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Tool Review

1200-Degree Fahrenheit Berkley TEC Hotwire Line Cutter

Date: 3/29/10
Tackle type: Tools
Manufacturer: Berkley
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 8.0

Introduction: The Berkley TEC Hotwire Line Cutter is probably the “hottest” line cutter tool on the market. In the past, we’ve previewed this line cutter and also did a quick video on what the Hotwire can do. This time, we wanted to provide detailed full review on this unique line cutter that heats up to 1200-degrees Fahrenheit.

Berkley TEC Hotwire Line Cutter Specifications

Battery (main) Two AA (not included)
Battery (LED light) Single CR-1216 (included)
Cutter 1200-Degree Fahrenheit Tungsten Tip (includes one spare)
Length 7 inches
Features LED light, replacement cutting tip, dual-density SofTorx grip and button, safety and protective guard, retractable tip, lanyard
MSRP $24.95




Impressions: When I first saw the Berkley TEC Hotwire line cutter, it looked like a police taser with its wire tip and activation button on the grip. A clear plastic shield is fit over the tip in order to protect it while not in use and the user should heed the warning label that is clearly placed here – this is one “Hot Tip.”  Overall, the package is small enough to stow in your tackle bag or utility box when not in use as it’s about the length of three AA batteries stacked end-to-end (7 inches overall). The line cutter features an LED light, a replacement Tungsten tip, and has the TEC tool colors along with the ergonomic comfort grip Berkley calls SofTorx.

The Hotwire is only 7 inches long and easy to hold


Field Tests: I’ve had the Berkley Hotwire Line Cutter for a couple of years now and I felt it was time to give a long-term usage review on this tool. The Hotwire was tested in freshwater situations only while targeting mainly bass and stripers along the California Delta waterways, utilizing the line cutter for all kinds of lines including braid.

Push the button forward to activate

Operation & Performance: The Hotwire line cutter is very simple to use. Push the sliding button forward with your thumb and the Tungsten tip protrudes from the shielding, bringing the tip to a scorching 1200-degrees Fahrenheit, while you hold the button in place. Release the button and the hot tip is retracted into the protective clear shielding and automatically turns off.

Uses two AA batteries to create a 1200-degree Fahrenheit burning tip

This Berkley TEC tool uses two AA batteries(not included) to power the Tungsten tip. From my experience, two fresh batteries have lasted well over 800 cycles though I’ve started seeing slower charge times for the tip to get hot when it reached around 600 activations. This clearly depends on how much you use it and how long you keep the tool on when cutting line. In my use over the last couple years, most of my line cutting is completed in seconds but I have used the Hotwire to repair plastics – another beauty of this tool – which can take up to a minute or more.

A LED is implemented to assist in line cutting during dark hours

In addition, the Hotwire comes with an LED light, powered by a separate CR-1216 battery, to assist while cutting line in the dark. In my use of the Hotwire, the LED battery had enough juice to run the LED even after 800 uses.

Left the Tungsten tip is retracted and protected inside the clear visible shield. Right we have the tip out and activated

Now, for the most important part – how is the line-cutting performance? As mentioned earlier, the Berkley TEC Hotwire was used for cutting all types of lines ranging from mono, fluoro, and super/braided lines. At 1200 degrees, braided lines to 100-pound test and monofilament lines to 25-pound test had no chance in our tests. I would venture to say that heavier lines, although not tested, would also be a breeze to cut. Once the Tungsten tip reaches a hot burning temperature, which is really quick on a fresh set of batteries, it cuts the lines instantaneously upon contact, even when the lines are wet.

Braided lines are cut in a second and welds the ends shut so it will not fray

The beauty of this tool is not just for quick cutting of any type of fishing line but it’s also why the Hotwire was developed. As more and more anglers are now using braided lines, cutting with pliers or scissors will often leave the tag end frayed. The Hotwire, on the other hand, cuts and welds the end of the line, keeping it from fraying. This is a major plus, especially when using a lower-grade braided line as they tend to fray a lot more than the higher-end braids.

Ergonomic SofTorx material that's non-slip even when your hand is wet

Ergonomics: The Hotwire line cutter is easy to operate and small enough for any angler to grasp and operate with one hand. The button is placed in the proper position for one’s thumb to activate the unit and hold in place while cutting line, which, as previously mentioned, happens in a couple of seconds. The SofTorx grip is comfortable to hold and non-slip, even when my hands were wet and slimy

A replacement Tungsten tip is included and stored underneath the rear AA battery

Durability: The Hotwire housing is rugged so the only thing left to talk about is the Tungsten tip, which became the focus of our long-term tests. What I discovered is if you’re only cutting line, meaning the Tungsten tip only touches the fishing line, the tip will last over 800 operations. But when I tried to cut line tied around a jighead, if I pressed onto the lead the tip had a tendency to bend out of shape. After the tip is bent, the unit will still work as long as the wire isn’t broken, which would create an open circuit, thus rendering the Hotwire nonfunctional.

Cutting braided line at the knot

Due to the fact that Berkley provides a spare tip with each Hotwire line cutter, they know that the Tungsten tip can be damaged. The spare can be located underneath the rear AA battery. In order to replace a damaged tip, you can use your fingers but I would recommend a set of pliers to pull the broken one out and slide in the new one. For additional replacement tips you’ll have to contact Berkley directly by calling their customer service department. Four dollars will get you three replacement tips that should last any angler a couple of years.

The Hotwire is used here to repair a plastic lizard

Price & Applications: Currently there aren’t any other electronic line cutters on the market and at $25 it becomes a low cost, useful tool. It also comes with a one year limited warranty. Not only will it cut multiple types of fishing line, the TEC Hotwire can also be used to repair plastics by melting the parts together as you see Zander doing in the video above. Also, when using it to repair plastics, the Tungsten tip might get some plastic residue, but, like a self-cleaning oven, turn the Hotwire on and after a minute or less you will notice the plastic on the tip begin to disappear.


Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Berkley TEC Hotwire Line Cutter Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The tool is simple and well constructed. The Tungsten tip will eventually get damaged and that’s why a spare is included 8.0
Performance Cuts all sorts of fishing lines and does so quickly especially when the batteries are fresh. One set of AA batteries have lasted over 800 cycles 9.0
Price Great tool for a good price 7.5
Features A simple tool with some features that make it a better tool 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Small, easy to hold and operate 8.0
Application Used to cut fishing line to 100 pound braid (in our tests and possibly can cut higher strength lines) and can double to melt and re-join plastics 8.0

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Quick cutting of any type of fishing line L Additional replacement tips hard to find. Need to order directly from Berkley
J Cuts & Welds the end of braided lines so it won’t fray L Tungsten tip can be bent or damaged if pressed onto hard objects
J Easy to operate  
J AA batteries will last over 800 cycles  

Conclusion: Anglers are accustomed to cutting line with scissors, pliers, or clippers but there’s an option to use an electric cutter that will cut any type of line without any issues. The Berkley TEC Hotwire Line Cutter is battery powered and provides enough juice to heat a Tungsten tip to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. This cuts mono type of lines in a second and goes right through braided line with the same results. Not only does it cut the braided line but it also welds the end so no fraying will occur. One set of AA batteries will keep the Hotwire burning long and features to protect an angler from damaging anything else nearby. The Hotwire can also be used to repair plastics by melting and sticking together on the water. Having the right tools can get a job done in a short amount of time and for only twenty five dollars anglers will find this tool very useful.









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