Best Crimpers For Open Barrel Terminals

Professional handymen don’t like to waste time using do-it-yourself tricks and hacks to do a task. They go for the right tool for the job because their time is money.

Similarly, a professional electrician will always choose the correct tool for crimping terminals that does the job quickly and effectively over guesswork with a range of tools.

But don’t get me wrong! It is OK to use DIY hacks to do a task if you have the time.

For instance, I occasionally crimp open barrel terminals with regular pliers when I don’t have the right tool on hand.

However, for professional projects such as the car wiring repairs I do for customers in my garage, I use the right crimping tool. And because I work with insulated terminals most of the time, you often find either the Klein 3005CR or Preciva PR-30J wire crimper in my automotive pliers kit.

But in this article, I share some of the best wire crimping pliers for open barrel terminals.

open barrel terminal crimper

Open barrel connectors are pretty common in automotive wiring, especially on the pins of most automotive electrical connectors.

Just in case you are wondering, you cannot use terminal crimping pliers for insulated terminals to crimp non-insulated open barrel connectors. These two tools have different types of crimping jaws.

Moreover, you crimp insulated terminals differently from open barrel connectors.

Best Crimping Pliers for Open Barrel Terminals

Preciva SN-48B Crimping Tool – Best Overall

The Preciva SN-48B crimper set is my favorite tool for crimping open barrel terminals. After trying a few crimpers, I settled on this model for Faston terminals I was using for a car wiring project and this kit stands out.

preciva sn-48B crimping tool kit

Key Features

  • Crimping range: 22-16 AWG
  • Kit includes 300 crimp terminals

It comes with everything you need for your first task. The kit contains the crimper, along with 300 open barrel terminals of different diameters (2.8 mm, 4.8 mm, and 6.3 mm), which are suitable for cable diameters between 0.5 mm and 1.5 mm.

The terminals are distributed as follows:

  • 100 (50 male and 50 female) of 2.8 mm
  • 100 (50 male and 50 female) of 4.8 mm
  • 100 (50 male and 50 female) of 6.3 mm

Each size comes with corresponding silicone protectors.

The crimping range is AWG 22-16, equivalent to 0.5-1.5mm². The tool is neither light nor too heavy. It weighs just like my other Preciva crimper for insulated terminals (above 1 lb though).

The crimper is factory-adjusted to apply sufficient clamping pressure to the jaws right of the box. However, if it tightens too much or not enough, you can adjust it using the adjusting screw on the left side of the tool.

Simply remove the screw and turn the sprocket clockwise or counterclockwise to increase or reduce tension on the jaws. Then replace the screw to fix the pressure.


The entire kit comes in a case that makes it easy to transport and prevents the loss of terminals. In addition, the terminals are securely placed in a plastic box with compartments.

preciva open barrel crimper kit

The tool is made entirely of metal and feels good quality. The only plastic parts are the handle grips, which are made of hard plastic. But there is an ergonomic rubber overmold on them that provides a comfortable grip and prevents the tool from slipping during use.

It is really easy to use the tool. Once you get the hang of placing the terminals on the jaws, the crimping process is super fast and easy.

The ratcheting mechanism of this tool enables you to securely hold a connector between the jaws so that you can easily insert the stripped wire.

I usually use an automatic wire stripper to peel the wires, as it makes the work much easier for me. I strip off about 0.5″, insert a plastic sleeve, and crimp the connector in place before pulling the sleeve over the terminal.

So far, this tool has been working properly, and I haven’t encountered any problems so far.

What I don’t like:

There is nothing significant to highlight, except that the instructions are not clear. Also, the weight of the tool can be quite overwhelming if you are using the tool continuously for a long time. But I guess that is the trade-off for the quality and sturdiness you get.


Overall, the Preciva SN-48B crimper performs its function effectively. It puts on those open barrel connectors onto wires neatly and professionally every time. I haven’t had any operational issues.

It is a perfect tool for a beginner. But as I mentioned, it’s a good idea to practice a few times until you get comfortable. This tool kit is such a game changer and it is fairly priced!

Knipex 97 52 14 Crimping Pliers – Best Professional Crimper

Remember I once said that you will often be judged on the tools you carry. And most of the time, the brand of tools you bring to a job can impact the level of confidence others have in you. Either build it up or tear it down.

And this is where the Knipex 97 52 14 crimping pliers for non-insulated connectors come in. It comes as tool only but the tool feels extremely sturdy and is as solid as a rock. It is made from chrome vanadium steel like other Knipex pliers.

knipex 97 52 14 crimping pliers

Key Features

  • Crimping capacity: 27 – 16 AWG
  • Ratcheting action
  • Extremely sturdy and solid
  • Made in Germany

Unlike the Preciva, this Knipex crimper is not heavy on the hands. You can use it all day on a project without feeling fatigued. Furthermore, the 20 degrees bend on the head increases its versatility.

I particularly like the ratcheting mechanism on these crimping pliers. It is nice and smooth and offers optimum force transmission to the jaws for fatigue-reduced operation.

This is the perfect tool for professionals. You can use it to crimp connectors on wires of sizes 27AWG to 16 AWG.

The only limitation is the price! This tool costs over $150 without any accessories. So, you only need it if you crimp enough pins to justify the cost.

iWiss Open Barrel Terminal Crimping Tool – Best For Automotive Connector Pins

The iWiss/iCrimp IWS-1424A open barrel crimping tool is another great pick. Despite its shortcomings, many people find it one of the best tools for crimping amp pins and molex pins. These are the pins you find inside automotive electrical connectors and cannon plug connectors. They have open barrels just like regular open crimps.

iwiss 1424A

Key Features

  • Crimping range: 24-14 AWG
  • No ratcheting style
  • 2 stage crimping

The IWS-1424A has a crimping capacity of 24 – 14 AWG. However, because of quality control issues, you might notice mislabeling on the dies. But this does not change the functionality of the tool.

One thing you should know about these crimping pliers from iWiss is that they have narrow dies. So you must crimp a connector twice. You crimp the exposed wire first and then adjust the tool to crimp the teeth onto the insulated part of the wire.

It is also worth noting that this open barrel crimper does not have a ratcheting action. This means it will not hold the connector in the jaws without you squeezing the handles constantly.

But thankfully, the tool has 3 pivot points on the joint to increase leverage. This high-leverage design ensures optimal transfer of the squeezing force to the jaws.

Nonetheless, this tool is ideal for small connectors. No wonder the largest wire it can crimp is 14AWG (2.5mm2).

Overall, I know the iWiss open barrel terminal crimper might not be the best in class but it works well for the money. It presses those weird small pins on Amphenol bulkhead fittings firmly and effectively. And you don’t pay through the nose for it!

Wirefy Crimping Tool Set (8 PCS) – Most Versatile Crimping Pliers Set

The Wirefy crimping tool set is probably the most versatile pliers kit. It comes with 6 different die sets to cater to the different crimping needs in any wiring project.

You can use it to crimp heat shrink, insulated nylon, non-insulated, ferrule, flag, and open barrel terminals.

Wirefy crimper set

Key Features

  • Crimping range: 20 – 10 AWG
  • Ratcheting style
  • 6 changeable jaws
  • Carry case + wire stripper


The Wirefy crimper is almost identical to the Preciva. It is heavy duty and has a ratcheting mechanism that ensures professional uniform crimps every time. There is also lock lever that keeps the pliers closed in the toolbox.

What makes this kit outstanding is the 6 different quick-change dies you get with the crimper plus a bonus wire stripper pliers.

Not only is the crimper exceptional at crimping heat shrink connectors but also crimps open barrel terminals very professionally. The open barrel crimping die set (#C) offers a crimping range of 20 to 10 AWG.

Although the weight of the tool is well-balanced, and the handles are comfortable, the overall heaviness remains a drawback. Carrying more than 500g throughout an extensive project can be burdensome.


Overall, the Wirefy 8pcs crimping tool is the perfect crimper set for anyone looking to crimp various types of connectors with one tool. The jaws are easy to swap. You just remove or put them on easily by hand. And you can purchase replacement die sets separately.

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Julio a.k.a Pliersman is the owner and creator of the Pliersman Website. A blog that informs and educates you about different types of pliers and their uses. Julio is a handy person and has used a variety of pliers including general-purpose and specialty pliers to accomplish tasks. He holds an electrical engineering degree and has previously worked as an O&M manager for minigrids where his love story with pliers and other tools began.