Coming across a resilient nut is one of the most common inconveniences a mechanic faces in his/her day-to-day work. When you face such a situation, the only way to remove the nut is to break it. But, without using the appropriate tool, you might end up damaging the nut thread. Therefore, you should use the best nut splitter to take care of a stubborn nut.
As the name suggests, Nut splitters aim to split or completely break the nut apart from the socket. These tools are also known as nutcrackers. To find a reliable nutcracker, you will have to look out for certain attributes. Apart from breaking down the do’s and don’ts of buying the best nut splitter for hardened nuts, we have shortlisted 10 items as the best purchasing options.
If you ask us to single out an item from the ten we have enlisted here, we will go with the Performance Tool W88030. It offers a host of utilities at a reasonable price. Because of its unique design, it applies maximum force on nuts without damaging the bolt threads or exposing your hand to severe pressure. You can also easily replace the tips.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get started with the reviews!
Best Nut Splitter: Our Top 10 Recommendations
The first item we will review is the Cal-Hawk Nut Splitter Set. It comes with a pair of high-performance tools. Therefore, many professionals consider it as the best nut splitter set. The manufacturers have used top-quality hardened steel to forge these nutcrackers. So, they wouldn’t snap anytime soon.
You get nut splitters of two sizes here- a big one and a small one. For this reason, you will get a broader compatibility range with this set. The smaller one can fit nut sizes from 1/2 inches to 5/8 inches. For larger nuts, you can use the other splitter. The maximum nut size you can work on with the larger splitter is 7/8 inches.
The smaller nut splitter grants you access to tight places which you can’t access with the larger one. In tandem, the nutcrackers will prove useful on a bunch of occasions. They will remove the nut without bruising any bolt threads. Of course, you will have to use a proper wrench and implement force at the right torque degree to get the best results.
- Two Different Sizes: Upon buying this set, you would get two nutcrackers for the price of one. Since you will get two different sizes, you can implement these tools on a variety of nut sizes.
- Hardened Steel Construction: Nut splitters have to withstand severe pressure. Otherwise, they will break themselves before breaking out the nut. The hardened steel build of this nutcracker ensures the desired ruggedness.
- Wide Range Of Application: With two pieces of equipment, you can take on many sizes of nuts with the Cal-Hawk splitter set. You can deploy these nutcrackers on nut sizes varying from ½ inches to 7/8 inches.
Put in quite a shift to remove a rusty or frozen nut, but it was all in vain? For DIY applications, the K Tool Universal Nut Splitter is the ideal tool to take care of a resilient nut. So, what makes the K Tool Universal Nut Splitter the best DIY nut splitter? We will break it down in the following paragraphs.
First, we will shed light on the compound design of the unit. It boasts a 360-degree rotating cutter that can reach some barely accessible spots. Using this unit, you can remove nuts as small as 1/8 inches. On the other extreme, you can take on nuts as large as 15/16 inches. That’s a generous range for the most intense DIY projects.
This is a mid-duty nut splitter. A professional might experience its limitations in some scenarios, but it is highly unlikely that a DIY-er would find this limiting in any case. The design of the pusher enables it to exert pressure on the bolt on one side. For this reason, the bolt threads remain unaffected.
- Compound Angle Design: The compound angle design of the K Tool Universal Nut Splitter grants its access to some hard-to-reach areas. The 360-degree rotating cutter can split nuts at some difficult angles.
- Parallel Action: The parallel action feature allows the nutcracker to apply force on the bolt from the sides. Therefore, the thread bolts don’t sustain damage and remain in good shape.
- Sturdy Construction: The nut splitter has a drop-proof build. It won’t break if you accidentally drop it from your hand. Moreover, the frame can tolerate high pressure so that it can forcibly eject the nut.
Craftsman has garnered a great reputation over the years for producing top-of-the-line garage and garden equipment. The Craftsman Universal Nut Splitter is a glaring example of the brand’s unbeatable dedication towards quality. It has a forged steel body paired with a hardened steel cutter. Moreover, it is lightweight and compact.
Despite weighing less than a pound and measuring only four inches in length, the Craftsman Universal Nut Splitter can generate some brutal force. Therefore, you can rely on it to split a nut that just won’t come out. Team it up with a ¾ inch wrench and see how easily it can crack an unyielding nut.
The splitter would fit any nut between 5/16 inches and 7/8 inches across flats. As you turn the bolt head with the appropriate wrench, a steel jab protrudes from the splitter and pushes the nut. The jab continues to press the nut until it breaks. It does its job pretty well, but you must refrain from using power tools with it. The nut splitter can only handle manual tools.
- Wide Range Of Operation: The splitter head can fit nut sizes varying across the span of 5/16 inches and 7/8 inches. You can expect the splitter to split nuts within that range without affecting the bolt threads.
- Works With Hand Tools: This is a compact nutcracker that only works with handheld tools. Don’t use power tools with it. Even though it has a rugged build, it is not meant for such high-intensity equipment.
- Compact and Lightweight: It is only four inches long and an inch wide. Also, it weighs a meager 0.8 pounds. So, you will have no problem operating it with your hand for extended periods.
Magic Hub Nut Splitter Set is a two-piece nutcracker set like the Cal-Hawk Nut Splitter Set. These nut splitters will come in useful if you need to deal with frozen, disfigured, or corroded nuts. The tools vary in size. The large size one has the number ‘’3’’ engraved on its frame, while the smaller has an engraving that reads ‘’2’’.
The letterings indicate the size of the splitters, but you wouldn’t need any visual aid to understand which one is bigger. The difference between the sizes is easily apprehendable to the naked eye. The small size caters to nut sizes ½ inches- 5/8 inches (12-16 millimeters) / 9/16 inches hex base.
In contrast, the big size splitter takes on nut sizes 5/8 inches - 7/8 inches (16-22 millimeters) / ¾ inches hex base. The heat-treated carbon steel body makes the splitters exceptionally high-performance and durable. The splitter cutter is made of chrome vanadium. Therefore, this is a truly long-lasting set of tools.
- Two-Piece Unit: The Magic Hub Nut Splitter set is a two-item package. With two different sizes of nutcrackers, you can get to more spots and remove nuts of various sizes.
- Heat Treated Carbon Steel: To fight off rust, Magic Hub has used carbon steel frames on both pieces of nut splitters. Apart from supporting the extraction force, the carbon steel frame expands the lifespan of the tool to a significant degree.
- Chrome Vanadium Steel Nut Chisel: The designers have made the chisel of this unit even stronger using a superior steel alloy. The chrome vanadium steel nut chisel exhibits high-hardenability and can force out the toughest of nuts.
General Tools 175 Nut Splitter is another item worthy of a shout-out in the best nut splitter tool debate. At first sight, its pocket-sized appearance might lead you to think that it is not up to the mark. But, once you try it out, you will be surprised to see its capacity. It packs enough power to get immovable nuts out of your way.
The angled design is the highlight of this unit. It can reach some difficult-to-access spots because of its ingenious design. Therefore, it is suitable for a multitude of applications. For example, if you want a nut splitter to uninstall flush mount lightings, the General Tools 175 Nut Splitter can rival the best nut splitter for flush mounts on all fronts.
The driving head fits ¾ inch wrenches and sockets. It can remove ½ inch automotive nuts and ¾ inch nuts over flats. General Tools have sourced this nutcracker from heat-treated forged steel. On top of that, it has a black oxide coating to become more resistant against rust and other adversities.
- Compact and Lightweight: The General Tools 175 is one of the smallest nut splitters you can find. It has a dimension of 6.88 x 3 x 0.94 inches. Furthermore, it weighs minimal (only 0.7 pounds).
- Angled Head Design: The insightful head design of this unit makes it accessible to a host of difficult situations. The head is slightly angled, which gives it a major advantage while navigating tight spots.
- Heat Treated Steel And Black Oxide Coating: General Tools engineers have forged this tool of heat-treated steel. In addition, they also implemented a black oxide coating to shield the tool from corrosion.
Performance Tool W88030 is a tool suitable for both DIY-ers and professionals. It is available in two sizes. You can choose one based on your preferences, or you can collect both if you intend to use them professionally. One of them can pull out nuts from 7/16 inches to ¾ inches. The other one can work on nuts from 7/16 inches to 7/8 inches.
The Performance Tool W88030 finds its place in this list as a heavy-duty nut splitter. When you have failed in other forms of persuasion, you can deploy the Performance Tool W88030 to eliminate nuts that refuse to budge. It has a self-centering wobble tip that can engineer a substantial amount of pressure on the nut without making the grip uncomfortable.
Moreover, these nut splitters are conveniently low-weight and small scale in size. So, they are easy on the hand all the time. What makes it so special is that it made no compromises in durability for its user-friendliness. It has a drop-proof steel build, which gives it a fair amount of indestructibility.
- Offsetting Design: The most noteworthy feature of the Performance Tool W88030 is its self-centering wobble tip. It can implement maximum force on the nut and minimize the pressure on the user grip simultaneously.
- Drop Proof Steel Construction: The splitter has a drop-proof steel construction that gives the tool substantial longevity. Moreover, it gives the unit ample stability to wield high pressure on immovable nuts.
- Heat Treated Chisel & Black Oxide Coating: The heat-treated chisel has the strength to break up the nut with precision. On the other hand, the black oxide coating makes the splitter more suitable to deal with rust.
7. OTC 4576
From our point of view, the OTC 4576 is the best universal c-frame nut splitter. C-frame splitters are not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you do feel comfortable with this particular style, the OTC 4576 can be the perfect pick for you. It features an offset handle to make the operation even smoother.
Many users claimed that they got positive results with the OTC 4576, where other nut splitters failed to deliver. You will get trouble-free and dependable service from this item throughout its lifespan. The ergonomic chisel heavily gyrates and positions itself in parallel to the nut. It goes through the nut and splits it in half without inflicting any damage to the bolt threads.
The OTC 4576 comes into consideration as the best nut splitter tool because of its reliability and proficiency. In terms of execution, it is one of the fastest nut splitters around. It is only 6-3/4 inches long. For that reason, it can get into some unbelievably narrow spaces. Overall, the OTC 4576 is a complete nut splitter package that would benefit both occasional and regular users.
- C-Frame Design: The OTC 4576 comes in a C-shape frame. This specific detail substantially boosts the ergonomics of the unit since it allows for better distribution of pressure.
- Offset Handle: Speaking of ergonomics, the offset handle of the OTC 4576 is another attribute we should take note of. It causes little stress to the user’s hand despite holding it for prolonged periods.
- High-Performance Chisel: The chisel comes out of the frame as you turn the splitter screw clockwise. In doing so, the chisel propels through the nut and cracks it apart. Since it moves in parallel to the nut, the bolt threads remain unscathed.
Gearwrench Universal Nut Cracker is another C-frame nut cracker that we couldn’t overlook because of its impeccable performance. It has the same length as the OTC 4576. Therefore, it is compatible with similar nut dimensions as well. Moreover, you would find it pretty effective in tight space operations.
Gearwrench designers have geared this tool towards nut sizes ranging from 7/16 to ¾ inches. The chisel rotates 360-degrees which gives it the driving force to dismantle obstinate nuts without coming in contact with the bolt threads. It has a drop-forged structure, so you can expect it to survive sudden slips.
As we have said earlier, the C-frame design is not right up everyone’s alley. Some people like it, some don’t. If you happen to belong to the former class rather than the latter, you would love to use the Gearwrench Universal Nut Cracker. It works very well on stuck, frozen, and rusty nuts. Hence, it can be a handy addition to your toolbox.
- High-Performance Chisel: The chisel causes a profound impact to break the nut in a flash. It rotates 360 degrees and aligns itself in parallel to the nut. Thus, the bolt threads stay out of the impact zone and remain intact.
- Drop Forged Frame: A robust frame is indispensable not only for the sake of a long service period. It is also essential to facilitate the high pressure you would need to put on the nut to split it.
- Angled Design: The Gearwrench Universal Nut Cracker has an angled design. Its head is slightly slanted, enabling it to get into several virtually inaccessible positions and bring out the nut.
The penultimate entry to our best nut splitter list is a hydraulic nut splitter. As you might imagine, these nut splitters are far more expensive than their hand tool counterparts. These splitters are mostly for industrial purposes. If you need a hydraulic nut splitter, then the Huanyu YP-41 would be our ultimate suggestion.
The splitter has two different blade sizes. The smaller blade can handle M34-M41 nuts, while the larger one is suitable for M27-M34 nuts. It can generate a significant thrust (12 tons of cutting force) to burst out the nut. It runs on number 20 machine oil and stays operational for a long time before refueling.
The chrome steelhead is suitable for a wide range of heavy-duty applications, including power distribution, ship repairing, and mining. You can regulate pressure with the pressure release valve. Even though it is not actually pocket-sized, it is relatively compact. It also has a sturdy carrying case. So, it is very easy to carry around.
- Chrome Steel Head: The splitter head is made of chromium-steel alloy. It can impose 12 tons of pressure on nuts, so they immediately come out of their respective sockets. It is immune to corrosion.
- Pressure Relief Valve: You can control the amount of pressure you want to put on the nut. If you want maximum pressure, tighten the valve. To lower pressure, relax the valve until you reach your desired pressure level.
- Double Oil Pump Core: The double oil pump core keeps the hydraulic oil from leaking into the other components. It boasts a double sealing ring to prevent leakage and ensure top-notch performance.
10. TE49 Nut Splitter Set
TE49 Nut Splitter Set is a four-piece nutcracker set that would appeal to both hobbyists and specialist mechanics. The nut splitters feature hardened steel blades that can break up jammed nuts in no time. On top of that, the forged grips ensure paramount support when you are operating the tool.
The components come in a blow-molded case. It is lightweight but incredibly sturdy. So, you can throw it into your car trunk and take it to your worksite. Also, it would let you keep the splitters organized after use. The splitters can remove nuts of their respective sizes with ease. Each of them can do so without touching the threads on the bolt.
Upon unboxing, you will find a 9-12mm cracker, a 12-16mm cracker, a 16-22 mm cracker, and a 22-36mm cracker. Use these along with appropriate socket or wrench sizes. For the 9-12 mm tool, you would need a 12mm wrench. The 12-16mm, 16-22mm, and 22-36mm splitters would require wrench sizes of 14mm, 19mm, and 21mm, respectively.
- Four Piece Splitter Set: The TE49 Splitter Set ships with four pieces of splitters. Since they arrive in various sizes, you can work an extensive range of nuts (9mm-36mm) with these crackers.
- Hardened Steel Blades: The hardened steel blades inflict enormous pressure on the nuts. Because of their chrome-vanadium build, the blades last longer and are not susceptible to rust either.
- Forged Grips: Forged grips enable you to hold on to the splitter even if your hands get sweaty. Furthermore, it provides the level of stability you would require to break out stiff nuts.
How To Choose The Best Nut Splitter?
A nutcracker might appear inconspicuous, but it is a toolbox essential for mechanics of all calibers. There is no alternative to an up to standard nut splitter to remedy a stuck nut situation.
How to get a nutcracker that you can depend on in such circumstances? We have put together a buying guide here to help you pick the perfect one.
If you are looking to buy a nut splitter after encountering a jammed nut case, then you have to buy a splitter that matches the size of the nut you intend to remove. Nuts and bolts come in a variety of sizes, so there is no guarantee that a random nut splitter would fit a nut. Getting the size wrong would be an annoying mistake to make.
Similar to nuts and bolts, nut splitters differ in size. Compact nutcrackers are easy to carry, but they could be insufficient in lots of scenarios. For advanced applications, you would have to use industrial-grade nut splitters. Needless to say, these nutcrackers are bulkier than the ones we use for household projects.
Not sure about the nut size? Need to work with different sizes of nuts regularly? Then it would be best to invest in adjustable nut splitters. These tools take on blades of different sizes so that they can operate across a vast range of nut sizes. Alternatively, you can buy nut splitter sets, which have multiple splitters in multiple sizes.
A nut splitter is one of the most commonly used items in a workshop or a garage. So, it would be infuriating if the splitter gives up on you during a hectic session of work. Without a good nutcracker, your toolbox will remain incomplete. But sometimes, inspection is not enough to identify a high-quality nut splitter.
Investing in a trustworthy brand eradicates this dilemma. Yes, some excellent newcomers in the market offer great functionality at a lower price. That said, there will always be some degree of uncertainty when you are going for a relatively new brand. Reliable brands like Craftsman and Performance Tool are far more secure purchases.
The price could be an offsetting factor when you consider buying a top brand product. But, you must also contemplate that you would get superior longevity in a reputed product. It could outlast a cheaper alternative by two or three times. Therefore, you would be spending less money over time.
Build Style & Material
From a design perspective, most manual nut splitters are the same. Apart from the traditional design, there is only a c-frame variant that looks like a slide caliper. The effectiveness of these two designs varies from person to person. There is no specific winner here. Choose the one that suits you best.
What material is your nut splitter made of? That is a far more important question to ask while shopping for a nutcracker. The options are somewhat limited if you are on a tight budget. However, you should look for nut splitters that have forged steel frames. Otherwise, they would not last long.
The chisel is the business end of a nut splitter. It is the part of the unit responsible for administering pressure into the nut and breaking it out of the socket. So, you would want the chisel to come with a steel alloy construction as well. Chrome vanadium steel and carbon steel chisels could be highly productive.
Manufacturers will never open up about the limitations of their products. They would often make false claims to lure you into buying. Therefore, you can’t completely trust what the seller is saying about a particular nut splitter. You would have to search for genuine user experiences, which would give you a bona fide preview of the product you intend to buy.
Check the Amazon user review section to find unfiltered information about a certain product. Going through the buyer reviews, you will discover a lot of details that you wouldn’t have found elsewhere. Other than Amazon, you can also read verified customer feedback on other e-commerce sites.
Avoid reviews that just leave five-star, four-star, or one-star ratings. Look for detailed reviews where customers document their experiences thoroughly. What factors influenced the customer’s rating? What particular aspects made him/her happy? What aspects made him/her disappointed? Reading such in-depth reviews will make you better informed before buying.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What Is A Nut Splitter? Why Should I Use It?
Ans: A nut splitter is a tool that mechanics use to cut out nuts that can’t be undone. You can use a torch or an ax to do the same thing, but it could cause irreversible damage to the frame. A nut splitter specializes in removing the nut without causing unwanted damage. So, you should always use a nut splitter to remove stubborn nuts.
Q. Should I Buy Hydraulic Nut Splitters For My DIY Projects?
Ans: Hydraulic nut splitters are as heavy-duty as they come. Unless you are building a spaceship in your backyard, getting a hydraulic nut splitter would be overkill for your household projects. These nut splitters are way more expensive than traditional nut splitters. So, you should only use hydraulic nut splitters for professional work.
Q. What Factors Should I Consider Before Buying A Hydraulic Nut Splitter?
Ans: A hydraulic nut splitter is fuelled by hydraulic oil. So, you need to compare the fuel economy among multiple models. The one who uses the minimum fuel over a certain period wins. Also, you would have to check the thrust it can produce. Less fuel consumption will be meaningless if the unit fails to produce sufficient cutting force.
Q. How Can I Use A Nut Splitter?
Ans: Follow these simple steps to use a nut splitter properly:
- Step 1: Turn the splitter screw anti-clockwise so that the chisel retracts into the splitter frame. You will have to create enough space in the splitter head for the nut to fit.
- Step 2: Position the nut splitter frame over the nut. The chisel should remain parallel to the nut and face its flat portion. Ensure that the chisel is in a position to engage the center of the flat nut region.
- Step 3: Start rotating the splitter screw clockwise. Use an appropriate size spanner, wrench, or socket to turn the screw. You won’t be able to generate the necessary torque using bare hands. Continue rotating until you hear a crack sound.
- Step 4: Retract the chisel by turning the splitter screw anti-clockwise.
- Step 5: Now, move to the other side of the nut and repeat steps 1-4. You would have to drill the nut from both sides to make it crack out of the socket without leaving a single scratch on the bolt threads.
Nut splitters can prove to be a lifesaver while doing regular maintenance work in your car. It is also an essential tool for professional maintenance workers. Therefore, you would have to purchase the best nut splitter for dealing with jammed nuts efficiently. In this article, we tried to lead you towards the nut splitter most appropriate for your work.
Not all nut splitters are the same. There are different types and sizes of nut splitters, depending on their field of application. The size is the most crucial determinant of the perfect nut splitter. If the splitter doesn’t fit the nuts you want to remove, its build quality and other functionalities will be useless.
Getting the size right is only the first thing to do while selecting your ideal nut splitter. You would then have to move on to other considerations. Building material, shape, grip quality are also instrumental in defining the utility of your nut splitter.
Hopefully, you would be able to pick out the best one for you by following the guidelines we have laid out above.