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33 Different Types of Pliers Compared (with Pictures)

33 different types of pliers

It would be impossible to say that everybody has a pair of pliers at home, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that everybody should. Even if it’s only a simple set of slip joint pliers tucked away in the junk drawer, it’s an indispensable hand tool that can make a huge difference when attempting DIY home repairs. However, there are so many different types of pliers.

Now, some of us have a few different sets for different kinds of jobs, and people with specialized hobbies or professions have pliers that very few people realize exist. Most of us already know about some of them. Some might make you think, “Well, I never…” and one or two might peak your interest into thinking, “You know, I could really use a set of those.”

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Anatomy of the Pliers

Pliers only have a couple of parts to them, but all of the parts have important jobs. Without these features, no set of pliers could perform its primary function.

Pliers diagram

Jaws (also called nose): This is your pliers’ working end and they are used mostly for gripping. There are combination pliers which have jaws, and they also contain pipe grips and/or cutters.

Fulcrum (also called pivot points): This is where the jaws and handles connect, and also serves to create the force needed for the pliers jaws to do their job.

Pipe Grips: This is an opening in the jaw that is oval or round in shape. The pipe grips are made to grip pipes and other round items.

Handles: This is what you hold on the pliers. They are sometimes curved or straight, and their surface can be plastic coated or bare metal.

Cutters: Some pliers are designed for cutting wire and metal. The cutters are usually located near the fulcrum.

Common Types of Pliers & Their Uses

There’s a good chance that you have used or seen the following pliers. They’re available just about anywhere and many times are able to be used for many other purposes if need be.

There’s a good chance you’ve had one or more in your hand or tool chest.

1. Crimping Pliers

Xuron - 494 Four in One Crimping Pliers

These are also called crimping tools. These pliers’ fulcrum is at their far end and they’re used much like nutcrackers. You feed a wire into the jaw’s jack, then a connector.

When you squeeze their handles, it will break through plastic coatings and cause the sections to crimp or deform in a way that they’ll stick together, allowing data to go through.

They’re used mostly in telecommunications and networking. The terminal crimpers are used in automotive while R145s are used commonly in computers.

2. Diagonal Pliers

FastCap PLIERS-FLUSH CUT Flush Cut Trimmers

These are also called flush-cut pliers, diagonal cutting pliers, wire cutters and others.

These pliers’ jaws are angled made to cut through wire that is thick. They are very strong and also can be used for cutting nails. Therefore, they’re used in electrical work and carpentry.

3. Hose Clamp Pliers

Professional Hose Clamp Pliers Repair Tool

These are also called hose, radiator hose and spring clamp pliers. This type of pliers is made for compressing spring and hose clamps to make connections tighter. Because of this, they come in many designs.

The models that are best known have peg-shaped teeth on each of the jaws, and these are used for pinching the clamp. Some of the models also may be used right on a hose.

4. Needle Nose Pliers

IRWIN VISE-GRIP Long Nose Pliers

These are also called long-nosed pliers because the nose is elongated to offer more precision. It also contains an edge for cutting near its base. These pliers are very versatile, and they can be used for shaping, cutting and bending wire.

They are used by a lot of trades, including electrical, jewelry, fishing, networking engineering and more. They are in the majority of home toolboxes.

5. Slip Joint Pliers

IRWIN VISE-GRIP Pliers Set

These are also called water pump pliers. They are related closely to adjustable wrench and have a fulcrum that can be adjusted to alter the jaws’ width.

A lot of the variants have notches for the bolt of the fulcrum to go into when the pliers’ jaw’s open, allowing you to lock on a certain width. They’re often used in plumbing applications and can do a lot of the duties that a wrench can do.

6. Snap Ring Pliers

Channellock 927 8-Inch Snap Ring Plier

These are also called retaining ring pliers, lock ring pliers, circlip pliers, and C-clip pliers.

This type of pliers has round, short jaws to help with closing a snap ring these types of rings are loops with open ends that fit into round objects such as dowels.

Once it’s closed, it’s possible for the ring to freely rotate, but they can’t slide sideways. They’re commonly used for gears on vehicles such as mountain bikes.

7. Tongue & Groove Pliers

Channellock GS-3 3 Piece Straight Jaw Tongue and Groove Pliers Set

Also called channel locks, these pliers are adjustable with toothed grooves along their upper handle. This allows their lower jaw to get locked into a variety of positions. The jaws are angled, which makes them useful for turning bolts and nuts.

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Other Types of Pliers

While the pliers above are found commonly in toolboxes and kits, there are a lot of pliers that are more specialized that you might never encounter personally.

8. Bail Making Pliers

The Bead Smith 6-In-1 Bail-Making Pliers

This tool has jaws that consists of a pair of dowels, and one is bigger. Primarily used in making jewelry, the wire is wrapped around their jaws in order to form ear wires, clasps and many other loop components.

9. Battery Pliers

STEELMAN 77020 Battery Terminal Pliers

Primarily used in automotive applications for maintaining car the bolts found on jumper cables and car batteries, these kinds of pliers have angled, short jaws. The lower jaw’s a bit smaller, and the jaws are both thick so that they are more durable.

10. Bent Nose Pliers

Bent Chain-Nose Pliers

These are another type of needle nose. Their jaws are angled at their midpoint, usually at 45 or 90-degree angles. This will allow them to grip onto surfaces without them getting into the way when you need multiple pliers. This is also handy when the angle’s too hard to reach with the typical needle nose pliers.

They are very useful in electrical work, jewelry making, and other types of work for shaping wire.

11. Brake Spring Pliers

Performance Tool W175 Brake Spring Pliers

These are another tool used in automotive, and they are actually a multiple tool specifically designed for handling drum brakes springs. One of the jaw tips is rounded to remove the springs, and the other’s curved so that they can be put back in. Sometimes, one handle also features a ratchet for removing shoe hold-down pins.

12. Canvas Pliers

Arrtx Alloy Art Tool Extra Wide Canvas Pliers

These are also called canvas stretching pliers. These pliers are often used by artists and they allow a single person to do something what usually will take two. Their jaws usually are padded to avoid damage to the surface of canvas while you’re stretching it onto your frame.

13. Chain Nose Pliers

Beadsmith Casual Comfort Chain Nose Pliers

These pliers have triangular stubby jaws and they’re one of the tools used in jewelry making and wire shaping. The design of the jaw allows for shaping, bending and crimping wire.

When you’re making beaded jewelry, their tips are helpful in opening or closing jump rings and bead tips.

14. Combination Pliers

KNIPEX Tools - High Leverage Combination Pliers

Combination pliers are multi-purpose tools with three sections in their jaws. From their tip, there’s a serrated surface for gripping. Behind that, there’s a round serrated section that makes gripping thick round items like tubes much easier.

Lastly, the section that’s closest to the pliers’ fulcrum is the cutting surface. A lot of people think of them as lineman pliers, but they don’t have that rounded center area in their jaws.

15. Eyelet Pliers

QLOUNI 3:16 Eyelet Hole Punch Pliers

These pliers are important for clothing industries such as tailoring and cobbling. Eyelets allow drawstrings and laces to get added to clothing. Eyelets have elongated hubs and rings that have to be crimped.

The majority of modern eyelet pliers come with interchangeable dies so that they can do both crimping and hole punching, even though some just have a wheel in their upper jaw that contain the die tips or only have a surface for crimping.

16. Fencing Pliers

Crescent 10 Heavy-Duty Solid Joint Fence Tool Pliers

This curious-looking tool resembles a hammer with two handles when you look down on them from above. The fulcrum has notches which let you cut different gauged wires while the left jaw’s side has the hammer surface to drive in staples.

The right jaw’s claw is useful for removing the staples, and the jaws contain a rounded grip hole and gripping surface.

17. Flat Nose Pliers

Beadalon Flat Nose Pliers

These are also called duckbill pliers. Their jaws are flat and tapered and they’re used for twisting and gripping metal, along with twisting wires and leads. It’s a tool often used in mechanical and electrical work.

They can make right angles and sharp bends using wire, and they’re also good for straightening. They come with long or short noses.

18. Grommet Pliers

BEAMNOVA Grommet Handheld Hole Punch Pliers

These are similar to the eyelet pliers, both in function and form, and they’re used for creating holes in materials such as tarp, along with affixing grommets.

Grommets are much more heavy-duty when compared with eyelets, which makes these pliers perfect for those crafts that involve sturdy materials.

19. Hose Grip Pliers

Pittsburgh 3 Piece Long Reach Hose Grip Pliers

Also called grabber pliers, these are specialty pliers designed to get little hoses easily out of or into tight spaces. They have grabbers jaws and they’re shaped so that they prevent the hose from getting damaged, and they are used for things such as fuel lines, heater hoses and vacuum lines.

Just grip the hose and twist it off or on. They work great for spark plugs, clamps and a lot of other little items.

20. Linesman Pliers

CRAFTSMAN Linesman Pliers

Even though their name might not sound familiar, there’s a good chance you’ve used or seen them sometime. They’re identified easily by their jaws, and they have a short gripping surface near their tip and a surface for cutting in their middle. This tool is very versatile, and it’s often used while doing electrical work.

Because they are multifunctional and very strong, they also can be used for bending and twisting metal which might be too strong for other kinds of pliers. Sometimes, their insulated handles can protect users from getting a shock, although most of them aren’t rated for this.

21. Locking Pliers

IRWIN VISE-GRIP Original Locking Pliers

These are also called vice grips. As their name implies, these pliers have jaws that are made to lock, which makes them great for gripping bolts and screws that are stripped. They come with many different jaw shapes, which means that you can choose the design that’s best for your individual needs.

22. Nail Puller Pliers

Crescent 10 Heavy-Duty Solid Joint Fence Tool Pliers

These look a lot like tongs, and they have tips that are tapered. This allows the pliers to dig beneath a nail’s head to pull it out. Some of the varieties also have claws on their right jaw’s back to give you more power.

23. Oil Filter Pliers

TEKTON 5866 12-Inch Oil Filter Pliers

This type of plier looks odd. Their toothed jaws are C-shaped, and one is a lot longer than its mate. They’re used to remove casings on oil filters in vehicles.

24. Piston Ring Pliers

ABN Adjustable Piston Installer Pliers

There are two major forms of these kinds of pliers, and both are used for removing and replacing piston rings inside engines. The first type has curved tips on its jaws that the person can use for spreading piston rings to remove it easily.

The other type has jaws that are a lot larger with a few braces for supporting ther ring and reducing the warping risk.

25. Push Pin Pliers

Performance Tool Angled Push Pin Pliers

These pliers have jaw tips that are wedge-shaped. This allows them to get beneath plastic anchors’ pin caps. When the pliers are squeezed, it pops a push pin out, which allows the anchors to be safely removed.

They are used in automotive work, along with other types of industries where these anchors are used.

26. Round Nose Pliers

Beadthoven 1Set Round Nose Pliers

These are also called rosary and jewelry pliers. They shouldn’t be confused with bail making pliers, and they have rounded jaws that are slightly tapered. The jaws come together to form a jaw design that is triangular in shape.

They’re used for creating jewelry loops, particularly rosaries. Some of them have handles that are insulated to use with electrical work.

27. Running Pliers

ION TOOL Glass Running Pliers

These are used for creating crafts with stained windows and they make clean breaks along a scored line in glass. Their jaws are wide tipped and they adjustable to match the glass thickness. Most of them have center lines to ensure the right alignment when you’re running it along your score.

28. Sheet Metal Pliers

Hurricane 6 Inch Straight Jaw Sheet Metal Hand Seamer

Also called seamer pliers, these pliers have rectangular, wide jaws and they’re used to bend sheet metal as well as form seams. They’re found commonly in industries where sheet metal’s used, such as metal shops.

29. Split Ring Pliers

KastKing Cutthroat 7” Fishing Pliers

These are also called fishing pliers. They look a lot like stubby chain nose or needle nose pliers, and their lower jaw has a hooked tip. This acts like a wedge and splits the coiled rings apart. Fishermen often use split rings when creating fishing tackles. They’re also used when making keyrings.

30. Soft Jaw Pliers

Tsunoda Soft Resin Jaw Water Pump Pliers

These pliers are used for scuba diving and plumbing equipment, and they often include different types of many of the other pliers. The big difference is that their jaws are padded so that scratches are prevented on exposed surfaces or soft metals.

31. Spark Plug Pliers

Lisle 52990 Spark Plug Pliers

These pliers have narrow jaws and they are tipped either with cylindrical holders or insulated tongs. These pliers grip the spark plugs by plug wires or the boot, helping when making automotive repairs.

The narrow jaws of these pliers are tipped with either insulated tongs or a cylindrical holder. As the name suggests, the tips grip spark plugs by the boot or plug wires, aiding in automotive repairs.

32. Welding Pliers

Hobart 770150 MIG Multi-Function Welding Pliers

Welding pliers’ jaws are like combination pliers, and they have the same tips as needle nose pliers.

This type of tool does a lot of functions, including gripping wire, hammering, spatter removal and gripping wire. As their name implies, they’re heavily used in the welding field.

33. Wire Twisting Pliers

Gunpla 9 Inch Safety Wire Twisting Plier

These pliers are quite unusual, and they have short jaws. They also have an edge for cutting at the fulcrum. In between their handles, there’s a threaded knob and cylindrical mechanism for locking.

When you lock a wire piece into their jaws and pull the knob back, the whole tool will spin, and the wire will twist with it. They are often used in the jewelry making industry and often used also by electricians.

As you can see, there are a lot of different types of pliers that are used in the world. Although you may never have to use one of them yourself, who knows? But now you know the wonderful world of pliers.


Featured Image: Pixabay

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