Best Bolt Cutters


Have you ever been in a situation where you desperately needed to cut through thick wire, chain, or perhaps a padlock and realized that your regular pliers were, well, quite frankly, not up to the job? If so, chances are you’ve thought about investing in a pair of bolt cutters. These formidable tools are essential for tradespeople and DIY enthusiasts alike, but with so many options on the market, how do you choose the right one for you?

Our Top Picks

Our #1 Top Pick: Knipex 71 72 610 – Large Bolt Cutters

Knipex is well-known for its high-quality hand tools, and their 71 72 610 model stands out as the top contender in the realm of bolt cutters. These cutters are 24 inches long, giving you substantial leverage to deal with heavy-duty tasks. The precision cutting edges are induction hardened, and Knipex claims that the 71 72 610 can cut through materials like bolts, nails, rivets, and more up to 48 HRC in hardness. Ergonomic multi-component grips ensure comfort even during prolonged use, and the forged design provides exceptional durability.

Pick #2: TEKTON 3410 36-Inch Bolt Cutters

For those who need some extra length to maximize leverage, the TEKTON 3410 36-Inch Bolt Cutters are a fantastic choice. The additional length means it’s easier to cut through hard materials without straining yourself. TEKTON has designed this tool with drop-forged hardened alloy steel jaws that promise to make short work of bolts and chains. The compound hinges deliver superior cutting power, while the tubular steel handles with cushioned non-slip rubber grips offer comfort for tough tasks.

Pick #3: WORKPRO W017004A Bolt Cutter

The WORKPRO W017004A Bolt Cutter is a solid option for those who need a reliable tool without breaking the bank. Available in multiple sizes, these bolt cutters are suitable for a variety of applications. They feature chrome molybdenum steel jaws for increased strength and cutting power, and the bi-material handle ensures a comfortable grip. These cutters may not have the premium feel of the top-end brands, but they provide superb value for money.

Pick #4: RIDGID 14223 Model S24 Bolt Cutter

RIDGID’s 14223 Model S24 Bolt Cutter is ideal for those who are looking for a tool that’s tough as nails. The hardened alloy steel jaws are engineered for longevity and can deal with most cutting tasks with ease. One of the unique features of this model is the one-step internal cam mechanism, which provides the quickest and simplest way to keep the cutting blades precisely aligned. At 24 inches in length and with comfortable grips, these are designed for the professional looking to invest in a dependable and long-lasting tool.

Pick #5: Capri Tools CP40209 40209 8-inch Klinge Mini Bolt Cutter

If space is at a premium or you need a bolt cutter that is more portable, the Capri Tools CP40209 8-inch mini bolt cutter could be your go-to tool. You might be surprised at how formidable these compact cutters are, with their capacity to cut through wires and bolts easily. The Klinge Mini features double heat-treated CrMo blades, which provide an outstanding cutting performance for a tool of its size. Plus, the ergonomic handles ensure less effort is needed when cutting through tough materials.

What to Know Before You Buy

Materials: The material of the cutting jaws is crucial. Look for high-strength steel like chrome molybdenum for longevity and cutting power.
Size: Bolt cutters come in various sizes. Larger tools provide more leverage but are heavier and less portable.
Type: There are different types of bolt cutters, including center cut, clipper cut, and angle cut, each designed for specific tasks.
Adjustability: Some bolt cutters feature adjustable arms or blades, a useful option for aligning the cutters precisely and maintaining performance.
Handle: Consider the comfort and grip of the handle, as this can affect your ability to use the tool effectively, especially for prolonged periods.

Factors to Consider Before Buying

Purpose: Know what you’ll primarily use the bolt cutters for, as this will direct the size and type you need.
Quality: Don’t compromise on quality. A well-made bolt cutter will last longer and provide better performance.
Brand Reputation: Established brands with a track record for quality tools are often a safer bet.
Price: Determine your budget, but remember that investing a little more can mean a significant difference in durability and efficiency.
Warranty: A good warranty can be a sign of the manufacturer’s confidence in their product. Always check the warranty terms.

Why Trust ChooseRight?

Here at ChooseRight, we’ve taken the guesswork out of selecting the best bolt cutters for your needs. Our reviews are based on extensive research, reading thousands of reviews, and getting feedback from professionals who use these tools daily. Our goal is to provide you with the most reliable and up-to-date recommendations so you can choose right with confidence.

Finishing Thoughts

Whether you’re a professional tradesperson or a DIY enthusiast, finding the right bolt cutter is essential for those tough cutting jobs. It’s crucial to select a tool that not only suits the task at hand but also offers comfort, efficiency, and durability. With our top picks and buying tips, you’re now equipped to make an informed decision. Remember to consider what you’ll be cutting, the bolt cutter’s material, size, and ergonomics, as well as factoring in your budget. Armed with the right bolt cutter, you’ll be prepared to tackle even the most challenging cuts with ease.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best bolt cutters for cutting padlocks?

For cutting padlocks, you’ll want bolt cutters with enough leverage and hardened steel jaws. Brands like Knipex, TEKTON, and WORKPRO offer bolt cutters that are often recommended for their strength and durability.

Can bolt cutters cut through any type of metal?

Bolt cutters can cut through many types of metal, including bolts, wire, and chains, but they have limitations. Extremely hard metals, like hardened steel, may require specially designed bolt cutters with hardened jaw edges or may not be cuttable with bolt cutters at all.

What sizes do bolt cutters come in, and which size should I get?

Bolt cutters are usually available in sizes ranging from 8 inches to 42 inches. The size needed depends on the thickness and hardness of the material you plan to cut. Generally, the larger the bolt cutters, the more leverage and cutting power they provide.

Are there bolt cutters that are easier to use for people with less hand strength?

Yes, there are several bolt cutters with compound-action mechanisms that multiply the force applied, making them easier to use for people with reduced hand strength. Additionally, look for models with longer handles to increase leverage.

How do I maintain my bolt cutters to keep them in good condition?

Maintain your bolt cutters by keeping them clean, dry, and lightly oiled. Sharpen the cutting edges when necessary, and ensure the bolt cutters’ alignment is correct for optimum performance.

Can bolt cutters be sharpened once they become dull, and if so, how?

Bolt cutters can be sharpened by using a hand file or an angle grinder, though care must be taken to maintain the correct angle and to avoid overheating, which can soften the steel.

Are there safety precautions I should take when using bolt cutters?

Yes, always wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris. Ensure your hands are dry to prevent slipping, and keep your body clear of the potential pinch points when applying force.

What are the differences between cheap and expensive bolt cutters?

The main differences often lie in the materials used, the cutting edge hardness, the quality of the construction, and the ergonomics of the tool. More expensive bolt cutters typically offer increased durability, better performance, and less effort required during cutting.

How do I know if a padlock is too hard for my bolt cutters?

You’ll often be able to determine this from the specification of the padlock (shackle hardness) and the maximum capacity of the bolt cutters. If your bolt cutters are not rated for the hardness or the diameter of the lock’s shackle, they may not be able to cut through it.

Can I use bolt cutters to cut wire shelving or is there a better tool?

Bolt cutters can be used to cut wire shelving, though it may be easier with a pair of heavy-duty wire cutters or an angle grinder, depending on the wire gauge and your specific needs.

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