Hydraulic knockout punch sets are kits designed to help you punch out and remove a small section from a specific material. Many of those found on the market today help electricians handle the daily tasks that they do on the job, but you may need a kit for doing work at home or on your own job. These products have a hydraulic pump that produces the force needed to cut through hard materials like steel.
We picked the Greenlee Slug-Splitter (Check Price on Amazon.com) as the top model because it gets the top reviews from former customers, including DIY enthusiasts and working professionals. This set comes with both a hydraulic ram as well as a pump that provides enough force to move through almost any material like butter. It also comes with six punches of different sizes and a metal case that holds all parts and accessories for using this set on any job site.
How to Choose the Perfect One
What is the Die Set Size Range?
All the tools that made our list and those that did not come with dies that determine the size of the hole that you make. While the outside of the die and the side that fits into the pump will be slightly larger that the hole it makes, you’ll want a set that features clear markings that help you actually see those sizes.
Most kits come with a minimum die size of ½ inch, but the maximum size can range. Greenlee and other companies offer kits with a max size of six inches. Other companies offer a maximum die size of only four inches.
What Materials Can You Cut?
Designed for use in electrical applications, these tools and tool kits typically work with different types of metal like brass, stainless steel and standard steel. Some will work on other materials like fiberglass or plastic too.
You should look at the gauge of steel that you can cut punch through too. The maximum gauge that some manufacturers state is 10 gauge. Trying to cut through a different gauge can break the tool or cause the die to snap.
Does it Come with a Hydraulic Machine?
Most models come with a hand pump, but not all models come with a hydraulic machine. Those that lack this type of machine are harder to use and will require a boost of pressure from some other type of tool. Kits that do come with these tools may have a hose that leaks fluid, which can get on your clothing or on your work space.
How Long is the Included Hose?
When shopping for kits that come with a hydraulic machine, always find out the exact length of that hose, which tells you how far away you can use that tool. A shorter length of three to five feet will limit your work area and make you stand closer to the hydraulics when using the tool. Choosing a model with a hose of six to eight feet long or even longer gives you the freedom to move around your workshop.
Top 5 Hydraulic Knockout Punch Sets on the Market
1. Greenlee Slug-Splitter
The durable metal case that comes with this Greenlee set is just one reason we placed it in our top spot. This case has metal latches on the side that snap open and closed to lock and unlock the case as well as ample storage space inside for all your tools. You get both a hydraulic ram as well as a hand pump that works on metals of up to 10 gauges in size.
Also included is a self-centering pump that lets you make those punches without marking the spot first because the tool will automatically center on your pilot hole. This set comes with six punches that snap onto the tool for fast cutting, and each of those parts comes in a different size suitable for most jobs.
Includes both a hand pump and a hydraulic ram that fit inside a metal case
Has a self-centering punch that removes the need for marking materials before punching
Works with steel and other harder types of metal of up to a 10 gauge size
May need to use a wrench or another tool to set it up
Locks on the outside of the metal case can rust or stick when exposed to moisture
2. L.H. Dottie 16-Piece Kit
Though this L.H. Dottie kit comes with a shorter factory warranty than other models do, it also comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty that lets you contact the manufacturer with help within one year of your purchase. This kit comes with a heavy-duty carrying case that is suitable for using on any job site, and that case comes in a bright yellow color that is hard to miss. All the included parts fit right inside.
Rated for use on 10g steel, this kit comes with individual dies that have three sharp edges/points that move through that material faster and helps you make more accurate punches. The manufacturer designed those points to help you make cuts while using up to half as much torque as you would with other dies.
Included dies make punches easier and with less torque or pressure
Each individual die has three separate points for faster and more accurate cuts
Comes with 16 pieces that all fit inside a heavy-duty carrying case
Costs more than you might want to spend
Factory warranty only lasts for 30 days
3. TEMCo 4” Set
If you need a set that can punch through almost any type of metal, this is the set for you. TEMCo guarantees that it will work on traditional steel of up to 1/8-inch thick and that it will work on stainless steel of up to 1/16-inch thick. It also works on fiberglass, some aluminum alloys, plastic and brass.
Each of the 10 included dies are easy to use and come in sizes that range from ½ inch up to four inches. The included carrying case has dedicated spots inside for each of those dies as well as the hand pump. You will also get a five-year warranty on this set, which is compatible with tools from other manufacturers like Greenlee.
Included dies are compatible with pumps from other manufacturers
Comes with 10 dies in sizes ranging up for ½ inch
Works on stainless steel up to 1/16-inch thick and steel up to 1/8-inch thick
May leak some hydraulic fluid from the side
Maximum die is just four-inches wide
4. BEAMNOVA 15-Ton Complete Set
Capable of using more torque and pressure than some other cheaper models can, this BEAMNOVA set comes with a hydraulic pump that has a small bracket on the base, which lets you sit it down or stand it up near your work area. All the pieces in this set use the same bright red finish to help you keep an eye on your tools while away from home. The included storage case uses the same red finish and features spaces inside for all the dies and other accessories.
Also included is a set of 10 dies that creates holes of between ½ inch and four inches. You also get two piston shafts, two spacers and two draw studs.
Has a simple switch that you rotate to turn the tool on and off
Comes with 10 dies and other supplies for making fast and accurate holes
Pump has its own bracket that lets it stand on its own
Will not work on some thicker materials
Requires a little more torque or force to use it
5. TEMCo Electrical Conduit Set
Another solid choice from TEMCo is this set, which comes with a durable five-year warranty and six individual dies. Those dies allow you to make holes that are between 1/2-inch wide up to two-inches wide. Other included accessories let you make other marks and punches.
Designed for use on steel and stainless steel, this set is effective on other materials like plastic and fiberglass, though you may need to use more torque on some materials than you do on others. Individual spots inside the included case provide storage for all the tools and accessories, and the case itself has a heavy-duty design.
Compatible with other similar tools from Greenlee and other manufacturers
Comes with six dies for cutting holes up to two inches
Works on steel, stainless steel, fiberglass, plastic and other materials
Hose is just five-feet long and too short for using in some areas
Leaks along the hose are fairly common
Greenlee gets great reviews and high parks from former customers, which is one reason why we decided to rank its Slug-Splitter as our top choice.
Each included part uses the company’s trademark green color and makes it easy to stop your own tools on the job site. You get a hydraulic ram, hand pump and six punches that all conveniently fit inside the included case. Each punch uses a different size too.
Those punches are easy to use because each one fits onto and off of the tool in seconds. The included case uses steel to make it last longer and features locks for locking the case closed. This set will work on stainless steel and other metals of up to a 10-gauge size.