What is Wire Stripper and Their Types?

What is Wire Stripper?

A wire stripper is a small, hand-held device used to strip the electrical insulation from electric wires. A wire stripper can help you repair lots of things in your car and around the house.

Though often confused with a wire cutter, it’s actually a different tool with a different use. With that said, some tools are multi-functional, working as both wire strippers and wire cutters.

Features to Look for in a Wire Stripping Tool

When it comes to finding the best wire strippers, you want an easy-to-use, functional, and reliable tool. There are a handful of features you should consider when shopping for the best wire stripper to fit your needs.


After you get the hang of it and, of course, read the directions, a wire stripper can be a pretty easy tool to use. With that, finding a wire stripper with a good grip is a must. As you strip a wire, you want to have a high-quality handle that lets you strip the wire’s insulation without any damage. Look for wire strippers with rubber grips, as they typically provide the best grip.

Ease of Use

Wire strippers exist to make stripping wires, well, easier! Instead of trying to create a makeshift wire stripper using a knife or another tool, wire strippers exist to make the process hassle-free. You can choose between either automatic or manual wire strippers.

Automatic wire strippers are the easiest to use, while manual ones will require more effort. Some people will opt for manual wire strippers is they sometimes provide more precision for smaller wires.


With any electrical work, safety is an absolute must. Using high-quality wire strippers will keep you safe. Look for wire strippers that have positive reviews and provide plenty of stability and control while in use.

When it comes to safety with wire strippers, the main thing is that you need to feel confident in the task. Make sure you thoroughly read the directions before getting started and create a safe working environment.


Across the board, high-quality wire strippers allow for the best precision when it comes to stripping wires. You want to be certain that the cutting edge on your wire stripper works well before use.


Oftentimes, a wire stripping tool also doubles as a wire cutting tool. If you frequently need to cut wires as well, getting a multi-functional tool is a great idea

What is Wire Stripper and Their Types

Type of Wire Strippers

1. Manual

A US-style simple manual wire stripper is a pair of opposing blades much like scissors or wire cutters. The addition of a center notch makes it easier to cut the insulation without cutting the wire. This type of wire stripper is used by rotating it around the insulation while applying pressure in order to make a cut around the insulation.

Since the insulation is not bonded to the wire, it then pulls easily off the end. This type of wire stripper can be used on wires of any size. Another type of manual wire stripper is very similar to the simple design previously mentioned, except this type has several notches of varying sizes.

This allows the user to match the notch size to the wire size, thereby eliminating the need for twisting, but can only be used on wire sizes that approximately match one of the notches. Once the device is clamped on, the remainder of the wire can simply be pulled out, leaving the insulation behind.

European-style wire strippers look more like a notched pincer, with a grab that is adjusted with a screw.

2. Compound Automatic

When engaged, a compound automatic wire stripper first simultaneously grips the wire on one side and in the other side closes its shaped blades cutting the insulation around the conductor. After the sides have completed their strokes the two sides of the mechanism spread apart to push the cut tube of insulation from the end of the conductor.

To use it, one simply places the wire in the jaws at the cutting slot matching the size of the conductor, and squeezes the handles together. This device allows even a novice to strip most wires very quickly. The compound automatic wire stripper’s cutter must be short because it causes the jaws to twist, as described by Wood in the 1943 patent.

All wire strippers are inherently limited to those wire sizes the cutting jaw notches will accommodate. A compound automatic wire stripper’s short cutter limits it to fewer notches and a smaller range of wire sizes than most other types of wire strippers.

The accuracy of the cutting blade opening determines the smallest conductor that can be reliably stripped. If the cutter opening is too small it will impinge on the conductor causing excess friction and more tension than the wire can withstand.

If the cutter opening is too large the tension required to tear the remaining annulus of uncut insulation may be greater than the wire can withstand. Some models have an adjustable grip tension, to adjust the clamping force of the gripping jaw. The knob below the jaw on the yellow automatic strippers in the image below is a grip tension adjustment.

3. Laser Wire Stripper

A laser wire stripper is a computer-controlled machine, much like a CNC router, which uses a laser to burn off the insulation of the wire. Laser wire stripping machines are used mostly for very fine gauge wires since they do not damage the conductor. A typical CO2 laser wire stripping machine should be capable of stripping the insulation from any size wire.