What are Crimping Pliers?

Mary McMahon

Crimping pliers are devices used to crush small metal objects and wiring to create a crimp, a firm closure or join that will not open back up on its own. Crimps are used in beading, electrical wiring, and many other applications. Hardware stores usually stock crimping pliers and they also can be ordered directly through supply catalogs. One advantage of catalog orders is that people can be assured they are ordering a product designed for the task at hand.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

For beading, bead crimping pliers are used to crush crimp beads in a controlled way for a neatly finished and polished look. The pliers have two small openings. One creates the initial crimp, crushing and flattening the crimp bead, and the other rounds the bead to make the crimp as small as possible. Crimps are used to create loops of wire, to seal strands of beads, and for other tasks. If the crimp bead is small enough, it can fit inside a larger bead to hide the site of the crimp.

In electrical wiring, terminal crimping pliers are used to create a tight electrical connection without solder. The wiring is first stripped of its insulation and then inserted into a terminal and crimped. Many pliers for electrical uses have a sharpened slot people can use for stripping. The crimped connection will be stable and sturdy, as long as the pliers are tightly closed to compress the connection evenly.

Crimping pliers come in a range of sizes to handle crimps of varying diameters. Some have a series of slots that allow users to select a slot of the appropriate size. For bigger crimps, the pliers tend to be heavier and of a more sturdy design to ensure that people will be able to exert enough pressure to make a solid crimp. For more delicate tasks, the pliers are lighter to avoid breaking or damaging the object being crimped.

Like other tools, crimping pliers work best when they are well cared for. They should be stored in a cool, dry place and periodically oiled to prevent rust and allow the pliers to move smoothly. If the devices are used for a messy task, they should be wiped clean afterward so that they will be ready for use next time. It is also important to avoid storing them loose with sharp or dirty tools that might foul the pliers and make them difficult to use.

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Discussion Comments


I picked up my set of crimping pliers with other tools at a craft store and I think everyone should have a set like this in the house, even if they aren't beaders.

I use them all the time for other things. They are all meant for different craft tasks, so they are smaller than average tools, so they can fit into places where you don't have much room.

I've also used them to do things like hanging pictures and fixing up garden wire and so forth.

The crimping tool doesn't get used as much as the cutting pliers, but I do use it occasionally and I'll bet there are guides online to other things you could use them for.


@clintflint - It might be that you've got bad crimping beads or that maybe you're using the pliers upside down or something (there is a right way up to use them).

Jewelry crimping pliers can also wear out or get things stuck on the metal parts, so I would check my pliers as well.

But, really, those crimping beads are a pain and they do often break. As long as you can get them to work some of the time I wouldn't worry, seeing as they aren't exactly expensive anyway.


I've always found crimping to be the most fiddly and annoying part of beading. I can never seem to get it right on the first go, it always takes a couple, because the bead breaks open and falls to pieces rather than squishing down properly like it's supposed to.

I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong though, seeing as the pliers themselves aren't exactly difficult to use.

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