Never Lose Another Nut or Bolt Again With This Extendable Magnet Grabber Tool

·2 min read
Photo credit: ILLUSTRATION BY BROWN BIRD DESIGN
Photo credit: ILLUSTRATION BY BROWN BIRD DESIGN


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We’ve all been there. You’re working on your car and the nut you’re handling slips out of your fingertips, falling into the depths of your engine bay, never to be seen again. It’s happened to me dozens of times, and each and every time I’m reminded how wonderful it is to have an extendable magnetic grabber tool sitting around in my garage.

Magnetic grabber tools are exactly what they sound like. They’re handheld sticks, usually made of metal with extendable reach actions, that have a handle at one end and a strong magnet on the other. They’re used specifically to pick up or retrieve small parts or tools that are out of reach for the user. And they’ve saved me from disaster on numerous occasions.

There are two types of magnetic grabber tools. The more popular variant usually comes in a pencil shape, and can be extended into a taught metal rod, sort of like the plastic lightsaber toys everyone had growing up. When extended, they can normally reach up to two feet from the handle. When folded up, they’re the size of a pen, making it easy to keep in a pocket or a toolbox. Depending on the size of the magnet and the quality of the brand, they’re capable of lifting one to three pounds worth of metal—plenty of capacity to save the errant bolt you dropped.

The other type of magnetic tool isn’t so much extendable as it is adjustable. Like the other magnet tool, it features a handle on one end and a magnet on the other. But in between you’ll find a flexible cable that can be adjusted to fit any form and stay there, allowing you to position it exactly how you want for grabbing especially hard-to-reach items. I used this tool to grab a bolt that had broken off into my 8-Series’ oil pan. It saved me from having to spend hours dropping the pan just to retrieve one little bolt. And it’s saved me from many other debacles since.

Unlike a claw-based grabber tool, you don’t need to be able to see the item you’re grabbing or have the skill to grab it with these magnetic versions. Just let the magnet do the work. The downside of that is, of course, that whatever you’re grabbing has to be metal. So if you drop a piece of plastic into your bay, you’re out of luck.

Because magnetic grabber tools aren’t terribly complex pieces of tech, they’re relatively affordable. Gearwrench sells a basic version that can lift just over a pound for $13.80 on Amazon right now. For just a few bucks more the company also sells a 5-pound capacity variant. If you want the bendable version, Gearwrench makes one of those too, yours for $18.99 right now.

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