Who makes the best welding pliers?
Choosing the correct welding pliers for your application requires careful consideration. You should take into account the type of welding, the material(s) of the pliers, your budget, and your personal preferences. Finding the right set of welding pliers can take time, but once you’ve found a pair you like, they should last you quite some time.
To help you find the best pair of welding pliers for your application, we’ve compiled a list of facts and figures for your reference. Though we cannot recommend a singular set of welding pliers for every welder, the listings below should help you narrow down your search. Because having a reliable set of welding pliers at hand could mean a world of difference the next time you weld.
What are welding pliers?
Welding pliers are a tool used in the welding process, for a number of reasons. One application is removing weld spatter from your torch nozzle as well as your work piece. These pliers can also be used to hammer away at slag when stick welding. Welding pliers can also be used in MIG welding to remove and install the tip, as well as draw out the wire and cut it. In general, they can also be used to manipulate work pieces and objects as the welder sees fit.
Welding pliers are often called “welpers,” so if you see this term while shopping, don’t panic. In fact, incorporate it into your welding vocabulary and you might just impress your friends. There are many characteristics you’ll want to look for when purchasing welding pliers, but we’ll get to that part in a bit. First, let’s talk about sourcing welding pliers.
Where can I find welding pliers?
It goes without saying that you can pick up welding pliers from any welding supplier. However, you may want to check Amazon, your local hardware store, or even friends and family who weld. They may have an extra pair laying around. Amazon does offer quite a variety, but local stores give you the benefit of picking up a pair and welding as soon as you get home.
Speaking of friends and family, they can act as a great resource when it comes to purchasing a pair of welding pliers. You may find your friends enjoy a certain brand or set, while others you talk to have horror stories they’ll share about what pliers not to buy. Because where you get your welding pliers matters.
What brands of welding pliers are available?
The following is a list of the brands you’ll likely see in your hunt for the best pair of welding pliers. If the source of your tools matters, you’ll find these companies work hard to earn your business.
A household name when it comes to hand tools, IRWIN TOOLS has been in the business since 1885. Along with the Vise-Grip brand you’re used to seeing, IRWIN TOOLS also manufactures products from sub-brands such as MARATHON, HANSON, UNIBIT, and PROSNIP. Known for a superior quality and undaunting dependability, IRWIN TOOLS is a great brand to invest in.
Producing only quality professional tools, ION Tool is another great pliers brand. They specialize in “crimpers, pliers, and other specialty tools,” so you can be sure the welpers you buy from them have gone through rigorous testing to do the job you bought them for.
Dedicated to welding since 1917, Hobart Welding Products continues to bring their customers the best in welding gear, welders, and accessories. You can find Hobart products in a variety of brick-and-mortar and online stores. Check out their website for tutorials, guides, and of course, forum talk.
Strong Hand Tools
Part of Northern Tool + Equipment, Strong Hand Tools exhibits the same values that drive the main family business. Donald Kotula, the founder, works with his sons Ryan and Wade to bring professionals and hobbyists the “tools to tackle tough challenges.”
Another well-known name in the hand tools industry, Channellock has a rich history in making something out of nothing. The founder, George B. DeArment, sold his hand-made tools from his wagon in 1886, and more than 100 years later, his legacy still lives on. Check out Channellock if you’re looking for hand tools, especially welpers.
With over 20 years’ expertise, WELDFLAME strives to bring welders only the best products. They might not be top dog in the welding arena but there’s still value in what they do. You’re more likely to find WELDFLAME products online but check your local hardware store as well.
If you don’t know this brand—and the next one—by now, you’ve got some more research to do. Lincoln Electric is a well-known brand in the welding world. Though many of their products could be considered “name brand,” there’s a lot of quality behind their processes.
Many people associate Eastwood with modifying automobiles, but welding is a large part of that. DIYers and those few who still believe hand-made quality can surpass that of machines, the folks at Eastwood support their customers in a variety of hobbies. Eastwood has stood as a pillar in the industry since 1978.
An international supplier of welding products, Weldforce serves customers such as GM, Toyota, VW, and Honda, to name a few. Dedicated in their manufacturing, quality control, and client satisfaction departments, Weldforce is a brand you’ll likely see more of.
How much do welding pliers cost?
Most welding pliers will cost you anywhere from $5 to upwards of $30. Like most hand tools, you’ll get what you pay for. That being said, you don’t have to spend $30 to get a good set of welding pliers. It matters how well you take care of your pliers once you get them, too.
In the case of welding pliers, we recommend spending a bit more to get a better set from the get-go. Let’s face it: do you really want your welding pliers failing you at the most inopportune moment? That should be justification enough to shell out a few more bucks.
Budget Bonus: How much should I spend on welding pliers?
But to give you a better idea of what kind of money you’ll be spending, here’s a quick break-down of welding pliers pricing:
- Most entry-level—in other words, cheap—welding pliers will cost you about $5-$10. These pliers aren’t much beyond formed metal, perhaps some squishy grips, and some sort of garish coloring. If you don’t plan on using welding pliers much, this could be your budget-friendly choice. But keep reading to see what even $5 more could bring you.
- Mid-grade welpers are going to cost you about $10-$15. Generally speaking, they’re going to last a few more months—perhaps even years—than the budget welpers you’ll find. These welding pliers do have an air of quality to them but we wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re the coolest new toy you’ll want to show off to your welding buddies.
- Value welding pliers are typically priced from $15-$20. Grips on these pliers will be much more comfortable and you’ll probably find they’re a bit more dependable than the cheaper options. Land anywhere around $15-$20 in price and you’re probably ending up with a decent set of pliers.
- If you’ve got a few extra dollars burning a hole in your pocket, you might find yourself paying anywhere from $20-$30 for a pair of welding pliers. Typically made by high-end brand names, these pliers won’t necessarily do the job better than your value welpers—they’ll just look a bit better doing it.
Now that you know how much you should spend on your welpers, let’s look at a few things you’ll want to pay attention to as you shop.
What are the characteristics of superior welding pliers?
Here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as you search for the perfect pair of welding pliers:
When it comes to welding pliers, you want to find a pair that’s about 8-9 inches in length. As ToolsFreak.com puts it, “having one that is excessively longer or smaller will cause a problem.” Pliers that are too long will rob you of some dexterity. At the same time, too short of pliers may bring your hand too close to hot, harmful surfaces.
Though we don’t recommend welding near water, the best welpers are rust-resistant. That means they’ll avoid soaking up any humidity in the air, causing premature decay. You might only be spending a few bucks on your welpers but replacing them every couple of months or so can get expensive.
Another great thing about welding pliers is that they’re often spring-loaded. This characteristic comes in quite handy when you’re welding with one hand and need to move a piece with your other hand. Spring-loaded welpers can get the job done for you. They’re designed for one-hand use and work with you, rather than against you. This characteristic is one you’ll want to keep high in your priority list.
Comfortable, grippy handles
Our hands are our first tools. It’s true that you’ll probably be handing your welding pliers with a gloved hand, but all the same, it’s a good idea to get a comfortable-feeling pair of welpers. Not only will you enjoy using them more, but you’ll also be more effective when you use them. Your hand won’t be cramping into weird positions and you won’t have to risk dropping your work piece(s) either.
Like any old pair of pliers, welding pliers should be useful for different applications as well. For example, the “ends of the plier tips are strong and thin, able to reach into a MIG nozzle to clean out spatter effectively.” Those needle-nose-like pinchers might also work well in other situations, too. The teeth might be good for gripping smaller surfaces. Or you might find the pliers work well to hold different types of materials for other types of tinkering and fabrication. The possibilities are nearly endless.
Putting the label of “value” on a pair of welpers is really only something you’re qualified to do. Because when it comes down to the wire and you need a pair of welpers to depend on, you’re going to want that valuable set. In some cases that might be a high-priced pair that includes super-comfortable grips. You could find value in construction-zone-orange grips fitted to a budget set of pliers because admit it, it’s hard to miss that color if you’re constantly misplacing your welpers. However you define it, look for value in your welding pliers choice. Don’t settle for anything less.
It might have been hard to narrow down your choices earlier, but after looking at our characteristics list, do you have a better idea of which welpers you like? We hope so, and in fact, you can take that list one step further. Stop by your local hardware store and pick up a few welding pliers. Manipulate them in your hands and spend some time with various designs. You may find you like a certain brand, style, or color.
Where can I learn more?
If you’d like to know more about welding pliers, your local hardware store can be a great resource. You can also check online to see what other welders have tried and reviewed. Oftentimes your application may be similar to what another welder has done. You’ve taken the right first step by researching your buy before making an impulse decision. But don’t hold yourself back from welding any longer. Get yourself some welding pliers and let the sparks fly!