Ever tried to disconnect that impossible-to remove wire terminal underneath your dash? Or how about reaching down into a door panel to remove a clip with a regular pair of pliers only to come up a few inches short? What you needed was a pair of needle-nose pliers (also called long-nose pliers). Imperative for completing a tool collection, long-nose pliers provide a natural extension of your hand when no other tool will do the job. To find out which pair of needle-nose pliers is best, we gathered up 12 different brands, all at least 8 inches in length, and got to work testing each one. Leverage, tips with bite, and comfort are all extremely important areas we focused on for the needle-nose evaluation, but we also closely evaluated head length, plier material, ease of use, warranty, and country of manufacture. Long-nose pliers are used for several different tasks, including gripping, bending wires, cutting wires, and in a pinch, used as a regular set of pliers. We tested each of these parameters by cutting a 10-gauge copper wire, large zip tie, loosening a 10mm hex screw, and picking up tiny wire fibers to examine tip grip. Ergonomics and value were also factored into our test.
1. Channellock Code Blue 8-inch PN:318cb $26.94 (at www.amazon.com)
When you've been proudly making tools in the USA for more than 125 years, chances are your professional line is well engineered, well made, and easy to use. Such is the case for Channellock's Code Blue pliers. Featuring ultra-sharp and strong cutters, precision tips, and extremely comfortable grips, the Code Blue pliers exceled at each test. Good leverage, quality high-carbon steel, and limited lifetime warranty made the Channellocks an easy First Place choice. Perhaps the best part is the logo that states: "Fiercely made in Meadville, Pennsylvania.”
2. Crescent 9-inch compound Leverage PN: Ps6549c $14.97 (at www.lowes.com)
If you've never tried Crescent's new Compound Leverage pliers, take it from us—these are professional-grade tools. Easy to use with spring-loaded, rubberized and cushioned grips, the Compound Leverage pliers made cutting and tightening a breeze. A lock lever ensures they'll stay closed in your toolbox or toolbelt. At only $14.97, they provide an impressive value, especially with a larger plier area sandwiched between the tips and cutter section. The only area of concern was the one-year warranty. With multiple parts moving to create the added leverage, we'd like a longer warranty. Being made in China also kept them out of the top spot.
3. Irwin tools/Vise Grips 8-inch Long Nose PN: 2078218 $12.06 (at www.amazon.com)
We've tested several Irwin/Vise Grip tools over the last year, and the long-nose pliers continue the tradition of quality handtools at a solid price point. Picking the pliers up at amazon for $12.06, the Irwin pliers are an incredible value with features like Pro Touch comfortable grips, nickel chromium steel construction, and a hardened cutting edge. Speaking of which, the cutter is top-notch, as is the lifetime warranty. The tips proved strong and leverage was never an issue. Deserving of Third Place, the Irwin tools are a solid choice without breaking the bank.
4. DeWalt 9-inch compound Long Nose PN: DWHt70277 $14.97 (at Home Depot)
Continuing their reach into the handtool world, DeWalt's 9-inch Compound Leverage pliers feature more cutting power than traditional pliers, have comfortable bi-material grips, and performed exceptionally well in the screw torque test. The cutter wasn't as sharp as others in the test, and we also noticed the handles needed a little kick start to open quickly. A lifetime warranty and low price helped secure the DeWalt's Top 5 finish.
5. Pittsburgh Professional 8-inch Long Nose PN: 94384 $4.99
The absolute value leader, the Pittsburgh Professional pliers were feature-rich for less than $5.00. Comfortable grips, chrome vanadium steel construction, and a lifetime warranty helped the Pittsburgh pliers stand out among considerably more expensive tools. We liked most things about these pliers, except the cutter, which wasn't the sharpest or the most precise. Overall, we came away with a sincere appreciation for the performance, features, and price of the Pittsburgh Pro pliers.
6. Channellock 8-inch Long Nose PN: 30916 $17.99 (at Summit Racing)
A smaller, more basic version of the Channellock Code Blue pliers, the standard Blue Channellock long-nose pliers have similar crosshatching on the tips for a strong grip, heat-treated cutters that cut our 10-ga wire with ease, but where the two dramatically difer is the grips. The Code Blue pliers that won our competition have a Santoprene core with TPR rubber over-mold for a truly comfortable feel. The standard Channellock Blue pliers have the patented Blue grips, which are basically a thin coat of heat-shrink tubing. Based solely on performance, the Channellock Blue pliers were near the top, but because of the lack of comfort, they slipped to Sixth Place.