6

Knipex 7101200 Lever Action Mini-Bolt Cutter

Stainless Steel

8 x 1.8 x 0.8

0.65

Capri Tools CP40209 40209 Klinge Mini Bolt Cutter

Cr-Mo Steel

10.5 x 2.8 x 1

12.8 oz


WORKPRO W017004A Bolt Cutter

Cr-Mo Steel

17.7 x 5.9 x 2

2.4

Olympia Tools 39-124 Power Grip Bolt Cutter

Cr-Mo Steel

17 x 8 x 2.25

6.97

Fiskars PowerGear Bolt Cutter

-

1.6 x 5.8 x 13.8

2.4

GreatNeck BC30 Bolt Cutters

Steel

30.5 x 7 x 1.8

6.4

ARES 70664 | 8-inch Mini Bolt Cutter

Chrome Moly Steel

8.9 x 2 x 0.9

9.6 oz

Maxilla FB-24 Folding Bolt Cutter

Cr-Mo Steel

1.6 x 7.5 x 25.5

8.2


The 10 Best Bolt Cutters On the Market

 1. TEKTON Bolt and Wire Cutter

The TEKTON bolt and wire cutters is a light compact tool ideal for carrying around from construction site to construction site when you have limited space. They take up a third less room than your standard size cutters and so are also lighter. You do however with the compact nature of the cutters with the leverage of traditional cutters.

They are light and comfortable in your hand and given the small size of them, I was pleasantly surprised the power they generated. The handles come with comfortable soft rubber grips which don’t hurt your hands when you need to generate power. Because of the various sizes, you need more strength to be able to compensate for the leverage lost accordingly, if you struggle in the upper body area, these may not be the cutters for you.

It is constructed using forged and hardened alloy steel jaws; they are pretty resilient, even when cutting through the toughest of thread rod. As you are using a compact set of bolt cutters, the jaw capacity is lower than full sized alternatives, if used above the sizes specified, you risk damaging the tool. They are very good at cutting through solid metal, such as bolts and thread rod. However they don’t generate enough force to be able to cut through pliable wire, whilst this isn’t an issue if you have read the manufactures guidelines for use. They aren’t designed for this purpose, so their remit is more limited than others that are available on the market.

Things We Liked

  • Soft rubber grips
  • Solid metal for excellent cutting
  • Comfortable none slip rubber handles
  • Strong forged and hardened jaws
  • Good compound leverage requiring less effort

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Not a particularly versatile set of cutters, they are very good a few jobs, such as cutting thread rod
  • If you don’t have a lot of body strength, the compound leverage garnered is not enough to offset this; you will need to look for a standard size bolt cutter

 2. Neiko 00563A Heavy Duty Bolt Cutter

The Neiko heavy duty bolt cutter is an exceptionally sleek looking tool, the mat black finish on the handles contrasting with the satin finish on the jaws make it look fantastic. The solid engineering of this product makes it a delight to use, given the size of them, however they do weigh of standard lbs so if you are carrying them around all day, you may well feel this.

It can be difficult to find comfy ergonomic handles on cutters, but the Neiko has designed the handles to fit comfortably in yours. Even through extended use over the course of a few days I felt no pressures sores across my palm, where I would usually get them. The leveraging capability also had a lot to do with the lack of tenderness, the cutting capability between the jaws is fantastic and due to the leverage provided, it requires minimal effort!

The jaws of this cutter are a work of art in themselves. Not only are they fantastic looking, the engineering of the jaws and the alloys used make light work of most things that you throw at them. You must make sure you cut within the guidelines of the manufacturer to get the most of them, but they will happily chew through fencing, threading and padlocks. The adjustable eccentric screws also make the experience far easier as you are able to set the tool up to your preference.

Things We Liked

  • Heavy duty
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Professional grade
  • Cuts very well within their remit
  • Good compound leverage, so limited effort required

Things We Didn't Liked

  • They are a very heavy unit
  • Can be very tight when new, you may need to loosen the joining bolt slightly to get full range of movement.

 3. Knipex 7101200 Lever Action Mini-Bolt Cutter

The Knipex lever action bolt cutter features the classic compound lever design, to maximise the force exerted with the least effort. For a compact tool they aren’t particularly light in your hands, this weight is compounded further by the handles. I found they weren’t as comfy as other brands I have used, due to the solid plastic nature and lack of ergonomic design. Whilst this lack of design is grounded in a practical basis in terms of force generated through the shape of the handles, it certainly wasn’t as comfortable to use as others on the market.

The composite of the bolt cutters is an impressive blend of steel alloy and treatments that result in strong and sturdy jaws that are happy to cut through small padlocks and reasonably sized thread. Where other small cutters often fall is when you need them to cut wire, these don’t. They are exceptional at cutting through high tensile wire, which is something that I wasn’t expecting. In truth, it made re-fencing a section of the allotment far easier, and due to the lower weight and compact nature of them; they are far easier to keep in your hands for a longer period of time versus traditional sized.

As this cutter is mini, you have more options in terms of the space you can fit them into. With a bigger set of cutters, you are instantly limited by manoeuvrability. These are able to fit into a smaller space and due to the leverage garnered through the traditional lever design, minim effort is required for operating.

Things We Liked

  • Treated and hardened jaws make them exceptionally strong
  • Able to cut through low and high tensile wire
  • Strong lever force generated with minimal effort
  • Compact nature makes working in smaller areas possible
  • Small enough to carry from site to site

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Not ergonomically designed so they aren’t as comfortable as other models for long periods of use.
  • They don’t replace the need for standard size bolt cutters in certain situations.

 4. Capri Tools CP40209 40209 Klinge Mini Bolt Cutter

The Capri Tools bolt cutter has a higher leverage design than some other compact tools on the market. The high leverage design means that I can easily put more force through these than other compacts with a lower leverage design with the same or less effort.

In terms of weight, they aren’t particularly heavy or light, they are the weight I would expect a compact to be. However, due to the design of the handles, they feel lighter than they actually are. The handles are ergonomic and comfortable, so it is possible to use them for long days without feeling sore after. Whilst they are comfy to use, due to the higher leverage design, you will need bigger hands to operate them. The distance between the two handles is greater than other compacts and if you do have smaller hands you may struggle to get the best out of these compact bolt cutters.

The double heat treated jaws are made from Chrome Molybdenum, the result is a seriously strong and sharp set of jaws that will cut through almost anything you put in their way. This is very good at cutting within their ability. I don’t advise attempting to cut any more than what is prescribed by the manufacture as you then risk damaging the tool.

Things We Liked

  • The Chrome Molybdenum jaws are exceptionally strong and will cut through almost anything you throw at them (within reason)
  • Super comfy ergonomically designed handles
  • Good high leverage design means minimal effort for maximum force
  • Small so will fit in tight spaces and still work
  • Very durable and impact resistant

Things We Didn't Liked

  • The high leverage design does result in a larger space between the handles, if you have smaller hands you may well struggle operating these effectively.
  • They can only perform their remit, which is relatively small in terms of tool versatility.

 5. WORKPRO W017004A Bolt Cutter

The WORKPRO cutter is a large sturdy set of bolt cutters. Whilst I don’t find them as aesthetically pleasing as other pairs, they are still solid cutters with strong jaws.

I particularly liked their compound cutting action, they make light work out of most high tensile fencing, strong thread rod and other items that you need cutting. The jaws are comprised of Chrome Molybdenum, which is a very durable and tough alloy. However, the powder coating isn’t as resilient as a satin finish and after a few uses you might find that it wears.

The handles are really very comfortable, and it is clear from extended use they are ergonomically designed as they limit the pressure points you would normally feel on your hands. The rubber is soft but not so soft that it won’t weather well. It is ideal for carrying around with you if you have a lot of fence to take down; they are durable and cut through it like butter.

Things We Liked

  • Chrome Molybdenum Steel Blade jaws make light work of cutting and will last
  • Super strong and versatile
  • Exceptional quality of rubber
  • Ergonomic handle design
  • Strong jaws

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Handles are wider set, so can be difficult to handle
  • Powder coating doesn’t wear particularly well and can leave the chrome exposed.

 6. Olympia Tools 39-124 Power Grip Bolt Cutter

The Olympia Tools grip bolt cutter has a patented design whereby you can fold the handles back on themselves for easy storage. While they fold in on themselves to create a smaller profile in your shed or tool box, when folded out this cutter has a very wide grip that I found uncomfortable after sustained use. These would be really good for someone who doesn’t need them regularly and only has a small space, as it comes with large inch can take up quite a bit of room.

The cutting power of the machine, it is impressive given the folding capacity of them. I was concerned that the folding handles would reduce the rigidity of the entire unit, but I was pleasantly surprised when this feature didn’t. Whilst the cutting precision engineered unlike other croppers on the market, these will do the job and hold up well.

This tool will happily chew threw some thread rod and padlocks, within their remit but I wouldn’t advise purchasing these if you need to use them on a daily basis. They would be ideal in a hiking backpack or in a small allotment shed as they don’t take up room. The rubber handles are exceptionally wide which might make them difficult to grip for people with smaller hands. However, the ergonomic grip makes them comfortable to use.

Things We Liked

  • Foldable design makes them very compact
  • Comes with heavy duty cutting strength.
  • Strong jaws, ideal for infrequent use.
  • Ideal for campers, hobbyists and allotment use
  • Limited rigidity lost through collapsible feature

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Not as well precision engineered as other equal bolt cutters on the market
  • The grip needed to operate effectively and generate enough force is exceptionally wide

 7. Fiskars PowerGear Bolt Cutter

The Fiskars bolt cutter is ideal for people who struggle with the traditional set up of wide set handles. The innovative design means that you don’t have to generate the normal amount of force over a wider space, making it face easier for smaller framed people to cut through bolts, thread rod and the like.

The handle design is ergonomic and comfortable, with the soft rubber grips helping limit the strain on your hands and ensuring you can keep on working. The eccentric bolts help as you are able to adjust the handles to your grip to ensure maximum generation of force with limited effort.

The jaws are forged steal and heat treated, whilst they aren’t as strong as Chrome Molybdenum blades, you wouldn’t notice the difference unless you were told. They will quite happily chew through stubborn padlocks and high tensile fence without too much worry. They’re also rather light for different sizes, which helps with manoeuvrability in small spaces.

Things We Liked

  • Eccentric bolts increase the force generated and lessen the effort required
  • Comfy, ergonomically designed handles for comfort during extended use
  • Ideal for people who are a smaller frame or have smaller hands due to the adjustable nature
  • Comes with different sizes
  • Durable and resilient

Things We Didn't Liked

  • The jaws are a little shorter than other models
  • Some people may not get along with the adjustable feature

 8. GreatNeck BC30 Bolt Cutters

The GreatNeck is a well-rounded pair of bolt cutters. The precision engineering in the jaws becomes apparent when you need to cut metal that has more give than high tensile alternatives. The jaws are a heat treated steal alloy, so will remain sharp even with consistent use.

I really like the tubular handle design, it means that you are able to reach with the tools and cut at awkward angles that you may not be able to get to with a solid handle design set of cutters. I was concerned that the tubular design may impact the cutting ability of these tools, but it turns out I was incorrect. The compound action jaw coupled with the leverage gained through the width create a light and precise cutting tool. It is also comparably light to other cutter machine on the market; however you don’t compromise on cutting strength and ability in exchange for a lighter tool.

The ergonomic rubber handles are also very comfortable, the handles are thinner than other bolt cutters I’ve used, so make handling for long periods far easier than I originally thought they would be. I would be happy using these daily with no fear that my hands would ache after sustained use. It is an added benefit that they are able to cut through practically anything you throw at them.

Things We Liked

  • Relatively light weight
  • Sharp and reliable jaws
  • Tubular design makes getting to harder to reach areas possible
  • Comfortable ergonomic design features
  • Will cut through an array of metal of varying size

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Only outperform alternative brands on soft metal
  • Make sure you check the jaws line up before each use, the settings can move resulting in damage

 9. ARES 70664 | 8-inch Mini Bolt Cutter

ARES bolt cutter is designed to cut heavy duty wire and bolts to name a few. They are a mini, so they are limited to only cutting smaller items. They feel very strong and reliable when in your hand; I particularly like the spring design which offsets the fact that you don’t have as much leverage as you would with a full sized tool. The engineering that has gone into the lever system makes it a robust tool that you can rely on whenever you need it.

The grip is also narrow enough to be able to accommodate smaller hands. This is a benefit as some 8 inch bolt cutters either have a wide grip to increase compound force. And apart, it has a leverage system that results in large amounts of pressure and grip strength needed to get the same level of cut as a full sized tool. The handles themselves are ergonomically designed to allow for long use without the usual fatigue and discomfort that can occur.

The jaws themselves open wide enough to be able to cut through thin wire, rivets and screws and are tough enough to withstand use. The Chrome Molybdenum alloy stands up to sustained abuse and will remain free from rust and other corrosion and particle damage. It is light and can easily be used with one hand in a small confined space and is also small enough to fit on your tool belt.

Things We Liked

  • Compact and light weight
  • Superior design leads to good leverage and cutting power with minimal effort
  • Narrow enough for even small hands
  • Fits easily on your tool belt
  • Ergonomic and grip friendly handle

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Not a replacement for a full-sized tool
  • Limited remit and can only cut a certain sized bolt or wire

 10. Maxilla FB-24 Folding Bolt Cutter

The Maxilla comes with Ergonomic Handles and it has had their Chrome Molybdenum jaws heat treated and covered in an oxide finish to keep them impervious to rust and other damage. You are able to fine tune these cutters for maximum precision. However I found myself having to readjust before each use, due to the movement of component parts. For a set of bolt cutters, they are very aesthetically pleasing and come with a red and black finish that makes them stand out.

The folding feature is something that has taken me a while to get to like, initially, I thought that this would impact tool rigidity too much to warrant using them and that fixed was the only option. However, using these changed my mind. The lock in feature keeps the handles perfectly rigid for even the most challenging of tasks. You could bare your full weight down and they would remain intact and working. This machine has in size when folded, making them exceptionally compact. These are ideal to keep in your truck, hiking backpack or tool box, they are compact and light enough to not be invasive and don’t take up much needed space.

The handles are ergonomically designed and come with a pleasant red and black finish. The grip is none slip, but it certainly isn’t as comfortable to use as other cutters. These are very good if you don’t need to use them every day, they are ideal for infrequent use, but if you need them daily, I would advocate none collapsible bolt cutters with rubber grips.

Things We Liked

  • Collapsible to take up half the size
  • Ergonomic and comfortable
  • Lock in mechanism makes them rigid and easy to use
  • Lever action makes for good force transfer
  • Oxide finish keeps the jaws long lasting and sharp

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Not for daily or extended use
  • You will need to check the jaw set up prior to use or risk causing damage

Why Do You Need Bolt Cutters?

Whilst it easy to think that you aren’t going to be cutting fencing regularly if at all, bolt cutters are a very useful tool to have access to. The mini bolt cutters and their larger counterparts serve different purposes, so it is worth while looking at them as two totally different tools.

Mini or Compact Bolt Cutters

Mini compact bolt cutters still generate huge amounts of force for a small tool. They are designed to cut bolts, rivets, screws and some wire of varying tensile. Their compact nature makes them invaluable in very tight spaces where you may not be able to fit bigger bolt cutters. Their cutting capability varies depending on models and lever construction, but most come with compound action meaning that limited force is applied yet you garner maximum results.

The grip width is usually wide enough to be able to operate effectively with one hand. The force generation through the mechanics of compound force makes them easy to use whilst exerting minimal effort. The smaller size also means that you can manoeuvre them in smaller locations, and they will still be effective.  Most brands are also small enough to be able to attach to your tool belt and light enough for you not to notice!

Standard Size Bolt Cutters

Standard size bolt cutters are your go to if need to cut such items as thread rod, high tensile fencing and even padlocks. These are often far heavier and more durable than their compact counterparts, this is due to the fact that both service different needs. Precision engineering is something that you need to consider when purchasing larger bolt cutters. You will need to ensure that the jaws will provide a clean cut, especially when cutting thread rod and padlocks.

If you are using these tools on a regular basis, you will also need to consider the width of the handles, if they are too large for your frame. You may have difficulty generating enough force to get the job done though. Ergonomic handles are also a huge benefit as they will allow you to use to tool for a sustained period of time without feeling like your hands are getting fatigued. Look for soft yet durable grips to limit the chance of sores on your hands.

Foldable Bolt Cutters

I was very hesitant to use foldable bolt cutters initially. This is probably because I am stuck in my ways and have lived through the foldable revolution and many if not most of these products have now faded into obscurity. However, I was pleasantly surprised with both the sets that I used, they maintain really really good rigidity and get the job done, which is something that I actually wasn’t expecting.

Whilst they don’t have the precision engineering of standard size bolt cutters, these are ideal for people who need to save space and will use them infrequently.  These are ideal for people on the move; they can be thrown into your van. You can be safe in the knowledge that when you get them out again, they will work for basic jobs. They are also a good tool to keep in your hiking backpack or in with your fishing tackle, they will happily cut through barbed hooks or chain link fence.

How To Choose The Best Bolt Cutters?

If you only need to cut rivets, look for smaller more compact yet well engineered cutters. If you’re using them daily, Chrome Molybdenum jaws will be a sound investment. They remain sharp, are difficult to damage and are treated to be impervious to rust and other elements.

If you need a standard size set of bolt cutters, but are using infrequently, a pair with an oxide coating will be enough to keep rust and corrosion at bay. These may not have the same level of engineering as other types of jaws but will work effectively.

If using bolt cutters is part of your daily life, invest in Chrome Molybdenum or similar engineered jaws. You will limit the damage you could potentially inflict on the jaws and they hold up well in construction site situations. A key consideration to make is the jaw size and how much they can cut, make sure you follow manufacturers guideline and specifications otherwise you risk rendering the tool useless.  Check the spread of the handles before purchase, ensure that they sit at the correct distance for you to maximise leverage and be able to cut through even the toughest of materials.

Safety Considerations

Be careful when using bolt cutters of any size, the force needed to cut some items can be quite high and if you are not used to exerting yourself. You may cause yourself injury such as a muscle strain or tear. Always cut within the manufacturers guidelines and don’t cut above the recommended gauge as this can result in injury. 

Conclusion

Bolt cutters are a staple of any tool box and there are so many different types to choose from. Before you purchase make sure you have evaluated what type you need to do the job at hand. A compact set is no good if you are cutting thread rod every day, likewise a standard sized larger set is not ideal if you need to cut tricky to reach rivets.

Look for cutters with ergonomic and soft grip handles, so you can keep cutting without fear of pressure sores or causing damage to your hands. Rubber grips are always a positive as they won’t perish or become brittle, they are also exceptionally comfortable. Precision engineered tools are ideal for people who use them every day and rely on a clean cut.

The good bolt cutters will make your life so much easier, be it compact, standard size or collapsible! All of them serve different functions and choosing correctly will make your life immeasurably easier.

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