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#213359 04/15/14 06:41 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,441
Likes: 2
Cat Servant
Some years ago, Milwaukee entered the electrical field with a splash. One of their original contributions was a multi-purpose plier:

Now Klein has introduced a direct competitor, the J206-8C:

A quite different take on the tool is the one taken by Rack-A-Tiers: I'd sure like to hear thoughts about the Croc's from those of you who do residential work.

Now, I'm interested in comparisons. Not just between these two, but also other tools, like these (for stripping wire) and these (for working with conduit). For that matter, are either of these a decent substitute for needle-nose / long-nose pliers?

I certainly have my opinions, which I'll share in a day or two. Until then, I'd be interested in hearing what you think of these tools.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,380
Likes: 7
In my tool days, the Ideal T strippers were my choice. I still have a pair. I also have the Klein version, which I would rank as an 'equal' to the Ideal. The Klein is a more ergonomic tool, and easier on my hands.

I could not get into the 'conduit pliers'; one of my guys had them, and I just could not 'get' them.

As to using either for long/needle nose, I have to fess up that I have used/abused both for purposes they are not designed for.

BTW, the Ideal T stripper with the 12-14 NM sheath stripper is still in my retired pouch; that is also a great item! It was great when I did work in my home!

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,441
Likes: 2
Cat Servant
Hotline, I think you're missing that the "new" pliers are designed to do the same job as the following several tools:
- Needle nose pliers;
- Wire stripping pliers; and,
- Conduit reaming pliers.

They have scaled-down versions of the 'box joint' found on lineman's pliers- meaning they ought to have a lot of 'twisting' strength. Plus, they have a small cutting jaw.

They also have various features for cutting small screws and bending wire loops.

So, I guess the question is: do these multi-pliers actually replace the other tools in anyone's belt?

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
I use the D-333 by Klein -- but I don't want you to use them.

Too, complicated.

As for Romex... I'm so unpracticed in Romex I don't consider myself of any opinion on Romex oriented tools. When I did run Romex, I used the Klein strippers without complaint.

As for the new-fangled pliers... I've never put them in my hand. They must be a Romex thing.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,917
Likes: 29
I think the good old electrician pliers do a whole lot better for heavy duty jobs and a small wire stripper fills most of the rest of the bill.
Can these things cut a 12-3 Romex? Twist down wire nuts? Grab a fish tape with any enthusiasm? Drive Romex staples?

"All in one" tools may be good for a handyman or a home owner but I think there is a reason why the traditional tools survive.

Maybe I am just an old geezer tho wink


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 599
JBD Offline
I have always preferred the Ideal 'T' strippers, although I also like the Klien equivalent with the curved handles.

The problem with them is the are not great for twisting, probably because of their bypass design.

The Milwaukee and Klein versions in the OP are anvil type pliers, so I would guess they resist twisting more like typical needle nose.

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,294
The only multi purpose plier I've used (and I've owned a lot) that was worth salt is a pair of full size Ideal needlenose with a #12 stripper built into the cutting jaws. It's been around since the 1970s.

No multi use pliers can take the place of the separate tools. As JBD said any twisting on the needlenose part of strippers throws the whole thing out of whack.

As for strippers I've had both T5s and Klein's version of the T5.
I've had problems with the blue handled ergo version of Kleins. After a little use, they don't close all the way, almost but not quite. I currently use the Ideal version the Super T-Reflex like Reno posted. It has a stripper for #8, as opposed to the others with the largest size being #10, and I'm very happy with it.

I have an EMT reamer on the base of a big square shanked screwdriver. If doing rigid, I'll put a Unibit in my cordless drill to ream it. I've owned the "working with conduit" pliers posted. It didn't have enough leverage to the jaws to be worth much.

I carry a pair of dedicated to crimping crimpers smile

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,441
Likes: 2
Cat Servant
I suppose I ought to add to our 'multi-plier' selection the Southwire entry:

Again, your thoughts are welcome.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,380
Likes: 7
OK, I'll add in my pouch is a dedicated crimper. EMT reamer is on a screwdriver, and worked fine.

The unibit was also used for rigid pipe.

An odd tool I have in my toolbox is a pair of offset Ideal needle nose pliers. Handy when you need them

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,441
Likes: 2
Cat Servant
OK... here's my review. First, though, I'd like to make some general tool observations.

I don't think any of us has "a set" of tools. We have several. My primary 'sets' are a) the little pouch in my back pocket; b) the main 'electricians" pouch; and c) all the other stuff I have tucked away on the truck.

I also tend to set my tools up for the task at hand. That is, I'll bring in different tools if I'm bending pipe that day, than if I'm pulling wire or setting devices.

Which leads to one problem with these multi-pliers; their functions cross over into entirely different tasks. If you're running Romex, you won't be reaming pipe.

I put three tools through their paces: the Klein, the Milwaukee, and the Southwire. The Rack-A-Tiers model got a more casual look.

Klein: Overall, it's a decent tool- a good replacement for the linesmans' AND the strippers I have in that rear pocket pouch. Of the three, it has the best assortment of wire stripping holes. It's a lot better at cutting screws than the Ideal T-Strippers. It's pretty good at taking the burrs out of 1/2" and 3/4" pipe; cleaning 1" is a fantasy. They'll remove pipe cutter burrs, something your screwdriver attachments won't do. The pliers are plenty heavy, and twist-resistant, for removing KO's from boxes. While middle in weight of the three, this pair felt the lightest and had the best handles.
I can also see this as a reasonable replacement for both the needle-nose and conduit reaming pliers in your pouch.

Milwaukee: When this tool came out, the web was filled with praise from guys who bought it. Sort of make me wonder what tools they were using for comparison. Even though it's the smallest of the bunch, it's also the heaviest. the heaviest of the bunch, and you feel it. The handles are not particularly comfortable, and the latch that holds them closed is inadequate. Despite Milwaukee's claims, you can forget about reaming 1" pipe with these.

Southwire: I'd say "close, but no cigar." First off, they have a simple lap joint hinge, little better than the lightest pair of strippers. This makes me question the utility of the crimper- but how often do you use a crimper, anyways? The handles are uncomfortable, suitable for a smaller plier, but not this one. It's the only one that will clean burrs from 1", but the jaws are too fat for use on 1/2" pipe. It's the only one of the bunch that will cut "round" Romex cables.

Finally, the Rack-A-Tiers model: With construction even lighter than the Southwire model, you can forget about using these to remove KO's. The crimpers are likewise questionable. I'd rather see a stripping die for #12 Romex, than the #14 they have. Oddly enough, the strangely shaped handles are surprisingly comfortable in use.

Final verdict? I think I'll put the Kleins in my pocket pouch. Now that pouch will have these pliers, a 9-N-1 screwdriver, a flashlight, a Sharpie, a ticker, and a knife. They'll be replacing the lineman's and the strippers- who will retire to the main tool pouch.

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