Lineman’s pliers have a curious name. Essentially they are larger, usually at least 9 inches long, pliers and wire cutters. Since their handles are longer you can apply more torque and thus more force at their cutting end. This is important because of the thickness of the sheathed wiring used in the electrical system. If regular wire cutters are used, you will likely find that you need to make multiple cuts to cut all the way through the all of the wires within the sheathing. Lineman’s pliers on the other hand, are large enough so that all the wires can be cut with a single squeeze. The large tip of the pliers is also very useful for twisting a group of wires together prior to installing a wire nut.
Our pick is the Klein Tools 9 in. High-Leverage Multi-Purpose Linesman Pliers. The price of lineman’s pliers can vary substantially with a high of around sixty dollars. So our pick is on the higher end, but we really appreciate the quality of Klein Tools, and the fact they are made in America. This pair also includes a crimper, which is required for ground wires in most locations. So it eliminates the need for an additional tool.
For a mor budget pick, consider the IRWIN VISE-GRIP Lineman's Pliers, 9-1/2-Inch Lineman's Pliers. They don't have the crimper built in, but they are still a good pick at only around $18 (at the time of publishing)