What to Use Instead of Pliers? Top 9 Handy Alternatives

Looking for alternatives to pliers? “What to use instead of pliers” has got you covered! Whether you’re tinkering in the garage, working on a craft project, or fixing something around the house, this guide will reveal some nifty tools to get the job done.

Say goodbye to the same old pliers routine and dive into a world of exciting options. From screwdrivers to clamps, we’ve got handy substitutes that’ll make your tasks a breeze. Get ready to explore a toolkit that’s as diverse as your DIY imagination! Let’s dive in and discover your next go-to tool!

Key Summary: What to Use Instead of Pliers?

Try these versatile alternatives to pliers – adjustable wrenches for grip, bolt cutters for heavy-duty tasks, channel locks for adjustments, clamps for positioning, hammers for force, needle-nose pliers for delicacy, screwdrivers for control, tin snips for clean cuts, vice grips for versatility.

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What to Use Instead of Pliers? Best 9 Alternatives:

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1. Using Adjustable Wrenches Instead of Pliers

When faced with tasks that involve tightening or loosening nuts and bolts, an adjustable wrench can be a valuable alternative to traditional pliers. Also known as a crescent wrench, this versatile tool comes with a movable jaw, allowing you to adjust its size to fit various fasteners. Let’s explore the advantages and specific use cases of using adjustable wrenches instead of pliers.

Advantages of Using Adjustable Wrenches

  1. Enhanced Grip: The design of adjustable wrenches ensures a secure grip on nuts and bolts, reducing the risk of slippage and rounded edges.
  2. Precise Torque Application: When working with fasteners, adjustable wrenches offer better control and allow you to apply torque more precisely than pliers.
  3. Wide Jaw Capacity: With their adjustable feature, these wrenches can accommodate nuts and bolts of different sizes, making them more versatile than standard pliers.
  4. Reduced Risk of Damage: Unlike pliers, which may leave marks on delicate surfaces, adjustable wrenches exert pressure on flat sides, minimizing the risk of damage.

Specific Use Cases

  • Plumbing Repairs: Adjustable wrenches are invaluable in plumbing tasks, providing a secure grip on pipe fittings and allowing for precise adjustments.
  • Mechanical Repairs: When working on machinery or vehicles, adjustable wrenches can easily handle various bolt sizes and provide the necessary torque for fastening.
  • Furniture Assembly: During furniture assembly, adjustable wrenches can tighten nuts and bolts efficiently, ensuring sturdy joints.

2. Using Bolt Cutters Instead of Pliers

When confronted with tasks involving heavy-duty materials such as thick wires, chains, or metal rods, pliers may not be the most effective option. Bolt cutters offer a specialized alternative, designed specifically for cutting through tough materials. Let’s explore the advantages and scenarios where using bolt cutters instead of pliers can be advantageous.

Advantages of Using Bolt Cutters

  1. Cutting Power: Bolt cutters are specifically built to cut through strong materials, making them ideal for heavy-duty tasks that regular pliers cannot handle.
  2. Clean and Precise Cuts: The sharp blades of bolt cutters provide cleaner and more precise cuts compared to pliers, which may lead to jagged edges.
  3. Time and Effort Efficiency: With bolt cutters, you can swiftly and effortlessly cut through thick wires or metal, saving time and exertion.

Specific Use Cases

  • Construction and Fencing: Bolt cutters are indispensable on construction sites and for fencing projects, where cutting through heavy wires and metal is a common requirement.
  • Emergency Situations: In emergency situations, such as freeing someone trapped in a chain or lock, bolt cutters can provide quick and effective solutions.
  • Metalworking Projects: For metalworking tasks that involve cutting metal rods or thick wires, bolt cutters ensure precise and clean cuts.

3. Using Channel Locks (Tongue-and-Groove Pliers) Instead of Pliers

While channel locks, also known as tongue-and-groove pliers, belong to the same pliers family, they offer unique advantages due to their adjustable jaw design. These specialized pliers are perfect for tasks that require a more secure grip and added convenience. Let’s explore the benefits and specific applications of using channel locks instead of traditional pliers.

Advantages of Using Channel Locks

  1. Adjustable Grip: The adjustable jaw of channel locks allows them to adapt to various sizes, ensuring a secure grip on nuts, bolts, and pipes.
  2. Ratcheting Action: Channel locks have a ratcheting action that lets you lock the jaws in place, providing continuous pressure without straining your hand.
  3. Dual Functionality: Channel locks can act as both pliers and wrenches, providing added convenience and versatility for different tasks.

Specific Use Cases

  • Plumbing Projects: Channel locks are commonly used in plumbing tasks, such as tightening pipe fittings or repairing faucets.
  • Automotive Repairs: When working on cars or motorcycles, channel locks can provide the necessary grip for various bolts and nuts.
  • Home Improvement: For general home improvement tasks that require a strong and adjustable grip, channel locks offer an excellent solution.

4. Using Clamps Instead of Pliers

When it comes to securing objects firmly in place, clamps offer a sturdy and reliable alternative to traditional pliers. Clamps come in various shapes and sizes, each designed to serve different purposes. Let’s explore the advantages and specific scenarios where using clamps instead of pliers can be advantageous.

Advantages of Using Clamps

  1. Secure Grip: Clamps provide a more secure and consistent grip on objects, ensuring they stay in place during various projects.
  2. Even Pressure Distribution: Unlike pliers, which may apply uneven pressure, clamps distribute pressure evenly, reducing the risk of damage to delicate materials.
  3. Hands-Free Operation: Once clamps are properly set, they can hold objects in place without requiring you to hold them manually, freeing up your hands for other tasks.

Specific Use Cases

  • Woodworking: Clamps are essential in woodworking tasks, such as gluing pieces together, securing workpieces during sawing or drilling, and holding joints in place while they dry.
  • Metalworking: When working with metal sheets or components, clamps are useful for holding materials steady during cutting, welding, or shaping.
  • Crafting and DIY Projects: For crafters and DIY enthusiasts, clamps offer convenience in holding various materials during creative projects, ensuring precise positioning.

5. Using Hammers Instead of Pliers

Using Hammers Instead of Pliers

While hammers may not seem like an obvious alternative to pliers, they can be surprisingly useful for certain tasks. Hammers provide striking force, making them effective for driving nails, pins, and shaping thin metal. Let’s explore the advantages and specific applications of using hammers instead of pliers.

Advantages of Using Hammers

  1. Driving Nails: When working with nails or pins, a hammer’s striking force is unmatched, making it the tool of choice for driving them into different materials.
  2. Metal Forming: For light metal shaping or bending tasks, a hammer can be a practical substitute for pliers.
  3. Removal of Stubborn Parts: In some cases, a well-placed tap from a hammer can help remove stuck or stubborn parts, providing an alternative to using pliers for extraction.

Specific Use Cases

  • Carpentry and Construction: Hammers are indispensable tools for carpentry tasks, such as framing, installing molding, and driving nails into wood.
  • Metalworking and Jewelry Making: In metalworking and jewelry making, hammers can be used to shape and texture metal sheets and wires.
  • Home Repairs: For general home repairs, a hammer can be handy for tasks such as fixing loose nails or adjusting metal components.

6. Using Needle-Nose Pliers Instead of Pliers

While needle-nose pliers belong to the same pliers family, they offer unique advantages due to their slender and pointed jaws. These specialized pliers are perfect for intricate and delicate tasks where standard pliers might be too cumbersome. Let’s explore the benefits and specific applications of using needle-nose pliers instead of traditional pliers.

Advantages of Using Needle-Nose Pliers

  1. Precise Maneuverability: The slim and pointed jaws of needle-nose pliers allow for precise maneuvering in tight spaces or handling small objects.
  2. Gripping Small Items: Whether it’s bending wires, holding tiny screws, or reaching into confined spaces, needle-nose pliers excel at gripping and handling small items.
  3. Bending and Shaping: The narrow jaws of these pliers make them well-suited for bending and shaping wires or other delicate materials.

Specific Use Cases

  • Electronics and Jewelry Making: Needle-nose pliers are indispensable in electronics repair and jewelry making, where delicate handling of small components is essential.
  • Crafting and Hobby Projects: For crafters and hobbyists, needle-nose pliers offer precision in tasks such as beading, model making, and wire wrapping.
  • Fine Mechanics: In tasks that require precise adjustments, such as assembling intricate machinery or fine-tuning small parts, needle-nose pliers are the tool of choice.

7. Using Screwdrivers Instead of Pliers

Using Screwdrivers Instead of Pliers

When faced with tasks that involve turning or loosening screws, a screwdriver can be a valuable alternative to traditional pliers. Screwdrivers come in various types and sizes, each designed to fit specific screw heads. Let’s explore the advantages and specific use cases of using screwdrivers instead of pliers.

Advantages of Using Screwdrivers

  1. Precise Control: Screwdrivers provide precise control when turning screws, allowing you to apply the right amount of torque without the risk of slipping.
  2. Different Screw Types: With a wide variety of screwdriver types available, you can easily tackle different screw heads without damaging them.
  3. Narrow Spaces: In tight or confined spaces where pliers might not fit, a screwdriver can still reach and manipulate screws effectively.

Specific Use Cases

  • Furniture Assembly: During furniture assembly, screwdrivers are essential for tightening screws in wooden or metal components.
  • Electronics Repair: In electronics repair, precision screwdrivers are used to handle small screws in devices such as laptops, smartphones, and cameras.
  • Automotive Maintenance: For automotive repairs, screwdrivers come in handy for removing screws in various components, such as interior panels and engine parts.

8. Using Tin Snips Instead of Pliers

When dealing with thin sheet metal, wires, or other materials that require cutting, tin snips offer a specialized alternative to pliers. Tin snips are designed to make clean and precise cuts through thin and lightweight materials. Let’s explore the advantages and specific applications of using tin snips instead of pliers.

Advantages of Using Tin Snips

  1. Clean Cuts: Tin snips have sharp blades that provide clean and accurate cuts, leaving behind minimal burrs or rough edges.
  2. Sheet Metal Cutting: For tasks that involve cutting sheet metal or wire, tin snips offer better control and precision compared to pliers.
  3. Specialized Tool: Tin snips are specifically designed for cutting metal, making them more efficient and effective for such tasks.

Specific Use Cases

  • HVAC Work: In heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) installations and repairs, tin snips are used to cut sheet metal ducts and components.
  • Crafting and DIY Projects: For crafters and DIY enthusiasts, tin snips are useful for cutting thin metal sheets in various creative projects.
  • Wire Cutting: Tin snips are ideal for cutting wires, especially in electrical and wiring tasks, providing cleaner cuts compared to pliers.

9. Using Vice Grips (Locking Pliers) Instead of Pliers

Vice grips, also known as locking pliers, are a versatile tool that can act as a substitute for traditional pliers in various situations. They have a locking mechanism that allows them to maintain a grip without requiring continuous pressure. Let’s explore the advantages and specific use cases of using vice grips instead of pliers.

Advantages of Using Vice Grips

  1. Locking Feature: The locking mechanism of vice grips allows them to hold objects securely without the need to apply constant pressure, making them ideal for repetitive tasks.
  2. Clamping: Vice grips can double as a clamp, holding objects together firmly while you work on them.
  3. Adjustable Grip: Like traditional pliers, vice grips have an adjustable jaw, providing versatility in handling objects of different sizes.

Specific Use Cases

  • Welding and Metal Fabrication: In welding and metal fabrication, vice grips can hold metal pieces in place while welding or cutting.
  • Pipe Fittings: Vice grips are commonly used in plumbing tasks for gripping and tightening pipe fittings.
  • Rust Removal: In tasks that involve removing rusted or stuck parts, vice grips can provide a firm grip for extraction.


In conclusion, exploring what to use instead of pliers opens up a world of possibilities in the realm of DIY projects. With screwdrivers, clamps, and adjustable wrenches at your disposal, you can achieve better control, precision, and efficiency in various tasks. Embrace these versatile alternatives to expand your toolkit and elevate your craftsmanship.

Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or just starting, knowing the right tools for the job empowers you to tackle projects with confidence and creativity. So, bid farewell to the limitations of traditional pliers and embark on a journey of discovering innovative alternatives for your DIY success.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use screwdrivers instead of pliers for turning screws?

Yes, absolutely! Screwdrivers are designed specifically for turning screws, offering better control and precision compared to pliers. Choose the right screwdriver type to match the screw head for optimal results.

When should I consider using tin snips instead of pliers?

Consider using tin snips when you need to cut thin sheet metal or wires with clean and accurate cuts. Tin snips provide better control and precision for such tasks compared to pliers.

Can I use adjustable wrenches instead of pliers for fasteners?

Certainly! Adjustable wrenches are perfect for tightening and loosening nuts and bolts. Their secure grip and ability to adjust to different sizes make them a practical alternative to pliers for fastening tasks.

How do you remove a screw without pliers?

To remove a screw without pliers, you can use various methods. You may try using a screwdriver with a compatible screw head, using a wrench if applicable, or using specialized screw removal tools.

What type of hand tool is pliers?

Pliers are a type of hand tool used for holding, gripping, bending, and cutting various materials. They come in different shapes and sizes, each serving specific purposes in various tasks.

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