There are lots of different types of tack lifters out there, and there are some tools that look like tack lifters which are not. Below is guide to help you decide which type is best for you.
Standard tack lifters
A standard tack lifter has a “V” shaped vanadium steel blade and shaft and a hard plastic handle. This tool is used for removing carpet and upholstery tacks. It is a simple but effective piece of equipment and should be your first choice if you need to lift carpet tacks, pins or studs.
Tack removers with serrated blades
Tack removers with serrated blades, sometimes known as “upholstery knives”, are multi-function hand tools that can lift tacks, pins, and staples as well as having a serrated steel blade for cutting string, twine and other materials. The “V” shaped point of the knife is quite small and the blade is straight so you may find it difficult to gain the leverage you need to remove larger stubborn tacks with this tool.
Staple removers or knockers
Staple removers or ‘knockers’, are used on staples and tacks, and have sharp steel prongs which are ideal for slipping under staples and jimmying them out. The finer “V” shaped prongs on this tool may become damaged if you were to use it to remove heavier carpet tacks.
You can also use this tool in conjunction with a hammer and knock the staples out.
Edge staple removers
Edge staple removers are practically identical to the above staple removers with the exception that they have a slightly greater angled blade. The “V” shaped blade is cranked to a 45° angle relative to the shaft, which allows the user to apply the leverage needed to remove carpet and upholstery staples.
Staple lifers differ slightly from the others as the blade is “W” shaped instead of “V shaped.” The “W” shaped recess allows you get underneath staples and lift them out. The sharp prongs on either side can also be used to dig in and jimmy up deeply embedded staples. A staple lifter usually has a wooden handle and straight shaft and is designed for lifting carpet and upholstery staples.
Staple removers are often used in traditional upholstery work to lift staples and studs. They have a spatulate triangular blade that can be used to slide under the edges of fasteners to jimmy them up.
The tack claw is another type of tack lifter tool that has a “V” shaped blade cranked to a 45° angle for leverage. The blade is slightly rounded and has sharp points which allow it to slip under the head of a carpet or upholstery tack.
Traditional tack lifters
The traditional tack lifter has the typical “V” shaped blade which is set at an angle to provide greater leverage to the user and a wooden handle for a comfortable grip. Its blade is flat and slightly wider than its modern counterparts.
Which is best?
This really depends on your specific needs and requirements but it is generally considered that the modern standard tack lifter is the best tool for removing tacks, studs, pins and small nails. It is simple to use and its vanadium steel head and shaft are strong and durable. Purchasing one with a soft-grip handle will provide you with a sure and secure grip whilst working.
With the majority of carpet fitters and upholsterers using staples, it is well worth investing in a lifter designed for removing staples too like the staple remover or staple lifter.