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Few tools have as many practical applications as a pry bar. The mechanical advantages of the leverage that can be generated with a pry tool makes it the perfect implement for a variety of everyday tasks. Unfortunately, a standard crowbar isn’t the most convenient tool to carry around. Not only is it heavy and cumbersome, but lugging around a crowbar can also give onlookers the wrong impression about your intentions.
Many a knife has been broken in the absence of the proper tool. Such blasphemous use of a blade can not only leave one frustrated and angry but also injured and bleeding. As the saying goes, “A knife is the most inefficient screwdriver and most expensive pry bar you’ll ever own.”
Thankfully, the advent and evolution of multi-tools has gradually led to the incorporation of miniature pry bars into a vast selection of everyday-carry tools. Although they’re limited in scope compared to their big brothers, mini pry bars can be used to pry open windows and interior doors, break glass, force open security gates, wedge car doors, open cabinets and lock boxes, and pry containers. They can also be used to perform more mundane tasks like opening beer and soda cans, removing staples, lifting nails, and tightening screws. When integrated into a multi-tool platform, their usefulness is expanded even further.
In this edition of Pocket Preps, we’ll highlight some of the most versatile mini pry tools on the market and help you determine which tool might be the best choice for your personal needs.
Dimensions: 2.14 by 0.64 by 0.7 inches
Weight: 0.4 ounce
MSRP: $10 (Driver Sold Separately)
Unlike the other tools in the lineup, the Fix It Sticks Mini Pry Bar isn’t a stand-alone tool, but an attachment designed to convert the Fix It Sticks or other ¼-inch bit driver into a mini pry tool. The bit has a small pry lever and nail puller for minor prying tasks. The inside cutouts allow the MPB to be used as a ¼-, 5/16-, and 3/8-inch wrench. The MPB integrates perfectly with the Fix It Sticks Replaceable Version Kit, which includes 16 assorted bits and two Fix It Sticks that combine to form a T-handle, or the stand-alone Fix It Sticks T-Way Ratcheting Wrench (both shown here).
+ Quickly converts any ¼-inch driver into a min pry tool
+ A convenient and inexpensive solution for solving many common prying tasks
– Requires a separate driver
– The small pry head isn’t suitable for heavy-duty levering.
Dimensions: 4 by 0.875 inches
Weight: 1.7 ounces
This miniature hybrid pry bar multi-tool combines the precision blade of a hobby knife with a multifunctional pry bar. It contains a replaceable standard #11 hobby knife blade inside the housing. The blade is retracted using a push-button slide lock, which offers resistance to prevent accidental opening. The dual-ended design also incorporates a mini pry bar, wire stripper, nail puller, small and medium flathead drivers, and bottle opener. A 550 cord wrap and raised notches on the spine and belly provide additional grip. When attached to a key ring, this key-sized multi-tool becomes an everyday travel companion that’s easily forgotten about but always within reach.
+ Perfect for fine tasks that require small, precise tools.
+ Replaceable hobby knife blades are easy to find at any big-box, hardware, or craft store.
+ Compact and easy to carry on a small keychain
– The small tool design relegates this tool to basic tasks.
– Hobby knife isn’t suitable for heavy-duty cutting.
– The smooth metal housing is a little slick, even with the raised notches.
Dimensions: 4 by 1 by 0.14 inches
Weight: 1 ounce
Material: 6Al-4V Titanium
The TiShark from Elite Outfitting Solutions is a simple but effective CNC-machined pry tool. The 6Al-4V Titanium construction and compact size makes the TiShark lightweight and easy to carry. Although the shark-mouth bottle opener is the drawing feature for most users, the pry bar/screwdriver is quite capable of handling daily tasks that involve prying, wedging, and tightening/loosening slotted screws. There’s also a ¼-inch hex wrench for holding standard hex bits. The TiShark has an integrated pocket clip and lanyard hole to offer multiple carry options. The orange, blue, and purple hues generated by the flame-treated titanium and the unique shark-like features makes the TiShark a beautiful conversation piece when not in use. A 3×0.75-inch Mini TiShark is also available.
+ Light and compact
+ Stylish shark-themed design makes the TiShark an instant conversation starter
+ Available in an ultra-compact mini version
+ Tucks neatly along the front pocket inseam with the pocket clip
– Likely to be stolen by envious company if left unattended
Dimensions: 4.45 by 0.15 inches
Weight: 2.01 ounces
The Böker Plus Minibar Pro is a multifunctional leveraging tool designed by custom knifemaker Jim Burke. The pry end of the tool contains a dual-faced lever surface to accommodate a variety of levering tasks. The forward-facing portion of the lever head doubles as a flathead screwdriver. The pry end also contains a teardrop-shaped shackle opener. There’s a ¼-inch hex driver situated at the upper portion of the handle. This driver works with standard ¼-inch bits when extra leverage is needed to break loose a stubborn screw. The beaked end is ideal for levering on flat surfaces. There’s also a bottle opener located at the back of the beaked end. The tool has aggressive jimping on the sides for gripping and is equipped with a pocket clip and lanyard hole for convenient transport.
+ Offers six leveraging actions within a single tool
+ Small, compact, and easy to carry
– When clipped inside a pocket, the sharp, beaked head becomes a snagging point.
Dimensions: 4.5 by 0.624 by 0.25 inches
Weight: 2.5 ounces
This multifunctional pocket pry tool is milled from D2 tool steel. The SFPB features a mini pry head, which can double as a screwdriver and a bottle opener. The SFPB also has an oxygen tank wrench located near the center of the tool, and a hex bit socket machined into the titanium pocket clip. The socket is located near the end of the tool to offer maximum leverage for overtightened screws. A Strikeback notch behind the pry head is designed to pair with just about any ferro rod to create sparks when starting campfires. The refined machined details of the SFPB, including the recessed hardware and chamfered edges are a testament of the quality craftmanship and invested into this versatile pry tool.
+ Compact and sleek design makes the SFPB easy to carry.
+ Perfect choice for wilderness rescue professionals
+ High-quality materials and craftsmanship give this tool a high-end feel.
– Upper tier pricing puts the SFPB out of reach for many would-be users.
Dimensions: 4.76 by 0.75 by 0.20 inches
Weight: 1.51 ounces
Material: 6AL4V Titanium
The Gesila from WE Knife is a simple but stylish mini pry bar with basic features. This tool, made from 6AL-4V Titanium, features a chisel-shaped pry end is also slotted and notched for pulling small nails. The back end has a bottle opener for busting open cold beverages. The overall design looks like it came straight out of a Star Wars movie. Fortunately, the same design features that give the Gesila a futuristic look also add a lot of function. The jimping located on both sides just behind the pry head adds just enough gripping surface to help with wedging the head into tight spaces. The tip-down pocket clip makes it easy to carry the Gesila in just about any pocket. This offering from WE Knife is a good choice for those who need serious prying capabilities in a small and simple package.
+ Small, light, and convenient to carry
+ Can be used as an improvised impact weapon
+ Aesthetically pleasing design
– Limited function as a multi-tool
Dimensions: 5.71 by 0.15 inches
Weight: 2.1 ounces
Material: 440C Stainless Steel
The Böker Plus Tango Bar, designed by Peter Fegan, combines the utility of a pry tool with the defensive properties of a palm stick and the retention qualities of a karambit. Constructed of powdercoated 440C stainless steel, the Tango Bar is both sturdy and aesthetically appealing. An integrated clip allows the tool to be worn on a pocket hem or attached to MOLLE loops. The pry end, which can also serve as a flathead screwdriver, is stepped up to provide more control. What makes this pry tool truly unique is its double function as an impact weapon. The karambit-style improves retention and makes the tool easy to draw, especially when combined with the ripple texture on the sides and the top jimping.
+ Flat and lightweight, perfect for EDC
+ Offers excellent retention capabilities
+ Doubles as an impact device
+ Can be worn in a pocket or on MOLLE equipment
– The location of the clip causes the tool to turn inward in pockets.