Types of Pry Bars

Abram Shaner

Pry bars are bars forged from steel or titanium that provide leverage when placed on a fulcrum. This multiplies the strength of the user's capability to pry things open. A pry bar is also known by other names such as crowbar and wrecking bar, even though these have slight differences. The most common use for pry bars is demolition, because of their ability to remove nails, boards, sheetrock, etc.

Wrecking Bar

Selecting the right pry bar can give you the leverage to remove difficult objects.

This model of pry bar is the most effective for demolition of buildings, concrete and even cars. Technically speaking, wrecking bars can be of any size but they are generally 3 to 5 feet long to provide more power and leverage. These bars can come with multiple points, but usually have a rounded hook on one end and a flattened fork on the other. They also are heavy duty and can pry apart hundreds of pounds of material with the right leverage.

Digging Bars

Digging bars can be used to dig small holes, loosen ground or pry up large objects. Stone masons and landscapers often use these bars to move large stones for leveling, repositioning and obtaining a grip to lift them up. Digging bars are usually 5 to 6 feet in length and usually have a point on one end and a small, flat spade on the other. They can be constructed of heavy-duty iron, steel or titanium.


Crowbars are a typical part of every carpenter's tool bag. One end is generally a wedge and the other is a hook with a flattened fork for pulling nails. They are typically between 1 to 2 feet long. Many carpenters use small crowbars to pry up trim without damaging it or to pull warped wood tightly so it can be nailed properly.

The cat's claw, or cat's paw, is the most common pry bar found on job sites and in tool belts. The main use of this pry bar is for pulling nails. Carpenters regularly use cat's claws and paws for bent nails and staples. These bars usually measure approximately 10 1/2 inches and have a hook on one end and a fork on the other.