Pliers are one of the most useful and versatile tools around - every home should really have at least one pair! Whether you need to do some household maintenance, make a few repairs on your car or bike, or simply enjoy tinkering around with electronics, you’ll want to make sure that you have a decent pair of pliers that are designed for the job. Even if you don't have any work in mind, it's still useful to have a set in the house for emergencies.
There's no need to nip down to your local Halfords though - we’ve put together a list of the best plier sets in the UK on Amazon and eBay, so you can shop from the comfort of your own home. Whether you’re looking for a cheap pair for cutting through metal or a VDE-approved set that's suitable for snipping electrical wires, we've got recommendations from trusted brands like Draper, Stanley, and Knipex. Read on to find the perfect pliers for you!
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Our buying guide will explain all about the many different types of pliers and what they're used for, so you’ll be able to find the right set for whatever project you’re planning.
Each type of plier is intended for a specific purpose; just as a screwdriver is only useful when the tip matches the screw's head, the same is true with pliers - you won’t be able to strip a wire with a tool that's designed to clamp onto water pipes! With this in mind, we'll run through the most common types and their purposes here.
The first type of pliers we'll look at are slip joint pliers; these have a pivot point that allows you to change the width in order to fit the jaws around different-sized objects.
These pliers generally come in two styles: the straight variety and the tongue and groove style, which can usually open wide enough for the jaws sit at a 45-degree angle to the handle.
Slip joint pliers have teeth that can grip onto a range of objects without slipping - this makes them a good option for tightening or loosening nuts and bolts, in addition to keeping hold of kitchen or bathroom plumbing parts. As a result, they're a popular choice when it comes to home DIY and auto repairs.
The combination plier is a jack-of-all-trades and can be found in most sets due to its versatility. As the name suggests, these pliers combine a number of different features in order to perform a variety of functions, from gripping and twisting to cutting and stripping wires.
This type of plier typically has jaws with flat edges and squared tips. Usually, a pipe grip is positioned between the jaws and wire cutters - this is a rounded, serrated section in the jaws that can hold pipes and cables without crushing them.
Since the combination plier is a multi-purpose tool, it'll probably become your go-to option when doing odd jobs around the home and garden.
As you can probably guess from the name, these pliers have just one use - slicing through things! Since the cutting blades are at a diagonal angle to the handles, they allow you to cut neatly without the handles getting in the way.
Depending on the strength of the material that they're made from, they should be able to cut through most types of metal and the best ones tend to be insulated in order to protect you from electric shock.
Those who plan on doing metalworking or restringing a musical instrument like a guitar will certainly find a use for a pair of cutting pliers, or clippers as they’re sometimes known. They’re extremely useful in a number of different scenarios relating to the home, garden, and garage.
Needle-nose pliers are used when working with small components such as jewellery, electronics, and technology. The pointed nose of these pliers is perfect for holding and cutting small wires or adjusting delicate mechanisms.
Their long shape allows them to reach into small spaces where components may have become stuck; plus there are also varieties of needle-nose pliers which have a bent end, allowing them to fit into places that are even harder to reach. Alongside the combination plier, this type of tool will quickly become one of your favourites due to its adaptability!
It may sound obvious but if you’re planning on doing any work involving wiring, it's extremely important to use insulated pliers. As one of the functions of a pair of pliers is to strip wires, anything that may be live or that carries a charge should be handled with the utmost care.
You’ll want to look for a set that meets the VDE (Verband der Elektrotechnik, or the Association of German Electrical Engineers) standard of testing. This will often be printed on the pliers themselves or written on the product packaging.
Above all, make sure that you know what you’re doing when working with open wiring - if you’re unsure about anything, contact a professional electrician rather than trying to carry out tasks yourself!
When shopping for pliers, you might think that their size is important but actually it shouldn't matter too much. While it's always good to have a range of different sized instruments in your toolbox, pliers are generally designed to fit around all kinds of items anyway. In fact, the shape and purpose of the plier are more important than the dimensions.
There are, of course, some tasks that require a particular size of plier though. For example, working with certain piping may respond better to a larger tool, whereas tinkering with jewellery or watches may require something smaller that provides more precision. For the most part, however, an average-sized plier set will cover the majority of household jobs.
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When looking for the best plier set on the market, we had to strike a balance between the quality of the tools and the price they're sold for. This superb set from Draper sits in the ideal spot, being both inexpensive and extremely high quality.
Each tool is strong and durable, with hardened edges and jaws that are still comfortable to use - even for long periods of time. While there are quite a few Draper products on our list, this particular set really stands out from the crowd. Whatever you need it for, it'll get the job done efficiently and without breaking the bank!
Don't let the price tag put you off - this is a fantastic set of pliers, and it'll probably be the only one you'll ever have to buy. Knipex is, in our humble opinion, the best plier manufacturer in the world and with proper care, these tools will last you a lifetime.
While they're are totally insulated, carrying VDE certification for use with live wires, these tools will also serve any other purpose you could possibly need a set of pliers for. They're expensive, but they're incredibly reliable and will save you loads of money in the long run if you do decide to invest.
This set only just edges out the Amazon Basics set to make it into our top 3, thanks to a few outstanding features. Firstly, it comes in at around £10 cheaper than the previous product. Despite the fact that it lacks a soft carry case, we think the money saved overall more than makes up for this.
Furthermore, the build quality of these tools is surprisingly good for the low price, boasting ergonomic handles and durable carbon steel jaws. A multipack of tough tools that are versatile and comfortable to hold - not bad at all for less than £20!
Oh Amazon Basics, where would we be without you? In terms of a set for beginners, this is a brilliant buy. It offers four of the main types of pliers that you'll most likely need around the home, presented in a neat little carry case.
If you're not familiar with the Amazon Basics brand, don't take the term "basics" to mean cheaply madeor likely to break. It just means that it's a solid entry-level purchase without all the expensive bells and whistles, not that it's inferior in terms of the build quality.
This option is very similar to the previous set on our list but it does have a few key differences that make it worth considering in its own right. Firstly, it contains a slip joint plier and a specialist water pump plier.
Secondly, it doesn't seem to be affected by rust due to the fact that it's designed to be used on pipes and waterworks. If you're looking for tools to help with a plumbing job, this is the perfect choice for you!
When it comes to value for money, it's hard to beat this three-piece set from Stanley which is suitable for pretty much any household task. If you're looking for a set to keep in the kitchen drawer for emergencies, this is an excellent choice.
The only issue with this set is that it has a tendency to rust if left in a shed or garage, which isn't usually something that other tools made by this brand seem to suffer from. This shouldn't be an issue if you store it inside your house though.
Carrying the all-important VDE certification, this plier set is fully insulated for use with live electrical wiring - each plier has been tested to 10000V. This makes it safe for working on live 1000V AC or 1500V DC lines.
Obviously, it probably won't make much sense to splash out on a set of insulated pliers if you're not going to do electrical work but it's certainly worth checking these ones out if it's a possibility in the near future.
This set of pliers by Draper features hardened chrome vanadium steel, comfortable soft-grip handles, and an extremely handy hard carry case for storing your tools or transporting them around.
Despite the convenience of this set, we find that it sits in a strange place between professional use and home use; there are higher quality options out there for professionals and cheaper choices for casual DIY enthusiasts.
Stanley is another trusted tool manufacturer and this robust set made from alloy steel is ideal for heavier work, as well as your usual home and garden maintenance tasks.
While undoubtedly a good set, the pliers seem to be designed for those with larger hands as the handles are a little big and bulky - this can make them difficult to operate if you have smaller hands. The size is hence definitely something to consider when the functionality of the tool relies on you being able to grip it correctly.
If you're looking to pick up a cheap set of pliers to keep around the house for the occasional task here and there, you can't go too far wrong with this little set. After all, Draper is a brand that's deemed very trustworthy by the tool industry.
Although this is a great option for those looking to watch their wallet, like many other budget choices these pliers are a tad flimsy. We'd therefore say that they're only really suitable for odd-jobs, rather than regular use.
Home is where the heart is, so why not spend some time renovating your space and making it as functional as possible? If you need a few more tools, check out our favourite DIY accessories at the links below!
Every home should have a good set of pliers in a drawer or cupboard somewhere - after all, you never know when you might need them. Whether you're looking for a simple set or maybe an upgrade that'll stand the test of time, we're sure that you'll be able to find something suitable on our list!
Author: David Sexton
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