US vs. German Pliers (WIRE CUTTERS)? Knipex vs. Snap-On, Irwin, Milwaukee, DeWalt, Craftsman, Wiha
Are German-made pliers (WIRE CUTTERS) better than US-made ones? Knipex, Snap-On, Mac Tools, Irwin, Milwaukee, DeWalt, Craftsman, Wiha, Klein Tools, C.S. Osborne, Channel Locks, Illinois Industrial Tool, Kobalt, Doyle, Southwire. Diagonal cutting pliers are used for cutting through nails, screws, a drill bit, and even a socket adapter and are tested for quality, durability, and effort required to cut through the material. I bought all of the pliers and supplies used to test the pliers.
|Best, but expensive||Very Good||Good compromis||Good compromis|
Regarding must-have tools, at least in my shop, diagonal-cutting pliers make a list. So, is the $8 pair of pliers just as good as the $65 Snap-On? Well, let’s find out. In the first test, we’ll see how squeezing force it takes to cut through a 16-penny nail. Then we’ll see how the pliers perform cutting through a deck screw.
Only some of the pliers will survive cutting through a drill bit. Things begin to come apart when the pliers cut through a socket adapter. At only $8, the least expensive brand we’ll be testing is made by Illinois Industrial Tools. We will try to drop force, heat-treated steel, and precision machine jaws.
The Illinois Industrial Tool pliers are made in China. The extra joint on the pliers is very loose. When there are a lot of wobbles, the cutters don’t line up, and you get inconsistent results.
The pliers are very light at 215.3 grams. The average adult male has a gripping strength of around a hundred pounds. So, it helps to have pliers designed to offer the user a leverage advantage. In the first test, we’ll see how much squeezing force it takes to cut through a 16-penny nail.
Once the pliers are clamped onto the holder, I’ll slide the front piece with two bolts toward the pliers. The two bolts will hold the nail against the cutters for maximum leverage. The hydraulic press will apply force to the handle’s very end. To keep the nail from becoming projectile once it’s cut off, I’ll attach some locking pliers to the end of the pin.
I can’t place the pin inward against the pivot point since the Illinois Industrial Tool cutters don’t extend inward to the pivot point.
If you use the Illinois Industrial Tool pliers to cut through a nail at 195 pounds, you’ll need a firm hand. At $11, the second least expensive brand that will be tested is made by Cobalt. All the brands of diagonal cutting pliers we’ll be trying are eight inches long, except for the Cobalt brand, which is seven inches.
Durable chrome-nickel steel, hardened precision machine jaws last longer and grip better. High leverage design, induction hardened cutting edges stay sharper longer. The Cobalt brand is made in China. Very nice tight fit with the Cobalt. The Cobalt pliers are much heavier than the Illinois Industrial Tool, pliers at 301.8 grams.
Even though the shorter handles of the Cobalt offer less leverage than the Illinois Industrial Tools brand, the Cobalt still performed much better at 158 pounds. At $15, the third least expensive brand that will be tested is made by CRAFTSMAN.
Compound action designed for increased cutting force, drop forward steel for strength and durability, induction hardened, cutting edges stay sharper longer.
The CRAFTSMAN brand is made in China. Moving the handles back and forth, there’s quite a bit of wobble with the CRAFTSMAN. The CRAFTSMAN is heavy yet at 317.3 grams. The CRAFTSMAN’s unique design gives a user a leverage advantage, and it did the best yet at 102 pounds.
At $16 is the Doyle brand, which is sold at Harbor Freight. Cuts ACSR screws, nails, and most hardened wire. Rust protection reduces corrosion and increased tool life. The Doyle brand is made in Taiwan and riveted joints for smooth action with no wobble.
Unfortunately, like the CRAFTSMAN, the Doyle has a lot of wobble in the joint. The Doyle is light at 275 grams. The Doyle did even better than the CRAFTSMAN at 96 pounds; it moves into the lead. At $18 is DeWalt compound action diagonal pliers. 70% more cutting power, we’re going to test that. He is guaranteed tough.
The DeWalt brand is made in China. The DeWalt has an excellent tight fit. The DeWalt is even lighter than the Doyle at 253 grams. The jaw opening on the DeWalt is limited. So, the nail is too large to rest against the pivot point. The DeWalt did nearly the same as the CRAFTSMAN and the Doyle at 108 pounds.
Also, at $18, is this Irwin brand the same price as the DeWalt pliers? Nickel chromium steel pliers construction, induction hardened cutting edges stay sharper longer. The Irwin brand is made in China. The Irwin is better than the Doyle, but unfortunately, there’s quite a wobble.
The Irwin is the second heaviest yet at 308.5 grams. And Irwin did by far the best yet at only 78 pounds and took the lead from Doyle. At $21, Gareth is a Chanarellock brand—precision machine knife and anvil-style cutting edges ensure perfect mating and superior, cutting-edge life.
Channellock uses high-carbon C1080 steel for outstanding performance on the job.
The Channellock brand is made in the USA. Excellent craftsmanship with the Channellock; there’s no wobble. The Channellock was nearly the same as the Cobalt at 299.4 grams. The Channellock is designed to offer a leverage advantage and takes the lead from Irwin at only 73 pounds, which is very impressive.
At $24, this is the C.S. Osborne brand. These drop fours nippers are ideal for cutting hog rings or wire. The C.S. Osborne pliers are made in the USA. Unfortunately, the C.S. Osborne is less tight than some other brands. The C.S. Osborne is by far the heaviest yet at 361.7 grams, and a C.S. Osborne required a lot of force to cut through the nail at 184 pounds.
At $26, is this a Milwaukee brand? Up to two times more cuts, iron carbide edge, engineered by Milwaukee tool, professionally made in China, excellent tight fit with the Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee weighs 282.5 grams, and a Milwaukee needed 163 pounds of force to cut through the nail. At $27 is this Klein Tools brand. Induction hard and carving knives for long life, high leverage design has 36% more cutting power, hot riveted joint for smooth action, and no handle wobble.
The Klein Tools brand is made in the USA. The Klein Tools is tight than some other brands. The Klein Tools brand weighs 290 grams. Klein Tools perform much better than average at 89 pounds. At $28 is this Southwire brand. 15% easier cuts, fire rive technology for smooth opening, fire edge induction hardened blades cut nails, screws, and ACSR wire.
The Southwire brand is made in China. The Southwire is tighter than some of the other brands. The Southwire pliers weighed 316.7 grams.
The Southwire performs slightly better than the Klein Tools brand at 85 pounds. At $33 is this Wiha brand. Dynamic joint, 40% less effort, low wear lap joint riveted enabled to withstand high load levels, 64 HRC induction hardened manufactured global components in Vietnam.
There’s no wobble with the Wiha. The Wiha brand weighs 299.3 grams. The Wiha performed better than average at 103 pounds. Also at $33 is this Knipex brand. High-cutting performance with minimum effort due to optimum cutting-edge angle and transmission ratio coordination.
High-leverage diagonal cutters for rugged continuous use, induction hard, and cutting edges. The Knipex brand is made in Germany. Nice and tight fit with the Knipex. The Knipex weighs 296.5 grams, and it took 116 pounds for the Knipex pliers to cut through the nails.
At $44 is this Mac Tools brand. Heat treated to provide consistent performance—forged alloy steel for durability.
I need help finding information on where the Mac Tools brand is made. Unfortunately, the Mac Tools does not provide a very tight fit. The Mac Tools weighs nearly the same as the Channellock’s at 299.5 grams. And the Mac Tools brand cut through the nail at 157 pounds.
And the most expensive brand we’ll be testing at $65 is made by Snap-On. Small joints, in combination with longer handles, increased leverage by 19%. Parallel cutting edges are engineered to provide repeated cuts for hardwiring and even spring steel. The Snap-On brand is made in the USA.
Nice and tight fit with the Snap-On. The Snap-On is the second heaviest yet at 343.6 grams. The Snap-On performed newly the same as Knipex at 114 pounds. Leverage profile significantly impacts how much effort it takes to cut through things. The tool with the shortest distance from the actual rivet’s center to the cutters’ opening is the Irwin brand at 6.28 millimeters.
The Southwire is nearly the same as 6.48. The Cobalt is 7.24 millimeters, but the handles are an inch shorter than the other brands. Channellock’s is 8.01 millimeters, but the handles are slightly longer than the competition. So, the Channellock came in on top at 73 pounds, Irwin 78, Southwire 85, Klein Tools 89, and Doyle 96 pounds.
My nails were made of low-carbon steel, and all the pliers survived without damaging the cutters. Deck screws are a lot harder than nails. So, let’s see how the pliers perform on deck screws. Three hundred forty-four pounds of pressure on the handles in the Illinois Industrial brand did not cut through the screw.
Unfortunately, the Illinois Industrial Tool brand is no longer serviceable; the pliers are badly bent. The seven-inch Cobalt pliers cut through the screw at 211 pounds compared to 158 for the nail. Clean cut by the Cobalt.
There’s more wobble in the handle now, but no damage to the cutters. The CRAFTSMAN performs slightly better than the Cobalt at 184 pounds compared to 102 pounds to cut through the nail. The edges are still in great shape, but there’s quite a bit of handle wobble.
The Doyle did the best yet, cutting through the screw at only 156 pounds compared to 96 for the nail. The Doyle brand did loosen up some, and there’s quite a bit of handle wobble. There’s also a tiny amount of wear to the cutters. The DeWalt barely finished ahead of the Doyle at 154 pounds and moved into the lead.
And the pliers are still in good shape; there’s no visible damage to the cutters. And the Irwin did by far the best yet at only 135 pounds or 19 pounds less than the DeWalt.
The amount of handle wobble seems unchanged, and no damage to the cutters. The Channellock pliers move into second place behind Irwin at 145 pounds. No wear to the edges, and the pliers are still in great shape. It took a lot of effort for the C.S. Osborne pliers to cut through the screw at 243 pounds.
There’s a small amount of damage to one of the cutters, and the amount of handle wobble is about the same. It took 228 pounds of force from Milwaukee to cut through the screw. The cutters have no damage, and they’re still correctly aligned. The Klein Tools cut through the screw at 153 pounds.
The pliers seem as good as new, and the cutters have no damage. The Southwire brand did the best, at only 133 or two fewer pounds than the Irwin. The Southwire seemed as good as new, and the cutters had no damage. It took 160 pounds of force for the Wiha pliers to cut through the screw. No wear to the edges, and the pliers are as good as new.
The Knipex needed 196 pounds to cut through the screw compared to 116 pounds to cut through the nail. No damage to the cutters and the pliers look as good as new. The Mac Tools needed 202 pounds to cut through the screw. Unfortunately, the screw did cost some damage to the cutters.
There’s also a tiny amount of handle wobble. It took 191 pounds for the Snap-On to cut through the screw. While the edges are in great shape, unfortunately, there’s now a gap between the edges when the jaws are fully closed. So, the rivet or the pliers seem to be bent.
The Southwire came in on top at 133 pounds, but the Irwin performed nearly as well at 135. Channellock 145 pounds, Klein Tools 153, DeWalt 154, and Doyle 156 pounds. Let’s test the durability of the cutters next, cutting through a ree 16th-inch drill bit.
Since the Illinois Industrial Tools didn’t survive the last test, we’ll test the Cobalt first. And the Cobalt cut through the screw at 211 pounds and cut through the drill bit at only 220 pounds—no damage to the cutters.
And the drill bit is just too much for the CRAFTSMAN, and the pliers broke at 268 pounds. And Harbor Freight Doyle made short work of the drill bit at 207 pounds. The cutters are still correctly aligned and in great shape. Unfortunately, the DeWalt pliers reached a creamy load at 327 pounds and couldn’t cut through the drill bit.
One of the handles is bent, and the pliers no longer close correctly. There’s also some damage to the cutters. And Irwin takes the lead from Doyle by cutting through the drill bit at only 191 pounds. Very impressive, with no wear to the edges. The Channellock should cut through the drill bit at around 200 pounds with the high-leverage design.
Unfortunately, the Channellock’s rivet is much smaller than some other brands, letting go at 256 pounds.
Unfortunately, the cutters on the Channellock experience some damage, and they don’t appear to be as challenging as some of the other brands, such as Cobalt, Doyle, and Irwin. And the cutters on the C.S. Osborne are more accessible than some of the different brands, and it took nearly 295 pounds to cut through the drill bit.
There’s a small amount of damage to both of the cutters. Even though Milwaukee uses a much more compact design than some other brands, it survived 274 pounds of pressure and cut through the drill bit without damage to the cutters. And the Klein Tools did by far the best yet, cutting through the drill bit at only 161 pounds.
There is a small amount of damage to the cutters. The Southwire brand made easy work of cutting through the drill bit at 206 pounds, but the Klein Tools holds on to the lead. The edges on the Southwire still look as good as new.
The Wiha brand moves into second place behind Klein Tools with an impressive 188 pounds. The cutters still look as good as new, and the Knipex won’t give up and finally made the cut at 328 pounds. And there’s a small amount of damage to the cutters on the Knipex pliers. Like the Knipex, the Mac Tools wouldn’t give up and cut through the drill bit at 358 pounds.
Unfortunately, the Mac Tools cutters experience quite a bit of damage. Unfortunately, the drill bit was too much for the Snap-On, and the rivet let go at 345 pounds. There is a small amount of damage to the cutters.
So, the Klein Tools came out on top by cutting through the drill bit at 161 pounds, Wiha finished second at 188, Irwin 191, Southwire 206, and Doyle 207 pounds.
None of these tools are designed to cut through the sock adapter, but let’s see if any of the brands are built strong enough to do so anyway, beginning with the Cobalt tools brand. And Cobalt brand peaked out at 462 pounds of pressure before the pliers finally broke.
And the cutters left a pretty good size dent in the socket adapter. One of the jaws of the Cobalt broke off, but the edges of the Cobalt held up well. The Doyle did even better than the Cobalt and began to fail at 550 pounds. The rivet broke, and unfortunately, there was quite a bit of damage to the cutters.
So, great job by the Doyle brand. And one of the jaws in the Irwin broke at 320 pounds. Even after all the extreme testing, the cutters on the Irwin are still in great shape, which is very impressive. The C.S. Osborne fought perfectly, but the handle finally snapped at 469 pounds.
There’s a small amount of damage to the cutters. So, very respectable job by C.S. Osborne.
One of the jaws broke off the Milwaukee pliers at 379 pounds. There’s a small amount of damage to both of the cutters. When considering the compact size of the jaws and the Klein Tools brand, an excellent job by Milwaukee spit out the rivet at 485 pounds.
The handles and the jaws did not bend or break; 485 pounds is a lot of force, and it did cause some minor damage to the cutters. So, awe-inspiring job by Klein Tools pliers. The Southwire made a reasonable effort, but the jaws finally broke at 412 pounds. Even after coming into contact with the complex and socket adapter, the
Southwire cutter still looked nearly as good as new. Very impressive. The Wiha brand proved challenging and finally broke at 449 pounds. The pliers broke at the pivot point or the axle. Four hundred forty-nine pounds is a lot of pressure, and the cutters did experience some damage.
And the Knipex brand refused to spit out parts or even break. Finally, at 579 pounds, the handle began to bend but never broke. Very impressive. The cutters are still in perfect shape, especially considering the weight applied to them. The Mac Tools brand fused to give up; it took 550 pounds before the jaws began to hyperextend.
At an imposing 985 pounds, after a sizeable popping sound, the jaws were finally badly hyperextended. The hydraulic press had just about bottomed out, so I had to end the test. Unsurprisingly, the cutters had quite a bit of damage, and the jaws were severely bent. Still very impressive that the pliers stayed in one piece.
Most brands are durable enough for everyday use, but if you’re trying to find the most unbeatable tool, the Mac Tools was severely damaged but stayed together at 985 pounds of force.