By Shaun Notley, July 2019
Working with dive gear, a feel-good, works-good pair of side cutting pliers is a welcomed item. Side cutters are used for many different tasks – commonly for easy removal of zip ties and precision cutting. A set that is too cumbersome will become tedious and a pair that loses its sharp edge or lacks cutting power will wear thin on your patience.
I first came across Hakko cutters at work when I was learning the ropes in the dive center workshop as a teen. Over the years, many different cutters have attempted to measure up on the workbench but failed. As of now they are the only compact cutting plier on my workbench.
The Hakko CHP-170 cutters have a spring to return them to an open position when not in use and are made of durable heat-treated carbon steel. The soft hand grips are comfortable and do not get sticky over time. Even being heavy handed with them, there is no noticeable side to side play in the jaws which means a precision cut each time. They are rated for cutting up to 16AWG copper wire.
Manufactured in Italy, they are available on Amazon for around $7 USD. Great value for money considering many lesser, Chinese made similar tools are on sale in the same price bracket.
My current pair is around 2 years old and shows no signs of deterioration. My only complaint, if being very picky, is the relatively narrow jaw opening width. For dive gear use no problem at all, this complaint cropped up from another project. Overall I have no plan to replace this set on the workbench with a different model, happy to give it my thumbs up and a solid recommendation.