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Pliers and Cutters:

Types of Pliers and Cutters

Now that we understand the important differences between standard and VDE pliers it's time to look at the large variety of pliers and cutters available, how they're used and who would use them.

Combination pliers

Also known as Linesman's pliers or Engineers' pliers, these are perhaps the most common type of pliers found in a toolkit.

Combination pliers

As their name implies, they have a combination of features designed to make them versatile.


The flat serrated jaw is used to grip and bend sheet metal or bars. An electrician would also use this part of the pliers to twist together stranded copper wire before making a connection.


The curved serrated jaw part is designed for gripping round metal rods or tubes. It can also be used for holding screw heads or nuts.

Cutting edges

Close to the pivot (where the greatest force can be applied) is a pair of cutting blades known as side cutters. They are called side cutters because the cutting edges are on one side of the jaws so that they can be used to cut close to a surface.

The side cutters will cut very hard wire (such as spring steel) without damaging the blades. As the hardness of the wire being cut reduces, the diameter of wire that can be cut increases.

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