Back in August, I posted about a Knipex Alligator pliers price drop. Not having used these pliers before, I was curious, and so I ordered one of both sizes.
After a lengthy delay, both pliers arrived, and I used them a couple of times this month. Although their jaws are nicely machined and the tools appear to be well built, I’m not a fan of the adjustment design. The auto-locking handles are a nice feature, but I found that the pliers are just too clunky to adjust and jam frequently.
After mentioning this on the Garage Journal forum, I was told that I might need to break them in a bit more. One or two members also expressed dissatisfaction with these pliers, so I’m not sure what to think.
Purchase these Alligator pliers via Amazon
Recommended Knipex alternatives: Cobra pliers, Pliers Wrench
Listen and learn:
That sounds like kineeepex.
English-speaking rep calls it Kin-i-pex.
I may be off a little, I’ve also been known to call them nipex, as if the K were silent.
Yeah, I saw that Knipex USA vid as well… clearly he doesn’t know how to pronounce it either.
I was born/raised in Norway, so I think that helps me. Not to mention I took German for 2 years in school. 🙂
I initially said “nipex” myself, until I realized they were German. Same with Wiha.
“Knip” means “Cut”. It’s pronounced “Ka-nip”, hence Ka-nip-ex.
If you hear a native speaker pronouncing it, “nip” sounds a little closer to “neep”.
Oh, also, I think the joint design on the alligators stinks as well. I’m a huge Knipex fan, so that’s rather painful for me to admit.
It’s not so bad once you get used to it, but as mentioned above, there’s a halfway point between pivots that it can jam pretty solidly.
I’ve had a pair of Knipex pliers in my tool box for forty years. They are really intended for plumbing work, and are not general purpose pliers. You can put these on a piece of pipe (adjusted to the right size), and they will NOT slip. You don’t even have to squeeze them–you can simply press hard on the outside of one handle or the other. They will NOT slip….hard to believe, but the jaws bite into the pipe more as you push harder. They are much more useful than a pipe wrench, as they are smaller, easy to adjust to different pipe sizes, and can fit into more tight spaces than a pipe wrench because the Knipex jaws are very thin. And Knipex is pronounced Nigh-pex.
i am a knipex convert. i do not even keep channellocks in my work tools, anymore.
that said, the alligators are pretty awful. i use knipex cobras. they are a well thought out tool. every time i used knipex cobras, i hated them.
i meant, every time i use knipex alligators i hated them.
i love my knipex cobras and pliers-wrench.
Joe, Knipex is pronounced “Nigh-pex” by Americans who have heard other Americans mis-pronouncing the name. 🙂
If you want to hear the proper pronunciation, you can find it here, straight from the horse’s mouth:
As I said above, it is derived from “Knippen”, which means “to cut”, and is pronounced “Ka-nip-en”.
Yup, that’s the video I saw a while back demonstrating the auto-locking feature!
The Knipex Cobra pliers, in my opinion, have a far better joint design. Jam-free, and they stay where you set them.
Although I did custom electronics assembly years ago now I do gardening and small farm work. The spring Cobra design can jam with dirt / soil and corrode / rust the spring. The Alligator will NOT jam on adjust if minor care is taken and can adjust FAST. The box design makes most people think it’s a tough antique. It overcomes the common groove-lock (Channel Lock) problem of either being loose enough to adjust but it jumps grooves or tight enough not to jump grooves but hard to adjust.
I have two. One is the full 12 inches but it’s too much to carry unless needed for a specific job. Another has been cut to 6 1/2 inches for pocket-size daily carry. The stop bump has been filed down so when adjusted into the second hole the handles are close together for a slim profile. That one and a 6″ Vicegrip (with other stuff) are permanently in my pants tool pockets. Leatherman style carry pliers do not open far and I’ve saved many a person’s ass by having this tool with a TWO INCH jaw opening actually ON me.
Note: the jaw is a hex, useful on nuts-n-bolts; it will chew but can be padded.
It WILL tighten in like a pipe wrench and can take a cheater bar (or a box wrench if in a hurry) on the top handle.
Another reason the 12 inch is cut down for daily carry is that I’ve seen people bend the pocket size model. I’ve used the handle in the tab of concrete pier blocks to move them. There is NO way I can torque-out this tool. This is one of those pieces of steel that despite having only a few per cent of alloy has the perceived heft of greater weight than it should be. It is SWEET! EXTREMELY recommended!
I own both , I like the Cobra’s , but if I’m using a lot of force , I trust the Alligators more . BTW , the Cobra pivot is a replaceable part available from Knipex . They have a video on their You Tube channel showing how to do it .