Crimping has emerged as a safe and effective means of terminating two pieces of wire. In contrast to soldering, crimping doesn’t require working with dangerously high temperatures (Source).
But, for thicker wires that handheld crimpers can’t terminate, the best hydraulic crimping tools can help you perform crimping tasks with ease.
Whereas a handheld crimper relies on the force of the person operating it, a hydraulic crimping tool applies hydraulic force. A hydraulic crimping tool can create up to 16 tonnes of force to deform thick wires and terminate them (Source).
Hydraulic crimping tools often come with a variation of crimping dies that are interchangeable based on the diameter of your wires. They may also come in a convenient carrying case.
Hydraulic crimping tools are perfect for people who crimp repeatedly or who exclusively crimp thicker wire. They’re often lightweight, compact, and portable which makes them ideal tools for traveling electricians.
By relying on hydraulic force rather than physical force, hydraulic crimping tools also minimize the strain that crimping can otherwise inflict on its user. Additionally, hydraulic crimping tools commonly create more reliable connections.
Prior to purchasing a hydraulic crimping tool, you’ll want to consider how many tonnes of power it is capable of applying. You’ll also want to consider how many crimping dies it comes with, and the diameter of those dies. Finally, you might want to ensure its handle is ergonomically designed.
Before your next crimping job, make sure you invest in one of these top-rated hydraulic crimping tools.
What is a Hydraulic Crimping Tool?
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Hydraulic Crimping Tool?
- 2 How Much Does a Hydraulic Crimping Tool Cost?
- 3 Comparing The 5 Best Hydraulic Crimping Tools
- 4 1. TEMCo Hydraulic Cable Lug Crimper TH0005 – Most Versatile
- 5 2. TMS Crimper-WL-YQK-300 – The User-friendly Tool
- 6 3. Goplus 16 Ton Hydraulic Wire Terminal Crimper – For Outstanding Build Quality
- 7 4. PENSON CAYQK007010 Hydraulic Cable Crimping Tool – The Affordable Crimping Tool
- 8 5. Electriduct 8 Ton Hydraulic Cable Crimper – Most Efficient Crimping Tool
- 9 How Do You Use a Hydraulic Crimping Tool?
- 10 Types of Hydraulic Crimping Tools
- 11 Factors to Consider When Buying a Hydraulic Crimping Tool
- 12 Ready To Buy The Best Hydraulic Crimping Tools?
A hydraulic crimping tool is a handheld plier-like machine to connect or crimp a cable lug to a wire’s end. The device applies pressure on the lug to scrunch it over the wire and hold it tight for conjoining the lug to the wire.
The thick wires, mostly built of metals, require high force to deform them. The power is not possible with mere human strength. So, the hydraulic-powered tool applies deforming force to clamp a connector over the wire. The force applied can vary from 6 to 15 tons.
A hydraulic crimper comes with semi-circular, modular dies of flexible sizes for crimping metallic cables of various widths. Each die engraves a number in the multiples of tens. A lower number is likely to compress a wire or metallic cable of a shorter diameter.
Hydraulic crimping tools incorporate a hardened mixture of metals like steel, copper, and aluminum to give it the crushing power suitable for compressing wires.
How Much Does a Hydraulic Crimping Tool Cost?
Hydraulic crimping tools have a varying price range. Their cost mostly depends on the type of instrument, crimping power, and the availability of accessories with it. A part of the price also depends upon the brand quality.
Manual and die-less hydraulic crimpers can be available at a price as low as $15. The more versatile die-type manual crimpers can cost you around $38 minimum. Power-driven ones that can withstand high pressures can range anywhere between $300 to $5,000.
Comparing The 5 Best Hydraulic Crimping Tools
|TEMCo Hydraulic Cable Lug Crimper TH0005|
|Goplus 16 Ton Hydraulic Wire Terminal Crimper – For Outstanding Build Quality|
|PENSON CAYQK007010 Hydraulic Cable Crimping Tool – The Affordable Crimping Tool|
|Electriduct 8 Ton Hydraulic Cable Crimper|
1. TEMCo Hydraulic Cable Lug Crimper TH0005 – Most Versatile
Within the wide range, this crimper is capable of dishing out 11 tons of force, which is remarkable considering its size. The crimping force and virtually indestructible dies make the TEMCo’s TH0005 a true powerhouse that can take on just about anything.
In terms of build and design, the TEMCo’s TH0005 features a durable black oxide head that can handle the immense pressure thrown at it. The oxide covering also ensures that this tool won’t flake and chip away with continued usage.
Every part of the TEMCo’s TH0005 that undergoes stress has supposedly been reinforced, and despite all this quality in construction, this crimper remains fairly lightweight. It weighs just over 9 pounds.
Accessory lovers will appreciate the fact that this crimper comes with a set of 12 dies in the box and a hydraulic rebuild kit should your crimper break down. Thanks to the 5-year warranty, however, we don’t think you will ever use the rebuilding kit. This goes to show the level of confidence TEMCo has in their products.
Unfortunately, this product is not the most user-friendly hydraulic tool available.
2. TMS Crimper-WL-YQK-300 – The User-friendly Tool
This hydraulic crimping tool won’t feel like the most premium tool you ever handled but packs quite an awesome construction design considering its price.
Good for both rapid crimping as well as squeezing large lugs, this crimper is well equipped with 16 tons of power. In addition to this impressive power, this TMS crimper also contains 11 hexagonal dies of different sizes further increasing the versatility of this set.
The dies are made of steel, and you won’t encounter any issues with regards to material quality when working but are not indestructible. Within the carry case included are 16 to 300mm dies.
Though it’s a bit hefty at 13 pounds, its 18-inch design makes for a wonderful weight distribution across its body. All in all, there’s no getting around that this crimper looks cheap but internally this crimper has all it takes to be an outstanding home tool.
3. Goplus 16 Ton Hydraulic Wire Terminal Crimper – For Outstanding Build Quality
For starters, the crimper features a fully adjustable head that is capable of turning 180-degrees to keep you crimping even in tight spaces. The Goplus 16 is the ultimate tool if you are looking to crimp electrical, welding, power or battery cables. Here’s a helpful guide on how to use a wire crimping tool, if this is all new to you.
One thing that you cannot take away from the Goplus 16 is its quality construction. Though it is primarily made from hardened steel, the Goplus 16 is still lightweight and portable weighing in slightly over 6 lbs.
The Goplus 16 is not expensive but does not feel cheap at all. We think it’s probably because of the chrome finish that boosts its aesthetic appeal and also doubles in providing a longer lifespan.
The Goplus 16 comes in a hard case like most hydraulic crimpers that enables you to stay organized and also eases on portability. In the box, you will find 11 dies that support a connection range of 16- 300mm.
Users will appreciate the extra safety features such as the automatic pressure release that keeps the tool within its limits.
4. PENSON CAYQK007010 Hydraulic Cable Crimping Tool – The Affordable Crimping Tool
Though it’s designed for use with all cable and wire sizes, users have reiterated the fact that it best used for larger diameter cables. The CAYQK007010 is very effective when used on marine and architectural wire rope applications.
The tool is capable of connections ranging from 6 AWG to 22 AWG and makes for an effective instrument considering its solid pressing action, carbon steel construction and ease of use.
5. Electriduct 8 Ton Hydraulic Cable Crimper – Most Efficient Crimping Tool
One of the most user-friendly crimpers in the market, this tool offers the best battery cable crimping as well. Where it lacks in power, the Electriduct 8 Ton Hydraulic cable crimper makes up with a smooth and effortless crimping action that users appreciate.
The 9 hexagonal dies included make this product even more appealing.
Aside from all the goodies that come with this tool, some users still found its power inadequate while others had issues with its fit and finish. Away from these quirks, there’s no denying that this tool is efficient and extremely user-friendly.
How Do You Use a Hydraulic Crimping Tool?
To understand how a hydraulic crimping tool works, you need to know its fundamental components first.
A hydraulic crimper consists of:
- Main body in the form of a wrench
- Hydraulic pump or jack
- Pressure valve
- Dies of multiple sizes
The design of each tool may differ, but the basic structure comprises of the above parts. To use it, first, you need to add dies that are relevant to the dimension of the wire connector in the magnetic slots.
After that, insert the connector with the wire in between the dies and hold it in place. Tighten the pressure valve in a clockwise direction, and start pumping the jack. This function will cause the dies to crimp the connector over the wire.
Once the connector is adequately compressed in place, you can release the pressure valve by turning it in an anticlockwise direction. This action releases the grip on the cable wire connector.
Types of Hydraulic Crimping Tools
Hydraulic crimpers have two categories – die-less and die-type.
A die-less hydraulic crimping tool accompanies a standard size for compressing lugs in overhead electrical connections. Whereas, a die-type tool has a flexible set of dies that can be placed in the slot to crimp cable connectors of varying sizes. Standard crimping sizes that are used by most workers range from 10 sq mm to 400 sq mm.
Besides the above types, hydraulic crimping tools have two subtypes – power-based and manually-based.
- Manual or Hand-driven Hydraulic Crimping Tools – Such tools are more suitable for crimping work where space and weight usage is significant. These can be utilized as power-driven tools, as well. These are lightweight and simple to use. Their capability of mechanical connections is limited, though. They are suitable for crimp range between 22 AWG and 2 AWG.
- Power-driven or Electric Hydraulic Crimping Tools – These are suitable for a crimping mechanism involving a complete cycle. It is perfect for maintaining consistency while compressing the lugs over wire ends. Their preferable usage is in industrial areas for utility power cables. Their crimp range can be up to 750 MCM.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Hydraulic Crimping Tool
The durability and longevity of a hydraulic crimping tool boil down to the quality of its dies. Of all the parts of a crimping tool, the dies experience the most wear and tear. For an unreliable crimping tool, the dies will suffer the most especially if you intend to use it for tough jobs.
Many hydraulic crimper kits come with an assortment of dies to help you crimp a variety of connection sizes. Besides having a number of dies, it is important that the dies be of high quality so that they are able to take you the mile.
While die-less crimpers are more advantageous when crimping different sized wires, crimping tools with dies still hold their own. They allow a wider range of wire sizes and have a less complicated design.
Crimp Power and Hydraulic Force
It’s very important to pay attention to the details of a hydraulic crimping tool when purchasing one. Hydraulic crimper that is tailored to crimp large copper wires might not necessarily work on another large wire of another material.
It is prudent to have an idea of the amount of force you will need for the crimping tasks you have in mind. If you are not certain of the amount of force required, you should consult a licensed electrician to help you with the sizing and force requirements for a particular job.
There are certainly some limitations to the materials that can be crimped which depend on the strength of the hydraulic crimp and the tensile strength of its dies. You, therefore, need to go through the fine print on the manufacturer’s performance claims.
Many consumer-level crimping tools are crafted from hardened steel or other similar composites that are equally sturdy.
Wire Size and Crimp Quality
Falling in line with the wire size, the ability to press thick wire sizes is dependent on the power of a hydraulic crimping tool. /check out the American Wire Gauge (AWG) which categorizes crimping tools according to the wire gauge they can crimp.
Most hydraulic presses make use of the hexagonal style crimps because they are ideal for mechanical connections. These also prevent damage to conductors by distributing the force equally in all directions.
However, since there are a variety of standards out there, it is important that you get a crimping tool that is in line with your intended purpose.
There are two main crimping styles, the Indent, and the Hexagonal crimping style. Indent Style crimps are often used for fine stranded and compacted conductors. This style is easy to achieve and normally results in great pullout resistance and exceptional electrical performance.
Indent style crimps fuse the wire strands tightly together inside the connector forcing air to escape. The outcome of this exercise begets a firm connection but is difficult to check if the crimp has been properly made as compared to hexagonal crimps.
Hexagonal crimps, on the other hand, are more common and results in an equally strong mechanical connection. The biggest advantage of this crimping style over any other is that the force is applied from all directions while crimping preventing damage to the conductors.
This crimping style is an industry standard for copper and aluminum cables up to 1000kcmil. Like indent crimps, hexagonal crimps also results in great pullout resistance and superb electrical conductivity.
Convenient Operation and Ergonomic Design
Because you will mostly be handling your crimping tool by hand, it’s important that you pick one with good ergonomics. The handle of your new hydraulic crimper should be comfortable enough to provide a non-slip grip and a non-tiring exercise.
A convenient crimping tool will surely add more productivity to your work and crisp connections for your mechanical or electrical works.
A determining factor of the grade of tools required is the volume of operation. A hand and hammer crimpers are good enough for hand crimping. However, if you are purchasing for voluminous operations, you will require automatic tools such as hydraulic or a pneumatic press.
Hydraulic and automated crimpers are a bit more expensive than their counterparts are but will prevent a great deal of strain and injury caused by repetitive crimping.
If you perform crimping duties occasionally like for a repair shop, then a multi-purpose unit that is affordable is your best alternative.
Ready To Buy The Best Hydraulic Crimping Tools?
As aforementioned, there is no shortage when it comes to hydraulic crimping tools, but still, there are a few things you need to look at in order to get the best cable crimper. Ensure that you get a hydraulic crimper with quality dies, as these are the heart of any crimping tool.
Aside from the dies, consider the type of job you may have with regards to the required crimping force. As a rule of thumb, never settle for anything under 6 tons. Additionally, it’s important that the price you pay for a hydraulic crimper matches its durability and crimping quality.
While you are at it, make sure that the tool is convenient and easy to handle so that you have an easy time even when working for extended sessions.