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Best Multi-Tool: Choosing The Perfect Tool for Multiple Tasks

Best multitool review
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

The best multi-tool might be hard to decide on since there are so many fine products on the market. The best you can do in determining what multi-tool will serve you in a particular circumstance is to first define how you want to use the tool and how often you plan to use it in a particular setting.

Do you plan to use the tool at work, at home, or both? Do you need a tool for indoor use, outdoor use, or one that can serve you in any environment?

After you have considered where you will use your multi-tool the most, you can then start defining the features that will serve you the best.

Choose Your Carry Option

Thinking about how you plan to tote the multi-tool around and the size of the tools you need, helps in narrowing down the different options you have considerably. There are several styles and sizes to choose from, including keychain sized, pocket-sized, general, and one-piece multi-tools. Below is a description of each style and how it can serve you best.

Keychain design

This type of multi-tool is among the most convenient and light to carry, but because of its limited size it can offer a limited amount of tools one can access at any given time.  If you need a few tools for on the job, at home, of do-it-yourself tasks, a keychain design is ideal and affordable.

Ringtool Multi Tool Keychain

You can also use this tool hiking or camping, but it may lack some of the tougher more durable tools you would prefer for such an endeavor. You can put one in your pocket, purse, backpack, fanny pack, or even in your glove box so you always have a few essential tools on hand. Toss it in a desk drawer in the office so you have tools on hand whenever you need.

Pocket Design

These tools are also easy to carry around in your pocket, but they are bigger than the keychain styles. The larger size contributes to heavier weight, but it also allows for the inclusion of more convenient tools or longer/larger tools as the designer would have it.

These multi-tools are also excellent for use at home, in the office, and hobbyists will find this size tool convenient to use. The pocket-sized tool can also hold some of the durable blades, and handy tools like pliers and screwdrivers as well as cutting tools ideal for

General Purpose

The general-purpose multi-tool is bigger as it is a mix of smaller tools and a few larger tools. Essentially, you end up getting a multi-tool that hosts large screwdrivers, blades, and pliers, and smaller accessories to accompany the larger tools.

Multi-tool on the ground

Accessories might include things like bottle openers, can openers, files, and the like. Some of the general purpose, full-size tools one can get includes tools that are targeted to a specific user, group, profession, or job-related tasks. Such multi-tools include things suited for electricians, technicians, gun users, hunters, and the like.

The general-purpose multi-tools can sometimes fit in one’s pocket or you can carry them with a sheath.

One-Piece

One-piece multi-tools are all the multi-tools you covet inside one flat tool. The tool is made flat so you can carry it easily inside a wallet.

Batman multi-tool

Typically made of one piece of steel, each part of the flat tool is supposed to work in a specific manner, whether as a screwdriver, bottle opener, cell phone holder, peeler, and so forth. You can carry them in a back pocket or a belt loop as well.

Customizing Your Selection – Considering Uses

The uses for a multi-tool are myriad, so how you plan to use the tool is just as important as the size of the tool and the style. In order to get the tool that will serve you in as many situations as possible, you need to be clear on where you will use it and why you want one. Are you looking for a camping tool or do you want a tool that can work well in an office setting?

Are you a hobbyist seeking a convenient tool for project completion, or are you looking for an outdoor multi-tool that might otherwise complement your existing survivalist tools? The first step in buying the multi-tool is aptly describing it.

Various Multi-tools

Make a list:  Write down a list of the tools you think you will use the most. The most common tools in a multi-tool include pliers, screwdrivers, files, wire cutters, scissors, and rulers. You may find you need specific tools for the trade you work, and in this case, you can opt for the military issue grade tools or a multi-tool that is specifically suited to your niche.

As you check out some of the multi-tools on the market, you will soon discover they range in type and number of tools they offer, anywhere from a few basic tools to as many as 27 tools or more.  Bear in mind that more tools do not mean more durable and fewer tools do not mean less convenient.

Your needs determine the convenience of the tool, and the number of tools a unit offers has no bearing on its durability.

Top Products to Consider When Looking for The Perfect Multi-Tool

Leatherman Charge Multi-Tool

Leatherman Charge Multi-Tool

Weight: 252 grams/8.89 ounces

Dimensions: Closed length: 10 centimeters/4 inches; Primary blade length: 7.37 centimeters/2.9 inches

Specific Features: Pliers, cutters, crimper, wire stripper; S30V knife and a 420HC knife with a serrated edge. This multi-tool also includes saw, scissors, ruler, bottle, and can openers; diamond coated and metal/wood files, and a small, medium, and large bit screwdriver. Titanium handles. Comes with a 25-year manufacturer guarantee.

Best Uses: Light enough for everyday carry; great for camping, hunting, and fishing. The unit serves well for use in repair and maintenance tasks, home improvement/do-it-yourself projects, and on the job.

Description: The Leatherman Charge Multi-Tool is around $169.95. The tool is fitted with both Needlenose and Regular Pliers, hard wire cutters, and the scissors in the unit are spring action. You get two different knives (one with a smooth edge and one serrated), a cutting hook, bottle opener, can openers, and a metal/wood file.

The unit comes with an 8 in/9 cm ruler if you need to make on the go measurements, several files, and three different sized screwdrivers for every task. All of the latter features come together to create a coveted, highly functional and practical tool. The overall unit has titanium handles for extra durability.

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SOG S66N-CP PowerAssist Multi-Tool

SOG S66N-CP PowerAssist Multi-Tool

Weight: 9.60 ounces

Dimensions: Overall 7 inches/Closed 4.60 inches

Specific Features: Two SOG blades; the unit helps in assisting the opening of the blades you choose. Sixteen tools including a full serrated blade, can opener, bottle opener grip channel, blasting cap crimper, and three sided file. Additional tools include the Phillips screwdriver, medium and large flat screwdrivers, hard wire cutter, straight edge blade, Needlenose pliers, cutter, small flat screwdriver, ruler, and crimper.

Best Uses: Camping, fishing, hunting, on the job, do-it-yourself, repair, and maintenance.

Description: The S66N-CP PowerAssist Multi-Tool is $57.91. This satin finished unit has 16 tools, and it features a lanyard hole for ease of carrying. It comes complete with a black sheath made of ballistic nylon materials.

The sheath has a hook loop closure, an attachment so you can slip a belt through it to carry on your waist, and a snap closure so you can sure the multi tool in the sheath when it is being carried or when it is not in use. The blade in this unit is made of 420 steel, as is the handle. Additional features include assist opening and locking blade and tools.

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Leatherman – Wave® Multi-Tool, Stainless Steel  

Leatherman - Wave® Multi-Tool, Stainless Steel

Weight: 241 grams/8.5 ounces

Dimensions: 4 inches/10 centimeters when closed; 7.37 centimeters/2.9 inches measurement for the primary blade

Specific Features: Available with a leather or nylon sheath; 17 tools come with this product including the small, medium, and large bit screwdriver; diamond-coated and wood/metal files, a bottle and can opener, and a 9 centimeter/8 inch ruler.

The tool has scissors with spring action, a smooth 420HC knife, a serrated 420HC knife, wire stripper, wire cutters, hardwire cutters, regular pliers, and Needlenose pliers. Comes with a 25-year product warranty.

Best Uses: Everyday use, outdoor, adventure, hiking, camping, and on the job tasks.

Description: The Wave® Multi-Tool costs between $79.99 and $99.95, depending on whether or not you buy a sheath with the tool and if so, what style you buy either leather or nylon. Considered an international top seller, the blade on the unit is made of high carbon steel so you can trust its durability and the black oxide coating on the tool ensure minimum reflection and glare when the unit is in use.

The unit is available in stainless steel, black, and green colors. This unit is popular because of its easily accessible outside blades so that the user can deploy a blade with just a single hand. This model is based on the redesigned unit that was released in 2004, so it has strong pliers, bigger knives, bigger cutters, and all of the blades on the unit lock.

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Leatherman 831191 Squirt PS4 Keychain Multi-Tool, Blue

Leatherman 831191 Squirt PS4 Keychain Multi-Tool, Blue

Weight: 56.4 grams

Dimensions: 5.72 centimeters/2.25 inches closed; Blade length: 4.06 centimeters/1.6 inches

Specific Features: Nine tools including a medium sized screwdriver, wood/metal file, bottle opener, a Phillips/flat screwdriver, scissors with spring action features, and a knife made of 420 high carbon steel. There is also a pair of Needlenose pliers and regular pliers. Comes with a 25-year product warranty.

Best Uses: Great for fishing, camping, small tasks, on the job, and do-it-yourself projects.

Description: The Squirt PS4 Keychain Multi-Tool is $32.54. The unit is available in red, black, and blue colors. The convenience of the tool makes it ideal for toting around wherever you go. It is light, easy to handle, and makes an ideal gift for the do-it-yourselfer, anglers, camper, or outdoorsman.

The unit comes with nine convenient, durable tools. The small design might at first fool you, but the unit comes with all the tools you might need in an emergency or on the fly. The unit has contoured anodized aluminum handles.

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Leatherman – Wingman Multi-Tool, Stainless Steel

Leatherman - Wingman Multi-Tool, Stainless Steel

Weight: 7 ounces/198.4 grams

Dimensions: Closed length: 9.7 centimeters/3.8 inches; Blade length 6.6 centimeters/2.6 inches

Specific Features: 14 tools including a medium and  small screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, wood/metal file, can and bottle openers, and a 1.5 inch/3.8 centimeter ruler. Additional tools include a package opener, scissors with spring action functions, a knife blade of 420 high carbon steel, a wire stripper, and wire cutters, regular pliers, and Needlenose pliers, all fitted with spring action. Comes with a 25-year warranty.

Best Uses: Camping, hiking, on the job, daily tasks, do-it-yourself, maintenance, and repairs.

Description: The Wingman Multi-Tool is $29.47. The unit features 14 functional tools that should easily appeal to campers, anglers, hunters, outdoorsman, the crafty, and the handy. The unit is light, and one of the blades is outside accessible allowing for single hand opening. Light, small, convenient, but loaded with all the tools one needs in the home, on the job, or on the go.

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Gerber MP600 Multi-Plier

Gerber MP600 Multi-Plier

Weight: Without sheath: 8.2 ounces; with sheath: 9.8 ounces

Dimensions: Open: 6.61 inches; Closed 5.04 inches

Specific Features: This unit has 14 tools including crimper jaws, Needlenose or blunt nose pliers, Tungsten carbide wire cutters with the option of replacing them in the future when necessary; a fine edged knife and a serrated blade, a bottle opener, a can opener, a large reach Phillips screwdriver, a front sight post adjustment tool, and a carbon scraper. Comes with a black sheath, and the unit has a Stainless steel construction polished off with a black oxide finish.

Best Uses: In the home use, repairs, on the job, down range use, maintenance, do-it-yourself tasks.

Description: The Gerber MP600 Multi-Plier is $37.94. The unit comes with 14 convenient tools and the ability to open the blades with one hand for ease of use. To tote it around it comes with a black nylon sheath or you can use the lanyard ring included with the unit. The unit is made in the United States and it is a popular choice among members of the military. Its stainless steel construction lends to its longevity.

Related: Gerber Cable Dawg Multi-Tool.

 

Victorinox SwissTool Spirit Multi-Tool with Pouch

Victorinox SwissTool Spirit Multi-Tool with Pouch

Weight: 5.75 ounces

Dimensions: 4.13 inches long

Specific Features: The unit comes with a lock release; ten springs, a wire scraper round cutter, a wire stripper, a wire bender, an isolation length cutter, and a chisel scraper, a Phillips screwdriver, a reamer, and a screwdriver. Additional tools include a wood saw, metal saw, scissors, combi-edge blade, crate opener, bottle opener, 6 mm screwdriver, wire cutter, 3mm screwdriver,  2 mm screwdriver, and Needlenose pliers. The unit comes with a leather sheath.

Best Uses: On the go, every day uses; at home, in the office.

Description: The Victorinox SwissTool Spirit Multi-Tool is one of the most popular multi-tools for sale. The unit is small but sturdy,  compact, but convenient. It is made by one of the best-known manufacturers in the industry and manufactured in Switzerland.

The unit features a full 27 functions and the body of the unit is made of stainless steel to ensure the tools’ longevity. The tools lock into position when not in use and the release button makes it easy to put tools away when finished using them. Comes with a lifetime guarantee against product defects.

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Wallet Ninja 18 in 1 Multi-purpose Credit Card Size Pocket Tool

Wallet Ninja 18 in 1 Multi-purpose Credit Card Size Pocket Tool

Weight: 0.8 ounces

Dimensions: 4 inches X 2.2 inches x 0.1 inches

Specific Features: 18 tools, folds flat, lifetime warranty.

Best Uses: Repairs, maintenance, do-it-yourself, daily light tasks. Eyeglass screwdriver, bottle opener, cellphone stand, screwdriver, hex wrenches (six head nuts & bolts for #2, #4, #6, #8, #10, and #12), four screwdrivers including a Flathead Phillips, and a letter opener, can opener, nail puller, box opener, inch/cm ruler, and a peeler.

Description: The Wallet Ninja 18 is $8.79. The unit is said to be the first of its kind with the ability to store flat and to be fit right inside one’s wallet side by side with credit cards. The tool is made of steel that is heated four times to lend to its durability. The Wallet Ninja comes with a lifetime warranty that it will never dull, bend, or rust.

Related: Camo Wallet Ninja 18-in-1 Multi-purpose

 

Gerber Cable Dawg Multi-Tool

Gerber Cable Dawg Multi-Tool

Weight: 13.8 ounces

Dimensions: 7.5 inches long

Specific Features: Multiple driver storage compartment; magnetic driver extension; detachable component handle, combo edge knife and a jacket cutter; molded handle made of glass filled nylon; wire strippers; newly upgraded RJ45 crimper head (upgraded in 2012); spring loaded jaw; CAT5 Jacket cutter; wire/cable cutter; and a durable sheath.

Best Uses: Professional usage, great tool for those who work with satellite cable systems, fiber optics, IT, and those requiring a special tool for telecom professional fields or jobs in the communications field. Also ideal for military communications use and outdoor use.

Description: The Gerber Cable Dawg Multi-Tool is on the high end of the price scale when it comes to multi-tools, as it is $189.53. The monster of multi-tools, this unit is preferred by professionals for its industrial grade design.

This unit has a super rugged design, and is field tested to ensure it is durable and long lasting. The unit is USA-made. The specialized tools allow the user to streamline work tasks and increase proficiency.

Related: Gerber MP600 Multi-Plier

It’s Your Multi-Tool So You Decide

Among the list of multi-tools shared, there really is a tool for everyone and every need.

Multi tools on table

The buyer must clearly define a multi-tool’s use and the environment it will be used in so that the tool ends up giving the user access to the precise tools needed in a given situation. It is not a bad idea to, after reviewing multi-tools, make an investment in more than one single tool.

This is valid especially if you want one for diverse and extremely different purposes like indoor at home use versus camping and outdoor adventure use.

While the price may be a factor in making your buying decision, you will find the majority of the tools available are more than reasonably priced, so you can rest assured in knowing there’s a multi-tool suited to every budget.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Molly Stansfield

    I’ve been using my 1st Leatherman for almost 19 years now. I had it since I was 5. I have tried some other multi-tools but, I always wind up going back to carrying my Leatherman. I also like their warranty. My father broke the tip of the pliers last year and the manufacturer didn’t have any spare parts left, and offered to exchange it for a newer model. Isn’t that great?

  • Daniel Carraway

    Wow that’s great to hear! That’s why I always encourage my friends and readers to go for top brands and stop skimping on quality items. A reputable manufacturer will always take care of its customers and patrons, that’s why they’re trusted brands.

  • Patrick Calhoun

    I generally had a bad experience with some of my previous tools which are meant to be carried as a keychain. Then I considered buying a Micra. It lasted for years but a few parts broke. The Leatherman’s Squirt PS4, however, is solidly built and it is something you would want to be with you all the time.

  • Daniel Carraway

    Although some may find the Leatherman quite pricey, it’s worth every penny. All the tools work and the titanium handle is made to last. The Squirt, on the other hand is very practical and affordable. It uses stainless steel material and yes, all the tools function as well. What made this one special is the presence of wire cutters and pliers in one tool.
    Great to use everyday, not just for camping.

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