Several months back Vampire Tools sent me a pair of their VamPLIERS, a type of plier that is optimized for removing stuck or stripped screws. The tool resembles a miniature pair of lineman pliers—same general shape, wire cutter, and flush rivet. But the front end of the jaws is different; just beyond the wire cutter is a toothed notch similar to the one on the Channellock E Series Long Nose Plier. I like the notch because it makes it easy to grasp and turn the small nuts and bolts that tend to slip from the flat jaws of lineman pliers and most long nose pliers.
The defining feature of VamPLIERS is the shape of the jaws at the nose. Instead of the usual grooved or cross-hatchet flat surfaces, the jaws are dished out and grooved in both directions. These dished out areas make it possible to grasp the edges of a screw and twist it out. It won’t matter if the screw is stripped or rusted, or requires a security bit you don’t have; as long as you can access the sides of the head it’s possible these pliers will get it out. There’s no guarantee it will work, but the likelihood of success is greater with VamPLIERS than with anything short of drilling the heads of stripped screws and removing them with screw extractors—a miserable task that is best avoided.
According to the manufacturer, the jaws are designed to grip hardware between .12” and .37” in diameter. Those dimensions seem about right to me. It’s hard to grip items larger than that and items smaller than the concave areas in the nose will slip through the jaws. For that reason, and because the jaws are not flat, this tool is a poor choice for bending and twisting wire—even though it resembles a pair of lineman pliers.
VamPLIERS have a very good feel to them; the fit and finish are great, the grips are comfortable, and they’re small enough to fit in a pocket. I like the spring between the handles because it saves me the trouble of opening the jaws. An included plastic cap fits over the jaws and holds the handles closed, making them easier to carry in a pocket and preventing the spring from being damaged or dislodged by the other tools in your toolbox.
As pliers go, VamPLIERS are expensive—which is the price you pay for owning a tool that does things others cannot. If you regularly disassemble or repair equipment then they might be worth it to you. All they would have to do to be worth it to me was save me from one or two instances of drilling stripped screws and removing them with screw extractors
If you order these pliers from the manufacturer, they will etch the name of your choice (up to 12 characters) onto the side of one jaw for an extra $5.
Vampire Tools VamPLIERS
Country of origin: Japan
Web price: $35-37