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We read about DeWalt’s compound action pliers, but they were kind enough to send us over a pair so we could take a look in person. They’re pretty much like most standard pliers — complete with some nice rubber handles and a quality feel — but with a little twist: a second fulcrum translates additional motion in the handles into additional gripping force in the jaws. DeWalt claims a whopping 70% increase.

This is really hard to explain in words — or at least it’d take more words than I want to spew out to you on a Friday — so I just grabbed my camera phone and gave you a look at the pliers in motion (see above). Hey, it’s not full of lots of production value, but you can see how they work. As you can see, I could hang on to a piece of 12-gauge steel tubing easily with the needle-nose versions. I didn’t even have to squeeze particularly hard.

So how do they feel? Surprisingly good. The additional motion in the handles makes it easy to apply force (a little or a lot) in a controlled fashion. While this is handy with the needle-nose, it’s SUPER handy with the linesman pliers, which I generally use around the shop for bending things and for cutting pretty large wire or cable. The rubber grips are comfy, too, which is important if you’re gonna wail on ‘em.

We didn’t measure the actual force they apply, but they sure felt strong.

Bottom line: If you generally put a lot of force into your pliers (especially the cutters or linesman’s pliers), you’ll probably like these. And at around $10 apiece, there’s really no reason not to have ‘em around.

Compound Action Diagonal Pliers (Dikes) [DeWalt]
Compound Action Linesman Pliers [DeWalt]
Compound Action Long Nose Pliers [DeWalt]
Street Pricing [Google]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]
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14 Responses to DeWalt Compound Action Pliers

  1. Brau says:

    Hmmm. I haven’t had a problem with clamping force on needle-nose pliers. Conversely, I’ve broken(or bent)the jaws on a few by gripping/twisting too hard.

    What I’d rather have is a set where the jaws remain parallel for a flat grip.

  2. KenZ says:

    For parallel, try some of the knipex variants. They’re not needlenose per se, but grip the crap out of anything with their 10:1 mechanical advantage, and have smooth parallel grips.

    Various sizes shown here:

    http://www.knipex.com/index.php?id=1216&L=1&page=group_detail&parentID=1368&groupID=1500

  3. Cal says:

    Funny…they look exactly the same as the ones that Crescent has had on the market for years…

    Crescent Compound Action Pliers

  4. GadgetLovingGeezer says:

    The video clip shows that the compound action design limits the distance that the jaws can open before the handles are spread too far apart to grasp.

  5. jesse says:

    How good can they be at $10, and probably made in China? No thanks.

  6. Martin says:

    Re: Jesse – “…probably made in China?”

    I expect you are correct. And if so, “made in China” means poor, extremely poor, working conditions for under paid overworked and poorly treated workers likely using substandard materials. Eight hour work weeks are normal, no or minimal vacation, horrible housing conditions, horrible work conditions (including restrooms if any)…first hand observations.

  7. Will says:

    Reminds me of my SOG multi-tool. It really is a nice feature when force is more important than range pf jaw motion.

  8. fred says:

    While I agree with KenZ about the quality of the Knipex and some other German pliers from NWS and Wiha – if you need a good all around high leverage lineman style pliers from Channelock:

    http://www.amazon.com/Channellock-369-2-Inch-Leverage-Linesman/dp/B00004SBD6

    Or a Klein Tools D213-9NE

  9. jeff_williams says:

    The very few user reviews of them on Dewalt’s site are not favorable.

  10. rob says:

    well the extra length and and the lack or motion in the jaw make them a no win for me

    and at 10 bucks I would also be weary of cheep

  11. Noah G says:

    I’ve had the Crescent pair for years and its ok. Diags are on of the tools that need to be sharp and strong and I’ve yet to see a $10 pair do that.

  12. Bob A. says:

    I bought a pair of the old Crescent version of these pliers and they broke in my hands. With that much leverage the pot metal from China doesn’t do very well and these look similar enough to be from the same factory. I will still have to check them out in-store just in case they are good.

  13. KoKo the Talking Ape says:

    Compound leverage does increase jaw pressure, but it also proportionally reduces jaw travel or increases handle travel. For that reason, compound pliers really should be adjustable, like those Knipex parallel-jaw pliers KenZ mentions. Otherwise the jaw capacity and range is too small.

  14. Check out Triplett Diagonal & Electricians pliers they seem to be heavy duty and work extremely well

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