I recently ordered these Facom FA-506 slip-joint pliers. While I have plenty of Irwin Vise Grip and Grip-On locking pliers, these Facom ones look quite a bit different. I had not seen this design before, and figured it was worth checking out.
These 10″ pliers have a maximum capacity of 100 mm, or four inches, which is only possible with their unique slip-joint mechanism.
It took me a few minutes to figure out how the slip joint mechanism works, and while not quite effortless, adjustment is relatively easy to do. Basically, what you do is open the handle, grab the lower jaw, push down, and then slide it to the desired placement setting.
My only quality complaint about these pliers is how the jaws are a little misaligned. Other than that, they work well, and I really like how the hinged jaw pad can pivot out of the way to provide easier access to the curved inner jaws.
As for the design, more than once I accidentally touched the handle-mounted jaw width adjustment wheel while the handles were spread open. A little fine tuning reset the jaw width back to where I wanted it, and it seems this is something I will get used to with time.
Unlocking and locking the pliers is far easier and more comfortable than I anticipated. In fact, they rival even Grip-On pliers in regard to ease of use and user comfort, which is not something I say lightly. They are also almost as quick to disengage as Irwin’s newest Fast Release Vise Grip locking pliers.
You can use these pliers one-handed, but it is not very comfortable to do so. The handles are more comfortably disengaged if you use your free hand to pull back on the lower handle via a thumb-sized groove on the inside.
These pliers are a little pricey at close to $30, but coupon codes and discounts help with that.
I purchased these pliers to familiarize myself with their exotic design, but they are thus far proving to be quite practical.
Buy Now(via Zoro Tools)
Update (6/6/2014): It appears Zoro has either sold out or isn’t selling these anymore, as the product page seems to be missing.
Facom FA-506 locking pliers (and possibly all 500-series pliers) are made in France.
The pliers discussed in this review were purchased from Zoro Tools.