Perhaps, you’re looking for a quick and easy way to cut metal elements for your DIY projects. Electric metal shears are a convenient solution, mainly if you aim to cut thicker pieces of material. What’s more, these multifunctional tools can efficiently deal with wood, plastic, and even asphalt shingles.
Whether you’re a seasoned craftsman or a weekend warrior, a metal shear will be a valuable item in your arsenal. While it’s pretty affordable, it’s handy in almost any shearing task. These characteristics make it the ideal tool for home, plant and heavy-duty use.
To make your choice more accessible, we’ve reviewed four of the best metal shears on the market. But before you pick a model, it’s a good idea to learn a bit more about its features. Ultimately, our buyer’s guide will help you choose the best metal shear for your needs.
How to Buy Metal Shears
Indeed, there are plenty of metal shear types and models out there. If you’re a hobbyist, you may not want to spend a fortune on metalworking gear. Still, buying a decent unit can be pretty daunting. That’s why you must know what you need to make the best bang for your bucks.
When buying metal shears, consider the following factors:
- Type of Shears: Determine the type of metal shears you need, such as aviation snips, power shears, or manual metal shears.
- Blade Material: The blade material affects the durability and cutting ability of the shears. Look for high-quality, hardened steel blades.
- Cutting Capacity: Consider the thickness and type of metal you will be cutting to choose a shear with the appropriate cutting capacity.
- Ergonomics: Look for metal shears with comfortable handles and a design that reduces hand fatigue during use.
- Blade Length: The length of the blades affects the cutting capacity and versatility of the shears. Consider the size of the metal pieces you will be cutting to choose the appropriate blade length.
- Price: Look for metal shears that fit your budget, but don’t sacrifice quality for price.
- Brand Reputation: Choose a well-known and reputable brand to ensure that you’re getting a high-quality product.
- Warranty: Look for metal shears with a warranty that covers both the device and any connected equipment in case of damage from a surge.
- Accessories: Consider the accessories that come with the metal shears, such as replacement blades, blade covers, and blade adjustment tools.
- User Reviews: Read user reviews to get a better understanding of the performance and reliability of the metal shears you’re considering.
Here are some of the key considerations to help you when choosing metal shears:
Types of metal shears
Undoubtedly, the first thing to consider before choosing a metal shear is the type. There are significant differences that may affect your choice, so it’s worth knowing how each type works.
Hand shears, tin snips or metal scissors are suitable for cutting fragile material. Because they rely solely on muscle power, they aren’t effective in heavy-duty tasks. Besides, they may put too much strain on your hands if you use them for too long.
This type of shears is floor-standing and has a guillotine action. This feature gives them extreme power but takes away their versatility. That’s why they may not be the best choice for prefabricated shapes and materials.
These shears are a bit more versatile than their hydraulic counterparts because they can be either floor-standing or handheld. They work with compressed air, which gives them a valuable advantage – low weight and quiet operation. In most cases, they are cheaper, too. However, you must exert strict maintenance.
Electric metal shears
Arguably, electric metal shears are the best type that you can have at home. These machines use a simple motor with a gear head that produces a cutting action. While they’re generally featherweight, they are easy to maintain and deliver enough power for most metal-cutting tasks.
Corded vs cordless electric metal shears
When it comes to electric metal shears, you have to consider whether you want a corded or cordless model. Of course, a cordless model would be much more portable and convenient to use. However, you should bear in mind that metal shears are generally power-hungry.
That’s why buying a corded model should be a more reliable option. Besides, we all know that cordless power tools often lack the power that their counterparts have. Therefore such a unit is only viable if you need maximum freedom when cutting.
Electric Metal Shear Features
Undoubtedly, one of the essential features that electric metal shears have is their ability to cut through thick metal. However, every model has a different gauge level. You’ll find that these tools have 18 or 20 gauge suitable for hard steel in most cases. Of course, 16 to 14-gauge metal shears are much more common and will do the trick for most tasks.
Perhaps, most electric metal shears come with four or 5-Amp motors. They offer decent cutting capacity and durability. What’s more, most of these power tools use ball bearings, so you can safely use them for years to come.
Number of blades
Another consideration is the number of blades. In most cases, metal shears are either single-cut or double-cut, having two or three blades, respectively. The main difference is that single-cut models offer better precision, but the cutting action may deform the workpiece’s edges. On the other hand, double-cut shears cut on both sides and remove a sliver of the material. While this isn’t a huge issue when metalworking allows tolerances, it may not be suitable for delicate tasks.
Cutting speed and other features
Since these machines turn rotary movement into cutting action, speed is also an essential factor to consider. Typically, electric shears have variable-speed triggers, but they generally deliver up to 2,500 cuts per minute.
Still, some higher-end models have adjustable speed settings that allow for greater control. They may also come with a lock-on button that will eliminate the need to keep your finger on the trigger all the time. Another great feature to consider is the swivel head. It gives any unit the ability to cut at any given angle for optimal versatility.
Last but not least, it’s worth considering your budget before you start looking for a metal shear. Typically, most budget electric models range between $50 and $80 and will be good enough for occasional DIY projects.
But if you’re looking for something more heavy-duty, you’ll need to dig deeper in your pockets. In most cases, models that are cordless or cut metals thicker than 18 gauge are pretty expensive. While some are more affordable, most metal shears in this category cost $250 or more.