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10 Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians in 2022 – Top Picks & Reviews

person using Milwaukee 48-22-6100 Leverage Lineman Pliers

person using Milwaukee 48-22-6100 Leverage Lineman Pliers

Linesman pliers are like the swiss army knife of an electrician’s tools. They’re meant to fill a lot of different roles, being 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.

Since linesman pliers are such versatile tools, they need to be able to handle a wide variety of situations. They 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.

This is one of the most important tools on any craftsman’s tool belt, so it’s vital that the pair you get is 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 2022

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
HQCollection 4-in-1 Lineman Combination Plier HQCollection 4-in-1 Lineman Combination Plier
  • Built-in wire strippers
  • The tool is covered by a lifetime warranty
  • Integrated crimper
  • Best Value
    Second place
    DOWELL Lineman's Pliers DOWELL Lineman's Pliers
  • Comes in different sizes to suit your preferences
  • Weighs less than 9 ounces
  • Comfortable grips reduce hand fatigue
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Klein Tools J2000-9NECRTP Lineman’s Pliers Klein Tools J2000-9NECRTP Lineman’s Pliers
  • Built-in wire crimper
  • Channel for pulling fish tape without damaging it
  • Cutting knives are induction hardened for longevity
  • Knipex 09 12 240 SBA Leverage Lineman's Pliers Knipex 09 12 240 SBA Leverage Lineman's Pliers
  • Fish tape puller built-into the head
  • Comfortable grips
  • A built-in crimper eliminates the need for an extra tool
  • Milwaukee 48-22-6100 Leverage Lineman Pliers Milwaukee 48-22-6100 Leverage Lineman Pliers
  • Fish tape puller for maximum grip when pulling tape
  • Integrated crimping tool
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • The 10 Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians

    1. HQCollection 4-in-1 Lineman Combination Plier – Best Overall

    HQCollection 4-in-1 Lineman Combination Plier

    When it comes to lineman’s pliers, the name of the game is versatility. You need a tool that can perform a variety of functions, which is why we love the HQCollection 4-in-1 Lineman Plier. This tool has loads of extra features incorporated. For example, the built-in wire strippers make it easier than ever 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 what 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 great as pliers as well, with comfortable non-slip handles and deep teeth that provide excellent grip. The entire tool is even protected by a lifetime warranty, making it easy to see why these pliers top our list. Overall, we think this is the best lineman pliers for electricians.

    Pros
    • Built-in wire strippers
    • Integrated crimper
    • The tool is covered by a lifetime warranty
    • Cheaper than other tools with similar features
    Cons
    • The strippers don’t have wire gauge markings

    2. DOWELL Lineman’s Pliers – Best Value

    DOWELL Lineman's Pliers

    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 dirt-cheap but they get the job done. They’re also easy to fit on a crowded tool belt since they weigh just 9 ounces. You can get larger sizes, though, if you’d prefer.

    These 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’s pliers, then look no further.

    Pros
    • Dirt-cheap
    • Comes in different sizes to suit your preferences
    • Comfortable grips reduce hand fatigue
    • Weighs less than 9 ounces
    Cons
    • Lacking in extra features

    3. Klein Tools Lineman’s Pliers – Premium Choice

    Klein Tools J2000-9NECRTP Lineman’s Pliers

    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. That said, they’re also quite a hefty investment, costing several times more than other pliers that are perfectly adequate for most uses.

    If you’re a discerning professional using these every day to make a living, you’ll appreciate the quality and longevity of the 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 that make it easy to cut through whatever 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 to get a bit stronger grip than fingers allow.

    Pros
    • Built-in wire crimper
    • Channel for pulling fish tape without damaging it
    • Cutting knives are induction hardened for longevity
    • 46% more gripping and cutting power than other pliers
    • Exceptional build quality
    Cons
    • They’re quite an investment

    4. Knipex SBA Leverage Lineman’s Pliers

    Knipex 09 12 240 SBA Leverage Lineman's Pliers

    We liked the Knipex Ultra-High Leverage Lineman’s Pliers. They’re loaded with useful 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 even comfortable, helping you to make use of the high-leverage design for cutting through wires of just about any gauge.

    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’re going to be the preferable choice.

    Pros
    • Fish tape puller built-into the head
    • A built-in crimper eliminates the need for an extra tool
    • Comfortable grips
    • Hardened cutting edges with a high-leverage design for easy wire cutting
    Cons
    • Far more expensive than similar options

    5. Milwaukee Leverage Lineman Pliers

    Milwaukee 48-22-6100 Leverage Lineman Pliers

    There are plenty of lineman’s pliers available 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 thing unique that we really liked; the reaming head that can be used to clean out pipes up to 1.5 inches in diameter. But that’s not enough to help this tool climb higher 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 once again, you can get that for cheaper.

    At 1.14 pounds, this 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 to begin with, and ours developed a chip after a few weeks of regular use, severely limiting its usefulness.

    Pros
    • Reaming head can clean out pipes up to 1.5” in diameter
    • Fish tape puller for maximum grip when pulling tape
    • Integrated crimping tool
    • Limited lifetime warranty
    Cons
    • Weighs more than other pliers at 1.14 lb
    • Not the best at cutting
    • Cutter developed a chip after a few weeks of use

    6. Channellock 369 Lineman’s Pliers

    Channellock 369 Lineman's Pliers

    These Channellock Lineman’s Pliers are equipped with extra-long handles that provide improved leverage. The jaws have a crosshatch pattern that provides 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. These are quite a bit more costly than other pliers that we’ve had great luck with. Those pliers had loads of extra features, but the Channellock pliers are pretty barren when it comes to the feature set. For an electrician, we think more functionality is needed than what you get with the Channellock 369 Lineman’s Pliers.

    Pros
    • XL handles for improved leverage
    • Crosshatch pattern on jaws for a snug grip
    • Easy-opening hinge is loose and easy to use
    Cons
    • More expensive than other options
    • No extra functionality to warrant the higher cost

    7. Vanquish 3163 High-Leverage Lineman Pliers

    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 they won’t weigh down an already overloaded tool belt. For an ultra-basic set of pliers to provide a strong grip, they’re great. But for an ultra-basic set of pliers, they’re also overpriced since we’ve seen similar products for about half the cost.

    What’s missing from these pliers is any type of extra feature. No crimper, no strippers, no fish tape puller, no reaming head, just pliers. The leverage isn’t even as good as other pliers we tested. At least the thermoplastic rubber handles are comfortable!

    Pros
    • Weighs less than 1 lb
    • Comfortable thermoplastic rubber handle
    Cons
    • No extra features
    • Leverage isn’t as good as other pliers we’ve used
    • Overpriced for what you get

    8. CRAFTSMAN Linesman Pliers

    CRAFTSMAN Linesman Pliers

    All CRAFTSMAN tools are covered by a full lifetime warranty, including these linesman pliers. 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.

    These pliers aren’t terribly expensive, but considering the lack of features, there are pliers that offer more for much less. You won’t find any extra features on this tool, though the cutters are pretty decent.

    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.

    Pros
    • Covered by a full lifetime warranty
    • Weighs less than 1 lb
    Cons
    • There are cheaper choices
    • The jaws don’t close tightly enough for fine wire

    9. IRWIN VISE-GRIP Lineman’s Pliers

    IRWIN VISE-GRIP 2078209 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 find yourself constantly using your lineman’s pliers as a hammer, then these might be great for you. But they’re a cumbersome tool that’s held back by its size and weight.

    The head of this tool is oversized, making it very difficult to fit into tight spaces. If you manage to make it fit, good luck getting any maneuverability from it. Moreover, at about 20 ounces, it’s one of the heavier pliers we tested. After working with this tool all day, you’re sure to notice the extra weight.

    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 gotten other pliers at a similar price that were decked out with great features and still offered excellent quality at a much lower weight with a more manageable sized head.

    Pros
    • Backed by a lifetime guarantee
    • Very durable and heavy-duty
    Cons
    • Head is wide and might have difficulty in tight spaces
    • They’re pretty hefty at just over 1 lb
    • No extra features like crimpers or fish tape puller

    10. Wiha Insulated Industrial Lineman’s Pliers

    Wiha 32938 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 will 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, nothing special. For the price, we were expecting superior quality, 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.

    Pros
    • Insulated grips protect you from electric shock
    Cons
    • Overpriced
    • Lacking important features
    • Weighs more than 1 lb

    Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Lineman Pliers

    Electricians need a lot of functionality from their 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 enough functionality to replace several tools, which could allow you to significantly lighten your toolbelt.

    In this short buyer’s guide, we’re going to take a look at some of the best features and functions that you can get on a pair of lineman’s pliers. Determine which of these matters the most to you and look for the tool that matches your needs most closely.

    The Basics

    There are some traits that a set of lineman’s pliers needs to have to be considered good. Without these basic characteristics, your lineman’s pliers will be more of a frustration than a helpful tool.

    Torque

    You’re using pliers to provide a stronger, more secure grip than you could get with your fingers alone. Good pliers will help to amplify your power with a high-torque design that allows you to essentially multiply your strength. This makes it easy to twist, grab, pull, and even cut wires.

    Comfort

    As a professional electrician, your lineman’s pliers are going to see a lot of use. If they’re not comfortable, you’ll start to resent them. The more time you spend using your lineman’s pliers, the more important this trait is. If you’re using them all day, then you’ll want to find the most comfortable pair possible.

    Weight

    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 in 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.

    Price

    There are lineman’s pliers that only cost a few bucks and there are some that 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. That said, professionals who rely on their pliers every day might benefit from the extra reliability that a more expensive pair can sometimes 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. They’re not found on all lineman’s pliers, so if you want any of this functionality, you’ll have to look for it specifically. That said, you’ll find all of these features on a set of pliers on this list.

    using DOWELL Lineman's Pliers

    Cutter

    To be fair, pretty much all lineman’s pliers have cutters built-in. But some are clearly better than others. As an electrician, you encounter a lot of wire of varying thickness, in stranded and solid form. Your cutters must be able to 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 had induction hardened cutting knives that stay sharp for a long time and resist chipping, ensuring that they’ll hold up for years of daily abuse.

    Crimper

    When the crimpers aren’t in reach and you have just a single connector to install, it’s pretty common to just 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 functionality, you can pretty much kiss your crimpers goodbye.

    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. If you work with fish tapes often, this is practically a must-have feature.

    Strippers

    Every electrician strips a lot of wires. And every electrician 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 after using a pair with this feature, it’s hard to go back. 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:

    divider 8

    Conclusion

    We’ve included some of the less favorable pliers that we tested down towards the end of this list, but what you don’t see are the multitudes of pliers that just didn’t make the cut. There are many, and we carefully crafted these reviews to ensure that you don’t purchase one.

    If you want our advice, 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 so much more than just that with built-in wire strippers, an integrated crimper, and a lifetime warranty.

    When you’re 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 that professionals need like a built-in wire crimper and a channel for pulling fish tape.

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