The Best Rebar Tiers and Rebar Tying Tools

It’s projected that 2020 will be a great year in road and bridge projects, and that means a lot of rebar and a lot of rebar tying. Now is the time to jump into rebar tying, if you’re not already there. 

The learning curve for using a rebar tier is not terribly steep, and the demand is going to be intense out there. An efficient rebars tier will give you an edge over your competitors.

To get started, you need a good rebar tier. There are professional rebar tiers that can last longer than a work truck, and there are some weekender-only models that will get you by, but aren’t made for too long of a use life. Which type you need depends on: (1) How often you will be tying rebar, (2) how big the rebar will be and (3) the work environment – aka whether or not it will be a season of rough outdoor projects or cushy (relatively speaking) indoor tasks.

Best Rebars Tiers: Specs to Know

Rebar tiers generally have specifications showing how big of a rebar it can tie (in combination with another one). Most of these max out at #7 rebar, but some may go to as high as #9.  

Another thing you want to look for is battery strength and battery recharge time.  

Dead battery time is downtime, so look at how many ties you can get from a full charge (some go over 5,000!), and then check how long it takes to recharge a battery back to operating power.

One last thing is wire spool replacement.  You’ll have to do this way more often than switching out batteries, so look for a model that has quick and easy wire spool replacement techniques.

So let’s take a look at what you can get for your buck.

The Best Rebar Tiers

1. Max TwinTier Rebar Tier (RB441T) – Best Overall Rebar Tying Tool

The Best Rebar Tiers and Rebar Tying Tools 1best rebar tier

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Best Feature: Two wires eject at once

Max is so proud of this innovative rebar tying tool, the Max TwinTier, they’ve made it the star of the show on their website. Rest assured, they do this for good reason. It is the all-star on the team, and it was a pretty good team to begin with.

Since 1942, Max has been recognized as a leading manufacturer of high-end industrial tools, with innovative features and durability to keep up with the demands of a massive workforce. Many of their innovations are the direct result of user feedback and a willingness to revise designs and engineering in order to achieve the best results.

Max was the first manufacturer to develop a roofing nailer (1982), a battery-operated rebar tying tool (1993) and a high pressure compressor and high pressure nail guns (1994).

Developing the first battery operated rebar tying tool was quite an achievement, but Max didn’t stop there, and now, 25 years later, the RB441T is the state of the art. That a battery can power a device capable of wrapping heaving wire around an intersection of iron bars even once is amazing, but the RB441T can do it 4,000 times on a single charge.

Not only does this unit do its job without destroying the battery in a matter of minutes, it also conserves consumables. It shoots out just enough wire to make a tie, resulting in substantial cost savings over time. Wire spool replacement is quick and easy.

The full name of this quality product is the RB441T Twin Tier, so named because of the way the device extends two wires at once, increasing efficiency and speed to unheard-of levels. But it does so without sacrificing worker safety.

The RB441T’s wire pull-back mechanism creates a shorter tie height for a shallower concrete pour. The tie ends are pushed downward, resulting in a safer work area by eliminating sharp, upward-facing wire ends along the rebar grid.

Max’s design engineers redesigned the jaw mechanism, allowing this unit to apply ties to rebar as large as #7 by #7. The jaws are very strong, capable of cinching up rebar with ease, and making tying more effective and less taxing on the workers.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 5.6 pounds
  • Dimensions: 11.5 inches high, 4.75 inches wide, 13 inches long
  • Minimum ties per coil: 145
  • Maximum ties per coil: 265
  • Applicable rebar size #3 x #3 – #7 x #7
  • Ties per charge: 4000
  • Tie speed: .5 seconds
  • Tie wraps: 2
  • Battery charge time: 40 minutes
  • Applicable wire products/gauges:
    • TW1061T/19Ga
    • TW1061T-PC/19Ga
    • TW1061T-S/19Ga
See the Max TwinTier Rebar Tier in Action

2. Max USA Rebar Tier (RB398)

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Best Feature: Lightweight and fast

The kid brother to the RB441T, the Max USA RB398 also boasts of fast tying speeds and a long battery life. It’s smaller and lighter and more maneuverable than big bro in tight places and awkward angles. One drawback – and it might not be crucial, depending on the type of rebar you work with – is that it does not work with larger rebar, like #7. Everything less than that – #3, #5 and #6, yes, but not #7.

The RB398 also uses 21 gauge wire instead of 19 gauge:

The Best Rebar Tiers and Rebar Tying Tools 5best rebar tying wire

A major concern for workers who use rebar tiers is carpal tunnel syndrome. The RB398 combats carpal tunnel syndrome with its ergonomic design and light weight – right at five pounds.

Both of the Max rebar tiers can be outfitted with an optional extension arm, which allows work on rebar grids without squatting or kneeling.

The RB398 is suitable for work on precast plants, foundations, roads, bridges, swimming pools and retaining walls.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 5.0 pounds
  • Dimensions: 11.4 inches high, 4.75 inches wide, 12 inches long
  • Minimum ties per coil: 120
  • Maximum ties per coil: 120
  • Applicable rebar size #3 x #3 – #5 x #5
  • Ties per charge: 3500
  • Tie speed: < 1 second
  • Tie wraps: 3
  • Battery charge time: 65 minutes
  • Applicable wire products/gauges:
    • TW898/21Ga
    • TW898-PC/21Ga
    • TW898-EG/21Ga
    • TW898-USA/21Ga

3. Max Rebar Tying Tool (RB655)

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Best Feature: Heavier wire; ties heavier rebar

This is the one-ton, diesel, HD crew cab dually of rebar tying tools. Using 16-gauge wire, the Max RB655 Rebar Tier can tie anything from #5 x #5 to #8 x #9 rebar.

It’s five times faster than manual tying, which used to be the standard approach for tying heavy rebar. It’s also ergonomically designed to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, and has the backing of the Occupational Health & Safety Administration in the U.S. and the Health Construction Safety Association in Canada.

When used with optional extension bar, the user is able to work from a standing position, thereby avoiding stooping and kneeling, and the potential for injury that these actions pose.

The powerhouse is the RB655’s brushless, twisting motor that delivers impressive performance with a minimum of battery usage. It increases the number of ties per charge by 30 percent. It’s a closed system, with no user-serviceable parts inside, but that’s a good thing. That just means it’s sealed against dirt, contaminants and moisture (it’s not waterproof, but is sealed against moisture).

Recharge time is 30 minutes – one of the quickest recharges of any rebar tier in our group. That’s not even a full lunch time!

Specifications:

  • Weight: 7.2 pounds
  • Dimensions: 13.4 inches high, 4.0 inches wide, 13.4 inches long
  • Minimum ties per coil: 120
  • Maximum ties per coil: 230
  • Applicable rebar size #3 x #3 – #5 x #5
  • Ties per charge: 3-4 coils
  • Tie speed: < 1 second
  • Tie wraps: 1
  • Battery charge time: 30 minutes
  • Applicable wire products/gauges:
    • TW1525/16Ga
    • TW1525-PC/16Ga
    • TW1525-EG/16Ga

4. Makita 18V Rebar Tier Kit (XRT01TK)

The Best Rebar Tiers and Rebar Tying Tools 8most efficient rebar tier
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Best Feature: Long battery life; short recharge time

Makita, a well-known name in the tool industry, comes along with the Makita XRT01TK Rebar Tying Kit, which includes a cordless rebar tier, two batteries, a charger and a carrying case.

The heart of many of Makita’s cordless power tools is the 18 volt brushless motor. It first appeared in Makita devices in 2004 as part of a contract that supplied power tools to the aerospace and defense industry. Engineered for extended run time, power and speed, the little motor that could became indispensable in operations demanding precision.

An offshoot of the original brushless motor – the brushless impact motor- made its appearance in 2009. Lithium battery technology has now made the dream of having powerful, precise, long-lasting cordless tools a reality.

Makita has trademarked its lithium battery system as the LXTsystem, which is found on the XRT01TK rebar tier, delivering 18 volts at 5.0 amps long enough to produce 5,300 ties of #3 x #3 rebar.

You can use the XRT01TK in one of two modes: single or continuous. On big jobs with a lot of ties to do, the continuous mode will be the mode of choice. That may be a scary thought, holding a device that can shoot out wire like a staple pistol on steroids, but Makita put in a safety feature that prevents accidental triggers.

There are also six different tying strengths, giving you the freedom to customize your project to what works best for you.

Changing out a wire spool is easy. You’ll have to do that fairly often. While you can get over 5,000 ties out of a single battery charge, you’ll only get around 120 from a wire spool. The center load reel position is nice, because it helps balance out the tool for more comfort and less fatigue. It also has a transparent cover, so you can see how much wire you have left. 

In the category of batteries, the LXTsystem is one of the best in the industry. The 18-volt, 5.0-amp battery lasts a long time as it is, but when it does need a charge, it only takes 45 minutes to bring it back to 100 percent. But no worries, because you’ll be using the spare battery that comes with the kit in the meantime.

The XRT01TK is engineered to provide reliable service in harsh conditions with protection against dust and water – two deadly enemies of most power tools.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 5.7 pounds
  • Dimensions: 11.4 inches high, 4.75 inches wide, 12 inches long
  • Minimum ties per coil: 120
  • Maximum ties per coil: 120
  • Applicable rebar size #3 x #3 – #4 x #4
  • Ties per charge: 5,300
  • Tie speed: < 1 second
  • Tie wraps: 3
  • Battery charge time: 45 minutes

5. Pex Gun Rebar Tier (PG101)

The Best Rebar Tiers and Rebar Tying Tools 10best rebar tier for cost savings

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Best Feature: Efficient use of tie wire

If you expect to be working with PEX pipe, the Pex Gun Rebar Tier should be in your shopping cart. Granted, you can tie PEX pipe and rebar with virtually any rebar tier, but you’re having to use guesswork on the tie strength, because you don’t want to squeeze the plastic pipe too tightly. Otherwise, you might create a leak that won’t be detected until after all your work has been buried in cement. 

With this rebar tier, you’ll know you have it right. It’s made to be used with PEX pipe. This unit is fast, lightweight and helps save money on consumables by extending just the right amount of wire for the tie. Plus, with the adjustable tension dial, you can set the gun for just the right amount of tightness to accommodate whatever material you’re working with.

They say, “Two hands for beginners,” but you really won’t need two hands for the PG101 rebar tier. It’s so easy to use and lightweight would even allow the user to switch hands for awhile and use his non-dominant hand to give his other hand a break and help stave off carpal tunnel issues. You can’t do this with some of the other rebar tiers. (Well, you could, if you are particularly dexterous.)

Battery life is about 2000 ties per charge. That’s a little less than with some of the other models, but they do provide you with a spare battery, so, employing the use-one, charge-one method, you can do your job and not miss a beat. The voltage is a robust 14.4 volts.

In 2017, Pexgun won the AHR Expo Innovation Award for inventive and original products for the PG101.

This ships with a kit that includes the tier, two batteries, a wire cutter, two coils of wire and a durable carrying case. The warranty period is 12 months, which is nothing to write home to Momma about, but still nice to be able to fall back on in case of failure.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 4.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 11.22 inches high, 3.94 inches wide, 11.65 inches long
  • Maximum tying diameter: 
  • Ties per charge: 2,000
  • Tie speed: < 1 second

PEX Pipe: Replacing PVC the Way PVC Replaced Copper?

Many decades ago, the introduction of plastic PVC pipe changed the way homes and buildings were plumbed, knocking brass and copper piping to the back of the line. 

Now (a relative term, it’s actually been around awhile) comes PEX pipe, which may not take PVC out of the picture the way PVC took metal pipes out of the picture, but certainly shows its superiority in a number of applications.

Its main advantage is its flexibility. Where PVC has to be routed through tight places with a series of connections and elbows, PEX pipe can be routed directly from the source to the destination. Installation costs are less, as well.

PEX pipe can also be part of a thermal heating system, with ice-melting driveways and sidewalks and heated floor space. There are two types of PEX pipes: one for cold water and one for heated water. The pipe is color-coded to prevent confusion.

In concrete applications, PEX pipe needs to be tied to rebar, except with a slightly looser fit than what you would use with rebar alone. It’s crucial for construction workers to be familiar with PEX pipe and how to work with it and around it. It’s probably going to be much more prominent in the coming years.

Quick fact: PEX is also known as cross-linked polyethylene and can go by the names PEX, XLPE, and XPE. Its crossing-linking occurs when a melted polymer is passed through a long heated die.


Rebar Tiers for the Weekend Warrior

All of the above units are built to tough standards, employing precise tolerances and using top-flight materials with an eye to the professional. They last for years and years, can take being dropped, stepped on and even run over without breaking.

You might not need something that rugged. You might be employed in construction, but tying rebar isn’t something you do every day. Or you might be a weekend warrior with an occasional need for a rebar tier. If so, the following models should be more interesting to you. 

First and foremost, they cost considerably less. The good ones will work just as well as the professional models, but are more vulnerable to breakage and aging. The bad ones? Well, we’re not showing you the bad ones.

1. Newtry Automatic Rebar Tier

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Best Feature: 3000 ties per full battery charge

Newtry produces a diversity of products for the home and garage, and brings this automatic rebar tier with many of the features found on professional devices. It runs off a 12.8 lithium ion battery that promises a long life before recharging is needed.

This makes quick work of tying rebar together, cinching a neat knot in about a second. The battery is good for about 3000 ties on a charge. This puts it in the ballpark with the big boys, but there are some differences that keep it in its place. For one thing, the recharge time is about 90 minutes – two to three times that of the professional units. But if you’re an occasional user, that may not matter. You may already be done with the whole project by the time you’ve done 3000 ties, and a long recharge time won’t matter at that point.

It’s also a little more difficult to change wire reels. It’s not a snap in place, close the door and go operation. There’s some wire threading that needs to be done. It’s not difficult, but it is a bit slower than with the pro units.

The Newtry (pronounced “new-tree”) has a line length regulator and a tension regulator that keeps wire usage to a minimum. The cutting part of the tool is stainless steel for clean cuts and fast operation.

Specifications:

  • Model:MF-870
  • Material: Plastic + Metal
  • Voltage: 12.8V
  • Battery: Lithium Ion Batteries
  • Battery Capacity: 4400MAh
  • Battery Charging Time: 1.5 hours full filling
  • Tying Wire Diameter: 0.8mm
  • Tying Wire Length: more than 110 m
  • Applicable Scope Of Steel Strapping:7-34MM(0.28-1.34")
  • Knot Wire Length: 300 – 500mm
  • Knot Number Per Charge: 1500 times
  • Net weight:1.36kg
  • Knot The Required Time: 0.8 seconds at a time

2. Rebar Tying Machine Kit

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Best Feature: Easy wire reel replacement

This model looks, feels and performs like a professional tie gun, but at a fraction of the cost. It’s made for the building trades, for use in civic buildings floor pipe, heating floor mesh and steel rods, in addition to rebar.

The wire reels are easy to change, with a simple button push to eject the spent reel and insert the new one. It can make wraps ranging from 30mm to 60mm, using approximately 40cm of wire with each knot.

DIYers should appreciate that this is a kit, with everything needed to tackle a rebar tying project. Included in the kit are:

  • Tying machine
  • Pliers
  • Battery charger
  • Carrying case
  • Two lithium ion batteries
  • Two reels of wire (110 meters per roll/0.8mm in diameter)

Specifications:

  • Color: Orange
  • Material: Plastic + Metal
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Battery: 12V Lithium Ion Batteries
  • Battery Capacity: 13200 Mah
  • Battery Charging Time: 1.5 hours full filling
  • Tying Wire Diameter: 0.8mm
  • Tying Wire Length: more than 110 m
  • Applicable Scope Of Steel Strapping: 30mm – 60mm
  • Knot Wire Length: 40cm and above
  • Knot Number Per Charge: 3000 times
  • Knot The Required Time: 0.8 seconds at a time
  • Cable Length: 95cm / 37.40”(appr.)
  • Box Size: (L)X(W)X(H) 42X30X10cm / 16.54”X11.81”X3.94”(appr.)
  • Machine Size: 290 mm * 65 mm * 195 mm / 11.42”x2.56”x7.68”(appr.)

3. CGoldenwall Digital Display Rebar Tier

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Best Feature: Reliable operation

So can the company that gave the world the Ultrasonic Homogenizer Sonicator Cell Disruptor Mixer make a decent rebar tier? Yes. A decent one. Not an award-winner, but a decent, dependable rebar tier that should please most any DIY guy. 

CGoldenwall is a greatly diversified international company that specializes in food processing machines – mainly grinders – and power tools – mainly grinders. (Do you see a trend here?) The technology that goes into the company’s food grinders is employed on a bigger scale in power tools and, at least in the case of the rebar tier, with good results.

It certainly is fast – less than one second per tie. Operation is easy to learn and automatic (with safeguards to prevent accidental triggering). You can expect about 1000 ties per battery charge on a 12 volt system. Recharge time is 1.5 hours, which is pretty standard for consumer grade cordless power tools.

This product has a small window for a digital readout, which is rather gimmicky, but not totally useless. The readout shows a count of the number of ties the gun has completed. If battery life is important, this can be of some assistance.

Batteries are not included under normal ordering circumstances, but during occasional promotions they might be thrown in as in incentive, so be alert!

Specifications:

  • Machine dimension: 270mm×65mm×195mm
  • Weight: 2.0kg
  • Tying range: 8-34mm
  • Iron wire diameter: 0.8mm
  • Wire length: 110m
  • Tying length/knot: 42cm
  • Knot/battery: 1000 knots
  • Voltage: 10.8V
  • Tying time: 0.8s
  • Charging time: 1.5 h

4. Baoshishan Rebar Tying Tool

The Best Rebar Tiers and Rebar Tying Tools 18best low cost rebar tying tool

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Best Feature: Ease of use

You could spend less for a rebar tier, but there’s a line between consumer grade and junk grade tools. This Rebar Tier is clearly in the consumer grade category. This isn’t a pro grade device, but guess what – it is used by thousands of pros in the construction industry anyway. It’s recommended for use on reinforced concrete structures, bridges, highways, tunnels and other construction projects that require rebar.

It’s easy to carry, easy to use and is at least four times faster than manual tying. The time to do one knot is less than a second. It’s a one-click operation to cinch up the steel and engage the tying function, but if there’s anything amiss, the machine will self-diagnose and shut down.

The jaws are strong and easily cinch up rebar for tying. Maximum tie height is 3 cm (30mm). It seems all the consumer grade rebar tiers have the same charger, or cousins to the same charger. A full charge takes 1.5 hours, if you even need to recharge the battery during a DIY project. Batteries are not included, and they’re a bit pricey, so if you can get by with only one battery you’ll save a few bucks.

The materials are tough enough for the unit to withstand a couple of oopsies on hard pavement, but it won’t hold up like the big boys do. You should also expect a shelf life of up to 10 years if the unit is only used occasionally.

Specifications:

  • Bundling range: 8-34mm
  • Strapping time: 0.8S
  • Wire diameter: 0.8mm
  • Machine size: 10.7 inches x 2.6 inches x 9 inches
  • Battery capacity: 6600 mAh / 13200 mAh
  • Battery voltage: 10.8V-12.8V
  • Charging time: 1.5 hours
  • Wire length: 45-50Cm
  • Weight: 3 pounds

5. Baoshishan Automatic Rebar Tying Machine

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Best Feature: Very lightweight

Similar to the Baoshishan rebar tier above, this Rebar Tier is a bit smaller, a bit lighter and probably a bit more vulnerable to damage due to misuse, but for a weekend warrior who takes care of his weaponry, it should hold up just fine.

The tying range is from 8mm to 34mm (⅓ inch to 1 ⅓ inch), so it’s not for massive jobs, but it’s plenty for most of the projects you’re likely to undertake. You get a lot of knots (1500) per battery charge. Also like the unit above, the tying is a one-click, one-second operation.

Recharge time on the battery is a hefty two hours, so plan your project accordingly. A lithium ion battery is included, but not a spare (unless a promotion is going on).

Replacing the wire reel is easy, but it’s not automatic. Some threading of the wire lead will be required.

You get the whole kaboodle – or an approximation thereof – when you order. It ships with a battery, a pair of wire pliers, a scroll, a screwdriver, an instruction manual and a carrying case that you wouldn’t trust your life to, but it’s better than a Ziplock bag.

Baoshishan is similar to CGoldenwall in that it is an international company with a wide diversity of products, serving the food preparation industry, light industrial and construction. The warranty on their construction tools is one year from the date of purchase.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 6.84 pounds
  • Batteries: Lithium ion (included)
  • Voltage: 10.8 Volts
  • Maximum tie height:  1 11/32 inches
  • Minimum tie height: 5/16 inch
  • Wire diameter: 0.8mm

Tying Rebar: In Case You Need to Know (You Do)

You might have worked 40 years in construction and never had to tie rebar, or you might have been assigned that task on your first day on the job. Either way, there are some things to remember about the process. It’s important to get it right, because there’s no way to fix it later.

The reason for tying rebar is to hold it in place while heavy, wet cement is poured around it. If left unsecured, the rebar would be apt to slide out of place and leave some areas un-reinforced and others over-reinforced. The rebar grid has been measured and laid out for the best possible support, and shifting bars spoil the arrangement.

Do not scrimp on ties. Over-tying is far better than under-tying. As a general rule, tying every fourth or fifth intersection will be adequate for floor slabs. The heavier the rebar, and the farther apart the bars are spaced means you should tie at more intersections – like at every other one. Some outdated codes require ties at every intersection, but that is old-school thought that has been superseded in most cases by new building codes. Always check with your state or municipality’s requirements.

Rebar for walls is more crucial. First off, the bars will be closer together, but for walls, that means more ties, not fewer. Pre-assembled mats, which are picked up and carried to their installation site, require ties at every intersection around the perimeter and every other intersection on the interior of the mat.

Different projects require different types of ties. There’s no way to cover which one goes with which project here, but you should be familiar with the various types of ties or “knots.”

  • Snap tie – One wrap, twisted tightly.
  • Saddle tie – Forms a U-shaped pattern diagonally across the intersection.
  • Wrap and snap tie – For binding horizontally oriented bars to vertical bars. Wrapped very tight and snipped off as close to the knot as possible.
  • Figure 8 Tie – Opposing loops create a very strong tie.

Some of the rebar tiers listed above automatically turn the loose wire ends downward. This doesn’t really affect the integrity of the project (unless a very thin concrete pour is called for), but is a safety issue. Trips are common when walking on rebar, and if the worker falls on an upturned wire, he could suffer cuts.

Also, check out this guide on how to safely operate a new rebar bender. It may save you from a serious accident on the job site.

Carpal Tunnel in Construction Workers

Using hand tools like rebar tiers repetitively, with the hand doing the same motion time after time can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s not so much the motion itself that causes the carpal tunnel problem, but the repetitive compression of the median nerve inside the carpal tunnel of your wrist.

So even using a variety of hand tools – rebar tiers, nailers, power drills, saws and other woodworking tools – can contribute to carpal tunnel pain. If you grip it, push it or twist it, the median nerve is affected. It doesn’t care which tool you’re using.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are:

  • Tingling or burning sensation
  • Loss of feeling
  • Weakness in the wrist
  • Numbness at night
  • Pain in the wrist, palm, hand or forearm.
  • Difficulty holding objects

To help prevent the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, make sure you move your wrist in a natural motion that doesn’t create a severe bend in the wrist. A rebar tier is such a labor-saving device and gets so much done in such a short amount of time that the user can get mesmerized into a repetitive pattern that’s not good for the wrist.

If possible, vary your work activity to keep repetitive actions to a minimum. Don’t get lured into a “race” to get a section of rebar tied off. Take care of your wrist.

Click here if you’d like to see some more information about carpal tunnel syndrome as well as how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome or reduce your risk as a construction worker.

Summary: Best Rebars Tiers

Rebar tiers can range anywhere from a few hundred bucks to several thousand. A good rule of thumb is if you’re going to be using it every single day, buy the most expensive one you can find. If you’re only going to be using it periodically, buy a middle of the road tier. Lastly, if you only are going to use it occasionally, stick with the budget tiers (like the ones mentioned above).

By and large, you get what you pay for in the rebar tying tool world. Also, the better the rebar tier, the more efficient the tying will be. Not to mention, the top of the line tiers will make sure each job is done right and the rebar is tied tight. Whoever contracted you for the job will probably hire you for more job and you’ll be using your tier more and more. So, be smart about it and invest in a quality rebar tier for the long haul, one that will last.

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