Not even pliers can escape the high-end craze of today’s tackle industry, with plenty of $350 models available to accompany those $900 reels and $600 rods. And while such bombproof, titanium tools might be nice to own, we figured there had to be some high-quality pliers out there for under $50. Here they are.
Design: I evaluated each plier for size, weight, comfort, and available features.
Construction: I took them ice fishing in winter and used them on open water in early spring, purposely treating them roughly to test durability.
Performance: I tested each model’s ability to handle all the chores that a good pair should by removing an array of hooks, changing studs on cleats, opening split rings, crimping connector sleeves, and testing the cutters on a variety of lines from 10-pound braid to 130-pound fluorocarbon.
Berkley Aluminum Pliers
Specs: Anodized aluminum frame; stainless-steel jaws; 7″ long; 4.2 oz.
Bargain Rating: Excellent
Comments: I couldn’t find a flaw.These pliers are truly outstanding for the price. Comfortable in the hand, the lightweight body is anodized aluminum; the jaws, including a split-ring opener and a crimper, are stainless steel. The line cutter made quick work of everything from 10-pound braid to 130-pound fluorocarbon, and both the tether and the sheath are well made.
Mustad Kevin VanDam Aluminum Pliers
Specs: Anodized aluminum frame; titanium-coated stainless-steel jaws; 7.5″ long; 5.5oz.
Bargain Rating: Good
Comments: Mustad’s KVD pliers were the biggest and heaviest model of the bunch, which I found to be a plus for comfort. Having the line snips on the outside made it easier to cut line, which these did perfectly. If they had a split-ring opener and a crimper like the others, I would have liked them a lot more.
P-Line Adaro Jr. Aluminum Pliers**
Specs: Anodized aluminum frame; stainless-steel jaws; 6.5″ long; 3 oz.
Bargain Rating: Good
Comments: You get a lot of functionality in a small package–including a split-ring opener and a crimper–but the size and shape of the Adaro Jr. was not the best fit for my hand. The line cutter on the outside was a plus. Although these struggled a bit with 130-pound fluorocarbon, they got the job done and had no issues with any other line.