Different Types of Pliers

Different Types of PliersPliers are tools operated by hand and used to hold and grip small articles that might be easily bent or for cutting wires. The most common type is the slip-joint pliers, which contain grooved jaws. Also, the pivot hole is elongated in one member to act as a pivot in any of the two positions to offer a grip to items of different sizes in the most effective way. Some pliers’ jaws allow for the cutting of nails and soft wires.

Learn About the Different Types of Pliers ad Their Uses

What Are Pliers Used For?

Pliers are multi-purpose hand tools with opposing jaws, used in cutting, gripping, and bending. The two metal limbs enable the user of the pliers to multiply his hand’s strength. Pliers are a vital part of each toolbox, for they have a handful of uses in a home. The all-purpose pliers can be of great help, but there are a bunch of others that undertake specific tasks. Getting the correct pliers for the right work goes far in improving the safety and efficiency of the task at hand.

Pliers handle a variety of tasks, the main one being gripping. This might involve tightening or loosening bolts, removing fasteners such as pins or nails, or holding objects to offer stability. They can also be put into use in straightening or bending. Their cross braces enable superior torque power needed in twisting and bending objects like wires, nails, and metal sheets. Others are used in cutting nails and wires. There are side-cutting and diagonal-cutting pliers, purposely designed to clip and sever wires. Electricians also use some to strip wire insulation and splice wires, with the most common for this being the linesman pliers. They enable you to cut through the cable’s insulation and expose the naked wire within.

Anatomy of Pliers

Pliers have very few parts, but each one of those parts plays a vital role. The absence of one of these features disables any set of pliers from performing their primary task.

Every set of pliers has jaws, at times referred to as the nose, which is the working end, mostly used in gripping. There is also the fulcrum, or the pivot point, which is the connection between the pliers’ handles and the jaws. This point also creates the force necessary for the functioning of the pliers. There are also the pipe grips, the round or oval opening in the pliers’ jaw, which is designed to grip round items and pipes. The handles are the part of the pliers that you hold. They may be curved or straight and can have their surface as bare metal or coated with plastic. Cutters are another part found in pliers that have been designed with the specific task of cutting metal and wire. The cutters are mostly found close to the fulcrum.

Common Types Of Pliers and Their Uses

1. Crimping Pliers

Crimping Pliers

Crimping pliers are special cable cutting tools, used in electrical work installation. They are used in peeling, cutting, and clamping STP and UTP cables, and can also be used to connect cables to Rj45 and Rj11 connectors. In the automotive industry, they can be used for cutting, flattening, or peeling the insulating layer on the vehicle’s electric system. They are available in various types, such as two in one crimping pliers and three in one crimping pliers.

2. Diagonal Pliers

Diagonal Pliers

These are pliers used to cut wires by wedging apart a cable and indenting it, as opposed to scissors’ shearing, their name emanating from the angular setting of the jaws. They are also called side cutters, side-cutting pliers, flush-cut pliers, diagonal cutting nippers, and wire cutters. They are resilient cutting pliers since they are designed for continuous wire-cutting while at the same time having no major effects on your hands. They are purposely designed to make clean cuts.

3. Hose Clamp Pliers

Hose Clamp Pliers

These are used on many flat-band or ring-type hose clamps to hold the spring clamps securely while at the same time making installation and removal simple. Their jaws can swivel to get access to hose clamps at any position. They are also good at grabbing easily any clamp type. They are also applied in stopping the flow of gasoline and oil when changing several automobile parts connected to hoses that carry liquids.

4. Needle Nose Pliers

Needle Nose Pliers

They are a vital part of tasks involving bending, shaping, or cutting wires. They have curved handles for control and comfort and a spring-action design to reduce fatigue on the hand. They are used in wire manipulation using their textured teeth. They have a needle-nose tip and serrated teeth, which enables you to reach areas that are hard to access to perform a more precise job. There are also some that have a long reach and dual pivots for an increased opening of the jaw when in tight spaces.

5. Slip Joint Pliers

Slip Joint Pliers

These are pliers whose fulcrum or pivot can be moved to create an increase in their jaws’ size range. Most of these apply a mechanism that allows the pivot to be slid into one of several positions when they are opened fully. The jaws of this set of pliers can be thin, thick, multiple, or regular. Multiple slip joint pliers give you two or more positions for pivoting.

6. Snap Ring Pliers

Snap Ring Pliers

These pliers are used to install and remove snap rings used as axial fixators of such components as bores or shafts. They distinguish themselves from other pliers by their tip designed to specifically handle snap rings. The tips are shaped to fit precisely into the grip holes, which allows easy repositioning and manipulation of the snap ring. They are designed to function with snap rings of specific diameters.

7. Tongue & Groove Pliers


These are variations of the slip joint pliers, also called adjustable pliers. They are mostly used in holding and turning bolts and nuts, gripping objects with irregular shapes, and clamping materials. They also enable you to rotate the object while maintaining it in one position. Their jaws are serrated, set 450-600 from the handles. It is possible to move the lower jaw to a number of places which allows user to adjust the pliers to a couple of sizes without having a wider handle distance.

8. Bail Making Pliers

Bail Making Pliers

These (also called looping pliers) are used to coil wires and make consistent-sized loops. They are used in making connectors, jump rings, and ear wires. They have jaws consisting of a pair of dowels (also called the mandrels) where one is bigger than the other. They are primarily used in jewelry making and fixing, by wrapping the wire around the jaws to form clasps and other looped components.

9. Battery Pliers

Battery Pliers

These are used chiefly in automobile applications to maintain the car, the bolts that are found on car batteries, and jumper cables. They have short and angled jaws, with the lower one slightly smaller. Both the jaws are thick to make them more durable. They have a streamlined, rounded nose that does not get caught on or dig into the battery’s terminals. They also have angled heads, enabling them to grip terminal bolts more easily.

10. Bent Nose Pliers

Bent Nose Pliers

These are a variation of the needle-nose pliers. They are used mainly in the making of jewelry, electrical work, and other types of work involving the shaping of wires. Their jaws are angled at their midway point, mostly at angles of 45 or 90 degrees. This enables them to get a grip on surfaces without getting in your way if you need several pliers. They are also vital when the angle you want to negotiate is extremely difficult to get to with the common needle-nose pliers.

11. Brake Spring Pliers

Brake Spring Pliers

This is another one of the tools with immense applications in the automotive industry. It actually is a multiplicity of tools which has been designed to handle the spring of the drum brakes specifically. It has one of the tips of its jaws rounded for removing the springs while the other one is curved to put them back in. At times, one of the handles features a ratchet used to remove shoe hold-down pins.

12. Canvas Pliers

Canvas Pliers

Also known as canvas stretching pliers, these are popular with artists. They enable one individual to perform tasks that normally take two people to undertake. Their jaws are usually padded to avoid causing damage to the surfaces of the canvas when you are stretching it to fit into your frame. They are used to stretch a canvas to fit on a stretcher-bar while maintaining a secure grip on the canvas and creating leverage against the stretcher-bar.

13. Chain Nose Pliers

Chain Nose Pliers

This type of plier has stubby and triangular-shaped jaws. It is among the tools that are used to make jewelry and shape wires. The jaws are specifically designed to allow you to shape, bend, and crimp wires. The tips of these sets of pliers are helpful when one is making beaded jewelry, for they help you in closing or opening beaded tips and jump rings.

14. Combination Pliers

Combination Pliers

This is a multi-purpose set of pliers whose jaws are comprised of three sections. Beginning at the tip, they have a serrated surface for a better grip, followed by a round and serrated section, which eases their grip on thick and rounded items, such as tubes. They also have a cutting surface, placed close to the fulcrum of the pliers. They are mostly mistaken for linesman pliers, even though their jaws do not have a rounded area in the center.

15. Eyelet Pliers

Eyelet Pliers

The importance of these pliers is in the clothing industry, mostly in processes such as cobbling and tailoring. They permit the addition of laces and drawstrings to pieces of clothing. They have rings that need crimping, and elongated hubs. Most of the eyelet pliers in the modern industry are accompanied by interchangeable dies to enable them to do both the punching of holes and crimping, though a number of them have just a wheel on the upper jaw which has die tips or a crimping surface.

16. Fencing Pliers

Fencing Pliers

This set of pliers looks like a hammer which has two handles when looked at from above them. Their fulcrum has been equipped with two notches that allow you to cut wires of different gauges, while the left side of the jaw has the surface of a hammer, which can be used in driving in staples. The claw of the right jaw is vital for removing the staples. The jaws also have a gripping surface and rounded grip hole.

17. Flat Nose Pliers

Flat Nose Pliers

This set of pliers also goes by the name duckbill pliers. Their jaws are tapered and flat. They find their best use in gripping and twisting metal together with twisting leads and wires. Flat nose pliers are mostly used in electrical and mechanical work. They can create sharp bends and right angles using wires and are also excellent in their straightening. They have a variety of short or long noses.

18. Grommet Pliers

Grommet Pliers

These resemble eyelet pliers in form and function. They are designed to create holes in materials like tarps and grommet fixing. Compared to eyelets, grommets lean more toward heavy-duty tasks, making them the perfect option for those crafty tasks involving sturdy materials. They are also used in the application of functional grommets to various repair and DIY sewing projects like making tents and shower curtains.

19. Hose Grip Pliers

Hose Grip Pliers

These are also known as grabber pliers, and they are specifically designed to get little hoses into or out of tight spaces easily. They contain grabber jaws and are shaped in a manner that helps prevent damage to the hose. They also find use in such tasks as heater hoses, fuel lines, and vacuum lines. They are operated by getting hold of the hose and twisting it on or off. They are great when working on clamps and spark plugs.

20. Linesman Pliers

Linesman Pliers

These are the best choice that an electrician can make. They are used in cutting, straightening, and bending wire and twisting them together to make splices. They are designed similarly to the combination pliers, but their round gripping section is quite a small one but very good for a nice grip. Their cutting edge is very sharp and can cut easily through electrical wires. Their handles have a thick rubber coating since these types of pliers are specifically designed for electrical work.

21. Locking Pliers

Locking Pliers

These are also referred to as vice grips. They have been designed with jaws that lock, making them perfect for gripping screws and bolts that have been stripped. They come in a wide variety of jaw shapes, meaning that you can choose the design that fits your specific needs best. They are also used in cutting wires, diving of screws, and pulling staples, nails, and other fasteners.

22. Nail Puller Pliers

Nail Puller

These are tools that have been designed to specifically pull nails out, even when they have been sunken into the wooden piece being worked on. They have tapered tips, and resemble tongs. This gives them the ability to dig beneath the head of a nail and pull it out. Some of the varieties available have a clawed back of the right jaws which offers more power to the user.

23. Oil Filter Pliers

Oil Filter Pliers

This is an odd-looking set of pliers. Its design has left the toothed jaws C-shaped, and one of them is longer than the other. They are used in the removal of casings on oil filters in motor vehicles. They grip onto the filter casing for quick and easier removal of the oil filter. Their teeth are aggressive, offering a grip free of slippage and high leverage handles for ease in removing even the most stubborn filters.

24. Piston Ring Pliers

Piston Ring Pliers

This set of pliers comes in two common forms, and both of them are used in replacing and removing piston rings from the inside of an engine. The first design has on its jaws curved tips so that the individual can use them to spread the piston rings for easier removal. The other design has jaws that are in addition to some braces to support the ring and reduce the risk of warping.

25. Push Pin Pliers

Push Pin Pliers

This type of plier has wedge-shaped jaw tips, which allow their getting beneath the pin caps of the plastic anchors. When squeezed, the pliers pop out a pus pin, allowing for the safe removal of the anchors. They are mostly applied in the automobile industry, in addition to other industrial setups making use of anchors.

26. Round Nose Pliers

Round Nose Pliers

They are also known as jewelry or rosary pliers. It would be best if you did not confuse them with bail-making pliers, as they contain slightly tapered rounded jaws. These jaws join to make a jaw design triangular. Most of their application is in creating loops in jewelry, mostly rosaries. A number of them have insulated handles for use in electrical works.

27. Running Pliers

Running Pliers

This class of pliers enables you to run the score. Their main use is applying pressure on both sides of the score-line, which opens the fissure while also breaking apart the glass. They have adjustable and wide-tipped jaws that match the glass’s thickness for ease in creating crafts that will generate clean breaks. A good number of them come with center lines for correct alignment when run along with a score.

28. Sheet Metal Pliers

Sheet Metal Pliers

These are also known as screamer pliers. They have wide jaws, rectangular. They are mostly used to make folds and simple bends on sheet metal and applications in general forming and their application in the formation of seams. They have found common usage in industries that use sheet metal, such as metal shops.

29. Split Ring Pliers

Snap Ring Pliers

These are special pliers used to open split rings. They are designed with an upper jaw that is slightly longer with a sharply bent tip or a beak that overlaps the lower jaw that is shorter. Their lower jaw can either be notched or flat. The best among them is those with grooved lower jaws since its pivot offers security to the ring for the upper jaw’s beak to split them open easily.

30. Soft Jaw Pliers

Soft Jaw Pliers


This set of pliers is mostly applied when working on plumbing and scuba diving equipment. Most of the time, they comprise a variety of a lot of other types of pliers. Their point of difference is their padded jaws that prevent imparting scratches on soft metals or exposed surfaces.

31. Spark Plug Pliers

Spark Plug Pliers

This is a plier used to remove spark plugs, with a narrow jaw in addition to their being tipped with insulated tongs or cylindrical holders. The pliers get hold of the spark plugs by the plug wires or the boot, helping repair automobiles. They also have a rubber handle which offers a nice grip and a quick fix. They can also be used for other purposes.

32. Welding Pliers

Welding Pliers

This tool is designed to perform such functions as installing nozzles and tips, cutting of wires, cleaning of the nozzle, and removing spatter. They resemble combination pliers and contain a tip similar to that of needle-nose pliers. They are made of drop forged steel and have a form-fitting handle. They are applied in the field of welding.

33. Wire Twisting Pliers

Wire Twisting Pliers

These are short-jawed pliers with a cutting edge at the fulcrum and a cylindrical locking mechanism, and a threadbare knob between the handles. They are mainly used by those in the jewelry-making industry and, at times, by electricians. You can lock a piece of wire into the jaws and pull back the knob. This causes the whole appliance to spin, twisting the wire with it.

Final Verdict

As evidenced above, many different types of pliers exist. Their uses are also diverse, from making small articles in small jobs to huge projects. They are also used to cut and bend wires, among other uses. The types of pliers available are as diverse as the tasks that the human mind plans to undertake. Every project comes with a prospect of possible assemblies and repairs, which naturally calls for, among other tools, the generation of pliers which satisfy the needs in question if the available ones prove to be inadequate. There are pliers for everyone, independent of whether they are just hobbyists, apprentices, mechanics, handypersons, or individuals who find pleasure in going through mechanical objects.

About the author

Daniel Sturm

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