Best Pliers For Tying Rebar Wire

There is a wide variety of tools you can use to tie rebar wire at a construction site. They range from cordless and corded power tools to a host of different hand tools. Pliers are the most popular hand tool for tying and cutting rebar tie wire.

In this article, we look at some of the best types of rebar tying pliers you can use in your construction project. But first, what is rebar tie wire?

What Is Rebar Tie Wire?

rebar and rebar tie wire
Tying rebar before pouring concrete

Rebar tie wire is a type of wire used to fasten together steel reinforcement bars (rebars) at a construction site. It is an essential material for construction projects that require reinforced concrete, such as buildings, bridges, and other infrastructure.

Tie wires keep rebar grids from shifting during the process of pouring concrete, which is essential for creating a structurally sound and reinforced concrete structure.

Rebar tie wire is typically made of annealed steel wire that is soft and pliable. This makes it easy to twist and tie the wire around rebars. To properly tie the rebar, you wrap the tie wire around the intersection of the rebar and twist it until there is no movement on the joint.

You can use a variety of rebar tie styles to fasten tie wire including snap tie, wrap and snap tie, saddle tie, or the figure eight tie. But the type of rebar tie you choose mostly depends on the type of rebar tying tool you are using.

For instance, electric rebar tying tools are the best for making saddle ties whereas rebar tying pliers make the best snap tie knots. In the next section, we look at some of the best pliers for tying rebar.

Best Types Of Pliers For Tying Rebar

1. Ironworker Pliers

Ironworker pliers or rodbuster pliers are the most popular type of rebar tying pliers. They are good for tying rebar and cutting off excess tie wire.

Ironworker Pliers vs Linesman Pliers

Although ironworker pliers resemble traditional linesman pliers, they have some unique features that set them apart. Unlike linesman pliers, ironworker pliers are spring-loaded and have a hook bend on one of the handles. They also feel lighter in the hand for the same pliers size.

Ironworker pliers vs linesman pliers
Differences between Ironworker pliers and linesman pliers

The spring action keeps the pliers open, which minimizes the amount of effort needed to open and close the pliers repeatedly. Additionally, the spring mechanism reduces hand fatigue and strain, making the pliers suitable for use over a long period of time.

On the other hand, the hook on the handle prevents the pliers from slipping as you pull and twist the tie wire. It also provides better grip and leverage.

In addition, ironworker pliers have a more pronounced shoulder on the jaws than linesman pliers. The shoulder serves as a fulcrum on which to leverage the pliers as you pull rebar wire to tighten it.

One of the best ironworker pliers that most rod busters swear by at the construction site is the Klein Tools D2000 CST. They come in two sizes; 7-inch and 9-inch.

Klein D2000 Ironworker Pliers

klein d2000 ironworker pliers

These 2000 series Kleins rodbuster pliers are the strongest and last the longest among the available rebar pliers from Klein Tools. Their jaws have strong teeth that offer a firm and aggressive bite on the wire while their induction-hardened blades cut through double tie wire like a hot knife through butter. If you have used any Klein 2000 series wire cutter you know that they have the toughest blades that cut through anything without getting nicked.

With any rebar tying hand tool, hand comfort comes first because you do most of the work with your hand. As such, the Klein D2000 rodbuster pliers have comfortable handles with a hook-bend to provide extra grip and leverage. And if you like you can fit the heavy-duty rubber grips on the straight handle for a better hand grip.

2. End Cutting Pliers

End cutting pliers or end nippers are surprisingly the second most popular pliers for tying rebars. Although these pliers are designed to cut wires and pull nails from wood, they do amazing work of twisting and nipping rebar wire.

However, using end cutting pliers to manipulate rebar wire without damaging it requires some level of skill. This is because the cutting blades serve as grippers and cutters at the same time. Therefore, you must control the blade pressure when gripping to avoid nipping off the wire accidentally. This is why end nippers are common with pro rodbusters.

There is a broad selection of end cutting pliers available in the market. However, Knipex is the brand that stands out the most on most construction sites.

Knipex End Cutting Pliers (68 01 180)

knipex end cutting pliers

Knipex end cut nippers are exceptionally well-made. They have top-notch craftsmanship and are actually marketed as a rebar tying tool.

These German-made pliers are forged from steel that is hardened with carbon, chrome, and vanadium. The cutters are induction hardened and can cut both soft and hard wire without getting damaged.

Although you can choose between the 10″ and 7-1/4″ knipex end cut nippers, the latter is the most versatile. It fits well in the hand and is easy to manipulate when tightening tie wire knots in tight spaces between meshes and rebar grids.

The only downside of end nippers is that they are not spring-loaded. As such, you have to open and close them every time to grip and release the wire which can be strenuous for the hands.

Overall, end cut nippers are a good alternative to ironworker pliers for tying binding wire on rebar setups. They are particularly useful in constructing rebar setups for concrete slabs, where you have to work with the pliers facing downwards.

3. Rebar Twist Pliers

Thincol Rebar Wire Twister Pliers (source: Amazon)

Tying rebar manually poses a significant challenge due to the potential risk that comes with twisting pliers by hand repeatedly. This action can lead to musculoskeletal disorders, carpal tunnel damage, or other wrist injuries, especially when you do it daily.

Thankfully, using rebar twisting pliers can help mitigate this risk. These pliers come equipped with an automatic twisting mechanism just like safety wire pliers. The mechanism activates when you pull the handle back and forth, enabling you to twist the binding wire without necessarily turning your wrist or exerting excessive strain on the hand.

Because rebar automatic twisting pliers are relatively new to the market, they lack. Many of them are not sturdy and tend to break easily, while others can only handle wires thinner than 16 gauge.

Nonetheless, there are a few viable options to consider, such as the Thincol wire tying twister pliers shown above. It works pretty much like safety wire pliers for rebar tie wire.

4. Linesman Pliers

linesman pliers
Linesman Pliers

If you don’t tie rebar for a living, then a pair of ordinary linesman pliers can get you through a small construction project.

As I mentioned, Linesman pliers are quite similar to ironworker pliers except that they can cause a little more strain to your hand and wrist you use them to twist tie wire for a long time.

Although lineman pliers have multiple uses, they are designed primarily for working with electrical wires. That being said, these general-purpose pliers can serve as a good substitute for rod buster pliers in emergency situations.

A good pair of linesman pliers should have reliable gripping teeth and strong cutting edges that can cut through both soft and hardened wire with minimal effort. And if you intend to use them to tie rebar quite regularly, you can consider plastic dipped handles over comfort grip handles.

I know most electricians prefer comfort grip handles on their linesman because they are gentle on the hand. Unfortunately, the beefy handles are bulky to hold. And when twisting wire, you need pliers that you can put your hand around for a firm grip.

IMO, pliers with plastic dipped handles happen to be the better option for this purpose. I have used them previously to tie rebars for a small concrete slab and they were marvelous. You only need to wear some leather gloves to protect your hands from blisters.

Some of the most versatile linesman pliers you can use along with ironworker pliers to tie rebar at a construction site include Dewalt DWHT 9″(Check It), Channellock 369 (Check It), or Vampliers VT-001-9 (See It) linesman pliers.

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Julio a.k.a Pliersman is the owner and creator of the Pliersman Website. As a handy person, he possesses a variety of pliers (both general-purpose and specialty pliers) which he uses to complete various tasks. When Julio is not blogging, he spends his time in the garage fixing cars or building stuff.