Malco Eagle Grip locking pliers are now available!!
I have two samples in-hand, and am still working on the review. In the meantime, let’s talk a bit about why these new tools are special.
Vise-Grip locking pliers, invented by William Petersen, were produced in DeWitt, Nebraska until Irwin shut down the factory and moved production to China in 2008.
Fast forward a few years…
Malco, a tool brand that’s familiar to tradesmen, HVAC professionals and other demanding users, was set to reopen the former Vise-Grip factory. The plan was to start building a new line of Eagle Grip locking pliers, the first locking pliers to made in the USA in more than a decade.
I spoke with Malco’s Eric Peterson, Director of Sales & Marketing, about the new Eagle Grip tools, and I was thoroughly impressed. With the tools in-hand now, I’m nearly at a loss for words.
Malco says they took the time to make things right, and I believe it.
Even though Malco was reopening the factory, what do you think was still there after it shut down? After the factory closed, everything was moved out and auctioned.
The infrastructure was still there, and after the factory spent 8 years being rented as storage space, the work began. Malco credits their ability to reopen the factory to the willingness and support of Nebraska and its people. After 8 years, the people wanted to bring the factory back.
The hard work is done and the time has come; Malco has started shipping their first new Eagle Grip locking pliers SKUs, and there’s more to come.
Let’s talk about Malco’s product claims.
The Strongest Locking Pliers
I believe it.
Eagle Grip professional locking handle tools are forged from the finest American steel to deliver stronger and more reliable performance for as long as you own them. And that’s going to be a very long time. If you’re tired of worn teeth, loose jaws, or tools that just don’t live up to the task, it’s time to switch to Eagle Grip.
The fit and finish is better.
The adjustment screw has a proprietary dry coating that is very wear-resistant.
The pliers are MADE in USA, starting with the best raw materials.
Competing models have split adjustment screw threads, and users can pop the braze under high-strength use. That won’t happen with Eagle Grip locking pliers, thanks to a “Power Ring” feature that reinforces the threads and reduces the chance of failure.
“We Didn’t Reinvent the Wheel. We Made it Better.”
Again, I absolutely agree with this. Comparing Eagle Grip locking pliers to other models I have around the workshop, subtleties and improvements become more apparent.
You will feel a different with these. The Eagle Grips are tumbled with ceramic shot, to a satin finish.
Even the wire cutting blade is better-made on these Eagle Grip locking pliers.
The jaws are strong, sharp, and well-formed, even at the top.
The fixed jaw has overbuilt brazing, designed to withstand strong pulling and twisting forces. And, there’s an additional rivet for added strength. This is a big area where the Eagle Grips differ from traditional Vise-Grip pliers and like-derived designs.
With the adjustment screw, my 10″ locking pliers have a 5mm hex recess for assisted tightening. For the 10″ Eagle Grips pliers, the adjustment screw has a much larger 5/16″ hex recess.
Thoughtful touches all around make Eagle Grips a superb and superior tool.
Sure, it took some time for Malco to rebuild USA locking pliers production essentially from scratch, but the wait was worth it.
Obviously, these are not going to be for everyone, but if you’re looking for strong, reliable, and exceptionally well-made locking pliers manufactured in the USA, give Eagle Grips a try.
Eagle Grip Locking Pliers 2021 First Wave
Here are the models that are available at launch:
- 7″ curved jaw locking pliers w/ wire cutter: LP7WC (Amazon)
- 7″ straight jaw locking pliers: LP7R (Amazon)
- 10″ curved jaw locking pliers w/ wire cutter: LP10WC
- 10″ straight jaw locking pliers: LP10R (Amazon)
Eagle Grip Locking Clamps 2021 First Wave
- 11″ locking c-clamp with swivel pads: LP11SP
- 11″ locking c-clamp: LP11C
- 9″ locking welding clamp
- 9″ locking seamer: LP10S3 (Amazon)
At this time, you can only buy the Malco Eagle Grip locking pliers via Amazon.
Buy Now via Amazon
More Info via Eagle Grip
A lot of you guessed correctly – this is the tool I was so excited about in February that I had to share a sneak peek:
Eagle Grips Launch Video
Eagle Grips Parts and Warranty
I mention in my teaser video (above) that these have the feel of heirloom-quality tools. But, what if something happens? Replacement parts will be available, and the tools will also be backed by a Lifetime satisfaction guarantee.
Definitely watch the video below, if only for the cool look behind the curtain at how the Eagle Grip locking pliers are made!
What would you like to know about these new locking pliers and clamps?
One of the Most useful tools out there. Yet, after so many years, still ugly.
looks like SnapOn is selling the same with their name badge. Is that correct? the model number is the same.
Yes. My understanding is that Eagle Grip is the OEM for the new Snap-on locking pliers.
CAT appears to be copies of the Spain made Snap-on locking pliers. So the USA made Snap-ons are Malco?
Snap-on also has Grip-On-made pliers.
The Malco Eagle Grip ones are like this: https://shop.snapon.com/product/Hand-Tools/10%22-Locking-Pliers-with-Cutter/LP10WC
I’m really not a price shopper, but these things seem crazy expensive. Am I missing something?
I just looked at a 7 inch Grip-On ($30.85)
versus a Malco Eagle Grip ($36.54)
so on that one the price seems to be 20% higher – but in the ballpark – USA made versus made in Spain.
But will they compete with Irwin – made in China for $14 or a China-Made Pittsburgh from Harbor Freight for $4 ? Perhaps not for the mass market – but they may for discerning users willing to pay for higher quality made in USA tools.
I live in the U.S. and when I can it’s American made for me .I stopped buying vice grip went they went Chinese . I hope people will think about putting their money in their own countries .
Malco set out to make the best locking pliers they could.
Would you rather they compromised on quality to bring you a USA-made tool that is more expensive than import models without being much better, or a tool that’s designed to be substantially better?
We’ve got to have 35 or 40 pairs of locking pliers in the shop. Most of the guys will grab a 30+ year old pair of Vise-Grips over brand new other brands.
However, for occasional use they are probably overkill but for daily shop work, if they truly are better than the original Vise-Grips, there will be people more than willing to pay double the price of the Irwin ones.
I’ve been looking for my USA-made Vise-Grips but cannot find them – I can only find my smaller ones. I remember having to go hunting for them because I was expanding my tool kit just when the Dewitt factory shut down.
I do have some early-year imported Vise-Grips, as well as other brands of imported Petersen-style locking pliers, and there are so many small improvements in the Eagle Grips.
Even for the user that has never broken any locking pliers, there are small aspects that improve the user experience. Better jaws, strong adjustment, easier adjustment, and a much better handle finish – to say the least. The wire cutters here are actually useful!
One aspect of the DeWitt made Vise-Grips was the wire cutter. With a bit of effort you could cut a 1/4 inch grade 5 bolt with them. Never was able to do that with any others I own. Also, not long before they were sold, Vise-Grip started making a multi tool based on their small locking pliers. If they ever start making them again I am getting myself some, as they are my favorite heavy duty multi tool of all time, because they had real Vise-Grip pliers and a true 1/4 hex bit holder for the screwdriver.
Then they are not for you, there are plenty of copies for half this price
Mike (the other one)
I do not need these. I have a pair of original Petersen Vise Grips, a pair of Irwin USA-made Vise Grips (before the move to China), some SBD-Irwin Chinese-made Vise Grips, some Chinese-made Kobalt locking pliers, and a few pairs of Bremen locking pliers, which are very good.
But I will be purchasing at least one pair of these for myself, and probably a few more as gifts. Everyone says they want to support USA-made tools until they see the price. Time to put your money where your mouth is. $36 isn’t that much, considering how much better these will be compared to any other brand. Frankly the Grip-Ons are overrated, and there is a reason Snap-On is moving to Malco for their branded version.
In for a penny, in for a pound just ordered a 10″ straight and a 7″ curved.
Where from? The Eagle Grip website only listed Amazon as a seller, and they sold out in minutes.
I am in. Ordered a pair yesterday. Yes, expensive but likely worth it.
looks like a 6 inch seamer is available. a cool new product that was never made before. i like how the incorporated the heavy malco style seamer onto the locking pliers.
I never knew they had wire cutters! I just checked my old vise grips, whoa.
Some models do. I listed the Malco models above – both sizes of curved jaw Eagle Grip locking pliers have wire cutters.
Probably weren’t missing much – I’ve never had locking pliers with wire cutters that were worth a damn. Looking forward to these.
Been waiting years on these to be released. Got the 10″ pair curved jaw the other day. My only complaint is these are way to nice to use. They did a great job and I will be adding the rest to my collection slowly.
Good news on US factory running. Hope there’s support for their products.
What are the straight jaw benefits? I have compact needle nose straight jaw for tight spaces, very useful. Why buy straight over curved? Thks
Honestly, I don’t know. I have a pair, but rarely use them.
I guess if I needed to securely clamp to say 1/2″ steel bar stock, the straight jaws would grip with greater surface area. The curved jaw are more generally versatile, in my experience, for all kinds of shapes. The straight jaws are more of a “you’ll know when you need it” style.
I’m in for a full set. I’ve been waiting for these : )
I’m happy to say that my half-dozen home-shop Vise Grips are real, made-in-Dewitt oldies. I’ll likely pick up a coupla pairs of new Eagle Grips to support them and to make myself aware of the new tools. I’d really like to get some smaller, needlenose versions – I use those a lot – so I’ll come back for more, too.
For someone who doesn’t *need* new ones, they are pricey, but they’re made to be heirloom quality, so there are a lot worse ways to spend that cash.
Even at flea market prices, the non-Dewitt tools don’t get a second glance from me.
Yes yes yes, bring on the needle nose ones. I have an Irwin pair and they really need to be replaced with something better.
At my last job I inherited a pair of Asian made locking pliers. They couldn’t take a side load. Yes, these aren’t cheap, but it’s good to see tools made in the US again.
Mike (the other one)
I love how they use a roll pin for the release lever, just like the old USA-made ones.
I hope they release long nose variants, and maybe a nut-cracker version for breaking loose stuck fasteners.
If you ever used a crappy set of Locking Pliers, its a pain in the a** and sometimes leads to injury. Im going to buy the 10″ curved as thats my most used variant. Im glad they Brough manufacturing back to the USA. They look superb compared to the competition. I hope they make a long nose pattern soon as well.
The 7″ curved jaw with wire cutters sold out on the first day. Will wait until the hype dies down before opening my wallet. I’ll get the 7″ and 10″ curved jaw with wire cutters and maybe the welding pliers. Hoping a long nose and even a bent long nose version comes out soon.
Koko The Talking Ape
“Competing models have split adjustment screw threads, and users can pop the braze under high-strength use.”
You know, I’ve always wondered about that. In most locking pliers, the handle is just sheet steel folded over, and where the threads are cut, the two sides don’t meet.
But do the threads take much load? I can’t figure it out, looking at the pliers. I believe that when the screw moves, the jaws move about the same distance, so the screw has to take about the same load as the jaws do. Am I wrong?
When using locking pliers to pull two things together, it is extremely helpful to turn the knob after the pliers are locked. That is the reason for the hex key insert in the knob or hole in other other import pliers designs. I wish Malco would have opted for a eye bolt instead of the traditional knob . I believe they are trying to stick with a traditional look.
Don’t mean to start a fight, but I have to totally disagree. You NEVER want to turn the knob after the pliers are locked. Why? Because locking pliers work on a toggle concept – they snap over center to lock. You set the tension before-hand, not after. If you try to turn the knob/tab/hole afterward, you are working against geometry – it won’t tighten like you think it will. I have some Milwaukee locking pliers with the flat tab instead of knob and while the pliers are generally decent, I totally dislike that tab. Horrible ! If the Eagle Grips had an eye bolt, they would be a disaster. Knurled knob is the way to go for locking pliers.
I cant speak for the geometry of the pliers. However, I have pulled two large sections of TDC style duct together by turning the eye bolt with a screwdriver. It probably isn’t good for the pliers and is not for the duct flange but when you have to it works. I work in commercial construction and it is very common to see washers or eye bolts welded to the bolt for just that reason.
Well, it depends on the motion ratio. I would need to get out the digital calipers to figure it out (and maybe I will !) but for now, I suspect that you aren’t far off. The system toggles over center, but the static load is relatively high, meaning the threads take a fair amount of force. All I can say for sure, is that the Eagle Grip threads are pretty precise and not just “sheet metal folded over”.
As a welder I use locking pliers alot. I for one am very excited to be able to have usa made versions available to me and will be picking these up asap
Want to pick up a seamer/sheet metal pliers; price for the Malco are
LP10S6 6″ $94
FWIW, German made pliers
NWS 184B 8″ ~ $50
Stahlwille 6561 175mm (7″) ~ $80
Would like to support Malco, but at 2x price of DE (and 4x price TW) – not so sure
Check that – Stahlwille 6561 is a 80mm; NWS 184B is 140mm (?)
This was my concern. Knipex makes a decent locking plier at around 2/3 the price. These Malcos look superior but so does money in my pocket.
Bollman grip makes all of the German locking pliers. They’re just “ok”.
I’ll be waiting to hear what the finish is really like. It sure looks nice in the pictures!
I have sets of Knipex locking pliers that were starting to rust upon delivery and the finish leaves a lot to be desired BUT they work which is more than can be said for some brands.
Are these made at the old Vise Grip plant in Nebraska? Hope so.
Yes. That has been the whole shebang. The factory was an empty space, so they built the assembly line from scratch. However, they have hired MANY former employees.
On this forum and other tool forums, the usual bitching never ends. Why can’t someone produce these in the USA or similar. Then, when someone does, these are too expensive. If the price is too high, they are not for you
Pros who use their tools 40+ hours a week need to have fist and foremost dependability. Any downtime because a tool isn’t doing its job = lost money. They pay the price.
Your average DIYer does not need these, they can surely buy them if they want to, but most will get by with made in China Irwins.
Pay or don’t pay, your choice. But please don’t whine that you want better, but better is too expensive.
I see me buying a one or 2 of these even if I don’t need them. My other 2 MALCO tools have always been fantastic to use.
If they make a version similar to the old irwin 6LC I would buy a dozen of them. that is easily my favorite and most used jaw style, and I only have 2 pairs left 🙁
I’ll probably end up getting at least the 7″ curved jaw pliers. A few years ago, I bought a Malco downspout crimper that made modifying and extending downspouts much easier. I haven’t needed it much since, but it worked great and made my life easier.
Other than a Snap-On truck, where is everyone getting their Eagle Grips? The website only pointed to Amazon which sold out immediately.
Right now Amazon is the only dealer I know of, but don’t worry – they’re making more!
I have a couple acquaintances that work in the DeWitt factory, and they say when production catches up they will be found in brick and mortar stores. I’m not supposed to say which ones until it is official but it sounds like they should be easy to find eventually.
These don’t appear to have the correct release locking lever? At least not the more convenient one such as found on the Knipex and Gedore.
I’ll grab a 7inch as I have a couple of 10inchers.
After watching below video I would happily pay $60.
I happily paid $80 on the Snap-on truck for a 10” curved jaw set, and I’m sure I’ll end up buying a bunch more! These blow the Grip-Ons out of the water.
I just sent Malco an email. Want to support them, but I will not buy through AmAzon for anything.
My 7″ Eagle Grips arrived today. I gotta say – Malco has knocked it out of the park. When I opened the box, I thought I was looking at a piece of industrial jewelry. These are full polish and the plating is great. The jaw pivot is tight and basically zero play. The jaws align perfectly. The adjustment knob threads fit perfectly and the knob is easy to turn. The rivets are bigger than I have seen on other pliers. I didn’t measure, but it seems like the squeezing handle is a little wider and immediately felt more comfortable than the other locking pliers in my toolbox. It is pretty obvious to me that the folks in Dewitt put everything they had into these things. Something to be proud of.
I buy rusty USA made Vice grips each weekend at the flea market for $1 to $2 each and very clean ones for $3 to $5 I must have over 50 pair. I am super happy they are making these again. And I hope the vice-grip brand gets crushed my the USA Eagle Claw.
These are now available at Harry J. Epstein!
Thank you for posting the link. I was browsing their brick and mortar store here in KC and forgot to add it!