How To Keep Pliers From Leaving Marks On Surfaces.

Pliers are handy little hand tools. They are useful in nearly every project for grasping objects such as wires, pipes, fasteners, you name them. They come in different shapes and sizes to suit various applications.

For example, adjustable pliers open wide to grasp round objects of different sizes. And they have serrated jaws that provide a non-slip grip. You can use them to grasp pipe fittings when fixing the plumbing in your washroom or to fix that leaky faucet in the bathroom or kitchen.

On the other hand, the regular pliers don’t open as wide and have a small profile. This makes them great for grasping small objects such as nuts, bolts, and wires. Electricians use them to grip, pull, and twist electrical wires and cables.

Knipex cobra with pliers jaws protectors
Knipex Cobra with Knipex Pliers jaw Protectors

Unfortunately, pliers with serrated jaws grip by biting into an object. This makes them leave bad marks on the surface which degrade the value of the object. The surface marks are more visible on decorative pieces and delicate surfaces such as plastic, chrome fittings, and polished metal surfaces.

Sometimes the teeth of the jaws can cut into an object if you squeeze the handles too tight. For instance, you risk cutting into a rubber hose if you pull it hard with pliers that have serrated jaws.

Thankfully, there are ways to use pliers with serrated jaws more safely without marring the surface of the object. In this article, I share the 4 most effective hacks you can use to keep the hardened grooved jaws of pliers from leaving ugly marks or causing permanent damage to your beautiful fittings.

4 Ways To Keep Serrated Pliers From Leaving Marks

Method 1: Wrap the surface with a rug

When you wrap the surface you want to grip with a rug, you prevent direct metal contact. This keeps the teeth of the jaws from biting into the surface of an object.

You can wrap the rug around the delicate workpiece at least two times to prevent the teeth from penetrating.

The shortcoming of this method is that you have to open the pliers wider to accommodate the thickness of the rag.

Method 2: Use an old leather glove

Instead of throwing away your old leather gloves, you can repurpose them for padding pliers jaws. Simply cut off two fingers from an old leather work glove and slip each of them over each jaw.

Ensure the glove fingers are long enough to cover all the grooves on the pliers. The leather cover over the jaws ensures your pliers retain their steel grip but have a soft touch.

The downside of this hack is that the leather covers may come off. So you can secure them in place by applying hot glue on the outside of each jaw.

Method 3: Use electrical tape or masking tape

If you do not have a rug or an old leather glove lying around, you can use tape. An electrical tape or duct tape will work.

Simply wrap the tape around each plier jaw a couple of times. This creates good insulation that will let you grip a fixture without leaving marks on it.

The shortcoming of this method is that the teeth of pliers eventually work their way through the tape. So you have to wind new tape regularly.

Method 4: Use pliers jaw inserts

Pliers with rubber inserts
using pliers with inserts to tighten delicate UHF and Type N connectors

The ultimate solution for preventing pliers marks is to use pliers jaw inserts. Pliers inserts are designed to protect surfaces from being marred by pliers jaws. They can be plastic, rubber, or both materials.

For example, there is a type of pipe and connector pliers from Knipex that uses dual-layered inserts. The jaw pads provide a tight but soft grip on delicate surfaces of pipe fittings, making pliers marks a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, not all pliers are designed to be used with jaw covers. As such, you may be limited to the first three hacks if you cannot fit jaw inserts or covers.


And there you have it!

Those are the four ways you can prevent pliers from leaving marks on delicate surfaces.

To recap, you can wrap the object with a rug, fit old leather glove fingers onto the pliers jaws, wrap the workpiece or the serrated pliers jaws with electrical/masking tape, or use pliers inserts.

Try one of them to protect your soft and shiny workpieces from the aggressive grip of pliers with teeth.

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Julio a.k.a Pliersman is the owner and creator of the Pliersman Website. A blog that informs and educates you about different types of pliers and their uses. Julio is a handy person and has used a variety of pliers including general-purpose and specialty pliers to accomplish tasks. He holds an electrical engineering degree and has previously worked as an O&M manager for minigrids where his love story with pliers and other tools began.