Network and telecommunications technicians know how complex networks are and how difficult it can be to service a network.
But, the best punch down tools, otherwise known as krone or IDC tools, can help you simply and safely insert wire into a punch down block no matter what application it’s being used for.
A punch down tool is a handheld mechanism used to install wiring, typically for telephone or internet networking but also at recording studios, radio stations and television networks.
A punch down tool is comprised of a handle, a spring mechanism, and a blade. Once pressure is applied by a technician on a wire against a punch board, the spring mechanism reacts and pushes the wire securely into the slot. The blade then slices the insulation. The blade on the punch down tool can also be used to remove any excess wire (Source).
It’s nearly impossible to secure wiring into an insulation-displacement connector (IDC) using your hands, so a punch down tool is an absolute necessity if you work in networking (Source).
Establishing a successful and secure network connection isn’t exactly a DIY project, so a punch down tool is more suited to trained network technicians.
Prior to purchasing a punch down tool, you’ll want to consider if its blades are interchangeable or reversible. You’ll also want to consider if the handle is designed ergonomically and if the impact is adjustable.
Here are the top-rated punch down tools we found to make your life easier on the job.
What is the Best Punch Down Tool?
Table of Contents
- 1 What is the Best Punch Down Tool?
- 2 How Much Do Punch Down Tools Cost?
- 3 Comparing The Best Punch Down Tools
- 4 1. TRENDnet Punch Down Tool – Best Overall
- 5 2. CableCreation LSA Punch Down Tool – Cheapest Option
- 6 3. Vaster Network Wire Punch Down Impact Tool – Most Versatile
- 7 4. Epsilont EPS2000PD Punch Down Tool – Multifunctional Tool
- 8 5. Fluke Networks 10051110 D914 Series Impact Punch Down Tool – Most Expensive
- 9 How Do You Use Punch Down Tools?
- 10 What Is the Function of a Punch Down Tool?
- 11 Factors to Consider Before Buying a Punch Down Tool
- 12 Ready To Buy The Best Punch Down Tools?
The best punch down tool for any of your average wire attachment needs is the TRENDnet Punch Down Tool. It’s a basic punch down tool with every convenience feature it should have.
Not only does the TRENDnet punch down tool support interchangeable blades, but they are also reversible. That makes it easy to switch the cutting end during a project with no need to hunt down a brand new blade.
If you do need a new blade, however, this particular punch down tool has blade storage inside of the handle. No more lost blades. The handle itself is slightly wider than other models, too. This can make it easier to grip and use while still being easy to see around.
With this punch down tool, you also get a full one year warranty from the manufacturer, on top of any vendor guarantees.
How Much Do Punch Down Tools Cost?
A punch down or krone tool is relatively inexpensive. Choosing to pick one of these up, if you have a lot of wiring to work with, can save a lot of time over using makeshift methods.
The average, single punch down tool will only cost about $17. A kit or a model that allows you to use different fittings for different jobs can cost about $60. Individual attachments and fittings cost about $13.
If you need a specialized punch down tool for an industrial project, you may need to spend as much as $60. However, as most connectors and wire types have standardized, there are very few cases where you might need a krone tool of that caliber.
This guide will not only help you to understand important factors but also select the best product.
Comparing The Best Punch Down Tools
|TRENDnet Punch Down Tool|
|CableCreation LSA Punch Down Tool|
|Vastar Network Wire Punch Down Tool|
|Epsilont EPS2000PD Punch Down Tool|
|Fluke Networks 10051110 D914 Series Punch Down Tool|
1. TRENDnet Punch Down Tool – Best OverallThe TRENDnet punch down tool features 110 and krone blade inserts. They enable you to clip communication cables in both krone and 110 standards, while cutting on the other end at a go. To achieve this, the product uses precision reversible blades.
The blades are interchangeable and may also be replaced using unlock mechanism and collar’s twist lock. The twist lock mechanism ensures the blade does not fall out. This makes it safe and easy to use.
The product also has low and high actuation settings, which give flexibility towards different user preferences when terminating data cables. Design wise, it has a big housing that will fit comfortably in your hand.
The tool’s surface offers a lot of grip making it very stable during punching and terminating. All these features make the tool, not only easy to handle, but also convenient to use.
2. CableCreation LSA Punch Down Tool – Cheapest OptionThe CableCreation LSA is a multi-function impact tool and comes with a protecting jacket. It is specifically designed to punch cables into 110 standard patch panels, connecting blocks and keystone jacks. It features a dual purpose 110 blade meant for punching and cutting network cables.
The blade is removable by twisting around the collar. This makes it easier to switch to another blade and disassembling for transportation. The product has an adjustment dial that enables you to adjust the force of spring action from a lower to a higher setting.
The tool’s housing fits comfortably in your hands and has easy grip treads which keeps your hands glued onto it. Its housing is impact resistant, making the product comfortable and stable when punching.
The product’s housing includes a blade storage compartment which stores the blade. It makes it easier if you want to carry another blade to the project site. It also keeps the blade safe preventing it from getting lost.
3. Vaster Network Wire Punch Down Impact Tool – Most VersatileThe Vaster Network Wire Punch comes with two blades that are interchangeable between the 110 and BK standards. These blades may be used on a variety of cables, which include: Cat6, Cat6a, and Cat5 cables.
They insert cables into IDC terminals, cutting them at the same time, reducing your workload. As it is standard with many punch down tools, this product includes low to high impact dial that is used for setting the spring’s action during punching.
This feature allows you to choose the preferred action choice of your liking as well as the appropriate action force for installation. Its handle is ergonomically designed to perfectly fit in your hand and to provide grip and ease of use.
At the top of the handle, there is a spare blade storage space meant for the extra blade that comes with the tool. It safe keeps the extra blade ensuring that it does not get lost.
4. Epsilont EPS2000PD Punch Down Tool – Multifunctional ToolThe epsilon punch down tool has a universal design, this ideally means it has blades for krone, 110 and 66 standards. The blades for 66 and 110 standards have non-cutting and cutting sides, while blades for krone and 110 standards are reversible and interchangeable. This makes the product applicable in almost all installation projects.
The blades are well held into place by a housing that is ergonomically designed, which is quite comfortable to hold. It also makes it effortless to terminate cables during installation. This tool maximizes on comfort by including low and high dial which controls the effect of the spring’s action.
The build quality of this product cannot be overlooked. It features a steel body construction that makes it sturdy and strong. The construction assures you a durable service life irrespective of whether it is mishandled or not.
5. Fluke Networks 10051110 D914 Series Impact Punch Down Tool – Most ExpensiveThe Fluke Networks comes with an EverSharp 110 blade. The blade stays sharp for long when compared to other types. The blade provides a good termination at the block, ensuring quality installs. The blade fits the D914, D914S, D214 AND D814 punch down tools.
It provides reliable terminations on the first punch, enabling you to achieve high quality network installations. This product is the only tool that combines impact and torque in one tool.
It includes an inbuilt spudger and hook into the handle. The hook can be used to help trace wires or remove them from any style block. The spudger on the other hand may be used to remove a cross-connect module from a mounting bracket.
It features an extra blade storage and quick, easy blade replacement. The handle is made of rubber with a special ergonomic design, providing you better grip and reduced hand fatigue. It features two impact settings; 24/26 and 22-gauge wire.
How Do You Use Punch Down Tools?
Punch down tools are very simple to use and make a multi-step action into one smooth step. All you need to do is have a wire either fed through the tool or placed over the spot you need the connection.
Once the wire is in place, set the punch down tool over the intended connector and press down firmly. This should attach the wire and trim off any excess.
Without a krone tool (aka a punch down tool), you would need to carefully attach the wire to the panel, post, or block, being careful not to damage or bend it. A screwdriver or flat blade may be needed to ensure a complete connection.
The excess wire can then be trimmed by hand with a small blade or scissors, though it may be difficult to get a close cut without risking damage to the recently attached wire.
What Is the Function of a Punch Down Tool?
A punch down tool is used to connect wires, like those used for telecom and internet connections, to patch panels and mount boxes. They take the usual steps of placing, securing, and trimming a wire and make all of this happen with one smooth motion.
Punch down tools are also known as krone tools. If you need to chain wiring from post to post (in a daisy-chain situation), a blunt blade may be inserted into the punch down tool. Some may even come with a blunt insert. Different blades may also be needed for specialized connections.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Punch Down Tool
Choosing the best punch down tool can be a challenging process, regardless of whether you are a first timer or a veteran. There are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before buying one. Below are some of the important considerations that will help.
Blades decide which jobs the tool may be used on. Depending on the project’s requirements, the blades should enable you accomplish the job. It will be wise if you go for a tool that provides you with more options when it comes to blades.
Remember to select a tool that accepts many different blades. They make work easier and are not expensive. The best quality can still be under your budget. However, if you work on a given job at all times, select one that does not have different blades as it costs less.
An important consideration when choosing a multi-purpose blade tool is to select one that will not give you trouble when switching blades. Consider unlock mechanisms and twist locks that are easy to use.
When using the tool, you have to exert pressure. A cheaply constructed tool has a high likelihood of tearing apart slowly with time after every use. Strong plastic or metallic tools are the best punch down tools because they handle continuous stress for long without tearing apart.
Continuous punching will definitely exert too much stress to your arm. A good punch down tool ought to have an ergonomic handle, which makes it easier for the user to handle.
In addition to being the right size for your hand, it should have a strong grip. This goes for other tools as well, including the best pocket hole machine you purchase should feel comfortable as you use it.
High and low impact settings are also desirable features. They enable the user to select a preferable spring of action. Some of the tools have impact resistant housings that make them easier to handle, hence smooth on your hands.
These tools are meant for use in several projects. This therefore demands portability. A small-medium sized tool is quite advantageous as it easily fits in tool belts and kits. A tool with a removable blade is also quite portable as the disassembled kit is smaller and easier to be carried around.
Push down tools available are of different weights. Since a high force is impacted when using the tool, select a reliable product. A lightweight tool is natural to handle. One with much weight is not suitable, especially when you use the tool almost daily.
This is an important feature that should be considered. For example, if you have to terminate more than two hundred wires, it might be hard to avoid little mistakes. Improper termination results to network downtime and waste of time and resources.
In order to finish work on time, you need to consider speed. The work includes stripping the outer jacket, followed by putting the cables into the right slot during the punch down process. A reliable punch down tool should help you complete the procedure quickly.
Added accessories are always an advantage to any product bought. Some punch down tools are purchased with additional accessories, like wire strippers that help in installation projects.
However, you should be vigilant to look at whether the added accessories make the product more expensive. You should not be blinded by an offer that will only cost you more and may not be needed. Buy wisely according to your budget.
Ready To Buy The Best Punch Down Tools?
The best punch down tool is necessary for cable installations. When selecting a tool, choose one that is simple and comfortable to work with, regardless of whether you are an amateur or a professional. The wrong punch tool can negatively affect the quality of the work you do.
In addition, the best tool will help you save money, in the long run. With the guide provided above, you should be in a position to choose an appropriate product that will help you complete your installation, easily.