Skip to Content

Must-Have-Tool for your DIY Toolbox – Adjustable Pliers

Key Points

  • Owning a pair of high quality adjustable plier is necessary when a strong gripping power that you cannot get from a regular pair of joint pliers.


I own a set from ChannelLock adjustable pliers as well as an Irwin set.

I briefly considered purchasing Knipex tools (German made) but did not because they were just too expensive.

Both ChannelLock and Irwin pliers provide same function, so it’s a matter of personal preference.

Channellock GS-3S – Three Piece Jaw Tongue

Tongue and Groove or Channel Lock pliers are synonymous with ChannelLock, the original manufacturer of tongue and groove pliers.

While back, I purchased a similar set like this Channellock GS-3S 4-Piece Tongue and Groove Plier Gift Set (without the screwdriver) and have been very happy with it.

This particular set provides three pliers (6.5”, 9.5” and 12” tongue and groove pliers) which is an awesome value, as well as a screwdriver.

I also own a pair from Sears Craftsman but ever since Sears refused to provide me with a new pair (teeth were worn down), I haven’t used it since.

The rubber grips on ChannelLock pliers are soft but thick which takes the sting out of your hands when tightly gripped. Although it feels lighter than Irwin pliers that I also use, its jaw teeth are still in very good shape after years of use.

According to the manufacturer, this ChannelLock set is Made-in-USA and provides Lifetime Warranty against all defects.

Irwin Button-Lock Adjustable Pliers

I purchased an IRWIN Vise-Grip Pliers and Wrench 4-Piece Set which comes with 8″ and 10″ pliers to supplement my ChannelLock pliers.

I’ve been using Irwin for the past 9 years so I am a very satisfied customer.

I personally prefer Irwin for projects involving large bolts because:

  • Irwin uses a button lock mechanism to lock the setting in place
  • Irwin has shaped jaws that can be very effective at gripping large bolts with minimal effort

The only potential drawback I can see is that Irwin is a heavier tool so I depend on ChannelLock pliers when working with small-ish bolts.

Like the ChannelLock tools, Irwin’s teeth are still in excellent shape and the grips, though not as soft as that of ChannelLock grips, are 100% intact after many abuses.

According to the manufacturer, this Irwin tool is Made-in-USA and provides Lifetime Warranty against all defects.


So if I have a limited fund, and I could own only one set, which one would I choose?

Though Irwin is heavier and comes with one less pair of pliers, I would lean towards Irwin because I believe it can be used in many more DIY project settings. I have successfully used Irwin tools when I built my backyard deck, sheds, etc. involving many large hex bolts.

Now, I am NOT knocking ChannelLock since I own and use tools from them as well (and Channel Lock may be a better solution if you don’t see working on a large DIY project and you would prefer a lighter tool).

But whatever you decide, please avoid purchasing pliers from $5 bargain bins. Your knuckles will thank you.