Can These Eagle Grip Locking Pliers Truly Beat the Competition?
When we crafted our what tools are made in the USA article, we didn’t realize we would eventually get deluged with tools…tools made right here in the United States. Case in point—we got sent Malco Eagle Grip locking pliers and clamps to try out. Billed as the “strongest locking pliers ever made” we wanted to see just how well these USA-made products would perform.
Malco Eagle Grip Locking Pliers Performance
Back in 1924 when Bill Petersen received a patent for locking pliers, what eventually became Irwin Vise Grips dominated the scene. Now, multiple manufacturers make similar products. A surprisingly small number of differentiating factors determines which brand you might prefer over another.
First off, both the Malco Eagle Grip locking pliers and clamps have an exceptional grip. They have that satisfying (and familiar) locking system we’ve all used for years. Unlike Irwin, Malco upped their game on the adjustment knob and where it ties into the tool (called the “power ring”). The additional surface area provided by the wider threads made it even easier to set the amount of clamping force perfectly.
Reinforced, Extra-Thick Adjustment Knob
Irwin uses a traditional adjustment knob, and the Milwaukee MaxBite Torque Lock Locking Pliers use an even thinner design that incorporates a screwdriver loop. The Eagle Grip locking pliers use a coated steel adjustment knob with a thicker diameter. It also includes hex key access for torquing it down when needed.
As we sought to challenge these tools to see how hard they could clamp, the design lent itself to an aggressive bite without any special torquing. We used this process to get a typical strong grip:
Grab the material with the locking pliers.Set the adjustment knob until the teeth bit the material.Remove the pliers and give the adjustment knob another half turn.Reapply the tool, locking the jaws firmly into place.
For an even stronger hold, you can twist the adjustment knob a bit further. This let us get a really solid grip on pipe, flat steel, and just about anything else we put these pliers on. You can even crank down on it once you have the tool attached. The “power ring” it threads through looks solid. It needs to be—if it breaks, the entire tool fails.
Malco Eagle Grip Locking Pliers and Clamps Design Notes
The polished steel handles really clean up easily, so this tool can handle any sort of environment. Mechanics and metalworkers will appreciate this the most.
USA-made steel goes into the jaws of these tools. We like that on principle and they do seem incredibly durable. That also goes for the swivel pads on the Eagle Grip locking clamps. They move easily, and the thickness lets you know they won’t end up as a failure point on the tool.
The included steel trigger provided straightforward releasing of the tool from a locked position. As always, inexperienced users can pinch themselves if not careful. We have seen some other takes on this release lever, but this one offers a very secure hold and release.
Forged, premium alloy heat-treated steel jawsPrecision ground teeth.
Malco Eagle Grip Locking Pliers and Clamps Pricing
Malco Eagle Grip locking pliers range in price from ~$43 for the 7-inch to around $45 for the 10-inch. The Eagle Grip locking C-clamps Run less than $55 each.
When it comes to the Malco Eagle Grip locking pliers and clamps, strength is not the issue. These tools offer excellent built quality and strength. They just don’t innovate much on a design that has worked for decades. Quite possibly, that’s the right call. If you want familiar tools that work well, are made in the USA, and include a limited lifetime warranty, check out the Malco Eagle Grip locking pliers and clamps for yourself.
Malco Eagle Grip Locking Pliers Specifications
Models: LP7R, LP7WC (7″ wire cutter), LP10R, LP10WC (10″ wire cutter)Overall length: 7 in. and 10 in.Jaw capacity: 1-5/16 in.Large hardened and coated adjustment knobIntegrated precision ground wire cutter (LP7WC and LP10WC)Classic Trigger releaseCross cut jaw tips for increased grip and versatilityCurved Jaws
Malco Eagle Grip Locking C-Clamps Specifications
Models: LP11C, LP11SP (swivel pads)Length: 11 in.Maximum clamping range: 3.38 in.Swivel pads conform and distribute clamping force (LP11SP)Heat-treated alloy steel jawsLarge hardened and coated adjustment knobAdjustment screw accepts a 5/16″ hex key