How to Cut Barbed Wire


I didn’t grow up on a farm or a ranch. I’ve never been a cowgirl where I cleaned out fence rows and I’ve never cleaned out old barbed wire fences. But a few years ago, we moved into a new house with a large backyard. We’ve got a creek, woods and plenty of barbed wire twisted into some of our trees. There was even barbed wire blocking access to parts of the creek bed. We knew we needed to get out and clean out the barbed wire but didn’t have the right tools to take care of it.  So we bought the right tools and I spent some time learning how to cut barbed wire.

**This post was originally written several years ago but has been updated. I still have both of these barbed wire cutters and I use them every time I find more barbed wires. Since we recently bought a farm, we are including these tools in our plan to prepare the farm for our future animals and crops.

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How to Cut Barbed Wire

I have always tried to find the cheapest way to take care of a problem, so I first looked in my husband’s toolbox to see if we had anything that would cut through the sharp barb wire. I tried wire cutters, pliers, and even Sheet Metal Cutters. I was able to use the needle-nose pliers to eventually cut through one piece, but it was very tedious and took a long time. My husband did some research and ordered my birthday present just in time. I took out the two new fence cutters and started working on the barbed wire.

Wire Cutters for Barbed Wire


The TEKTON 3388 12-Inch Bolt Cutter worked way better than I expected. I was able to easily snip the barbed wire with minimal effort. This is definitely my favorite of the two fence cutters.

These cutters are a little stiff at first and I was afraid they would be too hard to close, but they cut great! I loved using them. They really made short work of the barbed wire – especially the parts that were up close to the fence posts or twisted in the tree bark.

  • Cuts bolts, chain, threaded rod, wire, and more up to 5/32-inch wide
  • Compound cutting action requires less effort and delivers more force
  • Drop forged, hardened alloy steel jaws
  • Tubular steel handles with cushioned, non-slip rubber grips
  • Lifetime replacement guarantee

The CHANNELLOCK 85 Fence-Tool Pliers, 10″ Tool Length, 3/4″ Jaw Length worked great but served a different purpose than the other set. It didn’t work as easily for snipping the barbed wire, even though it did cut cleanly. What I liked about this tool was the large claw that would help pull out the barbed wire from the tangled brush and help get the teeth out of the tree trunk.


All-purpose fencing instrument combines just about every tool you need for ranching, farming, military and general fencing projects. Wire stretcher, splicer and two swivel-action cutters accommodate all types of plain and barbed fencing wire. Staple starter and puller makes it easy to mount wire to and remove wire from posts and anchor points. Jaw-mounted hammer enables nail and tack driving. Tight, smooth-moving pivot provides a solid, high-quality feel. Comfortable grips help alleviate hand stress and fatigue.

These wire cutters don’t cut at the end like the first pair. Instead, they have the little round spots on the side where you slip the wire in the groove and then cut. It’s definitely a little harder to cut the barbed wire with these, but they work great for all the other uses.


Learning Tip: Do NOT forget to wear protective gloves when cutting barbed wire. The wire is sharp and you do want to keep your hands from getting torn up with the barbs.

Cutting the barbed wire out of the trees and clearing out our creek beds really opens up more space for the kids to play and gives us back more of our yard. It definitely made a difference when I had the right tools. Now I just have to find a local recycling center where I can take all the coils of barbed wire.

Have you ever cut barbed wire or fencing? What tools work best for you? I’d love to hear!

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  1. Wow I hope these work as well as you say, I’ve been fighting with barb wire on my 3 acres for many years now and finally decided to get tough with it! I hope to post my progress.

    1. OMG!!! These work like a DREAM!!! Like a hot knife through butter! SO glad I found this review. They do not require much strength in the hands at all, and back strength not required either. These make super easy work of cutting through barbed wire, even the thick kind. SOOOO glad I searched this out!!!

      1. BTW, I purchased the TEKTON 3388 12-Inch Bolt Cutter, and when I say “they do not require much strength in the hands…” I mean about the same amount as it takes to cut a rose stem with clippers, only you have to use both hands.

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