Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians: The Top Picks for 2020

Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians

The value of having the best Lineman pliers for electricians is undeniable, yet getting a decent one is easier said than done. No worries! We got you covered!

Folks, let’s be honest.

You never paid that much attention to pliers before, let alone buying an actual pair of pliers that work.

What you all did is probably going to the nearest hardware store and looking for the cheapest pair of it on the rack.

Welp, that’s got to stop, because we’ll be providing you with the best Lineman pliers for electricians! Stay tuned.

AT A GLANCE: MY TOP 5 PICKS FOR THE BEST LINEMAN PLIERS FOR ELECTRICIANS
  1. MY TOP PICK: Irwin 2078209
  2. FOR GRIPPING: Klein J2000-9NECRTP
  3. BEST OVERALL: Knipex 0912240SBA
  4. BUDGET PICK: Southwire SCP9TPC
  5. Channellock 369

See more:

What Are Linesman Pliers Used for?

It is often seen in the electric trade.

The most common uses of these hand tools are cutting, straightening, and bending wires.

Other applications include construction work or communications where they are used for stripping cable jacks, splicing wires, or wire insulation.

Besides what was mentioned, it is also used for:

  • Cutting metal: It is strong enough to cut through sheet metal or other small metal objects like nails or screws, providing a sufficient mechanical advantage for electricians.
  • Removing bends: Warps and bends? No problem! The top-notch Linesman pliers for electricians can remove these stubborn marks from the surface of soft metals like lead or brass at ease.
  • Use an acetylene torch to heat the metal to a certain extent, then cover the area with asbestos cloth.

After that, pressure on the surface with enough pressure to smoothen the bends and warps.

  • Flattening metal edges: The flat nose part of Linesman pliers can be used to clean sharp edges of metal.
  • By pressing down with enough pressure, these edges can be flattened without you even breaking a sweat.
  • Bending and straightening sheet metal, cable, and wire: The square nose of it also has another use – create perpendicular angles.
  • That’s right! All you need is a soft piece of cloth wrapped around the metal and will work its magic.

As for wires, you can easily stretch them over the square nose to create an accurate 90-degree angle.

Quick comparison

Product ImagesProduct NameEditor's RatingPrice
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q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B005EXNWN0&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=24081403 20 - Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians: The Top Picks for 2020ir?t=24081403 20&l=li2&o=1&a=B005EXNWN0 - Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians: The Top Picks for 2020Knipex 09 12 240 SBA 9.5-Inch4.8 latest price
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B000A0S4XK&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=24081403 20 - Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians: The Top Picks for 2020ir?t=24081403 20&l=li2&o=1&a=B000A0S4XK - Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians: The Top Picks for 2020IRWIN VISE-GRIP Lineman's Pliers, 9-1/2-Inch (2078209)4.8 latest price
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00004SBD6&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=24081403 20 - Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians: The Top Picks for 2020ir?t=24081403 20&l=li2&o=1&a=B00004SBD6 - Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians: The Top Picks for 2020Channellock 369 9.5-Inch Lineman's Pliers4.7 latest price
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B019QXO1TC&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=24081403 20 - Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians: The Top Picks for 2020ir?t=24081403 20&l=li2&o=1&a=B019QXO1TC - Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians: The Top Picks for 2020Southwire Tools & Equipment SCP9TPC 9-Inch4.6 latest price

The Best Pliers for Electricians

Klein J2000-9NECRTP – Best  for Gripping Capability

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Klein has to be the name that first comes to mind of most people when speaking of the best linesman pliers in the world.

Klein J2000-9NECRTP is no exception, being our top pick for pliers that have the best overall performance today.

Let’s see why!

When you first hold this Klein tool in your hands, you’ll notice that they have the great gripping capacity.

This is thanks to the rivet placed closer to the cutting edges, enhancing the gripping power and leverage up to 46% more than other pliers of the same class.

As a result, these pliers allow you to cut through the material as easy as cake!

You’re probably thinking, why would I even bother looking for another product? Well, the price will make you think again.

The Klein J2000-9NECRTP is quite pricey, but if you’re looking for a pair of pliers to go with you in the long run, this is it!

Related:

Pros

  • Built-in crimper for extra safety
  • Hot-riveted cutting joints
  • Dual-purpose
  • Shock-resistant

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Quite bulky

Final Verdict: The Klein J2000-9NECRTP is an all-rounder with top-of-the-line gripping capacity that is suitable for different purposes of use.

Knipex 0912240SBA – Best Overall

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Knipex is another well-known brand for making the best electrical tools, and Knipex linesman pliers have been in the industry for quite some time now.

Of course, there’s a reason for that.

Knipex 0912240SBA is the runner up on today’s list of the Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians, and here’s why!

These pliers actually have quite a lot in common with the Klein model mentioned above, especially in terms of gripping power.

In this case, 0912240SBA features superior gripping and pulling of up to 20% better than similar products.

In addition to that, you can spot a serrated cross-hatched knurled gripping area near the cutting edges, which is the contributing factor to the optimal leverage and cutting capacity.

The only downside to this product is durability.

You’ll literally have to pamper it like a baby, which is not something too intriguing to hear.

These are made from a material that is prone to abrasion, causing problems over just a short time of use.

Pros

  • Comfortable handling
  • Stiff gripping
  • Provides precision when cutting
  • Ultra-high leverage design

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Cutting edges wear out fast

Final Verdict: The Knipex 0912240SBA makes a great option for those who are looking for a pair of linesman pliers to tackle medium to big-sized projects as the jaws can be quite big for smaller tasks around the house!

Irwin 2078209 – Best  for Electricians

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Let’s meet with another outstanding linesman plier deserving to be electrician top choice – Irwin 2078209.

One of the best things about this Irwin tool is the well-designed chrome-nickel steel jaws.

These machined jaws are there to optimize the gripping strength to a certain extent, helping you to cut through fish tape and sheet metal at ease.

Besides, it even plays the role of a wire and cable cutter fairly well.

Another worth noticing feature is the induction hardened cutting edges.

Irwin guarantees that this feature makes sure your edge stays sharpened for a longer period of time, reducing the hassle of having to sharpen the edge over and over again.

However, is there a downside to this product? Unfortunately, yes.

There is an issue with durability; Irwin 2078209 doesn’t resist rust very well, which means they wouldn’t be able to stay in your tool bag for long, provided that you often use them.

Besides, if your job demands frequent wire twisting, sorry to disappoint you but that is a little bit outside this tool’s ability.

It is made for cutting, not twisting!

Pros

  • High gripping capability
  • Easy cutting
  • Durable nickel chromium steel construction
  • Induction hardened cutting edges

Cons

  • Prone to rust
  • Can encounter problems when twisting wires

Final Verdict: The Irwin 2078209 makes it hassle-free to cut through any kind of metal, thanks to its incredibly powerful cutting edge.

These pliers would be a great addition to any electrician’s tool pouch.

Channellock 369 – Best  for Cutting Through Metal and Wires

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At first glance, Channellock 369 looks rather simple, but wait! There’s more about this product!

These feature a conventional design with knife-and-anvil cutting edges, letting you cut through hard materials of all sorts like butter! What is more, the edges are laser-treated, enhancing the ease of use and greater longevity.

What we like best about these pliers is the Xtreme Leverage Technology (XLT).

The manufacturers have met their first intention regarding the leverage, and how they did it was actually quite simple! The cutting edges of these pliers are actually put closer to the pivot, making it easier for the tool to grip all kinds of things – electrical wires, metal pieces, fish tapes – and bite them apart.

Nonetheless, some people don’t like how they handle feels in their hands.

They’re not shock-resistant, and they make your hand ache after just a short time of use.

Pros

  • Unique jaw design
  • Laser-heated cutting edges
  • Knife-and-anvil design
  • Ease of handling

Cons

  • Causes hand fatigue

Final Verdict: Channellock 369 makes a great mid-range pair of pliers for heavy-duty jobs demanding extra cutting power.

If you want something similar to the Klein product we mentioned, but not willing to pay as much, this is it!

Southwire SCP9TPC – Budget Pick

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We’ve finally come to the last product on today’s list – the Southwire SCP9TPC.

They look great and have found a place on today’s best for the money slot! No, in case you wonder, this item is not any cheaper than the products on this list.

As a matter of fact, in a side-by-side comparison with some, it is even more expensive.

Then how come it is a bang for the buck?

Simple: It offers pretty much high-end features, which, technically speaking, should never be found at this price range!

In detail, it is hassle-free to cut through ⅛” and ¼” fish tapes with these pliers, all thanks to the induction hardened cutting blades.

In addition, you’ll be overwhelmed with the cutting power SCP9TPC has to offer, which tears apart tough material with you putting in an effort.

Also, on the jaw, you can spot some file teeth.

They are there to help get rid of burrs found in the conduit, or undesired bends and warps on the metal surface.

What we don’t like about this product is how you open it after cutting.

It’s so hard and inconvenient if you’re working on projects that require you to use pliers frequently.

Pros

  • Dual material grip
  • Forged steel construction
  • Durable
  • Induction hardened cutting blades

Cons

  • Hard to open after cutting

Final Verdict: The Southwire SCP9TPC is the perfect alternative to the Knipex model we mentioned above but with more grip padding and less money spent.

Types of Linesman Pliers

  • Insulated : These are the most common type of linesman pliers used in the electric trade.
  • They are must-haves in  the toolbox of electricians as they are able to withstand a certain amount of electric (i.e., 1000V)

Worst case scenario, parts of the electric cords are exposed, and you’re working on live circuits.

When such a thing happens, an insulated pair of pliers will protect you from any potential electrical shocks.

  • Snap-on linesman pliers: These are preferred by homeowners and DIY enthusiasts as they are best for small projects around the house, even though they’re not the most durable among the four types.
  • Snap-on linesman pliers have a stiff joint, meaning that you’ll have to use some hand strength to open and close the pliers, whereas other models have a flat joint that opens on their own.
  • Linesman pliers with crimp: This type comes in handy when you often have to deal with wire-cutting, thanks to its crimp.
  • Since linesman pliers with crimp don’t have any alloys in its construction, the joint is technically more durable and can cut through alloy-based material at ease.

There are some latest models on the market that have the ability to stop moisture and oxygen from entering the materials – in other words, gas-tight!

  • Linesman pliers with spring: These tools are an all-rounder that is ideal for everyday work as they’re less likely to rust, unlike the types mentioned.

Buying Guide for the Best Linesman Pliers

Forget everything you think you know about pliers.

It is different from conventional pliers that most people know about.

Below are some important factors you need to consider carefully before making a purchase worthwhile.

Material

The materials used to make a pair of linesman pliers contribute a great deal to the overall performance and durability.

It is best to go with steel pliers as they have been proven to resist corrosion very well.

Chromium and vanadium are two other options you can opt for if steel material is not your cup of tea.

As trivial as it sounds, the sturdier the material, the more likely it will become brittle after it has been used.

Grip

A pair of linesman pliers with a good and comfortable grip will reduce hand fatigue and slippage, allowing you to use them for however long you want.

The pliers’ grip also has a lot to do with the ease of use, so it’s better if you can shop at a hardware store and actually have a hold of the pliers to see how they feel in your hands before making a purchase.

Some pliers might not feel as comfortable as said in the advertisement, so be aware of that.

Also, pliers with rubber grips are certainly more ergonomic and easier to hold than metal plastic ones.

Cost

The cost is also an important factor to consider carefully when choosing a pair of linesman pliers.

You know what they also say, the higher price comes with higher quality.

Even though in some certain situations, like the Southwire SCP9TPC we mentioned above, which come to the market at a very low cost yet offer incredible quality, things like this don’t happen very often.

As tempting as it is to buy a $5 pair of pliers than a $50 one, it’s not that much cheaper long-term.

A good pair of pliers don’t always have to cost you a ton of money, it is something within your financial reach and best meets your needs.

Cutting Edges

The cutting edges of pliers should allow you to cut through materials at ease.

New models on the market come with additional features on the cutting edges such as laser-treated or inducted-heated to help you deal with special tasks as these offer longer sharpness on the edges.

How to Use and Maintain

How to Use

As stated above, linesman pliers are handy tools that can be used for basically anything involving cutting through wires or bending sheet metals.

For instance, the extraction of screws and nails.

What you need to do is to grip the bent head of the screw or nail with the nose of your pliers, and start twisting it in the other direction as opposed to when it was inserted.

How to Maintain

One of the most important factors to keep your pliers in particular, and hand tools in general, from wearing out soon is the heat.

When you’re a professional electrician, it’s hard to keep your pliers away from the heat, but at least try not letting them be exposed to excessive heat.

Your tool will be damaged or weakened very quickly, resulting from the change in chemical properties.

For that reason, always remember to shut down the power of the project you’re working on even if you’re using insulated pliers.

Another thing to pay attention to is how you cut wires.

Hold it in the right angle; don’t rock them from side to side, or even attempt to bend the wire against the cutting edges.

Speaking of the cutting edges, it should be oiled every once in a while, or after constant uses in a brief period.

One or two drops of oil at the joint are enough to keep them lubricated for ease of use as well as a longer life span.

FAQs

What are the most popular linesman pliers?

You can choose a pair from the five electrician top options we mentioned above as they’re all very popular among electricians and DIY enthusiasts.

Since each brand has its own unique features, it’s hard to name ‘the popular ones.

You can take a look at brands like Dewalt or Knipex if you want a decent pair of pliers without having to invest too much.

They’re not specialized in making pliers, but products beautifully, and the quality is guaranteed.

But if you have some dough to spend, the best Klein lineman pliers will impress you with its superior quality and craftsmanship.

How do I choose suitable linesman pliers?

It depends solidly on your purpose of use and how much you are willing to spend.

If you have been reading this far, you must have a sense of the type of pliers to choose that best meets your needs.

In case you didn’t know, the type of pliers is the factor to decide how long the pliers will last.

If you’re using a pair of snap-on linesman pliers to cut through sheet metal, it will still work just fine, but not for long.

Snap-on pliers are not that durable, which is why you should only use them for small tasks around the house.

What kind of Pliers does Electricians use? Insulated or not insulated?

This is the question we hear a lot.

The truth is, top electricians, use both! However, insulated pliers are definitely a must-have if you’re doing any type of electrical work.

In fact, most of your tools should be insulated, and this even comes as a requirement for certain jobs!

Just because your pliers have rubber or plastic handles, it doesn’t mean they can or will insulate you in the event of an electrical shock.

Uninsulated can be used when you’re working on low voltage wiring; yet, it never hurts to use insulated ones instead as you might come across a situation where the wires suddenly get too hot.

The difference between Combination Pliers vs  Linesman Pliers?

Even though combination and linesman pliers seem to have similar functions and placement of gripping and cutting areas, they’re actually two different tools!

Combo pliers have a round jaw for grabbing nuts, whereas linesman pliers have a more knurled jaw and cutters.

Linesman pliers are also generally larger and heavier than combo pliers.

In Conclusion

And that’s a wrap for our article of the Best Lineman Pliers for Electricians!

After reading these linesman pliers reviews, we assume that you can now choose the most suited easily with the guideline we provided.

If you still haven’t made up your mind about what to add to your tool bag yet, why not consider our recommendation?

Personally, we would like to recommend Irwin 2078209 as the ultimate winner.

Regarding the electrician top choice, this is just second to the Klein tool.

It ticks all boxes in terms of quality and cost.

Sure, they’re not the cheapest pliers on this list, but the gripping power they offer is no joke.

Thus, if you’re going to be using them a lot, you’ll love how comfortable the handle feels in your hands.

further reading: