Pry Bar Vs. Crowbar (Here's How To Tell The Difference)
If you’re working on a home improvement task, chances are you’ll need a handful of tools to get the job done. With so many different tools available, it’s not easy to know which one you’ll need.
There are plenty of hand tools out there, but two that easily confuse people are pry bars and crowbars. If you try to find the answers online about how these tools are different, you’ll likely become frustrated.
When it comes to pry bars vs. crowbars, the main difference is the overall design. A pry bar is essentially a flat, thin version of a crowbar. Another thing that separates these great tools is pry bars can be adjustable, while crowbars are fixed.
Below, we’re going to talk about what each of these tools is designed to do. The buying guide will not only help you figure out which tool you’ll need, but what to look for when buying. If you’re looking at purchasing a pry bar or crowbar, there’s a handy-dandy price comparison towards the end.
Comparing Two Hand Tools
Depending on who you ask, a pry bar is just another name for a crowbar. It’s hard to find information about the differences between these tools. While they’re relatively interchangeable, pry bars and crowbars have individual uses as well.
Out of the two hand tools, a crowbar is more commonly used. In the early 1900s, it was used to open wood crates that were nailed shut. Now, we use crowbars to pry apart boards that are held together.
Crowbars have also been used in mining. They’re not used too often in modern mining but were once the tool to break away and remove rocks. In gardening, you can use crowbars for the same purpose.
If you’re demolishing a building, you could use a crowbar to remove nails or break windows or sheetrock. This may be a smaller tool, but with centrifugal force, a crowbar can pack quite a punch.
Pry Bar Uses
A pry bar can be used for the majority of the safe things as a crowbar. Because a pry bar is smaller and thinner, it can get into harder to reach areas. The flattened end acts as a lever, making it easy to force apart to objects.
Pry bars can remove nails from wood and sheetrock as well. They’re great for removing molding around the ceiling or baseboards on the floor. Odd jobs like scraping paint or removing tiles are perfect for a high-quality pry bar.
Many DIYers even use pry bars to reupholster furniture, lifting doors during installation, and flattening painters tape. Whether you opt for a pry bar, crowbar, or both, they each come with endless uses.
Things to Consider Before Buying
A buying guide is a great tool to help homeowners know what makes one product better than another. With so many options on the market, it can be hard knowing that you’re getting the most for your money. Here are some of the main things you should look for when shopping for pry bars and crowbars.
Adjustable vs. Fixed
One of the main differences between pry bars and crowbars is that crowbars are always fixed. The size you buy is the size you get. However, some pry bars are adjustable and operate at multiple lengths.
These are perfect for when you need a bit more leverage and can easily extend the shaft. Something to note about adjustable pry bars is they do tend to be a little more expensive. They’re also slightly heavier, but still more lightweight than a crowbar.
If you want something inexpensive and lightweight, you could go for a fixed crowbar or pry bar. While you won’t be able to adjust the length, it will be lighter. It will also cause less drag on your toolbelt throughout the day.
Another thing to consider with anything you buy for home improvement is the quality. Because pry bars are much thinner than crowbars, they tend to bend easier. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of your project and bust your pry bar.
This tends to happen if you’re using a low-quality product. When it comes to these hand tools, if the price seems too good to be true, it’s likely made with poor quality materials. It’s worth it, in the long run, to spend a few extra bucks to get something that will last for years.
If you find yourself doing a lot of DIY projects at home, you might find yourself leaning towards one specific brand. Brands like Stanley, DeWalt, and TEKTON have found themselves with a cult following.
This is because they’re products are known to work; they’re relatively affordable and get the job done with ease. While you don’t have to go with a name brand, it’s something to consider when shopping around.
Knowing how much you should spend on crowbars and pry bars will keep you from getting gypped. One factor that plays a significant role in the price is the size of the tool you’re getting. An 18-inch crowbar might cost you around $10, while a 24-inch can cost you $25.
Things like the brand, material used, and store you buy from will also play a part. There’s a price comparison chart to help you find the best bang for your buck in the next section. You may also want to consider locally-owned hardware stores as well.
Crowbars and pry bars are made from a variety of materials. Most commonly, you’ll find them made out of medium-carbon steel. This is a high-quality material that gives the crowbar enough stability to get any job done.
Sometimes, pry bars are made from titanium, which is much lighter and non-magnetic. The material is forged from cylindrical or hexagonal stock, giving these tools their iconic shapes.
You’ve likely seen a crowbar used as a weapon in a movie or television show. While I don’t condone violence, crowbars can come in handy for self-defense. You could keep one next to or under your bed to help defend yourself from intruders.
Another great use of a crowbar is to break windows. For this reason, you may want to keep one under the driver’s seat of your vehicle. This could make the difference between life and death if your car were to be submerged in water.How heavy are crowbars and pry bars?
No matter what you’re using these tools for, you’ll want to make sure it’s reasonably light. Using excessively heavy tools will cause wear and tear on your body. Plus, you’ll need to take more resting breaks, causing the task at hand to take longer.
Crowbars don’t usually weigh more than two pounds at most. This depends on how long they are, but a 28-inch crowbar, on average, weighs about 1.3 pounds. Pry bars weigh around ⅓ of that, coming in at just under ½ pound.What size bars do I need?
Pry bars and crowbars come in a variety of different sizes, but there are two that every homeowner should have. Make sure you always have an S-shaped crowbar that’s at least 18 inches long. Also, have a smaller, flat pry bar in your toolbox for less invasive jobs.
Kirstin is a passionate writer who loves helping people learn new things when it comes to home improvement. When she's not behind a keyboard, she enjoys DIY projects, crafts, spending time with her pets, and making videos. She hopes that with all she writes, someone is finding a solution to their home improvement needs.
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