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Did you know that Stanley makes FatMax 10″ Groove Joint PushLock pliers? Despite their resemblence to Irwin’s GrooveLock pliers, these FatMax pliers incorporate a few features that may be enough reason to add a pair to your collection.

The FatMax pliers appear to have an elevated adjustment button, which should make blind or gloved adjustments a bit easier. In addition, there are no less than 17 locked positions, versus the 13 that my 10″ Irwin GrooveLocks have. Although the jaw opening on tongue and groove pliers can be widened by spreading the handles, finer adjustment is desireable when working in cramped compartments.

The locking mechanism on these FatMax pliers also makes this tool appealing. Whereas the venerable Irwin GrooveLock pliers have a ratchet-type mechanism at the back of the inner handle slider, the FatMax pliers appears to have its locking grooves on opposite sides within it. While this means that you can’t slide the jaws closed without reaching for the adjustment button, there are certainly occasions when this is desirable — such as when you’re applying pressure to very soft materials. Furthermore, this geometry may result in a thinner body which could more easily fit into tighter spots.

Lastly, Stanley claims their “bi-material” handles provide improved grip and control — which may be the most compelling reason to add a pair of the FatMax pliers to your shopping list. Most tongue and groove pliers I’ve come across have uniformly smooth handles. If you’re wearing gloves, that’s great. But if you’re covered in sweat and grease, you want want a handle that offers greater friction.

If you’ve seen or used these, what’s your take on them? In case you’re as eager to get your hands on a pair as I am, Amazon is currently offering the 10″ model for $20, and it’s eligible for the 4-for-3 discount. If you shop around, you can find a pair for as low as $15.

FatMax Groove Joint PushLock Pliers [Stanley]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s this?]


7 Responses to Stanley’s FatMax Groove Joint Pliers

  1. bc says:

    This reminds me of the craftsman robogrip… i loved those pliers (someone took mine).

  2. Teacher says:

    bc, a lot of guys would be glad to give you theirs. I tried a pair of crapogrips and hated them.

    I might try more Stanley tools, but I still have a grudge against Stanley Works for lying repeatedly claiming that their Husky line was USA made when in fact they were being made in Taiwan. It took two lawsuits and fines from the FTC to get them to start accurately labeling Husky hand tools.

  3. Old Donn says:

    Whether the tool’s good or bad, do they really need these oversized, multi-colored handles? Stanley’s not alone, seems like everybody’s got them, the only difference being the colors. I’ve had a set of thin handled Knipex for years. I’ll stick with them.

  4. Britannia says:

    Looks just like my pair of Irwin/Vise Grip Groovelocks. What makes these things different?

  5. Tom C says:

    Stuart, the Irwin Groovelock can work the same way as the Fat Max, you push the button and move the jaws to the opening you want, you don’t always have to slide the jaws together. Seems to me that a choice between two ways to adjust is better than one way.

    As for “oversized” handles they are a lot more comfortable to grip really hard on something. “Old Don” should try it, even Knipex has got oversized handles on some models now.

  6. Tom, what I intended to convey was that Irwin GrooveLocks can sometimes self-adjust themselves. I’ve crushed soft materials before by applying pressure via the upper handle (connected to lower jaw) while the upper jaw was being pulled down via the lower handle. The lower jaw slide upwards and gripped the materials a bit too tight. To its credit, I love my GrooveLocks and was knowingly using them improperly.

    Also, although it’s not really relevent, I wish that Irwin’s pliers had the same soft handle material as Vise Grips. They have a similar color scheme, but the texture isn’t even remotely similar. I think the Stanley might have a small edge in the grip department but cannot confirm it until I get my hands on one of the new pliers.

  7. alice says:

    I picked these up a couple weeks ago at Walmart, of all places, and love them. The real advantage is the size of the jaws; great for close quarters work but strong enough for really heavy duty applications! I actually gave away my Iwrin GrooveLocks because the jaws were just too big for most jobs.

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