Using the best sprue cutter will sure make your life easier! It is true that using the best tools cuts down on the steps to making a model or miniature look professional.
We have made the shopping easy for you by searching, shortlisting, and reviewing nine of the best sprue cutters on the block. Our overall favorite is the Hakko Micro Cutter, but there are several more that might fit your specific needs better.
If you are short of time, here are the 3 best sprue cutters:
- Hakko Micro Cutter <<Best Overall
- Tamiya TAM74035 Sharp Pointed Side Cutter <<Best For Delicate Sprue Cutting
- Valtcan Prime Sprue Cutter for Model Kits << Best For Thick Plastic Sprue Cutting
Best Sprue Cutter Reviews
Creating plastic models, miniature and figurines is a great hobby in many ways. Besides letting you spend time in the most engaging and creative way possible, it helps you in improving your concentration and discipline. Also, you eventually end up with a valuable piece of art.
However, the fulfillment of creating models and miniatures largely depends on the level of finishing you achieve with your project. The connecting pieces (sprue) of a model often develop some unwanted buildup during the process of injection molding. They don’t serve any purpose and only spoil the appearance of the given miniature or model. You can get rid of those unwanted pieces with cutting pliers without damaging intricate and tiny pieces of the sculpt.
Sprue Cutter photo courtesy of By Gravis -wikimedia.org used by permission.
Since finishing a model while getting rid of its sprue parts requires precision, it is best to not use any old off-the-shelf pliers for this job. We have searched for the best “sprue cutters” among the host of regular cutters and nippers available in the market. The great news is that most of our favorites won’t break the bank!
1. Hakko Micro Cutter– Best Overall
We are starting our list with a cutter that is arguably the best sprue cutter out there. Even though Hakko markets it as a flush cutter for copper wires, its function for getting rid of sprue parts is equally impressive. The primary feature that makes it ideal for sprue cutting is its “micro” size. It has an 8mm long jaw with a pointed nose, enabling it to reach tricky spots on a plastic or metal mold.
The cutter is made of heated-treated carbon steel that puts a seal of approval on its long operating life and durability. The steel is also parkerized for the prevention of glare and improved corrosion resistance. Unlike other cutters, this one won’t rust even after several years of use. And check out the great price point!
- Curved for-edge and nonslip handgrip— improved comfort and control
- Spring return to reduce fatigue
- Also available in packs of 2 and 3
Our rating: 98%
2. Tamiya TAM74035 Sharp Pointed Side Cutter– Best for Delicate Sprue Cutting
If you are dealing with a very delicate piece of plastic mold and want to get rid of its sprue protrusions, you should consider buying Tamiya Sharp Pointed Side Cutter. The jaws of this Tamiya cutter is nothing short of pointed blades that make sure you can precisely cut the small plastic parts from the sprue.
These jaw-cum-blades are made of top-quality Chrome-Vanadium steel alloy. This metallic alloy makes it certain that the blades don’t lose their sharpness with use. We also like this Tamiya sprue cutter because it is hand-finished to achieve better attention to details. As a result, you get a cutter with optimal sharpness and precision.
- Rubber-like durable yet comfortable grip
- Hand-finished construction
Our rating: 97%
3. Klein Tools D275-5 Lightweight Flush Cutter– Best for Repetitive Cutting
This Klein Tools’ flush cutter is equally good for taking care of the unwanted small parts on any plastic mold. The reason we consider it suitable for sprue cutting is its ultra-slim profile that lets you access confined spaces on a molded model without breaking a sweat.
The other great thing about this nipper is you don’t get exhausted while using it. It features a steel return spring that makes sure you don’t have to manually retract the cutter during repetitive cutting. The manufacturer has also heat-treated the blades so you can use this flush and sprue cutter beyond its operating life.
- New grip design for great tool control
- Ideal for cutting zip ties, small wires and other fine material
- Flush cutting ensures minimal exhaustion
Our rating: 96%
4. Games Workshop Citadel Fine Detail Cutters– For Easy and Fine Cutting
Games Workshop is known for making tools and accessories for home-based model kits and projects. Its Citadel Fine Detail cutter is primarily designed from clipping small plastic components from their molded frame. The cutter features pointed bypass jaws/blades that allow you to reach all the difficult-to-access sprue parts of any freshly molded artwork.
We also like this sprue cutter for its distinctive grip. The manufacturer has kept slight grooves on the cutter’s grips so you can hold it with better dexterity. The cutter is made from stainless steel through and through with hard plastic casing on the grip.
- Ensures clean cut— no post-cut trimming and shaving required
- Easy-on-eyes construction
- A bit heavy on the pocket
Our rating: 96%
5. Xuron Professional Sprue Cutter 2175ET– Best for Soft Plastic De-Gating
If you are working on soft plastic miniatures and models and looking to de-gate them manually, this Xuron Professional Sprue Cutter is worth considering. The manufacturer has exclusively designed this cutter to deal with unwanted sprue parts. This cutter has longer and low-profile blades in comparison to other Xuron products.
This streamlined blade construction allows you to use this cutter for de-gating a miniature mold without a hassle. Moreover, the Micro-Shear blade makes sure that you can execute clean cuts without damaging and pinching the delicate part of a plastic miniature.
- A well-thought-out curved grip
- Comes in retail blister packaging
- Rustproof Micro-Share blades
Our Rating: 95%
This is the second Tamiya cutter on our list. Like the first one, this one also works great on all sorts of plastic parts that have to be removed from a mold. We also like this Tamiya sprue cutter for its neat look. Its blade sports dark chrome shade and a light gray soft-plastic grip.
The pointed jaws have a lustrous finish that also points to its sharp and clean cutting capabilities. The low-profile and pointed jaws are made of hardened carbon steel that doesn’t turn into blunt edges after a couple of uses.
- Positive action return spring— for tireless sprue cutting
- Also work on pewter models
- A great bang for the buck
Our rating: 94%
7. Valtcan Prime Sprue Cutter for Model Kits– Best for Thick Plastic Sprue Cutting
If you make large models that use thick plastic pieces, then consider using these cutting pliers by Valtcan. This sprue cutter has a long handle that increases its moment arm to let you make cuts with lesser use of force. The spring installed between the two handles also reduces the time you spend on finishing your models.
The other distinctive bit about this sprue cutter is the extension control pin fixed on one side of the jaws. It restricts the extension of pliers to a certain limit, which helps when you work in confined spots of the model.
- Provides smooth cuts with no tearing
- Features soft rubber grips for comfortable handling
- Uses top-quality Japanese steel
Our rating: 94%
8. IGAN-330 Sprue Wire Clippers– Best for Both Metal and Plastic Models
We are rounding off our list with a wire clipper that is also a perfect sprue cutter in every sense of the word. It features long, low-profile jaws with angled head design. They can make flush cuts on both soft metal and plastic very effortlessly. The blades are made of chrome vanadium steel that doesn’t rust away or turn blunt after some use.
This IGAN sprue cutter features an ergonomic handle with nonslip rubber grip along with a spring-loaded extension and retraction system. These attributes make its use handy when you work in confined spaces within a model.
- Heat-treated blades with Rockwell hardness
- Works on both plastic and metal
- Comes with a 12-month worry-free warranty
Our rating: 96%
9. GodHand Ultimate Nipper 5.0 GH-SPN-120 for Plastic Models- Top of the Line Price Point
GodHand makes a variety of cutters and nippers. Its GH-SPN-120 is ideal for getting rid of plastic gates and sprue protrusions from any type of plastic model. The cutter features sharp and low-profile jaws that can easily reach any minor gate on any part of the model.
We also like this cutter for its long grip because it is easy to hold and needs lesser force to operate the cutter blades. Like Valtcan nipper, this one also features a pin stopper that prevents excess jaws opening to keep its use hassle-free, especially for delicate model kits. Coming in at a price point that is TEN times higher than our top recommendation, and given that some reviewers complain that the fragile tips break off easily, we’re docking a bunch of points for this tool.
- Easy to use
- Clean cutting with no rough edges
- Thin fragile tips
- Super high price point
- Comes with a protection cap
Our rating: 90%
Things to Consider While Buying Sprue Cutters
Take these factors into account while buying sprue cutters.
The blades/jaws of a sprue cutter must be thin, sharp, and low profile so they can easily reach all small and delicate sprue parts and gates with ease. Also, make sure that they are made of top-quality steel and alloys. You can choose from stainless steel, carbon steel, and chrome-vanadium steel alloy in cutter blades. Please note that the most expensive is also the most fragile blade.
Handle and Grip
A sprue cutter must have a long handle that doesn’t just easily accommodate your hand but also increases the moment arm. Moreover, they should be draped in soft plastic or rubber grip. These characteristics collectively make the use of sprue cutters fatigue-free.
Make sure that the sprue cutter you buy must be spring-loaded. When a cutter features a spring in between its jaws, it makes its retraction and extension easy. A spring-loaded cutter makes long sessions of model and miniature finishing less hectic.
We hope that the above reviews and buying guide help you in picking the best sprue cutter for your model and miniature finishing. If we are to make any suggestions, we would like to suggest our readers Hakko Micro Cutter. It features sharp and narrow blades that make clean cuts. Hakko Micro Cutter also sports a spring return mechanism. On top of that, it lies at a reasonable price point.
What is de-gating?
It is the process of removing the gate from a model or miniature molded from plastic. In plastic injection molding, the gate represents the opening through which molten polymer is injected into the final part of the mold.
Is there an alternative for sprue cutters?
You can use tweezers in place of sprue cutters but only for unwanted plastic parts that are in front and not firmly connected to the rest of the mold. Tweezers are not suitable for large plastic sprue parts and hard-to-reach spaces, nor will they give clean break-off.
When to change a sprue cutter?
When you observe that your sprue cutter is not making clean cuts or has started causing tearing and pinching, you may need to buy a brand-new cutter.