Let’s Talk About Pliers: Do You Prefer Dipped or “Comfort” Handle Grips?

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I have been putting some time in with Gearwrench Pitbull pliers, and I found myself thinking about comfort vs. more basic dip-style handle grips.

Here’s what happened – I needed to use stainless steel wire to secure overlapping panels of stainless mesh. I’m using the mesh to line raised garden beds, to help prevent any creatures from burrowing in there and destroying my hard work. I really needed any gripping pliers and a good pair of cutters, and grabbed these Gearwrench out of my tool box.

In case you’re wondering, these Gearwrench Pitbulls are proving to be fantastic, and I’ll have more on them soon. (Thank you Geawrench for the test samples and also for being a ToolGuyd sponsor!) It seems I’m not the only one thinking this – there are quite a few user reviews on Amazon already, but I digress.

Now, here’s the interesting part – I have grown accustomed to treating basic-grip pliers as being more value-oriented.

Isn’t this a a fair perception, that dipped-style pliers are more value-oriented because they’re less expensive?

Gearwrench Comfort Grip Pitbull Pliers Set

Dual-material, comfort, or cushion-handled pliers are better, right? They handles are more complex and ergonomically shaped – doesn’t that make them better? They also usually cost more.

Gearwrench sent me both, and I consciously chose the more basic handled pliers. Why?

It was an almost subconscious decision, but there were two reasons.

First, the dipped handle grips will be easier to clean. I’m working in the dirty. Dual-material or comfort pliers grips usually have a soft rubbery component that can be harder to wipe clean.

Second, pliers with dipped handle grips are easier to slip into a pocket. I don’t tend to do this often, but I’ve found that if I know I’ll be going back and forth with pliers, I tend to reach for dipped-handle models.

So now I find myself a bit confused. In theory, if presented with dipped-handle and comfort-handle pliers, or if I’m shopping for my own use, give me the better ones! But here in this situation, I chose the more basic-gripped tools?

I suppose this is also why I keep different versions of adjustable wrenches and some other tools – sometimes I know one particular tool will better fit the usage environment.

Here’s what I want to know:

You need to buy new pliers, today. Which style would you buy, and why? Dual-material/comfort-style or dipped-handle grips?

Would your answer change if pricing were a factor?

Pricing has certainly factored into some of my past pliers purchasing decisions. If the dipped-style pliers were say $12, and the comfort-grip $14, I’d probably pay a little more for the “upgraded” version, but if the difference was say $12 vs. $22, I’d go for the more basic handle grips.

But what if I could only choose one style? I’d still lean towards dual-material/comfort grips unless there were pricing influences. I don’t often carry pliers in a pocket, and for the really dirty work that prompt me to clean my tools, I’m using a liquid-based cleanser anyway, rather than a dry-wipe.

Comfort vs. basic handle grips – what’s your take on this? Does it come down to pricing or preference?

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