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Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews

Last Updated on August 28, 2020

a lineman plier

We don’t always put a lot of thought into our pliers purchases, which is kind of a shame really. Sure, you can go down to the hardware store. Buy the cheapest pair you can find, watch them break after a few uses, maybe even that very same day. The process repeats over and over again throughout the course of a lifetime until you realize you’ve actually sunk quite a bit of money into mediocre tools.

Or, you buy smart once and enjoy a high-performing pair of lineman pliers that last for years. While we aren’t in the business of telling people what to do, our humble but professional opinion is that you’d be better advised to pursue the second option.

To that end, we can be of service to you. Our job is to study the market, and report our findings to consumers that are hungry for accurate, honest information. That’s precisely what we’ve done here today.

That in mind, read on for our lineman pliers reviews!

Summary of the Winners in 2020

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Klein Tools J2000-9NECRTP Klein Tools J2000-9NECRTP
  • Lots of extra leverage
  • Durable
  • Shock absorbing
  • Second place
    Knipex 09 12 240 SBA Knipex 09 12 240 SBA
  • Powerful gripping capacity
  • For wires and cables
  • Comfort grips
  • Best Value
    Third place
  • Best for the money
  • Ergonomic
  • Durable
  • Channellock 369 Channellock 369
  • Affordable
  • Laser etched
  • Neiko 10-Inch Neiko 10-Inch
  • Affordable
  • You get what you pay for
  • The 5 Best Lineman Pliers

    1. Klein Tools Lineman’s Pliers – Best Overall

    Klein Tools Lineman’s Pliers J2000-9NECRTP

    Klein Tools is known for making good, reliable hand tools. In fact, in addition to being our top choice in general today, we’ve also found it to be the best electrical pliers out there.

    One of the first things you’ll notice with these pliers is that they just have great gripping action. They were produced with a rivet situated closer to the edge to maximize your leverage. This means that you will have a higher capacity both for gripping and cutting.

    It also has a pretty cutting edge handle that is made to be both ergonomic, and shock absorbing so that you don’t experience the snapping sensation associated with cutting a wire.

    So, why even look at another pair of pliers, right? After all, these sound pretty good. Cost will be the thing that keeps some buyers away. They are definitely not cheap, but if you factor in the performance value, it may be well worth the cost for serious consumers.

    • Lots of extra leverage
    • Durable
    • Shock absorbing
    • Price

    2. Knipex SBA 9.5-Inch Lineman Electrical Pliers

    Knipex SBA 9.5-Inch Lineman Electrical Pliers

    Next, we have the Knipex lineman pliers in our runner up slot. This pair actually has quite a bit in common with the first that we looked at. The pliers themselves have been designed with optimal leverage capacity, gripping and cutting with 20% more strength than most comparable choices.

    It’s also been designed with a  comfortable vibration-reducing grip, and special recesses built into the gripping mechanism designed to work with cables of various shapes and sizes.

    You even get a similarly lofty price tag with this one. So, why didn’t it land itself in the top slot? There are feint durability concerns that lessen the value of this unit relative to our top choice. The metal is a little bit more prone to wear and tear, which, though not immediately problematic may be cause for concern over time.

    • Powerful gripping capacity
    • Specially designed for wires and cables
    • Comfort grips
    • Mild durability concerns over time

    3. IRWIN 9-1/2″ Lineman’s Pliers – Best Value

    IRWIN 9-1/2" Lineman's Pliers

    Next, our best for the money pick, the Irwin. Irwin is another company well-known for their hand tools. This particular option is great both for its overall quality, and its value. For a small fraction of the price, you get many of the same features we so valued in the last two options that we looked at.

    Machined jaws made to optimize gripping strength, durable nickel chromium steel construction. You even get an ergonomic grip that will help reduce hand fatigue.

    That said there are a couple of problems we noticed. For one thing, they are size somewhat awkwardly. The bulk of the tool makes it tricky to get into harder to reach places.

    There is also the issue of durability. This tool does seem to be vulnerable to rust which means it might not stay in the tool bag for as long as you’d like.

    These things said, it would be hard to beat the price tag that you get here.

    • Best for the money
    • Ergonomic
    • Durable
    • Vulnerable to rust
    • A little awkward to use

    4. Channellock 9-1/2-Inch Lineman Plier

    Channellock 9-1/2-Inch Lineman Plier

    Second to last, we have the moderately priced Channellock pliers. These options actually look great, and might have found a place in our best for the money slot if not for a few unfortunate cons. Before we look at those however, let’s examine the key selling points.

    The gripping ridges in the jaws of the pliers have been laser etched and heat-treated for precision and endurance.

    You also get a nice cozy grip that is great for long term use, and a price tag that most people will appreciate.

    Unfortunately, however, there is one big negative that keeps it out of our top three: it’s not very durable. Many of the owners we talk to have said that their pair only lasted for a matter of months. Granted, those are people that used the tool quite a bit. If you are just stocking a tool bag for a rainy day, you might not run into problems for some time.

    The pliers also lock-up very easily which can make them a pain to use.

    These problems are both forgivable, but at the end of the day, you might still be better off investing your money in a similarly priced product that doesn’t have these issues.

    • Affordable
    • Laser etched
    • Locks up making pliers hard to use
    • Durability concerns

    5. Neiko 10″ Linesman Pliers

    Neiko 10" Linesman Pliers

    Last, we have the Neiko linesman pliers. The main selling point here is definitely the price tag. It’s on the lower end of the spectrum, and will be a fine it for casual users. The rubber padded grip is comfortable enough, and the carbon steel build will holdup to light use.

    However, more serious users probably won’t want to bother with this one. The handle comes loose very easily, the metal itself doesn’t stand up very well to wear and tear, and it will rust over time.

    You get what you pay for though, right?

    • Affordable
    • Handle comes loose
    • Metal gets dinged up easily
    • Will rust over time

    Buyer’s Guide

    Now let’s take a look at a couple of considerations that might further help you decide on the best option for your needs.


    Pliers can be uncomfortable to use over time. You want a grip with enough padding that you won’t be completely miserable using it for hours at a time. As you probably noticed most options that we looked at today advertised an ergonomic handle.


    You will find pliers out there for five dollars or fifty. While it may be tempting to buy the cheapest pair you can get it might be more prudent to get something decent. As you probably noticed most of the pricier units we looked at also wound up being more durable.

    Often, it’s cheaper long-term to buy a quality tool.

    Gripping Capacity

    Some of the options that we looked at today advertised a heightened leverage capacity—meaning you can get a better grip from them while applying the same amount of force. This feature is nice to have if you can get it for the simple fact that it will keep you from getting fatigued over time.

    Tools that have been optimized in this way may be a little bit pricier, but many buyers will see it as money well spent.

    Other types of pliers we’ve reviewed:


    Don’t be sad that the lineman plier reviews have ended. Instead, be happy: now is the time you get to decide which pliers are right for your needs.

    Incidentally, this is the hardest part of the process. While we did all of the research work for you, the decision itself is entirely yours.

    Even with that said though, there are a couple of suggestions we would be happy to leave you with. For instance, buyers that want the best of the best will probably be drawn to the Klein Tools Lineman’s Pliers. Our top choice for today was a high-quality option that the other units just couldn’t quite match.

    That said, if you are hoping to make a mostly value-oriented decision, there are good options for you as well. Like our best for the money pick, the IRWIN 9-1/2″ Lineman’s Pliers.

    Of course, now that you know what’s out there, it shouldn’t be too challenging to make your own decision.

    About the Author Adam Harris

    Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!