Anyone who’s worked on a farm or ranch knows the value of a good pair of fencing pliers. In most cases, they are much easier to carry around than a whole belt full of tools, and there’s no substitute to their convenience. So, if you’re repairing fences all day, what’s the best plier to carry with you?
The best fencing pliers are the IRWIN VISE-GRIP Pliers. They are a dependable, hardworking pair of pliers you can carry with you all day and will repair miles of fence with ease. It’s got an excellent cutting capacity and a comfortable ergonomic grip for tough jobs.
Let’s look at what makes a great pair of fencing pliers and how to pick the perfect pair for your project or regular pair for fieldwork.
- 🏆 IRWIN VISE-GRIP Pliers [TOP CHOICE]
- Crescent 10″ Heavy-Duty Fence Pliers [Best for Removing Staples]
- NUZAMAS Fencing Pliers [Best Value]
- DEWALT Fencing Pliers [Best for Occasional Use]
- KING Fencing Pliers With Hammerhead [Best For Tough Jobs]
How Do You Use Fencing Pliers?
Fencing pliers are a specialized tool that serves many purposes in fence installation, repair, and maintenance. Contractors and farmhands often carry a pair at all times, and the unique look and shape of the tool serve several purposes:
- Hammer. The hammerhead can be flat or slightly rounded and the weight of the tool makes it easy to use the pliers like a small hammer to drive in loose posts or hammer staples into wooden posts. A heavy pair of pliers can make hammering easier but harder on the wrists when cutting and twisting wire. It also allows you to drive in nails and tap in loose posts while you’re out on the job site or farm.
- Prying. You can use the claw on the opposite side from the hammerhead to pry out staples or pull on rusted or barbed wire. Thinner and sharper claws generally get staples out more effectively.
- Pliers. The pincers at the end of the tools are for prying out staples or grabbing and twisting wire. Sometimes there is another notch right in the middle of the pliers that you can also use to grab and twist different gauges of wire.
- Wire strippers. Under the pincers is an area you can use to strip wire, and some models can strip wires near the handle as well.
- Wire cutters. Most models have two small wire cutters on either side of the head, mid-way down. It’s a strange-looking tool, but you can clearly see it’s invaluable when working with fencing.
What To Look For in a Good Pair of Pliers
Fencing pliers are sometimes hard to come by. When choosing your pair of pliers, consider the following:
- Weight. These aren’t heavy tools, but you’ll often use them for twisting wires, which means you want them lighter. Even a little extra weight can weigh on your wrists. Though if you are only using yours periodically, this might not matter as much to you. Some users prefer a heavier pair of pliers if they’re doing a lot of hammering.
- Material. The pliers on this list are all made of some type of steel. Alloy steel is more resistant to corrosion, but carbon steel is extra hard.
- Style. The style of fencing pliers doesn’t vary much. However, some models lack the extra groove at the base of the head that some people prefer for twisting wire.
- Size. Most fencing pliers are between 10 and 11 in (25.4 and 27.94 cm). Longer pliers add a little weight but give extra leverage with longer handles.
- Grip. Fencing pliers generally have rubber or plastic grips on the handles. Some older versions will have bare metal handles, though rubber tends to be easier to use and grip, which can make a big difference when you’re twisting and hammering all day. Molded ergonomic handles are also a big plus and make gripping much easier.
How To Choose a Pair of Fencing Pliers
When you’re making your decision about your first or next pair of pliers, it’s essential to get a pair that works for you.
There are so many ways to use this tool and the correct choice often comes down to personal preference.
Ask yourself the following questions before making your purchase:
1. What Will You Primarily Use the Tool For?
It’s hard to get all those tools into one package, and often an outstanding feature in one tool means another isn’t so effective. Among fencing pliers, you see this a lot in the hammerhead design. If you’re looking for a great hammer, you might have to sacrifice weight.
If you’re doing a lot of one specific task – you might get better results and value with dedicated tools. The wire snippers are often the first thing to go on a pair of fencing pliers.
2. How Long Do You Need It To Last?
For a great, long-lasting pair of fencing pliers, look for carbon steel that’s hard on the outside.
For occasional jobs, you can choose an economical pair, but if you want the pliers to last, consider spending a little extra. It’s always a good idea to store your pliers inside and avoid them getting wet to help prolong their lifespan.
3. Will You Carry It With You?
Lighter tools will be easier to carry and use all day, which can make a big difference after eight hours on the ranch. The dipped handles also give tools a slimmer profile, making them easier to put in a pocket.
However, if you need the extra weight, you may need to look into a holster of some kind, or a tool belt to ease the weight.
Fencing-building tools can be hard to come by, and of course, other tools can do the same tasks. They are mainly for workers who need a hammer, pliers, wire stripper, and wire cutters on the regular and can’t afford to carry a bunch of tools around. If that sounds like you, then fencing pliers are an excellent purchase.
Look for something lightweight but durable with a reasonable price point and good reviews.