Does anyone know if there a bolt cutter which tensions using a wrench?

The closet I can find is a nut splitter, but it is not really intended for cutting...

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I need to cut iron rods (I would prefer to use steel rods, if I can cut them) of 5mm to 10mm in thickness. I have looked at bolt cutters, but the ones I could try out in the shop couldn't open wide enough and is just not handy for me. I am 159cm.

When I search for "hydraulic pliers" it begins to look promising, but all I can find are for cables, which I suppose are for soft metal such as copper and the blades doesn't look to completely close.

With hydraulic it just means how it works internally in the tool. A wrench is still needed for tension, which I also feel more comfortable with safety wise.

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  • 1
    Show a picture of what you want to cut. What diameter is it? I have a pair of electricians terminal pliers that cut, well shear, bolts up to 1/4” - hard on the wrists though :) and takes some doing...
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 17, 2020 at 19:41
  • 1
    Perhaps if you describe what it is you want to cut and why a traditional bolt cutter will not work, there may be a better chance of helping you. What is the context of the photo you posted ? If you have a photo of what you are looking for then ???
    – Alaska Man
    Apr 17, 2020 at 19:41
  • @SolarMike Now updated OP =) Apr 17, 2020 at 20:20
  • 1
    Typically steel rod is cut with a hack saw or metal cut off saw or grinder with metal cutting disc. Bolt cutter will not give you a clean cut, which may be needed depending on your project.
    – Alaska Man
    Apr 17, 2020 at 20:25
  • 1
    Depending on your general shop equipment and the projects you do, a chop saw might be more long-term use ?
    – Criggie
    Apr 18, 2020 at 0:04

4 Answers 4


Given you want to cut up to 10mm, then consider a set of bench mounted shears.

Can’t do an image as I am on a smartphone, but the handle is usually long enough that 10mm is easy.

See an example here: https://www.amazon.com/Mounting-Bench-Manual-Slices-Cutter/dp/B00HG0LBX2

Compared to cutting discs or saws there is less waste, sparks etc but the end is not usually perfectly square.

Edit, have to borrow this from Alaskaman: be very careful - they are designed to cut steel so bone is no problem...

  • Added bonus; When you are not using it you can rent to your loan-shark brother in-law for finger removal. ( do not let your kids play with it. )
    – Alaska Man
    Apr 17, 2020 at 20:34

Bolt cutters come in many sizes, you may need to shop around to find some that can cut 10mm, simple mechanical bolt cutters for cutting 10mm steel will have handles about a metre long.

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Hydraulic cutters are more compact and are operated by pumping the handle several times. each stroke closes the jaws slightly. hydraulic cutters with jaws intended for cutting steel bar are available, but seem much more expensive than the simple type of bolt cutter.

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A tubing cutter should work well but may leave a bit at the center. You almost certainly do not have iron bars, that would be a special order to get carbon of about 0.01 %. The difference is steel has carbon but there is no sharp boundary level of carbon. Hardware store steel bar likely has carbon of 0.1 to 0.2% and may be 0.05%. There are alloy steel bars sold to make fasteners;These could be many different things.


Electric cordless rebar cutter

I'm not sure what kind of iron bars you need to cut, but there are tools called rebar cutters. If you look for cordless rebar cuttes you will find such tools, quite compact, but also very expensive. For example the Makita versions retails for around 1800 USD.

Angle grinder

When I've had to cut threaded rods at my job, I've used an angle grinder. It is a cheap and versatile tool, and this approach is both quick and easy.

However, I generally hate using an angle grinder and here is a list of reasons why.

  1. Gives very sharp burrs. It is possible to remove these with the angle grinder, but it sometimes take a surprising amount of time.
  2. It's a bit dangerous. Specially if you are in a tight spot and get tempted to use it in a less safe way, like holding it too close to your face.
  3. It shoots glowing metal at you, and burns your face, head and arms if they are exposed.
  4. Those glowing metal parts will soon make your clothes look brownish/burned, and holes start appearing.
  5. Noisy.
  6. Smelly. You risk inhaling these burned fumes, and I suspect they are not healthy.
  7. Risk of fire. It's not easy to start a fire with an angle grinder, but it does happen.
  8. Risk of setting of fire alarms. At construction sites with fire detection systems, we always need them to temporarily turn of those systems while we use angle grinders. And furthermore there are requirements for extra fire extinguishers within close reach.

Hand held cordless band saw

My company never gave me one, but I have seen plumbers and electricians use them for pipes and conduit of both plastic and metal and for threaded rods. They all they say that this tool is in almost every way a better tool than an angle grinders. The only drawback I know of, is that you sometimes need to clamp the pipe/rod down in a more rigid way than if using an angle grinder.

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