Wrecking bars, crowbars, and pry bars are often combined in the same category, but important differences exist. One of the major differences about a pry bar is that it can often preserve the item it is dismantling, thus allowing the item to be reused and making the most of its value.
Given its ability to lift flooring, remove moldings, extract nails, and more, the pry bar is a vital part of any remodeling job. It can be equally useful when you’re working on your roof or recycling used pallets and other salvaged wood. In fact, the pry bar can assist with a surprisingly wide variety of DIY tasks.
While the concept of a pry bar remains simple, a number of styles are available, which can vary in size from fitting in your palm to being several feet long. Thus, choosing the best pry bar for your tool kit might not be as straightforward as it first appears. Rest assured this guide will help you to make an informed choice.
Our Top Picks
The best pry bar must be tough enough to handle difficult tasks and also easy to control, as most of the time you want to minimize damage to the items the pry bar is disassembling. As a result, our top picks feature both general-purpose models and pry bars with more specific functions. Read on to discover the best pry bar for your tool kit to tackle all kinds of jobs.
With its bright, reflective finish, this pry bar from Titan is made of stainless steel, which makes it not only an essential item for your tool kit but an attractive-looking one as well. The pry bar is strong but also offers slight flexibility, so it won’t crack or break under pressure. In addition, it’s extremely resistant to corrosion and easy to wipe clean.
Although the design of this pry bar is simple, it incorporates numerous useful functions. The hole near the top of the bar serves as a nail puller that also works on tacks and studs. The angled head boasts a sharp bevel to make it easier to insert into the edges of baseboards, moldings, and other areas to detach them. The flat end is almost razor sharp, so you can scrape off loose paint, dirt, and other contaminants. At 9.25 inches, this pry bar offers plenty of leverage but still allows finesse and easily fits in most tool boxes.
This pry bar from Tekton comes at a highly competitive price and is made from forged steel, which is hammered into shape under pressure and then heat-treated to maximize durability. It is then coated in an enamel finish to resist corrosion. The 15-inch length and rocker end design are typical of a general-purpose pry bar. It can generate excellent leverage, but it’s not so large that it’s awkward to handle, no matter where you’re working.
The chiseled ends on this pry bar make it easy to wedge into tight gaps or scrape away at unwanted material. The nail and staple pullers at both ends allow you to use it at numerous angles, and the central nail slot is highly beneficial when you need to use maximum force. The Tekton is a great all-around tool at a very competitive price.
While a single, general-purpose pry bar can have many uses, there will likely be times you’ll wish it was either larger or smaller to deliver maximum efficiency for a particular job. Buying a set of pry bars solves this issue by offering greater versatility and a better chance of always having the right leverage or angle for each different task. With the value provided by this three-piece pry bar set from Dasco Pro, it needn’t be an expensive option either.
This set features three pry bar sizes: 5.5 inches, 7.5 inches, and 9 inches. Each pry bar is highly suited for a variety of pulling, levering, and scraping tasks. They offer tremendous flexibility, and their relatively compact size makes them easy to store or transport to the job site. While constructed of mild steel, which doesn’t have the strength of heat-treated or forged tools, they nevertheless meet or exceed the relevant ANSI standards.
A standard pry bar is designed to maximize physical strength by using the leverage that its shape provides. Normally, that leverage is sufficient to successfully complete the job, but sometimes muscle alone is not enough to pry an object loose. The set includes five pry bars with an overall length from cap to handle of 10 inches, 12 inches, 17 inches, 25 inches, and 31 inches.
Each pry bar in this five-piece set from Mayhew Tools features a curved end for increased leverage in tight spaces and a steel cap on the handle that you can strike with a hammer. The cap connects directly to the main shaft, which is made of hardened and tempered steel and topped with a rust-resistant oxide finish. This steel can withstand the application of maximum force while still allowing a degree of flexibility to prevent breakage under repeated impact. The polypropylene handle is resistant to oil and solvents.
Look at a selection of pry bars and you’ll notice the ends (or heads) of most products on the market feature a similar angle. Typically, pry bars are almost flat on one end and curved on the other end. While this standard design makes them a versatile and reliable all-around tool, you’ll nearly always encounter a task for which they don’t function as well as you’d like.
An indexing pry bar allows you to set the head at different angles to tackle a wider range of jobs. In the case of this 30-inch indexing pry bar from Crescent, an easy-to-use, push-button mechanism permits you to set any of 15 available positions through 180 degrees of travel. The head itself is tapered, so whether you’re removing awkward nails or tearing up tile, you can position it for maximum efficiency and power. With steel construction providing overall durability, this bar also features a striking cap on the end as well as a comfortable grip on the shaft, minimizing the chances of your hand slipping while exerting pressure.
A pry bar with a long shaft provides tremendous leverage, but a tool that’s over 2 feet long can be awkward to carry and store. This extendable pry bar from GEARWRENCH overcomes those challenges while offering excellent versatility. The mechanism allows it to extend and lock at any length up to 33 inches. The pry bar retracts to 21 inches, which is convenient for working in tight spaces and storing in most tool trolleys and tool boxes. The 14-position indexing head rotates a full 180 degrees for maximum accessibility and leverage.
This pry bar exceeds both ASME and ANSI standards for automotive and industrial purposes, and the powerful nature of the tool makes it designed for lifting and moving of heavy equipment or for demolition work.
If you hire a professional to paint an area of your home, he or she will usually remove all door and window trims and any decorative moldings, allowing for quick and efficient wall painting. The trims and moldings are painted separately, so the finished look is clean and crisp with no overpainting.
Warner developed this painter’s pry bar for these more delicate tasks. The blade is a highly flexible, heat-treated carbon steel, with no coating that might rub off and mark walls or trim. The durable polypropylene handle boasts a soft rubber edge for all-day comfort and avoidance of hand fatigue. The head is at the optimum angle for trim and molding lifting, and a nail pulling groove in the center makes quick work of walls covered in nails. While something of a specialized pry bar, it is an inexpensive tool that’s invaluable for better home decorating.