In this comparison we are taking a look at seven of the most popular cable cutters on the market and judging them in four categories: price, ease of cut, ergonomics, and crimping. Feel free to scroll to the bottom if you hate words and just want results!
In testing, we judged the cable cutters in 4 Categories:
2) Ease of Cut
To measure the pressure required to cut a cable we locked one of the tool’s arms in a stable vice, marked each of the tools’ arms equidistantly from the axle, and used a scale to pull the arm closed on the cable until the cut was made. The measurements collected fit within our anecdotal experience just from using the cutters, so we trust that they are good comparative data points.
While ergonomics are largely subjective based on hand size and dominance, we focused on two main categories: ease of opening/unlatching and width of natural opening with a bias towards smaller opening distances. We rated on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being least ergonomic and 5 being most ergonomic.
Our fourth and final category is crimping, after all once you cut a cable chances are that you will have to crimp it. We tested the crimping function of all tools equipped with a crimper.
Enter the Gauntlet
First off we have the Felco C7.
It is the most expensive cutter out of the bunch, coming in at $61.95. While price doesn’t always denote quality, the Felco seems to be made well, but how well does it cut? The Felco made the cut at 26lbs of pressure tying the Knipex for 4th and 5th in ease of cutting.
The Felco has a thumb latch which we enjoy seeing because you don’t have to adjust your hand position when opening the tool and it’s natural opening was not unmanageable, we scored it at a 4. Unfortunately, neither the Felco or the Pedro’s have a crimping function and cannot be awarded any points in this category.
Next up, Pedro's Cable Cutter
At $36.00 it is the 5th most expensive cutter on our list. From a distance this looks like a yellow copy of the red Felco, but upon closer inspection the steel on the Felco is stamped with
“Swiss Made” and is finished a little better. The Pedro’s cutter is easier to unlock which could also suggest looser tolerances, The riveting on the Pedro’s is a bit larger, and the axle bolt on the Pedro’s uses a flat head as opposed to the wrench-flats on the Felco. Pedro’s cutter has usurped the Felco in both price and now ease of cut, at 17lb it required 9lbs less pressure to cut the cable and is 3rd in the category. For Ergonomics The Pedro’s cutter opened a bit wider than the Felco but the thumb latch was easier to actuate, we gave it a 4 out of 5 as well. Like the Felco, the Pedros cutter is just that and has no crimping function.
Third is Jagwire Pro Cable Crimper and Cutter.
It is only a dollar more expensive than the cheapest cutter on our list at $33.99. The Jagwire Pro Cable Crimper and Cutter Required the most force to cut the cable at 32lb. On to Ergonomics,
the next four in the list have end-of-handle loop closures. We don’t typically like to see these because most of the time opening the loop requires a second hand or a repositioning of the hand-in-use, but the arms of this tool are so short that the closure is easy to access. We gave this tool a 3 out of 5 for ergonomics. Crimping is the absolute star of the show on this tool. Unlike the other tools on this list, the Jagwire Pro Cable Crimper and Cutter puts the crimper on the head of the tool instead of between the handles. The three sided crimp is very secure and the positioning of the crimper makes getting good crimps in tight places a breeze, 5 out of 5.
The Jagwire Pro Cable and Housing Cutter is fourth and the cheapest of all the entrants at $32.99. Why does Jagwire get two entrants in this showdown? Because the way these two tools excel differently in separate categories is worth writing about. For example, the Jagwire Pro Cable and Housing Cutter required 19lb less pressure to cut the cable in our test - cutting at just 13lb it was tied with the IceToolz for easiest cut! For ergonomics we rated the Jagwire Pro Cable and Housing Cutter a disappointing 2 out of 5. Not only was
the opening distance wide compared to the rest of the pack, but the loop closure had a tendency to get in the way of cutting even after you moved your hands down the arms to undo it. Unlike the other Jagwire tool, crimping takes a backseat in the tool’s design. Crimpers between the handles of the tool make crimping a bit of a hassle and the crimps themselves are easily defeated because of the flat crimping surface. It scored a 2 out of 5 in crimping.
Fifth on the list is the Park Tool CN-10. Old Blue is the 3rd most expensive out of the seven and
can be yours for $43.95. The CN-10 required 27lb of pressure making it 6th in our ease of cut test.
The Park Tool CN-10 shares the same faults as the Jagwire Pro Cable and Housing Cutter in the ergonomics category. The latch consistently prevents the arms from closing on a cut, we gave it a 2 out of 5. Again, just like the previous tool hard to access crimpers and easily defeated crimps made us give the Park tool CN-10 a 2 out 5 for crimping.
The IceToolz 67A5 is our penultimate cutter and the 4th most expensive. The IceToolz 67A5 tied the Jagwire Cable and Housing Cutter in 1st and 2nd at 13lb, which surprised us. This is one sharp tool, not only is it the most compact cutter in this list but it can also be used to cut spokes! As long as this tool keeps a good edge it is definitely worth having around. For ergonomics, we found that the short handles of the IceToolz made actuating the loop closure very easy and it was stiff enough that it stayed where you put it. However, because the handles are so short
we found that someone with very large hands would find the tool difficult to use - for this we knocked it down to a 4 out of 5. The IceToolz has a fairly standard crimping function located between the handles, but the shorter handles allow you to crimp in tighter spaces and the crimping surfaces produce a secure double-sided crimp. It scored a 4 out of 5 for crimping.
Finally, the Knipex 95 61 190. It seems like Knipex gave it a social security number but forgot to name it, so we will just refer to it as the Knipex cable cutter. It is the 2nd most expensive at $59.48. The Knipex tied the Felco at 26lb of pressure required to cut the cable. Unlike all of the tools on this list, the Knipex uses a thumb rocker to unlock the tool. Because of this feature,
it is a joy to use and the natural opening distance is negated as there is very little chance of you “losing” the other leg. In ergonomics, the Knipex gets a 5 out of 5. It’s crimper is located in the usual spot between the handles but the length of the handles and the concave crimping surface make secure crimps fairly easily. Knipex gets a 4 out of 5 for crimping.
While our testing may not have encompassed every aspect of each tool, the overarching results came out pretty clear. Here is a table with the results laid bare:
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