Wire Rope and Cable Cutters - Tool Review
In working with various project you run into the need to cut wire rope. Suspension limiters on the Shelby Mustang used wired rope to limit the suspension travel so the front springs would not fall out. Some vehicles use this type of cable for the accelerator as well as these uses including Bicycles, Mini-Bikes, Go-Karts all use similar (but smaller diameter) cable for control such as brakes, throttle etc. Trying to cut the steel cable with wire cutters gives fair results at best and likely no way to re-thread the cable after you cut it. Enter the Wire Rope Tool. These are a specialized cutter that will cut this tough cable AND leave a nice clean edge for you. These tools are also useful for solid cable and things like piano wire. They also make short order of the smaller plastic housings that sometimes house the cables on bikes and related things like throttle linkage. The two tools I have reviewed were picked up from Amazon -
HK Porter Pocket Wire Rope and Cable Cutter
KNIPEX 95 61 150 Cable Cutters
Their are other tool makers that manufacturer these type of cutters, both that I have work really well. The Knipex is a bit smaller then the HK Porter version I have, but it is also available in a larger version (Knipex 95 62 190) which is more comparable to the HK Porter 0690TN that I have reviewed here.
Both get the GTSparkPlug Seal of approval for well made durable tools.
HK Porter 0690TN Wire Rope Cutter
The HK Porter company makes some very nice tools. This one is made in Japan and is a solid part. It is a good value and can cut a good sized wire rope with ease. It's a good size and cutting 1/8" stainless was not a problem. This tool is a bit larger then the Knipex that I have and a bit easier to use on larger cables. As seen it has a locking wire that keeps the tool close when not in use. The only thing that I might downgrade it is on the hokey spring, while it works well it just looks a bit cheep. Note that the Knipex too in the same sized would be about $50, so this is still a very good buy.
HK Porter 0690TN Wire Rope Cutter - Closed Jaws
This is the tool with its jaws closed. The tool is nicely machined and very durable
HK Porter 0690TN Wire Rope Cutter - Open Jaws
This is the tool with its jaws Open. Again the tool is nicely machined and very durable and has been used a lot and still cuts the larger cables very cleanly.
KNIPEX 95 61 150 Wire Rope and Cable Cutter
I was given this by someone that figured I needed a good second pair of cutters. Very much appreciated! Some of the Knipex tools are odd in design but very good. These cutters are pretty conventional and are well made. I think a bit better then the HK Porter. I like the locking mechanism and the spring a bit better. These do cost a bit more if comparing the same size. Remember these are a smaller cutter then the HK Porters that are reviewed here.
KNIPEX 95 61 150 Wire Rope and Cable Cutter - Closed
Very nice finish. Tool is well machined and you can see the lock lever closer in this image.
KNIPEX 95 61 150 Wire Rope and Cable Cutter - Open
Pop the latch and it springs open the cutters are similar to the HK Porter, but with one small difference, both cutting surfaces have a bit of a curve on them. On the HK Porter one is curved and one is flat.
Knipex vs. HK Porter Cutters
Remeber the Knipex's that are here are a smaller model. The next larger size Knipex (Knipex 95 62 190) is really what would be a direct comparison to the HK Porters. If you are going to cut larger cables and wire better to get a larger tool, makes it easier to cut then the smaller one. If you are working on the smaller cables either will be fine. Again the differences in springs and locking mechanisms can be seen. I do like the Knipex varients.
Sample Cut of 1/8" Coated Wire Rope
I used both cutters to cut some 1/8" coated wire rope as well as some 1/6" stainless rope. Both cut clean and left no frayed edges. The cuts from both cutters were very clean even if the capacity of the Knipex was exceeded. Both left absolutly clean edges on the non-coated stainless rope.
Wire Rope Cutter Review Conclusion
Their are a few other vendors that make excellent cutters, the two I have are the Knipex and the HK Porter cutters. While I really like the Knipex lock and spring mechanism it is a bit more money then the HK Porter (If looking at equivelent sizes like the Knipex 95 62 190. One thing that is nice about the larger Knipex is that is also give some built in crimps for smaller cable ends. This can come in useful if you don't have a crimper! Both tools are well made and finished nicely. For value I would go with the HK Porter, for a bit better design due to locking and spring I would go with the Knipex. In either case you can't go wrong. Both stay in the tool box, always good to have a back up!