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)
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.