A pair of locking pliers is the essential hand tool for loosening bolts with stripped heads and clamping two pieces of metal together for any purpose. It usually comes into play when you have to improvise a solution while trying to fix something. This article will examine several practical applications for locking pliers that have led to their widespread adoption as a necessary tool for home and commercial use.

Removing staples, nails, and other fasteners

Locking pliers help extract difficult nails and other fasteners when ordinary pliers cannot hold strong enough when pressure is applied. This is because they clamp down on things with significant force. They are beneficial in releasing damaged fasteners when there is no head to help with levering with a pry bar or claw hammer.


Locking pliers are a go-to choice for many clamping tasks because of their locking vice grip. Some locking pliers are explicitly made for clamping, but many varieties work well in this capacity. Welders particularly like locking pliers because of their sturdy metal construction. While locking pliers are helpful for securely attaching jigs and parts in woodworking applications, it’s important to remember that they can easily damage raw wood when clamped directly onto it.


Locking pliers can be handy when handling materials that would be difficult or painful to grasp directly, such as when moving tiny components into place for soldering or glue. One of the most popular tools for precision work is long nose-locking pliers, which have tapered jaws that make reaching nooks, crannies, and more confined spots easier.

Removing rounded nuts and bolts

Likewise, if a bolt or nut has gotten so rounded that there is no way a spanner or socket would fit it, you can use locking pliers to grasp the damaged portion, which will turn the section in its threads and allow the fastener to come loose(or tightened if required). Locking pliers can also drive nuts or bolts if you’re in a tight place and don’t have access to spanners or sockets. This should only be done as a last option because it can increase fastener wear; nevertheless, some locking pliers have jaws made specifically for hex bolts; thus, model-to-model appropriateness varies.

Wire cutting

Locking pliers are valuable tools for holding, bending, and snipping wire. While this feature isn’t present in all models, many have an incorporated wire cutter in the back of the jaws. These cutters can cut pallet strapping, thread, cable ties, and other materials.

Fixing a broken lever or knob

When a knob, lever, or other control handle is broken off or removed from a piece of equipment, the operator is frequently left with an unergonomic shaft or stub that is hard to turn by hand—especially if it is recessed or otherwise challenging to reach. In these cases, locking pliers are the perfect substitute handles because, if locked firmly into position, they usually allow enough turning to restore functionality until the part can be fixed or replaced.

Wrapping up

While other pliers just grip, locking pliers lock so tightly that you’ll be amazed at what they can twist off, hold up, or pull together.

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