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Tools For Scrapping Metal

Updated on October 31, 2015


Scrapping metal can be a good way to make a little extra money, but if you don't have the right tools it can be more difficult to recover the metal to sell to a scrap yard. Here I have compiled a list of tools for scrapping metal for you to consider adding to your toolbox. These are just a few ideas and may not be everything you need as there are a lot of different tools for different things..


One of the most important tools for scrapping metal is a magnet. Magnets comes in handy to separate iron and steel from your non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, stainless steel, copper, brass, and others. If you have a piece of metal that sticks to a magnet you can throw it in your steel pile. If it does not stick then it will be worth more.

You can get magnets from a computer hard drive, and speakers for free or you can purchase one from the store. Any magnet will do. If it sticks to your fridge it will be strong enough.

Wire Cutters

If you are scrapping electronics, appliances or other items with copper wires you will want to have a pair of wire cutters. They will make it easier to cut off cords and wires from items. You could also get a pair of flush cutters which make a better cut on wiring. If you have very thick cables you could also get a bolt cutter or cable cutter.

Wire Strippers

If you get a lot of insulated copper wire you will probably want to have a wire stripper. Stripping your insulated copper wire will often get you more money for the same amount of scrap. Do a test batch and weigh it before it is stripped and then weigh the copper recovered and see if it is worth your time. You can also use a utility knife to do the job. ( See my article on how to strip insulated copper wire in the link at the end of this article.)

Screw Driver Set

A screwdriver set will come in handy if you are taking things apart regularly. There are a lot of different types of screwdrivers and screwdriver bits out there and different sets will have different purposes. I would suggest starting out with a basic screwdriver set with several bits such as flat head and Philips of different sizes and types.

If you are taking apart electronics often then I would suggest a security bit set for your screwdrivers. Some types of bits to look for in a security set would be star shaped, triangle, square, ect. There are a lot of different types so pick the ones that work best for your needs.


If you come across any bolts you may also want to consider a socket wrench set. This would save space and come with several bits to suit your needs. You could also get an adjustable wrench as well which would only be one tool to worry about.


A hammer is a quick way to break items to get inside. You could get a sledge hammer and just smash the item or you could get a smaller hammer to break the plastic casings off items you are scrapping. If you choose to just smash it you may damage things like motors or circuit boards. So it you want the insides intact for processing just use a smaller hammer to crack the casing. You could also use a chisel to help split plastic casings.

Pry Bar

A pry bar or crowbar could be useful for taking off large pieces of an item or removing nails or screws from a piece of non-ferrous metal.

Storage Containers

You will want some storage containers to store your metals and items for scrapping. You could use five gallon buckets for metals ready to sell to the scrap yard as this will help so the containers don't get to full to lift. You could also use plastic storage containers or garbage cans as well. Plastic storage containers would fit on a shelf in the garage pretty easily. Just don't fill more than you can lift.

Safety Gear

Another very important tool for scrapping metal would be safety gear. I would suggest a pair of gloves and some eye protection especially if you use power tools for scrapping metal. There could be tiny pieces of metal and debris that chips off and flies around. Also without gloves you risk getting cut easier. You may also want to have a first aid kit in your work area in case you get injured.


A saw of some sort that can cut metal such as a hacksaw would be useful for cutting pipes and other metal items. Another tool you could get is a Sawzal. They can cut aluminum and probably copper as well.


You may also want to use a truck to haul your scrap metal. A van would also work great as well. And if you have a smaller load and a lot of energy you could try a bike and a bike trailer. Some of these are capable of holding a few hundred pounds even. If you are not up to hauling by bike you could just use your car trunk for small loads.

Misc Items

Here is another quick list of misc. items you may want to have:

CHIZEL ( Great for splitting plastic casings apart)

FILE ( To see if an item is just plated or not.)

ANGLE GRINDER ( Separate plated items and can be used to test for stainless steel)

HEAT GUN ( Great for heating insulated copper wire for stripping as well as removing electronic components. They will melt most solder on electronics)

CAN CRUSHER ( useful if you collect aluminum cans. Crushed cans take up less space)


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