EB Tools KwickGripper Review
When EB Tools sent us their nail-pulling KwickGripper, we thought we were in for a treat. The tool is designed to give you greater leverage, more flexibility when pulling nails and more options for getting at a fastener that needs to be removed from a tough spot. The design is something that has more leverage than a flat bar or precision pry bar. It also boasts the ability to remove screws and nails with a minimal amount of damage to the workpiece. Some of these claims we found to be absolutely true, but the overall experience of the KwikGripper was something that dampens the experience of using the tool as a whole.
Editor’s Note: Check out our best cordless hammer drill head to head article.
KwickGripper Build Quality
Our review sample came in early, and so we’ll give the company some leeway as it might have improved the tool in future iterations, but what we observed was machining that delivered uneven edges on the critical clamping mechanism for pulling nails. That’s a pretty critical piece, and the lack of attention to detail there means that I had a very difficult time grabbing any nail that wasn’t already 3/16 of an inch out of the material.
I also tried out the side switch, which locks the head to the handle and allows you the ability to use the KwikGripper as a makeshift hammer. The switch is very difficult to turn into either position, though it will eventually move when you apply enough force. (It locks into place via a mechanical “dimple” that falls into an indent on the head, or just past the bottom edge.) When locked, the hammer might be sufficient for hanging picture frames, but don’t expect to hammer in any framing nails or do any serious work. The mechanism had a bunch of slop (movement) and, besides that, the balance of the unit—even as a trim hammer—is all wrong.
A Little Flakey
The handle, which is black, is painted, and the coating flakes off quite easily, leaving you with a tool that very quickly looks like it wasn’t properly treated. I’ve got several pry bars that have a much thicker material coat that doesn’t peel off as easily.
Finally, the cats paw-style claw on the back side of the KwickGripper lacks any real bevel along the gripping edge. That means that it’s simply a shaped groove through which any nail with a minimal head will slide right through. I tried using it to pry up some 2-inch 6d finish nails, normally an easy task for a traditional cats paw or even claw hammer. These nails just slid right through the groove on the KwickGripper. With our reference Powerstrike hammer, the small nail head locked into the beveled v-groove and came right out.
In the Field
Now, it may seem like I hate this tool so far. I don’t. I just feel that it could be so much better. It has lots of unrealized potential. Some of the features and functions, however, simply don’t work well. The first thing I did was use it as it was advertised. We pulled out huge nails and even screws from 2×4 lumber. It really does work, and the “through” design means you can keep getting a grip lower down on the fastener. This helps maximize your leverage. The result is less force needed to complete the job. You get done more quickly as a result.
Pulling screws out was what really sold me on this tool. The ability to go in low and grab on is what makes this work. Having stripped my share of screw heads, the thought of being able to grab these and pull through is something that appeals to me (far more than banging the fastener back and forth until it breaks—destroying the workpiece in the process).
Where the KwickGripper really didn’t live up was in the area of nails whose heads resided fairly close to the surface. Because the claw wasn’t sharpened or given a beveled edge, these nail heads had nothing to be gripped with. In addition, the prying action of the KwickGripper simply failed in close proximity to the work material. It needs the heads of the fasteners to be at least 1/8-inch or more proud from the surface. If it can get a grip, it will remove the fastener. If it can’t get a grip, however, then you have what amounts to a $30 pry bar.
I’d love to see EB Tools further refine the KwickGripper into a tool that can truly pry up anything, be it close to the surface or already standing proud. As it sits now, the tool isn’t something I’d recommend anyone run out and buy. It’s certainly useful for lots of prying. Without some more tweaks, I fear it would be something you would have second thoughts reaching for in your bag if you could get to a cats paw or a traditional prying tool.
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KwickGripper Features and Specs
- Steel construction
- Locking handle switch
- Traditional pry bar with “keyhole” nail pull
- Rubberized grip
- Warranty: 60 days
- Price: $30
The KwickGripper is a bit disappointing in its initial form, but there is plenty of potential with some revision. Expect to be able to pry a screw or large nail as advertised if it is standing out at least 1/8th inch, but some of the smaller nail heads and fasteners close to the work surface are hit and miss. My recommendation is to wait and see if EB Tools comes out with an updated model after having the chance to get some real world feedback.
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