Our friends over at KC Tool, an independent tool distributor that specializes in German hand tools, sent over this duo of Knipex pliers for review. I had requested the 125 mm (5-inch) versions of the Knipex Pliers Wrench (86 03 125) and Cobra adjustable pliers (87 01 125), as I had heard that these sizes of pliers might be especially pocketable.
I’ve been struggling to find decent EDC (everyday carry) pliers, and these looked to be perfect. I do have a small 4-inch adjustable wrench, but like the Pliers Wrench a LOT better.
I posted about the Knipex Pliers Wrench previously, and again recently as a giveaway idea. Both posts and the reader discussions will get you up to speed about the awesome and unique Pliers Wrench. Pliers Wrenches are basically high leverage parallel jaw pliers that are extremely versatile, and Cobra adjustable pliers have shaped and grooved jaws that can fit many different shapes and sizes of materials.
Now is a good time to remind you – our KC Tool giveaway ends today, June 26th, 2015! If you haven’t already entered, you will probably want to do so quickly. Would you like to win one of the tools reviewed here? Or maybe even the full-size versions? Hop into the giveaway post and enter to win. Want something else from KC Tool’s catalog? The giveaway prize will be up to $75 in free tools for each of (4) winners.
Here you can the size difference between these 125 mm (5-inch) models and their larger 7-inch cousins.
Why does the larger Cobra pliers have black grips? Because they’re relabed under Craftsman branding. Craftsman has been selling a 2-piece set of these pliers for $50 (regularly priced) for the longest time.
Hopefully this photo of both pliers with an AA battery gives you a good sense of their size. They really are pocketable.
The Cobra pliers can grip fasteners, but also cylindrical and non-uniform shapes. The Pliers Wrench is going to be the better choice for use on fasteners that will show or be reused, as they won’t dig into or mar the surface.
Although the Pliers Wrench has smooth and parallel jaws, it can exert a lot of force and gripping power.
I must admit, while I haven’t yet gotten over the novelty of the 5-inch Pliers Wrench’s teeny tiny size, it’s not quite as smooth to operate as my 7-inch and 10-inch ones. This has me curious as to whether the 6-inch (150 mm) size will be noticeably speedier. Or maybe I’m just looking for a reason to buy the 6-inch pliers?
Without having access to my 7-inch Pliers Wrench, I’d have nothing to complain about. While not the fastest Pliers Wrench to adjust, the 5-inch model is the smallest, and it’s come in handy these past couple of weeks. Because it’s so small, I don’t mind taking it with me.
I think that this 5-inch model, or maybe the 6-inch model if I spring for it, will replace the Stanley 6-inch MaxSteel adjustable wrench that I’ve favored for many years now. I generally prefer Channellock/Irega adjustable wrenches, but I like that Stanley MaxSteel for minimalist travel tool kits. It’s got low-profile jaws and is well sized for travel.
The thin jaws on this Pliers Wrench are pretty convincing. The travelling days for my 6-inch Stanley adjustable are numbered.
At max opening, the 5-inch Knipex Pliers Wrench has a measured capacity of around 0.935″. According to Knipex, it can accommodate 7/8″ and 23 mm hex fasteners (across flats).
Aside from the Pliers Wrench, Knipex’s Cobra pliers are perhaps their next most popular style. Or maybe the Cobras are most popular? I never checked. But when you hear someone talking about, asking about, or praising Knipex, most of the time the conversation is about one or both of these pliers styles.
The mini Cobra pliers adjust as quickly as my larger versions, and feels great in-hand. It has a different grip material than the Pliers Wrench. The Pliers Wrench grip is made with a smooth plastic material, the Cobra handle grip is made with a textured and slightly grippier material. I like both grip styles, but am happy to see that the Cobras have that textured grip.
Despite being small, the Cobra’s jaws have well-defined grooves. You have finely spaced and shallow grooves at the top, coarse and angled teeth on opposite sides of the groove, and another set of fine grooves near the pivot.
So why 2 sets of fine grooves? So that you can securely grip rectangular objects. If you didn’t realize that before, I bet you do now! And they grip really well, too. Just keep in mind that the serrations might mar delicate materials. That plays into how the Pliers Wrench and Cobra pliers complement each other so well.
At max opening, the Cobra pliers spread to about 1.815″ (measured with calipers). Knipex says that the 5-inch version has max capacity of 1-inch or 27 mm for pipes, and 27 mm for hex fasteners (across flats). You can probably push the capacity beyond that 27 mm, or ~1.06″ rating, but not without sacrificing gripping power.
My Knipex Pliers Wrench are permanent additions to my toolbox. That’s just how it is, and I think you’ll find that most if not all Pliers Wrench users feel the same way. My Cobras are decent, but my 10-inch one is in storage since I also have similarly sized NWS pliers.
These two 5-inch pliers will definitely be added to my EDC rotation. I have already started carrying the Cobras with me, and might swap in the Pliers Wrench depending on where I’m going and what I plan on going. I think I really will check out the 6-inch Pliers Wrench as well to see if I like that size better.
I definitely recommend both models, and will leave it to you to determine which one is better suited for your needs. A word of warning – the 5-inch Pliers Wrench is a little pricey. This makes them more appealing for users who are already familiar with larger sizes that they love using. The Cobras are also a little pricey, but less so than the Pliers Wrench.
Questions? I’m sure you have some, so ask away!
Over at KC Tool, the 5-inch Pliers Wrench is $54 and change, and the 5-inch Cobras are about $36. You can buy a 2pc set of 6-inch Pliers Wrench and 5-inch Cobra pliers for $97.50 today, as it’s the “Tool Deal of the Day.” Regularly priced, that set is $121.
Thank you to KC Tool for providing the review samples unconditionally.