The Best Way To Strip Copper Wire

Stripped Copper Wire

Stripping copper wire might seem straightforward, but there’s an art to it that can significantly impact your efficiency and the quality of the results. If you want to make some extra cash from scrap and clean up the materials you’ve found, mastering the art of wire stripping can be rewarding.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the most efficient and straightforward ways to strip different types of copper wire. We hope to help you make informed decisions when you strip through the process to ensure ease of use and safety.

Before we start…

Do’s & Don’t’s of Stripping Copper Wire

  • Rule of thumb – actually, the pinky: Cables and wires thicker than your pinky are generally good ones to strip.
  • Many wires or cables that have multiple strands of copper that are thin (think data wire) should not be stripped.
  • Wires or cables with thicker strands or more than 50% of the thickness of copper should be stripped. Read more about the percentage of recovery.
  • Tip: Warmer wire and cable strip easier – sit in the sun (especially during warmer months) for 1-2 hours before. You should never burn wire.

Step By Step: How To Strip Copper Wire

Step 1: Determine What to Strip

Before you start stripping, it’s crucial to identify which wires or cables are worth the effort. Here’s a rule of thumb: cables thicker than your pinky finger are generally good candidates for stripping. Look for wires with thicker strands or those that are composed of over 50% copper. Avoid thin wires with multiple strands, especially data wires, as stripping them might not be worth the effort.

Step 2: Prepare for Stripping

Once you’ve identified wires that are suitable for stripping, consider this helpful tip to make the process smoother. Warm wires are easier to strip. On a sunny day, leave the wire or cable in the sun for 1-2 hours before you begin. Avoid attempting to strip burnt wires, as this is unsafe and can release harmful fumes.

Step 3: Choose the Right Tools

Investing in the right tools can drastically improve your efficiency. As always, scale the type of stripper you have to the amount of material you regularly see and need to strip. If you are scrapping less than 100 lbs, a handheld stripper will work just fine.

On the other end of the scale, if you are scrapping thousands of pounds of copper, then maybe it’s time to invest in an automatic wire stripper. One of the best tools for efficient wire stripping is an automatic wire stripper. These devices are designed to handle various wire sizes and insulation types, making the process faster and more consistent.

Klein Tools 11061 Wire Stripper
$32.24 $21.97

Wire Cutter for Solid and Stranded AWG Wire, Heavy Duty Kleins are Self Adjusting

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Overall Best
CREWORKS Automatic Wire Stripping Machine

Constructed from solid aerospace-grad aluminum alloy, this wire stripper can withstand rigorous environments and last for years.

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Step 4: The Stripping Process

The part that everyone loves (or maybe dreads) doing. This step will depend on which tool you are using so as a result, this will look different for everyone. In general, a few helpful tips for stripping are

Stripping copper wire can be profitable with the right knowledge and tools. By identifying wires suitable for stripping, preparing them correctly, using the right tools, and following a step-by-step process, you can efficiently strip copper wire and ensure you get the best possible prices when bringing it to your local yard.

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