Channel Locks: High Quality Hand tools


Channel Locks are pliers that are named after the American Company Channel Locks that produces them. They are used for grabbing and pinching things. Moreover, their gripping jaws provide a strong grip on an object for snatching any nail embedded in the wall

Material involved

High carbon steel is used in its construction that makes its structure rigid. It is made adjustable to accommodate any size object by sliding its jaws and locking them into perfect place. Pliers often have an under-cut groove and supporting blade to avoid slipping.

Handles are covered by protective grips for comfort. From protection against the electric current, insulated handles are even used in some Channel Lockss, as safety is the first and foremost priority for everyone.

Design of Channel Lockss

Almost all plier designs include the following things:

  1. Serrated jaws are set 45 to 60 Degree from handles
  2. Under the upper jaw, the lower jaw is movable to several positions by sliding along a tracking section 
  3. Plier is adjustable at different positions without the distance in handle growing wider i.e., somehow its biggest advantage
  4. The length of these pliers is generally 9.5 to 12 inches long
  5. Weight varies depending on the quality of material used in its construction
Channel Locks design
Channel Locks Features


Channel Locks made in the USA and China are often best for use. The high carbon steel is specially coated to prevent it from rusting of iron. The main features of the Channel Locks plier are listed below

  • To eliminate nut and bolt failure, it acts as a fastener with the help of its straight jaw tongue and groove plier
  • It reinforces edge to minimize stress breakage 
  • Long-lasting grips provide firm support to remove nail or bolt 
  • Laser-hardened teeth grip which is at a right angle helps in better gripping
  • It minimizes stress breakage
  • The USA exports it every year in large quantities throughout the world.
Channel Locks parts description

Why are Channel Locks used?

In case of emergency, they can play a versatile role as pliers, wrenches, and clamps as needed and demanded at the moment. Moreover, these are frequently used by Firemen and emergency responders for forced entry into a building or vehicle.

Some of the other various situation, where Channel Locks pliers’ work 

  1. In a household task like plumbing 
  2. For electrical repairs, they are of great use
  3. In repairing outdoor furniture, they assist as the main tool
  4. User doesn’t have to exert a lot of energy so these are used in tightening wires
  5. In fitting of bolts and cables with ease, they are a very useful tool


Situations where it cannot be used?

Not everything is perfect for every place. It is a subjective matter to decide whether a plier will help to fulfill the client’s requirement. Some circumstances where it is not recommended as the best tool may include the following cases:

  1. One should not use it for cutting wires
  2. At any task that will create vibration, that is because due to vibration, its head and lock might accidentally open
  3. Moreover, the plier may crack or break if it is used as a hammer
  4. While using a welding torch, its use is not recommended as the heat can serve as a conductor so comfort grips may not necessarily protect against electric current or extreme heat.

What can happen to them if not used properly?

As discussed earlier, it is not the perfect tool for every situation so one should be aware of its use. It may have several damages if used in non-suitable situations

  1. Normal wear and tear

If more energy is exerted on it, its teeth will bend. Furthermore, its cutting edges may become out of order and tips will be rounded. Those cutting edges and nose-tips may work improperly when closed and held up to the light

  1. Damages resulting from tampering or alterations

Cutting edges drilled holes or welded surfaces may cause the joint tips of the Channel Locks to bend. Or in another adverse situation, it may get broken. Hammer marks on the head, joint, or handles are removed and vanished if altered 

  1. Damage from contact with hot wires

While cutting hot wires, the copper residue of wire material my left on top of jaws. Scorched appearance might make the tool ineffective for any other task

  1. General misuse

If the tool is not being used for its intended purpose(s), the width of the handle may become wider and make the tool trash for any productive use in future

  1. Lack of maintenance

If the tool has not been properly stored or cared for by the owner throughout ownership, it will lose its purpose as its teeth may become rough, grips may crack and conduct electricity. Resultantly, the user will not be protected from the electrical current.

  1. Breakage from abuse or overload

Their improper use may deform the plier. Dust and rust marks on the head and handles are evidence of overload work performed by it. A good example of it is opening a rigid lock made up of metal.

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Basic types of Channel Locks

Some of the most commonly used pliers are described below

  1. Slip-joint Channel Locks

These are the most common and ancient types that are used as slip-joint pliers. These could help perform several everyday tasks around the house like fixing of bicycle, the kitchen stool or a bit of wiring work

Slip-joint Channel Locks is not exactly a high-precision tool but performs enough to solve numerous problems. Some daily routine tasks held by this include:

  1. Holding or bending flat or round stock
  2. Crimping of sheet metal
  3. Looping of wire
  4. Cutting soft wire nails
  5. Removing embedded cotter pins
  6. Loosening or tightening a nut etc.
Slip-joint Channel Locks
  1. Water-pump Pliers

These are designed similar to arc-joint pliers that help us with gripping wires. Several variations on the same theme are a great feature of this Channel Locks. Moreover, its jaws are angled to the length of handles so that reaching between joints is easier

Furthermore, a curved shape structure has surrounded the jaws of water-pump pliers. It can be adjusted to grasp various-sized objects. The arc-joint model shifts like a slip-joint plier so that it freely allows the jaws to be positioned at different points

A few tasks performed by this plier very well include the following:

  1. Firm grasping of pipe or another object
  2. For plumbing issues, it is a regular tool
  3. Electricians use it for wiring purposes

If joint-slip is not available, a water pump is the best alternative to it.

Water-pump Pliers
  1. Linesman’s Channel Locks

It is often referred to as engineer’s pliers as it is sold without insulated handles. These are versatile steel tools. Linesman’s pliers are representative of nineteenth-century tools called bell-pliers

It is because they were used by bell hangers for cutting and twisting the wires which are further used to connect un-electrified household bells. Like other pliers, working handles cause the jaws to close or open

Linesman’s Channel Locks are used by electricians and engineers in

  1. Firm gripping of wires
  2. Holding flat objects like metal sheets
  3. Cone-shaped knot jaws for twisting the wires
  4. Plastic insulator protection for opening wire nut
  5. Cutting and removing nails are best done by this
Linesman’s Channel Locks
Linesman’s Channel Locks
  1. Locking Pliers

This Channel Locks is designed to be used as a hand-held clamp that locks firmly onto a workpiece. They have a double-lever action that is why they are also named lever-wrench pliers

By squeezing the handles together, jaws are closed like those on other pliers. A screw drive in one handle is adjusted when the jaws contact the object to be gripped. A lever in the other handle is triggered to release the tool’s grip. Besides all, these are not so commonly used as are expensive and heavyweight in comparison to others.

Read more on Channel Locks here:

  1. Needle Nose Channel Locks

These long-tapered engineer’s pliers are used at a small scale in the industry. These are particularly well suited to work with wire in confined spaces like electrical boxes. There is a side cutter near the pivot of the tool. 

This tool is also handy for working with small nuts and washers. Frequently are used at places where the object is out of reach of your fingers. Moreover, their tips are bent at angles of 45 or 90 degrees to the line of the handles 

Some of the common situations where these channel locks are used

  1. For bending and holding metal fittings
  2. Gripping of small objects having a diameter of millimeters
  3. Sometimes referred as Radio pliers because it helps in handling of small nuts and nails
  4. Heavy-duty work can’t be performed by this Channel Locks 
Needle Nose Channel Locks
Needle Nose Channel Locks


Some tools are very friendly and commonly used by engineers, electricians, and plumbers, Channel Locks is one of the best out of them. They are helpful from even a very small task like crimping a nail to comparatively big task like tightening metal sheets

Its alternative may be a chain wrench. Now here a question arises that what makes the channel pliers best for everyday use? The answer to this is quite simple:

The Channel Locks should have 12-inch-long tongue and groove pliers. Its jaws and scale are adjustable making it best fit in almost every house held work situation. Moreover, plastic insulated grips on the handle make it a safe instrument for most electrical works. 

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