What Is a Burke Bar?

  • By: Charles Brown
  • Date: May 25, 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.

If you’re venturing into the demolition or construction industry, it’s inevitable that you’ll come across the Burke Bar – the tool that’s hailed for its sheer power and versatility. It’s an all-in-one pry bar that doesn’t just tear down, but also aids builders, cement workers, and DIY enthusiasts.

Breaking Down the Burke Bar

The Burke Bar, a heavy-duty pry bar, is an essential tool in any construction worker’s arsenal. It sports a curved, springy end that’s perfect for prying things open and a long 4-foot handle that ensures a comfortable grip. Known for its usefulness beyond just demolition, it’s a tool you can count on to move panels during construction, among other tasks.

Don’t fret if you’ve found scant information about it online, we’ve got you covered. Let’s take a deep dive into the world of Burke Bars!

The Burke Bar Explained

A Burke Bar is essentially a steel pry bar, typically ranging between 46 to 56 inches in length. Its blade measures between 3 and 5 inches wide, equipped with a nail puller on the side.

Why “Burke” Bar?

The moniker “Burke Bar” is rooted in history. The original company that produced this type of bar was named “Meadow Burke,” a manufacturer of concrete accessories. Over time, this bar’s distinct design and functionality led to people calling it a “Burke Bar” – a name that has stuck among most in the construction industry. But don’t get confused if you hear others referring to it as a crowbar or a pry bar!

The Power of a Burke Bar

The Burke Bar isn’t your average pry bar. Its possibilities are endless, transforming demolition into a breeze and moving heavy objects or panels a simple task. Here’s a glimpse into the various tasks a Burke Bar can conquer:

  1. Removing concrete forms
  2. Adjusting door frames
  3. Removing nails
  4. Smashing concrete
  5. Bending rebar (if the handle is hollow and uncapped)
  6. Lifting heavy objects and maneuvering them into place, such as tires from heavy machinery or safes
  7. Scraping surfaces
  8. Removing flooring, plaster, studs, and lathe

Basically, if you think a bar can handle a task, chances are the Burke Bar can!

When to Hold Back on the Burke Bar

Despite its versatility, there are certain situations where a smaller pry bar might be a better fit. For instance, you wouldn’t want to use a Burke Bar to pry a piece of wood from a cabinet, lest you end up with more damage than when you started! Be wary of tight spaces like shower stalls, where the bar might not have enough room to move, or crowded work areas, to prevent potential accidents.

Who Makes Burke Bars and Where to Buy Them?

Two prominent US companies manufacture Burke Bars – Meadow Burke and Marshalltown. While both produce high-quality pry bars, only one retains the original “Burke Bar” name.

You can easily purchase these bars from various home improvement websites, and Marshalltown’s version is even available on Amazon.

Meadow Burke’s Offerings

Meadow Burke continues to manufacture their trademark Burke Bars, all of which come painted in a vibrant yellow and are available in three sizes:

Bar NameBar LengthBar WeightBlade Width
Precast Bar56 inches19 pounds
Burke Bar56 inches15 pounds
Burke Bar Junior47 inches7 pounds

The variations are mostly in length and weight, with the heaviest offering the most power and the lightest being easier to handle.

Marshalltown’s Selection

Marshalltown offers a similar tool under the name of “monster pry bars.” These come in an array of colors, adding a bit of vibrancy to your tool collection.

Bar NameBar LengthBar WeightFeatures
Big Bad Monster Pry Bar56 inches15 pounds5/8 inch thick blade, ideal for tough jobs
Big Bad Monster Extra Wide Pry Bar56 inches19 poundsWider 5-inch blade, identical to the above
Two-Headed Monster Pry Bar46 inches7 poundsAdditional 90-degree head, perfect for smaller jobs

Marshalltown’s first two bars are similar to Meadow Burke’s offerings, but their Two-Headed Monster Pry Bar has a distinct advantage depending on the kind of job you’re tackling.

Tips for Using a Burke Bar

Using a Burke Bar isn’t rocket science, but following a few tips will help you get the most out of this powerful tool.

  1. Stay Safe: Always remember to gear up with steel-toed boots, work gloves, long sleeves, and pants. Safety first!
  2. Two Hands and Good Footing: Ensure you have a firm grip and footing, especially when applying force.
  3. Let the Handle Do the Work: Leverage the power of the long handle to reduce your physical strain.
  4. Store Properly: Keep your tool in top shape by cleaning it after use and storing it in a dry place.

Is a Burke Bar Worth It?

Given its versatility and robustness, a Burke Bar is a great investment for those frequently involved in construction projects. Prices range between $80-$120 depending on the size and brand, but considering their durability, they’ll likely outlast your career, providing value for a lifetime. If you foresee frequent use, investing in a Burke Bar can significantly simplify your work.

In the world of demolition and construction, few tools match the might and versatility of the Burke Bar. So whether you’re tearing down walls or setting up panels, remember that a trusty Burke Bar has got your back!


Who makes Burke Bars?

Burke Bars are primarily manufactured by two U.S. companies – Meadow Burke, the original creator of the Burke Bar, and Marshalltown. Both brands offer high-quality versions of this tool.

How is a Burke Bar used?

A Burke Bar can be used for a variety of tasks in construction and demolition work, such as removing concrete forms, adjusting door frames, removing nails, smashing concrete, bending rebar, lifting heavy objects, scraping surfaces, and removing flooring, plaster, studs, and lathe.

When should I not use a Burke Bar?

Despite its versatility, a Burke Bar may not be suitable for delicate tasks or in tight spaces. For instance, you wouldn’t want to use it to pry a piece of wood from a cabinet or in a small shower stall where there’s not enough room to maneuver. Also, it’s best not to use a Burke Bar when working closely with others to prevent accidents.

Where can I buy a Burke Bar?

You can purchase Burke Bars from various home improvement websites. Marshalltown’s version, known as “monster pry bars,” is also available on Amazon.

Why is it called a Burke Bar?

The term “Burke Bar” originated from the name of the company that first manufactured it, Meadow Burke. Over time, the name stuck and is now commonly used in the construction industry.

How much does a Burke Bar cost?

The cost of a Burke Bar usually ranges between $80 and $120, depending on the size and brand. This initial investment pays off in the long run, given the durability and versatility of the tool.

Is a Burke Bar worth it?

If you’re frequently involved in construction or demolition work, a Burke Bar can be a worthwhile investment. Its robustness and versatility can simplify your tasks, and its durability ensures it will last for many years.

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