Are Knipex Cobra Pliers Really the Best?
What is Knipex?
Knipex is a German based company, located in Wuppertal. They specialize in making pliers of all sorts and claim to make the best pliers in the country. But are Knipex pliers really the best?
I carry a pair of water pump (or tongue-and-groove) pliers, commonly called Channellock, as they are often needed in my work. As a professional electrician, I depend on my tools for my living and am always interested in tools that will make my work easier, safer, or more efficient. The Knipex Cobra pliers are of the water pump variety and I welcomed the opportunity to find a replacement for the heavy, bulky pliers on my tool bags.
Given a chance to use the odd-looking Knipex Cobra pliers, I was happy to try them out.
How Do Knipex and Channellock Pliers Compare?
There are many differences between the Knipex Cobra pliers and the more common brand. Here are a few:
- Weight. The Knipex are much slimmer and as a consequence much lighter to carry all day long. They will also fit into smaller spaces, spaces that the larger pliers have no hope of getting into.
- Durability. Compared to my old pliers, the Knipex have lasted considerably longer. The teeth are extremely hard and difficult to damage. Ordinary pliers have much softer teeth that easily bend and make holding on to a work piece much more difficult.
- Ergonomics. The Knipex pliers are ergonomically designed and easy to hold and grip with. The handles are the right size and shape, fitting the hand very well, and it really does make quite a difference over a day's work.
- Jaw grip. The jaws are a semi-circular rounded design, making for a much better grip on round items such as plumbing pipe; other designs have flat jaws that do not grip nearly as well. The force needed to hold a pipe is amazingly small; these pliers would nearly replace a pipe wrench for smaller work. The Cobra style also has a wider range of jaw openings to choose from and that can make a difference.
- Other features. The Cobra style that Knipex makes has a small spring loaded button on the side for easy, one handed operation when changing the jaw opening. Knipex also makes their alligator style of water pump pliers—a more traditional style that do not have the button and instead are adjusted the same way other pliers are. I prefer the Cobra style even though the button was lost after only a few weeks of usage. The supporting structure for the button is still there, and I have used them with no problem for several more years.
Although considerably more costly than other water pump pliers, the Knipex Cobra and Alligator series of pliers are a very good buy in the long run. They are much easier to use, grip better, and last longer. When my current pair finally wears out (if they ever do!), I will certainly purchase another pair—they are incredibly handy for not only the professional but for the homeowner doing their own home repairs and home improvement projects as well.
While not commonly available in retail stores, they are readily purchased online at Amazon and other locations.
Knipex Alligator pliers from Amazon
Knipex Cobra pliers from Amazon
© 2010 Dan Harmon
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