10 Best Adjustable Pliers in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks
Adjustable pliers are a true staple of every handyman’s toolbox. However, you may be surprised at how much the design and efficiency of these simple tools have evolved in recent years.
It may be time to toss your old pliers and get something that provides more reliable performance. But how can you know which pliers are worth your time and which should never be near your toolbox?
We put together comprehensive reviews of some of the most capable adjustable pliers on the market. Between our reviews and our buyer’s guide, you can make the best decision before you take on your next project.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Channellock 440 Tongue and Groove Pliers||
|Best Value||WORKPRO Adjustable Water Pump Pliers||
|Premium Choice||KNIPEX Tools 8751250 ES Extra-Slim Pump Pliers||
|IRWIN Tools 4935351 VISE-GRIP Tools GrooveLock Pliers||
|TEKTON 37526 Groove Joint Pliers||
The 10 Best Adjustable Pliers
1. Channellock 440 Tongue and Groove Pliers – Best Overall
If you want to get back to your next project sooner rather than later, you probably want to get to the good tools immediately. So, what’s the pick for best overall adjustable pliers? We chose the Channellock 440 Tongue and Groove Pliers. We love the durable heat-treated teeth, and the no-slip design is a real “must-have” feature. Finally, it’s rust-resistant and tackles nuts and bolts without stripping them, which makes it a low-maintenance and user-friendly pick.
It’s not entirely perfect, however. The same teeth we love so much can leave their marks on some of the more difficult nuts and bolts. If the nuts and bolts are visible in your project, it may hurt the overall aesthetic. Despite that, we still think the Channellock 440 are the best adjustable pliers on the market this year.
2. WORKPRO Adjustable Water Pump Pliers – Best Value
If you’re a budget buyer seeking the best adjustable pliers for the money, we recommend the WORKPRO Adjustable Water Pump Pliers. You get a lot of features for the price, including five position settings and an ergonomic handle. The nickel-plated finish helps the pliers go the distance, and the hardened teeth reliably provide no-slip leverage.
Why is this our best value pick and not our best overall pick? Our only gripe is that these pliers are primarily helpful for around-the-house tasks. If you’re involved in heavy-duty tasks, you may need another tool.
3. KNIPEX Tools ES Extra-Slim Pump Pliers – Premium Choice
The best tools are more than tools; they are an investment in your home and future projects. If you want to make the most out of your investment, you may be researching some premium adjustable pliers. As “premium” choices go, the KNIPEX Tools 8751250 ES Extra-Slim Pump Pliers are the best.
The large capacity makes these pliers great for rounded pipes up to 2 inches in diameter. The self-locking teeth are also very convenient for newbies and veterans. The pinch guard keeps your hands safe, and the lightweight design can help you work far longer without tiring out.
For the price, it moves side-to-side far more than we would like. The Knipex Tools 8751250 are still great pliers, but you should be aware of that drawback before you buy.
4. IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP Tools GrooveLock Pliers
Still on the lookout for a good budget option? One of our other favorites in this category are the IRWIN Tools 4935351 VISE-GRIP Tools GrooveLock Pliers. We love that you can adjust the jaw with a single button, and the multi-groove ratcheting system gives you plenty of options. Finally, the anti-pinch grips help make the tool very user-friendly.
Still, even the best pliers have some drawbacks. With these, the main issue is the lack of rust resistance. Also, the pliers are not the typical tongue-and-groove channel locks. The jaws are only ¼-inch wide, which is good for reaching tight places but bad when applying more torque. Some users complained that the IRWIN VISE-GRIP broke after a couple of uses, which was probably due to using too much force.
5. TEKTON 37526 Groove Joint Pliers
The TEKTON 37526 Groove Joint Pliers may be a perfect choice if you’re looking for an affordable pair of adjustable pliers. The angled teeth help give the pliers solid performance at a fraction of the premium prices. The interlocking tongue and groove can be a real time-saver, especially for novice handymen. Also, thanks to the corrosion-resistant steel design, you can be assured the Tekton pliers will be a long-term investment.
However, certain aspects of the design are not very user-friendly. You’ll need to tighten the bolt that holds the different halves together frequently, and the handle coverings are so slick that you’re likely to pinch yourself while using the pliers!
6. CRAFTSMAN CMHT82547 Pliers
The CRAFTSMAN CMHT82547 Pliers are on the cheaper end of the spectrum, but do they provide the performance you need? Most of the time, the answer is yes. This two-piece set features a drop-forged steel design that is surprisingly strong and durable. The grips are comfortable to hold, and the pliers are protected by a lifetime warranty.
However, there are a few areas where the design seems a bit shoddier. The jaws don’t grip as firmly as we would like. and the grips slide off too easily, which can make using the pliers quite dangerous.
7. Bahco 8231 Adjustable Joint Pliers
The Bahco 8231 Adjustable Joint Pliers seem like a “back to basics” approach with a solid price and streamlined design. They are versatile 8-inch pliers that effectively give you a 12-inch capacity. The one-button setting is quite convenient, and the flat and pipe grip jaw makes the pliers even more versatile.
At the same time, the Bahco pliers aren’t great for anything with a small diameter. Many users reported that the pliers can pinch your hands during use, so be especially careful if you make this purchase.
8. Crescent 52910N Adjustable Joint Pliers
The Crescent 52910N Adjustable Joint Pliers is slightly more expensive than the lower-tier options, but it doesn’t provide superior performance to go with the higher price. However, the pliers are suitable for limited tasks. For example, they fit connectors ranging from ¾ to 2 ½ inches, but the three adjustment positions are pretty standard.
However, the Crescent pliers aren’t very sturdy and won’t hold up to heavy or professional work. They slip out of alignment very easily during use. Finally, the pads are a bit too small to grip.
9. Kobalt 0749270 Locking Pliers
For those looking for extra value, the Kobalt Locking Pliers 2-Piece Set may seem like a good value. Unfortunately, getting two bad pliers instead of one isn’t much of a value. At first, you might be taken in by the cool chrome design made of drop-forged steel, and the ergonomic grips admittedly make the pliers very easy to hold.
However, the overall construction of the Kobalt pliers is not very sturdy. The plastic grips come off very easily, and thanks to the tooth grip design, the pliers cannot pick up thin items very easily. They may seem affordable, but you’ll keep “paying” for them long after the purchase.
10. Pittsburgh 4 Piece Tongue and Groove Joint Pliers
Rounding out our reviews are the Pittsburgh 4 Piece Tongue and Groove Joint Pliers. Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh pliers are not very impressive. It’s a 4-piece set, which seems like a good deal, and the steel construction is nice, but beyond that, the pliers are likely to disappoint you.
The pliers are flimsy and not likely to last long. Although the vinyl grips may look nice, they are very uncomfortable to hold. And the lack of a warranty means you won’t have an alternative when these break except to buy replacement pliers.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Purchase the Best Adjustable Pliers
With any luck, our reviews have helped you learn more about the best pliers on the market. However, you may have a few more questions about the pliers before you decide.
That’s why we put together this comprehensive buyer’s guide. Reading it will give you the lowdown concerning types of pliers, the benefits of adjustable pliers, and what you should not do with them.
Different Types of Pliers
Our guide has focused primarily on adjustable pliers. But do you know about the various types of pliers? It’s important to have this knowledge to determine whether you need adjustable pliers or not.
The first type of plier is the locking plier. As the name implies, they are designed to lock in place after you squeeze the handles. With the plier appropriately locked on, you can apply any pressure or movement you need to remove broken screws or free the occasional frozen nut.
There are two varieties of locking pliers. Curved-jaw pliers are best for handling frozen nuts and broken screws. You can use them as a clamp if needed, and they’re generally very handy for demolition.
The other type of locking plier is the long-nose design. This is your go-to tool if you need to get a strong grip on a small object (such as staples, pins, and screws). If you can only have one locking plier, the long nose is the one you need in your toolbox.
What makes a plier “non-adjustable?” The simple answer is that you cannot open up the jaws any wider than the design allows. There are multiple types of non-adjustable pliers to choose from.
Our reviews touched on several adjustable pliers. As you might expect, there are many types available.
Benefits of Adjustable Pliers
In a way, the name tells you everything you need to know about these pliers. The ability to adjust the jaw’s width can help you tackle various obstacles. Even if you only have a single pair, you may be surprised at how many uses you can find for it because of its adjustability.
Adjustable pliers are also more user-friendly. If you’re a novice handyman who hasn’t worked extensively with pliers, you may enjoy the ability to adjust to your exact needs for every project. Regardless of your skill level, you should be able to determine the best adjustments for various kinds of projects.
In short, if you want one tool that can do most of the jobs around your home, the adjustable pliers are the way to go.
Drawbacks of Adjustable Pliers
Adjustable pliers typically require a strong grip. For example, you won’t be able to remove those pesky bolts if you don’t have an iron grip.
So, if you have a weaker grip or have trouble using these pliers, you have two options. The first is to keep practicing until you have effectively strengthened your hand and grip. The other is to look into other kinds of tools, such as vice grips.
What Should You Avoid Doing with Adjustable Pliers?
First, you need to make sure that you need adjustable pliers for the task at hand. Some users have damaged their tools when using pliers on a tough nut when they should have tried to use a wrench from the beginning.
Second, you must be careful when using your adjustable pliers around polished plumbing and other very visible elements of your project. Even the most careful handyman will likely leave scuffs and marks on the metal. To protect its appearance, try to place a rag or other cloth between the surface and the jaws.
Third, try to avoid twisting them sideways while you work. Even if you are being very careful, twisting sideways may end up stressing, loosening, or even breaking the joint.
More other pliers we’ve reviewed:
For the best overall pick, we went with the Channellock 440 Tongue and Groove Pliers. It provides solid and reliable performance and quickly became a “go-to” tool in our toolboxes for many tasks. For those on a budget, we recommend the WORKPRO Adjustable Water Pump Pliers. Despite the low price, their performance and precision impressed us. Fortunately, you can make an informed decision thanks to our reviews and buyer’s guide. Now, all that’s left is for you to “get a grip” on your pliers and get to work!