Over the years, plumbing has emerged as an indispensable profession and attracted a considerable portion of the world’s youth into this field. There are several requirements for becoming a plumber, one of which is owning the appropriate equipment. A plumber’s toolbox is probably the most prized possession for any individual in this profession. All plumbers must own certain tools. These tools aid the process of work. Every tool also has a different purpose and is required by plumbers for performing various kinds of activities. When planning to work on a plumbing project, it is crucial to decide which type of tools a plumber should use. This also requires prior knowledge on the usage of tools.
Vocational courses and apprenticeship programs often include modules emphasising on plumbing equipment. During this coursework, plumbers learn how to operate these tools with precision and safety.
The basic plumbing equipment includes; pliers, pipe-cutters, pipe wrenches, tape measures, utility knife, adjustable wrench, torpedo level, multi-bit screwdriver, hammers, permanent markers, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) etc.
This article will review some of the best pliers out there in the market for plumbers to choose from.
WHAT IS A PLIER?
A plier is a hand tool which is used to hold objects firmly. Pliers allow tightening and loosening of nuts and bolts in points which are smaller and harder to reach. It is possibly developed from tongs which are used to handle hot metal. They also come into use for bending and compressing a wide range of materials. The intelligently engineered arrangement of pliers creates a mechanical advantage – it allows the force exerted by the hand’s grip to be amplified while remaining precisely focused on the object.
Not just for handymen, a plier is a tool that everybody must have at home. Pliers have a wide variety of uses in both the home and the workplace.
TYPES OF PLIERS:
There are several types of pliers that exist. The most important ones are:
- Slip-joint pliers
- Water-pump pliers
- Lineman’s pliers.
Slip-joint pliers –
This kind of plier gets its name from its slip joint. These pliers can grip materials of varying kinds of thickness. These pliers solve more of general purposes and are very common in most tool sets. They may also be used for holding, bending, crimping wires and loosening and tightening nuts. These pliers are really handy tools to have around.
Water-pump pliers –
These pliers are generally used for turning & holding nuts, bolts and pipes and for gripping irregularly shaped objects. They hold all kinds of items regardless of the diameter or whether they are round, square or hexagonal in shape. An advantage of its design of jaws is that pliers can adjust to a number of sizes without the distance in the handle growing wider.
Lineman’s pliers –
This type of plier is also known as electrician’s pliers, side-cutting pliers or Klein’s. These hinge at a set pivot point.The jaws help in gripping flat objects which allows electricians to twist wires together. These types of pliers also include side-cutters that allow the user to cut wires. Even though they usually dipped handles, most of these pliers are not insulated and it is therefore not recommended to work on live connections with them.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BEST PLIERS IN THE MARKET:
This section will explore and review some of the best options of pliers available in the market for plumbers to choose from.
A) Slip-joint pliers:
Irwin Vise-Grip Slip-joint pliers: offering comfort grip and weighing 1.4 pounds, these groove-lock pliers cost $7.30 and come in sizes of 8 and 10 inches. These are strong and known for combining power with comfort. The non-slip, anti-pinch and padded handles allow for comfort grip, optimal hand positioning and prevent hand fatigue. These pliers also have press and slide buttons and jaws that fit securely on most shapes. There are two disadvantages associated with these pliers are that the handle grip might slip off and the teeth are not as sharp as other pliers. Irvin Vise-Grip pliers count among some of the best-selling pliers in the market.
Channellock Slip-joint pliers – these are 12-inch tongue and groove pliers. These pliers are highly reliable and have a precision-crafted design that allow them to maintain a tight and strong grip. This design also reduces the risk of a nut and bolt failure. Made of high-carbon steel, these pliers have a durable construction and have been designed in a manner that is likely to last a lifetime. These pliers come with a feature known as PermaLock fastener that ensures precise fitting and also aids the prevention of a nut-bolt failure. These pliers are also known for being tough in terms of rust and breakage resistance. In these right-angle pliers, the jaws have been designed with heat and laser treatment. Weighing 1.64 pounds, these pliers cost $17.50. These pliers ensure a long- lasting and comfortable grip. however, it has been reported that these pliers may be slightly heavy to deal with when they are held upside down.
Stanley Slip-joint pliers – these 6-inch pliers are light in weight but known for being reliable, long lasting and strong. These pliers are chrome – nickel steel constructed and have double-dipped handles that are easy to grip and comfortable. The machined jaws also allow a secure and tight grip. These pliers weigh 0.07 kilograms and their prices start from $8.35. one disadvantage associated with these pliers is that they are suited for smaller jobs. Although this company is not based in the USA anymore, Stanley’s products come with a lifetime warranty and will be replaced by the company in case of a failure.
Stalwart Slip-joint plier set- this plier sets offers 3 pieces of pliers and a storage pouch. The set costs $18.41 and includes a 6-inch, a 10-inch and a 12-inch plier. This item is made of heat-treated steel for strength and durability and weighs 1.9 pounds. These pliers have ergonomic hands with a no-slip grip. the jaw capacities vary for each plier. The design also fights corrosion and oxidation. The standard sizes allow it to work on almost any object. Users may speak to the customer service executives in case of queries related to warranty policy. This plier set has been rated 4.5 stars by most customers and is a best-seller. The storage pouch is however not sustainable for long-term professional use.
Crescent Slip-joint pliers – weighing 0.02 pounds, these curved jaw pliers cost $9. The curved jaws are complemented by a wire cutter and gripping teeth. These pliers are used for holding and turning objects that are round in shape like – pipes, rods, pins etc. Forged from carbon steel, these are 6.5-inch pliers with handles made of alloy steel. Apex Tool Group is the manufacturer for this group of best-selling pliers.
B) Water-pump pliers:
Knipex Cobra Water-pump pliers – these 10-inch pliers weigh around 0.75 pounds and cost $29.98. These pliers are made of steel and designed in ways that ensure a long and lasting life. These Cobra pliers are suited to perform tasks with precision and are tested to work in varied conditions. These pliers also have a button for one-handed operation. The Cobra pliers are lightweight and easy to carry around, with handles of the right size and shape which are easier to hold. The cobra design also offers a long list of jaw openings to choose from. These pliers are however not suitable for pipes with larger diameters.
- Knipex Alligator Water-pump pliers – these are another range of pliers manufactured by Knipex. These 10-inch alligator pliers weigh 0.7 pounds and cost $28.24. Compared to other water pliers of the same length, these pliers offer more comfort and output. The workpieces are slim in size and do not slip and are therefore easy to access. These pliers come with a self-lock feature for nuts and bolts that do not require users to apply much force. These pliers have a reliable gripping surface, hardened teeth and box-joint design. This highly rated product is made of stainless stell and offers high stability.
Although these types of Knipex pliers are more costly than most other conventional water-pump pliers, these are a smart buy in the long run. They offer a better grip, are easier to use and last longer.
Rothenberger Water-pump plier – this 10-inch plier costs $32.99. These pliers have a chrome vanadium steel construction. The strong jaws have a narrow profile and the soft grip handles are made of vinyl. This plier is also designed with hardened teeth. These pliers weigh 360 grams. A big advantage associated with this range of pliers is that they come with a one-month return policy. The only disadvantage that buyers have often pointed out is that these pliers are more expensive than other pliers.
- Silverline Water-pump pliers – these slim jaw pliers are of the best pliers in the market. They are superior quality products that are comfortable and easy to use. These are 300 mm pliers made of chrome vanadium steel. Their slim shape permits them to do confined and precise work. The vinyl-dipped handles offer a secure grip and
And the adjustable jaws have 7 positive settings. This product weighs 0.56 grams. Usage of this plier should be restricted to domestic settings, as they are not suited for jobs that require application of excessive force.
Irwin Water-pump pliers are one of the best in the business. These pliers have a near-perfect jaw positioning, groove positions and grip. The superiorly designed jaw positioning offers better grip and the groove position is almost twice that of conventional pliers. These pliers come with a ProTouch handle which makes them no-slip. This superior product weighs 210grams which makes it heavier than other pliers.
C) Lineman’s pliers :
Klein tools Lineman’s pliers – these multi-purpose pliers in addition to their basic function, also act as wire-strippers and bolt-shearers. These 8-inch pliers cost $36.54 and weigh 10.1 ounce. These pliers have high leverage designs which aid cutting excellence and their wide knurled heads make it easier to grab and twist wires. The plastic-dipped handles offer the very essential comfort to its users by absorbing the shock or jerking that is induced when wires are snapped. These pliers have non-insulated conductors and specially hardened knives for cutting wires. The biggest advantage of these Klein Tools’ pliers is that they come with a lifetime warranty. These pliers offer high stability and durability, which makes them every plumber’s dream tool. However, they may loosen with constant usage and require frequent oiling.
Irwin Vise-grip Locking Lineman’s Pliers – these 9.5-inch pliers cost $39.98 and weigh 0.2 kilograms. It comes with an in-built fish-tape puller and connector crimper which make it a multi-use tool and reduce the need for a few more tools. The design is rust-resistant and includes induction-hardened cutting edges that cut through almost any material. The handles is also made of a 3-material mould that offer the right amount of control along with cushioned comfort. The design also includes a lanyard (rope with a hook) which helps in its easy retrieval from pouches and prevents an accidental drooping, thus reducing the risk of damage. This product is protected by lifetime warranty from Irwin. One disadvantage associated with these pliers is that they do not open very wide.
Channellock Lineman’s pliers – these side-cutting pliers possess a knife and anvil-style cutting which gives them a superior and unique cutting edge. The company uses Xtreme Leverage Technology which requires the user to apply less cutting force. These 9.5-inch pliers weigh 0.5 pounds and cost $28.64. These pliers therefore have the ideal weight and offer excellent grip, easy moving, all while being relatively less expensive than other lineman’s pliers. The pliers are made of high carbon steel and the heat-treated cutting edges are likely to last longer. There are however two flaws that can be pointed out – lack of precision and a long handle which may not be as comfortable.
Vampliers Pro Lineman’s Pliers – these 8-inch pliers weigh 0.64 pounds and cost $39.97. Different types of screws can be extracted using is side as well as top jaw. This plier can also act as wire-cutter. The wire-cutters have been hardened to deal with tough screws and the elastomer handles offer unparalleled comfort. Manufactured by Vampire tools, these pliers have a reliable structure and design made of high-quality materials. These pliers are known for their gripping skills, durability and the 1-year warranty they come with. This plier is however a little shorter than most of the other pliers available in the market.
Knipex Tools Lineman’s Pliers – these ultra-high leverage, 9.5-inch pliers also come with in-built fish-tape puller and crimper. This product weighs 15.9 ounces. These are comfort grip pliers that have an easier cutting power. The cutting edges have been induction hardened for precision and an extra gripping zone has been added for a strong holding capacity. These pliers leave a soft finish after cutting and are also suitable for the most demanding jobs. The blades may however get chipped while cutting high-gauge material. This range of pliers is also on the more expensive side in comparison to other lineman’s pliers.
While pipe-wrenches are still used for iron and steel pipes, they have often been replaced by pliers which are easier to fit in areas where wrenches do not fit. Pliers are extremely adjustable. The standard 10-inch plier is suitable for most kinds of plumbing work but it is recommended that plumbers keep a few more sizes ready too for special situations. Pliers are smaller in size and are among the best tools for plumbers who fix nuts and bolts that are too tiny for wrenches to grasp. Pliers are handy and have now become an everyday tool for plumbers.
This article has listed out some of the best pliers available in the market. But based on the type of task, there are also a wide range of other pliers that plumbers could look into and choose from.