As you are probably already aware, Irwin stopped manufacturing Vise Grip locking pliers in the USA a few years ago.
While I am actually quite pleased with the performance of some of Irwin’s newer Vise Grip pliers, most notably the ones with quick-release handles, I do prefer their older USA-made pliers over the newer imported traditional-style pliers.
Some of the older USA-made pliers are still available for purchase via various outlets, including Harry Epstein Co.
Harry Epstein recently added 7WR 7-inch curved jaw pliers to their closeouts catalog. They have a couple other USA-made Vise Grip locking pliers in stock as well.
Buy Now(7WR via Harry Epstein Co., USA-made)
Buy Now(via Amazon, imported)
More Styles(via Harry Epstein Co.)
New USA-made Vise Grip pliers, at least new old stock, are not impossible to find, but they are becoming harder to find. With increased scarcity, expect to see higher prices.
Stuart, good of you to share this information. I’ve known about this for some time personally, but Harry J Epstein is the only distributor that sells old stock American made Vise Grip locking pliers for not only a reasonable price, but the items are factory sealed as well.
I’ve found the ONLY other means to buy American made locking pliers, be this from Stanley, Wilde, Crescent, Craftsman and naturally from Petersen, which would later merge with American Tools and then in 2003 would become Irwin, Vise Grip locking pliers.
I’ll be honest, I won’t buy a imported set of locking pliers, as I much rather buy a American made Petersen Vise Grip/American Tools Vise Grip and to support Harry J Epstein, American made Irwin Vise Grip as well.
But once these USA made Irwin Vise Grip are sold at Epstein’s, that’s it. What they have left is what they are selling. At one point they sold USA made Crescent locking pliers, but those were purchased.
Thanks for this post, Stuart. I think it’s time I purchased a pair, while I still can.
Most of my personal collection of Vise Grips came from the Petersen Manufacturing Company in the 1960’s and 1970’s before the Petersen family formed American Tool. These were likely made either in Nebraska or Wisconsin. As you probably know American Tool acquired Irwin in the early ’90’s and then Newell-Rubbermaid acquired American Tool in 2002
cripe distributing had some USA made pliers for sale and they might still have them. I think they were $9 a pair. I bought two pairs.
Chad: I was on Cripes Distributing centralized website and they listed two variations of Vise Grips that were American made; the 6LN needle nose locking pliers and the 10R straight jaw locking pliers.
However, what Cripes fails to admit, is that with their 10R Irwin Vise this is made in USA of GLOBAL COMPONENTS. What that entails is that product is not 100% American made. This is the case on both their website and eBay.
Harry J Epstein however lists the 100% American made version and if this was made in USA of global components, they would list that. Don’t get me wrong, I like Cripes Distributing, but in this case, they don’t list all the needed information.
A little while back, I ordered the Epstein ones. They are “Made With Global Components”. Jori at Epsteins told me by email that Irwin had to label these that way because the screw at the bottom of the tool and the spring were made overseas. The rest of the tool was reportedly US-made, but it also meant Irwin couldn’t inscribe the tool itself as “Made in USA”.
That being said, there are some alternatives. I have found that in my area, Pep Boys of all places is a goldmine for USA-made Vice-Grips, and you can get the ones with the soft-grip handles. There was a brief period when those were made here (best estimate 2003-2005 or so). I can only guess that the reason for this is because Pep Boys specializes in junky Chinese tools. As a result, their customers tend to go for the “deals” first and ignore the quality stuff, even though the real Vice-Grips are sitting on the shelf right next to the cheap knockoffs! So, there is some new-old-stock available if you’re willing to drive around and look for it at a few locations.
Other than Pep Boys, I’ve seen some low-traffic Sears stores with NOS Irwin vice grips, and you should be aware that the “Craftsman Professional” locking pliers are rebranded Irwin vice grips, but I don’t see many of those these days. Other than that, check out the old hardware store in town which has been around for decades. Chances are, they’ll have them as well.
And I thought I was getting the deal of the century paying 5$ a piece at ace hardware. I just noticed the made in china on the package.
Greg, typically, most Vise Grips sold at your typical brick and mortar shop are modern day Irwin tools that are made in China, not the Petersen/American Tools or even USA made Irwin Vise Grips for the most part.
Some stores may still have old stock, but very few and far between actually do. Only on eBay/pawn shops have I seen American made Vise Grips go for $5 or less. But at Ace, you may be receiving a discount, but they sure aren’t American made Vise Grips.
If you are looking for factory sealed American made Vise Grips for a reasonable price then Epstein’s is best route for that.
Damn, I got to look at the new one that failed and see where it was made. I had one that the teeth weren’t strong on and when used, they wore off in one turn. I remember as a kid using my dad’s and they would take any abuse offered.
I have a near complete USA vise grips collection that was done entirely from ebay within just a few months.
And most of those ebay finds were NOS (new old stock) from the 80’s, 90’s and early 200o’s. I never bought any that said Irwin on them, not even the early Irwin’s that were mostly made in USA. I always heard even those had some foreign made components and that the workers at the Dewitt, Nebraska Petersen Vise Grip plant called them “Rice Grips”.
I had no idea that nos meant new old stock I thought it meant not over seas lol
Yes I worked at the plant in Dewitt,Ne. I wouldnt own a Irwin stamped locking tool ,their junk,waste of money,when we made them we were proud of what we made,tested them against,other locking tool &strived to make them the best,I worked mostly on the Maxie hot drop forging ,I dont how they make them,but they are worthles,I saw a locking tool from the Co,that had a10 w jaw on one side of the tool & a 10 cr jaw on the oposite side,pure junk,& it was sold at Menards ,be careful what you purchase,Im open to any coments,Kenneth.
Sgt. brian blithe
+ken meints, Thank you sir for your good hearted dedication and perfection, What (stamp) does vice grips made at Dewitt NE. plant have on them ?
I STARTED MY TOOL COLLECTON BACK IN SEPTEMBER 2005 MY FIRST PAIR OF VISE GRIPS WAS THE PETERSEN 10R AND THE 7 CR NOW 10 YEAR LATER I PROBABLY OWN 20-25 PAIRS OF THE OLDER PETERSEN MFG BRAND VISE GRIPS. I DO OWN THE CURRENT PRODUCTION 5CR FAST RELEASE, 7WR FAST RELEASE, 10WR FAST RELEASE AND 9LN FAST RELEASE AND HAVE HAD NO TROUBLE WITH THEM AT ALL. I ALSO OWN THE NEWER 5WR, 7CR,10R AND THEY HAVE BEEN GREAT. JUST BOUGHT MY 7 CR CURRENT PRODUCTION ONES YESTERDAY AT MY VISE GRIP DEALER AMERICAN PRODUCER MARIETTA OHIO . HAVENT HAD A CHANCE TO USE THE 7CR YET DUE TO COLD WEATHER BUT I CANT WAIT TO USE THEM AND SEE HOW THEY DO VERSES MY OLDER 7CR PETERSEN MFG ONES . I WILL KEEP BUYING VISE GRIPS CAUSE THEY ARE THE ONLY BRAND I HAVE EVER OWNED AND USED. I HAVE USED CHEAPER NON NAME BRAND AND THEY DO NOT HOLD UP TO THE EVERYDAY USE AND ABUSE THAT THE VISE GRIP BRAND DOES.
American made vise grips are far superior,Popular Mechanics did a comparison with american made and made in China vise grips.needless to say the American made one where far superior. I bought all mine from snap on and I hate when I loose one.
I at one time had dozens of vise grip I bought every size made and now at 54 years old I’m rebuilding my tools for me and my sons and have lost many half over the years…Even before I began shopping I suspected that the vice grip brand had also turned into disposable Chinese crap…there must be an american company out there that makes a high quality locking pliers in different sizes…..Can anybody point me in the right direction….And I am looking at searching out the new-old stock…..????…Thank you in advance….
Sgt. brian blithe
Just as for 1 opinion, i do not knowand did not know irwin sold out to bad hearted commies, sick, but ebay is a treasure trove, thanks for being a great American Mark.
I have a 1942 vice grip in excellent condition. Pat number 2280005 . Dated Apr 14 1942. For sale BO.
Re. 1942 vicegrip Addy is [email protected]