General Purpose Tools

Knipex Cobra Pliers

Tenacious wrench

This unique tool provides instant adjustment, memory retention of jaw opening, and single-handed, self-gripping operation with a grip that won’t let go. The Knipex jaws really grip. You can literally hang from the handles and they will not slip. The upper and lower jaws are notched. This allows the user to grip a hex nut on the corner and the flat side so as not to round off the nut. They have a flat nose where the jaws meet that allows you to do some pretty fine work. The jaws are very tough. The Cobra is designed to eliminate “knuckle-busting” and the “burring” of nuts, bolts, and fittings. Its thin profile and lightweight ensure ease of operation.

At first glance, they look like the classic Channel Locks (on the right in the picture below). But the Channel Lock handles actually touch together in the extreme “wide” position. This can and has led to pinched hands and fingers if you slip off the workpiece. The Knipex handles do not touch, which leaves you with that little bit of saving grace if you slip off the workpiece. Also, the Channel Lock has 5 jaw positions that slip/slide into place, while the Knipex has 12 jaw positions and, each position is spring-pin locked into place. For example, you are working in a blind, tight space and drop the Knipex: the jaw will still be set to the position you started with and you suffer no aggravation except that due to your own clumsiness. Not so with Channel locks. You will have to fiddle around with them to get them back where you want them, and if you bump or roll them around the work while trying to get a bite, the jaws will slip back out of position.

I have used this tool almost every day for the past 18 years working with elevator and escalator system installations, repairs, servicing, and maintenance. It is always the first tool I grab to take with me to do a job at home or at work.

-- Shaler Derickson 10/20/21

(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2004 — editors)

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