10 Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians in 2023 – Top Picks & Reviews
Linesman pliers are like the Swiss army knife of an electrician’s tools. They’re meant to fill several roles and are used for cutting, pulling, twisting, and crimping wire, pulling fish tape, bending or crimping metal, cutting and pulling nails, and even being turned into a hammer occasionally to bash in a staple or nail with the head.
Linesman pliers should be strong and durable with a hardened cutting edge that won’t dull after snipping a few wires. Plus, they need to apply plenty of force with a vice-tight grip. Last, but not least, it would be nice if they were comfortable, too.
It is one of the most important tools on any craftsman’s tool belt, and the pair you get must be high-quality and reliable with all of the features that will make your life easier. The following 10 reviews are intended to help you find that perfect pair of linesman pliers that won’t disappoint you when it counts.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||HQCollection 4-in-1 Lineman Combination Plier||
|Best Value||DOWELL Lineman's Pliers||
|Premium Choice||Klein Tools J2000-9NECRTP Lineman’s Pliers||
|Knipex 09 12 240 SBA Leverage Lineman's Pliers||
|Milwaukee 48-22-6100 Leverage Lineman Pliers||
The 10 Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians
1. HQCollection 4-in-1 Lineman Combination Plier – Best Overall
When it comes to lineman’s pliers, the name of the game is versatility. You need a tool that can perform various functions, which is why we love the HQCollection 4-in-1 Lineman Plier. It has several invaluable features. For example, the built-in wire strippers make it easier to strip a wire on the go, eliminating the need to carry separate strippers in your tool belt. It would be nice if they were marked with the wire sizes each slot is for, but that’s a minor complaint.
Continuing with the extra features, these pliers have an integrated crimper for your connectors, so you won’t need to carry a separate crimper either. Of course, they’re also great as pliers, with comfortable non-slip handles and deep teeth that provide excellent grip. The entire tool is protected by a lifetime warranty, making it easy to see why they top our list. Overall, we think this is the best overall lineman pliers for electricians.
2. DOWELL Lineman’s Pliers – Best Value
If you’re looking for the best lineman pliers for electricians for the money, don’t overlook the DOWELL Lineman’s Combination Pliers. They’re inexpensive, but they get the job done. They also easily fit on a crowded tool belt since they weigh just 9 ounces. You can also get a larger size if you prefer.
The DOWELL pliers feel great when you use them since they’re so light, and they’re equipped with comfortable grips that reduce hand fatigue. The head is small, so it fits in tight spaces but provides adequate torque when you need to get a grip. You won’t get any fancy extra features at this price, but if you’re looking for a quality set of no-nonsense lineman pliers, look no further.
3. Klein Tools Lineman’s Pliers – Premium Choice
There’s a good reason why Klein Tools products are found in the tool belts of professionals everywhere; they’re high-quality products that don’t cut corners. They’re also quite an investment and cost much more than other pliers that are perfectly adequate for most uses.
If you’re a discerning professional, you’ll appreciate the quality and longevity of Klein Tools’ Lineman’s Pliers. But if you’re not using them in a daily professional capacity, you’d likely be better off saving your money and getting the HQCollection 4-in-1 Lineman Pliers at the top of this list.
On top of the excellent reliability, this tool is packed with features that every electrician needs. You get hardened cutting knives for superior longevity, making it easy to cut through any wire you encounter. There’s also a built-in crimper, saving you the weight of an extra tool. We also like the channel for pulling fish tape without damaging it when you just need a stronger grip than your fingers allow.
4. Knipex SBA Leverage Lineman’s Pliers
We liked the Knipex Ultra-High Leverage Lineman’s Pliers. They’re loaded with valuable features like the fish tape pulling channel built into the head or the crimper that eliminates the need to carry an extra tool in your belt. The grips are comfortable, helping you use the high-leverage design to cut through almost any gauge wires.
But despite all the things we liked about these pliers, they didn’t crack our top three, and the reason is simple. For the price, we think the Klein Tools Lineman’s Pliers offer superior quality and a better feel overall, so for our money, they are the preferable choice.
5. Milwaukee Leverage Lineman Pliers
Plenty of lineman’s pliers are much cheaper than the Milwaukee Leverage Lineman’s Pliers, so we were hoping they’d show us something special that sets them apart. There was one unique design feature we really liked; the reaming head can be used to clean out pipes up to 1.5 inches in diameter. But that’s not enough to help this tool climb up our list.
We liked the fish tape puller and integrated crimping tool, but we’ve also seen these on much more affordable pliers. The limited lifetime warranty is also nice, but you can get that for cheaper.
At 1.14 pounds, the Milwaukee is a pretty hefty tool weighing down your tool belt. We could forgive that, but it’s lacking in other departments that we can’t overlook. Namely, the cutter. It’s not that great at cutting, and ours developed a chip after a few weeks of regular use, which severely limits its usefulness.
6. Channellock 369 Lineman’s Pliers
These Channellock Lineman’s Pliers have extra-long handles that provide improved leverage. The jaws have a crosshatch pattern that provides a great grip with an easy-opening hinge that feels great for one-handed operation. The problem with these pliers is the cost-to-feature ratio.
They are quite a bit more costly than other pliers we’ve had great luck with. Those pliers had loads of extra features, but the Channellock pliers are pretty barren regarding the feature set. We think an electrician needs more functionality than what you get with the Channellock 369 Lineman’s Pliers.
7. Vanquish 3163 High-Leverage Lineman Pliers
At just 14 ounces, the Vanquish 3163 High-Leverage Lineman Pliers weigh in under the 1-pound mark. They’re light and comfortable and won’t weigh down an already overloaded tool belt. They’re great for an ultra-basic set of pliers to provide a strong grip. However, they’re also overpriced for an ultra-basic set of pliers since we’ve seen similar products for about half the cost.
What’s missing from these pliers is extra features. It includes no crimper, strippers, fish tape puller, or reaming head, just pliers. The leverage isn’t even as good as the other pliers we tested. At least the thermoplastic rubber handles are comfortable!
8. CRAFTSMAN Linesman Pliers
All CRAFTSMAN tools, including these linesman pliers, are covered by a full lifetime warranty. We’ve had great luck with numerous CRAFTSMAN tools in the past, so we had high hopes for these pliers. Unfortunately, we were pretty disappointed with their so-so performance.
The pliers aren’t terribly expensive, but considering the lack of features, some pliers offer more for much less. Though the cutters are decent, you won’t find any extra features on this tool.
As pliers, they’re only semi-adequate. They’re relatively light, weighing in at just under 1 pound. But the jaws don’t seem to close enough for use with fine wire. Even with a firm grasp, the wire just pulls through, which never happened with our favorite pliers.
9. IRWIN VISE-GRIP Lineman’s Pliers
The IRWIN VISE_GRIP Lineman’s Pliers are sturdy, durable, and heavy-duty. They’re built tough and backed by a lifetime guarantee. If you constantly use your lineman’s pliers as a hammer, they might be ideal for you. However, they’re more cumbersome than other brands with more practical designs.
The head of this tool is oversized, making it very difficult to fit into tight spaces. If you make it fit, good luck getting any maneuverability from it. Moreover, at about 20 ounces, it’s one of the heavier pliers we tested. You’ll notice the extra weight after working with this tool all day.
We also noticed the glaring lack of extra features. To be fair, these IRWIN pliers are reasonably priced, so you can’t expect too much. But we’ve bought other pliers at a similar price that were decked out with great features and still offered excellent quality at a much lower weight and a more manageable-sized head.
10. Wiha Insulated Industrial Lineman’s Pliers
These Insulated Industrial Lineman’s Pliers from Wiha are at the higher end of the price range. They’re equipped with insulated grips that protect you from shock, but aside from that, they’re lacking in features that would warrant the high price.
Weighing in at about 20 ounces, the Wiha pliers are pretty hefty. They provide an average amount of torque but nothing special. We were expecting superior quality for the price, but we couldn’t find anything special about these except the insulated grips. We suggest saving your money and getting a less expensive set of pliers with more functionality, like the HQCollection pliers at the top of our list with built-in strippers and a crimper.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Lineman Pliers
Electricians require versatile lineman’s pliers. A tight grip, sharp cutters, and comfortable handles are great, but a professional requires much more. Some of our favorite lineman’s pliers were equipped with extra features that replaced several tools, which could allow you to lighten your toolbelt significantly.
In this short buyer’s guide, we will look at some of the best features and functions you can get on a pair of lineman’s pliers. Determine which matters most to you and look for the tool that meets your needs.
There are some traits that a set of lineman’s pliers needs to have to be considered good. Without these essential characteristics, your lineman’s pliers will be more frustrating than helpful.
You’re using pliers to provide a stronger, more secure grip than you could get with your fingers alone. Good pliers will amplify your power with a high-torque design. This makes twitching, grabbing, pulling, and cutting wires easy.
As a professional electrician, your lineman’s pliers will see a lot of use. If they’re not comfortable, you’ll start to resent them. The more time you spend using your pliers, the more important this trait is. If you’re using them all day, you’ll want to find the most comfortable pair possible.
There’s a lot of difference in weight between models. We tested some pliers that weighed a mere 9 ounces, which is barely more than half a pound. Others we tested weighed twice this, and many weighed over a pound. The difference may not seem like much, but if you’re using them all day, or even if they’re just taking up space in your tool belt all day, that extra weight will add up.
There are lineman’s pliers that only cost a few bucks, and others are as expensive as a nice dinner out. But you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot to get features and quality that will do what you need. However, professionals relying on their pliers daily can benefit from the extra reliability that a more expensive pair can offer.
Extra Functions and Versatility
While all pliers can do the basics, like grab, hold, twist, etc., the following features are special. These features can provide extra convenience, making your jobs run smoother and more efficiently.
To be fair, most lineman’s pliers have cutters built-in, but some are better than others. As an electrician, you encounter wires of varying thickness in stranded and solid form. Your cutters must withstand repeated cuts through this wide range of wires without chipping or getting too dull.
Not all cutters will last under these conditions. But our favorite lineman’s pliers have induction-hardened cutting knives that stay sharp for a long time and resist chipping, ensuring they’ll hold up for years of daily abuse.
When the crimpers aren’t in reach, and you have just a single connector to install, it’s pretty common just to squeeze it in place with your lineman’s pliers and be done. But good electricians know that a crimp with pliers isn’t nearly as strong as a crimp from a good set of crimpers.
Luckily, some of the lineman’s pliers we liked best had crimpers integrated into their design. Once you have a pair with this feature, you can leave your crimpers in your toolbox at home.
Fish Tape Puller
How many times have you had the end of your fish tape exposed, and you could grab it but couldn’t get enough of a grip to pull it through? Every electrician knows this frustration, which is why some manufacturers started building fish tape pullers into their lineman’s pliers.
A fish tape puller is a small channel in the head of your pliers that the tape slips into, giving you a stronger hold and better leverage than you could ever manage with fingers alone. This is a must-have feature if you work with fish tapes often.
Every electrician strips wires and remembers many times when they needed to strip a wire, but the lineman’s pliers were already in their hand, or their strippers were too far away, so they stripped it with the cutting blade of the pliers.
But what if your lineman’s pliers had dedicated strippers built in? Some of our favorites do, and it’s hard to go back after using a pair with this feature. It saves you a few seconds each time and makes the strippers start to feel a bit obsolete.
Other types of pliers we’ve reviewed:
We’ve included some of the less favorable pliers that we tested toward the end of this list, but you don’t see the multitudes of pliers that just didn’t make the cut. There are many, and we carefully crafted these reviews to ensure you don’t purchase one.
The top pair of lineman’s pliers we recommend is the 4-in-1 Lineman Combination Pliers from HQCollection. They’re strong pliers with deep teeth and comfortable handles, but they offer much more than that with built-in wire strippers, an integrated crimper, and a lifetime warranty.
When looking for a basic tool with the best value, check out the DOWELL Lineman’s Pliers. They’re dirt-cheap, dependable, and available in multiple sizes to suit your needs.
For the professional who demands the best, you’ll find it in the Klein Tools J2000-9NECRPT Lineman’s Pliers. They offer exceptional quality and durability with the extra features professionals need, like a built-in wire crimper and a channel for pulling fish tape.