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What are combination pliers made of?

What are combination pliers made of?

Shop for Combination Pliers

Combination pliers can be used for many different jobs The quality of the materials used to make combination pliers is usually reflected in their price, and depends on the manufacturer. 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. The quality of the tool will be affected by the manufacturing and hardening process, as well as the material it’s made of.


Combination pliers are made from steel so they're strong Combination pliers are made from steel, due to its strength and versatility. Pliers are usually formed by drop forging the steel. This process involves hot metal being hammered into the require form within a mould. The heating process also increases the strength of the steel. The cutters of pliers usually go through an additional hardening process.
High carbon steel is strong but can be brittle

High carbon steel

The higher the carbon content of steel, the harder it will be. However, it will be slightly more brittle than steel with a lower carbon content. For this, the high carbon steel is heat treated, which reduces its hardness but increases its toughness. Separate localised heat treatment of the cutting edges ensures that they are particularly hard and long lasting.

Pliers are made from steels

Chrome molybdenum steel

The addition of the elements chromium and molybdenum to steel improves the hardenability of the alloy; they also increase its strength when being used in high-temperature applications. The steel will also gain extra resistance to corrosion, impact, and wear. Adding these elements usually makes the steel more expensive.

Adding chrome and vanadium to steel makes it harder and more corrosion resistant. Combination pliers are usually made of steel

Chrome vanadium steel

Adding chromium and vanadium to steel also adds strength, toughness and corrosion resistance, and increases steel’s ability to work in high temperatures. Generally, vanadium is stronger than molybdenum but more brittle. These steels will also be more expensive than carbon steel.

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

Chrome nickel steel

Steel with added chromium and nickel also has increased strength, toughness and corrosion resistance. The addition of nickel to steel makes it less likely to have its strength affected by increased temperatures. Chrome nickel steel is likely to be the most expensive but the most resistant to wear.

Which steel? choosing the type of steel which will be best for your pliers will depend on what you'll use them for and how often you'll use them

Which steel?

For occasional, light use, cheap carbon steel pliers should suffice. However, for more heavy-duty and more frequent use it’s best to buy pliers made from a higher quality steel. These will be more expensive but will last much longer.


Pliers usually have plastic handles, so they are comfortable to use For a comfortable grip, most combination pliers, and most types of pliers generally, have plastic-coated handles. This should make the tool more comfortable to use and help prevent slipping. Some plastic handles are specifically designed for use with high voltage electricity cables. These will have VDE markings on the handles, along with the maximum rated voltage they can be used with.
Combination pliers sometimes have bi-material handles, made from a soft and harder plastic combined fro extra comfort For extra comfort, many pliers have handles described as being bi-material. This is where two different plastics are used, often characterised by their different colours. These generally consist of a harder plastic near the core of the handles and a softer plastic where your hand touches the handles.

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