Electrical pliers are used when working with electricity and making electrical connections. Special cutters on the pliers allow them to be used to cut wire to length and to strip away the wire's outer coating as well. With the protective coating removed, the wire is ready for a connector to be crimped into position using the electrical pliers.
Typically, electrical pliers have rubber-coated handles to help protect the user from electric shock. It is important that the handles be kept clean and free of grease or any similar electrically-conductive material that could help transfer electricity from the pliers to an operator. Any sign of rip or nicks in the protective insulating coating of the pliers's handles should be grounds for replacement or repair of the tool.
While most electrical pliers are equipped with a wire cutter, the typical professional electrician will use a separate pair of cutters to snip through the wire. This is done to protect the pliers from frequent stress of cutting pressure, which could cause the pliers' jaws to become distorted. Any distortion of the jaw alignment could result in a poor-quality crimp when attaching a connector onto the wire. While electrical professionals may use multiple tools, the average homeowner could use a pair of pliers for all home tasks which involve making electrical connections.
The stripping, cutting and crimping areas of most pliers used for electrical work are clearly marked as to the proper size wire that is intended to be used. Should the markings deteriorate or become unable to be read for any reason, it is best to use a larger size cutter or stripper instead of a smaller size when guessing which cutter to use. The larger cutter will cut the wire while leaving a rough edge on the protective coating, and this will not affect the connection in any way. Using a cutter that is too small, however, will result in cutting through several strands of wire and creating a connection which could potentially overheat and fail.
It is not necessary to smash an electrical connection completely flat when crimping a connector onto a wire. Crimping a connector too tightly with electrical pliers damages the connection by breaking the fine wires inside of the crimp. This damage can result in the connector pulling loose or coming completely off the wire. The crimp need only firmly grip the wire in order to effectively create a connection.