Friday, June 20, 2014

Tool Review - One Step Big Looper

One of my most popular posts (at over 1300 hits!) is my review of the One Step Looper, a tool that makes consistently-sized loops and cuts the wire at the same time.  I'm excited that so many people have read my review, and I hope that I've helped them make wise purchasing decisions.

As soon as I saw the ad for the One Step Big Looper, I knew I needed to write a follow-up review.  I picked up the tool at the Bead&Button Show and used it within a few days of the show to start my evaluation of it (you can see the earrings I made with it here).

This post is going to reference my previous review, so if you haven't read that, you may want to.  Click here for all the original One Step Looper goodness.  I'm also going to assume you know how the tool works.  If not, check out this video on BeadSmith's website.  It shows making loops with the original One Step Looper, but the same techniques are used for the One Step Big Looper.

Let's take a look at both tools together:

The one with black handles is the original, and the one with green handles is the new one.  I guess I understand why the tools are so wide, but it's hard for me and my stubby little hands to use:

I find it very difficult to hold the pin while I start squeezing the tool.  I need to either rest part of the tool against my body or use both hands.  I know my hands are smaller than most women's, so maybe this would only affect a small percentage of users.

Here's a close-up view of the "business" ends of the tools:

The original is on the left, and the new tool is on the right.  You can tell the difference - the peg is twice the size, and the loop and cutting mechanism are bigger.

One problem I referenced in my previous review was the loop not closing all the way.  In scrutinizing the new tool, I could see that could be a problem here, too:

Perhaps that's due to the wide range of wire gauges the tool works with - 18-24 gauge.

When I was at the Bead&Button Show, I asked a BeadSmith representative to show me how he uses the tool.  Perhaps I wasn't doing something right to have it not close all the way on me.  I don't know what gauge wire he was using - I didn't think to ask until right now, of course - but his loop was pretty much closed all the way.  Michelle (the same Michelle as referenced in the previous review) said it looked like he was squeezing the crap out of the tool.  I'm not sure if those were the exact words she used, but that's close enough.  I tried doing that with mine, and I couldn't get it to close any further.

All of the examples today are using 24 gauge headpins.  I don't seem to have anything thicker.

Without beads, I inserted my headpin into the tool and started squeezing:

I'm getting better at taking pictures one-handed.  :)

The instructions say to bend the wire back a bit to center the loop on the wire:

Here's what that loop looks like once removed from the tool:

The loop isn't closed all the way, and the pin is a bit bent.  I'll show you more of that in a little bit.  I used some pliers to bend things in place, and I have a beautiful loop:

Let's compare loops on new headpins with both tools.  Here they are fresh out of being One Step Looped:

Here's a different angle:

Can you see how things are bent?  It's more pronounced in the big loop, but it's there in the little one, too.  It doesn't take much to bend things in place and to close the loop.  Here's how they look all prettied up and in the right order (little to big):

The small loop is 1.5mm, and the larger one is 3mm.  I prefer the larger loop.

I grabbed a few new headpins and added a bead to each.  I tried holding everything up close to the tool while squeezing, but with this size bead I couldn't get up too close.  I heard grinding on the original, so I backed off just a hair on the new tool.

With smaller beads, there may not be as much of a gap, but you do need to be careful to not crush your beads in the tool.  I noticed in their video that they didn't try to get the loop right on top of the beads.

I don't know what I did differently with the big loop, but I got quite a bend on this pin:

Also, the loop has quite a gap:

That's rare, though.  Usually the loops are much more closed.

I got curious if a larger hand would have better luck at getting non-bent, closed loops.  I asked my husband to try it, and here is the loop he got:

It's better, but there's still a bend to the wire.

To summarize:  Even with the shortcomings, I love this tool.  I do wish that when they increased the size of the loop that they would have made other modifications to shorten the gap between the loop and beads or to close the loop better, but the process is still a whole lot quicker and more consistent than the "old school" way of making loops.  I will not go back to the old way again if I can help it.  I did that recently for a tutorial I was writing, and I hated it.  I looked longingly over at my One Step Looper and said, "Never again!"

I don't know if I want to keep both of the tools.  I could see where different projects would need different sized loops, but for my uses the big loops will be just fine. 

You can find the One Step Big Looper in a number of online vendors, but you might want to check if your local bead store has it in stock before ordering it online.

What do you think of the One Step Big Looper?  Leave a comment here with your impressions and tips.


  1. I READ it. lol And I saw my name. I think that guy WAS squeezing the crap out of the pliers. Great pics one handed, by the way. lol Suggestion, because you have small hands, try putting the pliers, one handle, in a vise and push the other handle down. That's what I do... won't hurt to try it? Kind of a tip, When I close the pliers, I usually rock the pin back and forth a little bit to get the loop to close. I love my One Step Looper too. I will be investing in the Big Looper soon.

  2. Thanks so much for the review! I found the tool for the first time today on Pinterest, and watched the video from the manufacturer. I'm excited about the idea of it, but was looking for some honest feedback about how good or bad it was. Your reviews are very helpful, and now i'm pretty sure that almost perfectly shaped loops can be mine for only $whatever the price is locally!

    Thanks so much!

    1. I'm glad you liked my reviews! Thanks for the feedback! I hope you're able to get the looper soon and will love it. If you'd like to share pictures of your first project with it, send pictures to with your thoughts on the project and the tool, and I'll write a blog post about it. I'm always looking to show what other folks are up to. Thanks again!

  3. Hi, I've just found your website and have read with interest your comments about the One-Step Looper. I have one as well and am really so unhappy with it because I need my loops to be right up against my beads - I really really am not happy with a gap. It ends up being a many-step looping process. I then bought the most amazing tool I have in my collection and that's a -
    3-Step Wire Looping Plier - Concave and Round Nose from Beadaholique - $10.99 and they give perfect results every time and also have three sizes of loops. I absolutely love using them but they are not as well known as the One Step Looper. Here are the instructions:
    These pliers are not as easy to find--and not as well known--as regular roundnose pliers, and I don't know WHY. They're easy to use, and give you perfect results when repetitive wire loop-making, and they are strong enough for making the finishing loops in heavy memory wire.
    One side of the nose is a three stepped round nose shape, and the other side is a concave shape that bends your wire in a perfect half-circle around the 'nose'. Simply move the pliers one or two more times around, and you will have a complete circle. Then use these pliers to gently yet securely grip your loop in one of your hands, while you use your other hand and some chain nose pliers to wrap the end of your wire around the base of the loop.
    Because these sturdy pliers do the actual pressing on the wire, you can loop tough memory wire with a couple of firm squeezes.
    With just a little practice, you will quickly master the use of these fantastic pliers, and I know you will love them. NOTE: Suitable for wire thicknesses up to 18 Gauge. Can be used with larger wire, but the risk of scratching the wire increases.
    Measurements: Approximately 5 1/2 Inches Long. Smallest diameter step is about 2mm, middle step is about 3.2mm, and largest is about 4.5mm.

    I hope you give this a try and do a review on it. I am sure you will love this tool. Please let me know what you think - would love to hear from you.
    My name is Christine Wood and I live in Spain