Hydraulic crimping tools are specialized pliers designed to fold and crush metals like copper and aluminum in various forms; to crimp a metal object is to squeeze it into a joint or closure so tight it won’t re-open on its own. Crimping can be an effective way to conjoin two pieces of metal, such as attaching a connector to the end of a cable, by re-shaping one or both to hold them together. Hydraulic crimping tools are especially useful for dealing with larger or multiple wires or cables, as they’re more powerful than their manual counterparts and make crisper and sharper corners and folds.
Buying Guide for Hydraulic Crimping Tools
Why buy a hydraulic crimping tool?
Hydraulic crimping tools can be used on cable wiring, welding cables, electric cables, and other types of cables and wires as well. Some people like to use hydraulic crimping tools over other tools with similar functionality because they’re generally portable and don’t take up a lot of storage space. Many find them easier to use than similar tools like hammer crimps or manual crimping tools. Depending on the type of hydraulic crimping tool in question, they can be incredibly versatile.
What should you look for in a hydraulic crimping tool?
- Type: For such a simple tool, there is some variation to be found. A crimper that works well on extra-thick copper wire may not work as well on wires made of different metals. Some types of hydraulic crimpers may work better for welding or electric cables than others. Be sure to check the descriptions of any hydraulic crimping tool you buy to make sure it’s compatible with the task for which you’ll need to use it.
- Dies: Dies are the interchangeable jaws of a crimping tool, the parts that touch and shape the metal. The quality, shape, size, and number of dies included with a hydraulic crimping tool will vary depending on the tool or kit itself and the company that makes it. You’ll also want to look for tools that have dies made of durable material, as they will be on the receiving end of most of the wear and tear during use.
- Force: The strength and force of a hydraulic crimping tool, measured in tons, can also vary considerably. The thicker and tougher the metal you’re working with, the more force you’ll need from your hydraulic crimping tool. Five to eight tons is a pretty standard level of force, so if you’re going to use the tool on a tougher metal like aluminum or steel, you’ll want to buy a crimper that’s in the 12- to 16-ton range.
What are some pros and cons of hydraulic crimping?
Compared to manually crimping with a hand crimper, hydraulic crimping tools offer an easier experience by minimizing user strain. Thus, they are ideal for those who undertake projects where crimping is required with regularity. However, hydraulic crimping tools are considerably more expensive than hand crimpers, especially when comparing prices for premium models from top brands. Some also opine that hydraulic crimping tools are easier to break, especially when the tool is used improperly.
Our Picks for the Best Hydraulic Crimping Tools
HYCLAT 10 Tons Hydraulic Crimping Tool
A well-designed crimping tool set with 11 easy-to-switch dies able to cut soft and hard metals alike.
Pros: This hydraulic crimping tool will work on a wide range of cables and wires, including but not limited to battery cables, welding cables, power wires, and electrical cables. It’s also ideal for working in tight or narrow spaces thanks to its compact design. Compared to similarly-priced products, this crimper excels at getting the job done the first time without the need to re-crimp to get a solid connection. While this isn’t the most powerful crimper on the market, its versatile crimping range and comfortable-to-use design will make it a convenient option for most people.
Cons: While this crimping tool is able to work in tight spots, it’s fairly heavy. That being the case, if you will be making connections all day, it might be worthwhile to seek out a lighter crimper. Also, the dies that come with this product scored polarizing reviews from users, so do your research in order to determine if this set is ideal for your needs.
Bottom Line: For the price, the HYCLAT 10 Tons Hydraulic Crimping Tool impresses in its ability to cleanly crimp heavy gauge wire on the first try. While it can get pretty heavy during prolonged use, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a crimper that’s more reliable at this price range.
TEMCo TH0006 Hydraulic Terminal Crimper Kit
This hydraulic crimping tool kit sports a unique, compact design made for all welding and battery cables.
Pros: Featuring a portable design that can be used with one hand, the TEMCo TH0006 Hydraulic Terminal Crimper is a step above most competitors in terms of build quality. The new kit includes a tool that applies consistent pressure across all sides as well as resistance for high pull out. It can crimp all battery cables, welding cables, building wiring, and terminal lugs, including heavy cast lugs. Besides the matching carrying case, this tool comes with 32 dies, including nine standard-sized options of 12 to 20 AWG and nine plus-sized ones best suited for thin-wall terminals and non-standard lugs.
Cons: Compared to the budget-friendly hydraulic crimper kits that you’ll see online, this product might stick out to some folks for the wrong reasons. For one thing, it’s priced significantly higher than some seemingly comparable kits. Also, it provides less crimping power than other crimping tools, so make sure it’s suitable for your intended application before making the investment.
Bottom Line: While this isn’t the most affordable crimping kit on the market, its attention to detail and next-level build quality make it worth the cost for those who put quality first. Its stamped dies make it really easy to locate the right die if you ever need to re-crimp a terminal.
Goplus 16 Ton Hydraulic Wire Crimper
This crimping tool is very handy in tight spaces thanks to its rotating head. It also sports next-level crimping power.
Pros: The Goplus Hydraulic Wire Crimper sports an impressive crimping power of 16 tons, which is plenty of force for a wide range of applications, including crimping welding cables, battery cables, power wires, butt connectors, and more. Its compact head freely rotates 180 degrees, which makes this tool easier to maneuver in tight spaces than many of the alternatives you will find. It also comes with 11 dies and a sturdy plastic case for easy transportation and convenient storage, making it a convenient choice with a budget-friendly price tag.
Cons: While this tool’s rotating head makes it easy to use in tight spots, it’s fairly hefty when compared to other crimpers, so operating it with one hand for prolonged sessions might cause more user strain than you’d think. Also, its build quality isn’t on par with premium models, but this is to be expected given its low asking price.
Bottom Line: This budget crimping tool is capable of a lot, but it will probably require more of a learning curve than premium crimping tools to achieve picture-perfect crimps on the first attempt. It impresses in its power, surprisingly durable design, and safety features, making it an excellent option for those seeking more for less.
WBHome Hydraulic Wire Crimper
This rugged hydraulic crimping tool is built to last and sports a design that makes one-handed operation as simple as possible.
Pros: Don’t let its affordable price tag fool you; this highly-rated crimping tool from WBHome is surprisingly durable and designed with one-hand operation in mind. Its hardened steel dies come with a chrome finish to maximize their usable life, and it’s fairly easy to ensure they’re perfectly centered for an immaculate crimp. If you’re seeking to efficiently crimp copper and aluminum and are looking for a product that can withstand some use and abuse, this is a great choice that is unlikely to break the bank.
Cons: Some reviewers noted that the instructions that come with this product are hard to understand, so be sure that you’re well versed in using a hydraulic crimping tool before you put this crimper through its paces. Also, the dies tend to move around just a bit, so be careful that they’re perfectly centered before achieving your crimp.
Bottom Line: Many hydraulic crimping tools at this price point leave something to be desired in durability, but this one can withstand plenty of use without breaking a sweat. However, it doesn’t hold dies quite as stable as premium crimpers, so it’s not the sort of device you’d want to use while on autopilot.
IBOSAD Hydraulic Cable Lug Crimper Tool
This budget-friendly hydraulic crimping tool is great for making clean crimps with minimal strain.
Pros: Although the IBOSAD Hydraulic Cable Lug Crimper Tool isn’t much more expensive than most hand crimpers, its versatile crimping range of 12 AWG to 2/0 AWG makes it a great option for those who want to effortlessly make clean, solid crimps on a budget. Despite its affordable price tag, it also comes with some helpful features, such as its rotating head, which makes working in confined spaces reasonably effortless. While this is far from the best hydraulic crimping tool on the market, it’s an excellent choice for those who require a solid crimp once every blue moon.
Cons: While this tool can make clean crimps, it’s slightly more complicated to achieve them than with similar products. For one thing, dies tend to fall out fairly easily since the magnet isn’t as strong as alternative products. Also, its size makes it fairly tricky to use with a single hand, especially if you have small or average-sized hands.
Bottom Line: While this won’t be the first choice for most people’s crimping needs, it’s a fairly reliable option compared to the few other hydraulic crimping tools at its price point. That being said, insecure dies and its awkward sizing may make this product a little frustrating to use for those who will be utilizing it often.
If you find yourself hand-crimping cables for work or DIY projects, opting for a high-quality hydraulic crimping tool is a no-brainer. Be sure to do your research and read user reviews to make an educated choice for the best hydraulic crimping tool for your unique needs.