I purchased a Gerber Prybrid utility knife a couple of weeks ago, thinking it would be an interesting and more compact alternative to common construction-focused models.
The Prybrid has a sliding utility knife blade, a cord cutting notch, a pry bar, bottle opener, and some other minor features almost nobody will ever use.
It’s a somewhat outdoors-themed utility knife and pry bar.
Although, Gerber says:
With a convenient dual-ended design, the Prybrid Utility is the only tool you’ll need for quick tasks at the job site.
My Prybrid has been sitting on my test bench due to time constraints and other priorities, but I thought it might be nice to post about it as a follow-up to my recent Coast DX126 folding utility knife review.
So, last night I opened it up, checked it a bit, and oh boy, instant regret.
For a utility knife to be jobsite-friendly, you’ve got to be able to change blades fast, right?
Somehow while changing the blade, sorry – while trying to change the blade, something on the tool cut two of my fingers. I didn’t notice, I just realized my fingers were wet and I saw the blood. I washed up and applied bandaids to the cuts. I really don’t know what happened here.
But there is something I do know – I greatly dislike tools that make it difficult to change out accessories.
Maybe I’ll get a feel for things with time, but I did not have an easy time changing the utility knife blade at all.
Did I get a dud? Are my fingers weaker than I thought?
Did I do something wrong? I haven’t a clue, because Gerber doesn’t provide any instructions with the knife, just a standard sheet of precautionary statements that they seem to include with each and every multi-tool, knife, or similar product.
I found a quick video online, and it made blade changes look relatively easy. It reinforced what I thought I had to do, but it just didn’t work.
To change out the blade, you extend the knife all the way out. There are 3 blade positions – closed, extended for use, and extended for removal.
Do you see the large T-shaped tab that covers the blade? That is what’s applying locking pressure to the blade.
There’s a small protrusion that holds the blade into position from sliding in and out.
This tab needs to clamp the blade with enough pressure so as to help prevent the blade from intentionally pulling out from the knife, and so it’s pretty strong.
So, there’s this itty bitty little tab that you have to push, and with enough strength to counter the spring tension, all while carefully pulling the razor-sharp utility knife-style blade.
With practice or a bit of break-in, maybe I’ll be able to finesse it a bit more. In theory, or with practice, I should be able to hold the knife carefully, push the locking tab open to relieve pressure on the blade, and then gently and carefully remove the blade. But, I’m not there yet.
Right now, I feel that I need 3 hands to safely change blades on this – one to hold the knife, one to release the locking pressure, and one to safely remove the blade.
Putting a fresh blade back in? That’s a very similar challenge.
To insert a new blade, you have to push the locking tab open and hold it open while guiding the blade. If you don’t open the locking tab with enough pressure, it squeezes the blade and fights any efforts to carefully bring it to the proper locked position.
Looking at online reviews, there’s a lot of positivity for the Gerber Prybrid knife and pry bar. I do like its overall design and construction, but the blade change process is literally painful.
This is supposed to have a tool-free blade change process, and I found it to be way too awkward.
The problem here isn’t so much about the knife, but my expectations. When a tool is designed around replaceable utility knife blades, I expect it to allow for fast, easy, and safe blade changes. The design here is not fast or easy, at least in my early experiences so far.
However, that the spring-tension locking tab is so strong is also a good thing, as it reduces the chance of blade pull-out.
Oh, and one more thing – I did read some online complaints about the Gerber Prybrid knife not being compatible with all brands’ utility knife blades. So, if I end up using this knife enough to formally review it, I’ll have to get much more familiar with the blade change process. Great.
This Gerber is up there on the “terrible blade change process,” right next to the newest Dewalt folding retractable utility knife that I recently reviewed.
I think that the Gerber Prybrid might be an okay “just in case I need it” type of EDC tool where a single blade will last a very long time before needing to be reversed or changed. But in my mind and usage, utility knife blades are for frequent use, and that doesn’t mesh well with difficult blade change mechanisms.
I also bought the Gerber Prybrid X, a similar tool that works with hobby knife blades. Unfortunately, the Prybrid X looks to have a similar blade change design.
Hmm, maybe this is the problem – Gerber shows a fingernail being used to put counter-pressure on the Prybrid X’s locking tab. I trimmed my nails a couple of days ago; was I supposed to grow out a nail in order to change the blades on these tools?
I’m sure I’ll settle on a safe technique eventually, but right now the process feels very precarious and intimidating.
Just to be sure, I tried to change the blade one more time, to see if it would be easier. I did change and replace the blade yesterday – just once – maybe this second go around would different. Nope.
Maybe my fingers are just too wimpy for this tool, as everyone else online seems convinced blade changes are easy with this tool.
I took a look at Gerber’s introductory promo video.
Ah, okay – they show that to change a blade, you hold the knife handle in your right hand, both sides of the blade with your thumb and middle finger, and use your pointer finder to unlock the spring tab.
I tried doing it this way and I reversed my hands. I tried to use my thumb again while holding the handle in my right hand and blade in my left.
My short nail doesn’t do much, and if my nail was longer, it’d likely bend or crack.
How did I get the blade out and reinserted the first time around last night? I cheated and used pliers.
Maybe this is why Gerber doesn’t include any instructions with the knife, because there’s just no easy way to do this properly. I’ve watched the blade change in their intro video several times, and have concluded that they’re using magic.
In case you’re curious, I think this is what cut into my finger until I noticed the blood – one of the corners of the bottle opener claw is rounded, the other is pointy and much sharper. I’m thinking I was concentrating too hard on safely avoiding the blade’s cutting edge that I might have awkwardly gripped the tool too tight and at the wrong angle.
Yup, I cut my finger on the bottle opener while trying to be super careful about not cutting myself on the blade I was trying to remove and reinsert.
There are aspects I immediately like about this tool, but boy does the blade change design really sour my early opinion. I’ll either find a way to change the blade in a quick, easy, and safe manner, or just live with the idea that it’ll take a bunch of other tools.
Maybe I’ve got to do some finger exercises, thicken my callouses, or follow Cosmo’s advice, where they say more Biotin – vitamin B7 – could help improve fingernail strength.
Following are some purchase links, if you’re interested. Maybe one day I can recommend it, if either the blade change tab breaks in a little or I find the process less clumsy.
At the time of this posting, the Gerber Prybrid tools have more than 2,100 reviews and ratings for the two color options combined, with most being very positive.
If you have one of these tools, have your experiences been like mine? It seems very popular, and so I can’t help but think that either there’s something wrong with my tool, which doesn’t seem all that likely, or something wrong with me. I like to think that I’m fairly competent and experienced with all kinds of knives, but one has me stumped.
Yikes. That doesn’t sound positive.
I was mildly interested in this tool and almost bought one on sale last week – but then I convinced myself I had other tool priorities.
Also, hard to imagine that’s the only tool I’ll need for quick tasks at the job site – unless you work at a box factory.
Damn Stuart! Talk about hit the nail on the head!
I bought one of these during Prime days (or what ever it was called) recently.
Very disappointed for the reason you covered. I should have returned it!
I’m a mechanic and I’d like to think I have fairly strong and well calloused fingers but I find it almost impossible and quite painful to change the blade using just my thumb.
Decent EDC design. Very poor execution! And NO pocket clip!! WTH Gerber!!!
I’m always looking for a easy access, one handed opening knife, to possibly replace my EDC, Benchmade MiniGrip when working around water.
This Gerber sure ain’t it!
Oh well, for days when one slip means a lost knife I’ll stick with the Milwaukee flip folder, replaceable blade knife, and a SAK Tinker if I need other tools.
Low replacement costs and they get the job done.
Reading some reviews, found a few cons. Heavy & bulky, no belt clip, no onboard blade storage, blade slot is wide, lacking blade side support., not a lot of mention of blade changing problems. Sorry to hear of the injury.
That’s the frustrating part – I don’t mind the lack of a pocket or belt clip, as it has a very slim profile, and onboard blade storage would dramatically increase its size.
I think this is a very neat tool, and I was so excited about it. But the blade change…
On a tool like this, if you can’t change the blades easily or quickly, there are so many other knife + pry bar alternatives that don’t compromise on the user experience.
It’s definitely doable without a tool but it doesn’t feel all that safe. Could be better.
I bought the same green tool per a Toolguyd sale Recommdation and after looking at it for bit realized it looked cool but any of my Japanese OLFA LA-X desk/bench knives will out shine and outlast it’s “interesting” looks. Live and learn. I’ll simply give to anyone visiting who takes a (momentary) liking to it.
Sale alert*. With so many positive reviews, and my many positive experiences with Gerber, what was there to doubt?
But since it was a Prime Day sale, it could potentially be a winter holiday promo item as well, and I figured it was something I needed to test personally on my own dime,
I like the tool’s design, it’s just the blade change is a deal breaker for me, even if not in practice then in theory. The game isn’t over yet, but either I find a way to be comfortable with the tool or it’ll get tossed into a “tools I wish I never bought but might one day have a use for” pile.
A few months ago, a delivery man left a knife with a similar mechanism here. We called and he said that we could keep it. It had a blade with a wavy edge that I guess is for cardboard.
The thing was scary to use due to not locking in the open position, and changing the blade was quite annoying. You had to push on the tab and pull on the blade, but if you let go of the tab a bit the blade would get stuck. To put the blade back in, it was the same thing. Pushing on the tab while pushing on the blade and if done incorrectly, the blade would twist/move inside the slot/groove, get stuck and could cut you. No wonder he didn’t care about it.
I kept the blade, and threw the folding handle in the garbage can.
I don’t use a lot of knives. My favorite is the Greenlee utility knife. It has a nifty blade storage. Multiple blade positions, comfortable grip. Other people may not like them, but to me it’s a perfect utility knife for my uses.
Greenlee quick change utility knife, 0652-11
That’s one I don’t recall seeing. Except likely at an electrical contractors supply house pegboard of Greenlee tools… And I missed it.
Looks pretty interesting. Thanks for mentioning it.
I’m not sure if it’s marketed for electricians. Just a real basic utility knife with a few nice features. I haven’t noticed any safety issues with it, it you have to be careful.
i have just received this knife as a present,
yes you do need tough nails to change over the blade , and develop good callouses to move the blade.
i was unable to open up the knife (to adjust the spring tension ) due to the small screws chewing up on first attempt that is not possible .
but i still use it daily .
nothing compairs to my stanley quick slide .
Well now its bedding in ,this in now my main knife ,
I’m not a fan of Gerber knives and tools. They have a few nice knives but for the most part I think there are better quality and better designed knives for the price point elsewhere. I’ve also been soured by how on the packaging of some knives they said “high carbon steel” but when emailed they told me it was 1050 or 1055 (I don’t remember which of the two) which are not high carbon steels. 1050 or 1055 aren’t bad steels but they are medium carbon steels and I’m not happy when a company is trying to pass off 1050 or 1055 as high carbon when thats clearly wrong and deceptive. I wouldn’t be as harsh if the packaging just stated the actual steel designation instead of “high carbon”. I don’t know if they have updated such labeling but after so many gimmicky designs and poor quality, I’ve written them off from my considerations.
You got it right Stuart it does have a “the razor-sharp flesh utility knife-style blade”. That bladed was made for slicing FLESH, the flesh on your fingers.
Mike (the other one)
This was clearly designed to look cool, not to function well. This is a problem I’ve noticed with a lot of tacticool/outdoors tools and gear.
I’d rather have a classic utility knife that requires a screwdriver to change blades over this. At least I know it will work when I need it.
It looks like they could have made the top of that T roll over the top of the blade, giving you the ability to push it aside with your thumb.
T = T blade holder, B = Blade
TT <—- T slightly extended and rolled over to give a tab to push on
I keep pretty traditional Stanley knives in my tool bags. Sometimes I think a side-slide rather than a top-slide would be an improvement. They’re decades old.
A lot of “you guys” seem to go through a lot of hassles in order to fill what I believe are the worst possible tool bags – your pockets – with small tools.
These Gerber knives seem to be trying to fill a less offensive flavor of tacticool, but still, I wonder why bother?
I have two utility knifes. The first is an old fixed-blade Stanley no 199, made in England, which I inherited from my father. I’m sure it’s over 60 years old. The blade doesn’t even retract, though it did come with a bent sheet metal cover you can put over the blade. to cover up the sharp edge. I have another one I bought when I was a teenager, that is an “interlock” full-size model where you can retract the blade with your thumb. I’ve never felt the need to change what works.
I think part of the problem here is that the utility knife problem has already been solved, but manufacturers and sellers always want something “new” to hawk so there’s a never-ending stream of meh products coming out on the market. I welcome real improvements but thus far it seems many knives are more gimmick than they are functional.
I’m happy that Stuart is reviewing these though. Every once in a while a legitimately good product does appear among the piles of me-too garbage and you never find those unless you try.
I completely agree with your last paragraph. The rest of it too.
All Gerber knives pure junk. Old original us Gerber’s were good not bought out import junk.
Got one of these plus the mini one during Prime days sale. Very disappointed for the same reason you mentioned, plus other than being heavy duty really isn’t that good of a tool. The pry bar end is too thick and ‘straight’ to be a decent pry bar while at the same time too ‘bent’ to be a decent screwdriver, and with way too much bevel to grip a screw head worth a darn. No pocket clip, and the back end is sharp enough to cut through a pocket. Interesting idea, horrible execution. If Gerber made it a utility knife with a pry end for opening paint cans and the like, or mace it with decent screwdriver tips, they would have been better off.
Now the mini knife has its own problems, mostly due to having the tiniest blade stuck into the biggest handle they could come up with. The handle is almost big enough for a full utility blade, but has an Xacto blade instead. Way too big for a keychain, yet with a tiny blade. Seems well made, but the execution of it just isn’t up to snuff. Way too bulky for a keychain knife, too small of a blade for the handle, and like the bigger one, too sharp in a pocket. At least the blade is changeable with only 2 hands. Gerber generally has decent stuff, usually practical at least, but these two IMO are just duds.
I decided to try and use the knife a while (the bigger one) thinking I should give it another chance. Well, now I lime it even less. While it appears to be heavy duty and well suited to tough cutting tasks, trying to cut anything tough causes the sharp parts of the bottle opener to dig into my fingers/hand. Think about it, pressure on the blade makes the handle want to rotate in your grip, poking the sharpest part of the handle into your flesh. Its almost like someone said this looks cool, lets put it out in the market, and didn’t do much if any testing to see how well the design did or didn’t work.
Oh, and the more I try to use the screwdriver feature the less I lime that, as well.
Its only saving grace is that the bottle opener does work so you can drown your sorrows, but be VERY suresure the blade is fully retracted first, or you will have even more regrets.
Thank you for the review. I saw this and was initially attracted to the non-slip handle, but the difficulty in changing blades and lack of a belt clip are a deal breaker. A while back I bought the Gerber EAB, which has a belt clip, but quickly lost the tiny screw that holds the blade in, so that was a fail. I settled on the humble screwpop key-chain knife and though I was initially skeptical about how flimsy it felt, I find that it has become my go-to blade for almost everything, so much so that I almost never use the Leatherman that I carry.
I appreciate the thought that goes into your work and enjoy learning about tools I might never have heard of.
I bought one about a month ago absolutely stoked as well, but it’s just sitting on the counter too. I didn’t even get to the blade change issue, I lost interest when I realized it didn’t have a pocket clip. Instant deal breaker for me. Shame on me for not noticing, but I foolishly assumed it would have one.
It really is terrible design. I can think of 2-separate lawsuit theories that probably will occur. Both would likely favor the plaintiff…….I like my hands, I will not buy something like this.
Gerber quality has fallen a long way from the days when Pete Gerber ran the company and Al Mar was head of design…
Better stick to the baby food seems to be more in your lane.
Yep, I feel the same way about it. It is very difficult to change the blade and no pocket clip. I have and use a Gerber Keychain almost everyday. But this one has been a dissapointment.
I got one of these through Amazon one and I honestly don’t know what to do with it. Maybe a camp kit tool? But there seems better options there.
I actually like this knife. Its slim form and lack of belt loop allow me to carry it daily in a smaller pocket on my pants at work. I haven’t had to change the blade much, as I only cut the occasional box with it, and while almost any other blade change design is better, a fingernail pushing the tab is effective, though fingernail-dependent. I have found many uses for the prybar in the day-to-day, which for me has made this knife worthwhile.
I changed the blade out in 2 minutes. I used a small flat head screw driver with my left thumb holding the button down. Slid the blade out and it was real fast doing the same to get it in. But like you said shouldn’t be that hard to do.
I dont know what half of you are talking about I was able to change the blade and replace it 1st try no problem. There is nothing wrong with the tool, its quite food in fact. I very much like the speed design. The fact that there is a significant amount of pressure on the retainer clip for the blade gives me comfort rather than a loos one where the blade could possible slip out under heavy pressure.
I think its great.
Can you please confirm that you’re not affiliated with Gerber in any way? Your email address (which only I can see in the admin section) is unusual for a consumer/personal user.
HA! Found this review by searching for how to change the blade. After reading it, I realized I wasn’t alone. But after a quick re-examinng of the retention mechanism I tried this and it seems to work great: (I’m left handed) extending the blade to last position. Holding the knife firmly with right hand as you would normally hold it (thumb on slide putting sharp edge of blade pointing left) Grasp the protruding tip of blade with left hand, placing thumb at the top edge almost covering the notch. place index finger on the other side, essentially parallel to the leading edge of the blade holder. Now, ‘twist’ the blade by pushing the bottom (sharp) edge toward you with index finger, while applying pressure to the top edge with your thumb. The blade acts as a lever to push up the ‘T’ spring with the dimple enough so you can then pull the blade straight out.
just be aware where your index finger tip is before pulling the blade out, firm grip and don’t hesitate. to insert a new blade, use the corner tip to start the blade under the ‘T’ then line it up and push in till it’s against the dimple. same twisting, double check that finger tip on your nice clean sharp blade, and push the blade in till it locks..
yeah.. long description, but relatively quick procedure. Although I usually don’t much like having a finger tip close to a new sharp blade, or even a dull one when applying any pressure or having to grasp it firmly. I’ve had a few too many x-acto blades slice some deep cuts in my thumbs and index fingers pulling out a stubborn blade.
I wish I found this review before I bought one. I got here when searching how to change the blade on my new knife. Between tough blade changes and no belt/pocket clip, this was landfilll-bound the instant it was designed. I fell for the look….
I found one of these and like using it, but the blade is ready to be replaced. I found my way to this page because I hoped someone had found a way to replace it. Guess I’ll try pliers!
There is a notch on the top part of the blade holder. You extend the blade, then depress the small notch, and it frees the blade so you can replace it.
Here is a video that shows it.
The one that uses scalpel blades also seems to have a similar notch on the top.
Hope it helps
Just realized, that Perry, wrote a nice description of the process, a few posts above.
Late to the thread, I got mine today and found this as I didn’t know how to remove the blade.
Now that I do I actually find it really easy and straight forward. The whole tool is a bit bigger than I was expecting, but overall I like it.
Super late to the party, but I just got a brand new one of these and am pleased to report two things:
1. The bottle opener is now rounded on both sides
2. The tension on the blade retaining mechanism is low enough that I can operate it no problem (and I have dainty artist hands, not strong builder ones)
Makes me think they may have read your review!