Quick: What’s a tool that’s cordless, brushless, inexpensive, and a necessity in almost every tool collection? If you guessed Pliers, you’re either psychic, or you read the title above. In either case, you’re right. Pliers may not be the sexiest tools in the box, but when you need to pull, twist or get a grip on something, chances are it’s time to get a pair. The folks in Red make an incredible variety of these squeezable little tools, and they sent us an assortment to check out. Join us as we take a gripping look at as many Milwaukee pliers as we can squeeze in.
Milwaukee Torque Lock Pliers: A Twisted Way To Get A Grip
Locking pliers have saved my butt many a time, helping remove bolts with rounded heads, or screws with the heads snapped off. They’re also great for holding parts in place while you weld or screw them together. Traditional locking pliers can be a bit finicky to get adjusted, though. Getting the right amount of “bite” often involves clamping, unlocking and removing the pliers, adjusting the knurled thumbscrews, and re-clamping, as many times as it takes to get the force right.
The tool designers in Red came up with a clever solution to this time-wasting process. They re-designed the thumbscrews, replacing the traditional knob with an extended, flattened thumb screw. This provides the Milwaukee Torque Lock Pliers with a good bit more tightening torque. To really ramp it up, they included a slot in the mechanism, allowing you to stick a screwdriver through to REALLY torque it down.
With traditional locking pliers, when you finally DO get a good grip on your material, it can be challenging, shall we say, to get them open again. Trying to press the lever against the handle to release the jaws can require a lot of force, and trying to loosen the thumb screw can result in skin loss and excessive foul language.
When those suckers do finally open they tend to spring apart with a lot of enthusiasm, like kids on the last day of school before summer vacation, or Congressmen after an exhausting day of kicking the can down the road. This sudden release can sometimes result in damage to nearby items – like your face. Milwaukee Torque Lock pliers have a traditional release lever, and pressing it after levering the thumb screw to take the pressure off makes for a much more Zen-like unclamping experience.
There’s even as subset of the Torque Lock line of Milwaukee pliers: MAXBITE. The jaw on these pliers is more rounded, providing a better hold on pipes, bolt heads, and other rounded surfaces. Milwaukee claims the MAXBITE design provides 3X the gripping power, meaning it’s even beefy enough to provide a strength-training station for tool journalists…
There’s a huge variety of Torque Lock Milwaukee pliers. Milwaukee offers several sizes, and several jaw configurations, including straight, curved and long nose. Many are available with padded grips. All the tools in the Torque Lock line of Milwaukee pliers are made from chrome plated forged alloy steel for maximum durability and rust protection. Clamp yourself into your seat, and check out this gripping Torque Lock pliers video from Milwaukee:
Get A Charge Out Of Milwaukee Pliers For Electricians
I’ve done a fair bit of wiring, most of it pretty straightforward residential stuff. I can add a circuit, or wire up a 240V outlet for a stove or dryer. Most of the work I do involves NM (Romex-type) wire, and can be handled pretty well with a good pair of dykes (lineman’s pliers) and a pair of strippers. Milwaukee’s got that covered, with a nice assortment of Milwaukee pliers for electricians.
The Milwaukee Multi-Purpose wire stripper with crimper we received is multi-purpose indeed. It can shear six common sizes of bolts, ranging from 4-40 to 10-32. The crimpers can handle both insulated and non-insulated terminals.
The stripping holes are sized to handle solid wire from 10 – 20 AWG, and stranded wire from 12 – 22 AWG. The padded handles are very comfortable and “grippy,” and the spring-loading makes these pliers easy to operate.
Milwaukee also offers several versions of lineman’s pliers. They sent along a pair of their 9” Milwaukee High Leverage Lineman’s Pliers with crimper. These Milwaukee pliers are designed with a pivot point optimized to let them easily cut soft wire, hard wire, and even ACSR (aluminum conductor steel-reinforced) cable. I used them to cut 12 gauge copper and #4/0 aluminum service cable, and it sliced through easy peasy. The crimper can be used on both insulated and non-insulated terminals, and there’s even a little fish-tape puller built right in.
I used the strippers and the lineman’s pliers on several projects, including hardwired under-counter light installation, adding several wall sconces and light switches, and installing a hardwired 240V heater. They were solid and smooth, and worked great.
Several versions of Milwaukee wire strippers are also available. Since I work primarily with 12 and 14 gauge household wiring, I bought myself a pair of the Milwaukee combination wire pliers for NM cable, to replace an older pair of Kleins I had worn out. These Milwaukee pliers have openings sized perfectly to strip the sheathing from 12 and 14 gauge NM cable. As a bonus, there’s a pair of beefy needle-nose pliers on the end, and the outer edges of the nose can smooth the edges of conduit from ½” – 1”.
But Wait – There’s More!
Need still more ways to put the squeeze on? You’re in luck. Milwaukee has a good assortment of tongue-and-groove pliers to choose from. They’re available in different lengths, and with straight, smooth, or V-jaws. All of the tongue-and-groove Milwaukee pliers are forged for strength, and all have (RED) dipped handles, which makes them much more comfortable to hold and use.
The final tool we’re looking at in our overview of Milwaukee pliers is the handy long nose, or needle nose, pliers. We got a pair of the 8” long nose Milwaukee pliers, which have an integrated wire cutter and fish tape puller. Its 2” long nose lets it dig in deep, and includes reaming ridges to remove burrs from the inside of steel pipe.
Still got room in your toolbox? Grab some specialty pliers, like the locking seamer, chain wrench or welder’s clamp. They even have special oil filter pliers! They also offer a nice assortment of Torque Lock C-clamps, with jaws from 6 – 18” deep, and regular or swivel jaws.
All Milwaukee pliers are forged for strength, and feature rust protection. All the Milwaukee pliers we used were very well machined and constructed, and had a good, solid heft to them. They all worked smoothly, and I have no reason to doubt they’ll hold up for years of use. Milwaukee backs the entire line with a Limited Lifetime Warranty, and if you buy them from the Home Depot, you can put the squeeze on for 90 days risk-free. So what are you waiting for? Get a pair.
Get Your Assorted Milwaukee Pliers from Ohio Power Tool, with most priced between $10 and $20: