You have your speaker system waiting to be set up, but your wires are not the length you want. It is easy to know the next step at this point: cutting your speaker wire to your desired length.
Let’s walk you through all the steps to confidently and correctly cut your speaker wire.
We also have some tricks up our sleeve if you do not have the tools we will use.
Here is how you can cut a speaker wire in three easy steps.
- You will need:
- Steps For Cutting Speaker Wires
- STEP 2: CUTTING THE WIRE TO SIZE
- STEP 3: STRIPPING THE PLASTIC CASING
- ENJOY YOUR NEWLY-CUT SPEAKER WIRE
You will need:
- Speaker wire
- Wire cutter (to cut your wire, of course)
- Don’t have a wire cutter? Here are some alternatives:
- Knife and cutting board (We are not cooking here, just expanding our wire-cutting options!)
- Pliers (Your all-around tool for your wire cutting needs)
- Don’t have a wire cutter? Here are some alternatives:
- Wire stripper
- Don’t have a wire stripper? We got a list of substitutes you can use:
Steps For Cutting Speaker Wires
STEP 1: PREPARING TO CUT THE WIRE
1. Safety first! Before beginning, ensure that you are working in a secure environment.
- Turn off and unplug any electronic device connected to your speaker wire. This step is to prevent you from electrocuting yourself and damaging your devices.
- Keep your working area dry, clean, and well-lit.
2. Gather your materials. Have all your materials by your side, so that you will be done in no time!
3. Measure your wire to your desired length. You can measure your desired length using a tape measure or a ruler. Mark the area with chalk or a piece of painter’s tape.
- We recommend having at least 1 foot (30cm) allowance in your desired measurement. The extra wire will come in handy, especially when you want to adjust the position of your devices or just have a measurement error.
- If you want to rearrange your devices after you are done, we suggest making your speaker wire longer. The excess cable will save you time from cutting another speaker wire in the future.
STEP 2: CUTTING THE WIRE TO SIZE
The second step is as easy as it sounds – cutting your wire. You need to have your cutting tool ready and cut your wire straight – perpendicularly, as others would say.
Cutting your speaker wire perpendicular is important because cutting in any other direction could damage your wire. And damaging your wire will not make your speaker system work. So, it’s wiser to be cautious than sorry!
We also recommend you cut a bit longer than your initial measurement. Yes, that’s another extra length of wire for you. But trust us! You never know; you might need more wire than you initially thought.
The best tool to cut your speaker wire is a wire cutter, but you can still cut your speaker wire if you don’t have one! We have you covered, so don’t worry! You can cut your speaker wire using the following four techniques:
Method 1: Using a wire cutter
Well, we are cutting a wire, so a wire cutter is the best option.
- You simply use your wire cutter like a pair of scissors; hold them in one hand, the wire on the other, and snip based on your desired length.
- As a reminder: cut a little longer than you initially measured, and make sure you cut straight through the wire.
Method 2: Using a pair of scissors
If a wire cutter is unavailable, you can use a sharp pair of scissors. Scissors work, but you need to put a little muscle into it. Give it some force, and you’ll hear it as it gives way.
Method 3: Using a knife
A knife is not just for cooking. It can also be used to cut speaker wires in a pinch. Just get your cutting board and trusty knife. It can be a kitchen knife, a chef’s, or anything you have as long as it is sharp. Of course, make sure it’s washed and dried well.
- Place your wire on your cutting board. A cutting board keeps the wire from slipping. It also gives you stability to ensure you are not cutting something else.
- Position your knife, blade-end down, remembering to allot more length, just in case you really need more!
- Exert a little force to cut the wire (you actually need your arm muscles again here!).
- If you have difficulty cutting the wire, use your trusty hammer to hit the back end of the knife instead. Do this until your speaker wire has been cut.
Method 4: Using pliers
Pliers are another handy wire-cutting tool. It may look a bit like a wire cutter, but don’t let its looks deceive you! Pliers are used for more than cutting wires; you will know why later. Spoiler alert: It has something to do with the third and final step!
Hold your pliers like you would your wire cutter and scissors and cut away! You might need to use a little bit of force, but using pliers will be as easy as cutting paper!
STEP 3: STRIPPING THE PLASTIC CASING
Alas, cutting speaker wires does not end with the cutting process. Now, it’s time to remove the plastic casing of the wire. Removing the plastic casing will expose the wire’s core (yes, the real wire is covered; this serves as protection whenever the wire is already functional).
We remove the plastic casing in preparation for the wiring process.
If you are stripping your wires for the first time, you might cut through some of the actual wires. If you only cut through part of it, you’re still good. But if you cut through most of it, we recommend cutting that part off and striping your speaker wire again. Now, aren’t you thankful that we told you to cut a longer length earlier?
Speaker wire, like electrical wire, has two wires running through the outer insulation. There is the positive and the negative. However, unlike electrical wiring, you can interchange the negative and positive with speaker wire without damaging your speakers or the source device.
- Take one end of your speaker wire and gently pull the two sides apart about 1-2 in (2.5 cm – 5.1 cm). This step should be doable with just your hands.
After that, we go to the actual stripping part. Undoubtedly, wire strippers work best for this last stretch. But if you don’t have one – we got you covered with three methods you can use!
Method 1: Using a wire stripper
A wire stripper is for stripping the wire’s outer insulation to expose the copper conductors. Using the wire stripper is simple:
- Just insert one of the wires through the hole where the wire fits. Your wire stripper will have several holes for different wire sizes. To know the right hole for your speaker wire, simply make sure that it is neither too loose nor too fit when you insert the wire.
- Have the blade slightly touch the plastic casing. You need to be careful: DO NOT clamp or close your wire stripper! Just close them to the point that the blade is barely touching the plastic casing.
- And now, you simply pull the wire to remove the casing!
- And of course, don’t forget to do this on the other side!
Method 2: Using nail clippers
You can also use a nail cutter to strip your wire. Yes, it is a cutter. But it will be our wire stripper for now.
- Insert your wire into your nail clippers and gently press down to cut through the plastic.
- You may also do this by cutting through the plastic all around the wire. Please be gentle doing this!
- After that, you may use your fingers to pull the casing away.
- Don’t forget to do the same on the other side!
Method 3: Using pliers
We used our pliers to cut the speaker wire, and now we use them to strip our speaker wires.
- Instead of using your pliers to cut through your speaker wires, use a bit of force in squeezing your pliers until you feel them hit the solid part of the wire. After that, twist and rotate until the casing becomes loose, and then pull away!
- Some pliers even have a hole in the middle solely for stripping wires! If your pliers are like that, insert one side of your speaker wire, close the pliers with little force, and then pull your wire. That should easily strip your wire!
- Don’t forget to strip both sides of your speaker wire!
Now that your speaker wire has been stripped, let’s take it a step further and twist the newly exposed core of your wire. This step will prevent unexpected damage to you and your speaker.
ENJOY YOUR NEWLY-CUT SPEAKER WIRE
Speaker wires don’t always come the way you want, so it’s up to you to trim them down and make them work. But lucky for you, we’ve made this easy three-step guide. Now, you don’t have to worry about cutting your speaker wires.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.