The reputation of Vise-Grips precedes Irwin’s ownership by quite a few decades. Since Irwin’s acquisition of the Vise-Grip label, there have been many changes – some good, some bad. One of the improvements was the addition of soft-handled grip options – such a seemingly minor feature makes these pliers much more comfortable to use.
At first, I was hesitant to try these soft-handled Vise-Grips since there are no obvious origin markings on them, and well, I have had bad experiences with some of the new imported versions. But, every tool is worth a fair chance, so I gave these a try.
Okay, so Irwin took standard Vise-Grips, slapped some soft grips onto them, and called it ProTouch. This is not innovation, but it sure is improvement. After a few sessions with soft-gripped Vise-Grips, I saw that the grips clean up well, and they are very comfortable to operate, especially bare-handed. Decreased hand fatigue and discomfort definitely classifies as “improvement” in my book!
You can find soft-gripped Vise-Grips in just about every home improvement store and countless places online. I recommend buying them in-person so that you can verify the country of origin on the packaging – if that is an important factor to you. The two-piece set pictured above can be found for ~$25 locally, but it’s also available for $15 via Amazon.