Last updated: September 3, 2021

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If you have a good pair of pliers you can master any task: from cutting and stripping a cable, holding two pieces of material together so that they adhere or fixing a tap. These popular tools are very simple, but extremely useful. There is a wide variety of pliers on the market today, each adapted to a different need.

Pliers are a type of hand tool that will help you out in a hurry. They are much appreciated in plumbing and electricity work, being one of the most purchased instruments by professionals and also one of the most versatile. Here is a complete guide with everything you need to know about pliers to buy the best pair for your home.

Key Facts

  • With pliers, more than in any other tool, its design will make any job easier with the right ones fr the job.  It is not the same to perform electrical work as it is to do plumbing. These products are very specialized and it is important to choose the most suitable one for your project.
  • All pliers must have a handle coated with some type of rubber or insulating plastic. These materials are designed to withstand up to 1000 volts and are a tremendously important part of the tool.
  • For precision work, such as watchmaking or electronics, you must choose small, delicate models, which are usually sold as a set in small tool cases that protect them.

Our Selection: The Best Pliers

Pliers are very versatile tools that will be indispensable in a wide variety of tasks. However, to succeed in your purchase you should choose the right model, a pair with high-quality design and one that is manufactured with the proper materials. To help you in your selection, we have researched the market and selected the best pliers on the market today.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Pliers

Today there are many types of pliers available on the market. They are very versatile tools, and each model is adapted to different jobs and designs, just like other specialty tools. To help you choose the pliers that best suit your needs, we have developed the following buyer's guide in which we explain everything you need to know about this useful manual tool.

Our advice is that you look for hardened steel or reinforced steel alloy tools.
(Source: gajus: 26275345/

What materials are the best for pliers?

As a general rule, pliers are made of metal alloys. The most common combination, used in the most modern models, is galvanized steel which is coated in chrome-vanadium. This prevents corrosion and gives the tool an extra hardness that is needed to deal with most jobs.

Additionally, the pliers' handles are usually covered by some kind of plastic or rubber material. This coating improves the ergonomics of the tool, making it more comfortable to use and providing a good fit to the human hand. It also plays an important role as an insulator of electricity when working with cables.

Some models of pliers have accessories such as interchangeable heads, handles of different thicknesses or different materials.
(Source: edot: 26269120/

How many types of pliers are available on the market?

We have discussed that there is a type of pliers for each job. Now, just how many types of pliers can you find on the market? Well, many more than you might think. Usually, when we talk about pliers, we refer to the universal type, which is a very versatile and high quality tool, which we all have at home for ordinary jobs where a strong grip is needed

However, in many cases we might need another type of pliers based on the work we are going to do, as we saw in the previous section. To understand all of the types of pliers available on the market, we have prepared the following table with some types of pliers, their functions and some of their main characteristics.

Type of Pliers Functions Features
Universal Pliers Hold, shape, twist/braid and cut common wires. Remove insulating protectors. Tighten or loosen nuts and bolts. Used in electrical work, mechanics, communications, construction and DIY Provided with flat jaws (to hold and braid wires), circular jaws (to hold round pieces and tubes) or two edges with sharp grooves. Flat pliers do not offer cutting functions
Cutting Pliers Very hard to soft wire cutting. Clean and precise cuts near the surface in wires, screws and rivets. For cutting in general in electrical work and mechanical work. Use to extract keys from mechanical parts the side cutting type have a cutting blade situated on one side only. The front cutting type have two cutting blades arranged at the tip. The diagonal cutting pliers have two blades arranged diagonally from the handle
Long, Thin, Pointed Pliers Hold fine and small objects, such as wires or nails. Cut cables and small gauge wires. Hold small objects in space. Hold and bend wire at unusual angles. Insert or remove screws and other small parts behind pipes. Form rings on the terminals of conductive wires the straight-pointed type are used for work in narrow places, perfect for electronics. Most have side blades for cutting wires. They do not function to tighten or loosen nuts. The angled pliers are bent at approximately 80 degrees. They have serrated jaws. The round or conical tip, allow the user to form rings of different diameters
Cross-Joint, Zipper or “Needle Nose” Pliers Adjust or loosen pipes and nuts with hexagonal, flat or square connections. Hold and rotate any cylindrical object. Split tiles and ceramics. Straighten plates and other difficult-to-access uses They offer different adjustment positions. They provide a better joint fit and are more durable than the others. The cross-articulation tends to be more resistant than the zipper-type
Pressure Pliers Stabilize a piece of work to work on it. They are ideal for torsion and extraction movement they have an adjustment screw that changes the size of the jaw to apply the correct clamping pressure. Curved jaws exert pressure on nuts or bolts. Some models have wire cutters included. Straight models provide maximum contact in square, hexagonal and flat heads. Some models require the use of both hands and others only one
Stripping Pliers General cutting of conductive wires. Stripping wire insulation. Extend and coil conductive wires Detection mechanism to strip insulation without damaging conductors. They have holes to cut different wire gauges
Insulated Pliers Hold, bend or cut objects with conductive electrical current Any pliers for use on electricity must have an insulated handle that can withstand voltages greater than 1000 V
Terminal Pliers Fit solder-less connectors.
Strip common gauge wires. Cut and hold or bend conductive wires
Called electrician multipurpose pliers. They have holes that cut common screw sizes without deforming the threads
Sliding joint pliers Tighten and loosen nuts and bolts Universal type with two jaw opening settings. Some incorporate shear type wire cutters for small sizes. Available in regular or long pointed design
Automatically Adjusting Pliers Get more lever movement and grip power. General repairs and plumbing They feature an adjustable pivot with handles that allow compound movement. With deep teeth and curved jaws that remain parallel when the handles are compressed. More reliable than sliding joint pliers
Mini Pliers Electronic technicians working with small objects in confined areas Tools of very compact size. They include all of the other models

Shopping Criteria

Now that you know everything you need to know about pliers, the time has come to look at the most important purchase factors. Unless you are a professional electrician or mechanic, it will not be easy for you to choose the best pliers in the market, so we have researched and created this complete guide with all the purchase criteria you should look at:


The quality of the materials will mark the useful life of the tool. The cheapest pliers will be manufactured with low-quality alloys, in these tools that translates into low efficiency. For example, poor quality zipper pliers will split or will not fit the opening diameters you need.

Our advice is to look for tools made of hardened steel or reinforced steel alloys. Of course, always choose those utensils that have some anti-corrosion treatment, usually chrome-vanadium. As for the handle, this should always be insulated and ergonomic, lined with rubber or plastics.


As we have already explained, in the market you will find a huge variety of pliers. Each tool is designed to carry out a certain job and it is usually not a good idea to use one set of pliers for everything. Even “universal” models have their own specific uses and should not be used for other things.

Before buying, think carefully about how you plan to use your tool. A pliers for a welder will not be the same as for an electrician. In this article you have a very complete table with the types of pliers and their most common uses, take the time to decide and do not buy something that you will not use.


The weight will be another decisive factor in the purchase. Depending on the work you plan to do, the weight of the tool can become decisive. As a general rule, rack or “needle nose” pliers are usually much larger and heavier. This must be so because a lot of pressure is needed and this factor helps.

On the other hand, if you want some pliers for electricity or household DIY work, it is best to look for a light tool, which you can wear hanging from your belt and that does not bother you. For precision work, for example in electronics, you have many types of compact, small and light tools available on the market.


In the market you will find pliers of all sizes, from the largest for industrial and professional use, to small tools designed for precision uses. The latter are used mostly in electronics, computer repair and also for the construction of watches, since these small instruments allow access to difficult spaces.

In general, pliers sizes are generic and have all more or less the same size. Size is a decisive factor, especially if you need a tool to take it with you everywhere. In this case, you should make sure that it fits in your toolbox or that you can carry it on your belt without problems.


Some models of pliers have accessories such as interchangeable heads, handles of different thicknesses or different materials. Other options offer a complete assortment of pliers of different sizes and shapes, with which you will have a very complete option that will allow you to perform endless tasks.

If you only plan to do a specific type of work, for example, if you are an electrician, we recommend that you opt for a pliers without accessories, but of high quality. On the other hand, if you want to dedicate yourself to DIY, look for an option with plenty of good accessories, even if you find it a bit more expensive to purchase, because in the end it will be worth the investment.


Pliers are very versatile tools. There is one for every job you can imagine. This instrument should never be missing in your toolbox, as they will get you out of all kinds of jams. Whether to cut a wire, a cable or to hold a nail into the wall without making a scuffle.

After reading and analyzing all the information we have offered you in this article you will not fail in your purchase. Now you know that there are different types of pliers, one for every job, and you also understand the main purchase criteria, so you just have to decide and buy the pliers that best suits your needs.

(Source of featured image: Wawrzyniec Korona: 10692066/