One of my favorite tools is the Flush Cutter. I like them so much that I have seven of them right now. Yes besides the Multimeters and Bench Power Supplies I have also have a flush cutter addiction.
In the course of my daily play in the shop I am constantly working with soldering components and clipping leads. A good flush cutter fits the hand well and has a spring action that opens as one's grip is relaxed. The cutter jaws must close evenly and not allow any sunlight to pass through the closure. A sharp cutting edge on the jaw will cut the lead without snapping it off. This is important as it keeps the cut lead from acquiring kinetic energy from the cutting action and shooting off across the room. The metal of the jaw must be substantial and there should be no lateral play in the pivot point. If there is lateral play in the pivot point the cutting edges will skew and twist the lead as they attempt to cut it. This is not pretty and makes one regret having paid money for the tool. The metal of the cutter must be hard enough to hold its sharpness through a large number of clippings and yet not so hard that it becomes brittle and chips easily. If the metal of the cutter isn't hard enough then the edge will loose its sharpness quickly and not make a good cut. The machining of the tip of the cutter must be exact so that a small diameter wire can be cut with the very end. This is necessary when cutting wires that are laying along a hard surface.
Until today I have never had a cutter that met all of these desirable characteristics.
Enter the AVEN Flush Cutter
I had a chance to look at a pair of these flush cutters at the recent Embedded Systems Show that I attended and decided to give them a try. At $25 they are the most expensive flush cutters that I have ever used but after testing them out it became apparent that I have been wasting my money for many years on cheaper compromises. The first test I ran was to see if I could cut a piece of 30 GA wire (0.25 mm) that was laid flat on a piece of glass with the tip of the AVEN 826.
The 826 engaged the wire and I could feel the cut as it separated the wire. If you look closely at the wire to the right of the 826 you will see a slight bend. This bend is the result of attempting to cut the same wire twice with my next best flush cutters which cost me $16.
The 826 pliers are made of special hardened cast steel as opposed to the stamped metal usually associated with flush cutters. The picture above is a good illustration of the difference. Furthermore the pivot point of the 826 is secured with a fastener and not a rivet as is common on the lower priced tools. Here are a couple pictures of the AVEN pivot point.
If I try to move the handles of the $16 cutters laterally I can feel a definite looseness that does not exist when I try the same test with the AVEN.
If these features weren't enough the AVEN cutter also has special ESD resistant hand grips which is a feature I didn't even realize existed. Up to now just being insulated was enough.
If you like Flush Cutters like I do and if the pair you are currently using is in need of replacement don't make the mistake I have been making for years and get a pair of the $16 cutters. There really isn't that much difference in cost between a quality compromise and a pair of flush cutters that are going to make you smile.