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The best tools work as an extra pair of hands, allowing you to efficiently perform tasks that would otherwise take a lot longer to do. Locking pliers are a great example — by locking into place, they free your hands to use other tools. Locking pliers are frequently referred to as vise-grips, but Vise-Grip is actually a trademarked name of the Irwin brand. DIYers are more likely to call the tool a vise-grip than a locking plier, but it’s worth noting the distinction.
Locking pliers were designed as an effective replacement for vises. While a traditional benchtop vise will always have its place, they are impractical and time consuming to use in certain settings. If you need to grip smaller items, then you’ll probably want a pair of needle-nose locking pliers. These can be used to grip and pull nails and fasteners, hold a workpiece in place, and they can even be used as a replacement knob for a machine. You can depend on locking pliers for anything you need to securely hold.
Locking pliers are fairly easy to operate. The jaws are opened and closed using handles, and you make fine adjustments by turning the knob at the base. The turning knob of a pair of locking pliers draws clear inspiration from a vise, which also utilizes a turning screw to tighten its hold on a workpiece. When you clamp the handles of locking pliers onto a workpiece, the jaws will make a satisfying click as it snaps into place. Once you’re ready to let go, these pliers have a quick release handle that detaches the jaws.
If you’re an auto enthusiast, a metalworker or a home DIYer, a pair of needle-nose locking pliers are a great tool to keep in your bag. Even if you only pull out the toolbox every six months to make a minor repair, locking pliers are useful enough they’re worth having for the average homeowner. These are some of our favorite needle-nose vise grips and locking pliers on Amazon.
1. Irwin Vise-Grip 4 Piece Set
Trying to grip a pipe with a small pair of pliers is as impractical as trying to grip a nail with a big pair of pliers. That’s why this set is a great option. It consists of four Vise-Grips from the Irwin brand, the company that introduced the original. Included is a pair of needle-nose vise grips for finer work. It’s made out of a heat-treated steel alloy for long-term durability.
Pros: Set of four tools from the original locking pliers brand. Includes a needle-nose vise grip for finer work. Long-reach design.
Cons: Somewhat expensive considering the tools are no longer made in the US.
2. Capri Tools Klinge Long Nose Locking Pliers
These long-reach needle-nose locking pliers are 6-inches long, making them good for reaching small workpieces. As an added bonus, these locking pliers feature a wire cutter, making this a versatile tool for anyone working with thin wires. The slightly curved design allows the user to work at a more ergonomic and comfortable angle.
Pros: Built-in wire cutter. Ergonomic angle. Easily fits into smaller spaces.
Cons: Less precise than Vise-Grips.
3. WORKPRO 3-piece Locking Pliers Set
If you’re looking for a set but don’t want to spend too much, consider these pliers from Workpro. Three locking pliers from the brand cost as much as you might pay for a single tool. Three tools are included: a 10-inch curved-jaw, a 7-inch curved-jaw, and a 6.5-inch straight-jaw. The latter works well as a needle-nose locking plier. Unlike most other options, these have a rubberized grip for comfortable use.
Pros: Affordable set of three pliers, including a needle-nose option. Rubberized grip for comfortable handling.
Cons: Not as durable as more expensive options.
4. Crescent 5 Pc. Curved-Jaw and Long Nose Locking Pliers
This affordable set consists of five different pliers, which vary by size and shape. There’s a 5-inch, 7-inch and 10-inch curved-jaw pliers. There are also two pairs of needle-nose pliers: one 6-inch pair and one 9-inch pair. The set is also available in two or three piece sets, but those do not include the needle-nose pliers. The tools are nickel-plated to resist abrasion, and each pair includes a wire-cutter.
Pros: Affordable set of five tools. Includes two pairs of needle-nose pliers. Cushioned release lever. Adjustment knob can be tightened using a hex-key, resulting in an even tighter grip.
Cons: Adjustment knob can be hard to tighten if you’re not using a hex key.