The best aviation snips are the ones that suit the task to hand and which have the blade, cut, and strength to complete the job as you set about building or repairing your beloved aircraft, or those of your clients.
What are aviation snips?
Aviation snips are hand-held cutting tools used to cut sheet metal into various shapes and patterns. They typically have long handles and short, curved blades that allow for precision cutting in tight spaces. As well as being used in aviation they are used in HVAC industries and by DIYers and hobbyists working on metalworking projects.
Types of aviation snips
Snips vary in design according to the task at hand. Here’s a list of the commonest types.
- Straight Cut: Designed for straight cutting of sheet metal. They are available in both right and left-handed versions.
- Left Cut: Designed for cutting metal in a leftward direction and are typically used for making curves and circles.
- Right Cut: Designed for cutting metal in a rightward direction and are typically used for trimming and making straight cuts.
- Offset Cut: These have an offset blade design that allows for cutting in tight spaces and at awkward angles.
- Rotary Cut: These are designed for circular cuts and are equipped with a rotating blade that allows for clean and precise cuts in sheet metal.
- Compound Action Aviation Snips: Featuring a leverage system that increases cutting power and reduces hand fatigue while cutting sheet metal.
- Power-Lever Aviation Snips: Include a leverage mechanism to increase cutting power and reduce hand fatigue.
- Heavy-Duty Aviation Snips: Designed for cutting thick and heavy sheet metal materials, typically with increased leverage and durable construction for added cutting power and longevity.
- Turbo Shear Aviation Snips: These snips have a specialised cutting head that allows for cutting sheet metal with one hand.
- Cobalt Steel Aviation Snips: These snips are made with cobalt steel for increased durability and longevity.
- Aviation Snips with Cushioned Grips: Cushioned grips for increased comfort and reduced hand fatigue during extended use.
- Tinner’s Snips: Specifically designed for cutting and shaping sheet metal in HVAC and roofing applications.
Each type is available in different lengths and with different cutting capacities, and may have additional features such as serrated blades, built-in wire cutters, or ergonomic handles.
Things to consider when buying your aviation snips
- Cutting capacity: The size and thickness of the material you plan to cut should determine the type and size of the snips you need. Consider the blade length and width, as well as the thickness of the material they can cut through.
- Blade quality: Look for snips with high-quality, hardened steel blades that are sharp and durable. The blades should also be rust-resistant to give them the best chance of lasting a long time.
- Comfort: If you plan to use the snips frequently, look for models with comfortable, ergonomic handles that fit your hand well and reduce hand fatigue.
- Safety features: Some aviation snips come with safety locks to prevent accidental injury when not in use. Look for models with these features if you’re worried about minor injuries.
- Ease of use: How easy are they to handle and how well do they make precise cuts? A good pair of aviation snips should be well-balanced and provide good control for accurate cuts.
- Price: Aviation snips can range from budget-friendly to high-end professional models. Choose a pair of snips that provides good value for money, meets your specific needs, and is within budget.
- Brand reputation: Choose a brand with a good reputation for producing high-quality tools, and look for aviation snips with positive customer reviews.
Best Aviation Snips: Manufacturers & Brands
Knipex is a leading manufacturer of hand tools, including some of the best aviation snips. They offer a wide range designed for various cutting tasks and applications. The Knipex range of aviation snips is known for its high quality, durability, and precision, making them a popular choice among professionals in the aviation and HVAC industries.
Channellock is a well-known brand that offers a range of aviation snips. Their aviation snips are known for their high-quality construction, comfort grip handles, and reliable cutting performance. Their range of snips provides options for various cutting tasks and applications, allowing users to choose the best tool for their specific needs.
Crescent Wiss is a manufacturer of hand tools and is well known for its range of snips, and they are often included in lists of the best aviation snips. The Wiss aviation snips range includes several types of snips designed for specific cutting tasks, such as straight cuts, left cuts, right cuts, and tinner’ snips for cutting curves.
The snips are made of high-quality materials for durability and feature ergonomic handles for comfort during use. They are also designed with precision blades that allow for clean and accurate cuts. Some of the models in the Crescent Wiss aviation snips range may also have locking mechanisms for safe storage and added safety during use.
Malco is a manufacturer of aviation snips and other hand tools for the construction and metalworking industries. They offer a range of aviation snips that are designed for cutting various types of metal, including aluminium, sheet metal, and stainless steel.
Tekton is another brand that offers a variety of aviation snips for cutting sheet metal. Again, each of their types is available in various lengths and handle styles to suit different preferences and cutting requirements. Additionally, Tekton offers aviation snips with ergonomic handles, safety locks, and durable blades made from high-quality steel for increased performance and longevity.
Other accessories you might need
When buying aviation snips, you might also need the following accessories :
- A metal cutting saw: To make straight cuts in larger sheets of metal or in cases where aviation snips are not suitable.
- A metal file: To smooth out rough edges on metal after cutting.
- A metal ruler: To measure and mark metal before cutting, ensuring accurate cuts every time.
- A metal punch: To make small holes in metal, allowing it to be hung or attached to other surfaces.
- Safety glasses: Toprotect your eyes from metal debris and sparks when cutting metal.
- Leather gloves: To protect your hands from sharp metal edges and hot metal after cutting.
These accessories can be purchased individually or as a kit.