Today we have the Knipex 16 85 125 SB universal cable dismantling tool.
As those pointed out during a KC Tool unboxing video on this product, this is actually are rebranded product from Jokari. Specifically, the Secura No 15 Super Stripper.
This particular tool is not specifically targeted toward electricians, but more for technicians who deal with low voltage multi-conductor cable installations and terminations. The advertised limits are for any round cable between 8 and 13mm in diameter or approximately 5/16” to 1/2”.
This being a rebranded product, it doesn’t look like they got the Knipex red and blue colors quite right as you can see from the differences in one of their comfort grips.
Now taking a closer look at the unit, it has a plastic clamshell construction with a sliding switch to lock it in the closed position.
There is a spring on one end to keep it open when unlocked. The plastic material is a glass fiber reinforced nylon with rubber over molded portions. I believe the overmolded arrows on the outside are mainly for gripping purposes.
At one end of the unit there is six positions for stripping single conductor wires. The wire diameters in millimeters for each position are over molded into the unit. These correspond to approximately 12 to 24 AWG. One thing I would have liked to have seen is the other side of the unit be marked with the AWG values as many technicians and electricians only deal with this particular unit.
On the outside of the unit there is a retractable cable knife that can be used for cutting, stripping and doing manual longitudinal insulation cuts.
There are detents in the mold for both the fully open and closed positions of this short blade. It looks like from the discoloration on the blade that the edge has been heat-treated in some way.
Also on this same end is metal spike molded in to the unit that is also used for doing longitudinal stripping of cable jackets. For this feature the cable would be placed in between the two adjacent holes at the end and then pulled through.
At the opposite end of the unit there are two parallel blades that are used for doing circular jacket insulation removal.
Now to get into some testing of the unit. First, the least useful feature I have found is the retractable blade. It is not particularly sharp and only has very limited use in my opinion. It is not sharp enough to get through large cable ties, but might be able to get through some types of plastic strapping. You will still need your small side cutters for these other operations. I suppose you could try and sharpen the blade, but this might be difficult given how short it is.
By far the most use I have gotten out of this tool is reterminating existing IEC power cables for use in power tool restorations. The jackets stripping end works perfectly for PVC insulation, which is one of the most common you see utilized in these types of cables. Since nearly all modern consumer electronics comes with one of these, I reuse them all the time for all sorts of small projects.
You can then use the single wire striper to strip each individual conductor with the same tool. One thing I wish this tool would have is a simple wire cutter, even if for small gauge wire it would have been extremely useful for trimming small wires.
For using the longitudinal jacket stripper you place the cable in the two holes at the end and allow the embedded post to piece the insulation and then pull along the length of the cable. The success of this really depends on how thick the cable jacket is, as the post will only piece a couple of millimeters into the cable. I got it to work just fine on this IEC cable, which has a quite thick jacket on it.
Just to test it on a couple more cable samples, this is the type of cable that I would expect this tool to be most useful on. Here is a 4-pair telco cable with a PVC jacket made by Lapp Kabel. No problems at all removing the jacket.
There is also a copper braid on this particular cable to provide some shielding. I don’t normally remove these with this type of tool, but you certainly can with the same blades used to remove the jacket.
However, doing this on every cable would most certainly wear out the blades prematurely. Now for things like these nylon filler strands makes me wish again there was a simple pair of shears on the tool. You’ll just have to remove these the old fashion way.
Disadvantage for Small Data Cables
One issue I ran into is that this particular model is only applicable to a very specific range of outer cable diameter. When you run into smaller cables you would need to use another tool to get the jacket off.
For some smaller data cabling such as CAT 6 cable, I found that you can use the jacket stripper when the cable is make out of a softer PVC material. Knipex and Jokari sell a tool that is more suited for CAT5 and CAT6 cable. The PC Strip is one that would be equivalent to this tool that is targeted for those smaller data cables.
I’ve been using this unit for around 6 months now and it has been holding up well with all the blades still sufficiently sharp and no issues with the the plastic cracking or warping.
The unit itself is a little bit pricey for what it does, but there are a couple of alternatives for those on a budget who might not need all of the features that this particular tool offers. At roughly half the cost, the similar 16 80 125 SB model only contains the barrel jacket stripper and does not have the longitudinal stripper, cable knife or conductor strippers. But this is definitely an option for those that only use this for doing short cable jacket removals.
There are also a couple of other cable dismantling tools that Knipex offers, include the Ergostrip that appears to be an updated design of this tool that has all of the same features except for the cable knife. That might be something I take a look at in a future review.
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