6 Best Slip Joint Pliers – Consumer Reports for 2022
Slip joint pliers are like most pliers that you would use to grip, position, tighten, loosen, and cut. The slip joint plier is handy for crimping sheet metal, looping a wire, cutting soft wire nails, and even loosening and tightening a nut. Like most pliers, the slip-joint plier is operated by opening and closing the handles, which operates the jaws.
The difference between slip joint pliers and other pliers is the feature that gives it its name – the slip joint. Slip-joint pliers have an adjustable pivot point, which allows the two parts of the jaws to be shifted with respect to one another. This shift allows the jaws to be opened to larger and smaller sizes. Most slip joint pliers have two or three options for positioning the pivot. The benefit of slip joint pliers is it can be used to securely grip objects with varying thicknesses – from paper thin to an inch or two, depending on the plier.
Slip Joint Pliers – Features
- Adjustable opening – shift the pivot for wider opening
- Multiple gripping zones
- Different jaw shapes and groove patterns to grip a wide range of materials
- Compact and portable
- Grip flat, non-uniform or varying sized diameter materials without slipping
At the front of the pliers, the jaws are flat and serrated and the back of the jaw near the pivot is generally curved. The curved area was once known as the burner grip because it was originally used for removing the jets from gas lamps. This curved area will grip rounded objects like pipes and rods. Just behind the curved serrations, many slip joint pliers have a wire cutter built into the neck.
Available in many different sizes, a pair of 7or 8 inch slip joint pliers is a useful tool for quick adjustments and repairs around the house. This standard sized plier is generally the most useful, but for specific tasks, you can find bent-nose, tongue and groove (also called water pump pliers), lineman’s, or narrow-nose versions. For added comfort, many pliers have ergonomic, insulated handles or handles with other grip materials.
What to look for in a good pair of slip-joint pliers
- Grip – textured or rubberized to avoid slipping
- Ergonomic handle for comfort
- Teeth grooves – sharp and not too shallow
- Quality joint – you don’t want too much flex
- Made of quality material
Most pliers are made of steel alloys containing additives such as vanadium or chromium for strength and to resist corrosion. Any plier you purchase should be made of a quality, long lasting material like nickel or carbon steel.
The grip of your slip joint plier is important for comfort, but also to prevent slipping. There are metal handled or covered versions. Covered versions can be dipped plastic or vinyl or plastic cushioned. For electricians, you would look for a handle with insulation. Handle material is all the individual’s preference, with the exception of electricians, who should always seek insulated handles.
Teeth grooves play an important role in using lip joint pliers and you want to be sure they are sharp. Dull teeth will cause the pliers to easily slip. Depending on your needs, you may seek serrated teeth or coarse contoured teeth. Teeth can also orient in different directions – right angled teeth are the most common.
The pivot of you slip joint pliers should be sturdy with little to no flex. A wobbly pivot can cause injury with slippage.
The size of your slip joint pliers is preference or determined by the project or task at hand. A basic 7 inch slip joint plier is a pretty multi-functional, useful size for your kitchen toolbox.
Channellock 526 6.5” Slip Joint Pliers
- Overall Length: 6.5″ (165.1 mm)
- Jaw Length: .96″ (24.5 mm)
- Joint Thickness: .43″ (11 mm)
- Joint Width: 1.28 (32.5 mm)
- Handle Span: 1.89″ (48 mm)
- Weight: 8.5 oz (231 g)
Channellock invented the tongue and groove plier in 1933 and has manufactured industry best tools since. “Unlike our competition, we don’t waste time constantly trying to design the latest gizmo or gadget to add to pliers. Instead, when we change something, we make sure it’s a needed change for tool users that will make their jobs easier and add more value to the product,” said Jon DeArment, President and COO of Channellock, Inc.
Precision made of polished, high carbon drop forged steel, the Channellock 526 6.5” slip joint pliers also have a wire cutting shear. Highly durable and easy to use, these pliers have an electronic coating for rust prevention.
The Channellock Slip Joint pliers are strong and versatile, in a universal size, for any number of projects you are working on. You’ll get a firm grip with the serrated jaw. The PermaLock fastener eliminates nut and bolt failure. This is a solid choice for your everyday toolbox or kitchen tool drawer or bin.
- Wire cutting shear
- Sturdy PermaLock fastener
- Rust resistant
- Comfortable handle
- Made in America
- Slightly expensive
- Some customers complained of rust out of box
- A little small for some hands
Stanley 84-055 Bi-Material Slip Joint Plier
- Overall Length: 6″
- Jaw Length: 1.125”
- Joint Width: 0.875”
- Weight: 7.4 oz.
Stanley has been a staple in the tool industry for over 170 years. Known for making quality, reliable, and functioning tools, Stanley manufactures virtually every staple for any toolbox. WIth reasonable pricing, the value you get from your Stanley tools is indispensable. The Stanley 6” Bi-Material Slip Joint Plier is no exception to the high quality of Stanley tools.
Comfortable and durable, the Stanley bi-material handle helps you grip the tool for more control. The double dipped plastic handles have a slip resistant rubber for added control. These pliers are made from drop-forged steel for long-lasting strength, Stanley gives these pliers a rust resistant chrome finish that some have complained does not work as well as other finishes. For any size opening you may require, these pliers have a two position adjustable joint that gives you a secure grip. The machined jaws help you grip just about anything more securely for better control.
These pliers meet ANSI standards. As with all Stanley tools, Stanley warrants this product for its useful life against deficiencies in material and workmanship.
- Good value
- Rust resistant
- 2 position adjustable joint
- Steel body
- Short handle
- Customers have complained about the joint loosening
- Small for some hand
TEKTON 37122 6-1/2-Inch Slip Joint Pliers
- Overall Length: 6.5″
- Jaw Length:
- Joint Width: 0.6”
- Weight: 7.84 oz.
Tekton 6.5” slip joint pliers are a strong, versatile pair of pliers for any toolbox. The jaw of these pliers is unique with 3-zones for gripping flat, round, hex, or square shapes. Inside the jaw are sharp, evenly spaced teeth that grip virtually any shape, including thin sheet metal. You can set the tension to whatever you need with the adjustable nut and bolt fastener.
These pliers even have a wire shear to cleanly cut any solid wire – copper, aluminum, even piano or guitar strings.
A broad, rounded handle distributes force evenly to reduce stress and pressure on your hand. WIthout adding bulk, the slim nonslip grips add cushion and comfort. Some customers complain the double dipped plastic is not as comfortable as other similar handles.
The stout build of these pliers reduces bending and twisting, giving you superior grip.
- Versatile Jaw
- Shear-type wire cutter
- Comfortable handle
- Plastic dip handles rated lower than others
- Not rust resistant
Stanley 84-097 6-Inch Slip Joint Pliers
- Overall Length: 6″
- Jaw Length: 3”
- Weight: oz.
Another great Stanley product, the 6 inch slip joint pliers differ from our previous Stanley entry with its double dipped handles. These 6 inch pliers provide reliable and sturdy grasping and prying capabilities. A forged chrome nickel steel construction and a rust resistant finish make these a handy tool for your household.
Hardened cutting edges give you durable strength. The serrated machined jaws help you with no slip grasping and turning. The jaws have two positions making this a versatile tool for any sizes you need.
Double dipped handles provide a comfortable use and control. Not only is the handle comfortable, it is oil resistant to keep your hand from slipping even when oil is leaking onto the pliers.
Backed by the Stanley lifetime warranty, these pliers meet ANSI standards.
- Serrated machine jaws
- 2 position joint
- Short-ish handle
- Customers complain they don’t close cleanly
Crescent H28VN 8-Inch Cee Tee Slip Joint Plier
- Overall Length: 8″
- Jaw Opening: 1”
- Weight: 12.8 oz.
In 1907, Karl Peterson, a Swedish immigrant, developed the first open-end adjustable wrench and founded the Crescent Tool Company. Now, over 100 years later, Crescent is still committed to hold true to the fundamentals that have made them one of the more trusted names in hand tools worldwide.
Forged from alloy steel and accurately machined, hardened and tempered, the Crescent 8 inch Cee Tee slip joint pliers have a nickel chrome plated finish. These pliers are designed for gripping and turning round objects such as rods, pipes, and pins.
The curved jaws are combined with machined gripping teeth. Two jaw positions make these pliers a versatile tool. A wire cutter make these pliers multi-functional.
The no slip knurled handle grips are non-cushioned, but slip resistant.
- Durable carbon steel
- Curved jaws
- Wire cutter
- Grips round objects only
- Made in China
Craftsman 9-45379 8-Inch Slip Joint Pliers
- Overall Length: 8”
- Jaw Opening: 2″
- Handle Length: 5”
- Weight: 6 oz
Craftsman tools have been a go-to brand for plumber, mechanics, carpenters, and home repair experts for decades. With a reputation for excellence that you can depend on, Craftsman brand tools offer you the tool you need regardless of your project.
Giving you the strength and durability you need to twist and tighten, the body of the Craftsman 8” slip joint pliers is constructed in heat-treated alloy steel. These pliers allow you to grip, tighten, pull, crimp, and so much more.
The handles are dipped in black vinyl plastic. The handle helps protect against fatigue and allow for strong gripping. Lightweight, these pliers weigh only 6 ounces so they won’t weigh you down.
The two jaw positions allow you to open and close the jaws by incremental degrees with the slip joint fulcrum, which gives you more grip on small hardware and also fits over bigger hardware. The Craftsman pliers feature a flush rivet design for closer access to any work surface.
The Craftsman slip joint pliers come with a lifetime guarantee.
- Flush rivet design
- 2 Jaw positions
- Vinyl wears away
Last Word on Slip Joint Pliers
Slip joint pliers are a staple in any toolbox. Whether you are a professional, a homeowner, or somewhere in between, you’ll find yourself needing a pair of these pliers at some point. Whatever pliers you choose will probably do the trick, but you should pay attention to a few key features in order to get the most out of your purchase.
Pay attention to the handle. If you are an electrician, be sure to get pliers with an electronic coating. If you work with oil or projects where oil could leak onto your pliers, look for oil resistant covers to avoid slippage. Aside from a few technical specifications, handle grip is a personal preference. Some prefer a non-coated handle, and some like vinyl. Regardless of your choice, you can find pliers for you. You can even find handles that are ergonomic for extra comfort.
Teeth grooves should be sharp and not too shallow. You may need grooves oriented in a certain way. The shape of the jaw is also important depending on your project. Some jaws are curved for round materials like pipes. Some have a hex shaped jaw. Most have multi-purpose jaws and can be used on any number of materials. The jaw opening is important if you need a wide opening. Most pliers have a one inch jaw opening, but you can find pliers with a variety of sizes.
All slip joint pliers are adjustable because of the joint. Most have 2 positions for wider and smaller openings. There are more joint possibilities if you search around. The joint is the feature you want to be the most durable. You want to ensure you are buying slip joint pliers with a quality joint that won’t loosen with use. A flex or wobble in your joint will cause the pliers to slip and could possibly injure you.
The material of the pliers is generally steel although you can find pliers manufactured in other metals. Because metals rust, a lot of pliers have a rust resistant coating. Some of these coatings work better than others.
Virtually all of the pliers on our list have a limited lifetime warranty and can be shipped to you in one business day. Most of the pliers on this list also meet ANSI standards and are solid choices for your professional or personal use.