Circlip pliers, sometimes known as retaining ring pliers or snap ring pliers, have been specifically designed for installing and removing circlips. Circlips are circular clips made out of semi-flexible metal and are generally used to keep components fitted on shafts or housing and for bearings used for mechanisms that twist, spin, turn or pivot. Circlip pliers feature a different design to standard pliers at the tip. Standard pliers usually have flattened or sharpened tips (depending on application) whereas circlip pliers have tips shaped to fit the grip holes of circlips in order to manipulate them.
Some models have the ability to switch between the two, and are referred to as convertible or reversible circlip pliers. Some pliers are available with range of interchangeable tips, or replaceable tips. This can make your circlip pliers more versatile, as you will be able to fit them with different angle or different size tips, or simply replace a damaged tip when needed. The tips are normally screwed into the pliers, and it is straightforward to swap them.
When deciding which plier you require, you should consider the diameter of the circlip that you want to install or remove. Individual pliers work with circlips of specific diameters, although there are some standard sizes.