There must be dozens of devices that have come to market over the years trying to solve the problem of lifting heavy and unwieldy panel products.

Vacuum lifts are a great solution in the shop or factory, but they don’t transport well to a job site. And many of the smaller solutions still require at least two people to handle the panel or they don’t exactly inspire confidence in a one-person lift. A new product called the Gorilla Gripper aims to change that (see a video demo).

A different lift 

While most of the small panel carrier devices on the market are designed to grab the ends or bottom of a panel for a waist-high lift, the Gorilla Gripper latches onto the top edge of the panel for a shoulder-high lift. This has a couple of advantages.

For the average-height person, lifting the top edge of a 4-foot-wide panel to shoulder height is less of a stretch than trying to raise the bottom up three feet or so. The Gorilla Gripper also makes it easier to lift panels without torquing your back or bending over.

How it works 

The Gorilla Gripper has two pivoting aluminum plates that are covered with a textured rubber material. The plates are connected to steel arms and a rubber handle. When you lift up on the handle, the two plates rotate to close on the material you are trying to lift. The plates automatically adjust to the thickness of the panel and will handle panels from 3/8 inch to 1-1/8 inch thick.

Because the act of lifting is what closes the two plates onto the panel, the heavier the panel, the more pressure is applied. In our tests, the Gorilla Gripper successfully held a wide variety of panel products, including wafer board, plywood, MDF and melamine, all without a slip.

The Gorilla Gripper is available direct and through various distributors for about $50.

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