Quik Strip Wire Stripper Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
Works fairly well on smaller gauge wires (~14-18 gauge).
Works better with harder types of insulation; soft wire insulation causes pulling rather than clean cut.
The blue half of the handle in photos is metal, the black portions are plastic.
The wire cutter works on the smaller gauge wires. 30-day guarantee, but company is apparently defunct.
Update: After nearly 10 years, I still use the smaller Quik Strip quite often in the garage, and the tool has held up after all this time, so I'm a happy camper.
I'm a sucker for those late-night TV ads.
My wife gets a kick out of watching me; I guess my eyes light up as my brain calculates how much easier my life would be if only I owned a kitchen knife that can cut soda cans in half, a pocket-sized dent remover or a magic wand that removes water spots after I wash the car.
I really hate to admit this, but I actually bought one of those pillows filled with buckwheat shells , figuring that I'd feel so restful in the morning that I'd actually want to go to work.
Of course, I absolutely couldn't resist the ad for the Quik Strip wire stripper tool. After all, they make it look so easy! Grab a wire, two wires...heck, grab four wires and whack-o! the insulation flies off the wires like chips off a chainsaw.
So in the interest of full disclosure for webBikeWorld visitors, I ponied up the $19.95 and the outrageous $9.95 for shipping and handling and placed my order. Fourteen days later the box arrived in the regular U.S. Mail, parcel post.
The Quik Strip package includes a "free" mini-sized Quik Strip tool, plus a DVD entitled "The Basics of Household Wiring". I watched the DVD first, and I have to admit that for an electrical dummy like me, it wasn't bad.
I learned a thing or two about how electricity gets into a home and how to connect a new circuit to the main electrical service entrance, how to wire a wall outlet and how to install a lighting fixture.
Not bad actually, a fairly professional job of DVD production, although I definitely wouldn't tackle a household wiring job with just the amount of information presented. But for very basic background knowledge about wiring, it will do fine.
The concept behind the Quik Strip tool is to enable the user to cut and strip wires quickly and easily.
The device needs no adjustment; slip the wire into the sheet metal jaws of the Quik Strip, squeeze the handle, and the end of the wire is stripped and ready for use in, for example, a Posi-Lock connector (review), which is the best way to splice wires that we've ever found).
Each Quik Strip also has a built-in wire cutter. The wire cutter (yellow arrow, photo left) is located just below the jaws of the Quik Strip.
The larger, or standard size Quik Strip tool is claimed to be designed for wires from 0.2mm (.007") to 6mm (.236") in diameter.
The mini-sized Quik Strip's box claims that the smaller unit is designed for wire diameters from 0.2mm (.007") to 3mm (.118"). So in effect, the smaller Quik Strip is theoretically capable of stripping any of the wires commonly found on a motorcycle, that is, from 12 to 20 gauge.
As a point of reference, a 10-gauge wire (about the largest you'll ever find on a motorcycle) is .128" diameter, not counting the the insulation thickness, which will vary, depending upon the quality.
The 10-gauge wire (green in the photos) I used for this article is .180" in diameter, including the insulation. Here's a table (right) listing the gauge sizes and corresponding wire only (no insulation) diameters for the most common sizes found on motorcycles.
I'll have to catch the Quik Strip advertisement again, because I could have sworn that it shows the Quik Strip going to work on a piece of "Romex" three-wire cable, used to wire households.
But as you can see from this photo (left), the piece of Romex I tried (.230", or 5.2mm) is too big to fit into the jaws of the Quik Strip.
I used a Mitutoyo Vernier dial caliper to measure the jaw opening on the Quik Strip, and found the larger sized Quik Strip to have a .150" opening, or 3.81mm, while the smaller Quik Strip has an opening of .240", or 6mm, so go figure.
For purposes of motorcycle repair and maintenance, this doesn't matter, because I don't think you'll be finding a Romex-wired bike any time soon.
I tried each of the Quik Strip tools on wires of each gauge shown in the chart above. I tried the built-in wire cutter and the wire stripper on each of the Quik Strip tools.
I found that the smaller Quik Strip tool actually seemed to work better than the larger. It can easily cut wire from 20 up to 14 gauge, and it also easily and quickly removed the insulation off of the 20, 18, 16 and 14 gauge wires.
The process seemed to be about as easy as it appears in the Quik Strip ad; clip off the wire, put the end of the wire in the jaw, squeeze the handle and the insulation pops right off.
I also tried the Quik Strip on a couple of pieces of wire with softer insulation. The softer insulation stretched a bit too much for the Quik Strip to grab.
Apparently, the jaws work by grabbing the insulation and then the quick pull on the handle snaps the insulation off the end of the wire. If the insulation has too much stretch, or if the handles aren't yanked quickly enough, the insulation doesn't cut smoothly.
I also found that the thicker the wire, the more trouble I had making a clean cut or a clean strip.
I could not cut any wires of 10-gauge or thicker with either size Quik Strip. It also took several tries to strip the ends of the green 10-gauge wire in the photo (left).
I assume this is because the larger wires have too much surface area and friction between the wire and the insulation, the Quik Strip just doesn't seem to have enough grunt to overcome the resistance.
The plastic handle and the plastic jaws are noticeably flexible when stripping 10-gauge or larger wires, which leads me to question how long the Quik Strip will last.
My feeling is that the Quik Strip is not a professional tool meant to be used on a daily basis for lots of wire cutting or stripping.
But I suppose for occasional use, such as motorcycle electrical repair, it will be satisfactory.
But the price is an issue. Thirty bucks is a lot of money, considering you can buy a nice quality wire cutter/stripper for about half that.
Just for argument's sake, I tried cutting and stripping the same wires with my Gardner Bender GS-70 "Pro" wire cutter/stripper/crimper. It has no problem at all whacking off pieces of the 10 gauge wire.
It can also strip from 22 to 10 gauge wire, but it does take a bit longer. You insert the wire in the correct opening, and you sort of have to use a circular motion to slice through the insulation, and it takes more effort to strip the wire than with the Quik Strip.
I guess the bottom line is this: I wish the Quik Strip wire strippers were made entirely from metal; I think this would eliminate some of the flex, which might help them work better, and I'm not confident that they will last very long, especially under and type of severe usage.
[UPDATE: Well, it's now 2015 and we're still using the Quik Strip! It's now called the Quick Grip Wire Stripper and the new design has a better build quality. It hasn't failed yet and the smaller model is very handy for quickly stripping any of the 12 to 26 gauge wires you'll find on a motorcycle.]
I'm not satisfied with the larger sized Quik Strip tool that I received, because it has a smaller opening than the mini-Quik Strip, and it seems to flex more and is harder to operate successfully.
I also think the Quik Strip tools are very expensive for what they do. That said, I have to admit that for the smaller gauge (18 to 12 gauge), the Quik Strip seems to work as advertised and does make it a bit easier to cut and strip wires.
|wBW Review: Quik Strip Wire Stripper|
|Manufacturer: Quik Strip||List Price (2004?): $19.95 + $9.95 S&H|
|Colors: Black/Blue||Made In: China|
|Review Date: February 2004 (?)|
From "J.W.S.": "I just read you review on the quick strip wire stripper and noticed the part about not being able to fit Romex in the tool. I just got a stripper free with the cold heat soldering tool and put a piece of 14-2 Romex with the outer sleeve in it.
The Romex fit fine but when I pulled the handle there was a pop and the cable was left unstripped but the Quik Strip exploded into 4 pieces. It can handle the Romex fine in you remove the outer sleeve first.
But the cheap plastic hinge the tool has can not handle the pressure. They should have made the hinge out of metal or at least used metal reinforcement being it is the part of the tool that is sustained to the most force. so keep this in mind and let your other readers know so they and you are not left heart broken with pieces of what used to be a wire stripper."