A Complete Guide on the Different Types of Pliers You May Need for Your Garage
Pliers are a basic tool that most of us have heard of or have in our trusty toolbox. Almost everyone knows how to use a standard pair of pliers, but did you know that there are many types and they are each used for different reasons? In this blog, we will show you the different kinds that are out there, whether you are a DIY person, mechanic or even a plumber, this information may be useful to you.
As a simple tool, pliers can be used for a variety of jobs. All pliers have a basic system in place to make them work, no matter the type.
Obviously this is the part you hold on to, however, different types will have different types of handles. The power you have in gripping the pliers will determine the inertia you have when holding, twisting, or cutting objects. Older pliers have been mainly made of all metal, but today because of ergonomics, they can be curved, straight, or even made now with grips for easier handling.
The pivot points on the pliers are called the fulcrum, and this is where the handles will connect with the jaws or nose of the pliers. This is the spot on the pliers that will force the jaws open or closed and give you the force you need to do the job.
Pliers are used for the jaws of the tool, depending on what the jaw looks like will determine what you use them for. Normally, this part is used for gripping in some fashion, however, depending on the shape and size of the jaw these can be used for a different variety of uses.
Common Types of Pliers
As stated above, we will base the different types of pliers on the basic parts of the tool. The handles, fulcrum, and jaw will determine the tool and how it is used. Here are a few of the more common types of pliers and their uses.
Long-Nose or Needle-Nose
These are very common around the home and in most toolboxes. We use them in a variety of ways but are most useful for both reaching into small spaces or gripping smaller objects. There are different types of jaws on these, but the type is determined because the jaw is long and lean.
They commonly use these in electrical work, jewelry making, fishing, and wirework. Since they can be used in electrical work or wirework, they will usually come with a cutting tool built into the jaw. You can also purchase them with the tip of the jaw bent at a 45 or 90-degree angle to the line of the handle.
Slip-Joint or Adjustable
Pliers with a slip-joint at the fulcrum are considered adjustable because it allows two or more positions to be preset in working with different sizes of items. The most common of these will have a jaw that is a flat, serrated, and just below the tip will be curved out for gripping round surfaces like pipes. We normally use these in metal and wire working, to do crimping, cutting and looping wire and soft nails. Loosening and tightening nuts and bolts are what most people will use them for around the house.
Tongue and Groove (Channel Locks)
These are another form of slip-joint pliers, but have a different-shaped jaw and are made for bigger shapes and objects. Locking in several positions to fit the size of the object, they made these for mainly turning nuts and bolts. The name Channel Locks are commonly used for these type of pliers because of the company Channellock that makes them.
Vise Grips or Locking
These will have a locking piece on the handle of the pliers to set the jaws in place. Being used as clamps, vise or a wrench, these pliers will have different shapes in the jaws to include a C-Clamp configuration, curved, or even straight. Some people will even call them a plier-wrench.
We will use locking pliers to hold objects such as pipes, nuts or bolts. More commonly, they are used to hold on to those objects that are rusted with stripping shown, corroded, or even tightened excessively and may not be able to be turned easily.
It will make the jaw on these into a sharp cutting tool and have significant cutting power. These are mainly intended to be used to cut thru heavy wires such as electrical gauge wire or materials like hefty steel hardware. What makes them distinct from regular wire cutters is they are solidified to soften the vibrating snap when you cut a wire. These are a staple in electricians toolboxes since the knives of the cutting tool are extended to the tip of the jaw, making snipping a wire in a crowd of wires easier. They normally come with a longer handle to give you additional leverage on the job at hand.
When you think of wire strippers, the name itself does not scream pliers. Since the mechanics of the tool are the same, they consider it a type of plier. No electrician out there will not have one of these in their bag.
The jaw will have different size cutting edges in a circular pattern to be able to cut thru just the insulation of a wire and leave the bare wire behind once doing so. Most of these come standard in flat steel design; However, you can see additional features come into play for those more experienced. You can have screw shears, a crimper between the handles, a blunt tip to pull and grab the wire, as well as wire benders.
These are going to have a jaw on them that appear to look like a hammer. Pliers such as these are mainly used by construction workers and farmers when in the construction of wooden fencing. The hammer end is for hammering the staples into the fencing, and once you move across the top to the other end, the spike will remove them. If you can’t get the spike to remove the staple, the pincers at the top will grab them and you can rock it lose. If you choose to, you can use these for grabbing and twisting wire, as well as the cutters built-in will cut the wire.
Other Types of Pliers
Now that we talked about the more common types that everyone has heard of or has seen, let’s talk about the less common ones. These types are purchased usually for a specific trade.
Crafting or Jewelry Making
These types are usually used specifically for a certain job in the process of crafting or jewelry making. This does not mean that we cannot use them in a pinch for other things. Most of these will be normal size depending on the job, but some of these are smaller in order to be effective.
- Flat Nose
- Chain Nose
- Bent Nose
- Concave & Convex
- Flat & Half Round
- Flat & Round
- Concave & Round
- Wire Wrapping
- Compound Parallel Jaw
- Bow Opening
- Diagonal Cutters
- End Cutters
- Oblique Cutters
- Sprue Cutters
Despite the more common ones you know about, here are some that mechanics will use for specific items on your vehicle.
- Water Pump Nut
- Hose Clamp
- Brake Spring
- Retaining Ring
- Groove-Grip Snap Ring
- Horseshoe Lock Ring
- Piston Ring
- Oil Filter
- Spark Plug
In the making of clothes, all you think of is the needle and thread. Well, in today’s age, there are pliers like eyelet and grommet that are used in clothing making. Punching thru material, especially leather, is not easy.
There are all other types of uses and types of pliers out there for different fields. You have your painters who will use canvas pliers, and construction workers will use sheet metal pliers. Plumbers will use soft jaw pliers and welders will use ones specifically made for them.
Deciding on What Type of Pliers You Need
Depending on what your craft or trade is, there are numerous types of pliers out there to assist you. Certain tools are rated and coded for a specific use and for certain trades. Did you know that some companies may use a value of standards or OSHA requirements before allowing specific tools on a job site? Before buying a set of pliers for work, maybe check out to see if the place you plan on using them has this standard in place. No matter what the use is, we hope this gives you some ideas and help in using the next set of pliers you need.
- Contenti – Types of Jewelry Pliers
- Garage Tool Advisor – Different Types of Pliers and Uses
- Home Institute – Types of Pliers
- ProTool Reviews – Buying Pliers
- Jaw Pullers – Different Types of Pliers and Their Uses
- SimplyHome Tips – Pliers