Irwin Vise-Grip vs CH Hanson Automatic 10” Locking Pliers


From time to time here at Coptool World Headquarter we receive some interesting marketing for new power tools, accessories and hand tools. From miniature “Heavy Metal” guitars to Sawzall blades with our name on them we do enjoy a little flair when launching a new product. CH Hanson sent us a nice simple package which we thought was very well put together, it included their 10” Automatic 10CJ pliers as well as “The Original” 10” Irwin 10WR in addition to a stopwatch and steel plate with 2 nuts welded to it. The message was 7x faster, 2x stronger and 100% easier. We also threw another horse in the race with the latest vise-grip from Irwin 10CR which has slightly different grip geometry but for the most part very similar, here are our thoughts.    

Easy of Operation


We are not exactly sure how you judge “100% easier” but we gave it our best shot. The Hanson 10CJ has a nice larger back grip which was more comfortable however the front leg has to stick out very far when gripping an item and with thinner material pressure needs to be applied when the leg is still mostly extended. For fatter items it is actually easier to use these pliers. The latest Irwin 10CR definitely had the most comfortable grip with thick blue padding although not sure that would hold up very long when welding or plasma cutting.


The Hanson 10CJ did have an advantage when it came to tensioning with the “set & forget” adjustment you can get the same tension each time on multiple diameter work piece unlike either of the Irwin vise-grips with the knobs.

The Hanson 10CJ release lever with red rubber tip was also an improvement from the Irwin 10WR original but the “Fast Release” on the new Irwin 10CR worked the best without any chance of pinching your skin.

Holding Strength


The Hanson 10CJ Automatic claims 2x holding, while the new Irwin 10CR Fast Release claims 3x holding, we are assuming in both cases the baseline would be “The Original”. When we tested them all 3 did a terrific job, in our 20+ years of using vise-clamps not sure there have been too many times we thought, if only this vise-grip had a little more holding power. The new Irwin attributes the added holding power to a slight change in direction of the clamping motion at the very last second where it goes straight out (see pic above). This would mean to fail the momentum would first need to push in an unnatural way.

Speed of Clamping

This is really the main selling point of the new Hanson Automatic and we have got to say it does a very nice job adjusting to radically different sizes almost instantaneously. Both Irwin vise-grips use the screw adjustment which took several times longer to adjust. The downside, as we mentioned before, is the moving leg on the Hanson does come out further which does make it slightly hard to initially clamp on, even with our large hands.


The Hanson Automatic definitely was a nice tool, we were very big fans of how the tension can be set into position and will be the same each time. If the tension is not set correctly or under tension, this will certainly effect overall performance and could be dangerous in some cases. The one question we could not answer would be how well will the additional mechanisms used for the Hanson Automatic holds up over time? The Original Irwin are the most commonly used locking pliers ever because they have proven itself over time in very difficult work conditions; it might be a tough sell to get guys to switch from a product that has been so dependable. Our initial thoughts however on the durability of the Hanson is that these are also very sturdy and well built.     

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