If you have yet to acquire a set of Malco locking pliers, order them now before these magnificent American-made locking pliers are out of stock forever. The company announced the plan to exit the pliers business line soon after fulfilling all the current customer orders.
Despite killing it on locking pliers, Malco cites the lack of a proper set of skills and experience as the main reason for discontinuing the Eagle Grip pliers product line. In a statement on the official Malco’s Eagle Grip website, the company states:
Despite our best efforts, the reality is that we have not been able to make this a successful business for our company. Simply put, this platform and operation doesn’t fit our core competency and requires a different set of skills and experiences.Malco Eagle Grip
History of Malco Eagle Grip Pliers Product Line
Malco has been in existence for close to a century but the Eagle Grip product line has been around only for half a decade. This is a little history of this formidable brand of locking pliers.
When did Eagle Grip business line start?
Malco began the business of manufacturing pliers back in 2017 after acquiring the former Vise Grip facility in Dewitt, Nebraska. This is 10 years since Vise Grip USA closed down the facility and moved its operations to China in 2008. Malco has been running the mole wrench pliers product line under the brand name Eagle Grip.
How many types of Malco locking pliers?
Malco has only focused on manufacturing locking pliers under Eagle Grip brand name. The Eagle Grips have been the best locking pliers on the market. They are very well-made with superb fit and finish.
In fact, one of the Eagle Grip fans says Malco locking pliers are so beautiful you would even hate to use them. Another one on Reddit said that the smooth finish on Eagle Grip locking pliers would blind a person in the sun. 😀
The varieties of Eagle Grip locking pliers include:
- 10″ and 7″ Curved jaw locking pliers (Check on Amazon)
- 10″ and 7″ Straight jaw locking pliers (Check on Amazon)
- Regular Locking C-clamps (Check on Amazon)
- Locking C-clamps with swivel pads (Check on Amazon)
What’s the future of the Dewitt, Nebraska factory?
Malco Tools plans to focus on its core competency which is manufacturing tools for HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning). Currently, the company is a market leader in the manufacturing of hand tools for HVAC professionals, exterior remodeling professionals, fence and deck installation professionals, and autobody repair and refinishing professionals.
However, the fate of the Nebraska Eagle Grip production facility is currently unknown. Stakeholders will decide whether to close it down and sell or repurpose it for manufacturing HVAC tools. The company could also decide to try a new product line. No one knows what the next step will be but certainly, the company will not continue producing pliers.
What Next for Malco Eagle Grip Locking Pliers?
Malco Eagle Grips are heads and shoulders above other locking pliers. They are perfectly machined from premium-grade U.S. steel and ground to a smooth finish. This makes them function smoothly and bite very hard. In a few words, Malco Eagle Grip locking pliers are simply iconic.
Eagle Grip Alternatives
So, what next after Malco locking pliers disappear from the market? There are a few brands of locking pliers that could replace Eagle Grip locking pliers. They may not match the quality of Eagle Grips but come very close.
One of the alternative brands is Milwaukee. Milwaukee produces some of the best locking pliers and offers a wide array to choose from. What I like the most about Milwaukee locking pliers is the unique plastic torque screw that is very easy to adjust.
Another option you can consider once Malco disappears from the market is the original Irwin vise grips. These are the locking pliers that Irwin Vise Grips produced from the Dewitt factory before moving production to China.
The original Irwin Vise Grips locking pliers are quite elusive but you can be lucky and find the remaining stocks on a few online such as Amazon, Acme Tools, and Walmart.
The quality of the original Vise Grips is very close to that of Eagle Grips since they were produced in the same factory where Malco pliers are made and by the same engineers behind Eagle Grip vise grips.
The most outstanding feature of the original Irwin vise grips is the superior build quality and the fact that they were made in the USA.
The third option you would consider is the Craftsman brand. I haven’t used them yet but the video review below by Project Farm shows how well these locking pliers from Craftsman stack up against Malco eagle grips, which are the gold standard for locking pliers.
The craftsman locking pliers are solid and the torque adjustment screw threads into the power ring very smoothly. They grip material strongly and have hardened cutters that can cut through a 16-inch penny nail with minimal effort.
The most outstanding feature of the craftsman locking pliers is the bimaterial comfort grip handles. It makes the pliers very comfortable in the hands. In addition, craftsman vise grips are inexpensive. They cost a third of the price of Eagle Grips.
Unfortunately, Craftsman does not offer a set of more than 2 types of locking pliers. You have to buy the different types separately, which can be a hassle.
To recap, Malco Eagle Grip is winding down the Dewitt, Nebraska factory and discontinuing the production of Eagle Grip locking pliers.
The factory will close down immediately after fulfilling the current customer orders which could be sometime in 2023 or later.
Currently, you can only get the remaining stocks of Malco Eagle Grips from outlets such as Amazon, Acme Tools, Tru Tech Tools, and USA Tool Depot.
When Eagle Grip vise grips will finally be out of stock everywhere, some of the fallback options that come a close second, IMO, include Irwin Vise Grips, Milwaukee locking pliers, and Craftsman locking pliers.
There is also a range of other brands of locking pliers you can try out. The video below should give you a good starting point on the brands to consider first.