One thing I like about Kobalt Tools is that they try new things every year. Sometimes this doesn’t work out very well, as with some of their past years’ fourth quarter hand tool releases, but I like that they keep trying.
Kobalt recently came out with flip-jaw pliers, and also a master screwdriver bit set. They also have some new Xtreme Access socket sets coming out this here – here’s my review of the Kobalt Xtreme Access pass-thru ratchet and sockets from when they first came out.
Over at Lowes’ website, I also caught a peek at their new self-adjusting pliers. These pliers are rather plainly described right now, as simply “Kobalt pliers,” but the design looks to be worthy of a distinct name.
Lowes and Kobalt came out with self-adjusting Magnum Grip pliers and Magnum Grip locking pliers in the past. I had mixed feelings about the regular pliers, and a really bad impression of the locking pliers, but these new Kobalt pliers look good enough for me to give a chance.
These new Kobalt pliers have 3 things going for them:
- Self-adjusting design for quick adjustments and gripping action of different sized objects
- Compound leverage design delivers greater gripping power with less hand strain
- Parallel jaws for gripping flats of hex fasteners without (or with less) rounding
Essentially, these look to be a self-adjusting and more economical version of the Knipex Pliers Wrench. Additionally, the Knipex Pliers Wrench has smooth jaws, these look to have finely serrated ones.
The product details aren’t very clear right now, but the Lowes page says that the handle length is 10-inches. If true, it looks like you get 8″ and 10″ pliers with this 2-piece set. If not true, then you might get 6″ and 8″ pliers, although 8″ and 10″ seems more likely.
Price: $25 for the set
You can be sure that I’ll be hunting for these pliers at the nearest Lowes stores as soon as I can. While they don’t look as refined as Knipex Pliers Wrenches, they’re far less expensive. If they work half as good at a quarter the price, they might be solid buys.
This set of 2 is priced at $25. You would be hard pressed to find a single Pliers Wrench of either size for $50.
Self-adjusting? I suppose that could come in handy, if well designed.
Compound leverage? This is a very useful feature, and one of the reasons I will never ever give up my Pliers Wrenches. Compound leverage does wonders for improving the gripping power of smooth pliers jaws, and so they should work as well or even better with grooved jaws.
Parallel jaws? As Lowes and Kobalt say, the parallel jaws do help improve the grip of hex fasteners. Since you grip such fasteners on their flats, there’s less a chance that you’ll round off the corners. And when combined with the compound leverage mechanism, it will probably take a lot of effort for these pliers to slip off a fastener.
I have my reservations, but also a great deal of optimism. So you share in that optimism? And if you’ve seen these at your Lowes, what do you think about them?