The Topeak Cable & Housing Cutter is a solid tool with some good features for making cable work a breeze. It's strong, smooth in use and gives reliable cuts, though it doesn't have the greatest leverage available and the handle shaping is basic.
The Topeak Cable & Housing Cutter is a good answer for the home mechanic. The build quality is high, and the coiled spring feels pretty smooth. The catch that holds the cutter closed is also a handy way to hang them on a toolboard.
There are two crimpers on the inside of the tool: one for inner cable caps, and one for outer ferrules. These are not that common these days, but it's useful for squashing outers back to perfectly-round, ready to accept the ferrule.
The tool needs a fairly hefty squeeze to snip through housings – slightly more than either my go-to vintage Japanese HIT cutters, or my Pedro's cutters. They're strong, however, and thickness of the jaw and pivot is such that even brake housing doesn't skew the blades: so as a pure cutting tool, it does the job.
The notable feature here is the 'Housing reformer'. This is a recessed spike, designed to open up the inner sheath to allow free movement of the inner cable. It works most of the time, but occasionally it simply pushed the PVC inner over to one side – you still need to make sure the inner sheath is more or less central.
A new set of cables is the easiest, cheapest way to refresh your bike, and properly-cut cable outers are vital. If the cut isn't square, the outer will slowly dig into the ferrule and from the first ride you'll be tweaking the tension. So a good set of cable cutters are a great investment, and value-wise, the Topeak's £27.99 looks good against other quality brands.
Pedro's Cable Cutter is £35.99 and Park Tool's Professional Cable and Housing Cutters are £35 – the Park one comes with a lifetime warranty as opposed to Topeak or Pedro's two years, though. Shimano's TL-CT12s top them both at £49.99, though there's a far cheaper (if non bike-specific) option in the decent Draper Expert range for around £15.
If you're after a more compact, lighter tool with the housing inner reformer, and aren't fussed about lifetime warranty, save yourself £7 over the Park Tool and go for the Topeak – you won't be disappointed.
Well-built and nicely featured tool for simplifying cable replacements
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Cable and housing cutter
Size tested: 18 x 6.4 x 2.6cm
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Topeak says it's a "high quality, spring loaded, hardened steel cutter designed for cutting all types of bicycle cables and housing. With built-in cable and housing end ferrule crimper and housing re-former for easy installation of ferrules."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
18 x 6.4 x 2.6 cm / 7.1' x 2.5' x 1'
174 g / 6.12 oz
Built-in cable & housing end ferrule crimper
Built-in housing re-former for easy installation of ferrules
Looks and feels well made.
Manages a clean cut most of the time.
Looks about on par with other quality tools.
A bit more force needed than some others, and the handle isn't exactly ergonomic.
Compared with the overall market, this sits about mid-range.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Maybe a bit more force needed than others, but it's fine.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The cable-former is a neat inclusion.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'm not 100% sold on the spring clip – occasionally it locked the tool when I didn't want it to.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Price-wise it rates well, but we aren't talking huge extra bucks if the Park version is more to your liking.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The price is mid-range, and the tool has a few extra features that mark it out from others. It's a good bit of kit.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is: Velocite Selene
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb, Dutch bike pootling.