I received a tip a few weeks ago that Irwin was making a pliers wrench and that it was up on the Lowe’s website, but when I tried to find them, they weren’t available yet. The other day I checked the website again and lo-and-behold, it was available for purchase, so I ordered a 8″ version. While I wait for my order to arrive, now seems like a good opportunity to discuss the new pliers with a quick preview post.
As you might be aware, pliers wrenches are some of Stuart’s favorite tools, and I am also quite fond of them. These new Irwin pliers wrenches look to have some of the same features.
The cool thing about pliers wrenches is that the smooth jaws stay parallel to each other, so they fit nuts and bolts on their flats. Also, unlike an adjustable wrench, the jaws can actually grip the fastener tighter as you push on the pliers. All this means you can replace a fist-full of wrenches with one pliers wrench in many applications, with less risk of rounding or damaging fasteners.
These Irwin Vise-Grip pliers wrenches have a GrooveLock-style pushbutton mechanism for adjusting the jaw opening size, and the handles are made from two different materials, which Irwin says give you a more ergonomic grip and better control.
The Irwin pliers wrench is available in 8″ and 10″ sizes. The 8″ wrench can handle fasteners from 5/16″ to 1-5/16″ and the 10″ can span 5/16″ to 1-1/2″. Keep in mind that this is their hex fastener size compatiblity; they of course close down all the way.
Right now it looks like Lowe’s is the only major retailer carrying the new Irwin Vise-Grip pliers wrenches. I haven’t seen them in stores yet, but they are available to be shipped either to a store or to your home.
Price: 8-inch for $22, 10-inch for $26
Buy Now (8″ Wrench via Lowes)
Buy Now (8″ Wrench via Amazon)
Buy Now (10″ Wrench via Lowes)
The first thing I noticed about the Irwin Vise-Grip pliers wrenches is that they don’t look as refined as the Knipex versions. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are inferior tools, it could just mean that Irwin limited the amount of tooling needed to manufacture the wrenches, to bring them in at a lower price point.
I ordered a pair of the Irwin 8″ pliers wrenches to compare to my 7″ Knipex Pliers wrench. This is the size that I prefer, as they open almost as wide as the 10″, but are smaller and have narrower jaws which make them nice for getting into tight spaces. I’m hoping the Irwin version are at least half as handy.
Stuart’s Note: This looks to be the first new Irwin hand tool designs since the brand was purchased by Stanley Black & Decker. Does that mean we might see similar designs from FatMax or Dewalt brands?
Knipex must have had som patents expire… everyone and their sister is launching a pliers wrench lately.
I was wondering when the pliers wrench patent would expire. I’m curious to see who else comes out with a pliers wrench. Knipex is great, but it’s expensive!
I purchased the 10″ Irwin yesterday but haven’t had to use them yet, after eyeballing the knipex for months on ebay and never pulling the trigger. These were basically half the price and hopefully will do the same job
Knipex… period. Knipex style has a lever/ leverage function getting a tighter grip with less effort…
Cheap tools are like buying cheap windows,ya they work,but at what cost
I’m with you.
In our Plumbing business, we started buying Knipex pliers in 2001. We never once had buyer’s remorse about having paid too much for their plier-wrenches. They mostly replaced smooth-jaw Channellocks and adjustable wrenches we had used on things like chrome and brass plated ferrule nuts. Once the guys tried them – no one wanted to go back -as they were easier, quicker, non-marring and just plain better. Perhaps some new copy will prove to be better – but only time will tell. Maybe someone will release a non-sparking bronze version?
Agreed. One plumbing project with the Knipex version and i was convinced they are worth every cent.
I agreed with you up until I owned the Irwin version. I just broke the Knipex (button failure). Had to squeeze extra hard with a couple of small pipes. Bought the Irwin and used it the same way. My Irwin is still going. So I’m thinking Irwin is the way to go for Plier Wrenches.
You get what you pay for. There is the Original and then there are copies… Anyone for a Jack & Pepsi? How about a Rum and Pepsi? No? Why not? ‘Nuff said.
Sometimes knock offs are just as good as the original, but this isn’t one of those cases. Knipex makes the best pliers. Teeth are harder, heads are smaller to fit in tight spaces, and parts adjust smoothly.
And they’re lighter weight than pretty much anything. The pliers wrenches perhaps less so than other varieties — they’re pretty beefy, but still lighter than the knockoff featured here.
Somehow they do the work of tools twice their weight. Initially I thought it was weird to feel the handles flexing as I gripped down on the tool, but I think the springiness really helps with both function and ergonomics. And I haven’t snapped ’em yet!
It looks like Irwin tweaked the color scheme to match that of the NWS line of pliers in your other article comparing the Taiwan-made vs NWS made Irwin pliers.
on the shelf here in the Seattle area. love the Knipex but will give these a try.
On the shelf at my Lowe’s, i looked at them but my knipex can get in higher places so i passed on them.
I’ll keep an eye on these and eventually purchase them. Too bad they don’t have smaller versions. I too, like plier wrenches. I collect Eifel Plier wrenches. I have several Knipex including one that I purchased with a gift card I won on this site. (Thanks ToolGuyd!!!!!!!!!). I really like the VBW and Stahlwille VBW Powergrip Plier wrenches, but their prices are a little bit out of my range.
Someone is going to knicknane these bulky cheap looking copies much like the oversized craftsman lobster claw wrenches got one due to their overly bulky design due to either cheap steel or stingy design.
I bought the 10″ Gedore version and was skeptical, but comparing them to my Knipex 10″ plier wrenches they seem narrower and they open a bit wider. Aside from differences in handles, you could argue the Gedore’s are a slightly more refined design. Not holding them in hand I would say quality is comparible.
I will buy a pair of these when they are available in Canada. I have the 5” & 10” Knipex versions – my favourite and most used tools. The 5” is in my pocket everyday.
I don’t regret either purchase, in fact I will eventually buy the 7” too. However, they’re too expensive for me to justify buying extras – and I’d love to have a pliers wrench that can live in my truck or camping trailer.
Kinda wish Irwin came out with more sizes though. I don’t think I will ever purchase the larger Knipex versions since I don’t expect they would see as much use and they cost too much to gather dust.
I ended up at Lowe’s today for something else.
I saw these and did not intend to buy them. I have and love every size of Knipex pliers wrench from 5″ to 16″.
I did not see this in the copy or the comments, but I ended up taking the 8″ Irwins home to try for the single reason that these do something the Knipex offers in a cobra version but not on the pliers wrench, a push to close option. You can open the jaw all the way, push closed until you are on the fastener, and then close the handle. This is a great feature I wish Knipex would offer.
Exact same story for me except I only own knipex up to 10”(250mm). Pretty happy with the newly discovered Irwin’s and the quick push adjust. My matte chrome isn’t chipping at the edges and they work better so far. They don’t have “made in Germany” cast on the side but I’d still buy more and use them over my Knipex’ for the quick adjustment alone. Then I can archive my Knipex pliers wrenches as artifacts in my private industrial design museum of tools which are too expensive for even pro’s to use (501c3).
Most of the under 7in Knipex PW are under $30 at KC tool,and Zorro when you consider the 20% coupon.
Amazon is the cheapest for the xxl at $120 .
Just like the original vice grips were much better then the knock-offs,so are the Knipex (I haven’t tried the other German brands so I can’t comment on those)
Most of the German tools are far cheaper on Amazon.de . Between the VAT that is included in the displayed price (that is removed when shipped out of the EU), the difference in exchange rate (you can pay in $$ and they’ll convert for you) plus a fairly low postage fee, the price in Euros is roughly (within a few dollars) the price you’ll end up paying in $$.
Shipping takes about two weeks. I’ve yet to be charged any duty even on items in excess of $800.
Some items are “Prime only” so you’ll need to sign up for the trial – the US prime doesn’t work. You log in with your US name and password. It’ll recognize your country and shipping address and calculate any extra shipping costs.
Amazon.co.uk has different prices as well, so you might want to check that as well.
As long as it doesn’t look like you’re going to resell them, you should be safe with duties. I imported over $5k of parts for my Land Rover and never saw a bill.
Speaking of deals at Lowe’s, my local store is clearing out Kobalt shelf space (presumably to move in Craftsman). The sales were 50+% off. I picked up a full set of standard impact sockets, and some extension bars.
Worth a look.
I just picked up some 10 packs and 5 packs of recip saw blades, all for under $5, or .40-80 cents a blade. DeWalt and Irwin blades made in US.
I bought the 8” version recently and it quickly became my favorite wrench. They are very light, comfortable, easy to adjust, and have fantastic grip strength. Now I just hope they will make these in a 12” or larger size, and migrate the adjustment mechanism over to their groove lock pliers.
There’s a little bit of sideways play in the lower jaw, which perturbed me at first, but I haven’t found that it really matters.