By March 27, 2017 Read More →

Four VDE hand tools that are a cut above

Pliers and cutters are core tools in an electrician’s arsenal. Here we look at four top VDE pliers and cutters that will help ensure your work is efficient, accurate and, above all, safe.

A quality set of reliable tools is essential for any tradesperson. Whilst control and comfort should always be considered, by electricians, safety should always be a top priority. No one should be working live, but accidents can happen, and it is important that you use VDE tools that can protect you if they do.

Here we look at some of the top VDE pliers and cutters that we have come across over the past 12 months:

C.K tools RedLine Side Cutters

In its latest range of side cutters, C.K tools has renewed its focus on providing tools that are suited to the specific needs of electricians. The brand enlisted independent metallurgists and engineers to improve durability. It also redefined the cutting geometry of the cutters to provide the optimum blade angles for cutting copper and aluminium cables with at least force as possible.

The company worked out that the average pressure saving to make a cut is 74 Newton meters. With an average electrician making over 10,000 cuts per year – resulting in a personal saving of over 75 tonnes of pressure.

On a side note- To promote the RedLine cutters the company ran a #CKCutterKing competition on its facebook page last year to find the electrician who could make the most cuts a minute. Some of these get very dramatic!

Klein Tools Heavy-Duty Side-Cutting Pliers

Klein is one of the biggest electrician’s hand tool companies in the USA and it is still family owned after nearly 150 years. I took the offer to tour the company’s facilities in Chicago and Texas a couple of years ago to see the tools forged and tested first hand. It was clear the amount of pride the company has is supporting quality American manufacturing and meeting the safety needs of its end-users.

The tools have been available in the UK for a couple of years now and the Heavy-Duty Side-Cutting Pliers are a great all-around ambassador for the range, capable of cutting ACSR, screws, nails and most hardened wire. I particularly like the three-part insulation system. Understanding that insulated grips can wear down after years of use, Klein has included a white underlayer which provides a warning sign that insulation may be compromised; A great safety feature that I haven’t come across before.

They certainly are not the cheapest tools available but the company recently found a pair of pliers from 1904 that were still in good working condition, so consider it an investment?

Knipex Multifunctional Pliers

I’ve also had the opportunity to visit the Knipex factory in Wuppertal, Germany. You would expect the manufacturing to be completely automated by now but, on many of the product lines, you still find expert craftsmen honing the tools and adding the finishing touches personally.

I’m not sure if these multifunctional pliers are finished that way but they certainly feel like a professional and quality piece of kit. I wouldn’t say they are best suited for heavy-duty cutting, but these are great for covering a lot of everyday tasks in one tool. The pliers can be used to grip flat and round material, to bend, deburr, cut cable and strip and crimp end sleeves.

An electrician I know gave a pair to her apprentice.  She liked how they allowed them to complete several different basic jobs accurately and efficiently without any downtime searching for different tools.

Wiha Professional BiCut Diagonal Cutters

In 2015, Wiha was the first hand-tool manufacturer awarded with the AGR seal of distinction for its ergonomic handle design. The seal is awarded to products that medical professionals believe help to prevent musculoskeletal disorders and back pain. So you can rest assured that the company know a thing or two about designing tools that focus on user comfort and efficiency.
The BiCut Diagonal cutters are a great example of this. The tool’s DynamicJoint feature essentially provides two cutters in one. Users can increase the power of the cut by 200% simply by pressing the power button on the pivot. This means you can cut heavier cables, screws, bolts and chains with minimum risk of strain and injury to your hands.
The system works and these are a great investment if you find yourself switching from soft to heavy cuts on a regular basis and wish to avoid conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome in the future.
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