Bolt cutters are essential whether you’re a contractor or a homeowner. They can cut chains, bolts, padlocks, and wire mesh. A reliable heavy duty bolt cutter, however, can also handle hardened steel without requiring a lot of effort or putting your safety at risk.
So, what are the best bolt cutters for hardened steel?
Here are the products we’re more than happy to recommend.
Our Pick: Neiko 00563A Heavy Duty Bolt Cutter
Neiko 00563A Heavy Duty Bolt Cutter is great not just for steel but chains, padlocks, wires, and tough bolts as well. It has a 36-inch premium Cr-MO Steel jaws that give it great strength.
Additionally, its blades are heat-treated to make it durable and capable of resisting dents despite the toughest application. With its classic lever-fulcrum design and blades that are perfectly and precisely aligned, this bolt cutter can provide extra leverage. This means that you get more power even if you don’t exert a lot of effort.
Its handles have an ergonomic design. They come with textured grips so you can have better control and comfort while cutting.
Runner Up: Knipex 7101200 8-Inch Lever Action Mini-Bolt Cutter
Knipex 7101200 8-Inch Lever Action Mini-Bolt Cutter, on the other hand, features chrome vanadium electric steel blade. It’s tampered and oil-hardened which enables it to deliver exceptional cutting performance. It’s capable of cutting through strong materials, like steel, bolts, nails, and even rivets measuring 5.2mm.
This bolt cutter requires minimal effort, thanks to its lever action design. Its handle, meanwhile, is coated with plastic. It lets you work with comfort.
Everything about this bolt cutter has been paid close attention to. Its sharpness, toughness of its cutting edges as well as the precision of its joint have been well assessed to ensure that you only get the best results.
Also Great: Tradespro 831714 14-Inch Bolt Cutter
Tradespro 831714 14-Inch Bolt Cutter has a durable heat-treated carbon steel construction. It’s available in different lengths but this particular one which measures 14 inches should be enough for most cutting jobs. For heavier metals, however, get the larger cutter.
Its blade area has a depth of 1 inch. It should be able to open to about 3/4 inch.
The bolt cutter has no-slip grips which ensures comfort while you are at work. This helps reduce accidents as well.
Budget Pick: WORKPRO W017004A Bolt Cutter
For our budget pick, we chose WORKPRO W017004A Bolt Cutter. For an affordable price, you’ll get a bolt cutter with chrome molybdenum steel jaws. It has strong tubular handles for comfort and stability when working.
The bolt is just the right size and weight. It’s not too light that it’s inefficient or too heavy that it can make your work a lot more difficult. In fact, its compact size makes it easy to use. It provides excellent leverage as well.
How to Choose the Best Bolt Cutter for Steel
The process of finding the best bolt cutter is never a walk in the park. While bolt cutters don’t generally cost a lot, it doesn’t mean that you can just pick one randomly. It’s an essential tool so you have to be extra picky when buying one.
To help you decide, here are some of the most important criteria you need to consider:
Blade quality is synonymous with a bolt cutter’s performance. The stronger the blade, the more efficient it’ll be. For the best choice, go with a steel-made blade. Ensure that it’s forged steel with hardened edges so you can rely on it for a long time.
Take note, however, that it’s also essential that you clean the blade every now and then. Otherwise, you can’t expect your bolt cutter to last.
Your bolt cutter’s handle should be comfortable. This is to make sure that you don’t end up in pain or any accident after.
Choose a bolt cutter with a non-slip surface and long handle. A long handle provides the leverage you need to get a clean cut.
When it comes to material, you can either get one made of plastic, aluminum or steel. Aluminum is a great choice since it’s easier to move and lightweight.
As mentioned, go with a bolt cutter that’s lightweight. Choosing a heavy one can reduce the tool’s efficiency. It can also require a lot of effort which can cause strain and discomfort. Worse, a heavy bolt cutter may even cause accidents.
The design of your bolt cutter is essential in determining what it can do. For example, clipper cuts work great on cutting materials on a flat surface. Shear-cuts, on the other hand, are good for cutting thin materials. For hard-to-reach areas and jobs that require precision, go with angle-cuts. They are able to penetrate materials more efficiently.
With that, it’s essential that you determine what you’re mainly going to do with your bolt cutter first. Think about the most common projects you work on and from there, you can pick the best design to invest your hard-earned money in.
Compact bolt cutters are perfect for cutting medium hard materials. If you choose a high-quality model, you can use it to work on tougher materials.
Medium sized bolt cutters, meanwhile, can be used on materials with a greater diameter. This is because of the higher leverage their longer arms provide.
Large bolt cutters can cut hard materials, like copper cable, alloy steel chain, and steel rods.
While picking a good bolt cutter for your DIY project or tasks is confusing, it’s really not that hard if you know exactly what to look for.
With its durable and reliable materials, we chose Neiko 00563A Heavy Duty Bolt Cutter as the best bolt cutter for hardened steel. Its blades are precise and its handles have textured grips which are essential for tough cutting jobs. It doesn’t cost a lot either so you won’t have a hard time justifying its purchase.
If you’re planning on adding more tools to your kit for your next DIY project, here’s a handy guide in picking the best vise grip, and the best hacksaw. We even have a guide on how you can use it to cut steel.