This multi-functional tool is a must-have for plumbers and tradesmen alike. Found right across a wide range of industries from automotive and electrical to engineering and, of course, plumbing, they’re the ideal must-have tool for gripping nuts and bolts, lock parts and other non-uniform objects.
Water pump pliers are distinguished by a serrated, adjustable jaw that’s perfect when a rock-solid grip is required. They’re incredibly easy to use, and ergonomic handles ensure comfort when working for long periods of time. Yet while they’re found just about everywhere, there are some misconceptions about water pump pliers. Let’s sort out some of the myths about this go-to tool.
What size do I need?
Like any tool, water pump pliers come in a variety of sizes and models – longer handles offer greater leverage, however they’ll be more difficult to use in those tricky, hard to reach places. Smaller models are ideal for for household use, perfect for gripping most things and because they weigh less, they’re easier to work with.
Only plumbers use water pump pliers
Well yes and no. Pump pliers go by many names including adjustable joint pliers, tongue and groove pliers and water pump pliers. They’re all the same thing – two serrated jaws connected by an adjustable pivot with two long arms for increased leverage. So yes, plumbers do use water pump pliers but so do engineers, tradesmen and DIY enthusiasts.
They can be sharpened
It’s unlikely as most modern pliers are induction hardened when they’re produced. Consequently they’re about as hard as any file you’ll use to sharpen them, which will simply skate over the surface and have little impact.
You can use pump pliers for electrical work
No you can’t. While they’re capable of doing a job like making a crimp connection, any sharp-eyed electrical inspector will flag the job because it wasn’t made with the correct tool. Rightly so. The chance of shorting wires is high and incredibly dangerous.
You can use them as a wrench
Not really. While pump pliers are an incredible versatile tool that can be used in nearly every situation, when you need a wrench, use a wrench. Anything with a nut or a hex head won’t fit snugly in the plier jaws and is likely to slip.
You can use them as a hammer
You can, but you’ll probably ruin your pliers. Use a screwdriver instead! Seriously though, while you might get away with tapping the occasional item, hammers are made for hammering. That’s what they were invented for.
The versatility and reliability of pump pliers make them a must-have in any tool box. You’ll probably want two. There are many brands to choose from so shop around to get the best fit for the kind of work you’re doing. Make sure they’re comfortable to use and are strong enough to do the job properly. And while you’re there, get yourself a hammer for when you need to do some hammering.