Toolipedia: Lineman’s Pliers

Updated: Mar. 03, 2021

Toolipedia: Everything you wanted to know about lineman’s pliers

A linesman's pliers with labeled parts | Construction Pro Tips

What are lineman’s pliers?

Lineman’s pliers are distinguishable from other pliers by their stub nose, flat gripping surfaces, large cutting edges, and their angular edges on the outside of the jaw. Lineman’s pliers are primarily used by electricians. They came into existence with the birth of the telegraph industry in the mid 1800s, hence the name “Lineman’s Pliers.”

These are parts of a lineman’s pliers:

  1. Stub nose
  2. Flat gripping surface
  3. Angular outside edge for reaming
  4. Cutting edges
  5. Crimper
  6. Insulated handle

How are lineman’s pliers used?

Lineman’s pliers are used by electricians to straighten, cut, grip, twist, push, and pull wire. They are used to cut and bend light gauge metal and pull staples and nails. The angular edges on the outside edge of the jaws are designed to ream down ridges and burs on the inside lip of cut pipes.

What are the different types of lineman’s pliers?

Most lineman’s pliers appear almost identical to one another, but some have extra tool functions like crimpers.

What makes a good lineman’s pliers?

  • Smooth operation
  • Well insulated handles
  • Rust-resistant metal
  • Bright colors so they don’t get lost

Milwaukee makes a high-quality lineman’s pliers. 

Lineman’s plier’s tip

Twisting wires with a linesman's pliers | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

Strip a little more insulation off the wires than is required. This will make it easier to grab hold of them and braid them together.

Clipping wires with linesmans pliers | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

Once the wires have been braided together, trim them all to the desired length. This will create a better connection inside the wire nut.