Wire strippers are handheld tools that are used to remove the insulation of different wires. Electricians and do it yourselfers primarily make use of this small device when repairing damaged wires. At the onset, this device looks like any other pair of pliers. However, at close inspection, you will notice that they do more than what a pair of regular pliers can do. Before you repair or replace any wire, you should first strip it for inspection or preparation for its usage.
Types of Wire Strippers
This type of handheld electrician's tool comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Steel is the usual material that manufacturers use to produce them. They are designed with serrated teeth to make them more effective at stripping wires. The handles on these tools are wrapped in rubber to provide a better grip. You can also find a stripper that automatically adjusts to the thickness of the wire being stripped. You can categorize these tools under two general types: manual or automatic.
Manual Wire Stripper
There are different wire stripper sizes and types out there. The easiest one to understand is a manual one. Manual wire strippers look very much like wire cutters or scissors. In fact, these tools almost work just the same way. This tool looks very much like a pair of pliers or wire cutters only that there is a central notch added to it. That notch is used to remove the insulation without causing damage to the wire.
When you apply pressure to the wire, a cut is made around the wire's insulation. Since the wire is not bonded to the insulation, you can pull off the section of the insulation that was cut off quite easily. Some manual strippers even have different notches so you can work on wires of different sizes. All you have to do is to clamp the wire on the matching notch and then pull out the wire and separate the insulation. This basically eliminates having to decide on different wire stripper sizes.
Automatic Wire Strippers
Automatic wire strippers eliminate the need for twisting the wire just to peel off the insulation. With some models, you don't even have to worry about changing different wire stripper sizes. It automatically clamps, cuts, and removes the insulation. It can adapt to various wire thicknesses. With automatic tools of this type, even beginners can strip almost every standard size wire.
However, do take note that automatic wire strippers also have a certain drawback. These tools can only work on a certain range of thicknesses. If a wire you are trying to strip is thinner or thicker than the specified range of the tool then you either end up breaking the wire or it just won't fit into the jaws of the device.
For instance, a certain brand or model is designed for 10 to 14 gauge wires, it can only work on wires with that range of thickness. You will still have to deal with wire stripper sizes and thickness when working with certain brands or types of automatic wire strippers. A good tip is to purchase an automatic one that can handle a wider range of wire thicknesses.