Choosing Quality Tools

Cutter pliers, also known as nose pliers, have a flat surface and are used for gripping objects that are hard to bend. The jaws of cutter pliers for cutting wires come in either a right-handed or a left-handed style and are designed for leverage and counterbalance when gripping. Some examples of use include holding the end of a phone line as it is run through a telephone adapter, holding a strip of cable in the jaws of pliers for cutting cables, and twisting together a pair of wire nuts and stripping the backing off of them.

Three types of handles are available on pliers from They are straight fit, cross-fitted handle, and offset handle. Each one has its specific advantages and disadvantages when being used for certain tasks.

The straight fit pliers, also known as regular crescent pliers, have a standard v-shaped grip. It is primarily used for gripping light gauge wires, especially those that are long in length and thin. These pliers have a long nose that extends over the entire length of the jaws and a straight shaft that connect the cutting edge to the grip. This feature makes it ideal for cutting thick and long wires.


The crescent pliers are designed to interlock with one another. The two pieces of each piece of the grip fit comfortably into each other, eliminating the need for wedge-like grips. These pliers are ideal for grasping long and thin wires because the jaws are spaced closely enough to allow for a snug hold without worrying about slip—however, the pliers’ open ends to make this type of pliers great for cutting cables.

The offset or slip joint pliers are designed to fit into both the open ends of the handled piece of sheet metal. Unlike the wedge-shaped handles, the offset pliers feature a curved shape at the point where the two pieces of the plastic meet. The open end of each handle is intended to grip the metal without any slipping. These pliers are useful for gripping tightly controlled sheet metals such as sheet metal pipes and connectors. Some of the more expensive versions even feature clip-like handles, which allows easier movement.

Needle nose pliers are named for their prominent design: two-needle nose screw threads fit into the crescent pliers mouth. These pliers have a closed face and a large protruding knob on one of the handles. To close the needle-nose pliers, a spring is fitted into one of the screws. Because of the design, needle nose pliers are often used in a pinch to remove a stuck bolt or wire. Because these pliers are so useful, it is important to have a few of them around the house.