If you are a do-it-yourself type of person that works on cars or any kind of machinery that requires loosening bolts and nuts, a breaker bar will be an invaluable tool.
We have all come across a very tightly torqued nut, one where you can’t break its grip to loosen it. The best breaker bars will give you that extra bit of leverage to loosen the tightest of fittings.
While one breaker bar may look similar to another, that doesn’t mean they will function the same. We are going to take a look at our top 8 favorite breaker bars in our roundup to help you identify the right breaker bar for your needs.
- Top 8 Best Breaker Bars In 2020 Reviews
- 1 Neiko 00206A 1/2 Inch Drive Premium Breaker Bar, 24” Length | Cr-V Steel | Chrome Moly Head
- 2 Craftsman Flex Handle 3/4-Inch Drive and 18-Inches Long Breaker Bar, 9-4431 – Most Durable Breaker Bar
- 3 MAXPOWER 1/2-Inch and 3/8-Inch Drive Dual-drive 24-Inch Breaker Bar Flex Handle – Best Double Drive Head Breaker Bar
- 4 Performance Tool W32126 1/2-Inch Drive 30-Inch Breaker Bar, 1-Pack
- 5 Capri Tools 1 in. Drive 40 in. Extended Leverage Breaker Bar – Best 230 Degree Breaker Bar
- 6 Crescent CRW16 1/2” Drive Flex Handle with 18” Breaker Bar – Best Grip Breaker Bar
- 7 ABN Extension Bar, 1/2in Drive x 18in – 180-Degree Rotating Head and Spring-Loaded Ball Bearing 1/2 Breaker Bar
- 8 GreatNeck BB18 1/2 Drive 18 Inch Breaker Bar – Best Budget Breaker Bar
- Best Breaker Bars Buying Guide
- Got All the Other Tools You Need?
- So, what are the Best Breaker Bars?
Top 8 Best Breaker Bars In 2020 Reviews
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1/2” and 3/8”
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1 Neiko 00206A 1/2 Inch Drive Premium Breaker Bar, 24” Length | Cr-V Steel | Chrome Moly Head
First up is Neiko Stores 00206A model breaker bar. This bar features a twenty-four-inch chrome-plated vanadium steel forged handle. The end of the handle is contoured and allows you to grip it more securely. At the other end of the handle, you will see a half-inch drive head.
This drive head is manufactured from chrome-moly steel. Chrome-moly steel is made to withstand high pressure and high temperatures and is also resistant to rust.
The drive head is able to bend up to 180 degrees allowing you to get into those tight spots. Located on the drive head, you will also find a ball detent.
Safe and secure…
You can securely fasten your sockets to this without having to worry about them falling off. If you want to make the drive head smaller, you can use reducers, but we found this made the bar a little less stable.
- Drive head bends up to 180°.
- Hardened chrome-moly steel.
- 24” Long handle.
- Lack of stability, when used with ratchet head reducers.
2 Craftsman Flex Handle 3/4-Inch Drive and 18-Inches Long Breaker Bar, 9-4431 – Most Durable Breaker Bar
Craftsman is well known when it comes to tools. It, therefore, comes at no surprise to us that they make one of the most excellent breaker bars available.
This breaker bar from Craftsman features a three-quarter-inch drive head. It incorporates a wave style joint that allows 180 degrees of flexibility.
Built to last…
The handle on this bar is eighteen inches long and also has a chrome finish to it. It is exceptionally durable thanks to the vanadium steel it is crafted from.
As you move from the drive head to the end of the handle, you will notice that it gets slightly thicker at the end. This is supposed to make for a better grip when using this breaker bar. We found this to be hit or miss. If your hands get sweaty, the bar does become a bit too slippery for our liking.
Lasts a lifetime…
This bar is undoubtedly powerful and was able to loosen all of the nuts we tested it on. One thing we do especially love about this Craftsman product is the lifetime guarantee it comes with.
- ¾” Drive head.
- 18” Vanadium handle.
- Lifetime guarantee.
- The handle could be more contoured.
3 MAXPOWER 1/2-Inch and 3/8-Inch Drive Dual-drive 24-Inch Breaker Bar Flex Handle – Best Double Drive Head Breaker Bar
This breaker bar from MaxPower offers two different sized drive heads. The drive head can rotate 360 degrees and has a half-inch head on one side and three-eighths-inch head on the other. And on each of the drive heads, you will have a spring-loaded ball bearing for attaching your sockets.
You also have a long twenty-four-inch handle for applying torque to those hard to loosen lug nuts. Moreover, the chrome vanadium handle is effortless to grip thanks to its robust contoured handle.
But there is a catch…
Since you have one piece of metal containing two drive heads, you will have different maximum torque limits on each side. For the half-inch drive head, you will have a maximum amount of 378lb.ft of torque on hand. On the smaller driver head, you only have 149lb.ft torque available.
While this is more than enough for most applications, we do wonder about its durability down the line since the drive heads are only held in place with a single screw.
- Contoured handle for a solid grip.
- Comes with both 1/2” and 3/8” drive head.
- 360 degrees of flexibility.
- The drive heads could be more securely attached.
4 Performance Tool W32126 1/2-Inch Drive 30-Inch Breaker Bar, 1-Pack
The W32126 from Performance Tool is a long bar measuring in at thirty inches. It features a half-inch drive with a ball bearing for socket retention. Like other breaker bars, this one is also crafted from a chrome vanadium alloy that will hold up against rust over time.
When using the W32126, you will notice the drive head can move up to 180 degrees. It is bolted onto the handle and feels extremely reliable while using it.
The drive head’s craftsmanship seems pretty exceptional to us. What does not, though, is the spring-loaded ball bearing it uses. After testing this a few dozen times, we noticed that whatever socket we attached to seemed loose to us.
This was even more prevalent on large sockets. They would tend to rattle a bit, and on one occasion, the socket fell entirely off the drive head.
- High quality 1/2” drive head.
- 30” Handle has a good grip.
- Only weighs 3.95 pounds.
- The spring-loaded ball bearing is not that reliable.
5 Capri Tools 1 in. Drive 40 in. Extended Leverage Breaker Bar – Best 230 Degree Breaker Bar
Next up in this breaker bars roundup is a monster of an offering from Capri Tools. This bar is an incredible forty inches long!
It is made from chrome molybdenum and should provide all the torque you could ever need, in our opinion. With so much torque available, you will notice that this breaker bar sits at a relatively high price point, though.
The drive head on this breaker bar is one inch in size, and it can swivel up to 230 degrees as well. Since this breaker bar has a more massive head, you might find yourself using size reducers. Luckily, the spring load ball bearing is very robust and can handle this with ease.
Capri Tools has really made the overall durability of this bar exceptional, which is what you would expect from a breaker bar at this price point.
- Long 40” handle.
- Loosening rust over nuts is easy.
- 1” Drive head can swivel 230°.
- Easily attach reducers/extensions.
6 Crescent CRW16 1/2” Drive Flex Handle with 18” Breaker Bar – Best Grip Breaker Bar
The Crescent Store CRW16 is a half-inch breaker bar with an eighteen-inch handle. It might remind you of the Craftsman bar we looked at earlier in this review. That is until you notice the end of the handle. Like some of the other breaker bars we have looked at, it also comes with a form-fitting handle.
This allows for a significant amount of grip, which you will need. For an eighteen-inch breaker bar, this one is immensely powerful.
Crestoloy Alloy Steel…
Crescent developed and trademarked its own alloy in the 1930s. They claim their steel is both lighter and stronger than the competition.
We won’t argue with this and found this breaker bar’s durability to be up there with the best. If we could say anything, it would be that the handle could be a bit better balanced.
Plenty of movement…
The half-inch drive head this breaker bar comes with offers 180 degrees of movement. You will also have your typical ball bearing for attaching various sockets.
- Crescent’s own Crestoloy Alloy.
- Extremely competitive price point.
- The bar could be better balanced.
- Reports of ball bearing tolerance issues.
7 ABN Extension Bar, 1/2in Drive x 18in – 180-Degree Rotating Head and Spring-Loaded Ball Bearing 1/2 Breaker Bar
This ABN breaker bar has a half-inch drive head that can rotate up to 180 degrees. It is crafted from chrome-molybdenum steel, which provides good durability.
You will have an eighteen-inch vanadium steel handle on offer to apply toque. And the end of it has a small amount of contour to provide grip.
While it feels that you have all the leverage you could need when using this extension bar, you need to be a bit careful during use. This is because the overall diameter of the handle is not that thick. So, if you apply too much torque to this bar, you may notice it start to deform slightly.
This was mainly noticeable towards the drive head. The drive head and its ball-bearing sprocket retention hold up well, though.
Carefully does it…
Given the low price point of this bar, we were not expecting perfection. It will last for a long time as long as you don’t overwork it.
- Shallow price point.
- Can attach 1/2 inch sockets.
- Very robust drive head.
- The handle is relatively thin and could be more robust.
8 GreatNeck BB18 1/2 Drive 18 Inch Breaker Bar – Best Budget Breaker Bar
The final product we are going to look at in this best breaker bars review is from Great Neck. The BB18 is an eighteen-inch long breaker bar. You have a half-inch drive head available that features the standard spring-loaded ball bearing to attach sockets.
The flex head of the drive head can rotate up to 180 degrees. Most importantly, this breaker bar is the cheapest we have looked at, and with the low price comes some concerns.
While this breaker bar is made from chrome vanadium steel, it does not feel as durable as some other bars we have tested. We never personally had any problems using this bar, but we have read reviews that this bar is prone to bending. It’s very light, weighing in at only 1.80 pounds, and that could possibly be a factor.
One thing we did like was the subtle texture of the handlebar grip. It is easy to hold onto, and you can lean right into it, giving you as much leverage as you could want.
- Unbelievably cheap.
- Easy to grip textured handle.
Best Breaker Bars Buying Guide
A breaker bar can be used for multiple applications. You may want to loosen the nut on your oil drain or just take a lug nut off your wheel.
The main benefit from a breaker bar is the length of the handle and the amount of torque it can apply. Breaker bars vary in size, but they usually start at about eighteen inches long and grow from there.
What difference does the length make?
With a more extended bar, you will have more leverage compared to a shorter bar. That does not mean a shorter breaker bar is not just as good, though. It depends on what you are using it for. We typically think the more leverage you have available, the better, though.
Most breaker bars will be made from an alloy like vanadium steel or chrome-molybdenum, for example. These materials are exceptionally durable and are resistant to rust as well as heat.
Bar thickness will vary, though, and that can affect durability. Remember, no matter the length of your breaker bar; you will be putting tension on the drive head.
While a thicker bar is stronger, it is also going to be heavier. All of the breaker bars we tested can only handle so much torque no matter what material they are made from.
Once you find the correct length of the bar you want to use, you will then want to figure out the size drive head you want.
What to look for in the drive head?
Drive head sizes can vary from 3/8 inch to 1 inch in size. All drive heads will have a spring-loaded ball bearing for holding your sockets in place.
The smaller the drive head, the lower the amount of torque it will be able to withstand. But, even though you may be using a smaller sized socket, you will still have more than enough torque on hand.
Larger drive heads, while they might be more powerful, will typically take up more room. Also, the sockets used will be much larger.
This is where reducers and enlargers come in…
You can attach socket reducers or enlargers, as well as extenders. With the ability to rotate the bar breakers drive head in addition to adding or reducing its length and size, you can reach even the toughest of nuts.
When you add on reducers or extensions, you want to make sure the socket is securely in place. You would not want it to be loose and wobble on top of the ball bearing.
Safety is vital when working with any type of tool. With the amount of pressure you put on a bar breaker, the last thing you want to happen is for the handle to bend or, even worse, your socket to slip off. So, look for a breaker bar that is both comfortable for you to use and as durable as possible.
Got All the Other Tools You Need?
A reliable and comprehensive tool collection is one of life’s necessities. We recommend reading our reviews for the Best Lug Wrenches, the Best Torque Sticks, the Best Tap and Die Sets, the Best Screwdriver Sets, the Best Socket Organizers, the Best Mechanical Tool Sets, and the Best Floor Jacks for Cars if you don’t already have them.
It’s also essential to store your tools correctly to get the best out of them over time. Check out our reviews for the Best Tool Chests, the Best Tool Box Drawer Liners, or the Best Truck Tool Boxes on the market in 2020.
Back to breaker bars…
So, what are the Best Breaker Bars?
Of all the breaker bars reviewed, there was one that stood out for us. Capri Tools takes the win in this breaker bar roundup with their…
It measures forty inches long and has a robust one-inch drive head. With such a long handle on offer, you can get a substantial amount of leverage to break loose any nut or bolt.
The once inch drive head also offers 230 degrees of flexibility, letting you get into tight spots without a problem. You can also attach multiple reducers or extensions securely thanks to the robust ball-bearing incorporated on the drive head.
No matter what type of fastening you are trying to break loose, this breaker bar makes easy work of it.