Photos are high resolution, click to enlarge
The two products in question are the Peterson Prybars from Peterson International: http://www.peterson-international.com/tensiontools.html
The two Technical Entry Prybars from Technical Entry: http://www.technicalentry.com/products/prybar
Technical Entry description:
Technical Entry sensitive pry bars are quite simply excellent. We deliver them as a set, two pieces, 1mm and 1.2mm thick to cover a great number of pin cylinder locks. Serrated teeth bind in keyway to give a very good purchase. Hold above or below the cut out to apply more or less tension. Made of the highest specification steel available the feedback they provide is second to none. The right material in the right configuration, we are very happy to offer you this pry bar, tension wrench and believe it will be one of your favorites. Pry bars are laser etched for easy identification.
You asked for it, You Got It! The Peterson Pry Bar is for the many locksmiths who requested a strong and solid tension tool. At 0.050,” our "Serrated Pry Bar" is the width of the key blade segment of most keyways. This strong-arm partner is notched to eliminate contact with the first pin, flat to fit in your pick set, and has our serrated edge technology that locks it in any keyway! Made of our famous Government Stainless Steel: only the best, of course!
Who says you can’t please everyone? When several locksmiths felt our original pry bar was too thick for some of their needs, we did just that. Now almost everyone buys both! At 0.040” the Peterson Pry Bar Lite has the same great features as our Pry Bar, but with a little more flexibility of keyway fit. And, of course it has our serrated edge technology applied to lock it in the keyway! It is made from the same Government Stainless Steel that made the original pry bar such a hit in the field.
As some of you may know, Peterson Prybars are my favorite tensioner. Well I finally got the chance to play with their evil clone twin from Europe. Since we are talking about two very similar products in form and function I am going to be as picky as I possibly can. As you can see from the photos, it should immediately strike you that the TE prybars are far more precisely produced than the Peterson ones. The Peterson Prybars do not have anything close to the clean lines that the TE prybars do. I could be wrong on this, but I'm fairly certain Peterson laser cuts his government steel. It would seem that the bumps and ridges are a result of the laser cutting. This same type of bumpy ridge texture is found on Peterson's government steel picks as well. There is also a nasty looking knot of metal you can see on the Peterson prybars which may be where the laser started or stopped, or both. I have always preferred performance to visual appeal, so I am willing to set this aside... for now. If you are one of those people who prefers an extremely precise product for your money, go ahead and subtract points away from Peterson's Prybars for their apparent manufacturing sloppiness.
The tips on both products are very similar. I will go ahead and say that Technical Entry straight up copied Peterson's design. It is obvious. The tips, thicknesses, lengths are 99% similar. The TE prybars are slightly longer by a very small amount visible to the naked eye. I don't have a micrometer handy otherwise I would have taken measurements. The length difference is insignificant in my opinion. Both products have "teeth" meant to prevent slipping out of a keyway and to provide grip. Both products are identical in the length and size of the business end that inserts into the keyway with the exception of the back end opposite the tip. There is more metal there, the curve isn't as steep. I think this adds slightly more strength but that is only conjecture. The teeth on the TE prybars are smaller, shallower, and higher in number than the Peterson prybars. The peterson teeth are deeper and wider. I noticed no difference in performance despite this.
As you can see from the photo, the Technical Entry prybars have a curved midsection. I honestly don't know what the purpose of this is other than to add a visual streamline artistic touch to fit with the theme of the Technical Entry company as a whole. The only other thing I can think of is to try and engineer a precise point of stress fracture where if you bent the prybar hard enough it would snap there. I doubt it. Personally, I find the curve to be annoying as I slide my fingers down and up on prybars to adjust tension strength I would rather not deal with the sensation of a sudden indentation in the tool I am using.
Feedback. I have used enough tools enough times to say that there is absolutely zero difference in feedback between these two products. I used them on all kinds of locks high and low security from Kwikset to ASSA Twin. Light tension, hard tension, medium tension, bucking bronco bouncing betty tension... its all the same. Honestly, take my word for it. There is literally no difference.
Strength. I am an animal. Wait... what? Anyway... strength. I spent a good 5-10 minutes sitting here flexing each one trying to determine which one is stronger on top of the hours I spent picking with the Technical Entry prybars. Well, The Peterson Prybars are *SLIGHTLY* more flexible than the Technical Entry prybars. When I say slightly, I mean slightly. Without snapping each one with a fish scale or some other tool to know for sure, I can't tell you for sure. Both of these tools would require you to put some serious force on them to snap them. I did not venture into the cataclysmic torsion seismograph level tension to try and torcher these prybars. I would rather not snap my brand new tools. I think both of these tools are extremely similar in their strengths. Only time will tell. As long as you keep the tension level below insanity I can see both of these products lasting a lifetime.
This is my personal litmus test. I tested to see if the TE prybars can sit unattended in a Medeco classic keyway. They can.
While photographing these tools, I noticed my two Peterson prybars were sticking together. They are magnetized. I don't believe I have ever seen this fact stated anywhere online or mentioned by anyone. The thicker one is strong enough to hold several paper clips and is strong enough to lift and hold the thin prybar completely. Since I had not known this until now, I can honestly say this has had zero impact on picking. Perhaps if you were dealing with keypins made from a certain metal they would attract to the prybar and hover. Can anyone else check if their prybars are magnetized? I can't think of any situation where I would have accidentally magnetized them.
My personal opinion is that these are a toss up. I grab the nearest one when I go for a lock. I favor neither.
Peterson Prybars: 10/10 - Stellar
Technical Entry Prybars: 10/10 - Stellar
Visual appearance scores:
Peterson Prybars: 9/10 - Visual laser-cutting artifacts, doesn't look pretty under a macro photograph.
Technical Entry Prybars: 9.5/10 - I don't like the curved midsection. Aside from that, STELLAR production.
Peterson Prybars: 9.5/10
Technical Entry Prybars: 9.75/10
And, of course, the TE prybars can be used to pick Medecos, quite nicely I might add.
The code is hidden in the tumblers. One position opens the lock, another position opens one of these doors...