I rarely work with retaining snap rings, but when I do they sometimes come at me in waves of different styles and sizes. While my changeable multi-tip internal and external snap ring pliers are great to use, changing those tips out many times in a single project can be quite tedious.
The solution to frequent retaining ring plier tip-changes is to buy a set of dedicated snap ring pliers. Fixed-tip retaining ring plier sets like the one by Astro Pneumatic, pictured above, feature pliers with tips of different sizes and shapes.
Astro Pneumatic’s set includes 8 pliers and 2 hook and pick tools. It’s reasonably priced too, at about $22.
If it came to the point where I needed fixed-tip retaining ring pliers, I’d probably opt for Craftsman’s 12-piece set. Craftsman’s set is priced at about $100, and seems to offer decent quality.
After that, I’d likely go with Knipex retaining ring pliers, but only the sizes and tip styles I know I needed.
Right now I’m using a pair of Channellock retaining ring pliers, and it’s an excellent tool. But, as mentioned, there are times when swapping tips can get old real quick. What do you guys use? An all in one interchangeable tool, or a multi-plier set?
I have a combination of Kent Moore, SK and Snap-on that I had purchased on an as needed basis. I also have a few of the Channellock multi tips that I carry in my motorcycle and boat tool kits.
I use a Craftsman Interchangeable snap ring pliers. It is exactly like the ChannelLock. Probably even made by the same company. I have also seen KD brand that look the same as the Craftsman and ChannelLock snap ring pliers.
I have always wanted a complete set of dedicated snap ring pliers, but it’s mostly at the time I drop one of the tips on the Craftsman pliers when changing it out. If I decide go that route and get a complete set, I would go with Knipex.
In a production fabrication setting – we generally specify Waldes Truarc rings and us pliers that were produced specifically for the rings used:
I have the same channellocks. I think 927.
I would PREFER fixed tip, but I use them so rarely, almost never.
If you are giving away a set of Knipex retaining ring pliers, please enter my name!