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Working on a project, whether at home or work, you reach for the stuff that works. When we first picked up the Irwin Groove Lock adjustable pliers, we were less than stunned, but they were a decent quality tool for the price so we threw them in the tool cart. Over time, we found we’d choose these over almost any other adjustable pliers out there.

Two things really drive this decision.  The first is sheer convenience. The groove locks are just easy to adjust and manipulate; it’s that simple. Push the big round button, adjust the jaws, and let go of the big round button — simple.

The other reason we reach for these pliers is feel.  Whether they’re removing a stubborn radiator hose clamp or grabbing hold of a messed-up fastener, the Irwin pliers just feel right in your hands.  We like that.

The local big box sells ’em for around $23, which is on the high side of what we’d normally like to pay for something like this, but well worth the investment.

Groove Lock Adjustable Pliers [Irwin]
Street Pricing [Google Products]


12 Responses to TM’s 2007 Favorites: Irwin Groove Lock Adjustable Pliers

  1. bc says:

    I own these… they suck. very cheaply made.

  2. Fred says:

    It does not surprise me that some Irwin Tools are good and others not. When Newell acquired Rubbermaid and a host of other brands (Record , Marples, Irwin, Vise Grip etc.) there started to be a blurring of quality – with some cheap junk from China – and some lines they have tried to maintain. I think the same is true for Cooper (Nicholson, HK Porter, Crescent, Weller, etc.)
    I still like the Channelock product – but use smooth-jaw Knipex pliers almost exclusively on finish plumbing work.

  3. rf says:

    I have to disagree with bc. I own these in all 3 sizes: 12″, 10″ and 8″ and love them. Combined with the irwin multi driver and irwin knife I’ve become a big fan of their stuff.

  4. eschoendorff says:

    I wouldn’t spend my money on those… especially when you can get the real thing made by Knipex for just a few dollars more…

    Knipex Cobras are where it’s at!!!! Ask any professional….

    Between Knipex (Germany) and Channellock (made right here in the USA – unlike that Irwin stuff), you should have all of your pliers needs covered. And for about the same price as those Chaiwnese Irwins.

  5. eschoendorff says:

    Forget those Irwins…. go buy the Knipex Cobras. Much higher quality and they have a long-standing successful track record. Not made in China, either.

    Or, spend the same amount of $$$ and buy American-made Channellock products. They are perhaps teh most under-rated manufacturer in the business. But almost every professional uses their products, day in and day out.

    For REALLY nice pliers, try to find some of the older (pre-Stanley takeover) FACOM pliers. Absolutely the best I’ve ever used.

  6. PutnamEco says:

    Knipex Cobras are the best bet.
    I’m still not sure I like button adjustment pliers, sometimes I do sometimes I don’t. I can readjust regular channel locks one handed. I haven’t mastered that yet with the button adjusters. They are great for repetitive tasks when you don’t have to continuely readjust.

    Knipex “Pliers Wrenches” are the smooth jaw equivalent of these Irwins


    Anyone tried their Smart grip pliers yet?

  7. Fred says:

    Maybe Stanley will sell Facom (Who had acquired SK) back to an independent – like they did with Golblatt — but probably not and the really high class Facom Line will be blended with what Stanley did with Proto and Blackhawk.

    In an age of worldwide competition, I guess this is what happens : Snap-on takes on Williams. Danaher takes K-D Easco (always made a lot of tools for Sears) and merges them with Armstrong etc. etc.

  8. Old Donn says:

    Gotta agree with Eschoendorff & PutnamEco, Knipex are the stuff. Got a drawer full of Channellock, pretty much every size and I like them fine, but I grab Knipex first just about every time.

  9. Fred says:

    I said it before that Knipex – smooth jaw pliers are always my first choice for finish plumbing – but the big size Channelocks are caried to the jobsite too to grab stubborn cartride filters and the like. Maybe if knipex made some really big pliers – I’d buy some too.

    Does anyone have a better source for Knpiex than Chads ?

  10. mark E says:

    I get my Knipex from Grainger. Since my shop has an account with them, I can order over the phone and they’ll send them to me – free shipping – along with the company discount. http://www.grainger.com

  11. Rodge says:

    I too get most of my tools and shop supplies from Grainger. Just pick up the phone and order and they’ll deliver next day. Since Grainger now carries a full line of automotive supplies, our shop gets and exclusive discount which we can purchase off of. It’s a sweet deal and their reps are always stopping by with the factory reps who hand out free samples. Had the Irwin tool rep last week giving out their new torsion bits and some folks even got free groove lock pliers! They even swapped out old vise grips and other irwin tools under warranty…something our tool truck guys were reluctant to do. I’m surprised Grainger is not listed as a retalier on Toolmonger.

  12. Stacey says:

    SK is again in financial trouble. They are going out of business very soon. To be continued…

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