Pliers Information

Pliers via Wright ToolsPliers (plyers) are handheld, manually-powered hand tools, often employing serrated jaws, designed for holding, cutting, bending, or manipulation of tough or difficult materials such as wire, sheet metal, or fine machine components. They are usually simpler and more lightweight than most wrenches, which allow users to quickly and easily manipulate objects too small or too dangerous for fingers. Pliers typically vary in length from 4” to 20” and consist of three basic components: a pair of handles, a pivot where the handles join, and the head section that contains the gripping jaws or cutting edges.


Pliers are most commonly made from steel alloys containing additives such as vanadium or chromium for strength and corrosion resistance. Some specialty-use pliers may be made from softer metals depending on the application, such as musical instrument repair or jewelry making, where the amount of pressure on an object should be lessened.


These tools are often included in one of two broad categories, solid joint pliers or slip joint pliers.

Solid joint pliers are fixed with a solid pin or rivet and are therefore not adjustable.

Slip joint pliers are adjustable and can be either multiple-hole pliers, or tongue and groove. The slip, or adjustable joint, of these pliers allow the tool be adjust to the size of the object.

Within the broad categories of pliers, there is also a variety of common types that vary per application. Common types of pliers include:


Breaker-Grozier pliers have flat serrated jaws that are used by glass makers to make precise breaks during the finishing process of glass making.


Combinations pliers, or Lineman's pliers, have flat jaws with a cutting edge near the fulcrum.


Diagonal pliers, or wire cutters, have no gripping area on the jaws but are instead v-shaped, which creates a cutting edge.

End Cutting

End cutting pliers, or end nippers, are pliers that have the cutting edge perpendicular to the handles.


Fencing pliers have a flat, blunt, hammer-like side and a slopping claw side with flat, gripping jaws that open in-between the two sides.


Flat-nose, or duckbill, pliers have long, narrow, flat jaws.


Locking pliers can be locked into position with use of a bolt positioned on one handle, which is used to control the spacing of the jaws.

Miniature / Precision

Miniature/precision pliers are used in applications that require precise material handling. They are used by jewelers, watch matchers, and in the electronics industry.

Needle Nose

Needle-nose, or long nose, pliers have long, narrow jaws that are used in small areas.


Punch pliers have a hole punch that are used to make small holes in soft materials.


Retaining-ring pliers have pointed, narrow jaws that are used to manipulate retaining-rings.


Round-nose pliers have pointed, narrow jaws that are used for working with small objects.

Slip Joint

Slip joint pliers have flat jaws and adjustable size setting for use with different size objects

Tongue and Groove

Tongue and groove pliers have multiple adjustments for use with various sized objects.

Specialty / Other

The plier is a specialty/other type.

Types of pliers via Test Equipment Depot

Image Credit: Test Equipment Depot


Special features commonly offered for pliers include an optional soft grip for comfort, wire cutting abilities, the option of being electrically insulated, and bent nose options. Additional special features and options for pliers may also be available.

Image credits:

Wright Tool | Test Equipment Depot


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