Generic Crimp Tool for Small Electronics

A frequent question we get here at DigiKey is a request for a generic, low-cost hand crimp tool for small electronics, usually for repairs. Often, the manufacturer’s recommended tooling for a given connector contact is well outside the price range people are looking for when they want a small, simple tool for infrequent repair or prototyping work. What’s the solve?

We have a number of tools that might be suitable for this need, depending on the specific size of wire you’re trying to crimp your contacts to. One is 1009, from Klein Tools. This crimper is designed to work with wire gauges ranging from 10AWG to 22AWG, which covers common household wiring ranges that generally fall between 12 to 18 AWG. This tool also has stripping and cutting functionality and makes a good addition to a home maintenance toolbox.

For small hobby electronics and similar tasks that often use smaller, finer-gauge wire, we have 350, from Adafruit. This one runs from 20AWG to 32AWG, covering most small electronics needs you’d run across when doing repairs on equipment or building your own devices.

If neither of these is in stock or suit your needs, we have a broader selection of generally similar tooling available here: A Search Link to Generic Hand Crimp Tooling

The thing to keep in mind with all of these options is that they are not suitable for any crimp that needs to pass any sort of inspection or certification, or any crimp in a critical application. Low-cost generic pliers-style tools like these are meant for quick and dirty prototyping, field repair of noncritical devices, or other tasks where an imperfect crimp can be tolerated. The reason manufacturer crimp tooling is often so expensive is because manufacturers control the machining and tolerances of these tools very precisely, far more than pliers-style crimp tools. If you do not use a manufacturer’s recommended tooling for your contact, the manufacturer will not guarantee the contact lives up to its specifications. This is also why most suppliers will not comment on whether their tools will work on their competitor’s parts.

If this isn’t necessary for you? Then by all means save a bunch of money by using generic pliers-style tools. No switching to Geico required. If you have questions or need a tool not covered here, let us know and we’ll be happy to help.

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