Bolt Cutters and How to Use Them

Bolt cutters (sometimes also called bolt clippers) are used to cut wire rod, stranded wire, hard copper wire, and steel bars. Using the principle of leverage, the bolt cutter exerts a great deal of power simply by applying force by hand, making it possible to cut even thick wire rods with ease. Here we explain the proper use, adjustment, and precautions for using bolt cutters.

Uses of bolt cutters

Bolt cutters are tools used for cutting hard materials in wire or bar form, such as steel bars, hard copper wire, stranded wire, cable wire, and wire rope. They are mainly used in construction sites, civil engineering sites, and plumbing works. Depending on the size and material to be cut, there are a variety of products, from small ones that can be operated with one hand to large ones that require the use of both arms to cut, so it is important to select the appropriate type.


How to Use Bolt Cutters

Bolt cutters come in various standards according to the hardness and size of the material to be cut, but the basic usage is the same. Hold the material to be cut firmly between the cutting edges and apply force to the handle to cut it. Below are some pointers for proper use.

Clamping position

When clamping the bolt cutter between the material to be cut, it is better to clamp the material at the back of the blade rather than near the tip of the blade, as the force is more easily transmitted to the material for more efficient cutting.

When cutting is difficult

When cutting is difficult, do not try to forcibly cut the object by shaking or twisting it up, down, left, or right while holding it between the blade and the object. This is extremely dangerous, as it may damage the blade and cause the cut object to scatter. If you cannot cut with a single pinch, cut by pinching several times.

Blade Adjustment

Continuous use of the bolt cutter will gradually open a gap between the blades. When this gap becomes larger, especially when cutting soft steel or thin bar materials, the clipper will not be able to cut them properly because of the residual cutting residue that occurs. Therefore, it is necessary to periodically adjust the blade position to eliminate the gap.

There are two mechanisms for blade adjustment: an adjustment frame type with an adjustment mechanism at the base of the handle, and an eccentric bolt type with an adjustment mechanism in the blade section. In both cases, the adjustment should be made so that the cutting edge engages perfectly with no gaps. This adjustment must be properly made before the bolt cutter is used.

How to cut stranded wire

Stranded wire is a material that tends to break apart or bounce back upon impact during cutting, which can easily disrupt the cut surface. Wrap vinyl tape around the area to be cut, and place the entire vinyl tape between the bolt cutters for best results.

Cautions for use

The construction of the bolt cutter is based on the principle of leverage, so the force applied by hand to the handle becomes tens of times greater at the tip, making it possible to easily cut even hard objects. While this is a very reliable tool, it is also dangerous and can lead to serious accidents if not used correctly. Please take the following precautions when using this tool.

Be careful of electric shock.

Cannot be used on materials that are energized. When cutting a material that may be energized, check carefully before proceeding.

Prohibition of striking

Do not strike the handle or blade with a hammer or the like. It may lead to scattering of the cut material, spilling of the blade, distortion of the blade, etc.

Be careful of flying objects

When cutting, the cut-off wire rod and its pieces will scatter vigorously in the surrounding area. Be especially careful when cutting hard materials or when the cut material is short. Take measures such as curing the surrounding area as necessary and covering the cutting area and the entire bolt cutter with a cloth before cutting.

Pay attention to worker safety.

Workers should wear safety glasses to prevent splattering of cut materials and injuries from sharp cutting surfaces.


The bolt cutter is a tool that can be a strong ally in the field if used skillfully. Please handle it with caution to avoid accidents and follow safe usage procedures.