We recently built a steel building with an I-beam structure. When you’re dealing with steel building electrical conduit & lighting, you find that pipe bending is a major part of the work. Needless to say (but we will anyway), we ran a lot of conduit. And we didn’t just have the vertical-to-ceiling conduit transitions to deal with. We also needed to do a lot of offsets. This was necessary for properly interfacing with our quad outlet boxes and junction boxes. We requested a pair of Klein conduit benders to tackle everything we needed to get our steel building up and running.
Specifically, we asked for the Klein 3/4″ cast iron pipe bender and the Klein 1/2″ cast iron conduit bender. Klein also has a pair of aluminum pipe benders, but we opted for the tried and true heavy duty models. The extra weight actually helps when making standing bends.
For our “main trunk” we used 3/4″ conduit which traveled down the full length of the PTR Shop. We used 1/2″ conduit to tee off these trunks and drop down for our wall quads. We also needed ceiling boxes to supply the power for our LED T8 retrofit lighting. That gave us plenty of fodder for testing and our review.
Klein Pipe Benders Features
Before you think that all pipe benders are the same, they aren’t—only the good ones seem to share common (positive) traits. It’s good to highlight a few of both the common and unique features for which the Klein conduit benders are known. First, Klein uses a bright orange high strength steel handle so there’s less risk of bending the handle before the pipe. This is more an issue when you’re air bending larger diameter (1″) rigid conduit. Of course, with ground bends, most of the pressure should be on the head, not the handle. For air bends, it’s nice, however.
The 1/2″ and 3/4″ Klein conduit benders we reviewed have swaged ends so that you can insert the end of a piece of conduit to correct for overbend.
I love the nice, wide foot pedal which is also textured to reduce slips. On my bends it always gave my work shoes or boots a nice firm grip. The heavy cast iron heads of the Klein conduit benders have very clear cast-in markings, so you can see the delineations for 10, 22.5, 30, 45, and 60 degrees as well as the arrow, saddle, and star point markings. In this way they’re very similar to what you find with Ideal’s benders.
Klein puts a nice textured interior surface on the hook which helps keep the conduit from rolling or twisting while you bend. Without this, there’d be a much higher tendency for the EMT to roll. When you’re making saddle and offset bends in particular, you really need the orientation of the pipe to stay the same.
Using the Klein Conduit Benders
We started by running our main 3/4″ conduit from the breaker panel. It went straight up and out of the box but quickly took a 90 degree bend, so it could follow the roof girders across the full length of the shop. Provided our markings were correct, every bend landed us exactly where we needed to be. The guides, markings, and calculations provided by Klein were spot-on and gave us nothing but positive and consistent results.
Bends of our EMT on the ground were easy, and the leverage afforded by the grippy pedal was perfect. Flipping the tool over I found that air bends were just as easy, and there was plenty of leverage between my armpit and the robust steel handle. Conveniently enough, the wide foot pedal actually serves as a nice hand guide when making bends in the air. We used it to steady our angle and ensure we had every offset or stub-up bend properly aligned.
There’s not much else to say other than these Klein conduit benders are easy to use and durable. If needed, you can even buy replacement steel handles. Klein also makes lighter weight aluminum pipe benders if you’re looking to go that route. They’ll work on the same materials up to 3/4″ EMT (1/2″ rigid). You only save about a pound, however they cost a little less at most retailers we’ve seen. The Klein cast iron conduit benders come in sizes that can handle as large as 1-1/4″ EMT or 1″ rigid pipe.
It’s easy to recommend the Klein conduit benders for all the reasons we’ve already given. With pipe benders you want them to last a long time, and we see no reason why that won’t be the case with these. No gimmicks. No weak points.