Is a hive tool just a prybar? Different hive tools have different uses. Purchasing and trying an assortment is an inexpensive way to find ways to make hive maintenance and management easier. Use as a pry bar should be the least important way a hive tool is used. Cutting through propolis instead of fighting the colony’s use of it as an adhesive reduces stress on the hive equipment as well as on the beekeeper.
The cheapest hive tools tend to have a shape that suggests the use of force instead of cutting edges. Others such as the J hook (bottom photo) have a shape that suggest more skill and persuasion in cutting through that propolis gluing frames and boxes together and leveraging moves rather than moves relying on force.