Automotive Education/Info Tool Review

Knipex AWS Pliers: Review, How to Use and Alternatives

Knipex Automatic Stripping Pliers are a Great Design: Once You Know How to Use Them

Knipex automatic wire stripping pliers PN 1262180 made in Germany in black and red pistol grip
Here you can see the Knipex Automatic Wire Stripping pliers made in Germany. Click for info, reviews and where to buy these wire strippers online.

That will be your first look at the German Knipex Auto Wire Stripping Pliers. If you follow along this post, it will be far from the last time you see them. We are going to take a deep dive into the specs, features, when to use, reviews and warranty like we always do here at Auto Tool Experts.

I actually fell genuinely in love with these Knipex wire strippers using them on a wiring job on a 2010 Dodge Caliber. I had to replace the relay box under the fender with one from a junk yard and having these wire strippers to make the job easy was simply amazing.

But what is it about the Knipex wire strippers that make them better than say a Snap-On wire stripper, a WEICON pair or say a Klein pair? In this post, we will go over the benefits and disadvantages, how to use the Knipex Automatic Wire Stripper, how much they cost and where you can buy them.

We will also take a good look at the Knipex wire stripper reviews from Amazon, Some from YouTube and other sources online. And then we will look into the warranty and return policy on the Knipex wire strippers so we know what to do if they get broke or damaged in any way.

Knipex Automatic Wire Stripper Specs, Features and How They Work.

If you looked at these Knipex wire strippers and weren’t exactly sure how you would use them, you probably aren’t alone. The Knipex Automatic Wire Stripper is a tool designed differently from most tools made to strip insulation off of wire.

Traditionally, insulation wire strippers have come in the design of a pair of pliers like the ones below.

Knipex wire stripper pliers insulation remover
Click the image for more info on this style of Knipex wire strippers and where to buy.

Although the above Knipex wire strippers are a great tool, they are different and often used for different purposes. It’s likely if you’re a mechanic in heavy duty, light or industrial applications, you would benefit from owning both sets of wire strippers.

Some Things About the Knipex Automatic Wire Stripping Tool

The first thing to know about the Knipex 1262180 is they are small. Like notably small compared to some of the other types of auto wire strippers and including the other two that Knipex sells, the 1242195 and 1240200. Here’s a comparison photo below.

Comparison photo of Knipex types of automatic wire strippers AWS
Here you can see the three styles of Knipex AWS and how they compare in size. Click the image for more info.

How you use the Knipex 1262180 Auto Wire Stripper is quite different from the way most AWS tools are designed. Here’s a good video I found that walks you through how to use the Knipex AWS and some of the features. Also, here’s a good image that gives you a basic starting point for learning how to use the Knipex 1262180 AWS pliers. Also, Knipex has the operating instruction manual for the Knipex AWS posted right on its website.

Knipex 1262180 AWS cutting stripping wire insulation
This picture gives you a good outline on how to use the Knipex 1262180 AWS. Click for a more thorough review of the Knipex 1262180.
What do the Knipex AWS Pliers Do?

So for the complete rundown on what the Knipex 1262180 can do, here are the functions of the tool.

  • Cut wires up to a maximum of 2.5 mm in diameter.
  • Strip wires in confined places like under the dash of a car or truck with the Knipex 1262180.
  • The Knipex pistol grip wire strippers are accurate with insulation from .2- 6mm²
  • The Knipex 1262180 Can strip wires from 10-24 AWG.

How are Reviews on the Knipex 1262180 AWS pliers?

A picture of me actually stripping a piece of 14 gauge red wire with the Knipex pistol-grip automatic stripping tool
Here you can see me actually stripping a piece of 14 gauge wire with the Knipex AWS tool. Click for more info, reviews and where to buy.

Starting on Amazon where the Knipex AWS cost the least, I went looking for reviews to give you guys. I first want to point out that overall, the 1262180 had a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon. Good, not great compared to some of the tools I have reviewed. It’s not an exact science though. Here’s some of what people had to say.

Verified Buyer “Sondrak” captions their review with “Again Knipex solves problems I didn’t know I had” and then follows up with this,

Again, another knipex product, and another problem they’ve solved for me I didn’t even know I had. I’d probably buy blinker fluid if it were branded “Knipex” at this point, just to see how well it worked.

Another Verified Buyer “John382” captioned a review with “Does exactly what it’s designed for” and then added,

Works perfect on those small thin wires. I think it could have been made out of more metal than what it was made but the upgrade of allowing you to select the force of the teeth and the insulation is much better than the 1st version. Exactly what you expect from KNIPEX Tools. Would like to see the make a version that would do multiple wires at the same time.

There were some reviews that weren’t quite as positive for the Knipex 1262180 AWS which is to be expected. Here’s a couple of those reviews.


Anonymous Amazon Customer captioned his 3-star review with “lost the bite” and then continued with this,

The tool worked great and did what it was described to do but I noticed that the jaws were a little weak. I contacted the company to inquire about a more sturdy version. I was told that this was the only tool they had for the material i was working with. Ten months of a bit more than occasional use and the jaw popped out. no more good for me as a tool. Would like to see a heavy duty version. until then I guess i will back it down and get a cheaper tool. Sometime I just hate finding something I like.

“Ralph Chevarie” captioned with “another deception for household tools” and then adds,

used for 10/2 and 12/2 type wire they are useless as they can’t remove the isolation outside the wires. Once removed with a knife or other device they work like a charm.

Some notable websites came away with pretty good things to say about the Knipex 10-24 AWG wire strippers. For example over at “toolguyd” an established tool review website, they said “My new Knipex AWS are pretty good so far”. You can read the post here.

Users on eBay actually gave the Knipex 1262180 a better overall rating at 4.7 but the cost on eBay ranges from $10-30 more buying from there.

Are the Knipex Automatic Wire Strippers (AWS) Warrantied?

I feel like a broken record at times because of the amount of posts I talk about the same stuff- but I do it because things like warranty are important to consider when buying tools. If you used the Knipex 1262180 a couple times and the handle breaks off, you’re going to be upset first. And then you’re going to start looking into if those Knipex AWS are warrantied so you can get a replacement pair for free.

Luckily for you, Knipex hand tools have a lifetime no questions asked warranty. This is why you often see Knipex tools sold on the Snap-On truck because if the tool breaks they can warranty it easily through the company Knipex instead of covering the costs themselves.

Some Cheaper Alternatives if You Have a Tool Budget

Although myself and many others consider the Knipex 1262180 to be the best automatic wire strippers available, there are several other brands of “pistol grip” automatic wire strippers that can be bought a little bit cheaper. Here are a couple options I found.

Jokari 20050 Automatic Wire Stripper

The Jokari automatic wire strippers are not designed exactly like the Knipex pistol grip. As you can see, they are more of a 15 degree angle where the Knipex would be closer to a 90. I could still see the Jokari 20050 being useful though in a lot of the same scenarios as the Knipex version. They cost around $20 less depending when you buy them from Amazon.

Capri Tools 20011 AWS Tool

The other budget version of the Knipex pistol grip wire strippers is these Capri Tools 20011 automatic wire insulation removal tool. I do have some experience with Capri and I’d be the first to admit they are not my first choice of tools. On a budget, they will do the trick though.

With a price tag under $20 it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a pair of the Capri 20011 automatic wire strippers for the home shop even if you buy the Knipex AWS tool.

Conclusion- Buy the Knipex AWS Tool

So there you have it. There’s my review and opinions on the Knipex 1262180 automatic wire stripping pliers with some extras and alternatives sprinkled in. If you like the effort I put in (not AI generated) go ahead and share or put a friend on to my tool reviews.

By John Green

I’m John Green. I’m a 33 year old auto technician from Upstate New York. I have 18 years of experience as an automotive light duty and heavy duty truck mechanic. Cars, trucks and anything with moving parts are my passion in my professional life.

Aside from my life as a technician, I am also a seasoned investor and consider myself very financially literate. I use this other passion combined with my passion for cars, trucks and tools to look for ways to save money for my technician friends.

Raising my three girls and teaching them the proper way of life is my personal passion in life. If you want to know more, just ask! I’m on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as well!