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I’ve owned quite a few sets of snap ring pliers, and for the most part they seemed to do the job at least reasonably well regardless of their cost or build quality — until swapping the water pump on a Porsche 944.  As many of you know, the thermostat is snap-ringed into, um, a very uncomfortable place.

All of a sudden many of my cheap-ass snap ring pliers seemed to show their cheapness.  Flexibility and looseness made the already gargantuan task seem utterly impossible. 

But that said, what do you Toolmongers think?  Do you come across enough enough difficult snap ring jobs to justify spending $20 on something like the Channellocks pictured above?  They convert from inside to outside pliers without removing parts, and look to be a solid tool.  But $20?

What say you?  Let us know in comments.

Snap Ring Pliers, Model 907 [Channellock]
Street Pricing [Froogle]
Via Amazon [What’s this?]


11 Responses to Hot or Not? Expensive Snap Ring Pliers

  1. ambush27 says:

    I think it’d probably be worth it, for certain jobs, like rebuilding an engine. but for most jobs you could struggle along with the cheap ones.

  2. Ron says:

    You forgot to mention they have interchangeable tips for different size rings. I have a pair of these at work and they are worth the $20. Good tools are always worth the money and cheap crap is just that. If you want to play like the big boys, man up and spend the cash.

  3. Nick Carter says:

    I had a set with the interchangeable tips, and then over time bought a bunch of used (flea mkt, pawn, garage sales) ones that were missing tips, now I have about 10 snap ring pliers all with different tips mounted, plus a couple of the dedicated tip type.

    I also have found sets of the tips hidden in toolboxes for sale, so it’s always worth keeping an eye out for those.

    I am a tool degenerate tool addict. I won’t even go into my 5 pairs of pexto punches with a different punch/die in each…same principle.

  4. eschoendorff says:

    I have Craftsman snap ring pliers (dedicated internal and external) with interchangeable tips and they work very well. If I was looking to buy a new pair, I’d definitely consider anything by Channellock.

  5. Andrew says:

    $20 is expensive? I’d usually consider spending up to $50 to get the “correct” tool for a job, especially if I expect to do it more than once.

  6. Phillip says:

    $20 for the convertible snap-ring pliers? Seems reasonable to me. Many years ago I bought the Hi-Tech brand [link] for around $23.00. At the time it did not seem to expensive and it has still held the price. As stated before it costs money to get the toys, and this is one tool you should not cheap out on. One slip with an inferior or poorly designed tool and the lock ring could fly and be gone – and Murphy’s law makes sure it will be in the worst possible place – if you can find it at all.

  7. John says:

    Absolutely critical! I’ve busted enough knuckles with the swap-meet-special “MiT” $6 assortment that I’ve tossed them all and now have one set of Craftsman interchangeable-tips. I’ve only come across one snap ring they couldn’t handle (something on a VW engine), but Snap-On makes a super-huge pair just for that — and even those were worth every penny.

  8. SlowJoeCrow says:

    Snap rings are the kind of part that cause a lot of foul language with the wrong or cheap tool, and can be popped off in seconds with the good tool. Good snap ring pliers aren’t that expensive and save tons of aggro. I have a pair of top of the line K-D pliers I bought in 1987 that are still worth every penny I paid

  9. mike says:

    I’ve had a pair of those channellock pliers and they were crap. I feel for smaller hole type snap rings a convertible set with fixed tips is your best bet, and a set of S&K Compound lock ring pliers and S&K angle tip lock ring pliers will take care of quite a few different types of lock rings that the convertible set can’t handle.
    Out of all the tools and fasteners out there, snap rings seem to be the most artistically oriented towards removal and sheer variety. .002 cents

  10. Teacher says:

    I have this pair of snap ring pliers. They have been fine for me, but I’ve used them mainly to take apart ratchets that have snap rings to hold the face on. Only problem is when the tips begin to get worn. I’d say they were definately worth $20.

  11. Chris Telm says:

    I encounter snap rings regularly during automotive and motorcycle work, and can’t stand the “all in one” style snap ring pliers with the interchangeable tips. Too much “slop” and flex in the assembly for my liking. I prefer a set of individual pliers, each one with differently-sized tips. Makes the difference between getting that fork tube circlip out and putting a scratch into the fork…

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