Pliers Selection Guide: Different Types Of Pliers And Their Uses

Pliers are a type of hand tool that is used for gripping and bending objects, typically made of metal.

They are commonly used by electricians, mechanics and in DIY projects. Pliers come in several different variants, with many pliers being designed for a specific purpose such as tin-snipping or holding objects together.

Slip Joint Pliers

Slip Joint pliers are used to grip objects, or to bend them. They come in a variety of sizes, but does not lock on like locking pliers do. The handle length varies from the very short and stubby, for use in tight spaces, to the very long for use while wearing gloves. Slip joint pliers are also known as needle nose pliers or side cutting pliers.

A type of restraint with pivot or switchable points to increase the size of the range of the function. Most restraint slides use a mode slide that allows entry into several positions when the grip is fully open.

Jaws can be thick, thin, even and numerous. Many are sliding drives that provide 2 or more rotations.

Locking Plier

A locking pincer is a tool used for gripping and holding objects. The tip of the pincers can be adjustable (usually serrated) so that they can be used for a variety of gripping functions. The handles are typically slightly curved, allowing them to be used in a way similar to channel locks, though locking pliers are not as widely varied as channel locks. They are also known as Vise Grips and gripper pliers.

Locking Plier, Jaw capacity: 1-1/2" Rake Angle: 25° Jaw width: 3/16" Overall length of pliers with 4" handles is 7".

Lever type locking pliers have a handle design that helps them to be used at angles up to 50° without needing the user to release the side handles of the pliers.

Non-ratcheting locking plier mechanism has a single handle with fixed jaws, making it tiring on your hand after continuous use, especially if you have work gloves on and do not get good grip. It is made to hold objects that are not moving, and the handles cannot be opened past 90°.

Needle Nose Pliers

Needle Nose Pliers are used mainly for gripping objects that need fine adjustment. Compared to Slip Joint Pliers and Locking Pliers, Needle Nose Pliers are designed for greater control with less leverage. The tips allow the user to hold objects that are small enough to fit completely inside the tip, giving them an advantage over regular pliers. They are commonly used with electronics or watch repair.

Ratcheting Locking Plier

A ratcheting locking plier is a type of power tool that uses lever-action movements to repeatedly grip and un-grip. The pliers are designed to hold objects that may not require a lot of force, but need to be repositioned frequently. These pliers are used to hold items that aren't solid, such as wires or hoses, not metal or plastic.

Ratchet type locking plier mechanism has the handle design that helps them to be used at angles greater than 90° without needing the user to release the side handles of the pliers.

Vise Grip Pliers

Vise Grip pliers are used in very much the same way as any other standard pair of pliers. Vise grips have a movable plastic handle that locks itself into place once clamping pressure has been applied. Although they are commonly used to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts, vise grips can be used for a variety of other jobs around the house, garage shop or worksite.

Vise Grip pliers have locking mechanisms that allows them to clamp at angles greater than 90° without releasing the side handles.

Diagonal Pliers

Diagonal pliers are used for gripping objects with a variety of angles, and for bending wires in the same manner as needle nose pliers. Typically, they have serrated jaws which provide greater grip strength. They are often used to make 90° bends in wire or tubing.

Diagonal Pliers are different from needle nose pliers because they are often much larger and used for work that requires greater leverage.

Snap Ring Pliers

Snap ring pliers are used for the removal and installation of snap rings. Snap ring pliers are spring loaded, automatically opening when pressure is applied to the handle. This action allows the user to exert more force than would be possible with standard pliers. A common use for snap ring pliers is the removal of drive shafts from transmissions in cars.

Tongue and Groove Pliers Tongue and Groove Pliers

They have a long and narrow U-shaped jaw, with pointed teeth. The bends on one side of the jaws allow them to be used like the C-clamps to grip or pull objects. Blade and groove cutters come in a variety of sizes (from about 6" to over 16").

Smaller models (about 8" or less) are commonly used by jewelers and watchmakers.

Battery Pliers

To tighten or remove the battery from a flashlight...

The end of the pliers is attached to a wire which connects to the terminal. When electricity flows through this wire it creates a magnetic field which forces the terminal apart. 

Bent Nose Pliers

Abent nose pliers are pliers that has a 90 degree bend in it. The advantage of this is so you can work in tight places. They they are also good to hold metal objects, as the jaws will flex out easily without damaging the object being held.

You should have a bent nose plier if you plan on doing any jewelry making or crafting as it is used during the process of making necklaces, bracelets and more.

Brake Spring Pliers

A type of pliers used to repair a vehicle's brake spring. This tool is useful in unbending the spring which may have been bent from an accident or another reason. A pair of these can be found in almost any auto body shop and are usually found for less than fifteen dollars. Usually this tool is used for adjusting brakes, but can be used to bend the spring on most vehicles.

Canvas Pliers (or artist pliers)

Canvas Pliers are designed to work on canvas or rope. They have flat, blunt jaws which are intended for pulling threads tightly and cleanly. They have a short, blunt nose. Usually they also have a small hole at the back of the jaws where a lanyard can be threaded through and tied to keep them from being dropped on the ground. They are sometimes called upholstery pliers.

Eyelet Pliers

Eyelet pliers are valuable for pulling and crimping the ends of eyelets. When using these pliers, keep in mind that you should not pull them by bending the handles in opposite directions. This can cause damage to the plier’s joint. Instead, keep the handles straight and pull them together. The plier’s joint is made to bend through a straight motion.

Proper use and maintenance of eyelet pliers can extend their life. Store them in their proper place, which should be a safe, dry area where they will not get bumped or knocked over. Inspect your eyelet pliers for any damage regularly so you know when they need to be repaired or replaced.

Hose Grip Pliers

Hose Grip Pliers are used for gripping steel, and copper pipes. They are made of heavy duty steel, with teeth at the tips to grip objects as the handles move back and forth. This type of plier is mainly used in industrial settings.

Nail Puller Pliers

A nail puller plier is also known as a nipper. Nail puller pliers are used to remove nails from wood or like materials, by applying pressure on the head of the nail and pulling it out. The tip of the nipper plier is often flared, which makes it easier to grip a nail.

Piston Ring Pliers

A Piston Ring pliers is essentially a narrow hexagonal ended piece of steel with two curved jaws. It's designed to fit over the piston rod and was used in the early days for fitting or removing piston rings from an engine cylinder bore, although modern techniques now use a hydraulic press. The longitudinal axis through their fulcrum is parallel to the piston rod, making them different from the Allen or Crescent type of pliers.

Inner Diameter Packing Pliers

The Inner Diameter Packing Pliers are a tool used for installing and removing packing materials in narrow spaces such as those between bearings and gears. This type of plier allows the installer to hold the packing tight to the work surface, so as to keep it in place inside the narrow space.

Pipe joint pliers

These are essentially T-shaped pipe cutters with handles on either side of the cutter head. The cutter is operated by squeezing its handles together. These are used for cutting copper pipe or similar soft metal tubing.

Soft Jaw Pliers

This kind of plier is very soft in its grip and has the ability to grip objects without damaging it. It is perfect for people who are working on a delicate object and one needs to be careful while holding or moving the object.

Soft jawed pliers can also be called as rubber coated pliers, nylon pliers, padded grips, and hand cushioned pliers.

A soft jawed plier is not the real type of plier. It does not have any mechanical advantage over a regular plier since it needs to be adjusted for each different sized object that is picked up by the grip. Soft Jaw Pliers are useful for handling small objects without damaging them.

Wire Twisting Pliers

Wire twisting pliers are used for twisting two wires together. One end of the wire is looped through holes on each side of the jaws on the plier. The other end of each wire is twisted against a short length of another wire that has been pulled through, also through holes in the center of the plier's jaws.

Crimp pliers

Crimp pliers look like long nosed needle nose pliers. One side of its jaws is slightly rounded or curved in order to accommodate the curves of a wire being crimped. A wire’s end is pulled through one side hole, then pushed into the other side hole. This action forms loops and bends in the wire. Crimping pliers are also used to make crimps in the ends of wire, so it can be easily attached to another object.


How do you make crimps in wire with crimping pliers?

Crimping pliers are used for making crimps in the ends of wire so that it can be attached to another object. This is done by making loops and bends in the wire.

How do you use wire twisting pliers?

Wire twisting pliers are used for twisting two wires together. One end of the wire is looped through holes on each side of the jaws on the plier. The other end of each wire is twisted against a short length of another wire that has been pulled through, also through holes in the center of the plier's jaws.


What are the uses for pliers?

There are a variety of uses for pliers. They're often used in carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, and other mechanical trades. Pliers vary in length, width, and shape.

How do I know which type of plier is right for me?

Pliers come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Some pliers are designed to grip objects tightly or with more precision than other types, which can be used for different jobs. In order to determine which type of plier is right for you, it's important to understand how they're used and what different types of pliers do. There are five basic styles of pliers: diagonal, long nose, needle nose, locking and slip joint.


Pliers are designed to facilitate grip and movement of nails. They come in various shapes, sizes and designs according to their intent. There is a whole range from the very basic model which can be used for light work to those specific pliers that deal with electrical wire or nuts and bolts. However, some pliers can be used for both heavy and light work.

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