Hand tools


Pliers and cutters come in various sizes and are classified by:

  • function
  • type of nose or head.

The following are examples of pliers and cutter types that are used for electrical work.

Combination pliers

Combine the function of a number of types of pliers and therefore have a wide variety of uses in the electrical trade. Available in sizes from 150 to 230mm.


  • Flat jaw tips are serrated for general gripping, bending, and twisting, etc.
  • Pipe grip is serrated for gripping cylindrical objects.
  • Joint cutters are used for shearing off steel wires.
  • Side cutting jaws are for cutting softer wires, eg copper, etc or stripping cables. ( Not damaging the copper conductors when stripping cables requires a deal of practice.)

Photo of combination pliers

Combination pliers


Diagonal cutting pliers (side cutters)

Made with the jaws set at an angle and available in sizes from 100mm to 200mm.


  • Cutting conductors in confined spaces or close to electrical terminals.
  • Stripping the outer sheath of flexible cable ready for terminating.

Photo of side cutting pliers

Side cutters

Note: Offcuts are liable to fly when cut. Make sure you cut with the free end of wire pointing away from you. Wear goggles.

Long taper nose (or long nose) pliers

Jaws are tapered and wedge shaped. In general, the jaws are serrated for gripping purposes.


  • Holding small parts without obstructing your view.
  • Reaching into confined spaces.
  • Shaping control wiring in electrical equipment.

Photo of long nose pliers

Long nose pliers


Round nose pliers

Provided with tapered, rounded (conical-shaped) jaws.


  • Shape loops in conductors.
  • Shaping eyes in conductors to fit terminal screws.

Photo of round nose pliers

Round nose pliers


Heavy duty cable cutter

Large cutter with a scissor action.


  • Cutting large cable, eg consumer mains/cable.

Photo of cable cutters

Cable cutters


Vice grip pliers

Basically an adjustable portable clamp with serrated jaws.


  • Clamp, wrench, or portable vice to hold items for drilling, grinding and welding, etc.

Photo of vice grip pliers

Vice grips


Wire strippers

There's a variety of wire strippers available. They usually have a means of adjusting, or provide access to different cutter positions to cater for varying wire sizes. The jaws of the strippers remove the insulation from the conductor.


  • Stripping small size conductors.
  • Flexible conductors.

Photo of wire stripping pliers

Wire strippers


Crimping tools

Come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.


  • Provide a compressed conductive connection between the ends of cables to be joined or more commonly between terminal lugs and cables. They also have a cutting edge.

Photo of crimping pliers

Crimping pliers


PVC conduit cutters

Applying pressure to the handles of these cutters forces a blade through the PVC conduit in a shearing action. The most common size of these cutters will cut PVC conduit up to 25mm.


  • Cutting PVC pipe/conduit.

Photo of PVC conduit cutters

Conduit cutters


Tin snips

Come with straight or curved blades to cut left-handed or right-handed.


  • Cutting sheet metal.
  • Cutting cable tray.
  • Cutting duct.

Photo of tin snips

Tin snips