Want to be a world-class DIYer or hone your woodworking skills? A nail puller comes in handy to take out nails without chipping or destroying the wood surface. While it’s an indispensable tool to have for a woodworker and might seem like a simple product that doesn’t come with any fancy features, its practicality and usefulness can’t be overstated. Even if you aren’t a professional mason or woodworker, you might find yourself in a situation where you need to pull a nail out. With the right tool at hand, you can quickly complete your project, but finding the right tool can be a daunting task. We’ve reviewed some of the top nail pullers of 2022 to help you speed up your DIY projects.
At first glance, a nail-pulling tool looks pretty simple and you might think that selecting the perfect one won’t take a lot of time or effort. But such tools are an integral part of your toolkit and you should choose them carefully to get the desired results. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with so many varieties available on the market, which is why we’ve curated this comprehensive guide to help you choose the perfect nail puller for your project.
What Are the Types of Nail Pullers?
Claw-based nail pullers
This is one of the most common types of pullers. The tool’s head resembles a pair of parallel teeth or claws that have been set into place at a small slant in order to grasp the nail and yank it out. This tool’s design guarantees a secure hold on the nail, so all you have to do to remove the nail is apply the necessary force. Its widespread acceptance may be attributed to two factors: its ease of use and foolproof design.
Because this is the most common type of nail puller, you can find it at almost any hardware shop. Plus, this tool is both affordable and convenient to store in a toolbox or backpack due to its simple and minimalist design.
Keep in mind that this design requires some room to work with, so it might not be a suitable choice if you intend to work in tight spaces or hard-to-reach areas. You may need to use another type of puller if you’re operating in a confined area and can’t position this instrument as needed. This removal style also calls for more physical effort and typically requires you to use both hands.
Jaw-based nail pullers
The handles of this type of nail remover allow you to open and close a pair of parallel jaws. To remove a nail, just open the plier, grab the nail and pull it out. Compared to conventional pullers, this nail remover is easier to handle and operates more smoothly. You need less force to work with this tool and the design allows you to work with one hand.
Should You Choose a Manual or Machine-Powered Nail Puller?
You will find both manual and machine-powered nail pullers on the market and the choice depends on your personal preference. While you need more effort to operate manual pullers, they’re more versatile and are better for working in tight spaces.
Machine-powered nail pullers, on the other hand, don’t need much physical exertion and they are more efficient in pulling out nails than their manual counterparts. A machine-powered nail pulling device is the ideal choice when you’re working on a large-scale project or the nails are a bit difficult to remove. The drawback is that they are more expensive, don’t fit in smaller workspaces and are a bit harder to control.
Does Your Nail Puller Need a Handle?
You might have seen that some pullers come with a handle while others don’t, but how do you know which one is ideal for you?
Nail pullers with a handle are the best choice if you want to work single-handedly because you can easily apply pressure with the ergonomic handle to pull the nail free. Nail pulling tools that come without a handle are a bit harder to use. You may even need a hammer to strike on them to get the nail out. You should position the puller’s jaws closer to the nail head and strike its head with a hammer to drive the jaws closer to free the nails.
It’s important to consider the design and handle of a nail remover because it determines the force that you need to exert to take the nails out and the level of comfort with which you can perform the task.
Many people prefer using pincers to pull out nails. If you’re one of them, the Bates Choice Nail Puller is for you. This nail puller is specifically designed to take out even the smallest nails without damaging the underlying metal or wooden material. The jaws are specifically designed to provide you with the maximum prying leverage to pull out tiny or wedged-in nails. Featuring sharp jaws made of high-carbon steel, this nail puller efficiently grabs and takes the nails out.
With its soft, plastic-coated ergonomic handles, you can hold this plier conveniently without hurting your hands. Plus, the handle is long enough to provide a comfortable grip but not too long to restrict access to compact spaces. With these amazing features, this nail puller has earned the top spot on our list.
The Estwing Nail Puller is an amazing choice because of its convenience and practicality. Even though this nail puller has a minimalist design, it still has all the major features. Featuring a 9-inch length, this pry bar easily reaches tight spaces to pull out hard-to-reach nails. Plus, with this nail puller you can effortlessly take out headless nails without destroying the surface.
With this lightweight and one-piece forged nail puller, you don’t have to worry about breaking your tool while working on commercial projects. Offering you an ideal blend of torque and leverage, this nail puller is designed thoughtfully with perfect handle length and a heavy-duty mouth. On top of that, it won’t slip out of your hands no matter how sweaty they are.
If you’re on a budget and don’t want to compromise on quality, the Spec Ops Nail Puller is the choice for you. Made of carbon steel, this high-quality and durable nail pulling tool allows you to remove all sorts of nails quickly without chipping or scratching the underlying surface. What’s more, the manufacturer has used an advanced tempering method in the forged construction to make this nail puller extremely durable.
The lightweight yet sturdy design draws out embedded nails from the soft and hard wood, preventing bending and chipping of the tool. Plus, it comes with uniquely designed precision-honed claws to remove even the tiniest of nails.
Powerful, well-built, and durable, this nail puller by MAXPOWER is made to last longer and withstand the daily wear of routine tasks. Its two-in-one design makes it a must-have in your toolbox and the beveled end makes it an ideal choice for both pros and beginners alike. The package includes two nail pulling tools — one 12-inch long nail puller and one 8-inch long — making this our best value pick.
Made of drop forged and heat-treated alloy steel, this nail pulling tool boasts excellent durability and strength. What’s more, the nickel-plated black finish not only looks appealing but also makes it corrosion-resistant, so you can also use this tool in wet conditions.
If you’re looking for a high leverage nail puller, the Estwing Nail Puller is the ideal choice. This tool satisfies the power constraints without compromising on quality. What’s more, this nail-pulling tool has a cat’s paw design that’s ideal for taking out nails quickly. At just 12 inches in length, it fits into any toolbelt, making it ideal to take with you to various job sites.
You can rely on this tool for all your renovation projects because the tempered, forged steel can withstand tough conditions. The small yet sturdy shaft in this nail remover offers enough leverage for pulling out nails and nuts of almost any size.
Rounded head for better torque
Thin claw fits tighter spaces
Can also remove headless nails
Might feel a little heavy
People Also Asked
Q: Should I get a nail puller with a longer handle for enhanced comfort?
A: Longer hands offer you more space to exert force and higher leverage to pull the nails out, but they make the tool less portable. It’s better to choose a handle size that suits your project requirements.
Q: Can my nail puller damage the work surface?
A: Ideally, a nail remover shouldn’t damage the work surface, but if the nail is stuck into the surface you’ll need to drive the nail puller close, which might end up damaging the surface.
Q: Should I get professional plumbing to install a shower fixture?Can I use a nail remover for other tasks?
A: Absolutely. If you have a plier design nail remover, you can use it to cut or bend wires.
The Old House Journal Review Team’s product reviews and in-depth guides are here to help you restore, repair, update, and decorate your home. The content is created by The Old House Journal Review Team. The Old House Journal editorial staff is not involved. Old House Journal is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.