Punch Down Keystone Jack vs Toolless Keystone Jack: Which to Choose?


Keystone jacks are usually mounted on the Ethernet wall plates, patch panels, and mount boxes for Ethernet connection. It is an important part of Ethernet cabling. It is known that keystone jacks can be divided into different types, which may make you confused about buying the correct keystone jack.

There are many types of keystone jacks on the market according to different categories. Keystone jacks can also be classified into shielded and unshielded types. Shielded or unshielded keystone jacks can be easy to distinguish. The former is often used with shielded Ethernet cables, while the latter is paired with unshielded cables. But there is little information about toolless keystone jacks and punch down keystone jacks on the Internet. In this article, we’ll talk about the differences between them.

Punch Down Keystone Jacks

Punch down keystone jacks have a one-piece construction and a cap. The cap can prevent the wires from pulling out of the slot. The punch down keystone jack is usually printed with T568A or T568B wiring standards on two sides. They can also be divided into 90-degree or 180-degree keystone jacks. The degrees on the jack have different ways that wires are inserted into the slot but they have no difference in function.

punch down keystone jacks

Toolless Keystone Jacks

Toolless keystone jacks simply don’t need any punch down tools. Take the shielded toolless keystone jack as an example, it features a toolless cap with T568A and T568B wiring standards printed on two sides. The hinged cap helps push the cable wires to the slots and prevent them from pulling out. And the shielded housing protects the cable from EMI/RFI noise.

toolless keystone jack

Punch Down vs Toolless: What’s the Difference?

Punch down keystone jacks and toolless keystone jacks have the same function, but they also vary in different aspects because of their designs. Let’s dig out the difference between them.

Installation Difference

With punch down keystone jacks, you need to prepare the wire stripper, cutter, Ethernet cable, and punch down tool. Punch down keystone jacks have no hinged mechanism, so the punch down tool is very essential to punch the cable wires to the slot and make a contact. You just need to use the punch down tool to push the wires into the IDC slot one by one. Once you hear a crisp sound, the wires have been successfully punched down. See the video for more information

Watch on YouTube: "Sample output of devtools-to-video cli tool"

Punching Down Tips:

  • Make sure that the built-in cutter is always going outwards or it will damage the copper wires that are connected to the IDC slot.
  • Punch down the keystone jacks in the vertical direction. If you punch down in a diagonal direction, the keystone jacks may be broken.
  • Pair it with a keystone punch down stand for easy operation.

punch down stand

Which punch down tool is suitable for you? Here are two options.

punch down tools

You still need to cut and wire the Ethernet cable using our flush cutters and wire strippers. A toolless keystone jack only means that it doesn’t require a punch down tool. Toolless keystone jacks can be easier to operate, but please be careful when you cut the excess wires. See the tutorial video for more information: How to Terminate a Cat6a Toolless Keystone Jack?

how to terminate toolless keystone jack

Durability and Price

Toolless keystone jacks are usually a bit more expensive than punch down types, but if you really need a simple installation, we highly recommend them for you. In addition, toolless keystone jacks are reusable and durable. Even if you wire the cable to the wrong standard, you can terminate the keystone jack again.

Punch down keystone jacks are generally not reusable because they may be damaged in the process of termination. And they should be paired with a special tool that you will seldom use. But if you often DIY your home network or work with the network, punch down keystone jacks can be your first choice. What’s more, punch down keystone jacks are a bit smaller than toolless ones, great for small corners and other tight places.

Performance Different

Some people have the question: Do toolless keystone jacks perform better than punch down keystone jacks? Some professionals prefer to use punch down keystone jacks. If you punch down a keystone jack in a proper way and use high-quality jacks and tools, it is said that the jack will never fail to work. While some people think that toolless keystone jacks may cause connection loss. In fact, if you terminate the punch down and toolless keystone jacks in the correct way, both of them can work well.

Do you learn more about punch down keystone jacks and toolless keystone jacks? Hopefully, this blog can give you a more clear idea of how to choose and use these two types of keystone jacks. If you still have questions, our professional team is willing to help you!

For more information on this topic, you can keep up on our blogs. While VCELINK offers general and basic information for our customers and other visitors to the website, it’s not professional advice.

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