Pliers are handy adjustable tools that can be used in a variety of situations. Types include slip joint, locking, groove joint, needle nose, and diagonal cutters. Pliers are used to grab, turn, cut, or bend. Pliers consist of two levers that pivot at one point. This pivoting point is called a fulcrum.

Slip Joint Pliers. Slip joint pliers are one of the most basic and versatile hand tools. However, do not use slip joint pliers in situations where a wrench would be better (e.g., turning a nut or bolt). Trying to loosen a stubborn nut with slip joint pliers can round off the head. Also if the pliers slip your knuckles could get bruised or cut.

Groove Joint Pliers. Also called adjustable pliers or Channellocks® (an industry brand name), groove joint pliers adjust to a wide range of sizes. These are especially useful for gripping cylindrical objects, like pipes.

Needle Nose Pliers. Needle nose pliers have long pointed jaws. These can be used to grip or pull objects that are in hard-to-reach areas. Sometimes there is also a cutting mechanism next to the fulcrum.

Diagonal Pliers. Also called side cutters, diagonal pliers have sharp edges instead of gripping jaws like most pliers. They are commonly used for cutting wires.

Locking Pliers. Locking pliers are sometimes called Vise-Grips® (an industry brand name). Locking pliers are used to tightly grip and then lock on an object. These pliers come in handy when a bolt or nut is already rounded off beyond the point where a wrench will work. Grabbing onto flat or oddly shaped items are additional functions of locking pliers.