After putting in 20 hours of research, considering at least 50 different adjustable pliers, and testing nine, we found that the best pair for the home toolbox is Irwin’s GV10 10-inch GrooveLock Pliers with the V-jaw. This pair has a jaw capacity of more than 2 inches, an easy push-button jaw-size adjustment, and very comfortable handles. It’s also one of the more affordable options.
The Irwin GV10 10-inch GrooveLock Pliers have a quick adjustment that makes setting the jaw width easier, especially if you’re working in an awkward spot, such as the cramped space behind your washing machine. In addition, the jaws are designed so that they self-lock onto a nut or bolt, letting you focus more on turning than on gripping. Offering all of this for a reasonable $13 currently, this pair is also unlikely to break your tool budget.
If you’re someone who wants total finesse and ease out of your tools (and you’re willing to pay for it), we highly recommend the 10-inch Knipex Cobras with the comfort grips. By every marker (other than price), the Cobras excel against the competition. These pliers have a far more precise adjustment mechanism than any of the other tested tools, the handles are more comfortable, and the small, sleek head can fit into the tightest of spots. The self-locking mechanism was by far the best that we looked at. A tool of this nature doesn’t come cheap, but the price tag, usually closing in on $45, began to make sense once we got into our hands-on testing.