July 12, 2024

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The 3 Best Adjustable Pliers of 2024

3 min read

The most useful all-around gripping tool to have in a home toolbox is a pair of adjustable pliers. Because of their large jaw capacity—more than 2 inches for a pair of 10-inch pliers—adjustable pliers (aka water pump pliers or Channellock pliers, a trademarked name) are excellent for a wide range of uses, such as tightening under-sink plumbing, installing a new toilet, or adjusting a garage door.

After putting in 30 hours of research, considering more than 50 different adjustable pliers, and testing 15, we found that the best pair for the home toolbox is Irwin’s Vise-Grip GV10 10-Inch GrooveLock Pliers with the V-jaw. This pair offers a jaw capacity of more than 2 inches, an easy push-button jaw-size adjustment, and very comfortable handles. It’s also one of the more affordable options.

Our pick

These 10-inch pliers have a lifetime warranty, an easy push-button locking system, and comfortable handles. We’ve used the same pair problem-free for over a decade.

The Irwin Vise-Grip GV10 10-Inch GrooveLock Pliers provide a quick adjustment that makes setting the jaw width easier, especially if you’re working in an awkward spot, such as the cramped space behind a washing machine. In addition, the jaws are designed so that they self-lock onto a nut or bolt, letting you focus more on turning than on gripping. Offering all of that for under $20, this pair is unlikely to break your tool budget. Irwin also covers it with a lifetime warranty, but in over 11 years of regularly using the same pair, we haven’t needed that yet.

Upgrade pick

The Cobra’s self-locking feature is flawless, and its 25 different settings give you more nuanced jaw-width options than competitors do.

If you want complete finesse and ease from your tools, and you’re willing to pay a little more for that, we highly recommend the Knipex 87 02 250 10-Inch Cobra Water Pump Pliers with comfort-grip handles. By every marker, the Cobra pliers excelled against the competition in our tests. These pliers have a far more precise adjustment mechanism than any of the other tools we tried, the handles are more comfortable, and the small, sleek head can fit into the tightest of spots. The self-locking mechanism was by far the best that we saw. A tool of this nature doesn’t come cheap, but the price tag, usually approaching $45, makes sense when you see the difference in side-by-side comparisons with competitors.

Also great

With an elegant, unique design, the smooth parallel jaws of this wrench grab a bolt or nut, giving you a slip-free grip on stuck fasteners.

If you’re willing to invest in a versatile, high-quality tool, we recommend the Knipex 86 02 250 10-Inch Pliers Wrench. This tool combines the gripping force of adjustable pliers with the perfectly parallel jaws of an adjustable wrench. The result is something that can grip a nut with an even clamping force, regardless of the sizing. The push-button adjustment is just as nice as that of the company’s Cobra pliers, and each jaw setting has some movement, so if you dial it in correctly, you can easily turn a nut, open the tool’s jaws just enough to reset it, and then turn the nut again. Because of the tool’s flat jaws, it isn’t great for pipes or other round items, but overall, the engineering of this clever tool is simply outstanding, and the build quality is excellent. Among all the hand tools I’ve used in a nearly 25-year career of construction and tool reviewing, this Knipex Pliers Wrench is one of my favorites.


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