Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


Irwin Vise-Grip Fast Release Curved Jaw Locking Pliers Review

Irwin Vise-Grip Fast Release Curved Jaw Locking Pliers Review

For a tool that was invented in 1924, the Irwin Vise-Grips just keep getting better with age. The Irwin Vise-Grip Fast Release Curved Jaw locking pliers come in three sizes. These new pliers come with no-slip ProTouch handles and take only one hand to open and lock closed and offer some other significant improvements over “The Original” style Vise-Grips. Now for all you traditionalists, Irwin Vise Grip still manufactures the “The Original” style Vise-Grips too.


Irwin Vise-Grip Fast Release Locking Pliers

Irwin Vise-Grip Fast Release Curved Jaw Locking Pliers

All the Irwin Vise-Grip Fast Release Curved Jaw locking pliers are made of high-grade, heat-treated, alloy steel that is supposed to ensure toughness and durability. The teeth are further ground and hardened to make sure that you get a solid grip on your workpiece. Where these new pliers depart from “The Original” style Vise Grips is that they have anti-pinch, non-slip ProTouch Grips on the handles. Also, there is no more release lever to make the pliers open once they are locked closed.

Now, with just one hand, you simply put a little pressure on the inside of the handles and they just click open. From what we can tell, these new pliers open about two times easier than “The Original” Vise-Grips once they are locked on something. One of the other nifty features that also stood out to us was that the adjustment screw on the end of the handle has a hex key hole. Once you have the pliers locked on your workpiece, if you need just a little more pressure, just insert an Allen wrench and give the adjusting screw a slight turn to adjust the jaw pressure and help draw materials together. Also, if the Irwin Vise-Grip Fast Release locking pliers grip too tightly on a workpiece, use this same hex key hole to release some of the pressure and allow the pliers to unlock easier.

Irwin Vise-Grip Fast Release Pliers comparison
“The Original” Curved Jaw Vise-Grips (top) New Fast Release Curved Jaw Vise-Grips (bottom)

Curved Jaws and a Fast Release

The last big feature that we noted on the new Irwin Vise-Grip Fast Release locking pliers is the curved jaw. When we compared the jaw style to some of the other models of Vise-Grips in our collection, it quickly became evident that these jaws are designed for grabbing onto round, square, hex, or just about any type of bolt or nut.

Given the new geometry of the jaw and the teeth, and if you choose the right size pliers for your project, you will see that the teeth grip more securely. For example, when you lock the jaw onto a nut, its hex shape ends up having teeth pressing against four of its six sides. What we found this to mean in the real world is that there is a much less likely chance of the pliers slipping or stripping the nut or bolt. Irwin claims that the new Curved Jaw provides about three times more gripping power than the old-style curved jaw pliers. We believe it.

Irwin Vise-Grip Fast Release Locking Pliers Testing and Use

Irwin Vise-Grip Fast Release Curved Jaw Locking Pliers application

Testing and using the Irwin Vise-Grip Fast Release curved jaw locking pliers really was a matter of putting the tools in the toolbox and keeping them handy for when an appropriate task came up. Of course, around here, there is always something that needs some fixing or assembly. Last week, while helping a buddy with the rear brakes on his Honda Odyssey, we discovered that one of the rear brake cylinders was leaking.

Since it was not safe to put it all back together with the bad cylinder, we swapped it out with a new one. The trick was that the small nut that is installed on the break line was stuck and our regular wrenches would not break it loose without slipping. We grabbed the 5” pair of the Fast Release Curved Jaw locking Vise-Grips and we had the nut loose in no time – and with no damage to the nut, either. After we broke the nut loose, we went back to using the 10 mm wrench. Vise-Grips are just the type of tool that, while not used all the time, it is hard to imagine doing some things without them.

Irwin Locking Pliers and clamps

Conclusion

In our arsenal of tools, a Vise-Grip is one device that has not outlived its usefulness and actually has become significantly better with time. The new Irwin Vise-Grip Fast Release Curved Jaw locking pliers are a great addition to the Vise-Grip product line and we suspect that in short order the new Curved Jaw design will become the new design standard. You will be hard-pressed to find a better value (trust us here, there are plenty of knock-offs and similarly designed pliers on the market). We highly recommend the Irwin Vise-Grips to anyone!


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