Side-cutter / snips recommendations?

Can anyone recommend some good reasonably priced side cutters / snips? E.g. to cut component leads and similar fine stuff.
I bought Knipex 78 71 125 ESD safe electronics snips which have hardened edges but I’ve hated them from day one 'cause the hinge is too loose causing misalignment of the cutting edges. They were $30. I don’t mind paying a bit more for something that really works.

Aven makes some with very solid hinges. Mine were great until I tried to snip spring steel absentmindedly (through hole AAA cell holder, where the pins are the spring contacts).

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i like my c k tools tungsten carbide jaw side cutters, i’d give you a model number but i have had them for ever and probably not available for that part number, if i could remember it/. amazon sells them but great tools

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3pcs daniu electrical cutting plier wire cable cutter side snips flush pliers tool Sale - notice


Haha, the carbide ones are over $100… Maybe worth it in the long run, except that I’m bound to nick them…

I like to go to a brick and mortar store, and hold up a bunch of side cutters for comparison, then pick the one with best alignment.

yeah dont use em for the wrong thing :slight_smile: mine are still perfect after decades so $100 over that time is cheap:)

Remind me not to lend you my side cutters! In seriousness though I use Hakko CHP-170 and have been happy, they are cheap so I keep a few new pairs as “spare” and rotate my good pair to my “heavier cutting” pair that I then abuse. They aren’t super-fine though I’d say, but for component leads do the trick.

I also keep a pair of “cutting tweezers” (such as 15A-GW) which is great for very fine items, such as cutting oops-wire to the exact length you need.


right? reminds me of days at the hackerspace where people try to pick locks with side cutters.

I used to be a CK fan but the quality has dropped quite significantly in recent times. Lindstrom are good but don’t stand up to abuse, and are expensive. My current favourite are side cutters made by Engineer. They are cheap but good quality. My colleagues are all side cutter snobs and they are slowly changing over to Engineer side cutters, having previously always bought Lindstroms. I think the NS04 and NS06 are the current favourites.

Ha, I saw the Engineer recommended elsewhere and already ordered an NS04… Now waiting :slight_smile:

that is sad to hear, they were so great.

i have a bunch of engineer stuff for work holding, specialist pcb vice etc they’re great and inexpensive too.

We’ve only used Lindstrom 80 Series Cutters since we acquired our first pair. Around £50 in the UK. The next step up in price is double, not felt the need to try those.

Production person cuts hundreds of through hole JIT builds each week - every couple of years we send them off for servicing and they come back brand new - which you can do yourself with a little care (replace the springs & sharpen them).

I agree with @kvk. I use these cheap ones from DANIU both at my home office and at work. You’ll get 10 of these at AliExpress for less than $30 You can also get them with different colors on the handles. I formerly had expensive ones that I liked, but the grip/handle eventually fell off on one side making them just annoying. These cheap ones do just as good a job and you don’t become as angry the day you try to snip some leads the leave a dent in the edge :slight_smile:

I bought 3 of them, so placed in different places in the lab, now I don’t need to walk to use a cutter

By the way, been using them for 6 months now, no wear observable yet :wink:


I have three pairs of flush, or single bevel cutters.

One is an expensive pair of box jointed RS components cutters that followed me home after being made redundent.

Second is a no name box jointed pair from Maplin, that continue to impress given how cheap they were.

Third is a pair of lap jointed Xurons that didn’t cost very much and tend to be my go-to pair because of their extended tips.

The Maplin cutters can’t of course be replaced, but if the RS pair needed replacement, then I’d just buy a couple more pairs of Xurons.

I forget who originated this basic design, but I’ve been using high quality surplus versions from Xcelite and Plano, and (literal) Chinese copies for years.

I never intend to abuse my cutters but accidents happen. All the time. Better to damage a cheap set. The damaged ones get a yellow dot and go into the sacrificial category - in the pickup tool box, kitchen drawer, handed to neighbors (or their kids if I don’t like them,) etc. Though one damaged set is a perfect #30 wire stripper. That’s a keeper.

I have a friend that talks about his “Comb Theory” of value: “Some things aren’t worth the time and effort to search for, so I saturate my environment so that my rate of discovery is equal to my rate of loss.” He calls it “Comb Theory” because his example case is pocket combs. I put daily use side cutters in this category.