Our other sites:

What are circlip pliers made of?

What are circlip pliers made of?

Shop for Circlip Pliers

Circlip pliers need to be strong but light Circlip pliers need to be strong enough to exert the required force for expanding or contracting circlips, but still be light enough to carry and use with ease.
Circlip pliers are made from steel There are many different types available, and the quality of the materials used to make them is likely to be reflected by their price and the reputation of the brand. The specifications should give you an idea of the quality of the tool; stronger and tougher pliers are likely to be specified for regular or professional use.


Different types of steel are used fro different pairs of circlip pliers The tips and body of circlip pliers will usually be made from steel, due to its strength and versatility. The quality of the steel used will depend on the manufacturer, with higher quality steel being used for tools which are meant for use on a more frequent basis.
Steel is heat treated to make it harder, circlip pliers will often be made of hardened steel Often the steel used for circlip pliers will be heat treated, for added strength. The steel used is usually iron alloyed with carbon. Additional elements are then added to increase the strength, toughness, and corrosion resistance of the tool.
High carbon steel is strong but can be brittle

High carbon steel

The higher the carbon content of steel, the stronger it will be; however, it will be slightly more brittle than steel with a lower carbon content, as these are the properties carbon adds to steel.

As a result, high carbon steel is not suited to heavy, regular use.

Adding chrome and vanadium to steel makes it harder and more corrosion resistant

Chrome vanadium steel

Adding chromium and vanadium to steel gives it strength, toughness and corrosion resistance. Vanadium also increases the steel’s ability to work in high temperatures and makes it more resistant to wear. Although chrome vanadium steel may be more expensive, it will be tough enough for regular use and should not wear easily.

Chrome nickel steel is very strong and works well in increased temperatures.

Chrome nickel steel

Steel with added nickel and chromium also has increased strength, toughness and corrosion resistance. The addition of nickel to tool steel makes it less likely to be negatively affected by increased temperatures.

Although chrome nickel steel is likely to be the most expensive, it is also likely to be the most resistant to wear. The strength of the tool will not be affected if it needs to be used at high temperatures.

Spring steel is able to bend and twist without breaking or deforming

Spring steel

Spring steel has a high yield strength, which means that it can be bent, twisted or compressed significantly and still return to its original shape without being damaged or deformed.

This steel is usually used for the tip ends of circlip pliers and it gives the tool some flexibility to work with tougher circlips without being damaged.

 Wonkee Donkee says "Common uses for spring steel include piano wire, springs and swords used in stage combat."
Which steel?

Which steel?

Circlip pliers made of high carbon steel are likely to be the cheapest. However, they are more suited to intermittent use, as they may be more brittle.

Pliers made of chrome vanadium and chrome nickel steel will usually be the more expensive tools, but these will be more suited to regular or professional use.

Chrome nickel circlip pliers are the best for use in higher temperatures, such as working with hot engines.

The tips of circlip pliers may be made from spring steel, this gives them flexibility while keeping their strength Spring steel tips give the pliers more flexibility while retaining strength, but may increase the price.


Plastic coated handles make circlip pliers more comfortable to use For a comfortable grip, circlip pliers usually have plastic-coated handles. This should make the tool easier to use and help prevent slipping. Circlip pliers without plastic-coated handles may be cheaper but will be less comfortable for regular use.

Wonkee Donkee Tools