A decent set of slip-joint pliers can spare you from having to buy two or three sets of standard-jaw pliers. They’re a great tool for everyone’s toolbox, from people who just need a set every so often to people who work with their hands all the time and prize speed and efficiency. The best way to guarantee success is buying the right set.
We took a look at some models so we could share our reviews with you. It’s not an exhaustive list, but when coupled with our buyers’ guide, it will hopefully give you an idea of what to look for when shopping and help you buy the best pliers possible.
|Channellock 528 |
|Wilde Tool G262FP ||8 oz||4.8/5|
|IRWIN Tools 8-Inch |
(Best for the Money)
|TEKTON 6-1/2-Inch ||8 oz||4.3/5|
|Klein Tools 6-Inch ||7 oz||4.1/5|
The Channellock 528 pliers are well-built, durable and will last a really long time even if you put them through some savage use. These pliers are also comfortable to use, so not only will the tool last, but so will your wrists. They also deliver this quality at a price that isn’t elevated above the rest of the class. These are affordable as well as being durable, which makes them an easy top pick for us.
One thing we didn’t like was that the jaws are a bit too thin. That means a tougher time grabbing on to things that require a wide jaw for proper grip.
If you buy the Wilde Tool G262FP, you’re probably going to like what you buy. This is an outstanding set of pliers. They are comfortable to use, well built, do a great job and are nice and taut when you adjust them. It’s an unspoken drawback of this kind of tool that when you slide the joint, sometimes it’ll jiggle. Not with this one.
What we didn’t like about it is the price. It’s just too expensive for most people to consider, and while the quality is good, it’s not quality that most people will need.
If design quality is what you’re after, it’s not so terribly expensive as to be a foolish purchase, but the performance advantage just doesn’t justify most people going that route.
For most households, the IRWIN Tools 8-Inch Slip-Joint Pliers are a great junk drawer purchase. You spend just a little money and get something you can store until you need it for a few minutes. Then you use it and put it right back. It’s a budget-friendly arrangement based on the idea that when you need the tool, it’ll be available. Based on its price, it’s also our best budget model.
However, it’s not that much more affordable than even the most expensive set of slip-joint pliers. We’re talking about a total savings of a couple of dollars, so we’d really want to see better results in using the tool to warrant a better ranking. It does an okay job, but you’re paying the right price for it.
If you want a basic model of slip-joint pliers, you’re probably looking for an eight-inch set of pliers. That makes these TEKTONs less than optimal for anything except pretty specialized use.
Probably the biggest thing these pliers have going for them is their price. They are very affordable on every budget.
Beyond their price, however, you’re likely to be disappointed if you buy these as a general set of slip-joint pliers for your toolbox. It’s not their size, it’s also their design, which is kind of shoddy.
The bottom line is that there are better options available.
The best thing to say about the Klein Tools 6-Inch Slip-Joint Pliers is that they will hold things in their jaws when you close the handle. It’s basic competence, and honestly, the price isn’t all that bad.
Beyond that, these are too small for everyday use in the home. Homeowners looking for a set to put in a toolbox will be disappointed. You can get something bigger that does a better job for the same amount of money .
One significant drawback is the design. It’s poorly made, and the slip joint is held secure by an external nut. That means these pliers are at a high risk to break every time you use them. Since that might involve the nut falling off, it also means that every use could potentially be their last.
If you’re an average homeowner looking for slip-joint pliers, the hardware aisle of your local big box store might be a bit confusing. There are several different sizes and shapes of pliers, so it helps to know a little about how to tell which set is right for you.
The first rule in buying tools is to understand what the work you’re doing calls for. Slip-joint pliers provide the same kind of versatility as an adjustable wrench. There are a few different tasks for which they are especially handy, like helping to separate a nut-and-bolt set or holding something fast of varying depth. The advantage of slip-joint pliers is that you can quickly adjust the width of the jaws. Knowing what kind of jaws are best suited for each task, the size you need and what materials to look for will help you get a great tool.
For everyday work, a set of standard pliers is just what you want. These are pliers with the jaws aligned with the handle, so that when you pull the handles open, the jaws follow suit. A primary use for these would be to hold a nut fast while you’re turning the bolt, either with a screwdriver or a wrench. The adjustable jaw comes in handy because you can widen it depending on the size of the nut.
If you need to turn pipes or loosen a lot of nuts where you need a little extra leverage, tongue-and-groove pliers are an option to consider. Instead of sliding both jaws apart and locking them in place, with tongue-and-groove you are sliding the lower jaw along the upper jaw. That allows the handles to stay at the same width, as opposed to standard slip-joint pliers where the handles get wider as the jaws do.
Most slip-joint pliers come with two or three different widths that you can adjust to. The more the settings, the greater the number of jobs you can do. However, the fewer the number, the stronger the grip tends to be and the less prone the tool is to wear and tear. If you’re an average homeowner, most work can be done with two settings, although having the third is always helpful if your toolbox isn’t all that filled with options.
To go with a range of jaw sizes, slip-joint pliers are sold in different sizes. For most homeowners, a good set of 7-inch slip-joint pliers will work for just about everything around the house. if you have bigger jobs, there are bigger sets of pliers. If you need to access a tight space, there are different lengths of handles (these jobs are ones that might call for tongue-and-groove pliers). One available option is a set of different-sized slip-joint pliers.
Most pliers are made of some kind of steel alloy with a metal additive to help resist corrosion. For most people, slip-joint pliers aren’t going to take a savage beating. They’ll get used once in a while and put back in the junk drawer or a toolbox. Corrosion resistance set is a big issue in tool construction. If you use it frequently and put it under pressure, a set that includes nickel or chromium will last longest.
The materials include whatever the handle grip is made from. If you need to twist a lot of things with your slip-joint pliers, you’ll want them as comfortable as possible to reduce wrist fatigue. Make sure you get pliers with grips that won’t slip in your hands.
All things being otherwise equal, your choice comes down to price. You aren’t going to go bankrupt buying slip-joint pliers, but you don’t want to spend so little that you get a set that breaks on the first hard job, or whose teeth slip and get stripped trying to hold a nut in place.
Some other types of pliers that we’ve blogged about:
We liked the Channellock 528 8-Inch Slip Joint Pliers best. They’re great for both professionals and DIYers. The Wilde Tools G262FP Slip Joint Pliers came up just a little short and took our runner-up rank. If budget is your primary concern, the IRWIN Tools 8-Inch Slip-Joint Pliers offer great for-dollar value. The TEKTON 6-½ Inch Slip Joint Pliers and the Klein Tools 6-Inch Slip-Joint Pliers could both work in a pinch, but are too small for most homeowner applications.
We hope you found value in our reviews and can use them to help better hone your choice when shopping. That especially goes if you pair them with our buyers’ guide, which is intended to help you get a better idea of what to look for. Now you can go out and find the right set.
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!