Skip to content
Your distribution source for Belden Cable, Alpha Wire, Southwire Cable and equals
Your distribution source for Belden Cable, Alpha Wire, Southwire Cable and equals
how to strip multi conductor cable

How to Strip Multi-Conductor Cables: Cable Stripping Guide for Safe, Secure Connections

Whether you’re making upgrades to an existing wiring configuration or starting a new project from scratch, you’ll need to learn how to strip multi-conductor cables to ensure a safe, reliable connection. 

However, this is something many novices struggle with given the risk of accidentally damaging the inner insulation on the wires. Mistakes here can be costly and frustrating, especially if you find that you now need to wait a week for replacement cables to arrive.

We’ll help you avoid all this with a detailed guide on stripping cables below, from getting the ideal multi-conductor cable stripping tool to measuring and cutting the outer jacket, separating and stripping individual connectors, and handling the occasional issue with nicked conductors.

But remember that for all your multi-conductor cable needs you can count on Hobbyists and professionals alike trust us to offer the best balance of reliable quality at a price that won’t break the bank, saving you up to 40% on your wiring costs!

Overview of Stripping Multi-Conductor Cables

First things first, what is a multi-conductor cable, and why is stripping them necessary? Let’s start with the basics for those who are new to wiring so you can feel more confident taking this task on.

The Basics of Multi-Conductor Cables

These cables efficiently transmit power and signals across multiple paths simultaneously by bundling multiple insulated conductors within a single protective jacket. This is the primary difference between single conductor vs multi-conductor cable.

From industrial machinery to residential wiring, there are many advantages of multi-conductor cables. Each conductor within the cable is typically made of copper or aluminum and is individually insulated to prevent interference between wires. 

These versatile cables support simplified installation processes, reduced space usage, and enhanced overall system organization, leading to more reliable and easier-to-maintain network and power infrastructures.

Each multi-conductor cable consists of several insulated wires bundled together within a single jacket. The precise removal of this outer layer is necessary to connect the wires effectively without causing damage. 

What Does Cable Stripping Mean?

In practical terms, stripping a cable means that you are preparing it for installation or integration into a larger system. It involves the use of specific tools to cut back the cable’s outer jacket and the insulation around each conductor. 

This exposes the bare wires, making them ready for whatever connection is needed, whether it’s soldering, attaching connectors, or tying into terminal blocks.

Why is it Necessary?

Stripping cables allows for the physical connection of the cable's conductors to electrical devices or other cables. This is necessary for the completion of circuits that power devices or transmit data. 

Proper stripping also ensures that these connections are safe and free from the risk of shorts or electrical fires. It offers peace of mind knowing your device will run safely and reliably for the long haul.

The process must be done with precision to avoid damaging the delicate wires inside, which could compromise the integrity of the electrical system and lead to failures or hazardous situations. The last thing you want is to cause more harm than good.

So, follow along below as we walk you through how to strip multi-conductor cables with confidence!

How to Strip Multi-Conductor Cables: Step-by-Step Guide

Stripping multi-conductor cables is a delicate task that can compromise the functionality and safety of your electrical systems with any missteps. 

Don’t worry, though, you can put that stress in the past by following our advice below and working with patience and precision. First, you need to find an intuitive multi-conductor cable stripping tool - these things are worth their weight in gold.

Getting a Multi-Conductor Cable Stripping Tool

A dedicated cable stripping tool is essential for this task because it allows for accurate and safe removal of the insulation without damaging the wires inside. 

Sure, you could try and use a knife, scissors, or any other sharp object. Not only do these risk damaging your cable, though, using them for this task puts your own safety in peril. These tools come in various forms:

  • Automatic Wire Strippers: These are ideal for stripping standard insulated wires. They adjust automatically to the diameter of the wire, ensuring a clean cut every time.
  • Adjustable Wire Strippers: For more control, adjustable strippers allow you to set the exact size of the wire you are stripping, which is particularly useful for multi-conductor cables where sizes can vary.
  • Sheath Cutters: These are used to slice through the outer jacket of the cable without harming the insulation of the inner wires.

Choosing the right tool depends on the type of cable and the precision required for your particular application. Do a bit of due diligence and see what you can find locally online to streamline this process.

Measuring and Cutting the Outer Jacket

There’s a fine line between effectively stripping your cables and taking off too much of the outer jacket, exposing the delicate internal wires to the elements. It’s important to find the sweet spot in the middle.

So, determine how much of each conductor needs to be exposed for your connection and add a small allowance for ease of installation. 

Then gently score around the circumference of the cable's jacket using your sheath cutter or a sharp knife, being careful not to penetrate deeply enough to damage the insulation on the wires inside.

You should now be able to bend the cable slightly at the score line to crack the jacket. Then, use your tool or fingers to peel back the jacket. Remove enough of the jacket to expose the insulated conductors inside.

Separating and Stripping Individual Conductors

You should now see individual insulated conductors with a portion of the outer jacket removed. If the conductors are bonded or twisted together, gently separate them by hand or with the help of pliers, ensuring each wire remains intact.

Now is the time to put your multi-conductor wire stripping tool to the test. Remove the insulation from each conductor. Adjust your tool to match the gauge of the conductor, and strip off just enough insulation to make the necessary connections.

Best Practices for Clean and Efficient Stripping

As we’ve said a few times throughout this guide, missteps throughout this delicate process can have profound implications. So, here are a few best practices to ensure a smooth strip from start to finish:

  • Use Sharp Tools: Always make sure your tools are sharp and in good condition. Dull tools can crush or tear the wire instead of cutting cleanly.
  • Measure Twice, Cut Once: Always double-check your measurements before making cuts. This prevents waste and avoids the need for rework.
  • Keep Your Work Area Clean: Regularly clear away insulation trimmings and other debris. This not only keeps the work area safe but also prevents any conductive materials from causing shorts in the wiring.

Handling Common Problems Like Nicked Conductors

One of the most common issues we see with individuals stripping their cables is nicking the conductor. These nicks can present flaws in the system and potential failure points.

So after you’ve completed the project take a moment to inspect each conductor for any damage. If you find anything concerning, cover the nick with heat shrink tubing to insulate the damaged area properly.

Most importantly, refine your technique to prevent nicks in the future. Adjust your tools correctly, and avoid applying excessive force when stripping. Best of luck!

Source the Most Reliable and Affordable Multi-Conductor Cables for Any Project at!

If you already have your cables on hand, great - you can take the knowledge you’ve gained in this guide and put it to the test. 

But if you still need to source your cables, or made any mistakes in the stripping process and now need a replacement, you’re in luck - we carry all the different multi-conductor cable types here at!

Not just any cables, either. Ours are carefully crafted to match the exact specifications, fit, and form of branded cables, like those from Belden. The kicker? We keep our prices low to fit any budget and put the financial stress of sourcing wires in the past.

Our Belden alternative cables are backed by extensive spec sheets so you can ensure the align with your project. Or, you can get in touch with one of our customer service representatives for a personalized recommendation. After all, our commitment to providing world-class support is what keeps our customers coming back for more!

We’ve helped some of our customers achieve savings in excess of $86,000 annually while eliminating the problems associated with production delays. Other customers have experienced savings between 40-65% by switching to our cables. 

The best part? You can enjoy peace of mind knowing you’re getting a dependable solution backed by rigorous testing. We have all the different gauges you could need, too:

So, get in touch today so we can help you pinpoint the perfect cables for that next project, or take a look around and see what we have in store for you yourself as we wrap up our guide on how to strip multi-conductor cables.

Final Thoughts on How to Strip Multi-Conductor Cables

There you have it - everything you need to know about stripping multi-conductor cables. Hopefully, this guide has shed some light on the practice and left you feeling confident in your next steps.

Remember that this is a project that demands precision - so invest in a quality multi-conductor wire stripping tool, measure carefully, and work diligently to prevent damaging your cables. Maintaining meticulous attention to detail will prevent costly missteps while enhancing the reliability and safety of your entire system.

At this point, it’s time to get to work - or if you still need them, source your cables through You can experience the best of both worlds when you shop with us - dependable cables that support operational efficiency and affordable solutions that won’t break the bank! 

Previous article How to Calculate Conduit Fill for Multi-Conductor Cable
Next article Multi-Conductor Cable Types