I recently bought a pair of Irwin’s Vise-Grip ErgoMulti Long Nose Pliers, which had been on my radar since their unveiling at last year’s STAFDA convention. The design intrigued me and had me wondering if the angled head would make the tool easier to use. The answer is yes; with these pliers you can work longer and harder with less fatigue to your wrist and hand.
The 62-degree angled head provides a neutral grip position, akin to the position you use when holding a drill or impact driver. Your wrist remains straight so there’s less strain on your wrist and hand. And I think the “kink” of the handles in relation to the head provides additional leverage when twisting. The size of the tool helps too. These are 8-inch pliers, which as long nose pliers go is very large. The longer than “normal” handles make for greater leverage when cutting wire, nails, and screws. The overmolded handles are hard on the back and soft where you grip so you can squeeze really hard without hurting your hand.
The jaws are spring-loaded and automatically open when you release the grips—a feature I love because it makes the pliers faster and easier to use. A thumb-activated catch can be used to lock the jaws shut for ease of transport and storage. The lock is tucked away in a protected spot—which is good, because it’s plastic and might break if it gets bashed. But its location is such that I don’t think that’s likely to happen. The jaws are equipped with a straight cutter, small crimper, strippers for 12- and 14-gauge solid and 14- and 16-gauge stranded wire, and something you don’t often see—a built-in “spanner” for turning nuts and bolts. The spanner is shaped like the surface of a box wrench; it’s not something I use very often but is handy to have when I need to turn a nut or bolt and there aren’t any wrenches or slip-joint pliers nearby.
If the design of these pliers looks familiar it’s because they are made for Irwin by NWS, a high-end German tool company that sells a nearly identical model under its own label. With only limited distribution in the U.S. it makes sense they’d OEM for a large company like Irwin. Most Irwin hand tools are made in Asia, but the 11 tools currently in Irwin’s Vise-Grip Cutting Plier line are made in Germany.
The Ergo Multi Long Nose Pliers aren’t cheap; I got them for $30 online. I enjoy using them and they should last the rest of my life—provided I don’t lose them or lend them to someone who likes them as much as I do.