What are the different types of pliers?
9th Apr 2021
A pair of pliers is one of the basic things that comes with every toolkit.
But at Maun, we know that a good pair of pliers is far from basic.
In fact, we’ve dedicated decades of craftsmanship, design, and expert manufacturing to proving that isn’t the case.
The question is: why bother? What’s the difference between a bog-standard tool and a parallel action plier? What are the different types of pliers? And what pliers are right for what job?
Well, in this blog, we’ll try to answer just that.
What is a parallel action plier?
Unlike the scissor action of standard pliers, parallel pliers are made with a sophisticated compound box joint system.
This enables the jaws to move in parallel at all times. Allowing a strong, even grip along the whole length of the jaw – rather than just the tip or at a single point. If you’ve ever tried to hold onto something small or awkwardly shaped using poor-quality pliers, you’ll know how useful this feature is.
The parallel action also means that the ‘throat’ of the pliers is open. Leaving a gap through which you can feed materials like wire, in order to manipulate or straighten them.
Some parallel pliers also have sharpened blades along the side of one jaw, used for cutting things like wire and cables. Again, the compound box joint system is useful here, as it adds extra leverage and multiples your hand force – making cutting easier.
However, once you’ve chosen a parallel plier over a standard pair, there are still hundreds of options to choose from. Depending on what type of job you’re doing, the jaws, nose, handles, and size can vary dramatically. Each one specifically designed to get the job done right. Every time.
Types of Pliers
Flat Nose Pliers
At Maun, our ‘original’ parallel plier is the flat nose parallel plier. A multi-purpose tool available in four different sizes, its serrated jaws add extra grip for holding and manipulating objects. It also has a ‘v slot’ running the entire length of one jaw, and an open throat, making it easy to grip, bend and straighten wire as needed.
Watch our Flat Nose Parallel Plier in action:
Smooth Jaw Pliers
Then there’s the smooth jaws parallel plier. The smooth surface of the jaws helps to prevent marks and damage on delicate workpieces – making them a toolbox essential for jewellery makers and fine craft workers. They’ve even been spotted on BBC1’s The Repair Shop, as the favoured tools of expert craftspeople.
Watch our Smooth Jaws Parallel Plier in action:
Next up is the side cutter parallel plier, or fencing plier. As well as doing everything the flat nose plier does, this innovative design features a high-leverage cutter on the side of the tool. This makes it useful in all sorts of applications. From farmers installing and maintaining electric fencing. To piano tuners cutting the toughest piano wire and furniture makers repeatedly cutting hard springs. To medics and dentists using the special autoclave-safe version to complete careful sterile work. We call it the combination plier: reinvented.
We also make pliers in a few different shapes, perfect
jewellery making and craft work. The 125 mm
snipe nose parallel pliers have tapered jaws, useful for gripping small objects,
working in confined spaces, or removing kinks in soft wire. Our
round jaw parallel pliers are designed for bending and forming metal coils and loops.
half round and flat jaw parallel plier multiplies hand force by five, making
easy work of bending rings in
For extra grip while you work on your craft, you can try the clamping parallel plier. With plastic coverings on the jaws, it can securely hold soft metals and even wire without damage.
Cutting pliers are normal pliers with sharpened cutting edges, designed to help electricians and DIY'ers cut through a range of soft and hard wire. They include end cutting pliers which are useful for cutting wire repeatedly as well as removing old nails, as well as diagonal cutters (also known as side cutters) designed with 22x hand force multipliers and hardened jaws.
Finally, we have a range of speciality parallel pliers,
custom-made for specific tasks. There’s the
ball chain plier for window blind installers. The 3 mm-jawed thin jaws parallel plier, for extra-confined spaces. The twine gauge measuring pliers, used in the marine fishing industry to ensure
compliance. And the
customisable soft jaws parallel plier, which you can alter to your own specification. Our long nose pliers are also used in the automotive industry to repair car radiator fins.
Shape, size and surface: how to choose the right pliers for the job
With so many options on the market, deciding what tools you need can feel overwhelming.
But for us, it mostly comes down to three things: shape, size, and surface.
For instance, those doing jobs in small spaces may select a tapered, snipe-nosed shape, for greater precision.
Utility workers and tradespeople may choose a larger sized tool, to ensure greater leverage for heavy-duty tasks.
Meanwhile, jewellers might want to select jaws with a smooth, soft plastic surface, to avoid marking or damaging soft materials like gold, silver or coloured wire.
Finally, there are a few extras that can make Maun’s parallel action pliers a delight to use for professionals and DIY-ers alike. From the rust-proof finish as standard, to the optional comfort grips and long-lasting return spring. These aren’t just the right tools for the job. These are tools to last a lifetime.
And that’s the Maun difference.