Do Ergonomic Tools Make a Difference in Jewelry Making?

Just in time for this blog, what should land in my mailbox but a brand-new set of ergonomic jewelry-making tools from Cousin Corporation? It got me wondering, would using ergonomic tools for my wire jewelry-making projects really make

that much of a difference?

What Makes Ergonomic Jewelry-making Pliers Different?

The difference between ergonomic and regular beading tools: ergonomic round nose pliers on the left, regular round nose pliers on the right (red handles)

Most jewelry-making pliers are made to fit comfortably in your hand with rounded and padded handles. The head and jaws of a pair of regular jewelry-making pliers sits straight at the top of the tool. Because of the way the jaws are situated, getting those pliers into a tight spot means you have to angle your hand, fingers, and wrist. If you engage in several hours of jewelry-making using these kinds of pliers, you might find yourself suffering from pain caused  by muscle fatigue.

Look at a pair of ergonomic jewelry-making pliers, and you'll see the differences right away. The head and jaws are bent at a slight angle, making it easier to get those pliers into tight spaces when you're working on a wire jewelry-making project, or even a chain maille project. 

A pair of ergonomic jewelry-making pliers has one long handle and one short handle, and both handles are curved inward to fit better between the base of your thumb and your curved fingers. A better fit means more comfort when you're holding your jewelry-making pliers for a long time, resulting in less muscle fatigue and pain.

Are Ergonomic Jewelry-making Pliers Right for Everybody?

I used this set of Precision Comfort ergonomic jewelry-making tools from Cousin Corporation to play around with an easy wire jewelry-making project I designed, and I found that yes, indeed, tasks like opening and closing jump rings and making loops in my wire were much easier using the ergonomic tools.

That said, after years of using regular jewelry-making pliers, it took me a little while to get used to the feel of these ergonomic beading tools in my hand. I've only used them on a few projects, but I'll be using these exclusively in the next few weeks to see how they feel and what kind of a difference they make in my jewelry-making and beading projects.

Ergonomic jewelry-making tools are ideal for anyone who loves to make jewelry but suffers from arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, where holding a regular pair of jewelry-making pliers can turn into a painful experience rather quickly. Since I suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome flare-ups in the winter when the mountain air is usually very dry, I can understand why having an easy-to-grip set of jewelry-making pliers would be essential for me.

Even if you don't suffer from any kind of physical malady that makes holding your jewelry-making pliers difficult, having a set of ergonomic beading tools can not only improve your jewelry-making skills, but can also make your beading projects better and last longer. I found this Precision Comfort tool set to be the perfect entry-level set of beading tools for someone who wants to try a set of ergonomic jewelry-making pliers. Who knows? I bought my first set of inexpensive jewelry-making pliers way back in 1998, and I'm still using them today!

Get Dozens of Easy Wire Jewelry-Making Projects At Your Fingertips!

Ready to take your ergonomic jewelry tools for a spin? Check out all of the amazing wire jewelry-making projects in Easy Wire 2013. You'll find dozens of beautiful, colorful, and easy wire jewelry-making projects for bracelets, necklaces, and earrings that use your favorite beads and jewelry findings. If you haven't seen the latest in wire jewelry designs, you'll be thrilled to see things like ribbons, beads, leather, and even hardware in these innovative wire jewelry projects! Pre-order your copy of Easy Wire 2013 and be one of the first to see the future of wire jewelry-making projects. Or, if you just absolutely can't wait to see the designs and start beading, Easy Wire 2013 is also available as an instant download, ready for viewing in just minutes on your favorite desktop or laptop computer!

What do you think about ergonomic beading tools, especially for wire jewelry-making? Do you prefer using ergonomic tools to regular beading pliers? Leave a comment and share your thoughts and opinions here on the Beading Daily blog!

Bead Happy,


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Beading Daily Blog
Jennifer VanBenschoten

About Jennifer VanBenschoten

Born in New Jersey in 1974, I escaped to the Adirondacks for the first time in 1995, making it my permanent home in 2000.  I have been interested in beads, buttons and making jewelry as long as I can remember.  It's probably my mother's fault - she was a fiber artist and crochet historian, and whenever she ordered supplies from one mail order source, she would order a huge bag of assorted buttons and beads for me and my sister!    

11 thoughts on “Do Ergonomic Tools Make a Difference in Jewelry Making?

  1. I’m a big fan of ergonomic tools.

    We decided to stock Tulip bead crochet hooks, which have a cushioned handle, in our eBay shop, after I failed to get anywhere with bead crochet using a crochet hook with a standard handle. As soon as I switched to the Tulip hook, I had success with my bead crochet.

    If you’re not getting good results with the tools you’re using, an ergonomically designed one may make all the difference.

  2. I haven’t used ergonomic tools but wonder if they work equally well with left-handers. It seems that everything is different if you are left handed. Just asking…

  3. Prevention is better than attempting to cure or alleviate. So ergonomic tools make sense for beginning beaders such as I. I will be adding them to my shopping list in the next few minutes.

  4. It would be so helpful to read about your experience with other types of “ergonomic” pliers, as well. Also, maybe an evaluation of the “working” end of the tools? How do they compare with high quality tools? (For example, how “flush” is the cutter? How does it compare to other cutters, some of which claim to incorporate “ergonimic” elements?) I work quite a bit with wire and my experience is that good pliers and cutters make a big difference in hand pain & fatigue.

  5. I have been having pain across the back of my hand after having to use pliers for a while. So going with ergonomic pliers is first on my replacement list.

  6. Ergonomic tools are the best invention ever!!! I have RA and carpal tunnel, but next to my grandson beading is the love of my life. Thanks to these tools I can still bend all the wire I want without massive pain.I give them a big thumbs up.

  7. The other advantage of using well-designed ergonomic tools from the earliest stages is that they will help prevent some of the injuries that might otherwise occur, eg, carpal tunnel syndrome, overuse problems and even perhaps arthritis. It is absolutely crucial that people do everything they can to avoid these problems as the pain and suffering that accompanies them is immense.

  8. Dear Jennifer, I read with anticipation your email about ergonomic tools. I am a retired jeweller, because of severe arthritis in my hands. I saw your tools from Cousin Corporation and went onto their site to enquire about pricing and shipping to London, UK . And found they only have wholesale, so I tried to register and found their criteria for registering not currently available to me.
    I appreciate you recommending these tools, they could be a life saver for me as I mourn the lose of my trade, like a bereavement but what’s the point of recommending them if we can’t buy them???
    Please recommend a route for all of us who want to buy these please?

    Best wishes
    Aka 142kiku

  9. I have arthritis in my thumb and finger and find the Cousins Ergonomic 3 in 1 pliers brilliant. No need for three different tools as it cuts flattens/pinches and curls. You can get them comfortably sitting in your hand and the soft grip handles help prevent finger skin hardness and blisters when doing a lot of wiring projects.