Shortly after Klein came out with hybrid-style pliers a couple of years ago, a media kit arrived on my doorstep, bundled with their hybrid-style pliers, and a similarly styled multi-tool.
I have been a little conflicted about the tools, as neither tools really align with my electrical tool needs or preferences. I kept putting things off my testing and review, because of my ambiguous feelings about the tools, and here we are, four years later.
Klein pliers are wire strippers are excellent. I own quite a few Klein tools, and greatly value their functionality and quality.
The Klein hybrid tool, J215-8CR, features a wide and aggressively toothed gripping tip, wire stripping holes (10-14 AWG solid, 12-16 AWG stranded), wire cutter, machine screw shears, and non-insulated crimping jaws.
This is from Klein’s Journeyman tool collection, featuring a high-leverage design and dual-material handle grips.
Klein describes this as a multi-purpose tool that saves users time and lessens their tool count.
This is intended as an all-in-one solution for wiring professionals.
Klein had previously launched heavy duty wire strippers, and these were similar in functionality. I wanted to understand the nuances, but never quite got to the bottom of it.
I bought a Klein heavy duty wire stripper ($35 at Amazon) that has a wide gripping zone, more wire stripping holes, a large wire cutter, machine screw shears, a crimper (with a different anvil shape), and “Klein Kurve” handle.
Klein says that the Journeyman tool can cut screws, nails, and most hardened wire. Perhaps this is the differentiating factor, aside from the different handle style.
I typically avoid cutting nails and hardened wire with electrical cutters or combination tools, mostly because I can never remember which are suited for it. Cutting hardened wire with cutters designed strictly for copper and soft wire is not advised, as you’ll usually damage the tool by denting, chipping, or dulling the cutting edges.
The difficulty is that I’m sure this is a great tool, but it’s one I personally don’t have organic use for. And when I do have a wiring project come up, I tend to gravitate towards personal favorites, which includes Klein’s heavy duty strippers.
I kept thinking I’ll get to it, but here we are four years later. There are reasons why I did not pass these along to a local electrician for testing and feedback, but I won’t get into that right now.
I also received Klein’s electrician’s hybrid pliers multi-tool, model 44216.
The multi-tool comes with a similar hybrid pliers head, with gripping jaws, wire stripping holes, and a wire cutter.
And, it also features a 3-inch drop point knife blade, Phillips no. 2 screwdriver, and a slotted screwdriver. There are also slide-out tweezers (shown in the topmost photo) for metal splinter removal.
The tweezers can be hard to remove, and as far as I am aware, they’re not replaceable.
The multi-tool has some good things going for it, such as the full-size Phillips screwdriver, but I never reached for it either; I left both tools in the media kit box, right near my wiring supplies.
At the time of this posting, the multi-tool is no longer available.
I would say that I’m not a fan of wire strippers centered around residential wire gauges, as I tend to work with thinner wire gauges much more frequently, and thicker wires on occasion. But, I own a Klein NM cable stripper ($27 at Amazon) and it quickly became a permanent part of my kit.
I don’t remember what I had against this style of tool to avoid it for so long, but I also know I still wouldn’t reach for either of them today. I suppose these tools are simply incompatible with my personal preferences and the types of wiring tasks I come across.
But if I use Klein heavy duty wire strippers, which aren’t so different in function, shouldn’t I find just as much utility with the Journeyman tool?
So here’s what I want to know – what appeals to you about these tools? I cannot shake the feeling that I’m wrong about the style being redundant.
The multi-tool never gained traction, which is presumably why it was discontinued.
But the Journeyman pliers? Maybe its main point is to provide a lineman’s pliers-type form factor with wire stripper functionality. Or maybe they’re heavy duty wire strippers with a lineman’s pliers-style form factor.
If you’ve tried these, what do you think about them? If you’d like to try them, chime in by 11:59pm ET 4/25/22.
The Journeyman pliers are made in the USA.