Cutting, turning, and holding.. The meat and bread of PliersWhat pliers can do is pretty much in the category of one to three things. They are great for holding, turning, and cutting, but they have become extremely specialized. So, how many different types of pliers are there? The answer will depend a bit on who you ask. Some say there are really only 9 types of pliers and television handyman Bob Vila’s website states there are really only 5, but we feel that this is only accomplished by making some fairly generalized categories to lump a large number of tools in. To get an answer we did some checking and found a company called Knipex who specialize in pliers. They say that around 100 different types of pliers exist and after the research we did to provide you with some examples we are inclined to believe them. Cutting, turning, holding… those are the functions, but the form and applications change with the medium which you are working with.
How pliers are designedStandard pliers are the basic design on which all of the others are based. The proper nomenclature and function of the various parts are as follows:
- Cutters – Inside the jaws and close to the pivot point you will commonly find a sharper, angled point for cutting or stripping wires.
- Jaws – The extending arms above the fulcrum which allow you to grip or flatter. In some pliers the jaws may incorporate hooks, an end for hammer, or other clever modifications which can increase the functionality of the pliers.
- Pipe grips – That rounded, ridged hollow which you see inside most pliers is referred to as ‘pipe grips’ and they are designed for use with pipes and other round objects.
- Pivot point – Also referred to as the fulcrum, this is simply where the jaw is hinged. On some pliers you have an extra ‘notch’ which may be used to raise or lower one of the jaws, whereas others incorporate a groove for wider levels of adjustment.
- Handles – You’ve got to hold the pliers somehow. The handles that you see will vary little but in some cases, such as Welder Pliers, they may be heat resistant. Other functionality is sometimes incorporated but for the most part handles come padded or unpadded.
Pliers type #2 – Crimping pliersSpeaking of cutting and stripping wires, there is actually a more specialized set of pliers that you can employ for this and people who work in telecommunications and networking use these every day. Crimping pliers have a square shape at the end, with portions where the wire can be stripped or cut, depending on the pressure which you apply. If you ever need to fix a wire with a short in it, these are great pliers to have.
Pliers type #3 – Slip Joint PliersThis is one of the other types of pliers which folks are most used to seeing. Slip joint pliers are the pliers which have notches in them which you may use to adjust the fulcrum
“Also known as ‘water pump pliers’”point of the pliers when their jaws are open. Also known as ‘water pump pliers’, these are great for plumbing or can even just be used in lieu of a wrench when you need one.
Pliers type #4 – Tongue and Groove PliersTongue and groove pliers are another variety which you have seen. These employ a longer groove, which allow you to slide and lock the lower jaw in different positions depending upon the jaw-width you need for the pliers. This makes them useful for tightening or loosening nuts and bolts of various sizes so this is a good pair of pliers to keep in the toolbox.
Pliers type #5 – Canvas PliersCanvas pliers have wide and rectangular shaped ends which have a flat surface and allow for the stretching of canvas. This allows for one person to stretch a canvas on their own without assistance, so they can be useful but in a very specialized fashion.
Pliers type #7 – Chain Nose PliersVery similar to Needle Nosed Pliers, Chain Nosed Pliers are a little bit thinner and have a stubbed-nose at their tips, ideal for shaping wire and for jewelrymaking.
Pliers type #8 – Brake Spring PliersThese are a very specialized set of pliers which feature jaws that slightly resemble lobster claws or the claws you might see on a hammer, although they are asymmetrical, with one side being curved and the other is hooked. Utilized by many DIY and professional mechanics, these pliers allow you to change out brake springs, with one side allowing you to better install the spring and the shorter side allowing you to tighten it.
Pliers type #9 – Linesman PliersThese are the most common pliers that you will see although you may not have known the official name for them. Linesman pliers have the ridged jaws, the rounded ridged hollow close to the tips, and are typically made of stainless steel for a durable, strong grip.
Pliers type #10 – Flat Nose PliersThink of a set of snub-nosed, Needle Nose pliers without the ridges and you have a firm image of flat nose pliers in your mind. Designed for a grip that will hold but not damage, these pliers are often used in jewelrymaking and in electrical work and are also very good for crushing and removing parts of a piece that you need removed (such as beads or casting abnormalities).
Pliers type #11 – Spark Plug PliersLike the name implies, Spark Plug Pliers are used for automotive work, and the design is very recognizable as they are tipped with softened tongs at the end for gripping wires and, of course, spark plugs.
Pliers type #12 – Soft Jaw PliersThink of Tongue and Groove Pliers but imagine them with padding on the upper and lower insides of the jaw and you have a pretty accurate vision of Soft Jaw Pliers. These are designed for when you want to avoid damaging soft metals and are utilized mostly in plumbing and with scuba diving equipment.
Pliers type #13 – Welding PliersA cross between standard pliers and Needle Nose Pliers, it is unlikely that you will meet any professional welders who do NOT have a pair of these. They utilize heat-resistant handles and are typically spring-hinged, so that they may be easily used in high temperatures where gloves are required. Due to square protrusions on the design these can be used for hammering, removing wires, and ‘splatter’ removal.
Pliers type #14 – Bail Making PliersThese odd-looking pliers have cylindrical tubes for jaws, with the lower jaw being of a smaller diameter than the upper jaw, and they are typically made of stainless steel. These are typically employed with finesse in jewelrymaking and other crafts.
Pliers type #15 – Push Pin PliersDesigned for removing anchor bolts and car pins, these pliers typically employ a bit of padding for grip and the jaws are elongated, tapering sharply towards each other towards the end. The padding helps to protect the skin and the jaw design makes it easier to wedge the pliers in such a way as to properly remove the pins, saving the Automotive tech a lot of time and trouble.
“These pliers can also be used in tailoring as well”removal of chain links or the separation of rings. Slightly asymmetrical, the lower jaw is flat while the upper jaw bears the hooked portion (sometimes including a notch in the center). Incidentally, these pliers can also be used in tailoring as well.
Pliers type #17 – Grommet PliersOften confused with eyelet pliers, these are similar in appearance but Grommet pliers are able to work with materials which possess a greater density and also work great when fixing fasteners.
Pliers type #18 –Nail Puller PliersThese pliers have very short jaws, which form an oval shape and have flattened tips which pinch together tightly. This allows you to remove broken nails with much more ease than standard pliers, although they are considerably more expensive.
Pliers type #19 – Bent Nose PliersBent Nose Pliers are a specialized form of Needle Nose Pliers, where the tips curve lightly upward towards the termination of the jaws. These allow for gripping in smaller working spaces and the amount of curve in the jaw is typically going to be 45 degrees to 90 degrees. These are mainly employed in jewelrymaking but due to their ability to get into tight spaces they are also quite useful for general repair.
Pliers type #20 – Fencing PliersFencing Pliers are a variety of pliers which serve a combination of functions. In this case, 4 specifically:
- They may be used for hammering
- Wire stripping (notches)
- A hook is incorporated for brackets
- Standard Pliers function (gripping, cutting, etc)
In ClosingToday we have celebrated the diversity of the common ol’ set of pliers. As you can see, what you can do with them is actually quite a lot! Spanning a number of different industries, some forms of pliers are always in play when it comes to making things that you use every day. They aren’t just limited to ‘standard’ and ‘needle-nosed’, so the next time that someone asks you to grab the pliers from their toolbox just be happy the selection there is limited… it certainly doesn’t have to be!
Which American Made Tool Companies Produce the Best Pliers?
When it comes to finding the best pliers, it’s worth considering american made tools and companies. Several renowned manufacturers produce high-quality pliers with exceptional durability and performance. These companies prioritize craftsmanship and use top-notch materials, resulting in reliable and long-lasting tools. Choosing American made pliers ensures you’re supporting domestic industries while obtaining the finest quality for your projects.
What Size Allen Wrench Should I Use for Different Types of Pliers?
When working with different types of pliers, it is important to use the correct size Allen wrench to ensure a secure fit. For example, if you are adjusting the jaws of long-nose pliers, a 6mm Allen wrench should be used. To tighten or loosen pivot screws on slip-joint pliers, a 4mm Allen wrench is the right choice. Remember to always select the correct size allen wrench for garbage disposal and other pliers to maintain their functionality and longevity.