Channellock Tools

Because of The HomeFix Radio Show, I get a lot of products sent in for “Testing”.  It is not really fair for some of these items as I tend to have an opinion about them before I even give them a try.  Either that or I have been using the thing / stuff for years and need no further convincing.

So when Channellock tools came to me and wanted to work out some promotional activities and brand awareness on the radio show, I had no problem with that.  I have been using these tools for years and was quite familiar with them.  In fact, I went as far as to go out to my tool boxes and root through them and dug out all the Channellock tools that I could find.  I had some linesman pliers, wire cutters, a pair of needle nose pliers, a humungous pair of nippers that I really do not know where they came from, and of course the classic Channellock tongue and groove pliers.

Over the years, many tools get called Channellocks.  It unfortunately has become misused terminology where the brand name is associated with any other similar configuration.  Coke, Weedeater, Kleenex and others have all suffered a similar fate.  But, in a way it is flattering, that YOURS is associated with the best.  Therefore, manufacturers work hard to protect their trademarks and appearances.  Channellock is identified today by the light blue handles and their logo.  Look in most professionals tool boxes or bags and you will see something that is This Blue.

What I appreciate about the Channellock tools is that they are tough.  Beyond tough.  Insanely tough.  I have heaped more abuse in general on my tools over the years using them for many things other than what was intended by the manufacturer and it is not hard to separate out the good from the bad.  The strong from the weak.  Some can take it and survive to live another day and some die a painful death.

As an example, I have attached a photo of the handles of my Channellock #420 T&G pliers.  Yes, I know these do not have the blue handles.  I am not sure that these ever did.  I don’t remember where or when I got these. I just know that they have been with me a very long time.   On the other side, not shown, they say they were Patented in 1933! These #420’s have been in many different tool boxes, worked on 4 different motorcycles, 9 cars, 5 houses, and countless garage projects.  And many more to come I am sure.

Today’s version of the #420 is very, very similar.  I compared my “old” ones with the new 420.  A slight change of shape here and there, but still made in the USA and stronger than all get out.   How long will they last?  That will be hard to say, but if the previous example is any indication, the new 420’s will be around a lot longer than me.

It is also good to see that the product is still made in Meadville, Pennsylvania.  It can’t be easy to make a product like this in the competitive pressures of a global manufacturing economy.  It takes commitment, pride, and attention to detail.   While not a surgical or musical instrument, precision and quality materials still must be present.   OK, I won’t throw in the cheesy metaphor and comparison to plumbers, electricians, and mechanics being surgeons or musicians in their own way.

I have always been a believer in buying the best tools that you can.  Quality doesn’t let you down.  Some of these outfits that offer “Lifetime Warranty” on their knockoffs should really say that you will be back every few months for the rest of your life getting replacements.  Just buy the good stuff in the beginning and your tools won’t fail.

Channellock has been expanding their product line and refining the classics.  If you haven’t looked beyond your hardware stores peg hooks, take a minute and check out  and see what you need to add to your tool box!