Most commonly used in the computer industry, crimping tools were also once common with phone technicians. They work by bending one or two pieces of metal to form a crimp, which then holds the pieces together.
Network cables are crimped by placing wires into the crimper, followed by the connector, then compressing the two pieces so that they are pinched solidly together. Modern crimping tools are used for a variety of connections and should be a part of every electrician’s kit.
There are three major types of RJ connection: RJ22, RJ11/RJ12, and RJ45. Of these, the 8-position RJ45 connector is the most commonly used for data and network connections.
The best RJ45 crimper needs to be high quality, easy to use, and have good alignment to ensure every connection is clean and consistent. Each of the following crimpers are designed for RJ45 connections, but are also able to handle other connection types for maximum versatility.
Our 4 Favorite RJ45 Crimping Tools
|Klein Tools VDV226-110
|RJ45 Pass-Thru, RJ11/RJ12
|Platinum Tools EZ-RJ PRO-HD
|EZ-RJ45, RJ45, EZ-RJ11/RJ12, RJ11/RJ12
|Klein Tools VDV226-011
|RJ45, RJ22, RJ11/RJ12
RJ45 Crimper Reviews
Made in the USA and designed to be an all-in-one tool, the Klein VDV226-110 takes the jobs of crimper, cutter. It can crimp 4, 6, and 8-position (RJ11/RJ12, and RJ45 Klein Tools Pass-Thru) modular connectors. Note that it’s not compatible with standard non-pass-thru RJ45 connectors like the models below.
This Klein Tools model can efficiently crimp and strip paired conductor data cables and trims the wire flush to the connector’s end face.
A handy wiring diagram on the tool itself takes the guesswork out of tasks. The black oxide steel construction, full-cycle ratchet mechanism, and compact, non-slip comfort grip means this is a tool that you’ll be able to use for years to come.
This tool has a sturdy design that consumers can feel. The spare blade stored in its handle is also an appreciated touch. When used correctly, this tool cuts clean and quick the first time every time.
A few owners have complained about a gap between the trimmer and crimper which prevents accurate cuts. This problem is likely due to those individuals using generic RJ5 plugs instead of the recommended Klein Pass-Thru plugs, which are a slightly different design. Another common issue is the lack of a proper locking mechanism, which often results in the tool getting caught on things.
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Platinum Tools seeks to take the guesswork out of crimping with the EZ-RJ PRO-HD. Compatible with the EZ connector system as well as standard modular plugs with the exception of AMP, this tool is designed to be the only one you’ll need.
It’s constructed with a patented “crimp and trim” system to help ensure that every connection is both clean and flush. It also works well on heavier wire gauges and thick insulation.
Finally, the ratcheted, high-leverage, stable platform includes 360 degrees of connector support with its steel die head assembly, giving it the ability to create uniform FCC-standard terminations with every use.
Many users have claimed this to be the best crimping tool for its price range, and are quick to recommend it to others. They comment on the sturdy metal construction and ease of use, and the fact that it cuts wires and crimps means the wires can be sent completely through, allowing you to verify they’re in the proper order. As this is a versatile and quality tool, many users tout it as the perfect starter tool.
A few have reported that the tool arrived with a defect in the die that causes alignment issues. This in turn will prevent pins 7 and 8 from crimping properly. It has been confirmed by Platinum Tools that two production runs totaling 6,000 crimpers failed to go through the hardening process.
While most were caught, three batches (270 crimpers) slipped onto the market. The company is replacing them as they surface, so be sure to notify them and provide pictures if you believe you have one of these defective tools and they will remedy the situation.
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The Klein VDV226-011-SEN is an all-in-one tool that allows you to cut, strip, and crimp both STP/UTP and flat-satin paired-conductor cables easily. The precision-ground, carbon steel crimping dies are complimented by a ratchet safety-release and blade-guard for the best experience in both quality and safety.
Owners of the VDV226-011-SEN have found the quality to be higher than many similar crimpers (as is the case with most of the made-in-the-USA Klein Tools line). They note that it works perfectly for RJ45 crimping, and while it may have trouble scoring some smaller Cat5e wires, there have been no issues with terminating Cat5 and Cat6 connections.
A few users have also commented that the tool is smaller than expected, making it easier to use if you have smaller hands or a weaker grip. Some users have complained that the tool cuts too deep when stripping Cat5, 5e, and 6; causing minor damage to the wire.
Additionally, as with many tools on the market, it’s easy to end up with a Chinese knock-off if you don’t purchase through a reputable site. The Chinese versions tend to have loose dies, and when used as an RJ45 crimp tool, they almost always have difficulty cutting the 7 and 8 pins.
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Perfect for working with RJ45 and RJ11/RJ12 connections, the tool is able to crimp, cut, and strip flat cables with ease. Stripping round Cat5/6 cables is also possible, thanks to an adjustable cutting depth.
While users have had many positive things to say about the TC-CT68, one of their biggest comments has been on the low cost. The quality approaches that of many more expensive tools, and owners have noted that it works perfectly for making RJ45 terminations.
Many professional users state that this tool holds up for both home and industrial use with no loss of quality.
One of the main complaints about the TC-CT68 is in regards to the ratcheting when trying to store the tool. The handle must be squeezed slowly until it clicks, as closing it all the way will result in it springing open.
Another common complaint is that it can be easy to nick Cat5/6 cables when stripping if you are not careful. Finally, cuts are not always cleanly made, and users often ignore this feature entirely.
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What is RJ45?
RJ (registered jack) connectors are an important part of many electrical trades. Connectors designated RJ are standardized networking interfaces, with the number simply being a designator and not based on size.
The RJ45 is most commonly used for ethernet cables and has eight pins.
This video details how to properly terminate a Cat6 cable with an RJ45 crimper:
What is EZ-RJ45?
A patented innovation by Platinum Tools, the EZ-RJ45 connector uses a pass-through design so electricians may examine the wires to ensure they’re in the correct order before cutting. The design is incompatible with other crimping systems, so a Platinum Tools crimper is required.
Klein Tools have their own version of this design which they call Pass-Thru.
What Are RJ45 Connectors Used For?
As mentioned, the RJ45 is primarily used for ethernet cables. Ethernet cables were once used mainly for connecting to routers or networking to other computers in the same room, but are now commonly used for printers and a wide range of other peripherals.
What to Look For In a Crimping Tool
How often you plan to use your crimper can have an effect on what features you’ll need. As a general rule, always look for a blade guard to help ensure safety. Additionally, you’ll want an ergonomic design and comfortable grip if you’ll be using the tool often.
Some other features that you might wish to look for are safety locking mechanisms, blade storage, a ratcheting mechanism to cut back on manual force, and multipurpose capabilities (such as a built-in cutter).