How to remove staples from wood using pliers

Removing staples from wood can be frustrating. It does not matter if you are removing them from fence posts, wood floor, wood furniture, or picture frames. It is always a tiring and time-demanding task. If you don’t have the right staple remover tools, you can spend all your valuable time pulling out the staples.

Pliers are great hand tools for gripping and pulling. You can use them to remove staples. However, not all of them can do the job effectively. In this article, I share with you the four best types of pliers for removing staples from wood. The pliers will help reduce the amount of time you spend getting nails and staples out of wood so that you can focus more on the repairs.

1. Removing staples with nail puller Pliers

using nail puller pliers to pull staples from wood floor
Crescent Nail puller pliers pulling staples from wooden floor Photo:

Nail puller pliers are special types of pliers for pulling nails and staples from wood material. They have parallel serrated jaws and long handles that provide superb gripping power on fasteners. The jaws of a well-machined nail puller tool should close completely to bite firmly on all sizes of staples.

These pliers have a curved roll bar behind the jaws that lets you roll out staples and other fasteners smoothly. The downside of the roll bar is that it can dent the surfaces. So, you may need to put a piece of cardboard or steel plate between the bar and workpiece to protect the surface you want to preserve. This trick comes in handy when using nail pullers to remove staples and nails from hardwood floors.

The heavy duty construction of nail pulling pliers makes them a perfect heavy duty staple remover tool. It is a must-have in kitchen renovation projects for removing nails and staples. It does a perfect job on brad nails too.

How to remove staples and nails from wood using nail puller pliers

  1. Open the jaws of the pliers by pulling the handles apart.
  2. Grip the staple or nail with the jaws. Do this by squeezing the handles together to bite the fastener firmly.
  3. Place a piece of cardboard or metal sheet between the roll bar and the work surface to avoid damaging or gouging the surface.
  4. Roll back the pliers smoothly to pull out the staple or nail from wood.

A nail puller tool is perfect for nails and staples that are not sunken. Otherwise, you may need a flat screwdriver or prybar to get behind flattened fasteners to start them before gripping them with this staple puller.

2. Removing staples with fencing pliers

extracting staples from wood using fence pliers
Bates Fencing pliers extracting a staple fastener Photo:

The second best type of pliers for removing nails and staples from wood are the fencing pliers. Although they are designed for building and fixing wire fences, fencing pliers can double up as a staple puller tool for your renovation projects. You can use them to extract stuck carpet staples and of course U nails workpieces.

Fencing pliers have narrow jaws that loop under a staple. They also have a curved head that acts as a lever to roll the staples out smoothly. Furthermore, the pliers have a sharp spike or claw for digging into stuck or flattened staples. This makes the tool perfect for stubborn sunken staple fasteners.

The downside of these nail removal pliers is that they can snap old or weak staples. So, they are perfect for heavy gauge staples and u nails. The pliers also damage or gouge work surfaces. Therefore, if you are going to use them in your project to preserve or reclaim wood pieces for other uses, you should have a piece of steel plate to place between the head and work surface.

How to remove staples from wood using fencing pliers

  1. Open the staple puller jaw
  2. Hook through a staple and close the jaws
  3. Slide a steel plate underneath the head of the tool
  4. Roll the pliers by the curved head to pull the fastener.
  5. To remove flattened staples, dig them out with the pointed end to start them then use the staple puller jaw to extract them completely.

As I mentioned, fencing pliers are not the best for removing narrow staples. However, when you use them, you may need a pair of combination pliers to pull out the snapped staples.

3. Removing wood staples using bent nose Pliers

pulling staples with bent nose pliers
Bent nose pliers pulling staples


Bent nose pliers are not only good for holding tiny objects or fishing fasteners in tight spaces but also for removing staples. You can use them when you don’t have a staple remover at hand.

The sharp jaws are good for getting under staples so that you can pry them out. But the jaws should be strong enough to pry out the fasteners without breaking, bending, or deforming. This is how to use them.

How to remove staples with bent nose pliers

  • Slide the closed jaws of bent nose pliers under the staple you want to remove
  • Lever out the staple fastener
  • Grip the fastener with the jaws to remove it completely.

Because angled needle nose pliers don’t have heavy-duty jaws, you can only use them to remove light-duty staples such as carpet staples. The pliers also make perfect furniture and upholstery staple remover tool. Lastly, choose bent nose pliers that have an angle of more than 45 degrees so you can get better leverage.

4. Removing wood staples with Knipex 3831200 Curved Long Nose pliers

knipex 3831200 curved long nose pliers
Knipex 3831200 (source: Amazon)

The Knipex 38 31 200 long nose pliers are a little different from the 45-degree bent nose pliers. They have curved jaws but instead of bending in one direction, they are oddly curved sideways like a wave to form S-shape. The pliers also have sharp tips just like the typical needle-nose pliers.

The sharp jaws easily get under the wood staples while the serrations on them help you to grab onto the staples. On the other hand, the curves let you pivot and pull out the staples without gouging into the surface.

These pliers are also great for removing nails from tires or accessing clamps and clips in offset positions.

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