Motivated by the need to combine multiple functions in one tool to reduce the weight of an electrician’s toolbox, Knipex Tools released a new multifunction automatic wire stripper tool. The Knipex NexStrip Multi-Tool for Electricians.
This new wire stripper from Knipex can perform 3 important functions that often require two or three different types of pliers. It is an upgrade to the Knipex PreciStrip Automatic Wire Stripper.
The NexStrip wire stripper adds a ferrule crimping function to the wire cutter and wire stripper functions already in the PreciStrip (predecessor).
What’s Knipex PreciStrip Wire Stripper?
In case you have not seen the PreciStrip 16 wire stripper, it is an automatic wire stripping tool from Knipex. It has front-loading jaws and can strip and cut electrical wire cables.
Unfortunately, the PreciStrip 16 did not make it to my list of 6 best automatic wire strippers because of these two main reasons:
Why Knipex PreciStrip isn’t the best automatic wire stripper
Reason 1: One of the main reasons Knipex PreciStrip 16 did not take off so well is that it is made from plastic. Not the usual high-quality German steel that is characteristic of Knipex Pliers.
Many professional electricians prefer tools that have a heavy-duty feel. This gives them an assurance that the tool will survive accidental drops and abuse on the job site. Plastic does not give you that peace of mind, to be honest.
But on the flip side, the plastic makes the PreciStrip wire stripper impressively light, which is good for your hands. If you’d just take good care of it and restrict it to just stripping small gauge wires, you would perhaps not regret having it. In fact, it could be just another great tool from Knipex for you.
Reason 2: The second disappointing thing about the PreciStrip wire stripper is the premium price vis-à-vis the overall quality. This tool goes for around $100, making it one of the most expensive wire strippers on the market. And for a tool that does quite meet the quality of the Knipex Brand, buying it could feel like paying for the brand, not the product.
Knipex NexStrip vs PreciStrip 16, Are they different?
Although it has additional features, Knipex NexStrip is not so different from the PreciStrip. Probably many would call it a chip off the old rock because critics like me have the same concerns they had with PreciStrip. It is made from plastic and isn’t cheap either.
So, it is not a surprise that you might be prejudiced to not like this new automatic wire stripper from Knipex. But here is why you actually should give a damn especially if you are a professional electrician specializing in control panels.
The Knipex NexStrip is quite unique. It is a one-of-a-kind wire stripper multi-tool that will strip conductors, cut them to size, and crimp a bootlace ferrule. Without it, you would need at least two tools: a wire stripper with cutters, and a separate wire ferrule crimper.
This new Knipex automatic wire stripper brings speed and precision in cutting, stripping, and crimping small to medium-gauge electrical wires.
Features of the Knipex NexStrip Wire Stripper Multi Tool
As I mentioned, the Knipex NexStrip Multi Tool has 3 tools in one, namely:
1. Wire stripper
Stripping wire is the main purpose of the NexStrip. It can remove insulation from solid and stranded wires of sizes 0.08mm2 – 10mm2. Unfortunately, you cannot use it to strip multi-core conductors or more than one cable at once. This is only possible with a different style of wire strippers such as Klein 11061 or Irwin Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper. They are the best for stripping jacketed cables such as Romex cable.
The stripping mechanism on the NexStrip wire stripper is automatic. No need to select the correct stripping slot, which is usually guesswork for novice electricians. Once you place the wire correctly between the jaws and close the handles, the stripping jaws will come together and pull the insulation off.
However, you have to set the tension for the blades to avoid destroying or chopping off your wire with excessive pressure. Different wire types and sizes require different amounts of pressure to remove insulation. You adjust the gripping pressure on the NexStrip wire stripper by simply moving the red adjustment bar to the (+) side for max pressure or (-) side for min pressure.
Many people forget to adjust the pressure bar for their wire and start to curse the tool for damaging their wire. Don’t be one of them. You cannot use the same pressure to strip off 0.03mm communication cable and 10mm2 wiring cable.
And because it is good practice to strip off just enough length to go into the crimp connector or ferrule, this wire stripper has a depth gauge to help you get the precise length. You can adjust it up to 3/4″ deep. The depth gauge comes in handy when you strip off the same length of insulation in multiple conductors. It helps get consistent results.
2. Wire Cutter
The wire cutter is good for cutting wires to size before or after stripping them. Nearly every wire stripper nowadays has a cutter.
The unique thing about the cutter on this unit is that it retracts when you are not squeezing the handles. This keeps the blade sharp longer. You can use it to cut up to 10mm2 (8 AWG) copper wire.
However, you might have a challenge cutting wires in a tight space with this tool. Because the cutter is located just right next to where the lower jaw starts, you have to hold the tool across or upright to cut. This might be difficult in tight workspaces and hard to reach areas.
3. Wire Crimper
The NexStrip wire stripper can crimp ferrules. It has a square ferrule crimper on the bottom side that self-adjusts to squeeze ferrules of sizes 0.25mm2 – 4mm2.
Wire ferrules are very important for terminating stranded wires because they give them the properties of solid wire. They also cover the exposed wire strands to reduce oxidation which would increase resistance at the point of electrical connection. You can find more advantages of using wire ferrules in this article.
In the European Electrical Standards, your electrical project will not get CE certification if all stranded wires entering block terminals are not correctly terminated with ferrules. This is not a requirement in the US but it is good practice, especially when working with panels and PLC units.
Wire ferrules not only make your work neat but also prevent loose wire strands from getting into the wrong places in your circuit and causing problems. Not to mention, ferrules sleeves give stranded wires the properties of a solid conductor. So, you can expect more solid electrical connections and little or no oxidation on the strands if you crimp the ferrules correctly.
Other features you will find on this new multi-function wire stripper from Knipex that are also in the preceding model include:
- An insert in the handle for labeling the tool. You can write your initials on it to mark your tool.
- Eyelet for attaching a lanyard
PreciStrip Vs NexStrip Wire Strippers
I know you are curious to know how Knipex PreciStrip compares with Knipex NexStrip. Here is a quick comparison:
|Knipex PreciStrip 16||Knipex NexStrip Multitool|
|Has 2 functions (i.e stripping and cutting wire)||Has 3 functions (i.e stripping, cutting, and crimping wire|
|Uses a tension adjustment dial||Uses a tension adjustment bar lever|
|Made from hard plastic||Made from hard plastic|
|Replaceable blade assembly||Replaceable blade cassette|
|Stripping capacity: 0.08 – 16mm2 (28 AWG – 6 AWG)||Stripping capacity: 0.03 – 10mm2 |
(32 AWG – 8 AWG)
Conclusion: Is Knipex NexStrip Worth It?
Now comes the big question, Is Knipex NexStrip Wire Stripper worth it? IMO, Knipex NexStrip Multi Tool being the first tool with a crimper, cutter, and stripper, I would say it is worth the money. Yes it comes at a premium cost and is not as robust as you would expect for a top-dollar tool, but it brings unmatched versatility to your electrical projects.
However, not everyone will find this new automatic wire stripper from Knipex very useful. Matter of fact, it might disappoint you if you deal with cables bigger than 10 AWG. Although this tool is rated to strip up to 8 AWG (10mm2), the stripping blades tend to bend out of alignment when used on cables with heavy-duty insulation for a long time.
That being said, the Knipex NexStrip multitool is a nice addition to your toolbox if you specialize in domestic installations and wiring, electrical panel wiring, consumer units wiring, or PLC wiring. It is also an excellent tool for professionals and DIYers who often have to work with small to medium-sized wire cables, preferably smaller than 10 AWG and thicker than 30 AWG.
If you have arthritis in your hands, this Knipex NexStrip multifunction stripper might be a good option for you too. It is light in the hands and requires little effort to operate.