While hose clamps are vital for keeping all your fluids where they should be, they can still be a pain for anyone looking to get into fuel and oil lines, as well as the coolant lines. If you ask pretty much any mechanic where they got their burns and bruises, it’s usually due to trying to access some hard-to-reach place and slipping or catching themselves. Enter hose clamp pliers. These hose clamp tools are designed to give you easier access to those awkward parts of your vehicle- without causing damage to yourself.
The best hose clamp pliers are designed to keep you safe, while helping you easily complete whatever task you have ahead of you. They save time- and they save your hands! As such, we’ve decided to do some research about these fairly niche products, giving you a rundown on what makes for good hose clamp pliers, as well as giving you our top picks. Read on to find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about these nifty pliers.
The Best Hose Clamp Pliers
Astro Pneumatic Tools were the first brand to bring flexible cable hose clamp pliers to the market and yet they’ve still worked on improving these clamp pliers, from the beginning. The result? A strong, flexible cable that far surpasses many of the competitors available on the market, today. This, along with their super-tough grip, leaves you safe in the knowledge that these pliers will never slip from your clamp or hose during use.
These are a little more expensive than others on our list, although still comfortably sit at an affordable price. Furthermore, the added cost is far outweighed by the good that these clamp pliers bring. Especially when you consider every part of this tool has been well thought-out to bring you the most comfortable pliers on the market, while still maintaining a good grip and their ease-of-use.
Engineered for maximum strength
Thick, flexible cable
- Weight0.16 ounces
Available at an amazing price is our second option from BETOOLL. This tool set includes 9 tools, ready for anything your hose clamps may be ready to throw at you. After all, we all know that a 5-minute job on your vehicle never actually takes just five minutes. Designed to be comfortable in the hand, while remaining sturdy and tough, this pliers set is great for those who are likely to do a lot of fiddling with their cars, in the future.
The products available in this include Clic-r Collar Pliers, Hose Remover Pliers, Swivel Jaw Hose Clamp Pliers, Swivel Jaw Hose Clamp Pliers (+ Slot), Flat Band Hose Clamp Pliers, Curved Hose Clamp Pliers, Flexible Clamp Pliers, Screwdriver, Dismount Hook. And, while you may not always need every tool available here, you can’t go far wrong with having every option covered, should you need it.
Designed with comfort in mind
Steel material with plastic cover
Full kit in an easily portable tool box
- Weight6.45 pounds
A great option for those who want flexible hose clamp pliers without the extra fuss of added features, the 1725 by Drake Off Road provides a hardy choice without any fancy stuff. Ideal for those who like to work on their cars, on a casual basis, these will stand up to pretty much any work you can throw at it- but they’re lacking in some of the more resilient aspects you can see in our top choice.
Customers are big fans, however, and praise how easy they are to use, along with how well they stand up to the clumsy workings of your average DIY-er! They’re also an affordable option for those who aren’t quite sold on the benefits of clamp pliers just yet, as they’ll do pretty much anything you need them to- as long as it’s not in daily use and under extreme pressure.
24” flexible cable
One-year limited warranty included
- BrandDrake Off Road
- Weight1.2 pounds
Despite it’s rather plain look, these clamp pliers from Performance Tool work brilliantly when you need to top up your toolbox and get some occasional use out of your pliers. With a heavy-duty 24” flexible cable, designed to get as far into your engine as is possible, the W80656 works brilliantly when it comes to getting into those awkward spots.
The locking mechanism helps you to keep your hands free to continue with the tougher parts of the job, allowing you to complete your work in record time. However, there are a few drawbacks to this purchase- the main issue being that there is pretty poor grip on the handles, which isn’t ideal if you’re looking into a longer job. Still, if you’re willing to wear some tough, gripped gloves while you work, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
24” flexible, heavy-duty cable
- BrandPerformance Tool
- Weight8 ounces
Another offering from Astro and this time it’s their hose clamp plier kit. Seven pieces make up the mini toolbox and all items come with the quality you can expect from one of the leading brands on the market. The set includes hose clamp pliers, swivel jaw hose clamp pliers, swivel jaw hose clamp pliers, angled flat band hose clamp, hose remover pliers, clic-r collar pliers and flat band hose clamp pliers. So, while the set is missing the dismount hook and screwdriver of our second option, you can see it’s still a pretty well-rounded kit.
All the tools have dipped plastic handle, to ensure a good grip while working and even come with a locking mechanism on each item, so you can be sure your pliers will be going nowhere, as you work on your vehicle.
Plastic coated for added grip
- Weight7.3 pounds
Known for their tough, resilient tools Drake Off Road are back again, this time with their 2-piece set of flat-band hose clamp pliers. While these aren’t as versatile as the flexible cable hose clamp pliers, they come with a range of other benefits. For starters, they’re much sturdier and easier to manage than a hose and great for those simple jobs, where the clamp isn’t buried beneath mechanisms.
Speaking of mechanisms, this pair have both a locking mechanism and swivel jaws, allowing you place these at any angle and lock your clamp pliers into place. This, in turn, liberates your hands and allows you to get your work down in half the time. If you prefer a more hands-on approach, however, you’ll be pleased to know that these clamp pliers come with plastic handles, to allow for better grip.
- BrandDrake Off Road
- Weight1.1 lbs
Sitting at number seven on our list is another hard-working duo, this time from 8MILELAKE. These two flat-band hose clamp pliers work with most hose clamps and come with some of the better features that those on our list hold. Namely, they have swivel jaws and a locking mechanism that allows you to work hands-free and pop your pliers in place at any angle.
They also have plastic dipped handles for added grip and cross-slotted jaw pliers open to 1-3/4” which allows you to effectively hold most hose clamps in place without too much extra effort. The only downside here is that they’re slightly more expensive than others on our list, which offer many of the same benefits.
- Weight1.25 pounds
A comparatively new manufacturer on the market but XstemepowerUS seem to be holding up nicely to the competition. Another set of seven items, this tool box hold the same items as the Astro competitor- but doesn’t quite have the same star power as the latter. Still, for a slightly cheaper alternative to Astro, this 7-piece hose clamp plier kit compares quite nicely.
All of the tools come with some of the better features, such as a locking mechanism and swivel jaws, along with plastic-coated handles that allow for a better grip. Occasional users have been very happy with these items- although there have been some complaints from the more serious mechanics, in the reviews. Namely, that the cable on the flexible cable pliers seems to stretch fairly easily and the metal isn’t particularly hard-wearing.
Great for occasional use
- Weight1 pounds
Ideal for larger clamps, the Mayhew option of spring-loaded clamp pliers is a great flexible cable option for those looking for something to help them from time-to-time. While not made with the greatest quality of materials, this can still be a great addition to the standard DIY-ers tool kit.
The main complaint from reviewers seems to be that the cable wears out pretty quickly, but since there’s the option to buy a replacement cable at the same time, it doesn’t knock this option off our list completely. After all, most buyers have given this high ratings, stating that it works surprisingly well on tougher, more robust clamps.
Suitable for use on plastic and metal clamps
- Weight1 pounds
Our final option for our top picks is arguably the most affordable, too. Available at a great price, this is a flexible hose clamp plier that would be great for those who need to do some one-off work and are struggling to get into their engine to release the hose clamps.
These are clearly light-duty flexible hose clamp pliers but nevertheless, they come with a one-year guarantee and any reviewers love having the option to buy a set of pliers that is hardy enough to handle occasional use, without having to break the bank. Despite their light-duty nature, they still come with a few nice features, such as the locking mechanism and plastic-coated handles for extra grip.
Great for occasional use
- ModelABN 2021
- Weight1.15 pounds
Best Hose Clamp Pliers Buying Guide & FAQ
Things to Consider When Buying a Pair of Hose Clamp Pliers
- Comfort and design
It might seem a little strange to have comfort as your first consideration here, but since you’re trying to shift spring hose clamps- which are notoriously tough- it would be wise to add it in. Try to opt for flexible hose clamp pliers that are either designed ergonomically or fit well to your hand, which can save you from getting cramps, if it’s a long job.
You should also try to get one with a good grip, this will serve to help you in your task and ensure that your spring clamp pliers won’t slip out of your hand, while working. These simple factors can save you from getting repetitive strain injuries and make your job much quicker, since you won’t need to work against your pain reflexes as you go.
Clamp pliers that are made with a cheaper material are more likely to bend out of place or break, which is not what you need when trying to sort out your vehicle’s issues in the first place! We discuss the different material types, and which is best for your needs, below.
- Maximum opening
You’ll likely notice as you browse out top picks, that not all of the maximum openings are the same. This is simply a case of trying to save money on materials for the manufacturers but also because, the larger the opening, the more strength the pliers will need to have overall.
You should try to find the largest size available, as you’re more likely to be able to grip any size clamp this way. Sizes will typically range between 11/16 of an inch right up to 2.5 inches, although you might find one or two that are designed specifically for larger clamps.
Flexible cable: Ideal for getting in to those hard-to-reach areas, a flexible cable on your hose clamp pliers can make light work of what would otherwise be an awkward job. These are essentially a long, thin cable that you should be able to twist and maneuver through the engine to attach to your clamps.
Locking mechanism: Once you’ve managed to attach your clamp pliers, you’ll likely still need both of your hands to get the clamp off and continue with your work. For this, you should consider buying a plier that comes with a locking mechanism. This will allow you to release the pliers, without releasing the clamp itself.
Design: As mentioned above, getting a set of clamp pliers that have taken into consideration the ergonomics of the human hand can make light work of hard jobs. Try to grab a pair that includes helpful the helpful design considerations, such as a rubber grip or notched handles that reduce slipping.
Benefits of Owning Hose Clamp Pliers
- Save your hands
First and foremost, the biggest benefit to having a good set of hose clamp pliers is having the ability to save your hands from nips, cuts, burns and bruises. Having your clamp pliers ready and available when you need to access those awkward mechanics lets you get on with the task at hand, without worrying too much about your hand placement.
- Save time
If you’ve bought a set of clamp pliers with a locking mechanism, you’ll be able to liberate both hands. This, in turn, means you can attach and detach in half the time, as you’ll have an extra set of hands available to give you some help.
- Save slip-ups
Since your new hose clamp pliers will be doing the work for you, you reduce the risk of human error during your work. Clamp pliers are great for securely attaching and detaching your clamps and can therefore ensure your work is done safely, without risk of the clamp shifting during your work and causing any harm.
Types of Hose Clamp Pliers
- Flexible hose clamp pliers
These are the most common form for most avid DIY-ers and mechanics, as they are the easiest to use, when getting in to those awkward spots around the engine. The come with a flexible hose that can reach tough spots, making it easier to get on with the task at hand
- Flat band hose pliers
Designed to remove and install flat band clamps, these are mostly used as radiator hose clamp pliers and for heater hoses.
- Clic-R Pliers
Created for attaching, releasing and refitting Clic-R and clic hose clamps
If you’re buying a set, you’ll likely be able to find a few other helpful tools in your box, including hose removers, screwdrivers and hooks, all of which can make your job much easier. While these aren’t pliers, they can be a great addition to your toolbox, if you’re looking to upgrade your kit.
Best Hose Clamp Pliers FAQ:
Q: What are hose clamp pliers used for?
A: While hose clamps are vital to keeping all your essential lines in place, within your vehicle, hose pliers are used to loosen and refit these clamps, when maintenance work needs to be completed. While they can’t access every area you might need, new developments allow for your work to be completed as quickly- and painlessly- as possible.
For those new to the trade, you might be more familiar with wrenches and ratchets. Hose clamp pliers work on the same premise, in that they help to remove sprung-type clamps which are often fitted by the manufacturer, to keep the main hoses and lines in place.
Clamp pliers are one of the newest items on the market, in terms of general mechanical tools, but they are quickly gaining popularity, thanks to the way they can make short work of big jobs.
Q: How do I use hose clamp pliers?
A: There are two main formats used to remove hose clamps. The first being the flexible cable hose clamp pliers. These are designed to securely fasten to the outer edges of the hose clamp, at the end of the flexible cable. The second is the straight forward hose clamp pliers, which work in the same way, without the reach or flexibility. For both, you should follow the basic guidance, below:
Firstly, you’ll need to ensure that the hose you are working with will be clear of all fluid, that your vehicle isn’t running and that you are conscious of your own health and safety.
Next, you should secure your pliers around the clamp, and close the pliers to open the hose clamp. Then, you simply slide the hose clamp out of its resting place. Once the hose clamp is out of the way, you can re-open the handles of your pliers to close the hose clamp which loosens the fitting and allows you to move the hose away.
You should also know that the fitting on the end of the pliers can also secure to the hose itself, meaning you should be able to remove the hose if it in a hard-to-reach area. This, as mentioned, will reduce the potential of suffering burns and cuts to your hands, arms, and fingers. It’s also less likely that your hose will pinch or pierce- something that is surprisingly common when trying to reach a clamp with another tool, such as the long-edge screwdriver.
Q: What is the best material used for hose clamp pliers?
A: Any tool is only as good as the material it’s made of. With such a high-pressure job (literally), your hose clamp pliers need to be strong and stable enough to handle the task of opening up those tough, awkward clamps.
Aluminum pliers are great in that they are fairly rigid and less likely to rust than some of the other options, but they are, overall, very weak. If you’re looking at using your clamp pliers regularly, an aluminum tool probably won’t hold up too well in the long run.
For one-off jobs, however, they are a handy addition to have as they are light and easy to carry. You will also come across some manufacturers who are looking to reinforce their aluminum pliers, usually with Teflon.
As always though, steel is the best option for your tools. Be wary, however, as cheap steel is just as likely to break and bend as any other material. For friction mechanisms, you’ll need something that can take a little more friction, such as stainless steel.
Stainless steel pretty much always wins the day when it comes to tools and for good reason- they’re resistant to corrosion and rusting, and are likely to have an increased longevity due to this. Stainless steel is also one of the toughest compounds available, which you can see through its use in just about anything, including building structures, right through to domestic appliances.
Our Top Pick
As a clamp plier that boasts a super-strong cable, tougher and wider ratcheting teeth, and an adjustable click range that allows you to reach any clamp hose- and maintain its grip while you work- the Astro Pneumatic Tool’s 9409A hose clamp pliers easily top our list as the best hose clamp pliers on the market.
Customers love the strength and feel of these pliers, with many commenting on how sturdy their new tool felt. They also mention that they were less likely to suffer from any mishaps while using these, which is exactly what you want in a good pair of clamp pliers. Of course, if that doesn’t sell you on their abilities, perhaps their warranty will- as Astro has made every effort to create effective customer service alongside their tools, and that includes a year’s warranty for your piece of mind.
- The Best Tool to Reach Hose Clamps - YourMechanic