How to Use Channellock Pliers

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Channellock pliers have adjustable handles.

Channellock pliers have long adjustable handles. One handle has perpendicular channels cut across it, and the other handle has corresponding divots that fit into the channels. The channels act as a fulcrum to give the pliers versatility to open wider, to apply more pressure or to close tighter on smaller objects. Channellock pliers are used in auto mechanics, plumbing or anywhere that you need more pressure and leverage than ordinary pliers can develop.

Step 1

Grab the pliers by the handles with both hands. Hold the jaws up to the object that you wish to grasp. Open the jaws all the way.

Step 2

Twist the handles slightly to release the channels. Slide the handles up or down until the jaws will fit over the object. Push the handles together to lock them. It is subtle, but you will hear and feel a slight click as the channels lock.

Step 3

Slide the jaws over the object. Grab both handles with one hand and squeeze.

Step 4

Pop the channels loose again by twisting the handle slightly if you can't get adequate pressure on the object. Slide the handles up or down one channel at a time.

Step 5

Lock the channels together. Grab both handles with one hand and squeeze hard. If you still can't get enough pressure, move the channels one click at a time until you get enough pressure on the object.


Keep fingers out from between the handles. If the handles slip, you can pinch your fingers severely.

Wade Shaddy

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.