7 Best Pry Bars in 2020

Our number one choice for the best pry bar around is the Stanley 55-515 12-3/4-inch Wonderbar Pry Bar. Made from heat-treated forged high carbon steel, this durable yet thin pry bar has beveled edges for easier scraping and cutting.

To find the best pry bar for mechanics or general DIY home improvement, we’ve compared materials and specs and put the top pry bars to the test to see what they’re really made of. For best corrosion resistance we looked for materials such as stainless steel and forged carbon steel with a rust-resistant finish. We also considered features like overall length and shape, looking for the bars that provided the greatest leverage for nail removal. We looked for durability and for performance on common tasks such as pulling up nails, loosening rusted bolts, and removing moldings. Keep reading to learn more about other high-grade pry bars available for purchase.

Top 7 Best Pry Bars

 #1  Stanley 55-515 12-3/4-inch Wonderbar Pry Bar

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: Angled nail pulling slots and beveled edges on both sides make this thin pry bar more efficient at pulling up nails and more effective at scraping and cutting tasks.

Pros
  • Very durable, forged steel construction
  • Beveled, angled nail slots
  • Thin edge for effective scraping
Cons
  • Not the longest pry bar on the market

This useful and relatively slim 12 3/4 inch pry bar is close to ideal for pulling up nails in flooring, moldings and other household renovation projects. It has beveled edges and well-designed angled nail slots to allow for easier scraping and provide more leverage on nails and construction staples.

Whether you’re pulling up carpeting to replace or put in new flooring, replacing a rusted hinge or loosening stripped bolts, this thin yet strong pry bar is generally up to the task. It’s shorter than some alternatives on the market but its small size helps when working in tight spaces or when precise handling is necessary. If you’re looking to expand your at-home DIY kit, check out our guide to the best levels.

 #2  Titan 11509 9-1/4-Inch Stainless Steel Pry Bar

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This lightweight pry bar features a sharp scraping edge for removing tile, slats and veneers, along with an angled end and a nail puller whose shape accommodates differently sized nail heads.

Pros
  • Sharp enough for removing paint and adhesive residue
  • The angled end features chisel blade
  • Works great as a nail puller thanks to beveled nail slots
Cons
  • Small size limits leverage on stubborn nails and bolt heads

If you’re looking for the best pry bar for trim and detail work, this 9 and 1/4-inch model may fit the bill nicely. It has a broad, sharp scraper edge that makes it well suited to taking off paint residue, calk and adhesive from hard surfaces. It also features an angled head with a wedge-shaped chisel blade that allows it to work well in tight spaces.

This chisel-like design works great for removing baseboard and veneer and for work on all kinds of moldings and trims. It has a beveled nail puller with a useful shape that makes it able to get a grip on a wide variety of different sized nail heads. If your job is a bit bigger, you might want to look at our guide to the best axe instead.

 #3  TEKTON 15-Inch Utility Pry Bar

Award: BEST ALL-PURPOSE

WHY WE LIKE IT: This corrosion-resistant high-strength steel pry bar comes in a versatile 15-inch size and has three nail slots plus a well-shaped rocker end for good leverage on the nail and bolt heads, making it useful for many different nail removal and dismantling tasks.

Pros
  • Easy scraping thanks to chiseled ends
  • Contoured for stronger prying leverage
  • Durable heat-treated steel material
Cons
  • Bulkier than some of the best pry bars for tight spaces
  • Lacks padded handle for comfort

This angled pry bar comes with sharp, wedge-shaped chisel ends to slide into cracks and crevices and help it get under utility staples and nail heads. It also benefits from three nail slots, one beveled slot on each end, and a central slot that’s well placed for using the bar’s angle as a fulcrum and gaining the most leverage on the nail.

Made from forged, high strength steel, it has an enamel finish that won’t chip or flake easily and helps make it corrosion resistant and free of rust. It works well for scraping and trim pulling tasks as well as general-purpose nail removal. You’ll quickly add this pry bar to your collection of best tools.

 #4  Vaughan B215 15-Inch Long Original SuperBar Pry Bar

Award: BEST AT NAIL PULLING

WHY WE LIKE IT: This 15-inch bar comes with a classic “shepherd’s crook” design that offers great leverage for pulling up nails, studs and tacks. It has polished chisel blades to help get under baseboards and tile.

Pros
  • Angled design offers superior leverage
  • Polished chisel blades for getting under baseboards and tile
  • Three beveled nailhead slots
Cons
  • Not as long a reach as you get with some specialty pry bars
  • Not as ideal for tight spaces as a flat pry bar

Among the simple, classic one-piece pry bars, this 15-inch model delivers great performance when it comes to the traditional pry bar uses such as removing nails and studs, separating wood slats and pulling up baseboard. It may not be as adept at small scraping tasks in tight spaces as some of the smaller, flat pry bars, but its angled shape offers superior leverage for pulling up big, tough nails.

Designed with the typical crowbar “shepherd’s crook,” form, it provides a convenient fulcrum to maximize leverage when extracting nails or other fasteners. This helps it remove rusted-in and bent nails. It does lack some of the features you can get on the best wrecking bars and pry bars for mechanics, such as an indexing head and ergonomic grip. If you’ve got a tough job ahead, you might also be interested in our guide to the best chisels.

 #5  Crescent Brand BLACK DB18X 18 Indexing Flat Pry Bar

Award: BEST GRIP

WHY WE LIKE IT: A padded, secure grip for added power and safety, plus a flat, heavy duty striking surface make this indexing pry bar a good choice for home improvement projects requiring some demolition.

Pros
  • High strength steel with anti-corrosion oxide finish
  • Head rotates up to 180º
  • Angled head with nail slots for great leverage
Cons
  • Heavier and more bulky than some flat pry bars

This heavy duty pry bar is great for DIY enthusiast projects or general home improvement tasks, demolition and repurposing. An indexing head that can lock in 15 different positions over a range of 180º adds versatility and helps gain access to tight spaces. Chiseled, flat edges and a beveled nail slot helps it work as a nail puller.

Along with a high-quality black oxide finish, this pry bar comes with a comfortable and secure grip, which helps add confidence when using force to chip and pry at a piece of wood. A flat striking surface on the back of the head allows it to work as a wedge. This pry bar will quickly become an essential part of your best mechanic tool set.

 #6  GEARWRENCH 33″ Extendable Indexing Pry Bar

Award: BEST REACH

WHY WE LIKE IT: This extendable indexing pry bar is 33 inches long, so it reaches where other pry bars won’t, and the head adjusts through 180º for good leverage in different positions.

Pros
  • Meets or exceeds ASME standards for strength
  • Black phosphate coating makes it corrosion resistant
  • Fast, push-button adjustment of length and head position
Cons
  • May be too big for such tasks as trim replacement and wood veneer work

Designed for heavy duty DIY applications and automotive work, this tool is definitely worth a look if you’re looking for the best pry bar for mechanics. It’s also one to consider if you’re looking for the best wrecking bar that both expands for long reach and has an indexing head that can still perform under load. The head locks in 15 different positions with a 180º range of motion. The bar expands from 33 to 49 inches for expanded reach.

Meeting or exceeding ANSI and ASME (American National Standards Organization and American Society of Mechanical Engineers, respectively) standards for strength and durability, this heavy-duty pry bar works for tasks like loosening differential and transaxle seals. This pry bar would be a helpful addition to your best mechanic tool set.

 #7  Sunex Rolling Head Pry Bar Set

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: This budget-friendly pry bar set comes with four pieces in convenient 6, 12, 16 and 20-inch sizes and each bar has a pointed end and a rounded hook head with a chiseled point for wedging into tight spaces and gaining leverage.

Pros
  • Chrome vanadium steel construction
  • Machined, heat treated tips
  • Useful sizes for home improvement tasks
Cons
  • No nail slots for removing nails
  • Less convenient to carry than a single telescoping pry bar

This pry bar set gets you four high quality bars of different sizes, well suited to various home and industrial tasks. The rolling head design offers good leverage for prying up baseboard, moldings, and tile or splitting a piece of wood. The rounded, pointed end lets you use these pry bars as stakes or pegs.

The smaller 6 and 12 inch long bars are useful for trim and various remodeling tasks, while the largest bar in this pry bar set is twenty inches long and affords ample leverage for pulling up flooring materials and baseboard. These lack nail slots, however, making them in some cases less convenient for pulling nails.

How We Decided

In order to select the best pry bars out there for a wide range of DIY enthusiasts and home improvement tasks as well as automotive work, we looked for versatility, effectiveness, safety, and durability.

We only included pry bars with proven corrosion resistance, limiting our search to those made from chrome or stainless steel or with an enameled, powder-coated or black oxide finish to protect against rust.

In addition, we looked for features like a bent or rounded head for good leverage when removing nails or prying away rusted together parts. We selected pry bars ranging in size from 6 inches to 33 inches. Versatility was a plus, and we gave preference to flat pry bars with beveled nail slots and sharp, chiseled points.

We included pry bars with indexing or rotating heads that allow you to adjust the angle of the head relative to the bar, only if they met or exceeded ASME standards for strength under load. We gave preference to pry bars and pry bar sets that displayed a high level of strength and bending rigidity, with materials like forged heat-treated steel and hardened high strength alloys.

Best Pry Bar Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Indexing Head
    Some pry bars have a feature that allows for the angle of the hook-shaped head to be adjusted. This is useful for working in tight spaces and lets you use the bar at different angles than would be possible with a fixed head. Look for 180º indexing and a guarantee that the mechanism won’t give out under load.
  2. Nail slots
    If you mainly use a pry bar as a nail puller, good, well-designed nail slots are important. For getting a good grip on different kinds of nail heads, we recommend beveled nail slots.
  3. Points
    The shape of the points on a pry bar determines how useful it is for various pulling tasks. The best flat pry bar will likely have a wide, chiseled blade for scraping paint and adhesive residue off of hard surfaces, while a rounded head pry bar or wrecker bar will have a more wedge-shaped point.
  4. Finish
    For corrosion resistance, choose a pry bar with a long-lasting finish. Some of the choices include powder-coated steel, black oxide, chrome, and enamel.

Pry Bar FAQs

What’s the difference between a pry bar and a crow bar?

The commonly used term crow bar refers to a bar that’s technically a type of pry bar, a hook-shaped bar with a flattened end that works as a nail puller.

What size pry bar do I need?

It depends on the task. The best pry bar for trim and moldings will usually be on the small side, less than about 18 inches, while for certain heavy-duty tasks like working on transmission seals and truck axles, a three to four-foot wrecking bar is more suited for the job.

What is a flat pry bar used for?

A flat pry bar is often used for scraping and wedging, separating wood slats and removing old paint, caulk and adhesive residue from various surfaces.

Which pry bar gives more lev erage, short or long?

The leverage of a pry bar depends on the placement of the bend or head, which will act as the fulcrum of the lever, plus the length of the bar. In general, the longer the bar, the greater the leverage.

What are some of the best brands of pry bar?

Along with the best pry bars we’ve included on our list, some of the excellent choices that are also worth a look are the Gearwrench pry bar and, especially if you’re looking for a budget option, a Harbor Freight pry bar or pry bar set.

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Ryan Mcbride

Ryan McBride is a writer based in Los Angeles. He has contributed work to magazines and sites including Gayot, Spy, Paper, Ladygunn, 3AM and the Crab Creek Review. He writes consumer reviews, essays, science and tech journalism as well as literary and art criticism.

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