We’ve all found ourselves using a pocket knife to cut away a wire’s coating at one time or another (please tell us you don’t use your teeth), but at street pricing under $10, there’s really no excuse for that. While these tools have been a staple in car stereo installers’ and electricians’ toolkits for years, we’re always surprised at how few homeowners own a pair.
Automatic wire strippers use a jointed-plier configuration to first grasp the wire then pull it through a small hole of just the right size to remove only the wire’s coating. In simple terms, you lay the wire in the appropriate indention in the tool’s jaws, pull them closed, and the wire is cleanly stripped every time.
Heck, we used ours just today when replacing a light switch with a dimmer in our office. (No more bright mornings for us!)
You can find these at your local Radio Shack for $12.99, but similar tools are available online for less.
Update: In the comments, a reader suggests this tool from Klein as a better alternative to the ones we mentioned.