Bolt Cutters

Bolt cutters are amongst the most powerful hand tools available, giving users the strength required to cut through tough metal with ease. They are easily identifiable by their long handles and short, robust blades.

Cromwell stocks a wide range of high-quality bolt cutters, from trusted brands such as Irwin®, Knipex®, Kennedy®, Ridgid® and more.

What are bolt cutters?

Bolt cutters look like pliers that have seriously hit the gym. They sport much longer and more durable handles that allow users to apply a tremendous amount of force to the neck, jaws, and blades. The blades themselves are incredibly hard and are designed to shear or cut some of the strongest metals available.

Why bolt cutters?

A good pair of bolt cutters allow users to make heavy duty metal cutting as easy as slicing bread. They boast a hardy construction and sharp, powerful blades that slice through metal quickly and cleanly.

As bolt cutters are a hand tool, they are one of the only ways to effectively cut metal without requiring a power supply. This makes them extremely portable, and easy to use in outdoor jobs such as construction or farming.

When are bolt cutters used?

Bolt cutters are used by almost every working industry on the planet. A few of their most common uses are:

• Metalworking - Bolt cutters can easily cut the metal rods and bars used in metalworking.
• Construction - Bolt cutters excel at cutting through rebar, wire mesh and a number of other construction materials.
• Shipping - The strong jaws of a bolt cutter are used for opening sea containers after transport.
• Farming - Bolt cutters can easily remove old fencing, clearing a path for agricultural upgrades.
• DIY - Whether you're upgrading your home or simply cutting loose the rusty padlock on the shed, bolt cutters will never not be useful.

If you're looking for the right set of bolt cutters for your job but aren't sure about the best choice for your needs, feel free to ask our experts for specialised advice.

Types of bolt cutter

When choosing a pair of bolt cutters, you'll be faced with a few options that each provide a slightly different cut:

• Angled cut bolt cutters - Angled cut bolt cutters are designed to cut at an angle of around 30 degrees, giving them an advantage when it comes to certain tasks. They are often used for cutting screws and nails that protrude from a workpiece.

• Clipper cut bolt cutters - Clipper bolt cutters boast an angled blade on a flat side to create a high cutting pressure on one single point. This makes them useful for various agricultural applications, as well as creating quick cuts in thinner metals.

• Bolt shear cutters - Bolt shear cutters are very similar to standard bolt cutters; yet they have shearing blades instead of matching blades, akin to a pair of scissors. This makes them excel at clean cutting through wires and cables.

• Centre cut bolt cutters - Centre cut bolt cutters have - as the name suggests - centre cut blades that meet in the middle. They are primarily designed for cutting through thick rods or cables with ease.

• Compact bolt cutters - Compact bolt cutters typically have handles that are 8" or less and are capable of performing lighter cutting jobs in favour of reduced size and increased portability. They are generally used for lighter jobs around the home or garden.

Considerations when choosing bolt cutters

• Cutting power - If you regularly use your cutters in heavy-duty scenarios, it's important to guarantee they're up for the job. For cutting, ensure the blades are a suitable material and quality to easily slice the materials you'll be cutting.

• Handle material - Handle material is important as it's the handle which delivers the force and turns it into usable cutting torque. Steel handles are made for outright strength, whereas aluminium handles aren't quite as durable but provide a better strength/weight ratio. Fibreglass handles are also available for smaller bolt cutters - they are extremely lightweight but are unable to withstand as much force as their metal counterparts.

• Coating - If you work predominantly outdoors, or in an environment prone to corrosion, it's worth buying bolt cutters with a corrosion-proof black oxide coating. This will greatly increase the longevity of your cutters.

Bolt cutter jargon buster

High leverage
If your bolt cutters are 'high leverage' it generally means they have longer handles for a more powerful cut on tougher objects and materials.

Standards to look out for
ISO 5743:2004 - This specifies technical requirements and edge hardiness that bolt cutters must adhere to.


Will a bolt cutter cut a padlock?
Yes - bolt cutters will cut through most padlocks, and law and repossession officials typically use them this way. Many modern padlocks are designed to resist a bolt cutter, however.

What size bolt cutter for chain link fence?
When removing a chain link fence, bolt cutters that are 20-25cm (7-10in) are ideal. They are big enough to snip through any link, without being too cumbersome to effectively use on a fence.

Can bolt cutters cut through hardened steel?
Certain larger bolt cutters are able to cut through hardened steel rods and chain. Smaller bolt cutters are more likely to be ineffective at cutting hardened steel.