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Best Survival Prybar and Wrecking Bar

It doesn’t have to be demo day for a prybar, crowbar, or wrecking bar to come in handy. Sure, they’re great for taking down drywall and breaking apart lumber but there are plenty of other uses related to survival as well. There are plenty of brands and sizes of prybars to consider, but they don’t all perform the same.

This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best prybars, tested them, and now the results are in: the overall best, an everyday carry option, and a larger wrecking bar option. If you need to bust something open, one of our picks will give you some leverage.

Contents (Jump to a Section)

  • The Best Prybar
  • EDC Prybar
  • Best Wrecking Bar
  • Everything We Recommend
  • The Tools We Compared
  • What to Look For
  • How to Use a Prybar for Survival
  • Who Needs a Survival Prybar?

Spec Ops D21BAR 21 Prybar

The Best Prybar

Spec Ops D21BAR

Thick, Durable, and Dependable

Performing well past other flat bars, this American-made three-pound prybar gets it done best.

$20* at Amazon

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Going flat will save you some weight, and in this case, it’ll perform just as well as a round-steel crowbar. This Spec Ops model is 20% thicker than comparable flat prybars, which is where it gets its strength.

When you are prying in an emergency or survival situation, you don’t want to worry about bending or breaking regardless of your bar’s weight. It’s one-piece construction keeps it simple, so there is even less to go wrong.

Here is what you get with this Spec Ops piece of metal:

  • 21″ one-piece high-carbon steel
  • 3 pounds
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Made in the USA

This thick, durable, and dependable prybar guts the flat competition- so it’s easy to see why the Spec Ops D21BAR Crowbar is the best.

Gerber Shard Keychain Prybar Multitool

EDC Prybar

Gerber Shard

Inexpensive, Versatile, and Effective

This prybar multitool fits in your pocket and keychain letting you bring versatility anywhere.

$9* at Amazon

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

We’ve been testing this one for over seven years now and it continues to keep up. A simple one-piece design isn’t that common with multitools, but it has since been knocked off and duplicated left and right. Not to much effect, though- it is still the best prybar for your pocket.

Everyday carry can mean different things to people who approach it differently, but this little hunk of metal packs plenty of simple versatility into a small pocket-sized multitool. We reviewed the Gerber Shard by itself a while back, but it still tops the pack

Here is how the Shard measures up:

  • 2.75″ one-piece stainless steel
  • Titanium nitride coating
  • Phillips and flat screwdriver, bottle opener, wire strippers
  • 0.6 ounces
  • Lifetime warranty

If you need a prybar for your pocket, the Gerber Shard is what you’re looking for.

Estwing 36 Wrecking Bar PRO

Best Wrecking Bar

Estwing Wrecking Bar PRO

Simple, Strong, and Reliable

Solid leverage with a one-piece forged and tempered gooseneck bar with American quality.

$29* at Amazon

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Estwing makes tools the right way, and no amount of fancy ‘tactical’ flair can upset simply the best tool for the job. Big Blue can wear you out if you plan on using it all day- swinging 8 pounds isn’t a walk in the park. But that is also what makes this thing bomb-proof, it’s a yard-long 8-pound hunk of forged steel.

If you have the room and weight capacity in your kit, you’re going to want the most dependable prybar out there.

Here are the full specs:

  • 36″ round gooseneck
  • One piece forged
  • 8 pounds
  • Made in the USA

If you are looking for a reliable wrecking bar that’ll handle abuse, you’ll want to pick up the Estwing 36″ Wrecking Bar PRO.

Everything We Recommend

Spec Ops D21BAR 21 Prybar

Spec Ops D21BAR

Performing well past other flat bars, this American-made three-pound prybar gets it done best.

Where to Buy

$16* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Gerber Shard Keychain Prybar Multitool

Gerber Shard

This prybar multitool fits in your pocket and keychain letting you bring versatility anywhere.

Where to Buy

$9* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Estwing 36 Wrecking Bar PRO

Estwing Wrecking Bar PRO

Solid leverage with a one-piece forged and tempered gooseneck bar with American quality.

Where to Buy

$29* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

The Tools We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to several brands and types of demolition tools that we compared: Spec Ops, REAPR, Fiskars, Estwing, Gerber, WorkPro, Olympia, Monkey King, Mighty Bar, Leatherhead, Fire Hooks, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We considered a wide range of tools but focused on prybars, crowbars, wrecking bars, and breach tools for our testing. We did not consider any power tools of any sort and we stuck with smaller models for the most part, since we had mobile survival kits and loadouts in mind.

We’re always looking for new and better gear, so if you have a favorite survival prybar, let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested gear annually so we can try to get it in the next roundup round and see if it will beat out our top picks.

What to Look For

The best prybars have a few features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Durability
  3. Leverage
  4. Size & Weight
  5. Versatility

When you get the right blend of these, you can find a survival prybar that will reliably tear down any obstacle. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the demolition tools that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like a prybar shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. You might already have something that works in your garage, and you may also have some tools in your kits that will work similarly. Considering value is what ruled out many of the stellar fire tools from Fire Hooks and Leatherhead- they simply cost too much for practical preparedness despite being badass tools themselves.

You never want to spend too much money on one tool when it comes to survival kits. It’s better to diversify your spending to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios.


The material type, thickness, and design of the prybar all lend to its durability. Reviews and warranties can also shed some light on how durable tools are from a wide sample of people.

While we didn’t have any breaks in our tests, a few of the smaller and less thick ones can bend with enough force. Another factor is single-piece construction. By reducing components and attachment points, manufacturers are simplifying the prybar so it has fewer potential failure points. This is crucial if you are leveraging it as much as you can.


You can leverage a prybar similar to the way you would a breaker bar but you need a fulcrum as close to the pry surface as possible. The heel (opposite of the prybar claw) is meant to be that fulcrum.

Then, when you press the shaft as far away from the heel as possible, you magnify the force to the claw. You can even increase this force by making your prybar longer by extending the shaft with a galvanized pipe, but you do increase the risk of bending or breaking the bar if it’s smaller or a flat bar.

Size & Weight

Prybars, crowbars, and wrecking bars can be some of the heaviest tools in your arsenal. Our picks are all over the place, with an EDC tool less than an ounce and the beater of a wrecking bar coming in at 8 pounds.

You’ll need to look at your situation and survival kit specifically to determine your needs and how much size and weight you can accommodate. This is one reason we say prybars aren’t for everyone. Another reason is that if you don’t use prybars often, or have much strength in general, you may not be very effective with one.


Crowbars are versatile tools to begin with, just check out the various uses for survival we get into below! But, some brands opt to spice them up a bit with attachments, additional tools, or specific design features.

While it’s something you may want to consider, in our practical tests we found simplicity was just better. Plier multitools are the best multitools and other tools that try to do too much, like multitool hammers, multitool survival axes, and most multitool prybars just end up as weaker tools versus their plain counterparts.

How to Use a Prybar for Survival

It’s a misconception that crowbars are just meant for breaking into property you don’t own. There are a wide range of survival uses completely unrelated to door and window entry:

  1. Disassembly: Take things apart- especially building materials- to reuse them elsewhere. (ie. disassemble a wooden fence to board up windows)
  2. Door Stop: It damages the floor, but a prybar makes an excellent door stop if you want to keep a door closed. Alternatively, you can hang it from the hinges if you want to keep a door open.
  3. Improvised Weapon: If you need to defend yourself from animals, a prybar is surely better than nothing and offers extended reach.
  4. Intimidation: People walking around holding prybars tend to get their way more often than not.
  5. Stake: You can stake down a tarp, or use it to prop up a snare wire.
  6. Weight: If you have a heavier crowbar or wrecking bar, you can use it to hold things down in windy conditions or as a counterweight if you are hoisting supplies with a rope.
  7. Pickaxe: It will dull the prying point, but you can use a prybar as a makeshift pickaxe in a pinch.
  8. Lever: Lift and move things you couldn’t normally lift by using the prybar as a lever.

I’m sure that you can think of a few more creative uses, but the point is that a long piece of metal can be very versatile if you stay resourceful.

Who Needs a Survival Prybar?

Prybars typically have the big drawback of being large and heavy. This makes them not essential for most mobile survival kits, with one exception.

We consider a prybar essential for:

  • SCARE Kit

Depending on weight capacity, you should consider adding them to

  • Bug Out Bag
  • Get Home Bag
  • INCH Bag
  • Everyday Carry

Our EDC pick makes a great gift- I’ve bought several as gifts myself and they have always been well received.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best prybar are useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical survival experience:

Rockwel, T., et al. (1986). An Evaluation of Tool Design and Method of Use of Railroad Leverage Tools on Back Stress and Tool Performance. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Volume 28. Issue 3. Pages 303 – 315. (Source)

Roddy, M. (2017). Why do they need to learn this?: Thoughts about what we do in the mathematics classroom. The Australian Mathematics Teacher. Volume 73. Issue 2. Pages 4 – 5. (Source)

Vlastimil, M., et al. (2017). Secure Storage Units Testing for Burglar Resistance. Key Engineering Materials. Volume 755. Pages 340 – 345. (Source)

The Final Word

Prybars have plenty more uses for survival than prying and conking zombies on the head. If you can manage it, you should consider one for your mobile survival kits depending on the other tools you are packing.

Here are a few other guides and reviews our subscribers have found helpful:

  • Best Survival Gloves | Review & Buying Guide
  • Best Lock Pick Sets for Survival
  • SCARE Bag Guide, Gear List, and Checklist

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found the Spec Ops 21″ Crowbar to be the best option given its value, durability, leverage, size/weight, and versatility.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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The Best Survival Prybar

The post Best Survival Prybar and Wrecking Bar appeared first on TruePrepper.

By: Rusty Collins
Title: Best Survival Prybar and Wrecking Bar
Sourced From: www.trueprepper.com/best-survival-prybar/
Published Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2023 11:30:18 +0000


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