Buyer's Guides

Best Hot Wire Foam Cutters – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Best Hot Wire Foam Cutters - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideStyrofoam is an incredibly versatile type of plastic. Additionally, despite being inexpensive, it’s very solid and dependable.

Even more so, because it can be easily cut, shaped, drilled and re-attached, it’s also a fantastic option for making a sold, stable and realistic modeling base.

In order to use styrofoam successfully, though, you will need to use the right tools. Among them, one of the most important, without a doubt, is the styrofoam cutter (often referred to as a hot knife). Using heat as well as a sharp edge, this type of tool can cut through styrofoam in a smooth and consistent manner.

In stores and online, there are many styrofoam cutter options to choose from. In order to help you choose the right one for your needs, this buyer’s guide will provide thorough reviews for five of the best styrofoam cutters on the market. What is more, it will provide useful information about styrofoam cutting in general.

Best Styrofoam Cutter On the Market

ProductTypeTemperatureDimensionsWeight 
Hercules SC-190 Handheld Electric Styrofoam Hot KnifeHandheld300°C - 400°C12.5 x 9.1 x 3.2 inches2.65 pounds Check Price
Woodland Scenics Hot Wire Foam Cutter Handheld350°C - 450°C degrees12.5 x 7.5 x 2.8 inches1.2 pounds Check Price
Guritta Perfect 300-400°C Styrofoam Cutting KnifeHandheld300°C - 400°C12 x 6 x 1.8 inches 11.2 ounces Check Price
Proxxon 27082 ThermocutHandheld 150°C - 315°C12.7 x 6.7 x 1.8 inches1.15 pounds Check Price
Hercules Tabletop Styrofoam Hot Wire CutterCountertop200°C - 315°C17.1 x 13.7 x 5.6 inches5.85 pounds Check Price

1. Hercules SC-190 – Best Lightweight Foam Styrofoam Cutter

Hercules SC-190 Handheld Electric Styrofoam Hot KnifeThe Hercules SC-190 is a lightweight, user-friendly and effective hot knife that can be used with one hand. Using two heat cutters (one with a 4-inch and another with a 6-inch blade), this tool can cut through various materials, including polyurethane, polyethylene, polyester foam, polyether foam, sponge rubber, cellulose and, of course, styrofoam.

Design and Materials

Compact and lightweight, the Hercules SC-190 can be easily used with one hand. Apart from making it easy to manipulate, its size also makes it effective at making small details such as those you would want in your diorama.

It should be taken into account, however, that both its plastic and its metal parts are somewhat flimsy and fragile.

Versatility

Because it can be used on a large variety of materials, the Hercules SC-190 is more versatile than a regular styrofoam cutter. What is more, its design enables it to be used for cutouts, sculpting and creating small details. As a result, it’s a good option for creating dioramas and other modeling projects that combine different textures, shapes and materials.

Security and Safety

Because it employs both a sharp edge and burning heat, a hot knife such can be a dangerous tool. Luckily, the Hercules SC-190 goes above and beyond to ensure complete safety and security while being used. Apart from featuring safety temperature regulators, the tool is designed to keep the hot sections as far away from your body as possible. As if all that wasn’t enough, it also features a spring-loaded safety trigger and a 9.5-foot cord.

Overall

Taking everything into account, it can be said with confidence that the Hercules SC-190 is a dependable, effective tool for cutting styrofoam. Compact, lightweight, ergonomic and portable, it’s definitely a practical tool. Furthermore, due to its design, it’s very well-suited for creating small details with efficiency and precision. All in all, the Hercules SC-190 is a styrofoam cutter well-worth checking out.

Pros
  • Includes hard plastic case and cleaning brush.
  • Lightweight.
  • Heats up quickly.
Cons
  • Can overheat.
  • Handle is not ergonomic.

2. Woodland Scenics – Best Hot Wire Foam Cutter for Making Advanced Shapes

Woodland Scenics Hot Wire Foam CutterStreamlined, simple, practical and clean, the Woodland Scenics Hot Wire Foam Cutter is a fantastic tool for cutting styrofoam. Using a tensed hot wire, this tool allows its users to make swift, precise and accurate cuts not only on styrofoam but other materials as well.

Due to its design, it can be easily maneuvered and handled. As a result, the Woodland Scenics Hot Wire Foam Cutter can be used to successfully shape and carve out styrofoam for creating complex, realistic dioramas and other modeling projects.

Performance

Despite the simplicity of its design, the Woodland Scenics Hot Wire Foam Cutter is very effective at making complex, difficult cuts on a variety of materials. Using a long, perfectly tensed wire, this tool can make clean, precise cuts (whether they are straight or at an angle). Even better, its wire can be adjusted in order to be more effective when making angled cuts. If required, you can also adjust the wire to make quick straight cuts precisely and cleanly.

Precision and Cleanliness

Without a doubt, one of the most notable features about this product is its incredibly clean and precise cutting system. Using a wire that is at the right temperature and angle, this tool can slice through styrofoam as if it was butter. Even better, it cauterizes the material at the same time as it cuts it, resulting in a smooth surface and a complete lack of debris. Even better, this system reduces the release of toxic fumes to the bare minimum.

Ease of Use

Unlike many other styrofoam cutters on the market, the Woodland Scenics Hot Wire Foam Cutter does not require experience or skill in order to be correctly used. Instead, it allows beginners to use it in an intuitive manner. Because it cuts so smoothly, it does not require the use of force or pressure either. Its ergonomic handle adds to its maneuverability, making it a great tool for school students and inexperienced diorama makers.

Overall

With everything on the table, it’s easy to proclaim the Woodland Scenics Hot Wire Foam Cutter as being one of the best styrofoam cutters on the market. Easy to use, clean and versatile, it is a great tool for working on a diorama or similar modeling projects.

Due to its angle adjustment system, it can be used to create different types of cuts with ease. In addition, it’s completely safe, and it releases a negligible amount of toxic fumes.
Pros
  • Does not release toxic fumes.
  • Makes clean and accurate cuts.
  • Replaceable cutter wire.
Cons
  • Reheats quickly.

3. Guritta Perfect – Best Tool To Cut Styrofoam

Guritta Perfect 300-400°C Styrofoam Cutting KnifeFeaturing two different cutting shapes, the Guritta Perfect 300-400°C Styrofoam Cutting Knife can help you create a variety of arts and crafts project with ease. Reaching a temperature of up to 400 degrees Celsius, this tool can cut through styrofoam as if it was butter.

Even better, it seals the material as it cuts it, resulting in smooth edges and perfectly formed shapes. It also features a comfortable grip that makes it very easy to maneuver.

Shape Crafting Capabilities

Undoubtedly, the Guritta Perfect goes above and beyond in order to provide options for making different types of cuts. Apart from its main straight wire cutter, it features two separate poking tips that can help you carve out styrofoam in order to create beautiful, realistic details no matter how small. In addition to the tool’s ergonomic grip, these characteristics make the Guritta Perfect 300-400°C Styrofoam Cutting Knife a fantastic tool for crafting complex shapes.

Convenience and Safety

Despite its versatility, the Guritta Perfect 300-400°C Styrofoam Cutting Knife is a simple and practical tool. Compact and streamlined, it is easy to pick up and use. This is further helped by the tool’s ergonomic handle. What is more, because it heats up almost immediately, it is a perfect go-to tool for impromptu cutting such as creating last-minute details. Incredibly, featuring a self-regulating heater, this tool is also very safe to use.

Ergonomics and Maneuverability

As previously mentioned, the Guritta Perfect 300-400°C Styrofoam Cutting Knife features a comfortable handle that helps its maneuvering. Ergonomic and stable, this handle allows you to grip the cutter tightly and securely while making cuts. Apart from increasing the level of precision you can cut with, this characteristic makes the Guritta Perfect extra safe. Even better, it prevents your hand from becoming strained or tired easily when using this tool.

Overall

All in all, the Guritta Perfect 300-400°C Styrofoam Cutting Knife is a versatile, effective and safe to use. The fact that it has different tips for cutting give it a definite plus as it helps create varied shapes with ease. Additionally, it heats up very quickly, making it a very practical option for on-the-go crafting and retouching. Without a doubt, this is a styrofoam cutter worth looking into.

Pros
  • Provides choice between two tips.
  • Makes smooth cuts.
  • Features a comfortable grip.
  • Very safe.
Cons
  • Somewhat pricey.

4. Proxxon 27082 Thermocut – Best Styrofoam Cutter for Model Making

Proxxon 27082 ThermocutEven though it looks somewhat clunky, the Proxxon 27082 Thermocut is one of the most maneuverable and effective free-hand styrofoam cutters on the market. Featuring an adjustable saw-like blade and variable temperature control, it is capable of making incredibly precise cuts on styrofoam and a variety of similar materials.

Temperature Control

This useful tool by Proxxon features a variable temperature that can be easily accessed at all times. Using a simple knob, you can regulate the temperature of the blade to fit your cutting requirements.

Unlike many other styrofoam cutters that feature temperature control, the Proxxon 27082 heats up very quickly. Even better, it maintains its temperature perfectly for prolonged periods of time, and it is quick to change temperature when its control setting is adjusted by the user.

Grip and Reach

The Proxxon 27082 Thermocut features an extendable wire fixture that can be adjusted to protrude up to 7.9 inches from the handle. This feature, in combination with the tool’s fine blade, allows you to reach difficult places without compromising your grip or losing torque. Unfortunately, the tool’s sturdy and somewhat awkward handle takes a bit away from this feature as it makes it difficult to create small details.

Classic Model Building Abilities

Best Hot Wire Foam Cutters - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideIt is no coincidence that the Proxxon 27082 is one of the most popular styrofoam cutters among experienced miniature model builders. Precise, dependable and highly adjustable, this tool is well-suited for both macro and micro work on styrofoam and similar materials.

Moreover, because of its high-quality parts, it can be used for hours at a time without danger of overheating or failing. It should be taken into account, however, that, being an advanced model, the Proxxon 27082 requires some practice in order to be correctly used.

Overall

Without a doubt, the Proxxon 27082 Thermocut is an advanced styrofoam cutter. As such, it gives itself perfectly for advanced model making and other types of high-level arts and crafts. Made with high-quality materials and expertly constructed, this is a product that will perform incredibly well for years. It should be noted, however, that it can be somewhat difficult to operate for styrofoam cutting beginners.

Pros
  • Can be easily used with one hand.
  • Features variable temperature control.
  • Great reach.
  • Maintains temperature very well.
Cons
  • Requires a separate power supply.
  • Does not surpass 315 degrees Celsius of temperature.

5. Hercules – Best Table Cutter

Hercules Tabletop Styrofoam Hot Wire CutterIf you are particularly serious about your modeling or arts and crafts projects, a simple handheld styrofoam cutter may not be enough. Solid, durable and dependable, the Hercules is a countertop cutter that can help you take your projects to the next level.

Fully adjustable and very ample, it allows you to use it in a variety of ways. As a result, this tool is a fantastic addition to a workshop, and it can even be used in industrial settings.

Variety of Uses

As previously mentioned, the Hercules Tabletop Styrofoam Hot Wire Cutter can be used in various different ways. On one hand, it can help you make quick and easy straight cuts in order to break up large pieces of styrofoam.

On the other, it can help you cut smaller three-dimensional shapes out of the material. Due to its easy adjustment feature, its wire can cut at any angle with equal precision. What’s more, this wire can reach up to 510 degrees, allowing it to cut styrofoam and other materials with consistent ease.

Speed and Smoothness

Beyond any doubt, the tabletop design of the Hercules provides various advantages, the most important ones being the speed and smoothness that it provides to your workflow. Unlike handheld styrofoam cutters, this tool can handle large sections of the material with the same efficiency that it handles much smaller pieces. Furthermore, its ample base gives you plenty of room to work, and its long hotwire allows you to make large cuts in a single motion.

Industrial Capabilities

Best Hot Wire Foam Cutters - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideLarge and spacious, the Hercules Tabletop Styrofoam Hot Wire Cutter allows you to work quickly and comfortably. As a result, it can be perfectly used to create complex projects in limited amounts of time.

For that reason, this tool is often used in industrial settings where time and productivity are essential. However, this styrofoam cutter is still versatile enough to be used by hobbyists at home to create unique arts and crafts projects.

Overall

Even though it’s not as portable or practical as some of the other products we reviewed, the Hercules Tabletop Styrofoam Hot Wire Cutter is a great option for those who are serious about their modeling projects. Fully adjustable, it allows a great level of precision when cutting styrofoam. As a result, it is helpful for creating a wide range of shapes. At the same time, it’s ample and comfortable enough to make broad cuts quickly and easily. All in all, this a styrofoam cutter that can truly make a difference in your work.

Pros
  • Heats up very quickly.
  • Remains heated to a consistent level.
  • Can be used to cut various different shapes.
  • Cuts edges cleanly and without leaving debris.
Cons
  • Heavy.
  • Not portable.

Buyer’s Guide

How to Properly Cut Styrofoam

If you are not sure how to go about cutting styrofoam, follow the next tips:

How to Cut Styrofoam Manually

1. Use a Cutter/Blade

If you are attempting to carve small shapes out of styrofoam, you can use a small cutter or blade by waxing it up. This will prevent the styrofoam from becoming damaged. To do so, before cutting, run the blade along an old candle. Make sure to use a white candle, however, to avoid coloring the styrofoam.

2. Use Dental Floss

Best Hot Wire Foam Cutters - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideTo make short straight lines through styrofoam, try using dental floss. First, lay the foam down with the floss beneath it. Then, align the floss according to the direction in which you want to cut the styrofoam. Finally, place on hand on the styrofoam sheet and pull the floss towards you.

3. Use Cookie Cutters

If you are using a thin piece of styrofoam, you can use cookie cutters to create specific shapes. With it securely placed on a flat surface, press the cookie cutter into the styrofoam sheet until it punches through it.

How to Cut Styrofoam Using Electric Tools

1. How to Cut Thick Pieces of Styrofoam

Best Hot Wire Foam Cutters - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideIf you are trying to cut a thick piece of styrofoam quickly and effectively, your best bet is to use an electric knife. Take into account, though, that they are only effective for making straight cuts.

2. How to Cut Through Styrofoam

When you are attempting to make a hole through styrofoam without damaging it, the best option is to use a hot knife like the ones reviewed in this guide. Easy to handle and precise, this type of tool is very effective at making cutouts.

3. How to Make Smooth Cuts on Styrofoam

Without a doubt, a countertop (tabletop) wire cutter is the best choice when it comes to making complex shapes out of styrofoam. Apart from allowing great detail, this type of styrofoam cutter is great at smoothing out the freshly-cut edges of the styrofoam as it cuts, resulting in smoother, better-defined shapes.

How to Make Advanced Cuts On Styrofoam

1. How to Reduce the Chance of Breakage

Best Hot Wire Foam Cutters - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideWhen cutting styrofoam, always try to keep a steady and even pressure as you slice through. If you do this correctly, you will greatly reduce the chances of breaking or crushing the foam. As a bonus, using a slow and steady motion can help the tool cauterize the styrofoam as it cuts, resulting in smoother edges and more precision overall. Furthermore, it will minimize the formation of debris.

2. How to Cut Out Shapes From Styrofoam

When attempting to cut a depression in styrofoam, always start at the center of the sheet. If possible, use a pencil to draw a line around the area you want to cut out first. Then, make a vertical incision into a single spot on the material. After that, begin moving the tool to cut out the shape you want.

3. How to Cut Channels On Styrofoam

Best Hot Wire Foam Cutters - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideWithout a doubt, the best way to cut channels on styrofoam is to use a long hot knife. If possible, use a serrated one. Before starting to cut, mark the line where the channel will go using a pencil or marker.

Then, align the wire or blade vertically with the line and begin applying pressure in a slow and steady manner.

4. How to Cut Styrofoam Balls in Half

Whenever you need to cut a styrofoam ball in half, it is best to use a countertop hot wire cutter. Before cutting, though, make sure to trace a line along the equator of the ball. Often, this line has already been marked by the manufacturer. If that is the case, use that line. Once you are sure about the line you want to make, take the ball and align its equator line vertically with the cutting wire. Then, simply push the ball slowly as steadily towards the wire until it cuts through.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, a styrofoam cutter is one of the most important tools you can have when building a modeling project from scratch. Hopefully, this buyer’s guide will help you choose the perfect styrofoam cutter for your personal needs.

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