Home Home & Patio Best Nibblers [Buying Guide] in 2020

Best Nibblers [Buying Guide] in 2020

by Jonathan Logtenberg
Makita XNJ01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 16 Gauge Nibbler, Tool Only
Ingersoll Rand EC300 Air Nibbler
Fein BLK 1.3CSE/N12 18 Gauge Nibbler
Makita XNJ01Z Electric Nibbler
Ingersoll Rand EC300 Air Nibbler
Fein BLK 1.3CSE/N12 18 Gauge Nibbler
Makita XNJ01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 16 Gauge Nibbler, Tool Only
Makita XNJ01Z Electric Nibbler
Ingersoll Rand EC300 Air Nibbler
Ingersoll Rand EC300 Air Nibbler
Fein BLK 1.3CSE/N12 18 Gauge Nibbler
Fein BLK 1.3CSE/N12 18 Gauge Nibbler

Are you keen into DIY and looking for a new way to expand your skills and try a different challenge?  Maybe you’re a semi-professional and you’re looking to build new projects and complete new tasks.  You might be looking for a brand new tool to add to your kit to allow you to do that which is why you’ve ended up here, at Surf’n’Buy’s in depth guide about how to buy the best nibbler and which ones truly are the best on the market.

‘What is a nibbler?’ You ask.  Although the name can be deceiving, a nibbler is a metal cutting tool which limits the amount of distortion on the edges so that you get a clean cut for your next DIY project.  It operates much like a punch and die, with a  linear blade which removes small pieces of metal and leaving a kerf to ensure a smooth edge on any kind of metal.  There are many different kinds of nibblers which are suitable for different projects, so finding the right one for you may be a bit of a challenge.  If you’re looking for the right nibbler to add to your toolkit, you’ve come to the right place.  Surf’n’Buy have got the three best nibblers on the market in 2020, which we are sure will suit you perfectly, as well as all of the information you need to make sure that you know exactly what you’re buying and that it’s the best option for your needs.

We have everything from different kinds of nibblers to how they’re used and what you need to look for to find the best nibbler for your needs as.  So, get comfy and keep reading if you’re looking for a nibbler because we have everything you need to get started right away.

Top 3 Nibblers

1. Makita XNJ01Z Electric Nibbler


The Makita XNJ01Z Electric Nibbler delivers a massive 1,900 SPM for fast and smooth cutting to get the job done quickly and easily.  Ideal for cutting through roofing and sheet metal with a thickness of up to 16 gauge, you can use this nibbler for almost any project and be sure that it will deliver the results you need.  The built in r panel ensures a straight cut so that you can keep your work to a high standard of quality.

The die holder rotates at a 360 degree angle to give you the most comfortable holding position and minimize awkward hand movements which can cause injury.  The convenient chip disposal below the cutting material minimizes scratches to the material to ensure a clean cut and a shiny finish.  The cutting radius on the inner edge is ¼ to ¾ inches while the outer edge is two inches so you have plenty of freedom with the Makita XNJ01Z Electric Nibbler.

The anti-restart function prevents motor start up when the battery is inserted with the switch locked on to ensure safety at all times.  The lock on function slides easily to keep the nibbler working continuously for greater convenience.  The externally accessible carbon brushes ensure greater serviceability and easy maintenance.

Lightweight at only 4 pounds, you can use and move this nibbler as you need to while the rubberized soft grip enhances comfort.  The convenient battery powered motor means there is no need for cables and wire attachments which can be irritating when trying to move around your materials.


  • With a high, 1,900 SPM, you get quick and efficient results with the Makita XNJ01Z Electric Nibbler.
  • Capable of cutting up to 16 gauge metal, you can use this nibbler with almost any material and for almost any project without worrying it will be unable to perform.
  • The built in panel guide keeps your cuts straight so that your work is always of high quality.
  • The 360 degree die holder allows you to move freely and easily to increase comfort and decrease the risk of injury or discomfort when using this nibbler.
  • The soft grip design is comfortable to hold and use, making it ideal for long term use.
  • The innovative convenience features ensure that you can keep working without having to hold the on button for a long period of time.
  • The externally accessible carbon brushes make maintenance quick and easy so there is no need to take the nibbler apart to service it.
  • The chip disposal is placed beneath the cutting area to catch debris and keep the surface of the material safe from scratches and damage, which is incredibly handy.
  • The wide range of cutting radiuses allows you to choose the right one for your project and doesn’t limit you to a close or wide cut.
  • The lightweight design is easy to hold and won’t cause muscle ache during long term use which is great for long projects.
  • The battery powered motor takes away the need for cables and wires to power the nibbler and gives you the freedom to move.


  • Battery powered nibblers are not as powerful as other options so you cannot cut as wide a range of materials as you could with one powered by an air compressor, for example.
  • This nibbler is not as well suited to those who need to cut particularly thick materials as it only reaches 16 gauge.
  • Batteries are not included in your purchase and will need to be bought at an extra cost.
  • Battery power can run out if the battery is not kept charged which can make battery powered nibblers less suited to those with larger or more complex projects where the nibbler needs to work for a long time.


If you are looking for a top quality, highly portable and convenient nibbler to add to your toolkit, look no further than the Makita XNJ01Z Electric Nibbler.  This nibbler is lightweight, comfortable and easy to move around as it is free from cables and wires due to the battery powered motor.  The high speed, 1,900 SPM is capable of cutting up to 16 gauge metal to give you the power you need for almost any project while the dust collector keeps your materials safe from the damage of any falling debris, perfect for aesthetic projects.

The innovative safety features and convenient accessories make maintenance and use that much simpler.  No need to take it apart and maintain it, simply empty the carbon brushes regularly and you’re good to go.  Although batteries have their own downsides, the Makita XNJ01Z Electric Nibbler more than makes up for it in terms of power and capability.  If you are looking for complete freedom with your nibbler in terms of movement and flexibility, this nibbler is most definitely a top contender to consider.

2. Ingersoll Rand EC300 Air Nibbler


The Ingersoll Rand EC300 Air Nibbler is a powerful nibbler that cuts up to 18 gauge steel, plastic or any other material you have your heart set on.  At a 6 foot per minute cutting rate, this nibbler works quickly and efficiently to get any job done as fast as possible.   With 4200 strokes per minute, this nibbler holds a close ¼ inch radius to keep lines as clean as possible.  This gives you a high level of accuracy for all of your cutting and building projects to ensure high quality time and time again.

The angled head allows for easy cutting and the ergonomic grip and low profile throttle lever makes using this nibbler for long periods of time comfortable and convenient, perfect for longer and more complex projects. This nibbler is incredibly lightweight at only 2 pounds, providing you with incredible quality and comfort with very little weight.  This reduces the risk of muscle fatigue and allows you to keep working for as long as possible.  Powered from an air compressor, this nibbler reaches higher power than most battery powered units, making it suitable for a wider range of projects and tasks.


  • With the capability to cut up to 18 gauge materials, the Ingersoll Rand EC300 Air Nibbler is the perfect nibbler for those looking to trim down larger and heavier materials.
  • The six foot per minute cutting rate and 4200 strokes per minute combined makes this one of the fastest air nibblers available so that you can get the job done as soon as possible.
  • The close ¼ inch radius keeps lines clean as you work and gives you a premium level of accuracy so that you keep your work as neat and professional as possible.
  • The angled head allows the user better vision for greater accuracy and an intuitive holding position.
  • The ergonomic grip is comfortable without losing traction so that you never lose control of the nibbler when it is on. 
  • The low profile throttle is easy to keep on during use without making wrists and muscles tired.
  • The lightweight design is easy to hold and move around as needed so that you don’t get muscle ache and have full control over the nibbler as it cuts.
  • The air compressor power gives you a greater deal of freedom as you can work longer than you can from a battery and can move an air compressor around as needed.


  • You purchase does not include detailed instructions on the upkeep of the nibbler such as oiling and maintenance which can make looking after the nibbler a bit more complicated.
  • The head cannot rotate to reach different angles which may make some projects more difficult if they requires close work.
  • There is no catch for debris which can make the work space very messy and can even damage the material in some cases, which may be annoying for some users.
  • The head can spin loose sometimes during use which reduces the accuracy and control the user has.
  • There is no way of ensuring the nibbler stays on without having to hold down the lever which can be irritating.
  • This nibbler struggles to cut metal or materials that are bent but will successfully cut through flat metal, however this narrows your choices in the materials you can trim.
  • The air compressor will need to be purchased separately in order to power it and this can be costly.
  • Depending on the air compressor you are using, this nibbler can go through air rather quickly and those with a smaller capacity can struggle to keep up, which requires lengthy waiting periods to refill.
  • This nibbler is not suited for roofing material as it is not powerful enough to cut through that kind of gauge.


If you are looking for a nibbler that will quickly and easily attach to your air compressor and offer you everything you need in terms of power and accuracy, look no further than the Ingersoll Rand EC300 Air Nibbler.  This nibbler has a close radius and intuitive holding position so that you have full control and excellent vision when using the nibbler too cut a wide range of materials.  This nibbler is stronger than battery operated models which gives you greater flexibility in regard to the materials you wish to cut.   The ergonomic grip is comfortable and the lightweight design means you won’t suffer from muscle ache or tiredness during long term use.

The main drawback is that the head of the nibbler does not move to adjust to different angles and there is no collection system for debris which can create a mess and cause damage to the material you are cutting, which can be irritating.  However, if you are looking for a high quality nibbler that offers you everything you need in terms of power and accuracy, this is the one for you as it can cope with any material and works incredibly quickly.

3. Fein BLK 1.3CSE/N12 18 Gauge Nibbler


The Fein BLK 1.3CSE/N12 18 Gauge Nibbler works at an incredibly high cutting speed of up to 7.5 feet per minute, by far the fastest on this guide.  Capable of cutting up to 18 gauge metal and other materials, you are not limited by the power of this nibbler as it will cut through anything without a problem. 

Adjustable in increments up to 360 degrees you have full control and accuracy with this nibbler, allowing you to adjust the head as you need to in order to ensure proper control and high quality cuts.  The rotating punch increases punch life by up to 30% to ensure that this is nibbler that is built to last, giving you a high quality and reliable product for life.

Weighing less than 4 pounds, this is one of the lightest nibblers available so that you don’t suffer from muscle fatigue and aches with long term use, which is ideal for those with longer projects. The corded electric motor gives you a constant and reliable power source so you know that you can keep going without running out of battery or air as you would with another model of nibbler which makes long projects easier.


  • The incredibly high cutting speed gets your projects done as soon as possible so that you can work quickly and efficiently to get the job done.
  • With up to 18 gauge cutting capability, you can work with almost any material so you are not limited with the Fein BLK 1.3CSE/N12 18 Gauge Nibbler.
  • With full adjustability in increments up to 360 degrees, you have much greater accuracy and flexibility with this nibbler as it allows you to move with the material as yo need to.
  • The rotating punch improves punch life by up to 30% which gives you a product that will last a lifetime and is incredibly durable.
  • The lightweight design ensures that long term use won’t cause aches and pains, which is ideal for those using this nibbler on a commercial basis.
  • The corded electric power source provides you with consistent and even power to ensure that you work remains reliable and constant.  No need to wait for air refills or change any batteries.
  • The long 17 foot power cable gives you plenty of freedom to move around without being tied to a mains outlet or needing excessive amounts of extension cables to move around the materials.


  • The corded electric motor can be irritating to work with as you will need to move it around and work with it as you go around the work bench and may sometimes limit the flexibility of the nibbler.
  • The manual is difficult to read and understand which can make assembly and maintenance a little bit trickier to comprehend.
  • There is no support on the nibbler to make holding more comfortable or ergonomic, which may make it less comfortable as other nibblers in this guide.
  • There is no mechanism to lock the nibbler on for long term use which can be annoying as you will need to continuously hold down the button which can cause muscle ache.
  • This nibbler is slightly heavier than other models which can make it difficult to hold for long periods of time.


If you are looking for a high quality nibbler with a consistent power source that wont run out, the Fein BLK 1.3CSE/N12 18 Gauge Nibbler is the one for you.  This nibbler provides you with incredibly high power and ridiculously fast cutting speed so that you can get to work and finish a project in record time.  The long cable gives you plenty of freedom to move around the work room as needed, although it can be a little irritating since it’s not cord free and therefore needs a little bit of consideration as you work. 

This nibbler is also a little heavier and does not have proper comfort support to make long term use of the nibbler easier which can cause some muscle ache and vibration irritation in the hands when cutting particularly thick metals.  However, with the freedom to move the heard in increments up to 360 degrees, the user is provided with higher accuracy, better visibility and increased control over the nibbler to make their project clean and professional.

The rotating punch offers up to 30% longer lifetime with the Fein BLK 1.3CSE/N12 18 Gauge Nibbler so that there is no need to replace it anytime soon.  That makes this nibbler one of the most reliable and durable on the market and we highly recommend it to anyone looking for a nibbler to add to their toolkit.  You may need to purchase a roll magnet to collect the debris as there is no collection mechanism, but this is by far one of the best nibblers on the market today.

Types Of Nibblers 

There are three main kinds of nibblers available and they each have different power sources.  This changes how powerful these nibblers are, how long they can be used and the precision they offer, so this is an important consideration to make sure that you are getting the right nibbler to suit your needs so that you can complete your project properly. In this section of our guide we will discuss the three different kinds of nibblers so that you can find the one that suits you best to complete your next project and all those that come after.

Battery Powered

Battery powered nibblers are an excellent choice for those who need flexibility and the freedom to move around the material as needed because they don’t have a cord attached to either a mains or an air compressor.  This means you don’t have to carry anything and there are no tripping hazards, which is great for safety concerns. 

The main drawback to battery powered nibblers is that they don’t have as much power as either air compressor or mains electric powered air compressors which can limit the materials you can cut.  As well as this, they need to have their batteries replaced, which can be costly, or they will need to be recharged, which can be time consuming.  This makes them less suited to long projects as they may run out of power during use.

Air Compressor Powered

Air compressor powered nibblers have the added benefit of more power in the nibbler itself whilst still being quite portable depending on your air compressor.  If you have a large capacity, you will be able to work for a longer period of time, potentially, than a battery.

The main drawback to an air compressor, however, is that you are still tied to the air compressor itself which will need to be carried as you move.  You may also run out of air if the tank capacity is too low and you will need to wait for it to refill.  Although this may not take as long as a battery to recharge, it is still irritating to have to stop in the middle of a project.

Mains Electric Powered

The final kind of nibbler is a mains electric powered nibbler.  These nibblers connect directly into an outlet and have a long cord to allow you to move around as you need to without the need for extension cables.  These nibblers have the benefit of never running out of power, making them much more consistent and suited for long periods of work.  They also have the same high power level as an air compressor nibbler, making them a firm favourite for those with large projects.

However, the cords of these nibblers can still be very cumbersome to work around as you will need to move it as you go and make sure it doesn’t get in the way of the actual blade itself.  This makes them a bit more of a safety hazard, also.

How Do You Use a Nibbler?

A nibbler is a tool used to cut up sheet metal which allows you to shape metal for a variety of different projects and designs.  It operates much like a punch and die with a blade that moves in a linear fashion to remove small bits of metal. However, using a nibbler is not always easy if you’ve never used one before and never learned how.  It works in the same kind of way as a circular saw, you simply need to push it along the material in order to cut it, although there are some things you can do to make using a nibbler easier. This section of our guide will provide you with some tips and tricks for the first time you use your nibbler so that you stay safe and get the most out of your purchase.

Clamp Down the Metal or Material

Before you get started, it is incredibly important to clamp down whatever material you are using as otherwise it will fly around and simply make a mess.  Or, even worse, it could injure somebody.  Get yourself a good set of clamps for your work bench and keep the metal still when you’re cutting.  If you’re not used to using a nibbler, this step is essential to make sure that you get the most accuracy with your nibbler.  By ensuring it stays still during use, you can make sure everyone is safe and you get a clean cut.

Practice on Scrap Metal

If you have never used a nibbler before, you don’t want to dive right in on expensive materials.  Practice on a few scrap pieces first so that you get the feel of the nibbler before using it on professional materials.  Different nibblers will have different power functions, so you may need to hold a lever or press a button.  Others will have a switch to keep the power on permanently to make things easier for you.  Make sure to get used to your nibbler first and take the time to figure it out.

Use a Guide

A guide line will help you keep a straight line if your nibbler doesn’t have one built in.  Clamp this along the line you need to cut and follow it to make sure you line stays straight.  This will make your cuttings look much more professional and your lines much cleaner and easier to work with once you start assembling.


Proper maintenance is essential to make sure that you get the most out of your tools.  Nibblers need regular cleaning and oiling to make sure they don’t become damaged or suffer excessive wear and tear.  Make sure to read the users’ manual to understand the maintenance your nibbler needs and perform this regularly to keep it in the best working order.  It seems like a very simple consideration but you would be surprised how many people don’t take proper care of their tools.  With proper care, you won’t have to repair or replace your nibbler very often, saving you money in the long term.

What Metals and Thickness Can Nibblers Cut?

The metals, materials and thicknesses a nibbler can cut through will depend on the nibbler itself and this will also change depending on the power source the nibbler uses.  Nibblers cut through metal without distorting it so they are ideal to have in your toolkit when you work around metals often.  If you are looking for a nibbler, the gauge depth is an important consideration to take on board. There are three different gauge depths: 10, 16 and 18.  It is usually recommended to go for a nibbler with the highest gauge possible so that you can use it with any material you may need.

Hand nibblers are generally not as powerful as electric or air powered nibblers and will struggle to do the tough jobs and cut through the thicker metals.  Electric nibblers on the other hand, will give you a bit more freedom in what you can cut through.  If you are looking for a nibbler that can get through the biggest thickness, the Ingersoll Rand EC300 Air Nibbler and the Fein BLK 1.3CSE/N12 18 Gauge Nibbler are both capable of cutting up to 18 gauge and offer different power sources to suit your needs.

Battery powered nibblers are not as powerful in terms of gauge depth because of their power source, yet the Makita XNJ01Z Electric Nibbler can still reach a respectable 16 gauge depth. The metals and thickness of the materials you need to cut will change the kind of nibbler you need so make sure to take this into account before you buy.  If you are simply looking for a home DIY tool, you may be okay with a lower gauge depth than if you were a professional contractor.   Consider what you work with most and make sure any nibbler you buy is capable of cutting through it.

What Should You Look for When Buying an Air Nibbler?

If you are looking for an air nibbler in particular there are a few things you need to take into consideration to make sure that you get the right product.  There are many different features that nibblers offer to provide you with a high quality product so knowing what is available will help you find the right nibbler for your needs to complete any project.  These features range from requirements to safety to convenience, but all are important to take into account.

Airflow Requirements

If you are using your nibbler with an air compressor, you need to be aware of how much air it requires and how fast.  If you do not have an air compressor that can cope with the demands of the nibbler then you won’t be able to power it and it will be a waste of money.  Or, you will end up buying a new air compressor and spending more than you ever meant to.   Make sure that any nibbler you buy matches the output of the air compressor and vice versa to ensure you can actually power it.

Cutting Gauge of the Nibbler

If you are looking to purchase a nibbler you need to make sure that it matches your needs and that of your projects.  It would be no use to buy a nibbler that couldn’t cut through half of the materials you need it to.  Check to make sure that the nibbler has the right gauge for your highest demanding material.  It is usually recommended that you simply go with the highest gauge depth possible to cover all the bases as this means you can cut any material in the future, although this may be a little more expensive.

Safety Features

When you’re working with power tools, safety is absolutely key.  Many nibblers come with important safety functions such as shutting off if there is debris in the way.  Make sure to check what safety features come with the nibbler so that you know just how safe it is.  One of the most important features is a debris catcher such as that on the Makita XNJ01Z Electric Nibbler.  This prevents damage to the material and the blade from the fallen debris the nibbler produces, which can also be a fire hazard if they reach heaters or hot elements.


When you’re working around a material you want to be able to actually move around it and not be held in one spot.  This is why an air nibbler is recommended because you can simply move the air compressor around with you as you need to in order to get to the areas of the material you need to.  However, you will also want to ensure that you get a large enough air hose so that you aren’t limited by a short one.  This will allow you to move around without constantly having to have the air compressor at your feet.  A long air hose is also an important consideration in case you have a stationary air compressor which you cannot move as you work.


The weight of a nibbler is an important consideration as this will change how long you can use the nibbler.  The heavier it is, the harder it is to use for long periods of time and your muscles will begin to ache.  Try to go for a lightweight nibbler where you can to make sure you get a model you can use for as long as possible to complete all the necessary projects.


We all want to work without having to think and that’s why many air nibblers offer innovative convenience features to ensure that you get the most out of your purchase.  One thing to look out for is a lock on function so that you don’t have to continuously hold onto a lever or button to keep the nibbler working as this can cause muscle fatigue.  You should also look at the ergonomics and comfortability of an air nibbler, especially if you are planning to use the nibbler for long periods of time.


So, that’s all we have for the best nibblers in 2020.  There are so many different considerations to make when you are purchasing a nibbler that it can be confusing.  That is why we have developed this guide to give you all of the information you need in the same place so you can make an informed decision.  This guide has been specially designed with you in mind to help you make the right choice for a nibbler that you are very happy with.

If you are a bit of a home DIYer, the Makita XNJ01Z Electric Nibbler is the perfect model to get you started.  With complete freedom and enough power to cut through most materials, it is ideal for those who want to try out their first nibbler.  However, if you are a bit more of a professional contractor, the Ingersoll Rand EC300 Air Nibbler and the Fein BLK 1.3CSE/N12 18 Gauge Nibbler both offer supreme power with premium quality, more flexibility and intuitive designs.  Each of these nibblers has their own pros and cons, so make sure you checked out each of their individual buying guides for more information where we have broken it all down for you.

We here at Surf’n’Buy hope that this guide has helped you to find the right nibbler for all of your construction needs and look forward to seeing you in our next guide!

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