What are combination pliers?
Pliers are common hand-held tools which are available in many designs and with a variety of features. They can be general purpose tools or have a specialist design, for specific tasks.
When do you use combination pliers?
Combination pliers are multi-purpose pliers, combining gripping jaws with wire cutters. They can be used for gripping, compressing, bending, twisting, extracting and cutting various materials.
They are used in many different industries, as well as by hobbyists and DIYers.
How do combination pliers work?
They use leverage to amplify (increase) the pressure exerted by the user when they squeeze the handles together, so that the force between the jaws is greater than the user’s input pressure.
Combination pliers work in a similar way to scissors, with two first-class levers joined so they pivot across each other. The amplified force means they can grip much tighter than you could with just your hand.
They usually have serrated jaws, which provide friction when gripping, and square tips, although there are some variations in jaw design. Combination pliers often have a rounded, serrated cut-out in the jaws, called a pipe grip, for holding rounded materials.
What else is there to know about combination pliers?
Various other features are added to some combination pliers which allow them to be even more versatile. This includes features like extra leverage for increased cutting and gripping force, or additional gripping or cutting functions, often situated on the handle side of the pivot joint.
For more information see: What additional features can combination pliers have?
Sometimes combination pliers are referred to as linemen’s pliers. However, linemen’s pliers are specialist combination pliers; made for heavy-duty work and with specially insulated handles, for safety around live electrics. This is because a lineman works with power lines or communication cables.
Wonkee Donkee Tip “A lineman is used to refer to those who primarily work outside. People who work with electric wiring inside are called electricians.”