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Compass Marine How To | all galleries >> Welcome To >> Marine Wire Termination > The Good, The Bad & the Ugly of Crimpers
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The Good, The Bad & the Ugly of Crimpers

In this photo I have lined up a short selection of wire crimper's. The one on the far left IS NOT A CRIMPER! I only say this because I have witnessed people putting together marine terminations with a pair of PLIERS.

The next crimper, the one with the yellow handles, is a cheap hardware store quality crimper and should only ever be used in an absolute emergency.

The middle tool is a low grade Klein strip & crimp tool though it's not really well suited for much other than crimping non-insulated terminals and stripping wire.

The fourth tool is a good quality DIY grade crimp tool intended for heat shrink crimp terminals. This one is a CMI product & is a Taiwanese made version of the AMP 55893-1(LINK) tool and runs considerably less than half the cost. Sadly this AMP tool used to be made in the USA and apparently no longer is. Even FTZ, a tool I used to sell, that was made in Taiwan, is now "Made in China". The Taiwanese made crimp tools are generally considered a better quality than mainland Chinese tools are.

The CMI version is actually a better quality tool IMHO. This tool is designed specifically for crimping marine or aviation grade heat shrink terminals. The jaws of this crimper are fairly well machined, and wide enough in cross section, to produce a decent quality crimp. This crimper is also of the controlled cycle or ratcheting type and will not release until a proper crimp has been made.

The final crimper shown is another ratcheting type crimper but this one, set up with the jaws shown, is designed for insulated crimp terminals. It makes a "double crimp" for insulated terminals.

Read on for more details on these different crimpers.

NOTE: There is no such thing as a "marine grade" terminal. I refer to "marine grade" only because that is what the retailers tout them as and what most boaters know them as. "Marine Grade" is just a high quality insulated or heat shrink crimp termination. The same terminals are sold into aviation, industry and marine applications. In aviation they are often referred to as aviation grade... The difference with aviation terminals is that they need to meet minimum standards and be crimped with "certified" tools all of which are FAR MORE EXPENSIVE than the average boater is willing to buy. I personally & professionally use aviation certified tools but the ones below will get you you to better than average...

Nikon D200
1/60s f/8.0 at 29.0mm iso1250 full exif

other sizes: small medium large auto
KaptainChaos 09-Nov-2011 11:41
The Ancor cripmer is discontinued - 09-11-2011
John Dallas 01-Apr-2011 17:07
I've tried many and finally got satified with "Channel Lock" (made in the U.S.A. It is superb crimper for medium to heavy guage and well worth the $30 in Canada. The beauty of the "CL" unit is it's weight and long handles that can apply as much pressure as you need easily to get a good compression, (so you have to learn to take it easy on lighter guages).

West Marine sells a small one (made in Calcutta India - I thought that was a pun at first) for lighter guage that is excellent for finer wire and is in-expensive and made of stainless so it's great in the tool box on board!
Wayne 04-Dec-2010 13:34
You have gone to a lot of work to post some very valuable information here. I just ordered a new crimper. Thanks for sharing.

Slate Banner 04-Sep-2008 03:31
Great information. Thanks for sharing!
Ron Brown 30-Apr-2008 01:08
I have been searching for a crimper that will be effective on wire 8 awg insulated terminals and larger. I found a pair made by Greenline #K111 but I do not think they are to be used on insulated terminals because the jaws cut the insulation. Could you direct me to the proper crimper for 8 awg and larger insulated terminals? Thank you I have learned a great deal from your article!!
The Third Side23-Feb-2008 15:08
There is only One Terminator.
I'll be back.