Hydraulic Crimpers Review
A Look at the Best Hydraulic Wire Crimping Tools
No matter the end product, electric wiring is where it all starts. If you work in construction or an industry where crimping wire is a big part of your job, you know the value of tools that not only speed things along, but also provide consistent, dependable results. One of those tools is the crimping tool. Where would you be without your trusty wire crimper?
But sometimes the job is too big for a manual wire crimper. Anyone who has crimped more than a few dozen wires in a day can attest the strain it puts on your hand and elbow. A good hydraulic wire crimping tool can solve that problem. In fact, some of the best hydraulic crimping tools can even be operated with only one hand.
If you’re in need of a hydraulic wire crimping tool, then do yourself a favor and check out our list of the best hydraulic crimping tools. It might save you some cringing later on.
At the end of this “best-of” list are some of things to look for when purchasing a hydraulic crimper. These factors includes whether to buy the best dieless hydraulic crimper or one with dies, the power of the crimper, weight, etc. Be sure to check it out as it will help you to truly select the best hydraulic crimping tool on the market.
11 Best Hydraulic Crimpers
1. Greenlee Multi-Tool Hydraulic Crimper (E12CCXLX120)
Best Feature: Pressure Sensor
Consistent electrical connections are essential to any project, and when the inspector drops by, you want everything to be by the book. The Greenlee 12-ton multi-tool’s intelligent crimping technology has a pressure sensor that monitors how much force is being applied, and it lets the operator know if something is amiss, so that one crimp is just like the next, and they are all up to code. This alert is both visual and audible.
Another nice feature – and other models have this as well – is Retraction Stop Repeat. This allows the user to retract the ram part-way and the device remembers its location for subsequent crimps. This speeds up the process by not allowing the ram to retract all the way back, making it ready to crimp as soon as the connector is put into place. If the user switches to a different size connector, the Retraction Stop Repeat function can easily be disabled, even in mid-cycle.
The hydraulic force is actuated by an 18-volt lithium ion battery that lasts for over 400 crimps per charge. Even when the battery does run down, it recharges quickly in the supplied charger. The Greenlee packs 12 tons of brute force, so 400+ cycles per battery charge is pretty impressive indeed. If you don’t need to go cord-free, the crimping tool ships with a power supply that plugs into a conventional 120-volt wall outlet.
This unit includes a multi-function LED light that not only illuminates the work area, but also provides indicators for battery strength and tool maintenance. At 19 pounds, it’s not exactly a featherweight, which can be good or bad, depending on your point of view (good for durability; bad for using it all day long).
This device can be trouble-shooted via Bluetooth, using the Gator Eye Diagnostic Tool (sold separately), which tracks history, current status, service intervals and many other functions.
2. Burndy Patriot Hydraulic Crimping Tool (PAT750XT-18V)
Best Feature: True One Hand Operation
The Patriot PAT750XT is an outstanding hydraulic crimping tool that has a lot of features you’ll only see in top-of-the-line crimping tools. Having been around for a while, the Patriot has been tried, true and tested. (Hint: it passed the test).
The Patriot has a high speed hydraulic pump and is capable of crimping with 12 tons of force. It provides this force through the use of an 18V 2.6 AH battery pack. With its Y750 tool head, it is designed for use with “U” style dies and is commonly used to crimp asymmetrical connectors (HYGROUND). The head can also be rotated up to 360 degrees to ensure crimping can be performed in virtually any position. This makes it particularly good when trying to crimp in tight spaces.
One of the most noticeable things about this crimper is that it feels well-balanced when holding it. In fact, it’s even capable of being used one-handed. The only downside is that it does feel a bit heavy at 16.5 lbs (with battery). That said, it does come with a carrying case for moving it around as well as a lanyard for hanging.
This crimper also comes with two batteries and a battery charger. Battery recharge times is less than 45 minutes. The dies are sold separately.
This hydraulic crimper is compatible with the Burndy 12-ton die set.
3. Burndy Hydraulic Crimping Tool (PAT750CLI)
Best Feature: 12-Ton Crimping Force
If there ever was a “stand back and let a pro show you how it’s done” kind of tool, this is it. It even has a nickname – Patriot.
This is a high-performance tool even among other so-called high-performance tools. It’s Burndy’s newest generation of crimping tools and it has some serious numbers to back up the boast. It’s battery-actuated, and delivers 12 tons of crimping force to the job at hand. It operates from an 18-volt, 3.0aH lithium-Ion battery that outperforms other batteries in its class by 430 percent.
During operation, a cooling fan forces air into the battery’s built-in cooling vents The battery recharges in around 30 minutes (charger included with purchase).
The hydraulics system has been redesigned and is primed for quick crimps that meet U.L. standards every time. When you have hundreds of connections to make in a work shift, this tool is pretty much indispensable.
The over-molded handles have also been redesigned for comfort and secure grip, and the overall weight (16 pounds) is balanced for easy carrying and reliably steady use.
The business end of this crimping tool rotates 355 degrees and is sized to work with Burndy “U” dies and connectors. The following is not a complete list but a reliable list of applications that the Patriot crimping tool is suitable for:
- Tension Sleeves – Copper #9 sol. – 500 kcmil Aluminum #8 sol. – 587.2 kcmil ACSR #4 – 556.5 kcmil
- Taps – Copper #14 sol. – 500 kcmil Aluminum #8 – 500 kcmil
- Aerial Cable – Copper #6 – 500 kcmil
- Terminals & Splices – Aluminum #8 – 750 kcmil Copper #8 – 750 kcmil ACSR #4 – 556 kcmil
- HYGROUND – Copper #8 – 500 kcmil (cable/ground rod) Ground Rods 1/2″-1″ Diameter
Burndy, a global leader in electric connectors and related tools, has been around for nearly 100 years and is constantly reinventing its products. The Patriot crimping tool is the result of the latest advances in technology and design. If you prefer American-built products, then you’ll appreciate the fact that Burndy has a manufacturing facility in New Hampshire.
4. RIDGID Hydraulic Crimping Tool (RP 340)
Best Feature: Lightweight
Improved design has made this crimping tool smaller, and more importantly, lighter – 17 percent lighter, to be exact. At the end of a long shift, or even one that just seems that way, this is going to be much kinder to the arm muscles than some of the other brands.
The pressing tool has an LED bulb to illuminate the work in low light situations. The power pack for this beauty is an 18-volt 4aH lithium ion battery, one of the most powerful batteries of the crimping tools on our list. Under ideal conditions, this is enough power to do 400 presses per charge.
This unit does not ship with jaws, but does fit RIDGID Standard Series jaws with up to a four-inch capacity for copper or stainless steel, or two-inch PEX, which includes RIDGID Pro Press, MegaPress, Pureflow, XL-C and Press Snap.
It crimps at 5400 PSI, and the barrel swivels at nearly 270 degrees for easy access.
The unit ships with an advanced (the manufacturer’s terminology) battery charger. You can also purchase an optional power supply that will power the unit indefinitely.
5. Burndy Six Ton Hydraulic Crimping Tool (PAT4PC834)
Best Feature: Streamlined Hydraulic System
Burndy places another solid crimping tool on our “Best-Of” list, this one a tad smaller than the other Burndys though. But while it’s smaller and less powerful than its bigger brothers, it’s no less dependable.
It crimps with up to six tons of force, half that of most of the other crimping tools on the list. But what it gives up in sheer power it makes up for it by being quick and nimble in tight spaces. It doesn’t use dies, but has a C-shaped head design that rotates a full 360 degrees and can easily be removed for special uses.
Crimps might take longer, but due to its small size, it can be pivoted into place quicker than the other crimpers, so the timing might just work out to a draw. One thing’s for sure – recharging a dead battery back to full strength only takes a half hour with the charger that’s included in the package. It uses the same 18-volt battery that the PAT750CLI does, and with steady use, you can expect the battery to last three hours and change before it needs recharging. That’s not quite long enough to get you to lunch break time, but it’s close.
The materials used are rugged and durable. Nevertheless, the manufacturer isn’t going to let this crimper get hauled around without any protection, so it ships with a hard shell carrying case.
6. Greenlee Six Ton Flip Hydraulic Crimper (EK6FTLX120)
Best Feature: Flip-Over Head for Easy Removal
It’s not a crimper. It’s a flip crimper.
Greenlee checks in again with a scaled-down version of its fine line of hydraulic crimpers with this nifty little devil that has a unique method of head release. When you’re finished with a crimp, you just pull a pin and the head flips open to release the connector.
It doesn’t use dies, but has four indentors to make the crimp, and then those indentors automatically retract just enough to create clearance for moving the connector down a bit for the next crimp. This saves time, because on the next cycle, the indentors don’t have so far to travel.
Like the larger Greenlee models, this crimper employs the Intelligent Crimping System technology to ensure consistent crimps every time, plus the Greenlee Gator Eye (sold separately) monitoring system that uses Bluetooth to report a number of functions and suggests maintenance.
It’s not a monster in terms of crimping power – six tons – but with so much monitoring and automation going on, you might not miss the extra power.
Battery? You guessed it – 18 volts, lithium ion. The included charger is upscale, doing more than just pouring amps into the battery like it was filling up a bathtub. It measures and controls the charging current, charging voltage and battery temperature for a quick, thorough but safe charge cycle.
It ships with two batteries, which is really nice. That ensures that the operator can stay on the job all shift long without interruption.
7. Milwaukee M18 Dieless Crimper (2877-22)
Best Feature: Auto Distance Control
When you have a flurry of connections to complete, you need a crimping tool that’s pretty much “set-it and forget-it”. Squeeze the trigger, let the device put the squeeze on the connector, retract, move on to the next one, and dare the electrical inspector to find an out-of-tolerance connection.
That’s what you get with the Milwaukee 2877-22 dieless crimper. Its Auto Distance Control measures the distance from the indentor to the connector and measures the pressure being applied for consistent results that will meet U.L. standards every time, every size, every type.
The range of connector sizes runs from #6 AWG to 750 MCM, and dual rated connectors for seven manufacturers, which include Anderson, Blackburn, Burndy, Ilsco, Panduit, Penn-Union, and Thomas & Betts.
At nine pounds, this is the lightest crimper in its capacity range. Even if it wasn’t so light, it’s still one of the easiest-to-use crimpers on our list. In addition to the automatic processes, it has a handy LED light that turns green at the completion of each crimp, and a handy lever to release the head. Speaking of the head, it’s dieless and it rotates 180 degrees.
It’s powered by an 18-volt lithium ion battery, which brought a friend along – a second battery. This allows for an uninterrupted workflow, and increased productivity. The charger is high-tech as well, charging the battery as quickly as it can without overheating it or the charger.
The crimper, batteries and charger all fit in a rugged, red carrying case with the Milwaukee logo proudly displayed.
Best Feature: Self-Contained Tool Diagnostics
It’s frustrating to be working along with a power tool and find out that it was not performing exactly as it should have. Even if it was just slightly less than perfect, you could end up having to go back and re-do a lot of work. This won’t happen with the DEWALT DCE350M2. Its built-in diagnosis tool keeps up with pressure, the number of completed tasks, battery life, temperature, needed maintenance and scheduled maintenance.
This unit can crimp up to 750 MCM copper and 1000 MCM aluminum cables with its dieless head. An LED light illuminates the work area, and the unit’s overall small size can allow it into tight areas where a little light would be a welcome thing. DEWALT’s patented guard rails protect the head when it’s crimping small diameter cable.
The crimper maxes out at six tons of crimping power – sufficient for most crimps, but that puts a little more daily wear on the unit over time.
This runs on DEWALT’s standard 20-volt lithium battery – the same battery that all of its cordless power tools run on. This can be a plus if you already have a few other DEWALT products, but the crimper already ships with two batteries, so you might end up loaning one to your buddy on conduit-bending duty.
And, if going cordless isn’t necessary, the crimper can run off a power supply that plugs into an ordinary 120-volt outlet.
Comes with a handsome black carrying case with snap-in pockets for the charger and spare battery plus a shoulder strap.
DEWALT offers a three-year limited warranty on this product. This is one of the better warranties of the crimpers on our list, and more than simply covering the user in case of failure, it should be viewed as an indicator of how long this crimper will remain dependable.
Best Feature: Crimp Connect Technology
This is similar to the unit shown above, but is 12 ton as opposed to six, and uses dies to match up with different connectors. It can crimp up to 750 MCM Copper / 1000 aluminum cables. It is U.L. Classified to be compatible with leading manufactures connectors and U type dies.
This crimper employs DEWALT’s “Crimp Connect” reporting technology, which provides detailed reports of completed crimps, pressure and other factors. On-board diagnostics indicate battery life, successful crimp, service needed, service schedules and operating temperature range.
A bright LED work light illuminates the work area. This crimper offers electroless nickel corrosion protective coating on the crimping head. Electroless nickel plating is a chemical process that coats metal with a layer of nickel alloy that shields it against moisture, sweat and repeated uses.
It ships with not one, but two DEWALT 20-volt batteries, and a rugged carrying case with a shoulder strap. It’s covered by the same three-year limited warranty as the above product.
10. Milwaukee M12 Force Logic Press Tool (2473-22)
Best Features: Budget-Friendly, Lightweight
This is another fine product from Milwaukee Tools. This isn’t as all-purpose as some of the other crimping tools, but it does come with three sets of jaws, for half-inch, three-quarter-inch and one-inch connectors.
It’s not cumbersome at all. In fact, wherever you can fit your arm, you can fit this crimper, as it weighs a mere 3.8 pounds. Of course, when working in tight quarters or poorly-lit environments, there is that moment of doubt that the crimp was done right. With this tool, armed with Milwaukee’s Redlink (not redneck) technology and its electronic evaluation of each connection, the user can know that the connection is solid and meets code.
The self-diagnosing electronics also measures pressure and impact distance, and lets the user know when the tool is in need of calibration. But if all goes well, calibration won’t be needed for at least 32,000 crimps. According to product literature, this is one of the best standards in the industry for this type tool.
The device is powered by Milwaukee’s incredibly reliable 12-volt lithium battery. Milwaukee is so proud of this little dynamo of a battery, it provides a three-year limited warranty for its replacement should it fail within the covered period.
The tool itself comes with a five-year limited warranty, and that says a lot for what you can expect from this in terms of durability. It all packs into a nice carrying case that’s meant for work environments.
Best Feature: Four Interchangeable Jaws
Another petite powerhouse, this tool may feel small in the hand, but its King Kong-sized in what it can deliver. It crimps at 5400 PSI, which, by big boy standards may not raise eyebrows, but considering its compact size, that’s pretty impressive.
It doesn’t use dies, but comes with four interchangeable jaws for half-inch, three-quarter-inch, one-inch and 1.25-inch connections. That still doesn’t cover all the options, but that’s a pretty good lineup, plus you can order other jaws for it, as long as they’re in the compact jaw series. It is compatible with copper or aluminum cables as well as PEX tubing. The head swivels up to 270 degrees.
The Ridgid RP 200-B runs on a 18-volt lithium battery, which is the standard for much larger tools. Product literature says you can get 200 crimps per charge, and with a spare battery (included), you can virtually use this tool all day long without stopping.
It can also go a long way – 32,000 crimps – before it needs to be calibrated.
The tool ships with a sturdy carrying case, with handy compartments for the tool, the four jaws that are included in the kit, two batteries and battery charger.
What to Look For in the Best Hydraulic Crimping Tool
The main questions to consider when looking for the best crimping tool is how often do you need a crimping tool? And, how many connections do you need to make in a day/week?
Obviously, if you’re an electrical contractor, connections are pretty much your whole business, and if you’re bidding on a job that can make your whole year a winner, you need to be able to back up your bid with productivity and reliability after the contract’s signed. Spending thousands of dollars on a tool is painful, sure, but these crimpers on our list will get you through countless big jobs without breakdown or costly maintenance and absolutely justify the expense.
Hydraulic Crimping Tool Power
The more powerful crimpers (12 tons is a good top-of-the-line power rating) will last longer, because they are in “press” mode for much shorter amounts of time. But something can be said for the smaller, less powerful models, because they fit into tight areas that are inaccessible (except through bizarre contortions and non-recommended work-arounds) to the bigger ones. If you don’t need 12 tons of crimping power, then having six tons on a tool that can fit into more places is worth the trade-off in many cases.
The weight of the crimping tool is another consideration. While lugging around a 16-pound tool is not going to be a problem, lugging one around all day long is. It all depends on the environment the tool is used in. If the tool is used at a central location, like near the work trailer, then it won’t matter so much if it’s a little heavy. But if an employee is having to move about to get to cables that have already been pulled into place, then that 16 pounds is going to feel like 50 by shift’s end.
All but one or two of the crimping tools on the list use 18-volt lithium batteries, the greatest thing to happen to the construction industry since sliced bologna. But you’ve no doubt heard horror stories about lithium batteries, especially when it applies to cellphones. To mitigate the risk of overheated lithium batteries, most of these crimping tools come with a battery charger that monitors the amperage and keeps up with the battery’s temperature while it’s being charged.
Dieless Hydraulic Crimper or Not?
To die or not to die – that is the question. Some of these crimpers use dies, and some use a direct approach, using jaws of various sizes to do the work. Which way you go depends on how many types of connectors you deal with on a regular basis. If you encounter the same two or three connectors over and over again, then having a multi-piece die set might be overkill for you.
Many of these models have automatic retraction capabilities. This means that the indentors come in, make their crimp and pull back, but only enough to create space between them and the connector. This allows the user to easily slide the cable forward for the next crimp, and when the indentors come in to make another crimp, they don’t have as far to travel.
Rotating heads are another convenience for cables that are a little odd in their orientation. Quick-release levers are also a big help when the user has to do a big group of connections.
And also, search various websites for reviews and average the reviews together to get a better idea of the actual review of the crimper. The more reviews you can find the better.