Klein J2000 Side-Cutting Linemans Pliers Review
If you ask ten electricians which company makes the best lineman’s pliers, all ten would say ‘Klein’ (trust me, I actually asked ten… and I’m an electrician). In fact, most electricians call any lineman’s pliers “Kleins” – though they probably shouldn’t. They have set the standard for lineman’s pliers in the way that Xerox set the standard for copying machines back in the day, or Kleenex did for tissue paper. Klein tools are on the top of the list for electrician’s tools because it’s their specialty – and when that’s all you do, you tend to get good at it. The Klein lineman’s pliers are said to be the best made. With all of the recent competition and years of other manufacturers crafting competing products, we were curious to see if they still held the title. The Klein J2000 side-cutting linemans pliers are just the newest thing that will capture the interest of your average electrician.
Using the Klein J2000 Side-Cutting Linemans Pliers
When you hold the Klein J2000 Side-Cutting Linemans Pliers in your hand, the first thing you notice are the grips. This is a very comfortable tool to hold. It needs to be because you are often cutting very heavy gauge wire that would make mincemeat out of your hands otherwise. The grips are soft and very easy to maneuver. The only thing I didn’t like about them, besides the ridiculously long model number (J2000-9NECRTP), was that they weren’t insulated – but that wasn’t a real criticism because Klein Tools makes insulated models, this just wasn’t one of those. I mainly used these Kleins to terminate electrical wire, particularly 8-12 AWG – oftentimes clipping three wires at once. Since this was a review, however, I decided to put them to the test to see how large of a gauge I could actually cut through. I have to admit that I was actually quite surprised to find that they cut through a 1/0 AWG copper wire. Seriously. Very few lineman’s pliers (if any) can do this and, to be honest, I had never tried to use them in this way before. One of the reasons Klein can pull this off is because they make their lineman’s pliers open wider than a lot of the competition.
After this test, I wished I had a 2/0 AWG wire on-hand to see what it may have done to that. The 1/0 AWG was quite tough but manageable. Another thing I liked about the pliers was the myriad of things you can cut with them. For example, it cut through medium sized nails and screws with little to no problem. Of course, the bigger the nail or screw you try to cut, the longer it will take to get through – but Klein rates these to handle ACSR (reinforced aluminum conductor steel). Even with cutting hard and large diameter objects, the induction hardened cutting edges still remained sharp enough to easily slice through Jetline (pull string).
The fish tape puller mechanism is also very effective because it doesn’t slide out of its spot until the grip is loosened and the pliers are slid up the fish tape. Even when it caught on something inside the conduit, it kept its grip. It also never bent the fish tape, which was an added bonus. We were using a Klein stainless steel fish tape, so preventing damage is a plus! We found there was something else that you can do with these pliers that Klein doesn’t necessarily advertise: it will take out all the burrs on the inside and outside of a 3/4” to 1-1/4” EMT conduit. That came in handy quite a bit and is something that’s much more convenient than reaching for another tool or abusing the handles, as some often do, on a standard pair of wire cutters.
If you do a lot of crimping, the integrated crimper works on non-insulated connectors, lugs, and terminals and was just as easy to use, both in terms of positioning the connectors and the amount of effort required to complete the crimp.
This really is a great tool. I wish I could just leave it at that, but I can’t. Klein has really done a great job thinking about what electricians need in lineman’s pliers. They take a lot of abuse, but they definitely live up to the abuse taken to them. I like that Klein has dedicated themselves to primarily making electricians tools. I can’t imagine what we’d see if they branched out into more specialty tools for other trades as well. The Klein lineman’s pliers are said to be the best made. After using them and several other different brands of Lineman’s pliers, I would have to agree.