Pliers are a common hand tool with opposing jaws for gripping, bending and cutting. The two cross metal limbs provide leverage to multiply the strength of the person using the pliers. Pliers are an extremely helpful tool to have around the house and are an essential part of every toolbox. Various types of pliers exist and each type is best suited for particular tasks or activities; choosing the right pliers for the right job will provide efficiency and safety.
Gripping - The primary use of pliers is for gripping. This may be to loosen or tighten bolts, holding objects for stabilization, or removing pins, nails or other fasteners. Utility pliers, commonly referred to as "Channellocks," provide the greatest leverage and therefore the greatest holding strength. Utility pliers can adjust and lock, gripping the object at right angles. They also have teeth, or a tongue and groove design, which is superior in creating a better bite and allows for less stripping of the object being gripped.
Bending/Straightening - Pliers can also be used for bending or straightening. The cross braces of the pliers allow for superior torque power to bend or twist certain objects such as sheet metal, nails and wires. All pliers are capable and efficient in bending objects, so the kind you choose will depend largely upon the specific object being bent. The long-nosed or needle-nose pliers will allow you to grip and bend small objects that may be difficult to reach. Lineman pliers are commonly used by electricians and are used to bend wire and cable.
Cutting - Pliers also have the unique feature of being able to cut certain objects such as wire and nails. Diagonal cutting and side cutting pliers, which are commonly referred to as simply wire cutters, are primarily designed for the cutting and severing of wires. Due to their jaw structure, they are incapable of gripping large objects such as bolts. However, due to the fact that they are effective in gripping and removing nails, this puts them in the category of pliers.
Splicing Wires/Stripping Insulation - Electricians commonly use a variety of pliers for splicing wires and stripping insulation. For this task, lineman pliers are the popular choice. With the wire cutting feature, you can cut through the wire insulation and strip off a piece to expose the wire. You can do the same to another wire and then attach or splice the two wires together. Take note that before engaging in wire splicing and insulation stripping, make sure to turn off connected power to avoid electrocution.