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
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?