Sometimes when working on a project, you need a tool that will grab small objects without damaging them or reach deep places, or grip and bend small and medium gauge wire. Many types of pliers will do the job but needle nose pliers are perfect for the job. They will reach both shallow and deep spaces with ease and let you apply force on objects more precisely.
Table of Content
- What is Needle nose pliers?
- Uses of needle nose pliers
- Types of needle nose pliers
- Needle nose pliers reviews
- Factors to consider when selecting long nose pliers
What is a needle nose pliers?
Needle-nose pliers are a special type of pliers with a long, pointed nose for working in confined and deep spaces. They look like conventional combination pliers with long tapered jaws. Another name for needle nose pliers is long nose pliers because of their long jaws.
What are needle nose pliers used for?
Needle nose or long nose pliers are designed for general purpose use. Different tradesmen use these long jaw pliers to accomplish a multitude of tasks across various trades including electrical wiring, fishing, mechanical engineering, jewelry making, electronics repairs just to name a few.
Electrical wiring and electronics repair
Electricians use insulated needle nose pliers to pull and reposition wires in the electrical back boxes. They also use them to bend and twist wires and make wire loops.
Needle nose pliers are also good for picking small wires in crowded electrical enclosures. They are also handy for gripping small screws and fasteners. Some long nose pliers have cutters that electricians use to cut wires and cables to length.
Network engineers and electronics technicians too use needle nose pliers in their trades. Network engineers use them to pull and cut small communication cables whereas electronics repair technicians use the pliers to grasp electronic components.
Automotive mechanics as well use needle-nose pliers quite extensively in their trade. They use the fine point needle nose to install or remove circlips or snap rings. Sometimes they use these pliers to install O-ring seals.
When standard-size pliers won’t effectively each the deep places in a car, the extra long needle nose pliers come in handy. Personally, I use them to remove hose clamps in very confined spaces when I don’t have a pair of hose clamp pliers around.
Jewelers use a special type of needle nose pliers to grab and grip jewelry supplies of different sizes. The jewelry needle nose pliers have non-serrated narrow tapered jaws that grab fragile objects without marring their surface. The pliers also double up as round nose pliers for wire wrapping craft.
Home repairs and DIY projects
Last but not least, if you are a homeowner or DIYer, you may find long nose pliers very handy in many projects. For example, you can use the pliers together with a pipe wrench to remove the flange on the bathtub. Simply insert the open jaws in the flange holes, then twist the pliers using a pipe wrench to unscrew the flange.
Furthermore, the extra slim needle nose pliers are good for removing gunk from washing machine filters or removing hairs from bathroom and sink drainages. There are just many things you can use needle nose pliers for. You only need to get the right one.
Types of needle nose pliers
Needle nose pliers come in various types based on their shapes, sizes, and specific applications. Some even have extra features that make them more versatile and useful than the competition.
Jewelry needle nose pliers for instance have a compact and slim profile for holding small and fragile objects. Furthermore, they have smooth jaws that don’t mar the surface of objects. Some long nose pliers for jewelry making have super long tapered jaws that are perfect for wire wrapping and picking tiny objects.
In contrast, needle nose pliers for electricians are strong and have a heavy duty feel. They even have features that make them suitable for electrical works such as serrated jaws for gripping firmly and side cutters for cutting wires. Some have stripping holes on the jaws for stripping electrical wires of common gauge sizes.
Mechanics as well have their special types of long nose pliers. They prefer needle nose pliers with extra long jaws no integrated side cutters. This is because their main use for long nose pliers is to grip stuff. However, any heavy-duty long nose pliers can be used to do mechanical work.
In all these types of needle nose pliers, you can either get straight jaws, bent jaws, or bent head. Straight jaws are for very tight and deep spaces whereas bent jaws and bent head are for reaching awkward places. For the angled needle nose pliers, they can be bent at any angle but the most common ones are 45 degrees and 90 degrees.
The table below is a summary of various types of needle nose pliers.
Summary of different types of needle nose pliers
|Needle nose pliers categories||Types/varieties|
|Size||range from small to extra long pliers|
|Jaw profile||Serrated/knurled or smooth|
|Jaw type||Straight jaws or bent jaws (45 or 90)|
|Jaw tip||Pointed or flat tip|
|Head type||bent head or straight head|
Needle Nose Pliers Reviews
Irwin vise grip long nose pliers (2078216) – Best overall
- 6 inches long
- Ergonomic handles
- Integrated cutters
- Constructed from nickel chromium steel
Irwin makes some of the best quality pliers. Surprisingly, their 6 inch long nose pliers are the cream of the crop in the market.
The pair of pliers has a sturdy and heavy duty feel and is very comfortable in the hands. Thanks to the ergonomic design of the handles and the mold cover.
The jaws are constructed from durable nickel chromium steel which is strong enough to grip objects without getting deformed. Although they are not super long, they are long enough to reach tight and fairly deep spaces.
The outer part of the jaws is curved to help you bend wires with ease when wiring receptacles. Unfortunately, the jaws do not close completely, making the pliers unsuitable for grasping very thin wire strands.
The Irwin vise grip needle nose pliers feature very sharp induction hardened cutting edges. You can use them to cut different types of wires and cables effortlessly without blunting or notching.
Drawbacks: One of the drawbacks of the Irwin vise grip long nose pliers is the lack of insulated handles. This means you cannot use the pliers on live circuits. Another shortcoming is the lack of a spring mechanism to keep the jaws open.
Knipex tools Long nose pliers with insulated handles – Best for electrical installations
- 8 inches long
- Forged from chrome vanadium steel
- Feature hardened integrated cutters
- Insulated handles
- Made in Germany
If you want needle nose pliers for electrical installation and wiring, you require pliers that can potentially protect your hand from electric shock. This is where the 8″ Knipex insulated needle nose pliers win.
These pliers have insulated handles with a 1000-volts rating. The rating means that the covers on the handles will protect you from electric shock in case the tool makes contact with a high voltage of up to 1000 volts. The insulation material meets the IEC 60900 and ASTM F1505 standards for insulated tools.
These German-made 8-inch insulated long nose pliers have serrated tapered jaws that provide a secure and firm grip on objects. The jaws also have a curved outer surface that makes them good for bending and looping small electrical wires. These needlenose pliers have a forged rivet joint that feels smooth right out of the box. You can be sure that you will not experience any hitches when closing or opening the jaws.
Lastly, the 8 inch Knipex insulated long nose pliers have an integrated cutter with induction hardened edges that provide superior cutting ability. You can use them to cut medium hard wire of up to 3.2mm and hard wire of up to 2.2 mm.
The only drawback of these insulated long-nose pliers from Knipex is that they are too beefy for small hands and the jaws are too large to grip very tiny objects and fasteners. However, these pliers are the perfect needle nose pliers for electricians and HVAC technicians who can sometimes find themselves dealing with a live circuit.
Vampliers Long nose pliers – Best screw removal pliers
- 7.5 inch long
- Has a screw-extractor groove on the jaws
- Includes a cutters
- Ergonomic rubber handles
- Made in Japan
The 7.5″ vampliers needle nose pliers are one of the best quality pliers for extracting stripped screws and broken drill bits. The jaws have a vertically grooved notch for grabbing tight around screw heads.
These screw extractor needle nose pliers have an excellent construction quality that is evident even on the first impression. You will also notice the heavy-duty feel right out of the box.
Half of the jaw surface of the 7.5 inch Vampliers long-nose pliers has teeth-like serrations while the other part is smooth up to where the cutting edges start. The teeth provide the best grip on stubborn screws and stuck drill bits.
You can use these vamplier pliers to remove corroded or rounded-off screws that are stuck in materials. I have previously used them to remove stripped security screws on our ring doorbell without a problem. My wife has also used them to extract jewelry drill bits that have broken off inside various jewelry stones and they worked like charm every time.
The Vamplier needle nose pliers have integrated cutters that are hardened to Rockwell standard. You can use them to cut small and medium-size wires and small screws. You can also use them to pull tough screws out of material if you use the tip of the jaws as a pivot.
Lastly, these Japanese professional-grade long nose pliers cum screw extractors are perfect for all tradesmen for extracting stuck screws in different materials. You can as well use them to grip fasteners in narrow spaces. Unfortunately, the jaws are not tapered enough to fit very tight gaps or grip very tiny objects.
Knipex Tools Precision Needle nose pliers – Best for jewelry making and PCB repair
- 6.3 inch long (160mm)
- Plastic handle grip
- Very narrow tip (about 3/32 inch thick)
- Made in Germany
If you are working on a project that involves grasping very tiny items, the Knipex 31 11 160 precision long nose pliers is a perfect choice. It measures 6.3 inches (160mm) long from the tip of the jaw to the handle ends.
The jaws are long and ultra slim with a smooth gripping surface. They have a sharp tip that is about 3/32 inch wide, which is good gripping and picking up very tiny pieces. The action on the joint is solid without play and the jaws are strong enough to provide a solid grip.
These features make the Knipex 31 11 160 precision pliers excellent for delicate and/or precision work. Some of the projects for which you use this pair of pliers include jewelry making and PCB repairs in electronics.
Lastly, the quality of these pliers is consistent with other Knipex tools. They are forged from Chrome Vanadium steel and exemplify the signature German-grade quality. The handles provide a good grip and the tool is light in your hands. You can easily tell it is not designed for heavy-duty work.
One of the downsides of these precision long nose pliers, however, is the lack of spring to keep the jaws open. Another one is the lack of integrated cutters. You cannot use these pliers to cut small wires in your beadwork or electronics repair project. That being said, these precision long nose pliers are perfect for picking tiny items without marring their surface. You also have a variety to choose from including comfort grip handles and 45 degrees bent head pliers.
Wisepro Long Needle nose pliers – Best for mechanics
- Length: 11 inches
- Extra long jaws
- Tapered jaw tips
- Thin rubber handle covers
- Made in China
Some tasks require you to use a long-reaching pair of pliers with strong jaws for gripping. This is where the Wisepro extra long needle nose pliers come in. The tool has very lengthened handles and strong sturdy jaws for firm gripping in deep confined spaces. For the 11 ich pliers, the handles measure about 6 inches long.
The pliers are forged from solid chrome vanadium steel alloy and finished with a touch of quality. The handles have a convex-concave design for maximum gripping and to prevent the tool from slipping out of your hands while you work.
Wisepro pliers extra long nose pliers are available in two different sizes; 11 inch and 16 inch. Both of the sizes have three varieties, namely straight jaws, 45-degree bent jaws, and 90-degree bent jaws.
These pliers are great for reaching the deep areas and awkward angles in your car or machine. They are great for both professional and DIY mechanics. Some of the tasks you can use it for include removing fuel lines from your gas machines, removing radiator hoses, and detaching clips that are hard to reach by hand.
EZRED Kiwi Bent Head Needle nose pliers – Best for mechanics
- Angled head
- Come as a pack of two sizes (6″ and 8″)
- Spring loaded jaw mechanism
- Comfortable rubber handles
There are long nose pliers with angled jaws but an angled head is a different ball game. These types of pliers have the entire jaw facing a different direction. They are perfect for accessing tight corners that bent jaws or straight needle nose pliers cannot reach. while proving great leverage and visibility on the workpiece.
The EZRED Kiwi pliers are some of the best long nose pliers with bent head. They have strong serrated jaws that provide a strong grip on small and large objects. The jaws open to a 2″ wide mouth for the 6-inch pliers and 3-3/4 inch for the 8″ pliers. The handles are comfortable although the rubber might begin to slip off after extended use.
The tool has a spring loaded mechanism that keeps the jaws open until you squeeze the handles. This enables you to operate the tool with one hand.
One downside of the EZRED bent head pliers is that the jaws only close completely at the tip and leave a gap that widens progressively towards the hinge. Another one is the rough metal finish on the pliers that seems to have been done with a 60-grit sander. This roughness can be a turnoff if you fancy tools with smooth finish.
Nevertheless, the EZRED pair of long nose pliers with a bent head is very functional. It is the best for mechanics although other tradesmen can use it. Some of the tasks you can accomplish with it include grasping a nut on one end while tightening the bolt. The pliers pull and twist great and therefore you can use them to pull items in confined spaces. Lastly, a pair comes with a foam tray for easy storage in your tool kit.
Factors to consider when selecting the best needle nose pliers for a project
Having seen how many needle nose pliers there are, it sure isn’t easy to select the best one for your project. However, this guide makes the process easier by highlighting important characteristics to look for in good needle nose pliers.
The overall design of a needle nose pliers should help you use the tool with ease. Some questions to ask yourself are such as: do the jaws close tightly? Are they spring loaded, is the grip comfortable?
A good needle nose pliers should have strong jaws that will grip without deforming. If there is a cutter, it should be sharp and should cut without blunting or notching.
Insulated or not?
For electrical works, don’t go for anything less than insulated. Insulated long nose pliers protect you from electric shock. So, you should be able to differentiate from insulated handles and rubberized handles. Not every cover on the handle of pliers is insulation.
Depth of the throat or jaw
The depth of the jaw is simply the length from the pivot to the tip of the jaw. Long jaws are good for accessing hard to reach areas. So, if you want long reach pliers, a long jaw needle nose is great but may not have the strongest jaws. Therefore, you can consider long handles over long jaws.
Length of the handles
Some needle nose pliers have long handles that provide strong grip and extended reach. They are good for automotive work where the strength of jaws is a priority. The pliers offer more gripping strength than the pliers with extra long jaws.
Width of the jaw
The task you want to accomplish determines the appropriate width of the jaws you should go for. If you want long nose pliers for installing and removing snap rings or for removing gunk from washing machine filter, go for narrowest jaws. They are also called needle nose tweezers. They have very long tapered jaws. However, you should know that very narrow jaws are not good for gripping hard objects. So, you may have to also consider a more general-purpose needle nose for general uses.
Gap between the handles
How far apart are the handles? That should be a question you ask yourself when shopping for pliers. If you have a small palm, it might be difficult to grip properly long nose pliers with handles that are far apart. So, choose pliers that fit properly in your hand when the jaws are closed. Those will give you better control and more leverage.