Over at Facebook, Austen messages me with a tough question: If you had to buy a set of pliers who would you buy from?
Without any brand or budget criteria, I responded with the following:
Quick answer: Felo from KC Tool or NWS from Lee Valley. Same tools, different selection and maybe availability. Lower budget? Channellock from Amazon.
Knipex are also good. Certain Klein, and I like Proto for specific jaw styles. But if I had to pick just one, it would be NWS or Felo.
Okay, so I actually don’t know which would be the best pliers, so I answered about my favorites. Since I tend to favor tools that serve me better, that kind of works, right?
I do like NWS’s black-finish pliers, but the chrome-finish Felo pliers I recently ordered look like they’ll hold up just as good.
The bottom line is this – if you ask me for pliers recommendation, I’ll offer these NWS-pliers as my top pick. I can produce other recommendations if given more criteria.
If you want USA-made, I’d point to Channellock and Proto, maybe Wilde too. Klein for certain styles. Western Forge? Okay, but my Craftsman-branded Western Forge pliers are my least favorite.
Knipex is usually a good bet, when it comes to European brands, but I like NWS-made pliers better.
I posted about NWS vs. Knipex pliers back in 2015, and I pretty much said the same thing then. Between those two brands, I preferred NWS, and still do.
These pliers aren’t inexpensive, but they’re not outlandishly expensive, either.
If you’re looking for precision pliers, Tronex are spectacular, but pricey, and Xuron are inexpensive, but still managed to be made in the USA. There are other recommended brands in between these two. Maybe that’s a discussion for another post.