What are Needle Nose Pliers?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Needle nose pliers are hand-held tools with two handles that cross in the middle and long jaws that narrow to a small tip. Sometimes referred to as long nose pliers or pinched nose pliers, a set can cut through thin wiring and grip small objects during an intricate craft project. Often used by electricians, these pliers are also found among the tools used by arts and crafts enthusiasts. The body is typically composed of solid steel, and normally has hard plastic covers for the upper portion, which makes it easy to grip the handles.

Needle nose pliers are a part of any electrician's tool box.
Needle nose pliers are a part of any electrician's tool box.

The name for the device is derived from the appearance of the blades or jaws. They are slim and come to a point, similar to a long nose. The blades are sharpened to an edge, however, allowing them to cut through a number of thin wires at one time. This makes the long nosed pliers ideal for use whenever electrical wire, florist wire, or craft wire is employed with a project. As such, electricians, tradesmen, and people who enjoy handicrafts find these pliers to be a handy addition to any tool kit.

Needle nose pliers may be used in beadwork.
Needle nose pliers may be used in beadwork.

Needles nose pliers are especially helpful when working in area that is crowded or where the wires are very small. Along with their ability to cut through fine wire, it is possible to grip small wires with the ends of the blades and bend or otherwise manipulate them as needed. A cutting section that is near the point where the blades and the handles meet is ideal for cutting through the plastic covers of wires, as well as through the wires themselves.

This tool is handy for working with small beads, holding them firmly in place while the wire is threaded through them. They can also be used to create a loop of wire so that a clasp to be attached to the strand. Because beads are often very small, the ability to hold one firmly in place during the threading process is very important. Needle nose pliers can be used to speed the process of creating various types of jewelry a great deal.

Needle nose pliers can be purchased at just about any hardware store, as well as the hardware departments of leading discount retail stores. Many craft shops will also carry several sizes, owing to the different types of beadwork that can be used in the creation of crafts. A relatively inexpensive tool, it is often an ideal solution whenever there is a need to work with small objects or work in very tight spaces.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


I have been trying to repair some small electronics with needle nose pliers (specifically size 6 needle nose pliers), but one of the things I need to reach is at a really wonky angle.

Should I invest in a pair or bent or curved needle nose pliers, or is there some other way that I can try before investing in a new set of pliers?

Any advice and input would be appreciated!


What would you say the best needle nose pliers are for making jewelry? I've read that I need a good pair of small cutting pliers, and mini needle nose pliers for getting the appropriate shape on small things like earrings.

Should I just buy a needle nose pliers set and give up on the whole laundry list of needle nose pliers that my handyman gives me? Or is it better to buy them one by one?


Needle nose pliers are one of those things that I always seem to have 14 of until I actually need one. Then they all disappear and I'm left trying to cut through wire or do some kind of project with a pair of scissors.

As soon as I give up in frustration, 8 needle nose pliers magically come out of hiding...until I need them again. Am I the only one to have this long history with needle nose pliers, or does anybody else go through this too?

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