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$11.72 $15.67
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Details Material: Plastic Item ID: QQ11341 Feature of product Heavy-Duty Construction: Crafted from Cr-mo steel, renowned for its high strength and durability, ensuring the bolt cutter's longevity and reliability. Compact Desig...
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Details Material: Chrome Vanadium Steel Item ID: FV35238 Feature of product Heavy-Duty and High-Strength: Constructed with robust materials, these bolt cutters are designed to handle tough cutting tasks encountered in the const...
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Details Material: Metal Item ID: XT33597 Heavy Duty Bolt Cutter 14" for Cutting Fence, Steel Wire, Chain, Screws, Rivet, and Medium Padlock, with Soft Grip Rubber Ergonomic Handle Cutters, constructed from high-quality steel, t...

Bolt cutters are essential tools for cutting and removing bolts, chains, padlocks, and other metal hardware. With the variety of bolt cutters available, it can be challenging to determine which is the best bolt cutter for your needs. This collection of Tonix Tools provides an in-depth look at how to select and use bolt cutters to handle tough metal cutting jobs.

With over 10 years of experience as a professional contractor, We've tested and used dozens of bolt cutters. My expertise is focused on providing recommendations based on real-world performance to help you choose the right bolt cutter.

What is a Bolt Cutter?

A bolt cutter is a hand tool used for cutting chains, padlocks, bolts, and wire. It consists of two pivoting blades with handles. The blades are brought together in a scissor-like motion to cut through metal hardware using the force generated by the compound lever action of the handles.

Bolt cutters utilize mechanical advantage to multiply the amount of force applied by the user, allowing the cutting blades to slice through tough materials like hardened steel. They are an essential tool for cutting locks, chains, bolts, and wire in various industries including construction, fire and rescue, law enforcement, and more. The size of the jaw opening determines the thickness of material the bolt cutter can cut.

What is Bolt Cutters

Structure of Bolt-Cutting Machine

Here is an overview of the key components and structure of a bolt cutter machine:

  • Blades - The cutting blades are typically made from hardened tool steel. They come together in a scissor-like motion and must be precision machined for clean shearing action. The ideal blade's sharpness, thickness, and hardness determine cutting effectiveness.
  • Blade Handles - Handles provide grip and act as levers to generate the blade closure force. Length ranges from 8 inches for small cutters up to 36 inches for maximum leverage. Handles may have cushioned grips and adjustable positions.
  • Pivot Joint - The pivot joint connects and aligns the two blade handles at the fulcrum point. It contains bushings or bearings to reduce friction and enable smooth operation under high-cutting loads.
  • Transmission - In powered hydraulic or pneumatic cutters, the transmission converts the rotational power into linear action to move the blades. Gearing provides force multiplication.
  • Power System - Manual cutters rely on human power applied to the handles. Hydraulic bolt cutters use a hydraulic pump and cylinder to deliver 10X more force. Pneumatic cutters use compressed air for power assist.
  • Frame - A rigid frame or base holds the cutting components in alignment. It maintains the precise blade tolerance needed for clean shearing.
  • Cutting Capacity - The size of the throat opening between the blades determines the maximum thickness of stock that can be cut. Common capacities range from 1/4 inch to over 1 inch.
  • Guards - Safety guards prevent inadvertent contact with the moving blades and containment guards prevent flying debris.

Overall, the balanced interaction between hardened blades, low-friction pivot joint, and amplified force generation enables bolt cutters to cut through tough metal.

Structure of Bolt-Cutting Machine

Application of Bolt Cutters

Here are some of the main applications and uses for bolt cutters:

  • Cutting padlocks - Bolt cutters can cut through padlock shackles made of hardened steel. They are a common tool used by locksmiths and first responders for removing padlocks.
  • Cutting chains - From bike locks to chains securing gates/equipment, bolt cutters quickly serve through metal chains. Their ability to cut hardened steel makes them ideal for chain removal.
  • Cutting bolts - Bolt cutters are an efficient way to cut bolts rather than unscrewing them. They cut right through the threads.
  • Removing locks - Door locks, safety padlocks, and chains securing equipment/vehicles can all be removed quickly with bolt cutters.
  • Electrical and wiring work - Electricians use bolt cutters to cut cables, rivets, screws, and wire. Their cutting ability is useful during installations and repairs.
  • Vehicle rescue - Emergency personnel use bolt cutters to cut damaged vehicle frames, piping, and other debris during the extrication of accident victims.
  • Crime/forced entry - Bolt cutters enable criminals to cut through lock shackles and chains during burglaries and forced entries.
  • Construction and demolition - Cutting screws, nails, rivets, and other metal fasteners is made easy with the shearing action of bolt cutters.
  • Plumbing - Plumbers find bolt cutters handy for slicing through pipes, threaded rods, and other small tubing.

Bolt cutters are versatile metal-cutting hand tools useful in many industries and applications where strong shearing force is needed to cut hardened steel and metal.

Application of Bolt Cutters

How to Cut a Bolt with Bolt Cutters

Here are the steps to properly cut a bolt using bolt cutters:

  1. Select the right bolt cutter sizes. The bolt cutter blades should be at least 1.5 times the diameter of the bolt you need to cut. Using cutters that are too small can damage the blades.
  2. Position the bolt cutters perpendicular to the bolt with the cutting blades centered on the bolt shaft. The jaws should be fully opened to allow them to close through the bolt in one motion.
  3. Grip the handles firmly with both hands and bring the handles together in a steady, intensifying motion. Apply pressure slowly to allow the compound leverage to build up cutting force.
  4. Let the tool do the work. Do not twist or wiggle the handles. Keep blades aligned squarely on the bolt. The cutting edges should meet cleanly to slice through the bolt.
  5. Continue until handles are completely closed and bolt separated. It may take a few bites to cut through a large or hardened bolt. Avoid partial cuts that can damage blades.
  6. Complete the cut and allow the handles to open fully. The stub end of the bolt will be released from the jaw.
  7. Avoid touching the cutting blades which may be hot after use. Wipe any metal shavings or debris from the jaws.
  8. Lubricate the pivot joint periodically to maintain smooth operation. Sharpen or replace dull blades for optimal cutting.

Proper technique and quality bolt cutters will make easy work of cutting through bolts and other metal pieces. Take safety precautions - wear eye protection and gloves.

How to Cut a Bolt with Bolt Cutters

How to do Bolt Cutters Work

Here is an explanation of how bolt cutters work:

Bolt cutters utilize the mechanical principles of levers and compound leverage to generate the high forces needed to cut through tough materials like metal bolts, chains, and padlocks.

The handles act as levers that multiply the amount of force applied by the user's hands. This increases the cutting power at the blade tips.

The pivot point where the two handles meet acts as a fulcrum. This focuses all the leveraged force precisely on the small section between the blade edges.

As the handles are brought together, the geometric configuration of the levers creates a compound leverage effect. This further amplifies the input force - up to 15 times more than just the hand pressure alone.

The force concentrates on a very small area at the blades to reach pressures over 15,000 psi. This enables the hardened steel blades to slice through the metal.

The tremendous mechanical advantage of the compound lever system is what distinguishes bolt cutters from merely using a hacksaw or tin snips.

Precision machining of the pivot joint and alignment of the blades also ensures efficient transfer of force for cutting. The leveraged design makes cutting through metal much easier than using brute hand strength alone.

Proper handle length, steel strength, blade sharpness, and low-friction pivoting are additional factors that contribute to the cutting power of bolt cutters. This makes them an indispensable tool for slicing through padlocks, chains, bolts, and wire.

How to do Bolt Cutters Work

How to Adjust Bolt Cutters

Here are some tips for adjusting bolt cutters to keep them in proper working order:

  • Check blade alignment - The cutting edges should meet evenly across the entire length. If they are misaligned, loosen the nut on the pivot bolt and adjust the blades until they align correctly.
  • Tighten pivot joint - Make sure the nut and bolt at the pivot joint are tight enough to hold the cutting blades securely in alignment, but not so tight that the joint cannot move.
  • Lubricate the pivot - Apply a light machine oil or lithium grease to the pivot joint bolt and nut. This reduces friction and wear allowing the joint to move freely.
  • Replace worn bushings - If the pivot joint is loose with excessive play, the nylon bushings may need replacement to restore a precise fit.
  • Adjust handle spread - Some bolt cutter models have adjustment screws to set the handle open width. Adjust for optimal ergonomics.
  • Tighten handle bolts - Ensure the bolts or rivets securing the handle grips are snug to keep handles firmly attached.
  • Sharpen blades - Maintain the cutting-edge sharpness. Dull blades require more force to cut.
  • Clean debris - Buildup of dirt, grime, or metal shavings can impede smooth operation. Keep your jaws clean.
  • Store closed - Always store bolt cutters with handles closed to prevent dulling or damage to the blade edges.

With proper adjustments and care, good-quality bolt cutters should provide years of smooth, precise cutting action.

How to Adjust Bolt Cutters

Top 5 Most Reputable Bolt Cutters You Should Choose

Here are 5 of the top reputable bolt cutters to consider for quality and performance:

Milwaukee 48-22-4124 24-Inch Bolt Cutter

The Milwaukee 48-22-4124 bolt cutter is a 24-inch industrial-grade model designed for the heaviest cutting jobs. It utilizes a reinforced saw bolt pivot to withstand repetitive cutting force. The long handles and Quad Power leverage give this bolt cutter the ability to cut Grade 5 bolts up to 5/8 inches thick. At this size, it can take on larger padlocks, chains, and hardware. Weighing 14.75 pounds, the rugged forged alloy steel jaws provide durability along with replaceable cutting blades. Milwaukee is trusted for creating durable, high-performance professional power tools.

Knipex 71 12 200 10-Inch Bolt Cutter

For portability and ease of use, the Knipex 71 12 200 is a top choice with a compact 10-inch design. The chrome vanadium electric steel jaws effortlessly cut materials up to 3/8-inch diameter. At just 2 pounds, it fits nicely in your tool belt for convenience. ErgoGrip on the vinyl dipped handles enhances comfort while the lever-link system optimizes cutting force. Founded in 1882, Knipex is renowned for superb quality pliers, cutters, and other hand tools. Made in Germany, you can rely on precision manufacturing.

Klein Tools D200-14NE 14-Inch Bolt Cutter

With a 14-inch capacity, the Klein Tools D200-14NE quickly cuts through 3/8-inch materials like a hot knife through butter. The dual material handles provide a comfortable, sure grip. Induction-hardened cutting knives stay sharp, while the heat-treated blade keeps its strength. Klein Tools has been manufacturing heavy-duty American-made hand tools since 1857. Their "Journeyman" line offers professional reliability to make tough jobs easier.

DeWalt DCS350B 20V MAX Lithium Ion Mini Bolt Cutter

The DeWalt DCS350B 20V MAX cordless bolt cutter gives you powered cutting versatility. The 20V MAX lithium-ion battery enables portable, hassle-free use. Weighing only 7.2 pounds, this compact tool can cut through screws, nails, tie wire, and small anchor bolts easily with just one hand. Part of the 20V MAX system, the battery is compatible with other tools. DeWalt consistently delivers power and innovation for professional tradesmen.

Crescent 170KCM 36-Inch Extra Large Bolt Cutter

With a mammoth 36-inch bolt cutters capacity, the Crescent 170KCM model can cut bolts over 1-1/4 inches. Ductile iron construction ensures strength in the vital pivot bolt and handles. Industrial-grade performance comes from the heat-treated alloy steel blades. Crescent has been synonymous with strongest bolt cutters, reliable hand tools since 1907. When you have a high-volume metal cutting job, these extra large bolt cutters have the rugged durability to get it done.

Top 5 Most Reputable Bolt Cutters You Should Choose


Investing in a quality bolt cutter price from a leading brand is the best way to ensure you have a tool that can handle tough metal-cutting jobs for years to come. When you need to cut chains, padlocks, large bolts, or wiring, choose from recommended top-rated models like those from Milwaukee, Knipex, Klein Tools, DeWalt, and Crescent. Consider the size, cutting capacity, and features you need for the types of materials you'll be working with. Proper maintenance like sharpening blades and lubricating pivot points will also keep your bolt cutters performing optimally.

For other high-quality tools, check out Tonix Tools at Located at 1942 Broadway Suite 314 C Boulder, Colorado 80302 USA, Tonix Tools provides professional and home users with ratchets, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, and more. Their expertly engineered tools are known for strength, durability, and reliability to make your jobs easier. When you need dependable performance from your tools, choose Tonix. Investing in professional-grade tools upfront saves time, money, and frustration down the road.

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