Back in October we posted about Gearwrench’s new Pitbull adjustable pliers. Shortly after that, I spotted an entire new lineup of Gearwrench pliers.
We asked Gearwrench for more information, and I was told that the launch would probably be delayed until December at the earliest, or possibly January.
I thought that the sponsored and seemingly paid-for influencer content I have been seeing meant that the pliers were about to launch, but quite frankly, I got tired of sitting on my hands waiting for Gearwrench to officially announce the new line of Pitbull pliers.
Gearwrench still has not provided any information on these tools via PR or media channels in the 2-1/2 months since we first started asking about them. Unfortunately, until Gearwrench is prepared to provide press or media communications on the new pliers, we are unlikely to be able to get answers to any questions you might have.
We also don’t have official pricing or availability information, but online retailer product listings show the Gearwrench Pitbull pliers to be priced at $13 to $45 each, depending on size and style.
So… what’s the big deal about these new “Pitbull” pliers?
At first glance, this looked to be more of a branding refresh. Back when Gearwrench updated their branding in 2017, they introduced a new color scheme. With these new tools, was Gearwrench simply refining aesthetics?
The new pliers do indeed have new handle shapes, suggesting improved or tweaked ergonomics. But was that all?
“K9 Jaws” and Higher-Power Cutting
Not unlike the new Gearwrench Pitbull adjustable pliers, other models in the lineup also have “K9” jaws with aggressive angled teeth for strong gripping strength.
Gearwrench’s marketing language suggests that you can expect to see better gripping strength and pulling performance.
The emphasis with all of these new Gearwrench pliers seems to be on power.
The pliers with cutting edges are all described as delivering up to 35% greater cutting power, while the gripping jaws are said to provide a strong grip, even if at a 35° angle, although it’s not perfectly clear what this means.
Pitbull Pliers Styles and Handle Choices
Gearwrench will offer the new Pitbull pliers in a range of styles – long nose pliers, diagonal cutters, universal cutting pliers, Lineman’s pliers, adjustable pliers, and slip-joint pliers.
The new pliers are available with a dual material handle grip, or dipped handle grip.
I would have expected the dipped handle pliers to be less expensive than the pliers with dual material handles, and they are, but not across the full lineup.
Pricing examples were taken from Acme Tools product listings. At this time, Acme Tools is the only supplier I’ve seen listing these pliers.
Update: Amazon also has listings up.
Slip Joint Pliers: $13.99 with dipped (82175) or dual material handle (82175C)
10″ Adjustable Pliers: $18.99 with dipped handle (82170), $19.99 with dual material handle (82170C)
8″ Diagonal Cutting Pliers: $18.99 with dipped (82179) or dual material handle (82179C)
9-1/2″ Pitbull Lineman’s Pliers: $21.99 with dipped (82181) or dual material handle (82181C)
8″ Long Nose Pliers: $18.99 with dipped (82177) or dual material handle (82177C)
Buy Now via Amazon
Buy Now via Acme Tools
Update: Gearwrench has not yet been able to accommodate our requests for information, and I was told that review samples would not be available yet, but you can find some early “VINE” customer reviews of free products on Amazon.
One thing I don’t quite understand is how the dipped and dual material pliers are the same prices in many instances. Normally, pliers with dipped handles are less expensive than comfort grip versions.
Functionally, pliers with dipped handles can be more easily slipped into pockets or tool pouches, depending on the brand, but I have only ever chosen dipped-handle pliers for their lower pricing.
As mentioned, we asked Gearwrench for pricing details but they couldn’t provide it yet.
For many of the new models, Gearwrench says that the Pitbull pliers have high-leverage pivot designs. I wanted to compare the images of the Pitbull pliers against pliers from Channellock, Knipex, Klein Tools, and NWS, but the pivot is invisible in the published product photos.
Should You Buy Them?
The new Gearwrench Pitbull pliers seem interesting. However, what makes them special compared to other brands?
High-leverage pivot designs? My current pliers have that. “Up to 35% greater cutting power?” Compared to what? My current premium pliers can cut wires and even hardened materials just fine.
Pliers jaws with aggressive angled teeth – is this something I need? Pushing that question aside for a moment, if I’m buying tongue and groove joint pliers, what about USA-made Channellock? Amazon has a 2pc set with 9.5″ and 12.5″ v-jaw pliers for under $25. Are these Gearwrench Pitbull pliers with K9 jaws going to be competitive?
For a couple of dollars more than the Gearwrench, one can skip the tongue and groove pliers and go with Knipex Cobra adjustable pliers. Their 10″ pliers are just under $30 at Amazon right now. Or, go the budget route with Irwin GrooveLock pliers at just under $30 for a 2pc set.
I was hoping to see how the new Gearwrench pliers compared to other leading brands, or for a press release or media information that might help me see how they were special.
The long waiting period, the hype-building sponsored posts and “awards,” the Amazon “Vine Voice” consumer reviews, and the absence of any press or media communications has me asking a big question. Was my interest in great tools dulled by Gearwrench’s “influencer culture” marketing practices, or did the snappy new design, Pitbull branding, and “K9” feature names give rise to false excitement?
So here’s the question – is there anything here to be excited about?
I have purchased quite a few pliers over the years, and I have purchased quite a few Gearwrench tools. And yet, I have never been interested in buying Gearwrench pliers. Would these new Pitbull pliers change my mind? When I first learned about these new pliers, I would have said “maybe.” Now, after two months, they just seem kind of ordinary, maybe even all bark and no bite.
You hit the nail on the head as far as I am concerned, comparing them to ChannelLock and Knipex. It might just be me, but if 2 tools are of similar in price and quality, I lean towards the USA made ones. With ChannelLocks being apparently cheaper, its a no brainer. Going the other way, if I want higher quality than ChannelLocks, I just as well go straight to Knipex. It has been my experience that GearWrench makes good tools, but not quite to Knipex standards. My assumption based on performance of their other tools I own would put them on par with ChannelLock. That said, also going by past experience with GW is that the street price will eventually wind up being a fair balance of cost and quality. I often see pre pricing on the high side, then when the actual tools become available, prices are lower, often advertised along the lines of $15, originally $20 to make it seem like a deal,when that was the price they were planning on, the whole time.
These look exactly identical to the new Crescent Z2 line. Same markings on the pliers, no visible pivot, and the same arrows near the bottom of the blade. Likely the same manufacturer. If anyone wants these I’d say go with Crescent available now.
Gear wrench and crescent are both owned by apex so that makes sense. Many of their tools cross over. Like the double x pliers
All other things being equal, the only question is were they make in the USA. A “no” eliminates them from consideration for me.
These are not made in the USA.
The thing that stands out to me is they’re really going out of their way to brand these GearWrench ⚙️🔧 – as opposed to just being a “generic” plier.
If so, the dual color handle is a way to support this as it’s more recognizable. I suspect the additional cost of double dipping is incredibly close to marginal, hence the similar pricing (especially if these are replacing the existing line).
I use Klein cutters for tig wire. I have had the same set for several years now. If they can cut through 1/8″ tig wire on a daily basis for years I see no reason to get another brand. I am very pleased with their performance. Being usa made is a big plus as well I see no reason to pay similar prices for a foreign made brand.
Its at least nice they offer dipped versions. On some pliers the comfort grips are so fat and bulky that my small hands can’t really get much range in opening the pliers. Milwaukee offers an example of comfort handles that aren’t too bulky but might offer less cushion than maybe some users want if they want really fat grips.
Gearwrench pliers have historically been mediocre in my opinion. Sort of middle of the road imported quality, low effort, I’ve had a few pairs of the red/black handled ones and the grips fell off. These look better than previous offerings but still not too compelling. I do like the orange color on the dipped grips.
Gearwrench really seems to be pumping the money into branding and marketing lately, weird they had no samples or info for you.
Wow those VINE reviews on the 12″ t&g pliers are a complete joke, the pliers in the photos they posted haven’t been used, one wasn’t even out of the packaging but 5/5 stars “seem to be of good quality”, they are reviewing perceived quality with little to no experience in the area lol
I just think that this is another case of a “mechanic’s tool” company wanting to fill out their product line for completeness sake. Then if that adds to profits they will consider it a good thing. Armstrong (once an Apex Tool brand), Beta, Gedore, Hazet, Proto, SK, Williams et. al. all had pliers as part of their tool line. Then there are other “plier upstarts” – like Irwin, Dewalt and Milwaukee – perhaps better known for other tools. – So why not Gearwrench? I don’t know that how any of these sell compared to those made by folks who seem to specialize in making plier – e.g. Channellock, Knipex, Merry and NWS.) But for me – I agree that there doesn’t seem to be any compelling reason to buy a pair Gearwrench pliers.
I tellya what, the last few years has certainly raised my awareness of marketing and review practices. There was recently some drama on YouTube about a certain channel getting axed from review-sample availability, because Nvidia didn’t think they were placing enough frothing fanboyism on an (arguably marginally important) Nvidia-special feature. The white-hot blowback from other reviewers was fierce to say the least, and Nvidia ultimately reversed their decision.
A few months prior, it was Intel setting a particularly awkward timing on their review embargo, so it would interfere with reviewers’ ability to give fair attention to other products. That got a scathing headline of “Intel’s behavior is PATHETIC” on a channel with 12M subscribers.
Here, we’ve got products in the hands of sponsored reviewers, who MarketStreetTools observes aren’t even taking them out of the package before yammering a bunch of useless pablum into a textbox. And meanwhile, the company goes months without answering basic questions for one of the most established tool blogs out there? I don’t know if it rises to the same level of intentional interference, but it’s certainly not the free flow of objective information on a level playing field that one would naively hope.
What’s interesting to me is that I never would’ve been aware of this behavior, if not for these behind-the-curtain peeks. I used to place a fair bit of faith in online reviews, but that’s been eroded over years, and now I go out of my way to sniff out the background of an individual reviewer before placing any weight on what they’ve written. It’s a pain, it adds friction to what used to be a smooth process of lifting money from my wallet, and most importantly, _it doesn’t have to be this way_. Review samples shouldn’t be hard. Answering bloggers’ questions isn’t rocket science. Setting and enforcing guidelines for the quality of sponsored reviews should be de rigeur, not something we speak of in wishful hypotheticals.
I guess at the end of the day, it means I’m being more skeptical, buying less, and using my old stuff more. Because my own experience is the only thing I still really trust.
Here, Gearwrench could not provide samples or provide press information YET, and I only mentioned it in the post because it means I probably can’t get answers to any questions you might have, YET.
It seems they sent initial products to select sponsored influencers. That’s their prerogative. They also sent samples to Amazon Vine free product reviewers, or that could have been Amazon’s arrangements.
I still assume that details and select samples might eventually be forthcoming – hopefully this post doesn’t change their mind – but I got tired of waiting. I see no reason to continue waiting for a press release on products that are already shipping to customers.
Gearwrench HAS been sending “try me” media kits with select products. But, they also send to a lot of influencers as well. So, they sent to their sponsored partners first, and are likely waiting for inventory and a larger “Round 2” release.
I might disagree with Gearwrench on some things, and my excitement about these pliers have dulled a bit, but GW continues to be a warm and helpful media partner.
It seems that COVID has disrupted the “official launch” timeline for these pliers, and there could be other factors at play as well. It’s not that GW *wouldn’t* provide samples here, but they *couldn’t.* It’s the same with pricing and press information.
Despite assuming that I/ToolGuyd would be included in the large media/influencer sample distribution that Apex Tool Group has done with other products, I didn’t want to wait for that to happen before I could first put together a “new tool” launch post.
I have had an interesting relationship with Apex Tool Group brands over the years, and they are usually eager and able to provide whatever information or samples I ask for. Here, their timetable didn’t make it possible.
Generally speaking, being constrained by brands’ modern “influencer culture” marketing strategies no longer works for me.
Another brand (not GW) recently tried to place an embargo on public information I already used to draft a post. They said “you might see this somewhere, but we don’t want you to post about it yet.” And then when the embargo ended, what did I see? Sponsored reviews, when I was asked not to post on a shallow press release with limited details. That same brand also recently asked me to work their official statement into a post, 3 weeks after I published it. That post was on a product they were promoting but never provided PR resources for.
Gearwrench and Apex Tool Groups are entitled to their marketing preferences, and so far they’ve been good to us (ToolGuyd). I mentioned what I did in the post for exactly the reasons stated – I cannot answer any questions *at this time,* but not for lack of interest or effort on my part. It has been my practice to be transparent about these things in posts.
Koko The Talking Ape
“Pitbull” pliers, with “K-9 jaws”! Are they going to run out of animals to name their pliers after? We already have “Cobras” and “Alligators.” “Gorilla” already is on glue, tape, and I think string, so that’s out. “Hawk” and “Wolf” are already tool lines or brand names, I’m not sure. So what’s left? Elephants? Hyenas?
Skye A Cohen
Haha that reminds me of a pocket knife I bought off the hardware store counter years ago that had “cobra” stamped into the blade, “tiger” embossed in the plastic handle, and an embossed picture of an eagle on the other side of the handle
Skye A Cohen
I guess to each their own but at least in the pics they look very cheap to me, the colors of plastics and the design with all of the aggressive silver black stuff going on.. maybe they look better in person
Pit Bull used to be (perhaps still is) a trademark of a small importing company (Charles Amash Imports) located in Michigan. They had another brand G.R.I.P. (Grand Rapids Industrial Products) . Both had logo graphics that sort of went with the pit-bull dog and grip (as in hand grip) themes. You often saw their items on sale at dollar stores or so called liquidators
You know, I was hoping these might be a nice upgrade to existing pliers but, I think they might end up being worse than their hype. Perhaps Apex launched the Crescent version of these pliers before changing the colors for Gearwrench.
I know my local Home Depot has a few pairs of the various Crescent models on the shelf. They’re not that impressive in person. I believe these are made in the SATA plant in China, People’s Republic of. I was hoping for Taiwan but, more and more of Gearwrench’s new products seem to be little more than orange and black versions of SATA tools. OEM Tools has a similar looking pliers set in Green/Black. There are so many other options available today that one must wonder what Gearwrench was thinking when they launched these. Pitbull pliers are listed on Ebay so, I fail to understand why you couldn’t get some to try out. Perhaps Gearwrench is scared what people would say about them.
I’m sorry, these things have been messing with my eyes most of the day… Instagram, Facebook, AND here… It’s REALLY hard to look at them… They have this odd optical thing, like the Milwaukee tools? Where they look vaguely like some portion o fthem are rendered, not the actual tool. And yet other angles make them look like they’re much larger than they are… almost like they’re two-hand operation.
They’ve been messing with my eyes all day. I doubt I need to get this particular set, considering they seem to hurt my head to look at. I leave comments about Quality to the experts here. All I know is they give me a headache for some reason.
I avoid APEX where ever I can. Champion DeArment, Knipex and Klien more than fill and needs I have.
Didn’t Irwin try this already?
Pretty sure these were high quality tools and they have all but disappeared from Lowe’s and other stores that carried them. Perhaps Gear Wrench Xiansheng should have discussed this venture with Herr Irwin prior to investing…
Gearwrench and Irwin aren’t in any way related.
Irwin is a Stanley Black & Decker brand, Gearwrench is part of the Apex Tool Group.