A pair of adjustable pliers is the single most useful gripping tool in any toolbox, thanks to their large capacity of over two inches for 10-inch pliers and their application in a wide array of different uses including adjusting garage doors, under the sink plumbing and installing new toilets.
This all-purpose grabbing and twist tool can come in exceptionally handy for a vast range of applications, with the majority featuring jaws that have serrated teeth.
What to look for in adjustable pliers
There are several things users should look for in adjustable pliers, including a push button adjustment, 10-inch length, V-jaw design and padded ergonomic handles.
Push button adjustments are a fairly modern innovation and make it easier and faster to adjust the jaw size, particularly in comparison to the tongue and groove mechanism. A button is situated at the connection point between the two handles, which can be pressed, and the handle is then slid up and down depending on whether the user wants to increase or decrease the jaw opening.
Release the button once the appropriate size has been reached and the handles lock in again. The right size can be reached quickly as it can be performed even when the jaws are around a nut or bolt. This design also enables greater precision in jaw sizing.
10 inches is just the right length for adjustable pliers, preventing them from being either too small and ineffective or too large and bulky. They come with a grip area of around five inches, making them comfortable for most hands to grasp with or without gloves. Their average jaw capacity of two inches allows them to handle many plumbing connections.
There are three design types in adjustable pliers – V-jaw, smooth jaw and straight jaw. V-jaws are by far the most versatile, named for the V-like appearance of cut-outs on the top of the bottom and top jaw when seen from the side. These notches enable the jaws to securely grab flat, round or hex shapes.
It is a good idea to always look for adjustable pliers with padded ergonomic handles. Gripping, holding, twisting and turning is the whole purpose of adjustable pliers, and can put quite a strain on the palm. Older-style grips with metal and plastic continue to be manufactured by many companies, but those with padded ergonomic handles will prevent a sore palm.
Examples of best adjustable pliers
One of the best adjustable pliers on the market today is the Irwin GV10 10-inch GrooveLock Pliers with V-jaw. This offers a jaw capacity of over two inches as well as extremely comfortable handles and is also easy on the budget. They come with a quick adjustment that makes it easier to set the jaw width and will self-lock onto nuts or bolts, allowing the user to focus more on turning.
Another great example of adjustable pliers is the 10-inch Knipex Cobra with comfort grips, which excel against the majority of the competition with an incredibly precise adjustment mechanism, a sleek and small head that can get into tight spots and extremely comfortable handles. Make sure you buy the best adjustable pliers to ensure comfortable handling and accurate results for years to come, check out the wide range at RS.