Horizontal crushers are a prominent form of gripping weapon. They are primarily designed to grip both sides of other robots, with the intention of trapping them and allowing the wielder to push and drag them at will as well as crushing and piercing through their sides.

The first Robot Wars robot to be seen using horizontal crushers in any form was House Robot Dead Metal, whilst Milly-Ann Bug used static horizontal crushers in Series 2. The weapon first appeared as a moving, offensive weapon in Series 3 with the debuts of Thermador and Scarab, the latter being the first to use them to pierce as opposed to simply control an opponent.

The Thermidor machines all utilised this weapon, but they were used more prominently and successfully by Series 7 Semi-Finalist Tough as Nails and double UK Annihilator champion Kan-Opener.


Tough As Nails mechanism

Tough As Nails' mechanism in operation

A horizontal crusher uses two large claws or rods attached to one or two pistons or parallel bars, which are intended to grab, crush or pierce other robots from the sides. They are usually either electric, hydraulic or pneumatically powered, and can work either as a stand-alone weapon, or in tandem with another weapon, such as Dead Metal's saw or Thermidor 2's flipper.

Advantages and DisadvantagesEdit



Dead Metal grabs hold of Stinger as he slices into its wheel hub

Raging Knightmare annihilator round 3

Kan-Opener pits Raging Knightmare

  • They make for very effective pitting weapons, as the opponent is restricted from multiple sides.
  • Horizontal crushers offer potential for an effective weapon synergy with another weapon type. This is best demonstrated by Dead Metal's pincers, which allowed him/her to grasp competitors as he/she sliced through their armour, chassis and wheels with his/her circular saw. Series 5, 7-8 and 10 competitor Big Nipper also integrated horizontal pincers into a lifting arm with reasonable success.
  • They are also easier to implement into an invertible design than their vertical counterparts. Kan-Opener and Tough as Nails are notable examples of this.
  • Horizontal crushers can bite directly into the opponent's sides and/or wheels, severely hampering the opponent's movement and even causing damage to its drive systems. Tough as Nails used this tactic regularly to score easy victories over potent opponents, such as Disc-O-Inferno and Gravity, by grabbing, pushing, dragging and pitting them.



Atomic's easy defeat of Kan-Opener in Series 5


Kan-Opener could not let go of Barbaric Response during its Series 7 melee, costing it the judges' decision

TAN Teamed

Tough as Nails is assailed by Thor's axe and Shockwave's scoop

  • Horizontal crushers provide a gaping ground clearance which allow other opponents to get underneath them easily. Kan-Opener's Series 5 and 8 losses to Atomic and Apollo demonstrated this, as did Tough as Nails' defeat to Bulldog Breed in Series 7.
  • As with vertical crushers, horizontal crushers often have problems getting unstuck after piercing through an opponent's armour, affecting a robot's control. This cost Kan-Opener twice in its opening melees in Series 6 and 7, firstly being unable to evade the attacks of Fluffy and Double Trouble after getting stuck into Demolition Man, and then losing the judges' decision in the latter after spending most of the battle impaled on Barbaric Response when its jaws broke.
  • The weapon mechanisms could easily be broken. Kan-Opener's jaws failed after being damaged in its aforementioned Series 7 battle, as did Thermidor 2's claws during its Series 4 Semi-Final battle against Pussycat.
  • Another instance of this occurred during Thor's Series 6 battle against Tornado, where its claws were buckled following repeated attacks from Tornado, and were discarded for later series as a result.
  • Horizontal crushers, especially invertible ones, are highly vulnerable to overhead weapons. Tough as Nails' first defeat against Thor was an indicator of this, as repeated axe blows from Thor resulted in Tough as Nails losing its removable link in Series 8.
  • The battle between Tough as Nails and Thor in Series 10 also demonstrated the inability for horizontal crushers to grab hold of slippery designs such as the curved body shell of Thor.
  • Even when opponents are grabbed by the crusher, they may be free to continue attacking the crusher-wielding robot as long as it remains in its grip. Tough as Nails was especially susceptible to this, losing to Bulldog Breed, Storm 2, Thor and Shockwave as a result of each opponent attacking it while being held in its pincers.

List of Robots with Horizontal CrushersEdit

Big Nipper

Big Nipper in the World Series




Dead Metal in Series 8

Jellyfish turntable



Kan-Opener in Extreme 2

Milly ann bug s2 official image

Milly-Ann Bug in Series 2

Scarab UK

Scarab, one of the first competitors to use a horizontal crusher

Thermidor series 3 official image



Thermidor 2 in Series 7

The Stag 1

The Stag

Tan10 official

Tough as Nails

Robots are listed alphabetically. Robots which are not heavyweight entries are listed with a green background. House Robots are listed with a yellow background.

Robot Series Appearances with Horizontal Crushers Notes
4x4 Series 6
All Torque Series 3 (World Championship only) Added a small snowplough between the claws.
Apocalypse Series 10 Horizontal grabbers used in combination with a vertical axe.
Big Nipper Series 5, 7-8, 10 Crushing claws were integrated into a front lifter, later an arm which gave the robot self-righting capabilities and a lifting capacity of 200-300kg. Claws featured a crushing force of four tonnes in Series 8. Interchangeable with an arm-mounted vertical spinning disc in Series 8 and 10.
Bot-Ugly US Season 1 Weapon arms moved in a straight line instead of an arc, designed to pin the robot bewteen them.
Dead Metal Series 1-10, Extreme 1-2, US Season 1-2, Nickelodeon, Dutch Series 1-2, German Series Weapons synergy with arm- (Series 1-2) or head-mounted (Series 3-10, Extreme, International) circular saw. Referred to as 'pincers', pneumatically-powered.
Infinity Series 6, Extreme 2
Jellyfish Series 9 Horizontal clamp, one of the widest robots in Robot Wars. Weapon was in the form of a sliding arm, designed to "cuddle" other robots.
Kan-Opener Series 5-8, Extreme 2 Extreme 2 and Series 7 Annihilator champion. Crushing claws were hydraulically-powered and made interchangeable for the Series 6-7 incarnations. Claws of the Series 8 version featured a crushing force of 12 tonnes at the tips.
Katnip Extreme 2
Mechadroid US Season 2 Front-mounted, arm-like 'pincers' used in tandem with a double-headed axe.
Milly-Ann Bug Series 2 Two static beams attached to the front dome, modelled on a pair of insect mandibles. Replaced with static spikes from Series 3 onwards.
Monad Series 5
Scarab (Dutch) Dutch Series 2 Walkerbot.
Scarab (UK) Series 3 First robot to use horizontal jaws specifically for crushing; the hydraulically-actuated jaws had 2.5 tonnes of pressure.
Splinter Series 4-5 Series 4 Semi-Finalist, used in tandem with a static front scoop. Combined with a spiked axe for Series 5.
Staglet Series 7
The Stag Series 6-7
Thermador Series 3 Modelled on a lobster.
Thermidor 2 Series 4-8, Extreme 1-2 Modelled on a lobster. Claws combined with a high-pressure pneumatic flipper. Series 4 and 7 Semi-Finalist, though mainly relied on its flipper to win battles.
The Swarm Series 10 Horizontal crushers equipped on Pinza, one part of the four-part clusterbot.
Thor Series 6 Claws were easily bent, and were scrapped before Extreme 2. Used in combination with a pneumatic spiked hammer.
Tough as Nails UK Series 7-8, 10, Dutch Series 2 Pneumatically-powered HARDOX claws forming the entire robot's body. Powered by a pneumatic ram attached to the axles, which pushed its wheels further apart as the claws closed. Crushing capacity of 200kg as of Series 8. Series 7 Semi-Finalist.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.