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What are the different types of Mole grips?

Shop for Mole Grips

There are a number of different types of Mole grips/locking pliers which vary in terms of their length, jaw type and size (capacity). They include the following:

Straight jaw Mole grips

Straight jaw locking pliers Straight jaw Mole grips/locking pliers have jaws that are flat and straight, and are for general purpose use, including gripping and holding flat objects and surfaces such as a piece of wood or metal.

While these are useful for objects with flat surfaces, you will need another pair of Mole grips/locking pliers for use on objects of more obscure shapes.

Curved jaw Mole grips

Curved jaw locking pliers These Mole grips/locking pliers have curved or rounded jaws and are used to securely grip and hold rounded objects like pipes, as well as nuts and bolts.

Curved Mole grips can also hold hexagonal objects, although there are parrot nose Mole grips/locking pliers which are specifically designed for this purpose.

You may also need another pair of grips/pliers for some uses, for example, mini Mole grips/locking pliers for precise work.

V jaw Mole grips

V jaw locking pliers V jaw Mole grips/locking pliers are a multi-purpose tool that can be used with flat or straight objects and surfaces as well as rounded objects because they have an upper straight jaw and a lower curved jaw.

Despite their versatility, these Mole grips/locking pliers don’t hold round or straight objects as securely as the specifically-designed straight and curved jaw locking pliers.

Needle nose and long nose Mole grips

Needle nose locking pliers Needle nose Mole grips/locking pliers have longer, narrower jaws to grip smaller objects and fit into more confined spaces. They are often used to to reach objects in obstructed areas, for example when making car repairs.

Due to their thinner jaws, needle nose Mole grips/locking pliers may be less suitable for regular use in other situations.

Long nose locking pliers Long nose grips/pliers were originally needle nose pliers with longer jaws, but the term is now generally used to mean ANY needle nosed grips/pliers.

The long nose enables the grips/pliers to reach into even narrower gaps to clamp objects, and are ideal for delicate work such as model making.

Long reach Mole grips

Long reach locking pliers Long reach Mole grips/locking pliers can grasp and hold hard-to-reach objects in confined spaces such as wall cavities, because of their extra long handles.

They can also be used to grab any out of reach object such as an item on the floor.

Using these grips/pliers takes practice due to their longer handles, so, initially, they can be time-consuming.

Large jaw Mole grips

Large jaw locking pliers Large jaw mole grips usually have wider jaws with a larger capacity. They are therefore used to grip and hold large objects such as large pipes for welding.

Many users find that these grips/pliers are heavy to hold and use and that they cannot be used to hold small objects.

Parrot nose Mole grips

Parrot nose locking pliers Parrot nose Mole grips/locking pliers have uniquely-shaped jaws that can grip and hold odd shaped objects such as hexagonal nuts.

These grips/pliers have been developed to provide a specialised function, and are not suitable for flat or straight objects and surfaces, so their use overall is limited.

Gripping pliers

Gripping pliers - long nose Gripping pliers are a type of Mole grip/locking pliers that have an adjustment screw in the top of the fixed handle for ease of access.

These grips/pliers are a European design and are not as readily available in the UK as most other brands of Mole grips/locking pliers. They also tend to be more expensive.

Mini Mole grips

Mini locking pliers Mini Mole grips/locking pliers of around 102mm (4 inches) in length, are smaller than standard Mole grips/locking pliers, which are around 200mm (8 inches), and are useful where very precise working is needed, for example in model making. These pliers are not intended for heavy-duty everyday and prolonged use.

For more information on mini locking pliers, see  What Mole grips sizes are available?

Automatic Mole grips

Automatic straight jaw locking pliers Automatic Mole grips/locking pliers, also known as self-grip or self-adjusting Mole grips/locking pliers, have a tension screw located on the link between the handles, in place of the adjustment screw. This changes the tension of the jaws to accommodate an object. The tension then automatically stays the same for each new object or shape and doesn’t need to be adjusted each time that the Mole grips/locking pliers are used.
Automatic Mole grips in use For occasional or light use where there’s no race to get a job done, the time-saving feature of the adjustment screw might not be a priority for you.

Automatic Mole grips/locking pliers are available in straight jaw, curved jaw and needle nose varieties.

Automatic locking for jaw pliers

Fork jaw automatic Mole grips

Also available are fork jaw automatic Mole grips/locking pliers which are designed to hold objects for welding.

Automatic fork jaw locking pliers in use The U-shaped jaws of fork jaw automatic Mole grips/locking pliers allow the user to easily see and access an object when working on it.

No release lever Mole grips

No release lever locking pliers The triggerless release of these Mole grips/locking pliers allows for more space between the handles for a large or gloved hand. The jaws are released by pulling on the lower handle.
Pulling on the lower handle of no release lever locking pliers to release the handles and open the jaws No release lever Mole grips/locking pliers are are useful in confined spaces, for example when holding and then releasing a small part in a car engine compartment. You may find that your hand becomes fatigued if you are using these Mole grips/locking pliers continuously.

New Mole grips

New locking pliers with ring for increasing the pressure of the handles and jaws There is a model of Mole grips/locking pliers, currently only available for purchase in the USA, which has a large metal ring attached to the end of the upper handle.

This ring replaces the adjustment screw and it is turned using a screwdriver or other tool to provide extra clamping power.