Circlip pliers are designed with one specific purpose in mind: the installation or removal of circlips. These circular metal clips are used to hold rotating bearings in place, as well as components fitted vertically to pipes, shafts, or housing. Common locations include washing machines, bicycles and food blenders.
Circlip pliers are visually distinctive and typically have long thin clamps with tips designed to be inserted into the grip holes of the circlips. Ensure your pliers are compatible with the size of circlip you wish to adjust.
They're typically made for either internal or external circlips, although some models can handle both: these are called ‘reversible’ or ‘convertible’ pliers. Pliers designed to work with external circlips feature a spring that opens the tips when the handles have been closed.
Other models feature interchangeable tips that can be unscrewed and replaced for compatibility with different sizes of circlip - and easy replacement of broken tips. Circlip pliers are also known as retaining ring or snap ring pliers.