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How to Cut Speaker Wire

Have you ever tried to connect your speaker wires to the speakers only to find out that the wire is a little too short? There are many ways to cut the wire in order to extend it, but not all of them protect you and the wire. This tutorial covers everything you’ll need to know before cutting your speaker wire and how to cut and strip speaker wires, starting with the right tools.

The Right Tools for Cutting Speaker Wire

  • Automatic wire strippers (with cutter section)
  • Cutting pliers
  • Needle nose pliers (with cutting section)
  • Stripper tool with cutting feature
  • Utility scissors (only for smaller gauge wires)

Some of the tools listed above are best used for wires of different thickness and gauges, but it is best to have them all at your disposal should the need arise. Generally, cutting pliers are the recommended tools for amateur wire cutting as they can cut a wide range of wire gauges and sizes if used gently. 

Although, if you are cutting, let’s say, an 18GA wire (thin speaker wires), other tools may be best. For convenience, especially if you do light work occasionally, you could have an all-in-one tool such as a crimp tool. 

How to Cut Speaker Wire

  • Place the wire (the point at which you want to cut it) in-between the cutting feature of the Automatic wire stripper and apply pressure (squeeze) on the levers (handles). Do the same process for a Crimp.
  • For needle nose pliers with cutting features, place the speaker wire between the cutter (usually placed close to the fulcrum) and apply pressure on the handles.
  • Cutting pliers and utility scissors are pretty straightforward: a cutting plier, for example, only has one function. Place the speaker wire at the point you want to cut it, and apply enough pressure on the tool’s handles. Repeat the process for a utility scissor.

As you’ve seen, cutting a speaker wire isn’t hard—especially when you’re using the proper tool. You should always resist the impulsive urge to cut your speaker wires with your teeth, knives, or regular scissors—especially if you have a cutter. Regular scissors could damage your speaker wire by “jamming” the wire, and knives can cut you real bad. 

However, if you must use scissors, use a utility scissor instead, which is, in itself, a proper wire cutting tool. The main idea in cutting a speaker wire is: Insert the speaker wire in the cutting tool, slightly squeeze the cutting tool to secure the wire’s position, and press firmly to snap the speaker wire.

How To Strip Speaker Wire

Step 1. Insert the wire (usually 1/2 inch) into the stripper tool (in the correct wire gauge hole). Squeeze the stripper just enough to hold the wire firmly in position.