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10 Best Tin & Aviation Snips 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

person using MIDWEST MWT-6716B Bulldog Aviation Tin Snip

person using MIDWEST MWT-6716B Bulldog Aviation Tin Snip

Tin and aviation snips are staples for HVAC work, but it can be difficult to decide which model to get. Since cutting metal can be extremely dangerous and difficult, it is imperative to find the correct snips. Therefore, we created this comprehensive article about the best tin and aviation snips.

In this round-up, we provide reviews for the top 10 tin and aviation snips and a convenient Buyer’s Guide to make selecting a model easier. Read on to find out more.


A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
MIDWEST MWT-6716B Bulldog Aviation Tin Snip MIDWEST MWT-6716B Bulldog Aviation Tin Snip
  • Blades made from steel
  • Includes a compound leverage
  • Easy to use
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Performance Tool W2043 Aviation Tin Snip Performance Tool W2043 Aviation Tin Snip
  • Serrated jaws
  • Easy to use
  • Comfortable
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Malco MAX2000 Bulldog Tin-Snip Malco MAX2000 Bulldog Tin-Snip
  • Versatile
  • Powerful
  • Made from alloy steel
  • Crescent Wiss M3R MetalMaster Compound Action Snips Crescent Wiss M3R MetalMaster Compound Action Snips
  • Includes serrated blades
  • Comfortable to use
  • Includes a free float design
  • Stanley FatMax 14-563 Straight Cut Aviation Snip Stanley FatMax 14-563 Straight Cut Aviation Snip
  • Highly versatile
  • Made with comfortable and durable materials
  • Features serrated jaws
  • The 10 Best Tin & Aviation Snips

    1. MIDWEST MWT-6716B Bulldog Aviation Tin Snip – Best Overall

    MIDWEST MWT-6716B Bulldog Aviation Tin Snip

    The first snip on our list is the MIDWEST MWT-6716B Bulldog Aviation Tin Snip. We selected this model as our best overall pick because it is heavy-duty, easy to use, and comfortable. The MIDWEST is made of steel, while the blade includes a pivot bolt and double overwind spring. The durability of these materials ensures that they will withstand heavy metals, such as seams, multiple layers of metal, sheet metal, and roofing vinyl.

    To further ensure these snips can cut through most metals, it features compound leverage. This allows the model to apply around eight times the force, ensuring maximum power and ease of use. At the same time, the MIDWEST is easy to use and comfortable.

    The design is highly intuitive, meaning anyone will know how to use it. The grips are made with KUSH’N POWER, which conforms to the hands and feels comfortable. This will allow you to use the MIDWEST for longer periods. The only disadvantage of this model is that it is more expensive than other brands, but the extra dollars are worth it.

    Pros
    • Made from heavy-duty materials
    • Blades made from steel
    • Includes a compound leverage
    • Easy to use
    • Comfortable
    • KUSH’N POWER grip
    Cons
    • Expensive

    2. Performance Tool W2043 Aviation Tin Snip – Best Value

    Performance Tool W2043 Aviation Tin Snip

    If you are looking for the best tin & aviation snips for the money, you will be happy to hear about the Performance Tool W2043 Aviation Tin Snip. Like our Best Overall pick, this model is highly efficient, functional, and durable while being budget-friendly.

    The Performance Tool W2043 can be used for a variety of purposes. Since it is a straight-cut snip, the W2043 is suitable for cutting straight lines easily. At the same time, it can also cut tight curves, making it highly versatile.

    Additionally, the W2043 cuts easily due to the serrated jaws. The serrated jaws allow the snip to cut through and grip tightly around the metal, making the job easier since it requires less pressure. The only reason we have named this model number two on our list, as opposed to number one, is that it does not feel like it will last as long as our top pick.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Versatile design
    • Serrated jaws
    • Easy to use
    • Comfortable
    Cons
    • Shorter lifespan

    3. Malco MAX2000 Bulldog Tin-Snip – Premium Choice

    Malco MAX2000 Bulldog Tin-Snip

    For a more upscale option, the Malco MAX2000 Bulldog Tin-Snip is incredibly durable and has an ambidextrous design. These features and the lofty price tag allow us to rank this product as our Premium Choice.

    The snips cut sharp left angles, straight lines, and 5-inch circles. It includes a serrated jaw for gripping and cutting power. More so, it is made with alloy steel, which is one of the strongest materials for a tin snip.

    What makes the MAX2000 stand out, however, is how versatile and easy-to-use it is. Notably, it comes with an all-new ambidextrous, one-hand operations design. The handles are even offset, which makes it easy to use in tight spaces.

    The obvious downside of this model is that it is more expensive than other options on this list. Although the power and ambidextrous design are helpful features, they may not be worth it for someone with a smaller budget.

    Pros
    • Versatile
    • Powerful
    • Made from alloy steel
    • Includes offset handles
    • Ambidextrous design
    Cons
    • Expensive

    4. Crescent Wiss M3R MetalMaster Compound Action Snips

    Crescent Wiss M3R MetalMaster Compound Action Snips

    The next tin and aviation snip on our list is the Crescent Wiss M3R MetalMaster Compound Action Snips. This snip has several options and is comfortable, heavy-duty, and powerful.

    Importantly, the snips come in several options, including left cut, left-right cut, left-right-center cut, right cut, straight cut, and straight cut premium pack. These options ensure that you get the cut that matches your needs exactly. For versatility, however, we recommend the straight cut, which we are reviewing.

    The precision-cast molybdenum blades are made with rolled 18-gauge steel, making it highly powerful. The blades themselves are serrated, which ensures that the blades grip the metal while cutting.

    The Crescent Wiss M3R MetalMaster Compound Action Snips are also very comfortable. They include an ergonomic, single-handed latch operation. The model even comes with a free-float design on the pivot bolt. The only downside of this model is that the stick sometimes closes on its own, which forces you to stop cutting and open the blades again with your hands.

    Pros
    • Includes multiple cutting options
    • Very powerful
    • Includes serrated blades
    • Comfortable to use
    • Includes a free float design
    Cons
    • Stick sometimes closes on its own

    5. Stanley FatMax 14-563 Straight Cut Aviation Snip

    Stanley FatMax 14-563 Straight Cut Aviation Snip

    Another notable model on our list is the Stanley FatMax 14-563 Straight Cut Aviation Snip. It is versatile and comfortable and comes with serrated blades. The FatMax offers straight-cut and wide-curve options, making it versatile and practical.

    It can cut through aluminum, vinyl siding, screening, cardboard, leather, and copper. More so, the blades are serrated, meaning they grip the metal as they cut. Additionally, the snips are made with very comfortable materials. It comes with a bi-material grip that is both firm and comfortable. This will allow you to use this tool for a longer amount of time.

    The FatMax is also made from durable materials. More specifically, the blades are made from 18-gauge steel. To prove the durability of these materials, the manufacturer even offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty for this product.

    The main downside of the Stanley FatMax 14-563, however, is that it can only cut items that are 2 inches long. This is a problem for anyone looking for a snip for larger pieces of metal.

    Pros
    • Highly versatile
    • Features serrated jaws
    • Made with comfortable and durable materials
    • Comes with a Limited Lifetime warranty
    Cons
    • Can only cut pieces up to 2-inches

    6. CRAFTSMAN CMHT73558 Aviation Snips

    CRAFTSMAN CMHT73558 Aviation Snips

    The next snip on our list is the CRAFTSMAN CMHT73558 Aviation Snips. This kit provides any aviation snip you could want, and each one is durable and powerful, allowing you to cut through virtually any piece of metal.

    This is a 3-piece set that includes a left cut, right cut, and straight cut snip, ensuring that you have a snip for every scenario. The snips can cut between 18-gauge and 22-gauge metal, making them very strong. The ¼-inch steel blades are responsible for this power. More so, the snips come with a spring-assisted latch, which allows for fast one-handed operation, and the grips are also comfortable.

    However, the kit is more expensive than other options on this list since it includes three sets of snips, but the price is cheaper than buying three snips separately. Additionally, the latch tends to get stuck during use, which is inconvenient.

    Pros
    • Includes 3 snips
    • Strong
    • Cuts between 18- and 22-gauge metal
    • Easy to use
    • Comfortable grips
    Cons
    • More expensive than other options on this list
    • Latch gets stuck during use

    7. Finder 12″ Aviation Snips

    Finder 12 Aviation Snips

    The Finder 12″ Aviation Snips are another great option to check out. The snips are highly durable, functional, and safe, making them a great option if you need a high-performing tool.

    First and foremost, the Finder Snips provide straight regular cuts and are suitable for left- or right-handed users. It is made from serrated steel and has a metal safety lock between the handles. This feature will ensure that you, coworkers, or loved ones don’t accidentally get injured with this tool.

    Unfortunately, there are some downsides. Most notably, the Finder snips are not as powerful as some of the options on this list. They certainly cannot cut through 18-gauge metals.

    Pros
    • Versatile
    • Suitable for left- or right-handed users
    • Comes with a metal safety lock
    Cons
    • Cannot cut through many metals
    • Not suitable for 20-gauge metals or thicker

    8. IRWIN 21304 Tin Snip

    IRWIN 21304 Tin Snip

    Another tin snip on our list is the IRWIN 21304 Tin Snip. It features a flat blade suitable for cutting straight lines or curves through 24- to 26-gauge metal. The blades are made from steel, and the spring washer is durable so that it can tightly hold the blades together for many years to come.

    With that said, there are several downsides to the IRWIN 21304 Tin Snip. Most importantly, the gauge rating for this snip is very low. It will not be able to cut through most metals, especially those that are thicker. We recommend choosing another brand if you anticipate cutting through thick metals.

    The blades themselves are not very sharp or serrated. This further impairs their ability to cut through metal. On top of that, the IRWIN 21304 is more expensive than other options on this list.

    Pros
    • Made from durable materials
    • Includes a heavy-duty spring washer
    Cons
    • Low gauge rating
    • Cannot cut through thick metals
    • Dull blades
    • Blades not serrated
    • More expensive than other options on this list

    9. DEWALT DWHT14675 Ergo Straight Cut Aviation Snip

    DEWALT DWHT14675 Ergo Straight Cut Aviation Snip

    The DEWALT DWHT14675 Ergo Straight Cut Aviation Snip provides straight cuts through 18- to 22-gauge metals. Additionally, it is guaranteed to stay in place on the metal since it has serrated blades. The handles are covered in a firm yet comfortable grip, which allows you to hold the tool for long periods.

    Unfortunately, that is all the positives we can mention about this model. For a straight-cut aviation snip, the Dewalt is very expensive, costing nearly half of the 3-piece aviation snip kit. More so, the screw that holds the blades together constantly comes loose.

    The opening for the DWHT14675 is also small, making it difficult for the cutter to grasp anything thicker than ¾-inch. This makes this high gauge rating sometimes useless for thicker metal pieces.

    Pros
    • 18- to 22-gauge rating
    • Comfortable grips
    Cons
    • Expensive for this product offered
    • Screw comes loose
    • Small opening

    10. ToolUSA TP-04101 Aviation Straight Cut Tin Snip

    ToolUSA TP-04101 Aviation Straight Cut Tin Snip

    Finally, the last model on our list is the ToolUSA TP-04101 Aviation Straight Cut Tin Snip. It is a straight-cut snip that is 10 inches long and includes a safety lock. More so, the handles are covered, making them more comfortable.

    However, there are more cons to this product than pros. Notably, the TP-04101 is very basic. It does not include serrated blades or a spring lock mechanism. This makes the model more difficult to use and cut through metal.

    Additionally, the ToolUSA TP-04101 is not made from very heavy-duty materials. The blades are relatively decent, but the handles are slim and not sturdy. This makes it difficult to use the snip for cutting metal.

    Pros
    • Simple design
    • Includes a safety lock
    Cons
    • Does not include serrated blades
    • Does not include a spring locking mechanism
    • Not suitable for thick metals
    • Thin and flimsy handles

    Buyer’s Guide – Finding the Best Tin & Aviation Snips

    When looking for tin and aviation snips, it is important to find the best options based on your needs, preferences, and budget. In this Buyer’s Guide, we will look at key factors to help you decide on the perfect pair of snips.

    Tin Snips vs. Aviation Snips: Which do I need?

      Tin Snips Aviation Snips
    Features Scissor-like design Spring-loaded
    Use Cutting through soft metal Cutting through sheet metal

    Originally created for airplane manufacturing

    Best For Thin metal

    Straight cuts

    Thick metal (18- to 24-gauge metal)

    Angled cuts

    Both tin and aviation snips are considered vital tools for metal cutting, but it is essential to know exactly when to use each tool. You will use tin snips for softer metal that you can cut through using your hand power. In contrast, you will use aviation snips when cutting thick metal that requires a spring-loaded mechanism.

    How To Select The Best Tin And Aviation Snips

    1. Snip Type

    Before buying a snip, you must decide which type is best for you: a tin snip or an aviation snip. If you work in HVAC, having both types is a good idea.

    Invest in a pair of aviation snips if you need a precise curve for cutting thick materials. On the other hand, select a tin snip for straight cuts on thinner materials. Consult the previous table for more information.

    2. Cutting Direction

    HVAC Work requires precise cuts and angles, so you must decide on a cutting direction when selecting tin and aviation snips. There is a color-coding system that makes it easy to detect which cutting direction your sheer has:

      Yellow Handle Green Handle Red Handle
    Line Type Straight line Straight/right lines Straight/left lines
    Curve Type Wide curve Right, tight curves Left, tight curves
    Best For Flat pieces of metal Right-handed people Left-handed people

    3. Straight or Offset

    Similar to the cutting direction, you also have to consider whether or not the cut will be straight or offset. Straight cuts are pretty straightforward. Offset cuts, on the other hand, are not. If you need an offset snip, make sure that you focus on left versus right offset since it will affect the angle of the cut.

    4. Blade Type

    When selecting a snip, paying attention to the blade is essential. More specifically, you need to consider smooth versus serrated blades. Serrated blades will require less force and grasp the metal without slipping. Smooth blades, on the other hand, leave a smoother cut on the edge.

    5. Blade Durability

    Since your snips will be cutting through metal, investing in a pair that includes durable blades is important. If the blades are not durable, they will break easily, forcing you to buy a new pair prematurely.

    6. Grips

    Grips will affect the comfort of your snips and determine overall performance. Get a model with larger grips if you plan to work with thick materials. Aviation snips often have larger grips. Additionally, make sure that your hand, while gloved, fits the the handle.

    person holding Malco MAX2000 Bulldog Tin-Snip

    FAQs

    How can I cut metal straight?

    To cut metal straight, use tin snips since they resemble scissors. Before cutting the metal, use a permanent marker and guide to draw a straight line directly on the metal. Then, use your tin snips to cut along the line.

    How to safely use snips?

    Always wear gloves when working with snips. When metal is cut, the edge can be extremely sharp, making it easy to cut your hands. Additionally, only use your hands to put pressure on the snip levers. Don’t use a hammer, foot, or other tool to increase the cutting pressure.

    How can I sharpen aviation snips?

    To sharpen aviation snips, clean the blades with a dry cloth. Then, separate the blades as wide as possible or remove the bolt connecting the blades. Use a metal filer, filing each blade in one direction. Try your best to angle the file to focus on the slanted edge. Finally, polish the blade and reassemble the snips.

    RELATED READS: an overview of the best tools for cutting vinyl siding

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    Conclusion

    After considering our reviews and buyers guide, we recommend buying the MIDWEST MWT-6716B Bulldog Aviation Tin Snip since it is a powerful, durable, and versatile option. However, if you are looking for something more budget-friendly, we recommend the Performance Tool W2043 Aviation Tin Snip since it is powerful, versatile, and affordable.

    After reading through our comprehensive round-up, we hope to have provided you with clarity as to which tin and aviation snips to get. Just remember to consult our Buyer’s Guide before purchasing any model, and you are sure to find an option right for you.

    What are the differences between tin and aviation snips? We recently answered this here after a lot of you asked us about this.

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