The Knipex Cobra XS is a tiny, high-precision pair of water pump pliers that sells for a premium price. Is it worth investing in for a home handyman?
What Is The Knipex Cobra XS?
If you are confused as to why a 3.9″ long set of pliers would cost $30, don’t worry, you are not alone. The Cobra XS is a pair of water pump pliers, what most of us would normally call a “channel lock,” “adjustable pliers,” or maybe “tongue and groove pliers.”
These pliers are very well made, with wonderful precision parts and excellent fit between the two halves of the pliers.
The pliers are small so the maximum grip capacity on the flats is 24mm or about 0.94 inches (15/16″). The maximum capacity in the cutout parts of the plier area is 28mm (1.1″).
Why Are They So Small?
To be fair, we are looking at the Cobra XS which is the smallest model in the line. Knipex has Cobra models that get much bigger — the Cobra XXL is 560mm long.
The small size — 100mm in length or about 4 inches — means the Cobra XS is ideal for use in small spaces, like under a sink when installing a water filter or any other similarly tight scenario.
The XS is also designed to for one hand use, which makes it even better at small spaces where you are only wriggle one arm in there.
The Cobra XS has no rubber on the grips in order to keep the size down, plus this allows it to be slipped into and out of pockets much more easily than if it was coated with rubber.
The pliers are self-locking, which aids in the one-handed usage as you can get them into the right width, apply a bit of pressure, and then not have to worry about them wiggling out of position. Plus you just need to apply pressure to the one side and you’ll still be able to apply full pressure.
Cobra XS In Use
Having used the Cobra XS water pump pliers for some months, I have to say I’ve come away impressed.
I will say that the pliers are smaller than I expected (even after measuring before buying) and they are a bit too small for me to get maximum usage out of. I have used them for many jobs, like the 50+ tiny nuts and bolts that came with my FCMP compost bin. In this situation the right pliers will save you a good 10 minutes, which means after just a few uses they will have earned themselves a place in my tool box (well my tool bucket bag at least).
The pliers are easy to keep on you, which is their most important and best feature. They are also wonderfully made, much better than most of my hand tools. The precision shows through then you are working with something tiny, like a little lock nut on a a water line or the tiny fasteners on a ceiling fan installation.
The pliers are small, and the 1″ (or so) mouth size is limiting. They are also expensive, but they last practically forever so long as you don’t lose them or they get “borrowed” by someone who falls in love with your precision German channel lock!
Where To Buy
The Cobra XS water pump pliers can’t be found at Home Depot or Lowe’s in my experience but they are easy to find online. You can buy them on Amazon and other large retailers for about $30.