The Pliers Hierarchy

While raiding your husband’s tool box for those first pair of pliers may have worked when your jewelry-making fever first struck, it’s always recommended to buy the best tools you can afford.  So what exactly does a good set of pliers run and which ones are the best?  Well, it just so happens that Tracy Stanley gave us the 411 on the Bead Cruise so I thought I’d pass the scoop along to you.
We’ve featured Lindstrom pliers before and it took me a good 15 years of jewelry making before I finally invested in them.  Ah, what was I waiting for?  These are heaven, your hand never gets tired forming those wrapped loops.  If you have a wish list, put these on it!  Lindstrom pliers are around $50 a pair. They are of the highest quality and will last a lifetime.
A good middle of the road pair are German made pliers.  I actually bought this pair as my first pliers. They are rosary pliers and have a cutter on one side, very handy.  They lasted for many a year until I lost them in a move.  There are other pliers out there of similar quality and price.  Sharilynn Miller wrote a great review on Baby Wubbers.  These pliers range from $20-30 a pair.
And then there are the ones that you use in a pinch or picked up because they were a good deal.  What can I say, we do what we can do, right?  You’ll find pliers made in China and Pakistan for $3-10.  The problem with inexpensive pliers is you get what you pay for. Round nose ones may not be round!  There may be mars or imperfections that ruin your wire.  They are not as durable or as comfortable as the higher quality.  So if you are finding results in your wire work that are less than satisfactory, it may not be you, it may be those pliers!
Do you have a favorite brand of pliers to recommend?  We’d love to hear about it.
All photos from Rings & Things.

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13 Comment

  1. TesoriTrovati
    January 29, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    I am a sucker for new tools. I drool every time the name Lindstrom crops up. Thanks for the great review. Thanks to Tracy Stanley, too. She is such a generous and giving soul.
    Enjoy the day!

  2. Carol B
    January 29, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I love my Beadsmith pliers with the cushioned handles. They are reasonably priced and the cushioning is just enough to help your hands feel more comfy. I have the pair of Lindstrom pliers in your top picture and use them quite a bit too.

  3. Joyce
    January 29, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    love the lindstrom ones 🙂 i got a set on fire mountain gems at the steepest discount level….ended up to be about $40 each

  4. Pretty Things
    January 29, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Lindstrom RX are my hands down favorite, and using them for the first time is like nothing else. I love Tronex flush cutters, too!

  5. Heart of a Cowgirl
    January 29, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    I'm heading to the Gem Show this weekend here in Tucson and some nice new tools are also on my list!

  6. Vintage Blue Studio
    January 29, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    I swear by my Lindstrom's. Thank goodness they were a Christmas present one year and I didn't have to foot the bill!

  7. Raj
    January 29, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    One of my newest pliers tools, and a favorite now, is a pair of Loop Closing pliers. These little puppies are for one thing only, but they do it perfectly: they change circular oval jump rings into oval ones, which makes my jewelry less likely to come apart. I had to hunt high and low for them though! I finally found an inexpensive pair via WidgetSupply tools. Here's the link.

  8. Alice
    January 30, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    I've been needing some new tools but wasn't sure where to go with so many options out there. Thanks for the great info. At this point I don't think I can afford the Linstroms, but maybe someday…..

  9. Azure Islands Designs
    January 30, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    At the moment my only Lindstrom tool is a pair of cutters and I do have o say the feel in your hands & the cut is much different from the less expensive cutters. I will be in need of new tools in the near future and will be looking at the Lindstrom's…I've come to realize the cost is worth it in this area! The tools I'm using now have lasted 4 ears so that isn't too bad but once I held the Lindstrom cutters I knew I wanted more!!!

    I also like the sound of the Loop Closing pliers…will check them out!

    Thanks for the heads up Heather & Raj…

  10. Judy
    January 30, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I can see by everyone's comments that I will have to get me some of those Lindstrom tools next time I have a bunch of stuff to get from Fire Mountain.
    Meanwhile, my fave, made especially just for cutting stringing wire, is a wonderful tool called Flex-Shearz made by Lee Craft Tools in Tucson, Arizona (http://www.leejewelrycrafttools.com/). They cost about $27 and have well padded handles.
    All of my pliers and regular cutters are from Otto Frei, and I love their quality. I think that the middle of the road pair in the second picture (the red handled ones) are Otto Frei. They now make a variety with very well padded handles, which is an improvement for those of us who seem to have our hands on them pretty much all day. I always thought they were expensive! Now that I see the Lindstroms, I have to revise my thinking, I guess!

  11. JellyBeansDesign
    January 30, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Thanks for the article on tools, because, I too am bound to get the new ones! Luckily, there aren't as many as scrapbooking… now that aisle i really have to limit myself…

    Check out my new blog over here: http://www.jellybeansdesign.blogspot.com

  12. beadphoria
    February 1, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    When I got my first necklace in a magazine, I treated myself to a set of Lindstroms. I felt they were my reward for finally being a published designer. They are the only tools I use now. Love Lindstrom!

    In Beads and Happiness,
    Suzann Sladcik Wilson

  13. Silver Charm Bracelets
    June 9, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I really liked German made Pliers design…this one can help me in making the costume jewellery with efficiency and much more elegance as this has longer arms which are thin as well..I'll try to get one like this to make better jewellery items in my jewellery store..

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