The Types of Pliers Every DIYer Should Know About

If you’re a DIYer, there are some tools you simply cannot be without. One of those tools is pliers. These are hand tools made of metal, like carbon steel, used to grasp, hold, bend, manipulate, rotate or compress an array of materials like wires, bolts, nails or metal sheets.

The general shape is similar to scissors, as they consist of two parts intersecting to create the necessary force. The handles are longer and usually covered in a non-slip rubberized or plastic material. The spring-loaded mechanism is meant to reduce hand-cramping. The jaws are generally shorter than the handles and have many specialized shapes for specific tasks.

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Flat Nose Pliers

Flat Nose Pliers

Flat nose pliers have flat jaws with serrated tips for a better grip. These are used for holding small objects, bending wires, jewelry making and electronics repair. They are also great for holding nails in place when hammering and pulling out the nails that didn’t go in as straight as intended. 

Bent Nose Pliers

Bent Nose Pliers

These pliers have a fine bent tip and are also serrated for a firmer grip. The bent nose allows better positioning when working with metal jump rings or soldering jewelry or electronics. Bent nose pliers also allow for picking up small items like jump rings in jewelry making or small nuts and bolts in electronics like RC car repair. 

Needle Nose Pliers 

Needle Nose Pliers

When flat nose pliers are too bulky to work on that intricate project, needle nose pliers are the preferred pliers. Like their name indicates, the jaws are longer and thinner, allowing them to easily grab and hold smaller, more delicate objects and place them in harder to reach places. These are great for fine jewelry making, placing stones and arranging small objects like beads or rhinestones. The serrated tip ensures a hold on the small object. 

Needle Nose Pliers with Side Cutter

Needle Nose Pliers with Side Cutter

Just like the needle nose pliers, these have long and narrow jaws that are tapered at the tip. They’re serrated at the tip as well, and an added feature is the side cutter toward the back of the jaws. This feature allows for working and manipulating wire and cutting it without switching tools. 

Long Needle Nose Pliers

Long Needle Nose Pliers

Sometimes, a project calls for a specialty tool and long needle nose pliers are one of them. The jaws are narrow and very long when compared with standard pliers. They are used in electronics and jewelry making for delicate placement or manipulation and difficult to reach areas.

Round Nose Pliers and Round Nose Pliers with Side Cutter

Round Nose Pliers with Side Cutter

These types of pliers have rounded tips, cone-shaped with a flat top. Round nose pliers are perfect for bending and coiling wires. The tips are shorter for better control when making the loops. They are typically used in jewelry making and electrical wiring where making a wire loop is necessary. 

As an added option, the round nose pliers are also available with a side cutter. They are a two-in-one tool for looping wire and then cutting it to quickly move onto the step in the project. They’re great for projects with repetitive steps where not switching between tools helps for the work to move along faster.

Wire Cutter Pliers 

Wire Cutter Pliers

Sometimes called diagonal pliers, carbon steel wire cutter pliers are made for precise cuts of metal wires or plastic and leather cords. The jaws are shaped more like short scissors; however, the blades do not intersect but meet at the straight edge allowing for that precise snip of rigid materials. 

End Nipper Pliers 

End Nipper Pliers

End nipper pliers are also designed for cutting wires, nails or other materials cleanly from the surface – unlike the pincer, which is meant for grip or pinch in addition to cutting. The end nippers have two angled blades that meet and, with the lever action, they easily cut the wires or cords flush with the surface they’re protruding from.  

Another popular type are slip joint pliers. These pliers have an adjustable pivot point that allows them to open in several positions. Crimping pliers are specifically designed to strip and terminate wiring and are mostly used by electricians.

Bigger projects require stronger and bigger pliers. The locking pliers are an American invention from the 1920s that grip and clamp down to lock in place for a more controlled use. They’re a heavy-duty tool available in many sizes. 

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