Last Updated on May 23, 2022 by William
Vise Grips are a well-known type of locking pliers widely used by both professional tradesman and do-it-yourselfers.
Vise Grips are manufactured by the U.S.-based company Irwin Tools, a well known hand tool brand which is the direct descendant of the business that Bill Peterson formed after being granted a U.S. patent for locking pliers in 1924.
Today, 13 different models of Vise Grip pliers are available in two basic configurations, Original and Fast Release.
Vise Grip Functionality
Vise Grip pliers feature a locking mechanism which keeps the tool’s jaws clamped tight until they are released by the user. Each pair of pliers includes an adjustment screw to resize the spacing of the jaws.
With the jaws adjusted closed, the pliers can clamp two pieces of sheet metal tightly together. With the jaws adjusted wide, they can be locked around a wide pipe fitting.
With this functionality, Vise Grips are well-suited to a variety of general applications. They can be used as regular pliers, all-purpose clamps like slip joint pliers, non-slip wrenches, and even emergency handles when your fingers are just not quite strong enough.
Original Versus Fast Release
The classic Vise Grip Original configuration is an all-metal pliers with a trigger-type release mechanism. The newer Fast Release configuration introduces several enhancements to that classic design.
First, the lower jaw mechanism has been reengineered to provide three times the gripping power of the classic Vise Grip design, eliminating virtually all chance of slippage or stripping when locked down correctly.
Additionally, the release mechanism has be redesigned and optimized for single-hand use. Indeed, it is said to be two times as easy to release as the original design. That’s why today a pair of vise grips are found in the best home tool kits.
Another major enhancement is the inclusion of comfortable, anti-pinch, non-slip Protouch Grips covering both handles of the pliers, in contrast to the flat metal of the Original configuration.
Both the Original and Fast Release configurations are backed by the Irwin Vise-Grip Lifetime Guarantee.
Vise Grip Models
There is a Vise Grip model of pliers for virtually any application. Each model is available in at least two or three jaw-sizes. You can even get a miniature Vise Grip to leave in your car’s glove compartment.
The most common Vise Grip models include the curved jaw and the straight jaw pliers, and the long-nose pliers. These models are sure to be useful in virtually any home, garage, or workshop.
Though the standard Vise Grip models work very well for general clamping applications, you might need more versatility for welding, steel framing, or other fabrication projects.
The Vise Grip C-Clamps have wide, deep jaws to deal with odd shapes and materials. Vise Grip C-Clamps are available with either regular clamping tips or swivel-pad tips for more delicate materials.
Additionally, the specialized Vise Grip Welding Clamp is designed to clamp round, angled, or flat objects together while maintaining maximum access for the welding tip.
Several other specialty Vise Grip models are also available. The Vise Grip Sheet Metal Tool is specifically designed to crimp, form, and bend sheet metal.
The Locking Panel Clamp is ideal for alignment of thin sheet materials and for dealing with auto body panels. The Locking Chain Clamp features a retractable chain for securing especially wide or oddly-shaped objects.
With the wide array of models available, there is sure to be a Vise Grip perfect for your home improvement project.