Flush cutters are small tools, but there’s a lot to unpack when searching for a reliable pair to help you process and prepare your 3D printing projects. These tools are a critical part of any 3D printer’s toolkit, and finding a pair of snippers that will work for you, your filament, and your printer will make a massive difference in how often you will use them.
The best flush cutters for 3D printing are the Knipex Electronics Super Multi-Component Knips. These flush cutters stay sharp for many years of daily use, have ergonomic handles, and jaws wide enough to trim standard-sized filaments.
The only instances I wouldn’t recommend the Knipex Super Multi-Component Knips from Amazon.com are:
- If you’re on a tight budget. Go with the Delcast Flush Cutter Pliers (available on Amazon).
- If you want the most bang for your buck. Choose the Hakko Wire Cutter (available on Amazon).
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about choosing a pair of flush cutters for 3D printing. I’ll discuss the features you should look for in flush cutters to help you narrow down your search. Then, I’ll give you the details on the best 3D printing flush cutters on the market and help you decide what pair fits your preferences and circumstances.
Factors To Consider
Although flush cutters might seem like a small detail in your 3D printing process, it’s essential to remember how much you will use them as you print and refine your creations. Flush cutters come in handy for trimming filament spools for:
- Better extrusion
- Snipping off supports and artifacts
- Trimming wires when modifying or assembling a 3D printer
So, you’ll probably need a pair of these snippers every time you 3D print something. Accordingly, choosing flush cutters that are easy to use, comfortable, reliable, and sharp can significantly improve the ease of 3D printing and make your projects look better.
Let’s look over the factors you’ll need to keep in mind when looking for the best flush cutters for 3D printing:
- Handle Material and Shape
So, let’s take a closer look at these essential factors and figure out what you need in a pair of flush cutters.
Durability and blade sharpness is critical when snipping filament, supports, or wires for your 3D printing projects.
Since you’ll likely use your flush cutters most often for trimming off filament and supports, the blades need to be resilient enough to stay sharp, even after digging through filaments of various thicknesses and strengths.
For example, snipping off ABS requires cutters with a very sharp blade. In addition, flexible filaments may cut unevenly if your snippers are not sharp enough. Furthermore, few flush cutters can handle the rigid consistency of many 3D printing resins.
So, you’ll need to look for a pair of flush cutters that cut sharply the first time and the thousandth time you use them.
Precision affects how flush your edges will be after cutting. The precision of your flush cutters will impact how cleanly you can trim off supports and affect how easy it will be to feed a filament through the extruder.
Leaving rough edges is sure to make your 3D printing project look sloppy, and it could result in difficulties with extrusion. So, your flush cutters should be able to make a very flush cut with no teeth or rough edges.
To determine how precise the cutters will be, you’ll need to look at the jaws as you close them. If you can see any light passing through the jaws, even while squeezing the handles closed, your snippers aren’t cut out for 3D printing projects.
Although sharpness plays a role in durability and precision, there are other benefits to having a genuinely sharp pair of flush cutters. If your snippers are not sharp enough, they will cause filaments and wires to snap as they sink into the material. The loose end will shoot across the room when this happens, possibly landing in your face.
So, if you don’t want to turn your 3D printing projects into tiny flying (and dangerous) projectiles, ensure that your flush cutters are sharp and stay sharp.
Flush cutters come in various sizes and tapers, and you’ll need a specific size to use them for 3D printing.
Since you will primarily use your flush cutters on your prints and filaments, the handles should be small, but the blade should be long-ish. However, the handles should still fit comfortably in your hand and have enough room for at least four of your fingers.
That way, you’ll be able to get the cutters into small nooks and crannies without affecting the angle you cut at, giving you a flush finish every time.
Additionally, some flush cutters have smaller heads than others, and you’ll need a pair with jaws that are wide enough to cut your filaments. For example, many popular mini flush cutters can only cut wires and filaments smaller than 0.8mm (0.03in). So, you’ll need to look for the jaw width and ensure that it matches up with your printer nozzle’s size.
Flush cutters include springs inside them to ensure that they return to the open-jaw position after every cut. However, poor-quality flush cutters will have stiff springs that stick or offer too much resistance for comfortable use.
The spring will make a massive difference in how much force you must apply to snip your filaments and wires. So, to avoid a cramp, it’s best to look for a smooth tension and supple spring in your flush cutters.
Handle Material and Shape
Although most people wouldn’t be too discerning about their flush cutter handle’s comfort, it’s still something you’ll want to factor in. Comfort is a bit of a luxury, but it can make a huge difference in how easily you can use your cutters and make them more than just a boring old tool.
I recommend looking for a pair with soft, ergonomic handles for a comfy fit. It’ll make a massive difference in how your hands feel as you cut rigid materials, and a good set of grips can save you from cramps later.
Last but not least, price is always a factor to consider. Believe it or not, some flush cutters can cost more than $50. You usually get what you pay for when purchasing tools, but there is a limit where the price doesn’t significantly affect performance.
Mid-range flush cutters will be your best bet since they usually include reliably sharp blades and excellent performance. However, these models might not have the most comfortable grips and may not last a lifetime like the most expensive cutters. Still, they are reliable and will get the job done with flying colors for quite a few years.
Best Overall: Knipex Electronics Super Multi-Component Knips
The Knipex Electronics Super Multi-Component Snips are a favorite among 3D printers, electricians, and hobbyists. They offer an incredibly comfortable grip, sharp, double-beveled blades, and a quality spring with the ideal resistance for cutting almost anything.
They are incredibly durable, consisting of the following materials:
- Carbon steel
These blades hold up well to metal wires, and they glide right through 3D printing filaments and supports like butter. Likewise, I highly recommend these flush cutters for people who print with resin since they will have no problems cutting through more rigid materials.
The Knipex flush cutters are suited for filaments up to 2.0mm (0.08in), so they’ll work well with most 3D printing projects. However, the jaws might not be wide enough to trim down your spool if you work with large filament sizes.
In addition, the biggest downside of these flush cutters is their price point. They are still in the mid-range but are much more expensive than the other flush cutters included in this list. However, they are worth every penny for most people who use flush cutters regularly.
Bottom line: If you use flush cutters often, then you’ll notice the superiority of the Knipex Knips. They stay sharp through many uses, have comfortable handles with excellent grip, and offer clean cuts.
- Stay sharp, even after cutting steel
- Comfortable ergonomic handles
- Easy-glide spring keeps the pliers from sticking
- The blades give you a very clean, even cut
- They work well with most 3D printing filament diameters
- Strong enough to cut through resin
- The jaw width only expands to 2.0mm (0.08in)
- The price point is higher than most other flush cutters
Best Budget: Delcast Flush Cutter Pliers
For a budget pair of flush cutters, you cannot go wrong with these manganese steel Delcasts. They are perfect for cutting filaments and are rated to cut wires up to 12 gauge (3.31 mm). So, they’ll work well on most standard filament sizes.
The Delcast Flush Cutter Pliers offer a relatively comfortable grip, but the handles are nothing too fancy. They may also be too long for some people, coming in at 5 in (12.7 cm) long, but that length means you can comfortably fit all of your fingers on them.
They also feature a lifetime replacement warranty, which is impressive considering the low up-front cost.
These cutters have a great spring that keeps the blades from sticking. However, they take a bit of wear-in to lube up the spring.
These cutters hold up like a dream when you use them on filaments. Still, the most significant downside to these snippers is that they tend to dull more quickly when cutting harder metals such as steel.
Still, they offer a fantastic value for the price, and they’ll do what you need them to do for 3D printing purposes.
Bottom Line: These budget flush cutters are ideal for people who use filament 3D printing and who want a cheaper pair to get them by. They may not last as long as the other cutters on this list, but they have a lifetime replacement guarantee, so they are a wise purchase.
- Excellent value
- They are manganese steel, which is rust-resistant
- Come with a lifetime replacement warranty
- Offer a clean, sharp cut on filaments and plastics
- They have the ideal jaw size for cutting most filaments and supports
- The handles are comfortable and offer enough space for all of your fingers
- The blades dull more quickly when cutting hard metals
- The handles may be too long for people with smaller 3D printers or small hands
- The edges are too soft for rigid resin 3D prints
Best Bang for Your Buck: Hakko CHP TR-58-R Medium Soft and Ferrous Wire Cutter
These flush cutters have tons of benefits that make them excellent for any 3D printing enthusiast.
The Hakko CHP TR-58-R snippers offer an incredible value and perform almost as well as the Knipex Knips. They have supple, perfectly-sized grips that they call “dolphin style,” which means that they are intuitively curved to fit all of your fingers without taking too much space.
These snippers are also reliable and durable; they can cut filaments and wires up to 12 gauge (3.31 mm). So, they are perfect for cutting most standard-sized filaments and supports.
These cutters offer a clean-cut and have blades that stay sharp, even after clipping hundreds of supports.
Most 3D printers use these flush cutters for everyday use since their price point is low enough that they are easy to replace. In addition, they are remarkably high-quality, especially considering the low cost.
The only noticeable flaw in these flush cutters is that they are prone to denting when cutting metals such as steel. Because of these features, they might not stand up to thick resin supports like the Knipex Knips.
Bottom line: These flush cutters offer incredible value and have features that rival their higher-priced counterparts. They are perfect for snipping filament and will stay sharp for a long time. However, they are not the best option for people who print with resin since the material may be too hard for these snippers.
- Incredible value for quality
- The handles are very comfortable
- The blades are sharp and flush
- The spring is smooth and doesn’t stick
- The jaws are wide enough for most 3D printing filaments and supports
- The blades will dent when used with hard resin prints
- They won’t last as long as most higher-priced options
After scouring the internet and hardware shops for the best flush cutters for 3D printing, I’ve found that the Knipex Electronics Super Multi-Component Knips offer the most durable blades, precise cuts, comfort, and ease of use.
However, these benefits come at a higher price point than most mid-range flush-cutters, so you might want to opt for one of my other favorite choices from this list if you want a value or bargain pair with similar benefits.