Iwiss Crimping Tool Review: Does it Work?
Does this ratcheting crimper tool from a lesser-known brand actually rock? I performed hands-on testing to find out.
When it comes to making secure electrical connections on stranded wire, there’s no tool more valuable than a ratcheting crimping tool. These tools squeeze crimp-on terminals with loops, prongs, and other fittings onto wires, resulting in a strong and serviceable electrical connection.
But all crimping tools are not equal. I performed hands-on testing with several of the best crimping tools on the market to determine which are top notch. The best overall from that test was a surprise, and in this Iwiss Ratcheting Crimper Tool review, I’ll explain why this quality tool unexpectedly earned the top spot in my tests.
Iwiss Kit-0535 Ratcheting Crimper Tool: At a Glance
- Comes with wire strippers and 6 sets of jaws, allowing this one tool to handle a wide variety of wires and terminals
- Smooth ratcheting and automatic quick-release jaws made for effortless and efficient crimping
- Jaws swap easily with a press of the spring-loaded release button; changing them out is quick and requires no additional tools
- The case that holds the jaws, strippers, and crimping tool is too large to fit into a tool box or carry easily
What is the Iwiss ratcheting crimper tool?
The Iwiss ratcheting crimper tool is a tool set designed for crimping electrical terminals onto a wide range of wires. The kit includes a ratcheting crimper tool, six sets of dies for different wire sizes and terminals, and a wire stripper with built-in cutters. All of these items come in a protective hard carrying case.
The crimper itself is steel and rubber with solid one-piece dies. It can install terminals on wires between 22 AWG (American Wire Gauge) and 2 AWG—or very small to very large. Its dies are swappable, allowing the user to easily move from one set of wire sizes to another. All that’s required is for the user to press the quick-change spring-loaded button, remove the old dies, and slide in the new ones.
To operate the tool, the user crimps down on a terminal, which engages its ratcheting gear. This prevents the handles from slipping open if the user wants to readjust their hand. Once the crimper fully sets the terminal, the tool’s auto-release function allows the handles to open. If the user needs to release the handles to realign the terminal while crimping, they do so with the quick-release lever.
How easy is the Iwiss ratcheting crimper tool to put together?
There isn’t much assembly with the Iwiss. The crimper tool comes ready to go and has a set of standard dies with bays for 22 to 18 AWG, 16 to 14 AWG, and 12 to 10 AWG already installed. These are the most common terminal types, so the tool is set up for a majority of projects.
However, if the job requires a different set of dies, setting it up for those is easy:
- Find the die set that fits the wire and will form the correct type of crimp profile.
- Open the crimping tool’s jaws.
- Press the spring-loaded button on one jaw until the die releases.
- Slide the die outward.
- With the button still depressed, slide the new die into place, then release.
- Repeat the process on the other jaw.
That’s all it takes to set up the Iwiss. The user is now ready to place the terminal in the crimper tool, ratchet down slightly, feed in the wire, and squeeze the handles until they automatically release.
How well does the Iwiss ratcheting crimper tool work?
The Iwiss ratcheting crimper tool makes secure connections between wires and terminals; this is due to its ratcheting function as well as its jaw design.
The ratcheting function allows users to apply pressure continually without fatigue or guesswork. They simply squeeze until they reach the auto-release setting, which only happens once the terminal is securely attached.
The jaws, or dies, are one-piece designs rather than several thin, individual plates stacked against each other. This construction provides a more durable tool and a secure bite. And because these are double crimps, the jaw performs simultaneous two crimps to save time while providing a solid connection.
I tested connection strength by yanking the terminals with considerable force to pop them off, which I could rarely accomplish. The double crimps add two holding places on the wires that prevent the terminals from coming loose.
Was using the Iwiss ratcheting crimper tool comfortable?
The Iwiss was extremely comfortable to use. My hands never hurt during the tests, and I could apply enough force with one hand for all but the largest terminals (the 4-gauge wire required some effort). Otherwise, I was able to release the handles to get a bit more grip if necessary, and the ratcheting function prevented it from feeling like I was fighting to keep the handles closed.
But the Iwiss grips weren’t the best in the test. There was another tool with much softer, more plush grips. However, the ratcheting function on that tool was so much stiffer than the Iwiss’s that it was actually harder to use. My hands tired with that tool, but that wasn’t a problem with the Iwiss, despite it not having the cushiest grips.
Is the Iwiss ratcheting crimper tool worth the money?
At just around $45 from Amazon, the Iwiss Ratcheting Crimper Tool is worth the money. It works well, makes secure connections, feels comfortable during use, and comes with the dies to handle a wide variety of wires and terminals. That’s a great deal in my book.
Also, the quality is excellent. The dies are a durable one-piece design, whereas many of the Iwiss’s competitors use individual plates stacked together to form the jaw. These plates can bend, while the one-piece die is strong enough to resist bending. Also, the steel construction and nonslip rubber grips increase the value.
The kit’s case size might be the one area where the Iwiss is in a bit of trouble—it’s too large to fit into a standard tool box. A smaller case would improve this tool’s value for pros and DIYers who like to keep their tools collected and close at hand.
Is the Iwiss ratcheting crimper tool right for you?
There are a lot of folks who can benefit from the Iwiss ratcheting crimper tool. Electricians, engineers, mechanics, and others who frequently work with electrical connections will love this tool for its quality and ability to make strong connections.
Also, DIYers who’d rather take the guesswork out of their electrical connections may find this tool a big help. They can crimp their terminals on and feel confident they’ll stay put. This is especially useful when working on a car, as the vibrations and bumps from driving can cause some wires to fall off. With the Iwiss, it’s easy to install terminals that will not slip.
However, this tool may not be worth the expense for folks who only do residential electrical work. Crimpers don’t work on solid-core wire, so using them for wiring an outlet or switch won’t be helpful (though they can install a banjo terminal on a stranded fixture wire). A standard stripper would probably be better.
Ultimately, this was a great tool that was easy to use and produced quality results. Those who are in the market for a crimper will find it’s worth the money and would make a great addition to a tool kit.
Where to Buy the Iwiss Ratcheting Crimper Tool
Meet the Tester
Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer specializing in the home design, construction, tools, and automotive industries. He has been involved in the trades for over 15 years as both a contractor and a commercial building mechanic.