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Split rings are useful for hanging small objects or connecting them together. You will find them on keychains for bundling a bunch of keys or connecting them to a keyholder. If you are in jewelry-making, split rings come in handy for attaching precious pendants and charms to jewelry chains. Another trade where split rings are pretty common is fishing. They are an important component of a tackle box. Not only are they the best for attaching a lure to a fishing line assembly but also good for attaching a plier lanyard. But here is the big question, how do you attach a split ring?
How to attach split rings
There are many ways to connect split rings to items. You can use your fingernail or improvise a pry tool to separate the rings. Even better, you can use a pair of split ring pliers. Unfortunately, opening split rings with your fingernails might ruin your manicure or cause your nail to break. A pry tool, on the other hand, may not be very safe as it may cause the ring to fly at your face because of the tension on the rings. These drawbacks make split ring pliers the most convenient and effective tool for opening split rings, especially if you are dealing with many rings or a large split ring. In this article, I explore some of the best split ring pliers you can consider for adding to your toolbox.
What are split ring pliers?
Split ring pliers are special types of pliers for opening split rings. They have one slightly longer upper jaw with a sharp bent tip or beak overlapping the shorter lower jaw. The lower jaw can be flat or notched. Pliers with grooved lower jaw are the best because the divot secures the ring so that the beak on the upper jaw can split them open more easily.
To open a split ring, open the pliers and put the shorter jaw inside the ring while the pointed jaw remains outside. Make sure the ring is near the edge of the lower jaw so that when you close the pliers, the pointed tip will stab between the double rings from outside splitting them open. If the lower jaw has a groove, just place the ring in there and squeeze the handles.
Once the ring is open, you can insert the new object you want to attach and wind the ring around. If you want to remove an object from the ring, simply wind it around the open ring and it will come right off.
Types of split ring pliers
Splitring pliers can have long or short jaws, slim or broad profiles but they all work the same way. The difference is that they are suitable for different types of split rings. For example, the mini split ring pliers are good for opening tiny split rings such as those used to attach treble hooks and swivels to lures. The stubby pliers, on the other hand, are more suitable for large split rings because they provide more leverage.
Qualities to look for when shopping for split ring pliers
When shopping for the best split ring pliers, some of the factors you should consider are jaw size and jaw profile. Other factors to consider include the quality of the material, whether the pliers are spring-loaded, and whether there is an eyelet for attaching a lanyard.
The type of metal used to make the pliers matters especially if you will be using them in harsh conditions. For example, if you intend to use the pliers to attach or remove treble hooks on fishing lures or for any other fishing activity, rust-resistant metal such as stainless steel would be the best. Otherwise, your pliers will rust and become unreliable.
Spring loaded or not?
The other factor that you should consider is the spring-loading mechanism. Some split ring pliers have a spring that keeps the jaws open unless you are pressing on them. This helps to eliminate fatigue because you do not have to manually keep the handles open. However, you might not realize the benefit of this feature until you have to open dozens of split rings.
Lastly, a good pair of split ring pliers should have a hole for attaching a lanyard. A pliers lanyard helps secure the tool on your belt loop to keep within reach and prevent it from getting lost.
Best split ring pliers
Xuron 496 split ring pliers – Best for small and large split rings
- Length: 6″
- Suitable for all sizes of split rings
- Has lanyard eyelets
- Made in USA
Xuron split ring pliers are the best pliers for handling different sizes of split rings including size 00. They have a sharp tooth on the upper jaw and a notch on the lower jaw, which make handling small and large split rings much easier without overstretching tension on them. The tooth is also narrow and slightly angled inside to make stabbing between the double rings of split rings an effortless task. On the other hand, the groove on the lower jaw helps to keep a snap ring in place when splitting it open.
Xuron 496 pliers for split rings are made from hardened steel that is coated to prevent rust. However, this will not keep the pliers from rusting if you leave them outside or expose them to moist or wet conditions without drying them off. Therefore, they are not your typical split ring pliers for fishing.
Nevertheless, these pliers are comfortable in the hands because they have the thick soft-rubber overmold on the handles. The jaws also open and close smoothly and they have a spring mechanism that keeps them slightly open (just as much as you would need them).
Overall, these U.S. Made split ring pliers from Xuron are all you would need for dealing with different types of split rings for anything including key chains, earrings, dog tags, fish lures, etc. You only need to keep them safe and dry.
Xuron 496 split ring pliers video review
Texas Tackle 30100 Split ring pliers – Best for Large split rings
- Stainless steel metal
- Length: 6″
- Box joint design
- Not suitable for tiny rings
- Made in Pakistan
The Texas Tackle split ring pliers are a solid pair of pliers for handling split rings. But do not let the name fool you. These pliers are not made in Texas by veterans. They are made in Pakistan. But besides that, the Texas Tackle pliers are a great pair for dealing with different sizes of split rings. Their needle nose jaws are easy to get through the eyes of small ring connectors.
The Texas Tackle splitring pliers have a unique box joint design for increased durability and strength. The joint also provides better leverage. The split nose on the upper jaw is wide and opens split rings wider than the Xuron 496. You will find this feature quite useful especially if you deal with large rings.
The only downside of these Texas Tackle pliers for split rings is they are not forged from stainless steel. Rather, they have a stainless steel coating that only keeps them from rusting so long as it does not come off.
Beadsmith Split Ring Pliers – Best for jewelry making and fishing
- Made of solid stainless steel
- Length: 5.25″
- Box joint design
- Suitable for rings bigger than 4mm
If you are in the jewelry-making trade, the last thing you want is a tool that leaves marks on your jewelry. Sadly, that is what many regular split ring pliers do. They will scratch your jewelry split rings while trying to turn them to add or remove an item. But the beadsmith jewelry splitting pliers are quite different. They handle split rings gently without marring the surface because they have a special PVC sleeve on the lower jaw. The sleeve keeps the ring as glossy as new even as you turn it around to add or remove jewelry items.
Beadsmith split ring pliers are made of stainless steel. This means they can double up as split ring pliers for fishing and they won’t rust easily even after exposure to water or moist conditions.
The only major drawback of these Beadsmith split ring pliers is the wide tooth that makes opening small rings quite difficult. Luckily, you can get a smaller version called Beathsmith Hi-Tech that has a micro tip for opening tiny rings. Otherwise, the Beadsmith jeweler pliers are a great addition to your set of jewelry pliers. They make it so much easier to do jewelry.
If you are not a jeweler, these pliers are still handy to have your toolbox. You can keep them in your fishing tackle box for changing out hooks and swivels on lures. Alternatively, you can add them to your regular toolbox for general purpose use such as opening key rings and dog tags.
With that being said, if you want reliable split ring pliers for fishing, I recommend the multifunctional fishing pliers with split ring opener. In this article, you will find some of the best fishing pliers that can open split rings and crimp lead drop shot weights among other functions.