Milwaukee 10" Aviation Snips - Straight Cut

These snips cut quickly and cleanly, and are priced just right


Milwaukee 10" Aviation Snips - Straight Cut

Try cutting sheet metal with a pair of diagonal pliers and you'll quickly appreciate the value of a pair of aviation snips. Just ask any HVAC guy. The compound cutting action of these snips enables you to notch, trim and cut sheet metal better than any other hand cutting tool. And they're also great for cutting vinyl siding, screening, cardboard, leather and the like.
If you're not familiar with these cutters you'll want to know that there are three blade configurations - straight, left and right cutting. You can tell them apart from both the shape of the cutters, and the colour of the handles - yellow for straight, red for left, and green for right snips. As you can guess, straight snips are best for cutting in straight lines - plus, they're also good for making wide curves in either direction.
Use left cut snips to make counter clockwise tight curved cuts, and right cut snips to make clockwise curved cuts. Of course you can use these snips with either hand, but right-handed folk will find it easier to use the right hand snips, and vise versa. When using these snips you'll find that the cut material moves in the direction they're specifically designed for - right or left.
Milwaukee has added a set of three 10" aviation snips to it's hand tool line-up. I tried the straight cut version (48-22-4030). Also available are right cutting (48-22-4020) and left cutting snips (48-22-4010). Apart from the shape of the cutters these snips are identical.
A word of caution for the uninitiated - you need to be a careful when cutting sheet metal. The edges are sharp, the cutoffs are stiff and can be awkward to manipulate, and occasionally the snips can bind when making a cut, so always wear sturdy work gloves and appropriate eye protection.

L to R: Left cut (48-22-4010); Straight cut (48-22-4030); Right cut (48-22-4020)

The handles conform to the standard system of yellow/straight, green/right, and red/left cutting, which should make it easy to quickly pick the right snips out of your tool kit. Unfortunately only the trim along the top and bottom on one handle is coloured - the matching handle is red trimmed, which makes things a bit visually confusing.
Still, the handles are well padded and have integrated thumb and forefinger holds that help provide a more secure grip. They have a narrow handle span - 5-3/4" at the base of the handles, and 3-1/2" at the thumb/forefinger holds. Coupled with the spring-loaded mechanism for self-opening action, I find the narrow grip makes the snips more comfortable to hold and easier to use. The pivoting action on these snips is very smooth.
There's also a handy hang hole if you choose to suspend the tool on a nail or pegboard.
Under the overmold grip the handles are heavy gauge steel that provides superior strength - you'll need hands of the Hulk to deform these handles. At about 14 ounces in weight they aren't much heavier than other snips I've used.

Long blades make for quick cutting       

The 1-3/4" long cutters are made of hard chromed steel for maximum durability, and they've been serrated to prevent material slippage and provide a sturdy bite. You can cut up to 18g cold rolled steel and 22g stainless steel. It's nice to see a large, 1/4" pivot nut as well, which, by the way, you'll want to oil ocassionally.

Pivot nut is flush on one side of the snips      
Milwaukee has recessed the pivot nut on one side of the snips, which prevents material from getting caught up on the nut. This is an excellent design feature - if your current snips lack this feature you'll know exactly what I mean.

Simple yet effective locking mechanism             

The one-handed locking mechanism works seamlessly. When the handles are locked, simply press them together to release the locking arm. Once you're done cutting squeeze the handles together and activate the lock with your thumb. Couldn't be easier or quicker.
However, if you store the snips in an open tool box with other hand tools, even moderate pressure exerted on the handles of the snips, caused by the tools pressing together, can result in the snips opening. To avoid this, store them in the pocket of a tool bag, or put an elastic band around the handles.

Built for years of heavy duty work 

I found these snips cut quickly and cleanly. To get the best cuts open the jaws wide and push the stock as close to the pivot nut as possible before you begin cutting. You want to aim for long smooth cuts rather than short choppy cuts.
If you need snips for occasionally cutting sheet metal, then the 48-22-4030 Straight Cut snips are a good choice. This isn't a tool that will wear out quickly - so your under $20 investment should last a lifetime. HVAC pros, sheet metal workers and auto body mechanics, on the other hand, will want to grab all three of these snips. And for about $35 for the set it's good value.


  • 10-5/8" overall length
  • 5-3/4" handle length
  • 1-3/4" blades
  • Made of forged alloy steel
  • Hard chrome plated cutters
  • One-hand locking
  • Flush pivot bolt
  • Serrated jaws cut up to 18g cold rolled steel, 22g stainless steel
  • Rust protective coating
  • Thumb and forefinger holds
  • Rubber overmold grip
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Manufacturer:Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp
Available From:Tool and equipment suppliers nationwide
Retail Price:$19.99
Model #:48-22-4030
Made In:Taiwan
Carl Duguay, May 2012

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