You probably have never heard of NWS before, have you? They’re a German hand tool manufacturer that produces some really sweet pliers and cutters. Today I’d like to focus on the NWS ergonomic electrician’s pliers (angled long-nose pliers), which are designed to be held and used with a straight wrist.
Ergonomic and pistol-grip pliers can offer a number of advantages over traditional-styled pliers. As you can see in the following photo, regular pliers point up at a 45° angle when held naturally with a straight wrist. Ergonomic pliers, on the other hand, are angled forward by about 45° such that the jaws are oriented in line with one’s arm.
As slight a difference as it might seem, straightening your wrist results in greater twisting and pulling power, easier tight-quarters access, and improved user comfort.
I first learned about NWS pliers a couple of months ago and promptly purchased a few pliers and cutters to try out. Since then, these ergonomic long-nose pliers have become one of my favorite tools to use. Actually, I have become quite fond of all of the NWS pliers now in my toolbox, but perhaps that’s a story for another time.
The spring-action long-nose pliers feature a straight-grooved gripping area, crimping anvils, two-size wire strippers, and a hard/soft wire cutter. The handle has a three-material composition with medium-hard plastic, soft and textured grip zones. There’s also a built-in spanner (box-end wrench) and a lock to keep the jaws closed during storage or transport.
Quality-wise, these pliers are absolutely fantastic. The black-PTFE (Teflon-like) coating shows no sign of chipping or peeling, the jaws are perfectly formed and grooved, and the cutters meet with zero gaps. I would have preferred a knife-anvil cutter profile rather than knife-knife, but there’s no sign of misalignment or premature dulling.
These pliers are usually the first I reach for when working inside of a computer case or project box, where a high density of components and wires requires a completely straight angle when installing or removing parts. The NWS pliers have large jaws and are not designed for precision work, so my hemostats still see a fair bit of action.
Although the ergo pliers are great for general purpose and even heavy-duty usage, they do have limitations. While they are incredibly comfortable to use, certain tasks are best accomplished with traditional-styled pliers. It all depends on the task at hand and grip angles needed to access the parts awaiting manipulation. As such, pliers like these will complement but not replace ordinary styled ones.
The model number for these long-nose pliers is 1406-69-200. If you’re not a fan of the PTFE coating, there’s also a matte chrome option – 1406-49-200. Ergo-style pliers with wider combination jaws are also available (1096-69-200 and 1096-49-200). The pliers are priced at $35-40 and are currently only carried by two USA distributors – German-Hand-Tools and Chads ToolBox. Both vendors are highly recommended, but be sure to ask if the pliers are in-stock and not back-ordered before you place an order.
Stuart Deutsch is a tool enthusiast, critic, and collector. He writes his passion at ToolGuyd.