Best Lineman Pliers On The Market – Reviews 2018

People who work on installing and maintaining electrical wiring (linemen) require pliers with special features geared to their trade. Hence the term “Lineman Pliers”. These need to be more sophisticated than your average household pliers. 

It goes without saying that they need to slice through wires and cables easily. They also need to be suitable for twisting wiring, pulling it and crimping it.  

They are more expensive than simple pliers and come at a variety of different prices. There are many different models on the market and we will look at some of them in an effort to help you decide on the best linemen pliers for your specific requirements.

1. IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP High-Leverage Pliers, Lineman's with Fish Tape Puller and Crimper

This model does promote its ability to cut through ACSR. Otherwise it is similar to the IRWIN VISE-GRIP.

While having the same machined jaws as those found in the previous review, this model also has a moulded handle made of three separate components. This makes the tool extremely easy to control.

IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP High-Leverage Pliers, Lineman's with Fish Tape Puller and Crimper

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Three special features are built into this IRWIN model. Firstly, it has a unique hook and lanyard system that stops you from dropping the pliers and makes it easier to take them out of your pockets.

Secondly there is a built-in crimper which enables you to carry out more tasks without changing tool and finally, there is a fish tape puller, making it possible to carry out yet another task with the same tool.

2. Klein Tools D213-9NE High Leverage Side Cutting Pliers

The D213-9NE, has the rivet close to the cutting edge and claims, like the Stanley 89-865, to reduce cutting effort by even as much as 46% over the norm. Its cutters are more powerful and can slice through ACSR. The cutting edges are laser heat-treated to make them last longer.

This particular model is designed with a hot riveted joint that ensures smooth cutting and kills handle wobble to ensure increased stability and precision.

Klein Tools D213-9NE High Leverage Side Cutting Pliers

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A crimping die behind the hinge makes for easy crimping, while the handles have been dipped in plastic to make using them that more comfortable while making them easy to spot in your tool box.

3. IRWIN VISE-GRIP North American Lineman's Pliers

The Irwin Vise Grip meets or exceeds ANSI standards. It claims that an induction-hardened cutting edge keeps the cutter sharper for longer, giving you reassurance that they will be a part of your toolbox for a long time to come.

This model is made of nickel chromium steel for great durability. The grips on the handles have been designed with comfort in mind.

IRWIN VISE-GRIP North American Lineman's Pliers

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They have been especially designed so that you do not suffer any fatigue in your hands. Machined jaws provide a slip-resistant grip, giving you the maximum strength possible for whatever your needs and they come with a guarantee from Irwin that they will last a lifetime.

4. Stanley 89-865 9-1/2-Inch Linesman Pliers

The Stanley meets or exceeds ANSI standards. The manufacturers of this model state that it is especially designed with a high leverage pivot that reduces cutting effort by as much as 45%, saving your arms and wrists a lot of work over the course of a day.

Stanley 89-865 9-1/2-Inch Linesman Pliers

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The jaws are machined to give a good grip that resists slipping, so they can be used with confidence even when your palms maybe greasy.

The Stanley 89-865 is drop-forged from high carbon steel to give extra durability. Bar any special promotions this is generally one of the more competitively priced Linesman pliers on the market.

5. Channellock 369 9-1/2-Inch High Leverage Linesman Plier

The Channellock 369 also cuts ACSR cables and is another set of pliers that claims its high leverage design reduces cutting effort. It is labelled as XLT (Extreme Leverage Technology) its design for making cutting easier.

A cross patch pattern on the jaws makes for a tight grip making sure that whatever you are attempting to hold or cut will not move anywhere.

Channellock 369 9-1/2-Inch High Leverage Linesman Plier

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Channellock 369 boasts a unique knife-and-anvil style cutting edge that gives perfect alignment every time. This makes for better cutting and longer life. Another factor that increases durability is the laser hardening of the edge during manufacture.

What is different about Lineman Pliers?

Lineman Pliers are specially made for people that work with electric wiring and cabling. For a start they must be able to slice through wires easily. For many electricians it will be sufficient that they be able to cut through household electric wiring.

People who work on overhead cables will need them to also be able to cut through the much thicker and tougher aluminum conductor steel reinforced cables. The better-quality ones will cut through nails and screws and even piano cables.

Lineman pliers also need to be able to manipulate electric wiring. They need to be able not just to cut, but also to twist and to pull. They need to be able to strip off the rubber insulation for cables, to twist cables together and to straighten out tough cables.

The better ones will have a special crimping device built in so that crimping can be carried out with the one tool. 

Some lineman pliers will also be designed to pull a fish tape in the exercise of pulling wire down a conduit.

Although, linemen should really work with the electricity off at the mains, sometimes this might not be possible and linemen pliers usually have handles coated in rubber to protect against accidental electric shock.

what should you look out for when picking the best Lineman Pliers?

There are different factors to consider when deciding what Lineman Pliers to buy. The first is to decide what the usage will be.

Do you work on over-head power cables?

If you do, you certainly must opt for ones that can cut through those tough ACRS cables. Even if you don’t work with such cables, you might find it useful to have one of the stronger pairs of Lineman pliers available, simply because of their ability to cut through such things as nails and screws.

Klein is one of the most famous brands in the industry to the point where Lineman Pliers are sometimes referred to as “Kleins”. For its ability to cut through ACRS cables you might opt for the Klein Tools D213-9NE. The Channellock 369 and the more expensive IRWIN pliers also have the ability to cut through ACSR cables.


If your work just involves household wiring you might be inclined to go for the cheapest. In the price department the Stanley 89-865 will often win hands down, but then again there are frequent promotions on the more expensive models and it is always worth looking through the individual catalogue items to see if any promotions are taking place.


How easy is it to handle the pliers? To some extent this depends on how big your hands are. What is comfortable (or even ideal) for one person, may not be so comfortable or another person. There are two aspects to grip that you should keep in mind – the way the jaws are finished and the moulding of the handles.

Look carefully at the way these are described in the catalogue. Look at the way the jaws have been machine to protect against slipping. Look also at the handles.

Do you think you would feel more comfortable with a long sleek handle such as on the Klein Tools D213-9NE or wold you prefer the chunkier IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP High-Leverage Pliers, Lineman's with Fish Tape Puller and Crimper, 9 1/2-inch (1902416)? Or would you prefer something in between such as the basic IRWIN VISE-GRIP?

Ideally you would feel and see this sort of product before making up your mind on which one to buy. That is not practical when ordering on the net.

However, you can do the next best thing. There are numerous videos on You Tube comparing the features of different Lineman pliers and these highlight different features such as the jaw and the handles close-up.

Safety Tips

Most safety matters boil down to common sense, but one only has to drive a little along a highway and observe people’s driving to see that common sense is easily forgotten. So here are a few aide memories:

  • Electricity can kill. So, try to have electricity switched off at the mains when working on wiring. In case this is not possible, or in case electricity has been accidentally left on, opt for pliers that have rubber, insulated, handles. Wear shoes with rubber soles. Wear protective clothing if you are working near live sparks and to protect yourself from any falling building materials.
  • You may need to go up and down ladders more than you might normally. This is another area where special care may be needed.
  • Make your tools easily accessible in belt and pockets. The hook and lanyard idea on the advanced IRWIN tool is an excellent additional safety feature.
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    The cutters of the Lineman pliers are extremely sharp. Be careful of how you hold them. Keep a good firm grip of the handles so as not to slip and cut yourself.

Common sense? Yes, but worth reinforcing in your memory.

Final Note

So, with all this information at your fingertips, what do you consider to be the best Lineman Pliers? This article shows you what to look out for to match your personal preferences.

My own choice, even if I did not have the need to cut through ACSR cables would be the IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP High-Leverage Pliers, I love the good grip of the handle and all those extra built-in features such as the hook and lanyard system, the special crimper and the fish tape puller.

For my own needs they are ideal, although that may not be the case for everybody. Find one that suits you and be safe in the knowledge that they will be part of your inventory for a long time.

Morton Turner

Morton Turner is the Editor of Who is a orbital sander enthusiast and love to share what he know about this field. In personal life he is a father of two cute kids and loving husband of a beautiful wife. He love foods and nothing is more important than reading book in his spare time.

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