Linesman pliers are a type of highly versatile combination plier that have serrated grooves in the jaw for gripping with cutting edges at the top of the jaw (or nose), just below the pivoting joint. While most models aren’t rated to be shock-resistant, some models have hand grips that are specially insulated and rated to protect against a certain electrical voltage.
Both the shock-resistant and non-shock-resistant varieties are popular with electricians, because of the usefulness of the specific combination of the strong grip and cutting edges in their trade. Because of their versatility, they’re a popular tool for any trade that requires gripping or wire cutting; linesman pliers are also commonly found in the toolboxes of homeowners and do-it-yourselfers for the same reasons.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Linesman Pliers 2018
- 1.1 Irwin Vice-Grip North American Lineman’s Pliers
- 1.2 Channellock 369 9-1/2-Inch High Leverage Linesman Plier
- 1.3 BOSTITCH BTHT74918 Linesman Pliers, 9.5″
- 1.4 Stanley 9-1/2-Inch Linesman Pliers
- 1.5 Multitool 8-1/2 inch Lineman’s Pliers
- 1.6 VAMPLIERS, World’s Best Pliers, 8″ Pro Lineman’s Screw Extraction Pliers
- 1.7 Milwaukee 6 in 1 Lineman’s Pliers
- 1.8 Knipex SBA 9.5-Inch Ultra-High Leverage Lineman’s Pliers
- 1.9 Crescent Pro Series Linesman Compound Action Cutting Pliers
- 1.10 Goldblatt 8-inch Multi-use Linesman Plier
- 1.11 Woods 7-Inch Linesman Pliers
- 1.12 Things To Look for When Buying The Best Linesman Pliers
- 1.13 FAQ
- 1.14 Conclusion
Best Linesman Pliers 2018
The best linesman pliers are going to have a comfortable handle so you don’t get sore during long work hours. At the same time, the handle should have a shape and texture that keeps your hand from slipping during use, which is why the Irwin ProTouch handle is so awesome, because it’s not only comfortable—it makes these pliers easier to use.
Induction hardened cutting edge
The Irwin linesman pliers feature an ultra-sharp cutting edge that’s induction hardened, which the company touts will keep your edges sharper for a longer period of time.
The jaws are machined to be stronger and more durable. The nose end features quality serrated grips, so you can bend and grip all day long; meanwhile, the cutting edge located just below the joint is tough and able to tackle any wire cutting task you can throw at it.
The jaws are made of chrome-nickel steel, a powerful alloy that is resistant to corrosion and tough enough to handle hard jobs.
What I like
The handle is incredibly comfortable and the grips are great grabbing sheet metal and easily bend whatever you need them to. The cutting edge is amazingly powerful. I had no trouble cutting through steel wire.
What I Don’t like
My only note is that these are 9.5 inches, which is great for tackling bigger projects, but it’s not so easy to fit them into tight spaces. However, it’s not a big deal for me personally, because I do have smaller linesman pliers to suit my needs.
Crosshatch grip pattern
The jaw grip has a crosshatch pattern which lends itself to easy gripping even on super flat surfaces like sheet metal.
Knife-and-anvil cutting edges
Channellock designed their linesman pliers with their exclusive knife-and-anvil cutting edges, which they tout as superior to the typical cutting edges found on most linesman pliers. The cutting edges are also laser heat-treated to make them stronger and ensure greater longevity. It seems as though the special attention to the cutting edges has paid off: According to the manufacturer, the cutting edges on the Channellock Linesman Plier can easily cut through piano wire, which is no small feat.
Made with high-carbon steel
High-carbon steel is an especially strong, durable type of steel, so it’s no wonder why it’s Channellock’s material of choice for their linesman pliers.
Xtreme Leverage Technology
Channellock’s Xtreme Leverage Technology (XLT) is just what it sounds like: The pliers are specifically designed to yield superior leverage so it’s easier to cut and grip heavy-duty materials. The way they achieve this is actually quite simple—they just put the cutting edge closer to the pivot. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best ones.
What I like
The biggest like about the Channellock linesman pliers is the knife-and-anvil cutting edge, as well as the XLT feature. Visibly, you can see the cutting edge is different from most linesman pliers in both basic design as well as the fact the cutting edge is longer, running all the way from the grip end to the rivet at the joint—which is what their Xtreme Leverage Technology is about. All-in-all, I think it does help cutting larger, thicker wires.
What I Don’t like
While the cutters are great, the handle kind of makes my hand ache. Also, these handles aren’t rated for being shock-resistant, so they don’t really offer much for electricians and handymen.
The jaws are made of forged carbon steel to provide superior strength and are finished with black-oxide to prevent rusting.
The pivot on the Bostitch linesman pliers is pretty cool, because not only does it take less force to cut, the jaws actually open wider; since a lot of people complain about the jaws not opening wide enough, this is a point in the Bostitch’s favour.
Dipped grip handles
The dipped grip handles are designed to be comfortable and prevent your hand from slipping while you’re on the job.
9.5-inch linesman pliers
These larger sized pliers are good for tackling bigger projects. It’s simple physics; by being larger, they’re able to apply more cutting force—it’s as easy as that. 9.5-inch linesman pliers are really the best linesman pliers for large jobs, period, because of that simple reason.
What I like
My favourite thing about the Bostitch linesman pliers is how wide the jaw opens. Nothing is more annoying than needing to cut a large wire and then finding your pliers that should be big enough just won’t (literally) cut it. The high-leverage pivot, to me, makes these a good option.
What I Don’t like
While the sort-of slim handles are easy to maneuver with, they can be a bit uncomfortable after long periods of usage; if you have arthritis, you can essentially multiply that complaint exponentially. But, of course, it is a tradeoff. And for short periods, it should be fine.
These Stanley linesman pliers have all the most important features of a dependable pair of linesman pliers needs: they have a great leverage pivot, machined jaws so that things are easy to grip and twist, and they have a lifetime warranty.
The insulated handles can handle anything up to 600 volts, but if you work in high voltage zones, you’ll need a pair that are rated for 1000 volts instead (Stanley makes a pair like that, too). These pliers can cut live wire and the high-carbon steel forging process makes them well-weighted and lightweight enough to handle in the most awkward of situations.
They are an excellent pair of pliers to purchase for on-the-go travel when you don’t want to take something more expensive because you might lose them. It’s length also makes squeezing these pliers a breeze. Overall, these Stanley linesman pliers come highly recommended.
These Newacalox lineman’s pliers are more than just a pair of pliers. While they do a great job being a pair of pliers, they can also be used as a wire stripper and cutter in a pickle. The proTouch grip helps prevent fatigue with extra comfortable materials that are also environmentally friendly.
These pliers boast sharp blades that last a long time because of the double heat treatment on all the metal. When necessary, these pliers can lock open and lock shut for safety. These lineman’s pliers are smaller than some of the other brands, but they do the job just as well as the larger ones. The crimper and stripper functions are reported to work extremely well
Though there are some mixed reviews on the colour, the consensus is that this a great pair of lineman’s pliers that are best used as a backup pair or a pair that is not used as often as a main pair of pliers. These lineman’s pliers are also sidecut, which makes them more versatile in tight situations.
Despite the funny reference to Count Dracula, these lineman’s pliers are anything but funny. These are a serious pair of pliers meant for very serious jobs. Not only do these cut wires with ease, these pliers will remove just about any rusted or otherwise stuck nut, bolt, or screw. Rusted, corroded, or just stuck screws can be extracted using either a top jaw or side jaw.
The ergonomic elastomer handles are cushy, but still incredibly grippy and easy to use. A quick grab and turn make quick work of just about any situation imaginable. While these pliers are more expensive than many other pairs of pliers we’ve reviewed here, they boast the most research-backed quality.
In addition, Vampire, the company that made them in the first place, worked closely with auto mechanics, electricians, and other professionals that use these sorts of tools in their everyday work. These pliers are the combination of all that research; they are versatile, durable, innovative, and made of high-quality high carbon steel. These are an investment, but as a professional if you’re looking for the best lines
These Milwaukee lineman’s pliers have several innovative features that are not seen on other pliers in its class. This model of Milwaukee’s pliers has a reaming head design, which features smooth edges of metal pipes from ½ inch to 1 inch. In addition, these pliers can be used as bolt cutters and can cut #6 bolts and #8 bolts to whatever length the cutter desires. The Milwaukee pliers also have a high leverage design, built for cutting power and performance with even the thickest of wires.
Another unique and interesting thing about these lineman’s pliers is the use of a laser to harden the cutting edges, which not only adds to the endurance, but allows them to cut wires, bolts, screws, and nails. The “six” part in the “six in one” in the name refers to six very useful features: reaming, bolt cutting, wire cutting, nail pulling, good old-fashioned pliers, and a fish tape puller.
Having all six of these tools in one makes it easier for a professional to keep their load light, which usually means getting more done, too. They cut stainless steel pins and 9-wire so easily that you might compare them to a knife slicing through warm butter.
Knipex is one of the top brands in the world of lineman’s pliers, as they have been established in the industry for many decades and are known to manufacture some of the best linesman pliers on the market. Several stand-out features are included with the Knipex brand. One stand out feature is the fact that they have a serrated cross-hatched knurled gripping zone on the jaws for superior gripping and pulling. Induction-hardened cutting edges mean that they last longer than the average bear, and dual-component grips mean they’re comfortable for long jobs, short jobs, and everything in between.
The Knipex brand is always looking for innovation, and they have recently updated their lineman’s pliers to include an oval-shaped design as the recess on the back. This is an excellent feature if you’re cutting oval or round cable, or if you cut a lot of thicker cable on the job. The Knipex also features two different gripping zones that can be used depending on how tightly you need to grip or pull a wire.
The Knipex lineman’s pliers are also extremely light, weighing in at only a few pounds. However, great things come in small packages, as these are revered in the lineman community for strength, durability, and ease of use. While they are a bit more expensive than other brands, they are far from the most expensive.
Here is another very affordable pair of lineman’s pliers that are great for a backup pair or a pair that sees less than daily work. The chrome vanadium steel and the heat treated joint rivet are essential in creating a durable pair of pliers that operate consistently. Like many of the other pliers we’ve seen, these are also induction hardened around the edges to strengthen the metal and extend the life as much as possible.
It should also be noted that the manufacturers of this pliers hand hone the cutting edges once they have been induction hardened to help with maximum sharpness upon arrival. The length of this pliers makes them ideal for reaching difficult spots, and they cut a maximum thickness of 5/8th of an inch.
If you need a pair of pliers that cut thicker wires consistently, we don’t recommend picking up this pair. These polished pliers are also spring loaded and the clamp on them is reported to be fantastic. However, the grips come right off without much trouble, which has been a thorn in the side for many professionals who use them in their daily professional work. In addition, Crescent does not have any type of warranty on any of their tools, but the good news is that they are cheap and easy to replace when the time comes.
This pair of Linesman’s pliers are, by far, the shiniest of all the pliers we’ve reviewed today. The drop forged steel makes them incredibly attractive as far as look goes, and the price makes them even more appealing. These Goldblatt 8-inch pliers are the perfect length for most jobs, and in addition to being pliers, they can also function as a wire stripper, wire cutter, and bolt cutter.
While these pliers are good for basic jobs, in general professionals agree that there not being a latch to keep them closed is not ideal, especially since they are spring loaded to stay open. In addition, they can’t cut through very thick wire, like copper or barbed, but in a pinch, they are a fine, affordable tool.
Being last on our list does not make these professional-grade Woods pliers the least! Like more expensive competitors, these pliers are induction hardened, made of forged carbon steel, and feature a hardened side-cutting knife as well as a riveted pivot joint for ease of operation.
These pliers are one of the cheapest linesman pliers on the market, and its ranks highly when it comes to sharpness and ease of use. Overall, these come recommended highly at their price point, and are well worth the money because of their quality construction.
Things To Look for When Buying The Best Linesman Pliers
Pliers are a common hand tool used for gripping, joining, bending, cutting, and compressing a variety of materials. The force produced by the hand grip of the user gives way to a greater grip at the pliers’ ends which makes it possible to use it for a variety of purposes.
Besides electrical and building work, pliers can also be used for making jewelry, plumbing, and numerous DIY projects. If you’re interested in linesman pliers, you’ll find lots of options available in the market. So, before purchasing a linesman plier, you need to consider a number of factors. Read on to find out how you can choose the best linesman pliers.
The material the pliers is made of determines the product’s durability. Some metals used for pliers are more durable and can withstand corrosion much better. The majority of pliers are made of steel, which is considered one of the most durable metals and is suited for making such a tool. Therefore the plier you choose should be made of a material that doesn’t corrode easily and is very durable.
The pliers’ grip determines the ease of use, as well as the ability of the pliers to reduce any slippage and hand fatigue. You should look for a grip that is comfortable and won’t deteriorate over time.
When choosing linesman pliers at the store, give the grip of the pliers a try and see if it is comfortable enough. Keep in mind the activities that you plan on using the pliers for when choosing a grip.
The grip of the material, as well the quality are both important. A rubber grip is much better than a plastic one while an ergonomic design is preferable over a generic design for comfort during use.
The cutting-edge determines the effectiveness of the pliers. The cutting edge is responsible for helping you snap cables and wires with ease. For the best cutting edge, look for features like laser-treated cutting edge and induction-heated edges as these will provide you with longer sharpness on the edges.
It is quite crucial that the linesman pliers you select have a reasonable weight. Most probably, you’ll work with wires and cables, and you’ll also have to step on a ladder or bend down to work, so buying a heavy product might not be an ideal option. Though you should try to avoid a heavy plier, the linesman pliers you choose shouldn’t be too light or flimsy.
Non-insulated and Insulated Pliers
Insulated pliers are ‘insulated’ with a plastic coating. Generally, electricians this type of pliers so that they are safe from potential electric shock. Any size of plier can be insulated. So, you can choose one according to your needs. As implied by the name, non-insulated pliers are pliers without any protective coating.
How To Use Linesman Pliers?
Linesman pliers are quite handy for creating bends in cables and wires, as well as for removing bends from sheet metals and wires. To prevent ripples and scratches in the metal sheet when flattening or bending it, put a soft cloth on the metal sheet before grasping it with the linesman pliers. Then, stretch a wire piece over the nose of the pliers to make 90-degree angles.
Linesman pliers can be used to cut metal objects as well. With linesman pliers, you can cut nails and screws to the length you desire. The linesman pliers’ cutting craw can cut threaded screws that are sized up to as large as number 10. The pliers can also cut through almost all the plain drywall screws and nails. You don’t have to worry about the effectiveness of the screws as they still function well after being cut with the pliers.
What Are Linesman Pliers Used For?
Linesman pliers are used for many applications which include construction work, communications, and electrical work. They are used for gripping, cutting, or splicing wires as well as for striping cable jackets or wire insulation.
Linesman pliers can also be used for straightening or bending components of sheet metal or solid wire, particularly in those cases where the small pliers provide an insufficient mechanical advantage. The flat side and square nose of the pliers can be used for creating right angle bends. These pliers can also be used for cutting Type-MC armoured cable.
Another common application is twisting the wires together to install a twist-on wire connector. Moreover, they can also be used to crimp metals, and to pull a fish tape, nails, and other similar fasteners.
How To Sharpen Linesman Pliers?
In the case of nicks, you will need to use a knife sharpener or a file tool so that the nicks can be flattened out. In a diagonal position, go along the blade using a file. Make sure that you cover the whole cutting blade surface so that your pliers are sharpened uniformly.
To sharpen the pliers quickly, you can use the electric polish tool. This method doesn’t require a lot of effort as well. However, you need to make sure that the edges aren’t too thin; otherwise, the pliers can break while doing a hard cut.
How To Loosen Linesman Pliers?
To loosen up the pliers, spray WD40 on it excessively. Work it in the joint too. Then, dip the oily pliers in sand or dry, dusty dirt in such a manner that the pliers are covered completely. Then, continue working the pliers ‘open-and-close’ for around half an hour or at least more than ten minutes.
Now, in the beginning, you will feel some grit in the joint, however, in just a short time, if you do this correctly, it’ll loosen up. Then, soak the linesman pliers with WD40 once more to remove any sand remaining in the joint.
Finally, wipe the pliers clean. Of course, they’ll still feel a little tight, however, in just a few days they will be well broken in.
Regardless of the pliers you choose, you’re going to have good and bad features. However, in general, you should be looking for a pair of pliers that best fit your needs; some people like the multi-purpose features and some don’t. Look for comfortable grips that are cushioned and safe, the durability of the metals that are used to make the pliers, and a reasonable warranty that backs the quality of the product you purchase. When you consider your purchase carefully, you’re bound to make the right decision about your new pair of lineman’s pliers.
For me, the ultimate winner is for top linesman pliers are the Irwin Vice-Grip Lineman’s Pliers, 9-1/2″. It was an easy choice to make, because not only do they grip and cut flawlessly, they also have an extremely comfortable handle, which is a big point in their favour, because chances are, you’re going to be using it a lot and comfort is always essential in that case.