The Best Bolt Cutters for Your Projects and How To Find Them

Bolt cutters are useful equipment to have at home. Whether or not you are the DIY handyman type of person, you can never tell when an emergency can arise. Finding the best bolt cutters for you will not only make the job more comfortable, but it can also help you in emergencies!

My Top 5 Picks

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Best Pick
TEKTON 36-Inch Bolt Cutter | 3421
Neiko 00563A Heavy Duty Bolt Cutter, 36-Inch, Chrome Molybdenum...
Reasonable Price
Tradespro 831714 14-Inch Bolt Cutter
Knipex 7101200 8-Inch Lever Action Mini-Bolt Cutter
Olympia Tools 39-118 Power Grip Bolt Cutter, 18-Inch
Length
36 inches
36 inches
14 inches
8 inches
18 inches
Material
Hardened alloy steel
Chrome moly steel
Heat treated carbon steel
Chrome vanadium electric steel
CR MO hardened steel
Notable Feature
Compound hinge cutting action
Lock-on & non-slip cutting jaws
Cheap with a lifetime warranty
20x more power than the given hand force
Heavy duty cutter with foldable handles for portability
Best Pick
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TEKTON 36-Inch Bolt Cutter | 3421
Length
36 inches
Material
Hardened alloy steel
Notable Feature
Compound hinge cutting action
Picture
Neiko 00563A Heavy Duty Bolt Cutter, 36-Inch, Chrome Molybdenum...
Length
36 inches
Material
Chrome moly steel
Notable Feature
Lock-on & non-slip cutting jaws
Reasonable Price
Picture
Tradespro 831714 14-Inch Bolt Cutter
Length
14 inches
Material
Heat treated carbon steel
Notable Feature
Cheap with a lifetime warranty
Picture
Knipex 7101200 8-Inch Lever Action Mini-Bolt Cutter
Length
8 inches
Material
Chrome vanadium electric steel
Notable Feature
20x more power than the given hand force
Picture
Olympia Tools 39-118 Power Grip Bolt Cutter, 18-Inch
Length
18 inches
Material
CR MO hardened steel
Notable Feature
Heavy duty cutter with foldable handles for portability

Last update on 2018-02-17 at 18:26 PST - Details

It’s no surprise that Tekton’s bolt cutter is at the top of my list. Tekton has been well-known for manufacturing high-quality equipment and tools. With their bolt cutters, you’ll get a robust and efficient 36-inch cutter that makes repair a lot easier.

The backbone of Tekton’s efficiency lies behind its “less force, more power” principle. For starters, this is possible thanks to its hardened alloy steel jaws. These powerful jaws work side-by-side with its non-slip cushioned grip.

Another thing that makes this product stand out is its powerful compound hinge cutting action. These drop forged alloy steel jaws are robust when dealing with hard objects. Thus, this bolt cutter isn’t only fit for bolts, but it’s also suitable for padlocks and chains!

We like

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    Superior material of the jaw
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    Its hardened alloy steel jaws are flawlessly forged to chew any sturdy metal
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    It’s perfect to cut down elements that measure up to ½ inch
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    Comfortable grip
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    While the grips have steel material, it is still comfortable thanks to its cushioned non-slip grip
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    Adjusting is a lot easier
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    The jaws can not only be adjusted, but you can also replace it!
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    Less effort, more power
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    Its hinge technology lessens your burden on cutting, making this easy to use

We do not like

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    Not the best utility tool
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    While it’s compelling, it’s best not to use this for lighter objects such as chicken wire
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    The jaws can wiggle a bit over time
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    Be sure to adjust it appropriately for proper maintenance!

Neiko’s heavy duty bolt cutter can easily battle it out with the Tekton for the editor’s pick. You’ll get no less than the top-notch performance from this brand as well. One of the first things you’ll notice here is Neiko’s sleek silver and black design.

That design isn’t just for show though, because those sleek colors come from high-quality chrome. It comes in chrome moly steel. That is the reason why Neiko can cut through harder objects compared to chrome vanadium cutters.

We like

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    Powerful cutter
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    Its chrome blades are heated and treated to achieve the best possible results
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    Durable jaws
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    The jaws lock on the bolts securely; it’s also rust-resistant thanks to its high-frequency edges
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    Easy-to-use handles
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    The classic prop design blades give you more leverage for lesser effort
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    The handles are of high-quality plastic for greater precision and control

We do not like

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    The jaws are a bit big
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    That might give you more trouble when cutting smaller locks since it can slip easily
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    The handle may bend a little over time
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    That is the reason why I gave the edge to the Tekton

If you are on a tight budget, then Tradespro’s 14 inch bolt cutter might be a good option that won't break the bank. It features a comfortable non-slip grip made with plastic. That makes it ideal for people who plan on using the bolt cutter for long periods of time.

The blade is heat-treated carbon steel constructed which is claimed to be very durable. It comes in three other sizes to suit your needs. But most importantly, Tradespro offers a lifetime warranty in case you experience any issues.

We like

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    Unlike other brands, it offers a very generous lifetime warranty to ensure your money’s worth
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    It comes in four different sizes
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    That makes it very versatile as you can choose which size you need for the nature of your project
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    For something very cheap, it is pretty durable and works (or cuts) well just as advertised.

We do not like

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    Not very ideal for heavy and hard materials
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    For short, it is not for industrial purposes
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    It may not be as light if you are used to bolt cutters with aluminum handles

Knipex comes in next on our list as the upgraded pick. Although it’s the improved pick, it’s also one of the smallest cutters at 8 inches. However, lower doesn’t necessarily mean lesser. Because with the Knipex, you get a precision tool that can handle the thickest metals too.

Knipex is exceptionally detailed in producing their mini bolt cutter. It has plastic coated handles for more natural control. Moreover, its jaws come with chrome vanadium electric steel. This chrome is tempered, heated, and treated to achieve immense strength for an 8-inch cutter.

We like

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    Superior sharpness
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    The jaw’s cutting edge hardness is rated around 64 HRC
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    A big reason for this is its induction hardened cutting jaws
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    Strong but compact bolt cutter
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    It supplies 20 times more power compared to the hand force that you exert
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    Chrome vanadium electric steel jaws enhance the cutting strength of this tool
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    Small and easy to use
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    You can unlock jammed padlocks, disconnect chains, and cut bolts with only one hand!
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    Its 8-inch size makes this easy to place in your pocket.

We do not like

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    It can be inconvenient if you’re handling more massive objects
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    The leverage isn’t enough given that it’s only 8 inches
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    It’s not exactly rust-resistant

Olympia Tools is my niche pick for this list because it’s one of the best for industrial workplaces. Hence, Olympia Tools’ Power Grip tool is the best bolt cutter for the toughest working conditions. That should be on top of your list if you’re a professional in need of these handy cutters.

The appearance of the Power Grip speaks for itself. It looks bulky, heavy, and massive in size. However, this does not mean that only muscular professionals can use this. It only seems like it at first, but its weight waters down so hobbyists can use it as well.

We like

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    Heavy duty and portable features make it great for professionals
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    The folding handles can make this heavyweight fit in a working bag
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    That is why it’s also great for professionals who are always on the go
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    Handles are designed to be wide apart than the normal
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    That compensates the user for the cutter’s weight
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    Gives you more leverage and ease when using this tool
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    CR MO hardened steel material gives it enhanced power
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    That is where the jaws get all that power that requires lesser effort

We do not like

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    The plastic locks can be a bit flimsy
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    These bolts are what secures the handles once folded and stored
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    While Olympia Tools does an excellent job at making it ergonomic, it can still be tough to use for beginners

What are the uses of bolt cutters?

From the name itself, bolt cutters are for cutting bolts, heavy steel, padlocks and chains. It is also important to note that not all bolt cutters can cleanly or successfully cut through heavy duty locks.

There are those locks that would take in more effort. However, cutting bolts and padlocks is not just the only use you have for bolt cutters.

For some, they use bolt cutters to cut wire shelving. The task can be a little tiresome, so having a wire shelving cut in the store can be pretty expensive. That is also why some people opt to do it on their own.

So, if you have any heavy-duty steel that you need to cut, then getting yourself a bolt cutter first would be very helpful.

Things To Consider When Buying Bolt Cutter

Since bolt cutters are suitable for heavy-duty projects, it should be heavy duty itself as well. There are several things we think you might want to consider first before buying, to find the best bolt cutter for your project.

Here are some factors to consider:

Bolt cutter size

There aren’t any types of a bolt cutter. Instead, bolt cutters come in different sizes to accommodate your needs and the nature of your project. The most common dimensions have classifications of compact, medium-sized and large bolt cutters.

Compact bolt cutters are usually 250 to 305mm in size. They are lightweight, small (as stated in the name) and easily portable. However, they can only cut through soft to medium hard materials such as threaded rods and wires.

On the other hand, the medium-sized bolt cutters have sizes between 450 to 600mm. Having almost the same capacity as the compact bolt cutters, what makes this size difference is that they have extended “arms.”

These long arms will allow you to cut through bigger diameters. And finally, we have the large bolt cutters. Usually sized from 750 mm to 1.2m, this size range is best for sturdy materials such as steel rods, chains, copper cables and such.

Although there are other “types” of bolt cutters that do not fall under the same category as the ones mentioned above, these are among the most common type;

Nature of your project

It is also crucial to assess the nature of your project. You might think that the material you plan to cut with the bolt cutter might be a bit too hard or too soft. Do not be afraid to check that out as well as the capacity of the bolt cutter you’re planning to buy.

That will help you save time and money trying to work with a bolt cutter when in reality, it might not be a bolt cutter that your project needs.

Bolt cutter weight and handle

These two factors are pretty much intertwined. When people mention about the weight of bolt cutters, what they usually mean is the handle. Good bolt cutters also have handles with a comfortable, non-slip grip.

Not only will it work efficiently, but it will also be a lot easier for you to work with for long durations. If you will be cutting heavy materials, it is best to get one with more extended handles. If it has extended handles, then this means proper leverage.

The material of the handle affects the overall weight of the bolt cutter. Plastic is one of the most commonly used materials and is also very light. However, aluminum is much lighter but more expensive.

If you are looking for a bolt cutter that is lightweight and highly portable, then these are some things you might have to look out.

Quality of the blade itself

Most importantly, the quality of the bolt cutter’s blade is also a factor to consider. If you plan to use the bolt cutter often for an extended period, then you can. A steel blade is an excellent material for most bolt cutters out there.

However, if you want something that is heavy-duty then, a forged steel blade with the edge hardened might be what you should get. Also, the edges that last long with little to no maintenance is also a good indication.

The Verdict

Bolt cutters are an excellent investment for professionals, hobbyists, or even the average homeowner. You’ll never know when a lock will get jammed, or when a chain’s all tangled up. Not to mention, there are so many stuck bolts that we can encounter.

Take into consideration the strength and durability of the bolt cutter you’re planning to buy. With that said, the Tekton is one of the best in the market that checks all boxes.

But remember, you’re always not limited to my top pick. Niche picks like Olympia Tools Power Grip, and an upgrade like the Knipex are substantial purchases too. Good luck, and please do spread the word by sharing this with your friends! Many thanks!

Thomas Roberge
 

This website was created and is supported by a person who has been in the business of working with power tools, dedicated to home improvement projects both professionally and for the do it yourself type of person.

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