Channellock pliers have been a staple of many tool bags for years. Their signature blue “dipped” handles are easily recognized and have served the trades well for decades. This year, Channellock released a new line of tools it’s calling “Code Blue” which, ironically is one of the hospital terms for someone in cardiopulmonary arrest. I don’t think anyone will have a heart attack over these tools, but the new Channellock Code Blue Long Nose Pliers (318CB) may be just the thing if you’re looking for a new pair of rugged pliers.
Editor’s note: We reviewed these pliers and the Channellock Tongue & Groove Pliers (430CB) at the same time. Some editorial and review text is shared between the two reviews.
Channellock Code Blue Long Nose Pliers Features
Channellock wants everyone to know that these pliers are made in America. While they specify the grips as being American-made in Meadville, PA, the Channellock Code Blue website goes through great pains to demonstrate the drop forge process – all of which they claim is part of the hand-tooling process for creating the Code Blue line.
These Long Nose Pliers are made with high-carbon steel (C1080) that targets the design goal of high durability and strength so the tools aren’t brittle or the blade edges easily damaged. On top of that, the pliers have a post-process coating that is applied to inhibit rust on the tool.
The cutters on the Long Nose Pliers look solid and they cut well in our tests. Leverage is good and they tore through both copper and aluminum wiring, stranded and solid (we tested all the way up to 6 AWG during a recent residential HVAC installation). Channellock also gave their Long Nose Pliers a decent pre-gapped wire pull just below the hinge which looked perfect for 12/2 electrical – a common application for those of us who seem to run new 20A circuits about every other week.
The new grips on the Channellock Code Blue Long Nose Pliers, which are very different from the expected blue dipped handles, have a Santoprene core with TPR-rubber overmold. TPR is a fancy word for thermoplastic rubber, which is a material that combines the processing capabilities of plastic with the durability and flexibility of rubber. It’s also pretty much tear-proof in normal use. If you feel the material you’ll instantly get the composite nature of the handles – they are stiff, but grip like there are more of a rubber material – but all without coming across as flimsy. In a nutshell, they should last as long as the tool.
These are excellent new pliers from a brand we’ve come to use regularly. We’re glad to see Channellock release new products and work towards an even better grip system for longer and harder use of their products. This is a step in the right direction and, based on what we’ve seen and been told, is only the beginning of the company’s roll out of new tools and products.