Flat-out some of the best pliers made are Knipex Cobras — basically they are one of those tools that “once you use them, you won’t know how you went so long without them”. This pair — Cobra QuickSet – is a bump up above the normal pair, with one big upgrade — you can easily adjust them with just one hand.
Previously we have reviewed various Knipex pliers — such as the original Cobras, Pliers Wrench, Raptors, Minis and even made a comparison video showing you the differences between the Cobras & Irwin Groovelocks (which many people claim are identical, but we proved otherwise).
What makes these new QuickSet pliers unique, is the ability to lock onto a fastener/pipe/fitting and not let go. Unlike most other pliers on the market — specifically “water pump” varieties — these do not require that you squeeze them together the entire time. Literally, once you clamp down, they wont release and lock-on (allowing you to focus on removing a fitting, and not squeezing pliers).
It is so effective at locking onto the work piece, we even tested them on a test unit (pipe) to prove it. By simply clamping them tight, we could then lean into them with our body weight & the Cobras held firm — then we stood on top of the handle (180lbs), and balancing all of that weight — the still held firm. No slipping, no twisting, no letting go. To remove them afterwards, take one finger and lift up on the top handle & they instantly release.
One huge factor with the gripping ability will be the combination of the hardened teeth & the very narrow jaws. Comparing the Cobras to the Channellock pliers or Irwin Groovelocks — the difference is clear. The jaws on the others are almost twice as wide — meaning you cannot get the same pressure applied to the fastener, since with the other brands that force is spread out over a much wider area.
As with any tool, the Cobras do have a negative. Even though the hardened teeth are excellent at digging in & not letting go — those same teeth will quickly mar the surface of a fastener. This can be a big problem when dealing with brass, plastics, chrome, or even air fittings. For those types of jobs, we would highly recommend a pair of the Knipex Pliers Wrenches. They have perfectly smooth jaws & will not damage the surface (like the Cobras unfortunately do).
Side-by-side on identical fittings, you quickly see what we mean. With the Pliers Wrench there is no damage to the flats of the air coupler, but with the Cobras the hardened teeth dug in and quickly scuffed up the surface. Probably not a big deal to most people — but it is worth noting. Be sure and get the right tool for every job.
Overall like the rest of the Cobra lineup — these work excellent. We use the normal pair (non-quickset) a lot, and have never ran into issues with them. Even under heavy use these should last for many years — and they also carry a lifetime warranty (against manufacturer defects — not normal wear/tear). Knipex makes a wide range of excellent pliers, and if you are looking for the place to start — the Cobras would be a wise choice!