What size knipex cobra do you need the most?

Out of the 8 different sizes of knipex cobra water pump pliers, most people find one size the most versatile. Which one is it? Find out in this article.

Even if you have a whole set of knipex cobra pliers in your tool chest, all the way from the Cobra XS to the 22 inch, the truth is that you will find one size the most useful. If this is happening to you, don’t worry. It is normal. There is just one size of the knipex water pump pliers that feels more versatile.

In this article, we will try to find out which size is it and why. We will also try to find out what the other sizes are most suitable for. So, if you are there wondering what size knipex cobra to buy first, this post is for you.

Knipex Cobra Pliers Range

The Knipex cobra series offers the largest range of water pump pliers sizes. It provides 8 different sizes with the smallest cobra pliers measuring 4″ (100mm) long and the largest 22 inches (560mm). The other sizes are 5″, 6″, 7-1/4″, 10″, 12″, and 16″.

Unfortunately, not all cobra pliers are versatile for multiple applications. For example, the 22″ cobra is very heavy in the hands and only suitable for heavy-duty applications such as turning large pipe fittings and nuts of up to 4.5″ diameter. On the other hand, the 4″ Cobra, popularly known as the Knipex Cobra XS, is more of an EDC pair of adjustable pliers suitable for use in very tight spots and for light duty applications. And this brings us to the question, which Knipex cobra pliers are the most versatile?

Which Cobra Pliers are the most versatile?

Personally, I find the 10″ (250mm) Cobra to be the most versatile Knipex water pump pliers. Unsurprisingly, the pliers are also popular among most people. In fact, they are the most bought even on Amazon.

Knipex 87 01 250 cobra pliers (10″)

Why are the Knipex 10″ Cobra pliers the most popular?

There are many reasons why most people prefer the Knipex 10 inch water pump pliers. These are the major ones:

Great size

The 10″ knipex cobra water pump pliers are neither small nor too large. They are the perfect size for general purpose use. Measuring 250mm long, they are the fifth in the cobra line-up, which is roughly the middle. So, although they won’t fit in the pliers sheath, they will fit in the back pocket of your pair of jeans so that you can carry them around in your work area.

The 10″ cobras pliers are long enough to provide the leverage you need for most tasks. Much of the length is on the handles, which is great for any pliers. As class A levers, pliers with long handles and a shorter distance between the jaws and pivot provide good mechanical advantage. This makes the 250mm knipex water pump pliers a perfect size.

Lightweight and sturdy

Besides the perfect size, the 10 inch cobras are lightweight yet sturdy. The handles are slim and fit very well in the hands. Unlike other tongue and groove pliers, you can tell that these are not for giant hands only. Anyone with an averagely sized palm and not a lot of hand muscle will find these perfect. They are a huge relief for women too.

Moreover, the 10″ cobra pliers will hardly cause fatigue to your arms unless you use them for so long without taking a break. Even so, they won’t be as fatiguing as the “blue handles” counterparts. The Knipex cobra lineup pliers have a unique locking feature that makes the jaws lock onto the stock tighter as you apply more force onto the upper handle. This feature takes away the need to squeeze both handles as you turn the pliers. Instead, you only push the top handle and the jaws will clamp onto the stock tighter as you increase the pressure.

Lastly, the pliers have textured grip handles to make them comfortable in the hands. Some have comfort grip handles. So it is up to you to choose the handles that make you happier.

Jaws open wide enough to grip most stocks

The second reason why the 10 inch Knipex Cobra pliers are the best is the slim jaw profile that is similar to other Cobra pliers and jaws that open wide enough to grip common sizes of plumbing fittings. They open up to 2 inches to grip round objects, which is good enough for most plumbing fittings at home. You can use the pliers for home improvement including plumbing repairs such as tightening down loose fittings, replacing a water heater, and removing stuck fittings such as a stuck faucet aerator.

If you are an electrician, you can use the pliers to grip anything up to 2 inch EMT compression fittings. The jaws have sharp hardened teeth that bite the stock strongly and won’t slip when you turn the pliers. However, to prevent the teeth from scratching the finish on your connectors, you can use a rag underneath or try any of these tips to keep pliers from leaving marks on the surface.

As an automechanic, I find these pliers handy for removing stuck studs and rounded off bolts. The jaws grip with minimal effort and the the serrations on them are strong and grip tight enough even on stripped fasteners. When you add the locking feature of the jaws, there is nothing you can’t torque loose with these pliers so long as the jaws can get around it.

Small adjustment increments

Like the other Cobras, these 10″ Knipex waterpump pliers offer multiple adjustment positions. They provide fine adjustments to ensure you get a perfect grip every time on different sizes of stock. This keeps the he jaws from slipping on the stock.

Available in Quickset or regular adjustment mechanism

The 10″ cobras are available with a quickset adjustment style or regular mechanism. The quickset mechanism, signified by a red ring on the adjustment button, makes adjusting the pliers incredibly easy. You can even adjust them with one hand even with gloves. Comparatively, cobra pliers with regular adjustment stye are more difficult to adjust when wearing gloves.

Generally, the quickset cobras are good to use in tough spots such as when doing refrigeration or auto repairs. Their only drawback, though minor, is that these pliers sometimes tend to adjust their size smaller when you accidently bump them hard or put them in the pocket. Otherwise, they are a tad faster to use than the older style.

They are simply Knipex

Bottom line, the 10 inch cobras are simply Knipex and therefore exhibit the Knipex quality. This means they are perfectly engineered, forged from oil hardened steel, teeth do not round off, handles are comfortable and won’t pinch, and the pliers have a slim profile that fits in most spaces.

Wrap up

Overall, the 10″ Knipex cobra pliers are a perfect size for general purpose use. They are also great to begin with as a starter in the Knipex Tools water pump pliers line up. They are lightweight yet sturdy, fit nicely in the hands, and open wide enough to grip most fasteners and pipes. Knipex 250 cobra pliers are available either as regular cobras (87 01 250), quickest model (87 21 250), or with multi-component grips (87 02 250).

However, if you need something more chunky but not far from the Knipex 10″ cobra, I would suggest you go for the 12″ or 300mm Knipex water pump pliers. They have the same qualities as the 10″ but a tad longer and heavier. Therefore, they are a better fit for giant hands.

For small tasks, the 5″ cobra pliers are the best. They won’t provide the same range and leverage as the 10″ but you can carry them around anywhere. They also fit properly in a pliers holster. Alternatively, if you need something more compact that you can carry every day anywhere, try the 4″ Knipex Cobra XS. It is the smallest water pump pliers in the world and very powerful.

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Julio a.k.a Pliersman is the owner and creator of the Pliersman Website. A blog that informs and educates you about different types of pliers and their uses. Julio is a handy person and has used a variety of pliers including general-purpose and specialty pliers to accomplish tasks. He holds an electrical engineering degree and has previously worked as an O&M manager for minigrids where his love story with pliers and other tools began.