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What Are Lineman's Pliers?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 17, 2024
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Lineman's pliers are tools often used by electricians. These have insulated handles and blunt tips with teeth on the inside. They also have a set of small cutting blades near the hinge for cutting wires. Large lineman's pliers can be used for large wires, but these are typically too bulky and heavy for many professionals.

Electricians typically use lineman's pliers the most in their line of work. Other tradesmen, however, also find these types of pliers very useful. Many home handymen also own pair of these pliers, which they use to complete home improvement projects involving electric power.

The handles of these types of pliers are usually insulated. Rubber is most commonly used to cover the handles of this metal tool. This protects users of these pliers against electrical shocks.

Most lineman's pliers typically have square, blunt noses. These make it easy to bend thick wires. They can also be used to straighten wires or bend sheets of metal.

The inside edges of lineman's pliers also have ridges on them. These ridges are similar to teeth, and they sink into most metals, making it easy to grasp wires and other metal objects. For example, these pliers are excellent for grasping and twisting several wires together. They are also great tools for pulling small nails and other similar objects.

Some lineman's pliers also have wire crimpers built right into them. These are usually located below the joint of the pliers. This feature can be used to crimp two or more wires together.

These pliers also have built-in wire cutters. These are near the hinge, or the part of the pliers where the two blades meet. Cutting through thick wires is usually no problem for these types of pliers. Typically, the closer the wire is to the pivot point, the easier it will be to cut. Large lineman's pliers will also cut through wires much more easily than small ones.

Large lineman's pliers, however, are usually much too bulky and heavy for most jobs. The average size for lineman's pliers is around 9 inches (23 centimeters) long. Larger and smaller pliers can also be purchased, but the average length will usually suffice for most jobs. Pliers that are too small will usually not exert enough force for a clean cut through a thick wire.

When looking to purchase a pair of lineman's pliers, most consumers will notice that they can be found to fit nearly any budget. Stainless steel tools are generally some of the least expensive, and they are generally maintenance free. Tools made from high carbon steel, on the other hand, will usually cost a little more, but they are typically more durable. Also, tools made from forged steel are generally more durable than tools made from cast steel.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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