How to choose the best Water Pump Pliers

Published : 08/4/2023 17:37:52
Categories : Mister Worker , Professional working tools guide


Today on the Mister Worker® Blog we are talking about water pump pliers and their features. These tools are widely used in the plumbing sector to carry out maintenance services.  

Knipex Alligator

What are Water Pump Pliers?

Water pump pliers are versatile tools commonly employed for rotating nuts and bolts, as well as gripping irregular objects or securing parts. These pliers typically boast serrated jaws, ensuring a firm grasp. Additionally, they come with a lap joint or box joint, and some may offer a fine adjustment feature with a push button. Moreover, these tools are equipped with ergonomic handles, prioritizing user comfort during work. When a sturdy and dependable grip is required, these pliers serve as the ultimate solution.

Who makes the best water pump pliers?

KNIPEX water pump pliers are considered to be among the best on the global market for plumbing tools. The brand develops and manufactures top-quality pliers for professional users around the world. Professionals must be able to rely on their tools in daily applications and expect precision and functionality, also after intensive use. KNIPEX wants to offer the best solutions for your needs – pliers with the best performance, ergonomics, and long service life.

How to use water pump pliers

A lot of individuals often inquire about the proper usage of water pump pliers. Well, it's actually quite straightforward.

To start, attach the beak of the pliers to the bar and tighten it slightly, so you don't need to hold onto the handle. The lower jaw can be easily adjusted to different positions by sliding a tracking segment under the top jaw, allowing for a wide range of jaw openings.

Once adjusted, applying pressure on the upper handle is sufficient for the pliers to firmly grasp the workpiece, providing a secure grip. This eliminates the need for awkwardly searching for the right opening width and significantly reduces the amount of manual force required.

What is the purpose of water pump pliers?

Let’s talk about the water pump pliers uses. These products are primarily employed for working on metal components in applications such as plumbing. Moreover, these tools are used in many sectors: sanitary and heating engineering, or air-conditioning. These universal pliers are also ideal for gripping round, angular and flat workpieces like pipes, couplings, sheet metal, or screws.

Novice workers, when searching for tools for their tasks often ask themselves: "do I need water pump pliers?" The answer we give is: if you need to loosen or tighten bolts, replace parts, or generally work on pipes then, yes, you do.

Why do they call them water pump pliers?

Water pump pliers derive their name from their primary application in the plumbing sector, where they are utilized for gripping and clamping the pump hub or pulley while removing the fan. The term has likely evolved from the practice of extracting fans from vintage automobiles.

Frequently, the question arises: "Who invented water pump pliers?". The origins of this versatile tool can be traced back to the year 1934 when the American company Champion–DeArment Tool Company introduced and brought it to the market, trademarked as Channellock.

What to consider when buying Water Pump Pliers?

Distinctive features play a vital role in the performance of water pump pliers:

  • Adjustment Quality: The precision of the adjustment in water pump pliers allows for accurate sizing to fit various workpieces, such as pipes. This feature ensures efficient and effective work.
  • Self-Locking Properties: An essential attribute of these pliers is their self-locking mechanism, which prevents any unwanted slipping while working with the workpiece, thereby avoiding any unnecessary delays.
  • Ergonomic Shape: Providing users with the necessary comfort to carry out their daily tasks, water pump pliers are designed with an ergonomic shape that reduces strain and enhances usability.

KNIPEX stands out in offering high-quality water pump pliers, particularly in its famous Cobra® series. These pliers boast an ergonomic structure, allowing for optimal handling, and ideal adjustment to fit various workpiece sizes. Moreover, they boast a pinch guard to prevent injuries, and self-locking jaws, ensuring a smooth and safe working experience.

What are the best Water Pump Pliers?

KNIPEX offers two main models of pliers: the Alligator® and the Cobra®. The Alligator® has been providing a self-locking effect since 1973, and no competitor has matched its performance. Tradespeople accustomed to its handling appreciate the tried-and-tested slip joint.

The KNIPEX Cobra® series features high-tech water pump pliers, an advancement of the Alligator® model. These pliers have an ingenious opening width adjustment via a push button, allowing precise adjustments directly on the workpiece. To use them, simply press the button, open the joint, place the upper jaw on the workpiece, and adjust the other jaw from below.

Here are some of the most popular models:

  • KNIPEX Cobra® XXL water pump pliers 87 01 400. This model combines a pipe wrench and water pump pliers, making it quick to apply and self-locking. The pliers have plastic-covered handles for a comfortable and secure grip. Made of chrome vanadium steel with a multi-stage hardening process, they strike the perfect balance of hardness and toughness. These large water pump pliers are ideal for transferring force to sizable workpieces.
  • KNIPEX Cobra® XS 87 00 100 pliers: the world's smallest adjustable water pump pliers. Thanks to their short design and slim head, these mini water pump pliers excel in tight spaces. One-handed fine adjustment is possible, making it easy to adapt to different workpiece sizes by simply pressing. The increased wear resistance ensures a firm and durable grasp.
  • KNIPEX Cobra® pliers set 00 19 55 S5: This set includes five different models of Cobra® pliers, expanding your capabilities. The set comes in a practical pouch with a hook-and-loop fastener for convenient storage.
  • KNIPEX 87 01 250 pliers: they provide high stability thanks to their double-guided through a hinge pin. Equipped with a secure hinge pin release, these KNIPEX Cobra® 250 pliers can be adjusted precisely and without the risk of accidental displacement. In addition, the possibility of adapting the pliers directly to the workpiece allows optimal adaptation to various dimensions, guaranteeing greater convenience as well as excellent handling.

The range of Cobra® pliers is very wide and therefore it is difficult to determine which is the best. 

As for the Knipex Alligator® line, we recommend the pliers 88 01 180, which allow easy access to the workpiece due to slim design of the head and joint area. This tool has a 9-step adjustment positioning for 30% more gripping capacity. In this way it gives the user increased performance and comfort compared to conventional water pump pliers. Model 88 01 180 is a self-clamping pliers on pipes and nuts: this prevents slipping on the workpiece and allows effort-saving work experience. Moreover, these pliers feature a guard that prevents operators' fingers from being pinched.

This type of pliers is available in our store in different sizes, such as the 250 mm model (KNIPEX 88 01 250). Thus, you will benefit from unprecedented versatility.

Browse the Knipex Cobra® pliers catalog

KNIPEX Cobra® vs Alligator®: what to choose?

What is the difference between KNIPEX Cobra® and Alligator®? If you would like to buy these pliers or need only one of them for a specific activity, you need to know the peculiarities that distinguish the calipers of both lines. 

Here's a clear comparison:

  • Adjustment Positions: Alligator® pliers offer fewer adjustment positions when compared to the Cobra® pliers.
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Cobra® pliers feature a smoothly running adjustment knob, whereas Alligator® pliers utilize a sliding joint course adjustment mechanism.
  • Sliding Joint Jaw Size Adaptation: Alligator® models come equipped with a sliding joint jaw size adjustment mechanism, providing up to 9 different positions for versatility.
  • KNIPEX Cobra® Jaw Width Settings: The KNIPEX Cobra® pliers allow you to adjust the jaw width effortlessly using a convenient button. By pressing the button and sliding the top handle forwards or backward, you can reduce or widen the jaw opening. The Cobra® pliers offer up to 25 adjustable positions, giving you precise control.
  • Variety of Sizes: When it comes to water pump pliers sizes, the Cobra® range outshines the Alligator® range by offering a wider selection of pliers lengths.

While comparing KNIPEX Alligator® and Cobra® pliers, remember to consider other factors like pricing, ease of use, and the specific application you have in mind. By carefully evaluating these aspects, you can make an informed decision and select the pliers that best match your requirements.

Browse the Knipex Alligator® pliers catalog

What size water pump pliers do I need?

It depends on the activity you have to fulfill. The water pump pliers' size usually oscillates from 150 mm to 200 mm. They can also reach a length of 250 or 300 mm.

Have there been any innovations in this product category in recent years? If so, which ones?

Opening width adjustment is even easier with the KNIPEX SmartGrip® 85 water pump pliers with automatic adjustment. An intelligent mechanism finds the right opening width automatically. Simply put the pliers around the workpiece and press them together: the pliers are correctly adjusted and holding securely thanks to the self-locking effect! This can be an enormous facilitation at work, not only appreciated in sanitary engineering but wherever workpiece sizes vary a lot.

What can we expect from KNIPEX in the future?

Every day, our developers work on further efficient innovations in collaboration with professionals and regular tool users. One of these innovations is the aforementioned KNIPEX Cobra® XS 87 00 100: A pair of mini water pump pliers which, at only 100 mm length, are the smallest fully functional water pump pliers in the world. We also keep enhancing our range: the KNIPEX TubiX® 90 31 02 cutters has been newly developed, basically from scratch, featuring the QuickLock single-handed quick adjustment to cut copper, brass and steel pipes easier and more precisely than has ever been possible!

Rothenberger water pump pliers

KNIPEX is not the only manufacturer excelling in this type of tool. Rothenberger water pump pliers also boast a strong reputation for their impressive performance. These versatile pliers find application across a wide range of tasks and are constructed using premium-grade materials and cutting-edge production techniques. The brand is dedicated to producing top-quality tools specifically tailored for the plumbing sector, an area where it has established its expertise

One of this brand’s best-known products is the 70523 water pump pliers SP. This product boasts high-quality, self-gripping jaws for a secure grip, even on smooth pipes. Another important feature is its long, slim head, ideal for hard-to-reach places. Its jaws are induction hardened so that they can last for long periods of time. This model is adjustable in 7 opening positions to cover a wide variety of applications

Browse the Rothenberger water pump pliers catalog

Where to buy water pump pliers?

Water pump pliers are readily available at a variety of hardware stores and online shops. For instance, you can explore Mister Worker®, an online store specializing in tools and equipment for MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Operations). There, you can browse through an extensive selection of KNIPEX and Rothenberger water pump pliers, each offering unique and desirable features.

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