Southwire 8-Inch Linesman’s Multi-Tool Plier
I'd love to see this in a 9-inch version for more leverage as well as a crimper but that would only improve upon an already excellent tool, especially for residential electrical work.
Any tool that can successfully combine several functions is worth considering: it means a lighter load, more space in the tool bag, and fewer things to lose! But merging tools can sometimes compromise the utility of the individual functions, so manufacturers must walk a fine line. Fortunately, Southwire’s been in this business for a while so I’m hoping they can thread the needle. Today I get to tell you about the Southwire 8-Inch Linesman’s Multi-Tool Plier and how it performs on the job.
These Southwire pliers are on the lighter and shorter side. This compact design can certainly be a benefit as well as a challenge: it doesn’t take up much room, but does it possess the leverage to cut easily?
We’ll find out soon enough! In any event, the rubberized grip is quite comfortable.
The tool can ream conduit, cut wire, strip 8-14 AWG solid and 10-16 stranded wire, shear 6-32 and 8-32 screws, crimp (though it lacks a dedicated crimper), and of course, be a regular pair of pliers. It’s been drop forged and features a what Southwire claims is a high-leverage joint.
If you’ve done both commercial and residential work, or if you just look at the wire stripping gauges of the Southwire 8-Inch Linesman’s Multi-Tool Plier, you’ll realize that this tool is best suited for residential work. Even so, part of this review will be performed at a large commercial installation to push its limits and see how it performs.
Pliering My Trade
This installation is part of the restoration of a building long neglected in our downtown area that’s undergoing a revival thanks to the local economic development council and new businesses. The shell of the building is pretty much all that remains – everything else is or will be new. I’ve been hard at work installing an 800-amp meter bank.
So with the understanding that I brought this seemingly fine tool to a jobsite that might challenge it at every turn, I set out to give it a fair examination. Before the review was over, I loaned the tool to a fellow electrician to get his take as well and considered his input in this review.
I can really only ask this tool to cut the largest gauge wire that it’s designed to strip. In cutting 8 AWG and 10 stranded, it does just fine but of course, there’s a trade-off with the compactness: less leverage. Other things equal, it’s easier to cut wire if the handles are longer. Some reviewers complained that they didn’t like the cutting force but for the length, it’s actually satisfactory. It’s just an 8-inch tool’s leverage. Now all these features wrapped into a 9-inch plier?
I’m interested! Southwire does have 9-inch side cutting pliers but the tool lacks the multi-function of the Linesman’s, so leverage is a limitation.
The Southwire 8-Inch Linesman’s Multi-Tool Plier does well reaming conduit between 0.5- and 1-inch. So far the tool is doing a fine job combining at least two functions into one satisfactorily.
The multi-tool shears 6-32 and 8-32 screws with ease. The holes are threaded to make shearing a little easier – tapping these was a nice touch. Again, these tasks that rely on leverage would be easier with longer handles, but it’s acceptable for the 8-inch length.
I stripped several sizes of wire of both AWG and stranded variety without a problem. The Southwire 8-Inch Linesman’s Multi-Tool Plier handily removed the insulation to expose the metal beneath.
General Plier Tasks
The pliers have ample teeth and a broad surface to provide a strong grip on whatever you tell it to bite. I wouldn’t refuse more leverage, of course, but it’s not as critical for this function.
The Bottom Line
It’s not easy to combine tools without compromising the utility of some or all of them. But Southwire has really pulled it off with the Southwire 8-Inch Linesman’s Multi-Tool Plier that is at once a wire stripper, screw shearer, side cutter, conduit reamer, and general plier.
Wire cutting is satisfactory, although the trade-off for the compact size is less leverage than I’d like. It reams conduit, strips wire, and shears screws with ease. As a general plier, it works exceedingly well, too.
I’d like to see this model come out in a 9-inch version to offer more leverage. For a plier in this category, I’d also suggest adding a wire crimper, perhaps just above or below the stripper section.
Overall, I was quite impressed with these compact pliers and can easily recommend them. Coming in around $34, it will save your tool belt and tool bag a lot of weight and space plus the cost of several individual tools!
Southwire 8-Inch Linesman’s Multi-Tool Plier Features
- Drop forged construction
- High-leverage pivot joint
- Strips 8-14 AWG solid wire and 10-16 stranded wire
- NO. 6-32 and 8-32 screw shearing
Southwire 8-Inch Linesman’s Multi-Tool Plier Specifications
- Model number: MPSCP
- Height: 8 inches
- Width: 3.75 inches
- Depth: 1.5 inches
- Weight: 11 ounces
- Warranty: Lifetime
- Price: $34.10