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Types of Pliers

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Whether you need to grip an item and fasten bolts, cut wires, strip insulation, or straighten wires, there’s a plier for the job. That’s why every household has that set of pliers in a toolbox tucked away in a garage or workstation. 

diagonal cutting pliers on white background

However, apart from the essential pliers you may already have at home, other pliers vary in size, joints, saws, and handles, each designed to perform different tasks.

Our detailed guide covers 32 types of pliers and their uses. Read on to learn which pliers to get for a specific job. 

32 Types of Pliers

Below are some common types of pliers available on the market.

1. Tongue and Groove Pliers

Tongue and Groove Pliers on white background

Tongue and groove pliers or arc-joint pliers have the most straightforward design. Their jaws are set at 45-60 degrees.

You can move the lower jaws in multiple positions depending on the work performed. 

To provide leverage, tongue and groove pliers are 9.5 inches – 12 inches long. Having long handles allows you to use the pliers in a compact space.

Tongue and groove pliers are ideal when you need to grip irregular-shaped objects. These pliers can also be used to hold and turn bolts and nuts. 

2. Slip Joint Pliers

Slip joint pliers on white background

Slip joint pliers are another versatile set often used for different gripping materials.

These pliers have an adjustable pivot point that allows the pipe grip and haws to open wide, depending on the item you’re gripping. 

Apart from gripping, a slip joint plier can also be used for cutting, crimping, bending, and holding.

You can also use the pliers to loosen and tighten bolts and nuts with their serrated and flat jaws. Plumbers may also use this type of plier in place of a wrench as you can adjust the jaw width.

3. Locking Pliers

Locking pliers on white background

Locking pliers or vise grip pliers aren’t as common in most homes.

These pliers have two jaws and a handle with a bolt to adjust the space between the jaws. One handle has a lever that unlocks the pliers. 

They are adjustable, which allows them to work as a wrench. An adjustable plier type means you can change the mouth width and lock the pliers into position.

You can hold items tightly and loosen stripped bolts with locking pliers.

Furthermore, you can lock nuts and bolts of different sizes. These pliers are also often used as slip joint pliers. 

Locking pliers allow you to have controlled force as their lever action is strong compared to other types of pliers.

Most of the time, these pliers are used in metalwork to hold metal parts like bolts and nuts. 

4. Needle-Nose Pliers

Isolated Needle nose pliers on white background

Needle-nose pliers are prevalent in most homes as they help with minor fixes and repairs like bending or cutting thin wires. 

These pliers are lightweight and compact, making them portable.

You can identify these pliers quickly as they have narrow jaws that become thin towards the tip. There are serrations on the gripping surface and a side cutter near the pivot. 

One thing to note about needle-nose pliers is they are designed for simple tasks, so exposing them to demanding tasks can lead to broken, bent, or sprung jaws. 

5. Cutting Pliers

An old used cutting pliers on white background.

These pliers get their name from the two jaws that join the rivet at an angle. Diagonal pliers cut the wire through indentation and wedging the wire part. They also have insulated handles. 

Cutting pliers or diagonal cutting pliers are standard in most electrical work.

You can accurately grip wires or cut small screws. There’s also a long handle to make snipping easier. 

Diagonal pliers or diagonal cutters are mainly designed to cut different wires. These pliers can cut aluminum, steel, iron, brass, and copper wires. 

6. Linesman’s Pliers

Linesman’s pliers resemble needle-nose pliers; the difference is that they have thick handles and jaws.

These pliers have a short, gripping surface near the tip and a cutting surface in the middle. Its rivet controls the plier’s accuracy and prevents it from breaking even after applying a lot of force. 

You can use linesman’s pliers for bending and cutting wires.

Electricians also use this type of plier to strip off insulation material. Lineman’s pliers have grips layered with insulation, which helps to protect the user against electric shocks. 

These pliers also come in handy when holding or clamping tools, providing a firm grip. 

7. Combination Pliers

Rubber handle new combination pliers isolated cut out on white background,

Combination pliers share certain similarities with linesman’s pliers. 

However, the combination pliers have a flat jaw configuration, making them ideal for clamping and bending. Its serrated section also helps with the clamping action. 

Combination pliers are versatile. You can crush rigid wires, cut thick wires, and bend wires. 

8. Flat Nose Pliers

Flat nose pliers closely resemble needle-nose pliers from the side. However, the flat nose pliers have a long, tapered jaw-less flat nose, while needle pliers have sharp jaws. 

Most electricians and mechanics use these pliers to grip and twist wires, sheets, and more. 

9. Long Nose Pliers

Cropped view of handyman holding chain nose pliers over blue background,

Long nose pliers have a conical shape and tapered length. These pliers are often used to hook or bend wires in TVs and radios. 

10. Crimping Pliers

Hands man make connection terminal wire, hold crimping pliers.

Crimping pliers or crimping tools are designed to crimp items as they have a fulcrum attached to one handle and another end.

You can easily recognize this type of plier as it’s the only one with a fulcrum at one end. 

These pliers are popular in the telecommunication field. Electricians use crimping pliers to install network connections and work on different types of cables like fiber cables, LAN cables, and TV cables. 

11. Hose Clamp Pliers

Hose clamp pliers compress hose and spring clamps. That tightens the connection.

Most hose clamp pliers have a peg-shaped tooth on every jaw to pinch the clamp.

12. Snap Ring Pliers

snap ring pliers set on white background.

Snap ring pliers are categorized into two — internal and external clip pliers.

An internal clip plier has a nose that closes when you grip the handles, while the attached ring to the pliers narrows. External clip pliers have their noses open when you grasp the handles and a widened ring. 

You can use snap ring pliers in narrow spaces as they have a bent nose.

13. Brake Spring Pliers

These pliers have one rounded and large jaw tip that curves inwards.

Brake spring pliers are designed to remove and replace springs in drum brakes. The large jaw removes the springs, while the smaller curve replaces the springs. 

14. Chain Nose Pliers

Long nose pliers isolated on white background

Chain nose pliers have triangular jaws, which makes them worthwhile when picking small items. 

You can use chain nose pliers to crimp, bend, or shape wires. 

15. Spark Plug Pliers

Spark Plug Pliers on white background

Spark plug pliers have pointed tips with cylindrical holders or insulated tongs that hold the spark plugs by plug wires.

These pliers are used in the automotive industry.

16. Oil Filter Pliers

Oil filter pliers are standard in the automotive industry.

These pliers have two C-shaped jaws, one more prominent than the other. That design makes it easy to remove the oil filter casing from the vehicle without struggling. 

17. Bent Nose Pliers

Bent long nose pliers isolated on white background

Bent nose pliers are unique, with a curved tip that tends to lean to the side. 

They are commonly used among electricians, who use them to access tight spaces. Bent nose pliers are also found in the jewelry industry because they aid in bending and twisting wires. 

18. Battery Pliers

Battery pliers are standard in the auto industry. Mechanics use battery pliers to strip or grip jumper cables and fix battery bolts. 

These pliers have short jaws that curve at different angles. That design is ma e to provide a firm grip. Battery pliers can also loosen or tighten small bolts in a vehicle. 

19. Canvas Pliers

Canvas pliers and photo print on white table

Can as pliers have wide padded jaws and interlocking teeth for no-slip grips.

There’s a built-in spring return that opens the pliers when released. 

Artists dealing with canvas are likely to use these pliers. Most canvas pliers have padded jaws to prevent damage to canvas surfaces when stretching them over the frame.

20. Eyelet Pliers

Eyelet pliers are found in the textile industry. 

These pliers are used to add drawstrings and lace to fabric. Some eyelet pliers have interchangeable dies that help with spasms and piercing. 

21. Grommet Pliers

Eyelet Pliers with leather accessories on wooden board

Grommet pliers resemble eyelet pliers. However, grommet pliers are heavy-duty and often used on sturdy materials. 

You can use grommet pliers to affix grommets and creates holes in materials. 

22. Nail Puller Plier

Nail puller plier pulling a bent nail with brick background

Nail puller pliers resemble tongs with tapered tips. That makes it easy to pull out nails.

You can also find nail puller pliers with claws on their jaw’s back to deliver more power. 

23. Piston Ring Plier

Piston ring pliers can have curved tips on the jaw, while the other has big jaws and a few braces.

Although both piston ring pliers can be used to remove and replace piston rings, the one with curved jaws allows you to spread the rings, making removal easy.

The other type has big jaws to reduce warping and support the ring.

24. Running Pliers

Running pliers are common in the stained glass industry.

You can use running pliers to break glass along its score line to make a clean break.

These pliers allow you to align them precisely along the score line. Additionally, this plier has well-adjusted jaws to match the glass’s thickness. 

25. Fencing Pliers

Fencing Pliers On Concrete Floor on dark background

Fencing pliers work as a hammer, cutter, and remover for staples. A metal loop is used to fix a wire. 

These pliers have one side of the jaw that looks like the head and neck of a hammer. That allows you to drive in staples like a real hammer. The other side resembles a hammer claw; you can use it to remove staples.

26. Push Pin Pliers

Push pin pliers have a wedge-shaped jaw that makes it easy for them to fall under the pin caps of the anchors. Once you squeeze the pliers, it pushes the push pin out and removes the anchors without damage. 

You’ll find push pin pliers in the automotive industry where push pin anchors are used. 

27. Sheet Metal Plier

Sheet Metal Grip Locking pliers isolated on white background.

Sheet metal pliers have wide rectangular jaws. These jaws help with the formation of seams and bending sheet metal. 

These pliers are standard in the sheet metal and manufacturing industries. 

28. Bail-Making Plier

Bail-making pliers have jaws with two cylindrical rods. One rod is slightly bigger than the other, which comes in handy when manufacturing earrings and clasp wires.

The jewelry industry also uses bail-making pliers. 

29. Wire-Twisting Pliers

Wire twisting pliers have short jaws with a cutting edge. The pliers have a knob between the two handles.

Its cylindrical locking mechanisms ensure the wire spins, and you get the desired twisting. Professionals in the jewelry and electronic industries use wire-twisting pliers.

30. Bird’s Beak Plier

bird beak pliers on white background

Bird’s Beak pliers or pipe pliers resemble a bird’s beak due to their design. 

These pliers have a firm grip and long lever, which helps hold and bend wire.

31. Parrot Pliers

Parrot pliers, like bird’s beak pliers, get their name from their design. These pliers look like a parrot’s beak. 

Most people in the construction industry use parrot pliers to pull out nails or cut wires. 

32. Hydraulic Pliers

manual hydraulic press pliers in a box

Hydraulic pliers are categorized into two — manual hydraulic pliers and pump power hydraulic pliers. 

Manual hydraulic pliers use manual force to press the cable to the cable shoe. These pliers are used on medium to low-pressure cables. 

The pump power pliers use pump power to attach the cable.

You’ll find these types of pliers in the electronics industry. Hydraulic pliers are also used to fix large electric cables. 

Final Thoughts

Pliers are common in most households. Apart from the common slip joint pliers, there are other pliers designed for different functions. 

While most pliers may share a similar design, they have varied uses. Hopefully, with our list of common pliers available, you now have an idea of which pliers to choose when cutting, bending, or straightening wires. 


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