Nibblers vs Shears: What to Choose?

Nibblers and shears are two of the most common tools used for metalworking and hardie board siding. These tools give metalsmiths a huge advantage while cutting or bringing metal sheets in shape, as it makes the job easier, flexible, faster and it also fatigues less compared to the old school tools of shaping and cutting metal sheets.

In fact, all metalsmiths nowadays should own either one of these tools or both tools to improve efficiency in their work, improve their skill, and be more professional. However, choosing one from these two magnificent options might be very difficult, but it is important to know the difference between these before choosing one of the options. 

What are Nibblers? 

The predominant use of nibblers is to cut through sheets in the desired shape and size with less effort. This is a versatile tool, which is used to cut tubes, small channels, various sheet metals, and many others. As it is available in two different forms, it enhances the tool’s versatility. One of the forms is freehand, which is excellent for the beginners, and the other one is mounted; professionals may go for that one. 

What are Shears? 

Unlike nibblers, shears are more efficient in cutting copper, brass, aluminum, and tougher materials than shears. It’s excellent for cutting metallic materials precisely in both curvy and linear cuts. However, unlike nibblers, it is not that efficient in cutting sheet metal, and sheet metal is widely used. On the bright side, it is faster than nibblers and can make the cuts less weak. Overall, it is a very efficient tool with great performance ability. 

Pros and Cons of Nibblers 

Nibblers being very efficient and easy to use too have various pros. Let’s find them out: 

  • Incredible Adaptability and Easy: Nibblers are extremely easy and safe to use; it is predominantly a huge advantage for the beginners. Compared to the old school tools, it ensures way higher safety. On the other hand, there is absolutely zero chance of cutting through digits or limbs. 
  • No Vibrations from Oscillation: The cuts are totally supported, and there is no vibration to distract the work or make the work tougher. The support is amazing. It makes the job more efficient and fun. 
  • Ideal for Thin Metal Sheets: It is the best tool for thin metal sheets, according to the experts. Without a doubt, it can cut the desired shapes and sizes, which is an amazing advantage as most experts expect this from tools like nibblers and shears. 
  • Great to Cut through Tight Angles: Cutting through right angles is challenging for many different tools, but when it comes to nibblers, its design and adaptability make the user’s task way easier. 

There is a small list of cons, too, for nibblers. Let’s read it out: 

  • Handle Bends: Users have found this difficulty/issue in some particular popular models. Sometimes the handle bends easily, which becomes a hindrance to using it properly. However, it can be fixed, but that may cost if you are taking it to a repairer.
  • Limited Use: Even after being kind of versatile, this tool is not the ideal choice for thick metal sheets. It is best for thin metal sheets. So this is a significant con to be aware of if you are buying a nibbler. 

Pros and Cons of Shears 

Shears, being extremely versatile and robust, have many advantages. Let’s take a look at them: 

  • Versatile and Heavy-duty: Unlike nibblers, it is not for limited use. It can cut both thick and thin metal sheets and even aluminum, brass, etc. Truly an amazing tool if you have different metallic materials to cut in your daily works. 
  • Cleaner and Straighter Cut: Compared to the usual torch cutting tools and even nibblers, it has a cleaner cut. It has a strong handle, too, to make its usability and experience better. 
  • Minimizes Unwanted Kerf: Kerfs can be troublesome at times during cutting through metallic materials. Shears totally minimizes the production of kerfs making the user experience better. 

There is a single disadvantage of this material; let’s find it out: 

  • Not Ideal for Burr-Free Cutting: The force shears provide disables its ability to do the burr-free cutting. It offers a lot of burrs and, on the other hand, also deformation. Although shears make the cut clean, this is the only disadvantage that is holding it back. 

Which Tool to Go For? (Nibblers or Shears) 

It is evident that shears would be more versatile than nibblers. However, if you are planning to thin metal sheets mostly, a nibbler would be the ideal choice without a doubt. Then again, shears can also cut through thin metal sheets, although not as good as nibblers. The answer depends on your preference and your need. Nevertheless, the need might change every now and then, so shears might be a wiser choice as they are more versatile and applicable for heavier-duty works.

Jerry Jhonson
 

Jerry Johnson is a tech & tool geek who loves to talk, discuss and review different tools used for our day to day life. All the tools reviews and guides described in this site are completely from his personal experience and own observations.