When Klein offered to send me their new All Purpose Pliers (model J2068C), it took me on a trip down memory lane. Back when I was in college, I took an electronics course as part of my engineering degree that introduced me to stripping and cutting electrical wire. I did so with a Weller that was barely more than a high-hinged pair of scissors with a square notch cut between the two blades. This low-tech device taught me all about “feeling” the wire and learning the art of stripping the sheathing off cables without damaging the wire underneath.
It was actually three years or more before I graduated to my first pair of wire strippers that actually came with holes sized for popular AWG wire sizes. Still, these strippers, while more convenient and less delicate than my Weller’s, were still a very basic pair of strippers.
I’ve since graduated to more, shall we say, sophisticated and capable wire strippers.
Klein J2068C Pliers Features
The Klein J2068C falls neatly into that category and really does a lot of things very well. The pliers strip and cuts 8-16 AWG solid and 10-18 AWG stranded wire and have a nice long nose that’s perfect for making loops for traditional 15-amp outlet connections. You can feed 6-32 and 8-32 screws into two threaded holes beside the hinge for shearing.
There’s a reason you might want to pay $45 for a pair of cutting pliers. These are made from forged steel, but the cutters which are located just below the AWG stripping holes, are hardened with an induction process which is basically an electrical heat treatment that is also cooled quickly. The resulting metal is hardened without fundamentally affecting the shape or design of the part. You can cut solid copper or steel with the cutters and they’ll remain sharp for a good long time. The spring-loaded cutters also feature a really smooth hinge that makes the pliers almost a joy to use.
I also liked the dual plastic/rubberized handles which reminded me of Klein’s “Handform” and color-coded handles, though this is the first time I’ve seen them in yellow. They offer a secure grip and they keep the pliers from slipping out of even the sweatiest hands.
I stripped plenty of 12 AWG solid cable with these all-purpose pliers and used the cutters to cut 12/2 Romex all at once—tasks which they accomplished quite handily. I also liked both the shape and length of the nose of the pliers. They worked very well for lopping wire for outlets. The spring was perfect and had just the right amount of resistance when gripping wire. In a pinch, the pliers also opened up wide enough to grab onto yellow wire nuts and twist them. This isn’t the tool I’d normally use for that task, but it was nice to see that they could pull it off if needed.
Klein All-Purpose Pliers Specs
- Screw Shearing: 6-32 and 8-32
- Strips/Cuts: 8-16 AWG solid; 10-18 AWG stranded
- Handle Finish: Journeyman
- Knife Length: 1/2 in. (13 mm)
- Jaw: 2-1/4 x 1/2 in. (57 x 13 mm)
- Jaw Width: 1 in. (25 mm)
- Handle Color: yellow/gray
- Weight: 0.61 lbs.
- Overall Length: 8-3/8 in. (212 mm)
- Point Thickness: 1/8 in. (3 mm)
- Price: $40
If you want a nice well-rounded set of Klein Tools pliers for stripping wire, it will be hard to beat these. For one, they have an entirely different feel from the Klein-Kurve wire cutters. There are going to be a lot of people who really like that. About the only thing missing is an integrated manual reamer for 3/4-inch EMT conduit (the outer edges of the tool are smoothed).