Home > News

What are Bolt Cutters and How to Use Them

Sep. 14, 2022

What are bolt cutters

Bolt cutters are heavy-duty cutting tools designed to cut through very thick materials. Materials cut include thick steel wire, thick metal bolts, padlocks, nails, screws, small trees and branches. Bolt cutters come in many shapes and sizes and are designed for different purposes. Bolt cutters usually have a short blade and a long handle.

bolt cutter

How bolt cutters work

Instead of cutting the material like scissors, bolt cutters focus their force on a small contact area of the blade to crush the material. A standard long handle and a compound hinge (a joint that provides additional strength to the jaws) work together to provide the bolt cutter with incredible cutting power.

Their cutting force is obtained through the "leverage" principle. This means that the force applied over a long distance (in this case the length of the handle) is converted into a larger force over a short distance (in this case the jaws).

How to use the bolt cutter

Adjusting the cutter

Turn the bolt on the cutter head to obtain the correct blade tension. This eccentric bolt allows you to obtain the ideal tension for efficient cutting. It is located in the middle of the cutting head where the handles intersect.

Mark the target

Locate the item to be cut. Clearly mark the location on the item to be cut so you can determine where to strike.

Open the cutting blade

The handle must be pulled in the opposite direction. Pull the cutting blade as far as possible. Eventually, the target will occupy the middle position between the blades.

Approaching the target

Place the blade around the marked point. It is important to confirm the blade position so that the target is closer to the intersection of the handles. This is where the maximum force is applied when you start cutting.

Closing the blade

Close the blade firmly at the marked position. Hold firmly and close slowly to prevent the blade from sliding off as you cut into the target. Avoid moving the blade away from the marked position as you approach the target.

Apply force

Press down hard on the handle. Once you get the first notch on the target, be sure to continue cutting in the same position. Repeat this action until the blade cuts through the object. For softer materials, you should be able to make the cut on the first attempt. Heavier materials will require continuous cutting motions until the material yields to the tool.

Tips for using the bolt cutter

In general, the heavier the material being cut, the longer the handle of the breaker should be.

Although the blades are very strong, you may sometimes find it difficult to cut heavy materials. This can help if you turn the blade handle back and forth while cutting.

If you find it very hard to cut, you can replace the pliers with larger ones.

Wear gloves when using the bolt cutter to prevent slippage and to provide grip.

Wear goggles. Tiny pieces of metal can fly into the air and land in your eyes, causing serious injury.