I needed a new adjustable wrench to work on my bathroom rebuild. In typically Hingmy tradition only the best-of-the-best would do.
That's how the pliers wrench from Knipex ended up on the Hingmy test bench. Let's take look if this German import is indeed better than the competition, and if it can justify its hefty price premium.
The Knipex Adjustable Pliers Wrench Review
The core mechanic of the Knipex pliers wrench is the way its jaws move an 1/8 of an inch when the user moves the handles. With a 10-1 mechanical advantage the jaws grip whatever you are turning, which is something a crescent wrench cannot do. This is how Knipex combined the function of a pair of pliers and a wrench into a single tool.
To grip a work piece, all the user has to do is set the jaws to the rough size of the work piece using the lock button. The whole operation takes about two seconds and could not be more intuitive.
At times you'll get the opening distance wrong and the handles of the wrench are too far apart to turn comfortably. When that happens you'll have to reset the pliers wrench one tick larger. With use you'll get real good at estimating the required wrench opening correctly with your first try.
The Knipex pliers wrench improves one everything that has come before.
The smooth jaws are a good fit for this type of tool. Since the pliers wrench grips the work piece, teeth are not really necessary. The smooth jaws combined with the clamping action often preserve delicate finishes without the need to wrap electrical tape around the jaws. For heavy work like plumbing Knipex sells pliers wrenches with grooved jaws.
The core components of the wrench are cast metal. Guaranteed not to rust and mechanically simple, a Knipex pliers wrench will stand up to regular use for a couple of decades or more. If you take care of your tools, this wrench is going to be with you for a long time.
Knipex adjustable pliers wrenches come with three different handle options: simple dipped rubber handles, molded rubber comfort handles, and fully insulated handles for electrical work.
The simple handles do not match the quality of the pliers wrench itself. It makes little sense to purchase a high quality import tool only to have the handles peel off after a few years of use. If you use your wrenches regularly, avoid this type of handle.
The comfort grip pliers wrenches are the sweet spot for Knipex wrenches. Significantly wider than the dipped handles, the comfort grips not only feel better, but also develop more force at the jaws.
If you are working with electricity, you'll probably want to go for the electrical shock shielding offered by top handle option.
The Knipex pliers wrench sets itself apart from other adjustable wrenches through its ease of use. Getting it sized properly and fitted round the work piece takes less time than it does with any other adjustable wrench. Once set, the pliers wrench does not change its opening size on its own, which is a common problem with crescent wrenches. The vice action of the jaws grabs the work piece tightly, increasing surface area and decreasing incidents of accidentally rounding corners or damaging finishes.
As the mane implies, a Knipex pliers wrench operates like a pier of pliers and a wrench at the same time. You can use to grip work pieces for bending and other operations that are impossible with adjustable wrenches.
All these factors combine to allow you to work faster and with more ease. When working on a single fastener the Knipex pliers wrench will save you only a few seconds of work compared to other tools. If you work with the pliers wrench for a whole day, however, you'll never want to return it. This is simply a superior tool that does one particular thing better than any other wrench you can buy.
The Knipex pliers wrench is a superior tool that beats all other adjustable wrenches in terms of speed and ease of use. It eliminates many of the flaws of the other designs, thereby achieving a better feel on the jobsite.
If you are working with wrenches all day long, you owe it to yourself to check out the Knipex line of pliers wrenches. For everyone else the high price tag of these wrenches makes them a tough sell. Quality, it seems, comes at a price.
- fast and easy to adjust
- built to last
- grips the work piece when closed around it
- 10-1 mechanical advantage
- easier to use than any other adjustable wrench on the market
- mechanically simple
- currently very expensive