How To Strip Copper Wire For Scrap

28th November 2017

The bright copper wire inside copper cables can be a very sought-after material when scrapping and recycling. With copper prices meaning you’re able to make money from selling the copper inside copper wire, people working with the material, such as electricians, companies and individuals, are more and more likely to be searching for the best ways to get good money for their scrap wire.

Therefore, we’ve put together some of the best tips and tricks to help you get the copper from your scrap wire in the best condition to sell.

Assess your supply before buying anything

Before you run out to get expensive wire stripper to remove the copper from its insulation wrap, make sure you work out how much copper you will actually be dealing with on a regular basis. If you’re only going to be scrapping copper wire in one instance because you’ve recently installed new electrics or something similar, there’s no point investing a lot of money in a tool that you won’t use again.

However, if you’re going to be scrapping copper wire regularly you might want to invest in better tools, but we can give you some alternative cheaper ways to strip your scrap wire.

Copper wire stripping warnings

First things first, the one piece of information we want to you take away from this article is that you should never strip the insulation off scrap wire by burning it or excessively heating up the insulation to remove it from the copper. Not only does this pollute the environment with the fumes, the act of heating the insulation means that it may mark the copper and downgrade the copper and reduce the selling price due to the plastic residue.

Make copper wire stripping easier

There are other ways that you can make stripping your wire easier without burning it. Using heat is an option, but not the concentrated heat that burning would create. Instead, place the insulation in a black box and use the sun or a low temperature oven to heat and soften the insulation to make it more malleable. This will make it easier and quicker to then remove the insulation with a handheld stripper or razor blade.

If you are dealing with large quantities of copper wire, it may be prudent to invest in a machine, such as a wire stripper, to make the process much simpler. If you do buy a machine, you should be aware of the sizes and types of copper wire it is able to strip so that you can work efficiently. Since this speeds up the process, having two containers to store the copper and the insulation scrap will make it easier to avoid loose rubbish.

What tool should I use for the quantity of wire I have?

Once you have figured out how much copper wire you will be scrapping per month, it is much easier for you to figure out which tool you should be using or invest in. When you’re collecting your copper wire to strip, we recommend that you only strip wire that is about the thickness of a pen.

Less than 45kg a month

If you’re dealing with quite small quantities of copper wire during a month, the most effective and appropriate tool to be using is a razor blade or handheld stripper since it can save you money if you don’t invest in a more expensive tool. While it may be more time intensive to strip the wire by hand, if you’re not dealing with a large bulk of material, it would not be necessary to purchase a bigger tool. Make sure to wear protective gloves and cut the material away from you when using a razor or handheld stripper.

Between 45kg to 500kg a month

When dealing with a larger amount of copper wire, a tabletop stripper would be the best tool to use. There are a number of different brands available to buy, and you can also make your own if you feel confident to. This is a great time to talk to other scrappers to find out what they use since some may have more experience with a brand, or would recommend a certain tool.

Over 500kg a month

If you’re scrapping and stripping a large bulk of copper wire, it is a good idea to invest in electric wire strippers; a motor-powered stripper can make the job a lot quicker and easier. While they may be more expensive, the amount of copper wire you would be scrapping will most likely be able to pay off the expense. Again, if you’re unsure of the amount of wire you will be dealing with on a monthly basis, or if this is a one-off scrapping, we would recommend not investing in this tool but if you know that you will be dealing with large quantities of wire on a regular basis, then it would definitely be worth it.


Once you’ve stripped your copper wire, you’ll need somewhere to scrap it. Head to H&S Metals to get competitive prices and maximise the profit of your scrap metal.

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