Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


Southwire Conduit Bender Review

Southwire Bender

Southwire Conduit Bender Becomes Our Electrician’s Go-To Bender

The Southwire conduit bender series are built-to-last tools with a couple of features you won’t find on every competitor. I’ve been installing conduit on a big job recently and my review of the Southwire MCB1 is just around the bend.


PROS

  • Easy-to-see cast bender markings on both sides
  • Grooved hook stabilizes conduit
  • Serrated step improve control and leverage
  • Swaged steel handle helps with bend correction
  • Handy offset chart sticker on the handle

CONS

  • No major drawbacks

Recommendation

With heavy-duty construction and a helpful offset chart, Southwire manages to stand out a bit in this typically undistinguished category of conduit benders. There aren’t a lot of ways to get fancy with the design, but for what it’s worth, I reach for their MCB line before any other benders we have on the jobsite.

Performance

Around the Bend

Conduit benders seem to have less variability among the competition than other tool categories. They are a little like nailers – is it pretty light and balanced? Yes. Does it jam a lot? No. Ok, then it’s good.

It’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s one of those tools you can tell a lot about with just a bend or two. And the Southwire EMT Conduit Benders rise above others I’ve used mostly because of their heavy-duty feel. They’re solid and well-built.

Southwire Bender

This means they’re also a little heavier – Klein’s 56205 1-inch EMT bender is 11.6 pounds and this Southwire conduit bender is 13 pounds. I haven’t noticed any ill effects of the extra weight so it’s not really a bad thing.

Get Some Leverage

I wouldn’t mind if the handle was just a few inches longer on the 1-inch bender.  The 45-inch length is standard but a little more leverage gives you more control when you apply it correctly.

Southwire Bender

The offset chart on the handle is a nice touch. It’s not unique to Southwire and I’m hoping it won’t wear off too quickly.

As”swage” Imperfect Bends

Premium benders like the Southwire conduit bender often feature a swaged handle. Even if you’ve been bending conduit for a long time, it’s what helps you correct over- and under-bends with a minimal amount of cursing.

Southwire Bender

Features

Heavy-Duty Materials and Construction

The 1-inch version boasts an iron head while the 3/4- and 1/2-inch models have die-cast aluminum heads. Steel outlasts aluminum over long periods of time, but I don’t mind Southwire’s high strength-to-weight ratio aluminum for smaller diameter conduit.

Southwire Bender

All the handles are steel.


Southwire Bender

Swaged Handle, Serrated Step, Grooved Hook

Those steel handles are swaged for tweaking over- and under-bends. A serrated step gives you leverage and stability during the bend while a grooved hook holds the conduit securely.

Offset Chart

The Southwire EMT Conduit Benders include a handy offset chart sticker on the handle toward the head.

Price

As close as they are in design to Klein, these Southwire conduit bender models are also close in price at their regular retail. However, Lowe’s has them been running them about 10% off. Here’s how they compare:

Southwire Conduit Bender Options

  • 1-inch MCB1: $77.98 (iron head)
  • 3/4-inch MCB3/4: $41.98 (aluminum head)
  • 1/2-inch MCB1/2: $32.98 (aluminum head)

Klein Conduit Bender Options

  • 1-inch 56205: $87.97 (iron head)
  • 3/4-inch 56207: $47.97 (aluminum head)
  • 1/2-inch 56206: $36.97 (aluminum head)

The Bottom Line

With heavy-duty construction and a helpful offset chart, Southwire manages to stand out a bit in this typically undistinguished category of conduit benders. There aren’t a lot of ways to get fancy with the design, but for what it’s worth, I reach for their MCB line before any other benders we have on the jobsite.

Southwire EMT Conduit Benders Specifications

  • MCB1
    • Thinwall/EMT Size: 1 inch
    • Height: 45 inches
    • Width: 12 inches
    • Depth: 1.75 inches
    • Weight: 13 pounds
    • Head Material: Ductile Iron
    • Handle Material: Steel
    • Price: $77.98

Also Available:

  • MCB1/2
    • Thinwall/EMT Size: 0.5 inches
    • Height: 39 inches
    • Width: 8 inches
    • Depth: 1.25 inches
    • Weight: 7 pounds
    • Head Material: Die-cast Aluminum
    • Handle Material: Steel
    • Price: $32.98
  • MCB3/4
    • Thinwall/EMT Size: 0.75 inches
    • Height: 39 inches
    • Width: 9 inches
    • Depth: 1.25 inches
    • Weight: 9 pounds
    • Head Material: Die-cast Aluminum
    • Handle Material: Steel
    • Price: $41.98

Pick up your Southwire Conduit Bender at Lowe’s!

Lowe's logo

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Allen Quach

Saw this bender in real life. Is the max bend a 90? That’s different from all others. A perk.

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