Channel Lock 89 Rescue Tool

The One Tool I Hope I Never Have To Use

I love buying and using hand tools.  The tool in this post I hope I never have to use. In fact, I bought two of them and hope I never have to use either of them.

Channel Lock 89 Rescue Tool
Channel Lock 89 Rescue Tool


Why would someone buy a tool they never want to use? 

Is it a collector’s item? Nope.
Was it a bargain? Nope.  I paid about $43 each for them on Amazon.

I bought them because I am a parent now. (And I do love a good tool with a solid purpose).

Channel Lock 89 Rescue Tool
Channel Lock 89 Rescue Tool

Why would someone want this tool?

This tool was designed for fire and rescue professionals and is a versatile multi-tool. The hardened cutter is designed to cut through a car battery cable,  wiring harness or seat-belt with ease. The curved end can be used as a spanner wrench to open water fittings. The more rectilinear arm can be used to shut off a natural gas valve and the tapered end of that arm can be used to pry a door or window. The hardened arms also have some semi-pointed ends that can be used to break safety glass. If you get into a car accident or help someone on the side of the road this is the tool you want to have by your side.
The tool is made in the USA by ChannelLock and is called the #89 ‘Rescue Tool’. They also make a slightly smaller/lighter version (The #87) if you drive a miata or have this tool on your person as part of how you make a living. They also make the #88 version which has linesman pliers instead of the cutter.

Channel Lock 89 Rescue Tool
Channel Lock 89 Rescue Tool

A few years ago I saw this in my local Home Depot and wanted to buy it, but we put it off as it was kind of expensive for a seemingly simple tool.  As a new parent with a 10 month old baby and surrounded by terrible drivers and winter road conditions up here in New England I figured I’d bite the bullet and finally go buy one for each of our vehicles. They no longer seem to stock it in the store, but thankfully it’s still in production and readily available from Amazon and similar sources.

Fits nicely into car door storage pockets
Fits nicely into car door storage pockets

The tool fits nicely into the door pocket on both of our vehicles. If it rattles around too much for you liking you can wrap it in a towel or similar to keep it quiet. It also has a nice thick clear-coat on it which should keep it from rusting in the door which likely gets some rain on it on occasion.

It’s a great addition to any vehicle.  If you’d like to learn more about this tool ChannelLock has a dedicated website for it here.

Take care,

P.S. I don’t have any relationship to ChannelLock, but have many of their Made in the USA tools that have served me well for years of hard work and I wholeheartedly endorse this tool.

P.P.S. Curiosity and necessity drove me to use it the other day and the tool did a great job cutting through some 3/4″ braided nylon rope with ease and made a nice clean cut.

5 thoughts on “The One Tool I Hope I Never Have To Use”

  1. Howdy,
    Be careful, in a car crash that heavy tool will bounce around your car like a bee in a tin can. don’t just wrap it in a towel. strap it to something!
    It will not stay put in the door pocket in a crash.

    1. Hi Dean,
      Thank you for the comment. I worry about that too. Our vehicles are both fairly large F-150 and 4Runner with pretty deep door pockets with an arm rest above them so it would seemed like it would be pretty hard to fly out and ricochet into the passengers, but I know the forces in a crash can be incredible. My worry about putting them someplace else was in the event of an emergency trying to dig around in a center console or glove box may waste precious time. I’ll give it some thought and see if I can come up with something that better secures the tool while keeping it accessible to the driver. (I’m open to suggestions as well if you or others have any)
      Take care,

      1. Suggestion: Find a scrap of foam pipe insulation that will slide over an arm of the tool snugly and wedge slightly into the door pocket. Not proof against everything, but against most forces-and might provide a small margin of cushioning in the event the tool is launched during an impact. It will also provide minimal delay if you need to deploy the tool.

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