Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Another Great Tool: Knipex Pliers-Wrench

At the Makerfaire in Milwaukee a few weeks ago I spotted a tool I had never seen before sitting on a table. I picked it up and played with it for a minute and was hooked. It belonged to Markus, one of the Makerspace members who happens to be German, and has a great collection of super high quality European hand tools. Thanks Markus for showing me yet another great tool!

The particular tool I am referring to is a Knipex Pliers-Wrench. It is essentially an adjustable wrench, but unlike the type with the little worm gear to set the jaw spacing (which always slips and requires readjustment multiple times almost every time you use it), it operates like a pair of pliers. What makes it a wrench? Unlike normal pliers, the jaws are smooth and remain parallel at all times. The tool is intended for gripping the flats on nuts and bolts, not for grabbing pipe. You can still use it to crush and bend things like pliers, but you're not going to hold or turn pipes with it (Knipex makes other great tools for that).

This is the exact tool I bought. $48 via Nope, not cheap, but in a world where Apple sells $19 microfiber cloths for cleaning ipads, a relative bargain.

The Pliers-Wrench comes in many sizes, but the two most useful for everyday stuff are probably the 125mm and 180 mm models. The 125 mm version has very narrow jaws that can grip thin nuts like the jam nuts used to hold bearing cones in bicycle wheels (for bikes without sealed cartridge bearings). The 180 mm version that I bought is a bit longer (more leverage) and has wider jaws and can be used on nuts/bolts up to 40 mm (1 1/2")! That makes it a great tool to carry on a bike or in your car, truck, boat, or RV, because it can grip any size nut or bolt, metric or imperial.

You adjust it to the size of nut you're trying to hold by pushing down on the spring loaded pivot and sliding the jaws to the needed size. Opening and closing the handle through their full range gives about 6 mm (1/4") of adjustment range at each of the pivot settings. That also means it will work similar to a ratchet wrench if you loosen your grip on the handles as you rotate the wrench on the nut. The grip strength is very high and I was able to crush the edge of a penny with it. 

There are many reviews of the Knipex Pliers-Wrench on youtube. Here's one of them:

Highly recommended (and no I didn't receive any compensation for saying so).

You can buy Knipex tools at many places- I ordered mine via


  1. Hi Mark, (my first comment here)
    Can You say why You choose black finish instead of chrome?
    And Why basic handle?
    Cost of all options is about same.
    Dawid Nosal

  2. I liked the look of the black finish, and this is a relatively small wrench so I didn't feel like the thicker ergonomic grip would be needed- I'm usually wearing gloves when I work with tools, anyway, which provide a little more padding. This grip is less bulky which might allow it to be used more easily in narrow spaces.

  3. Thanks Mark. I’m glad to hear Your opinion. I’m chrome fan, but have same view on this “standard” grip. I do buy VDE grip sometimes… for electrical equipment. Have a great week


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