The Best Pliers

No tool kit is complete without a good pair of pliers. These simple but highly versatile tools can be used for anything from construction or installation jobs to more detailed plumbing and electrical work. While many of the pliers you’ll find online or in stores are decent, vanishingly few are truly great or offer the quality craftsmanship required for optimal performance and long-term durability. To help you avoid the former and get your hands on the latter, in this article we’ll be introducing you to our selection of the five best pairs of pliers on the market in 2020.

We reviewed dozens of pairs of pliers to identify the best of the best. We examined a range of factors, including materials, size, grip, quality of build, durability, cost, and average customer reviews. All of these top-rated pliers can be purchased online at Amazon.com.

Best Pliers Overall
Klein Tools 9-Inch High Leverage Linesman Pliers
Meet the Klein Tools 9-Inch High Leverage Linesman Pliers, the best pliers out there for all your DIY jobs at home or in the office.

Having considered a large number of pliers, we chose the Klein Tools 9-Inch High Leverage Linesman Pliers as our top pick. These pliers use a high-leverage design that facilitates gripping and cutting, plastic-dipped handles that absorb “snap” when cutting, a hot-riveted joint for added strength and smooth opening and closing, induction-hardened cutting knives for added durability, and cross-hatched knurled jaws for superior grip.

The 5 Top-Rated Pliers

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best Pliers OverallKlein Tools 9-Inch High Leverage Linesman Pliers4.8
Best Adjustable PliersIRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP Tools GrooveLock Pliers4.7
Best Budget PliersWORKPRO 7-Piece Pliers Set4.4
Best Long Nose PliersIRWIN VISE-GRIP Long Nose Pliers4.7
Best Locking PliersCRAFTSMAN Locking Pliers4.8

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Best Pliers Overall: Klein Tools 9-Inch High Leverage Linesman Pliers

Best Pliers Overall
Klein Tools 9-Inch High Leverage Linesman Pliers
Meet the Klein Tools 9-Inch High Leverage Linesman Pliers, the best pliers out there for all your DIY jobs at home or in the office.

The Klein Tools 9-Inch High Leverage Linesman Pliers might be a little pricier than the other pliers featured in our review, but in return for the additional outlay you’ll be getting a tool that’s very easy to use, reliable, and built to last at least a few lifetimes.

This 9-inch pair of pliers use a high-leverage design that places the rivet much closer to the cutting edge than on other pliers, thereby creating far superior cutting and gripping power (46% superior, its manufacturers claim) and making clasping or cutting through materials almost effortless.

One of the most impressive features in the construction of these pliers is the use of a hot-riveted joint. Hot rivets are made by feeding a heated rivet through a precisely-drilled hole and hammering the unformed end to close the joint. As the rivet cools, it contracts and squeezes the joint together more tightly. The result is the strongest joint possible and, for the user, a far smoother action with no handle wobble.

These pliers also boast induction-hardened cutting blades that offer far more durability and which can cut through copper, aluminum, and other soft metals with ease, a streamlined design for easy storage, cross-hatched knurled jaws that provide a sure grip on any material, and a tempered handle that reduces and absorbs vibration when cutting wire.

Klein Tools 9-Inch High Leverage Linesman Pliers Key Features:

  • 9 inches in length
  • High-leverage design
  • Tempered handle absorbs vibration when cutting
  • Cross-hatched knurled jaws
  • Hot-riveted joint for extra strength and no wobble
  • Induction hardened cutting blades

Best Adjustable Pliers: IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP GrooveLock Pliers

Best Adjustable Pliers
IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP Tools GrooveLock Pliers
These very affordable pliers are made with tough, highly durable materials and use a multi-groove ratcheting system that boasts twice the number of groove positions of other groove joint pliers.

More than any other type of pliers, the adjustable variety has a reputation for being easy to damage or break—moving parts, alas, almost always means breakable parts. Luckily, with the IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP Tools GrooveLock Pliers, this is categorically not the case.

IRWIN uses metal injection molding to construct the precision components of these pliers, a process that adds strength and durability to the pliers’ build and ensures accurate, reliable performance. While a handful of other pliers manufacturers can claim their tools are created using a similar technique, not so many can claim their pliers boast a multi-groove ratcheting system with so many grooves as the GrooveLock, which boast twice the number of grooves as most pliers of their size and, as such, offer a lot more precise positioning and better grip.

These pliers also use a simple lock-release button that allows you to adjust the jaws far more quickly than on most comparably priced models, angled teeth that offer outstanding grip in all directions, and anti-pinch, non-slip ProTouch handles that sit comfortably in your hand and provide excellent control and leverage.

IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP Tools GrooveLock Pliers Key Features: 

  • Injection-molded steel materials
  • Multi-groove ratcheting system
  • Simple button adjustment
  • Nonslip, ergonomic handles
  • Lifetime warranty

Best Budget Pliers: WORKPRO 7-Piece Pliers Set

Best Budget Pliers
WORKPRO 7-Piece Pliers Set
This set includes every type of pliers you could possibly need and each pair is made to a incredibly high standard considering the very low price point.

The WORKPRO 7-Piece Pliers Set is the ideal choice for any buyer keen to get as much bang (or drop-forged stainless steel, as the case may be) for their buck as possible. This set of contains not one but a total of seven pairs of pliers: 8-inch Groove Joint Pliers, 6-inch Long Nose, 6-inch Slip Joint, 4-1/2 Inch Long Nose, 6-inch Diagonal, 7-inch Linesman, 8-inch Slip Joint

Already, there’s a bottom line: if buying this set, ‘blaming your tools’ will no longer be an option at your disposal, at least not because you don’t happen to have the right kind for the job at hand.

And while quantity doesn’t always trump quality, this set of pliers don’t skimp on the latter of the two Q’s either. Each pair of pliers in this set is made with drop-forged stainless steel, hardened cutting edges for improved cutting performance and durability, and comfort-grip handles with a double-dipped coating to ensure safe and secure handling and minimize the risk of slippage even when using the pliers in warmer conditions and working up a sweat.

All in all, a great choice for any DIYer who wants to have all the bases covered without paying through the nose.

WORKPRO 7-Piece Pliers Set Key Features: 

  • Set contains the following pliers: 8-inch groove joint, 6-inch long nose, 6-inch slip joint, 4-1/2 inch long nose, 6-inch diagonal, 7-inch linesman, 8-inch slip joint
  • Drop-forged polished steel body material
  • Hardened cutting edges
  • Comfort-grip, nonslip handles

Best Long Nose Pliers: IRWIN VISE-GRIP Long Nose Pliers

Best Long Nose Pliers
IRWIN VISE-GRIP Long Nose Pliers
As with all things IRWIN, these pliers are made to the highest standard, offer outstanding value for money, and are designed with the user in mind.

Long-nose pliers, also known as needle-nose pliers, are ideal for more delicate and intricate work with small-gauge wires and reaching into tight spots that can’t be reached with other, bulkier types of pliers. Of all the models on the market, few come close to offering the same overall quality and value for money offered by the IRWIN VISE-GRIP Long Nose Pliers.

These 6-inch pliers are made with highly durable nickel chromium steel and feature an induction-hardened cutting edge that ensures your blade stays sharp for longer and can cut through most wires and soft metals with ease. They also feature machines jaws that optimize gripping strength on all material types and very comfortable, fatigue-reducing ProTouch grips that provide plenty of grip even with sweaty hands.

In addition to all of the above, what wins this pair of pliers our vote is their very precise and sharp needle nose. While some long-nose pliers feature a more rounded nose, we’re of the mind that if you’re going to buy a pair of needle-nosed pliers, their nose should be as needle-like as possible in order to provide greater dexterity and precision when working with low-gauge wiring and/or operating in tight spaces that are inaccessible with standard linesman or combination pliers.

IRWIN VISE-GRIP Long Nose Pliers Key Features:

  • Made with durable nickel chromium steel
  • Comfortable ProTouch grips
  • Machine jaws for added gripping strength
  • Induction hardened cutting edge maximizes durability

Best Locking Pliers: CRAFTSMAN Locking Pliers

Best Locking Pliers
CRAFTSMAN Locking Pliers
This simple, highly effective pair of locking pliers are incredibly durable and can be operated with only one hand.

As suggested by the name, the jaws of locking pliers are designed to lock in place, which makes them the best choice of all types of pliers for gripping screw and bolts or holding in place any material you’ll be working on with other tools. Of all the models out there, none do so quite to the same standard as the fantastically well-made and easy to use CRAFTSMAN Locking Pliers.

These very reasonably priced pliers are made with tough, high grade, heat-treated alloy steel that offers optimal strength and durability and use a pair of multi-zone, textured handles that provide plenty of grip and remain comfortable even on larger jobs when you have the pliers in your hand for long periods of time.

What wins these pliers out vote more than anything else, however, is just how easy they are to use. They boast an easy-release mechanism that makes it possible to use them with one hand only and also feature a simple adjustment screw at the base of the handle that lets you adjust the jaw opening up to a maximum of 1.875 inches with the minimum of fuss.

All in all, a simple but highly effective pair of pliers that boast outstanding construction quality and offer great value for money.

CRAFTSMAN Locking Pliers Key Features:

  • Made with heat-treated alloy steel
  • Easy-release mechanism for one-handed operation
  • Screw adjustment/lock
  • Jaw capacity: 1.875 inches
  • Lifetime warranty

If you’re in search of some useful DIY kit for your home improvement projects, these top-rated pliers are a great choice. For more DIY tools and equipment, check out our reviews of the Best Telescoping Ladders and the Best Cordless Drills.

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