The Best Pry Bar

The Best Pry Bar

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Our pick

Stanley 55-116 8-inch Nail Puller

Stanley 55-116 8-inch Nail Puller

Best pry bar

For pulling nails or prying a stuck window, the inexpensive Stanley worked as well as other pry bars twice the price. It may not be the most polished tool, but it gets the job done.

Buying Options

$10 from Amazon

Stanley patterned this pry bar after the traditional Japanese pry bar, with a thin nail puller on one end and a fin-shaped 1¾-inch-wide prying edge on the other. (Western pry bars have bulkier nail pullers and thicker prying ends.) We noticed two elements of the Stanley pry bar that make it so successful at prying. The first is that the leading edge of the fin is thin enough to wedge easily between two boards with minimal damage to the wood. The second is that the prying end has a pronounced arc, so with a single prying motion the tool has a “lift” of about an inch, in contrast to competitors that reach only ¾ inch. Although this extra amount may not sound significant, it adds a lot of control to the prying motion.

The prying edge of the Stanley pry bar also has a notch in it, creating a second nail puller; this feature wasn’t present on all of the pry bars we tried. During testing I found it to be useful for very small items such as picture hangers: The dramatic arc of the Stanley’s fin made it easy to lift the tiny nails out, and because the width of the fin spread out the fulcrum pressure, I didn’t mar my walls as I might have if I had used a hammer’s nail pullers or even a set of pliers.

While our testers lavished the most praise on the prying end, we also liked the nail puller quite a bit. Because it’s so small, it can work in places that a hammer’s bulky nail pullers can’t. Also, the tips of the pullers taper to a point, so you can use a hammer to pound them in and around a buried nail head in order to get a good grab. (Just don’t expect this procedure to leave the wood surface in perfect condition.)

A Stanley in use pulling nails out of a metal surface.
Pulling nails with the Stanley.

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter
Keyword: The Best Pry Bar

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