Best Multi Tool Reviews – 2017 – Detailed Buying Guide
Any handyman would need to have a multi-tool in his tool box. Whether you’re the type of guy who likes to tinker with things, or you often find yourself fixing things around the house, a multi-tool is certainly a worthy investment. By having the best multi-tool in your tool box, you don’t have to run back and forth to get a couple of tools in the garage.
Tim Leatherman is credited for inventing the first multi-tool in 1984. His creation called Pocket Survival Tool was basically a general purpose pocket tool . It was a pair of pliers that close much like a balisong knife. The closure was designed to make the pliers more compact and protect the owner’s pants pockets from abrasion caused by the pliers’ points and teeth. He also added knife blades, screwdrivers, and other handy tools into the handles of the folding pliers.
Eventually, Leatherman’s designs have evolved. Still, it can’t be denied that today’s multi-tools were inspired by his original Pocket Survival tool.
Today, multi-tools come in different sizes, shapes, and designs. It has now become quite confusing to pick out the right multi-tool given the many design options to choose from.
Best Multi Tool - Our Choices
Top Multi-Tools Today
Now, what are the best multi-tools that you should be looking at if you’re shopping for one to add to your tool box?
You can choose from any of the 10 multi-tools listed below:
Victorinox SwissTool Spirit Multi-Tool with Pouch
With this multi-tool, you can get 27 tools in one nice, stainless-steel frame. There are several screwdrivers integrated in this multi-tool (2mm, 3mm, 6mm, and Philips head), plus a bottle opener, scissors, and create opener. You also get a metal file, a metal saw, a wire stripper, and a chisel, among others.
What is quite surprising is that with those 27 implements, you would think that this multi-tool is heavy. But it weighs just 7.4 ounces, which makes the multi-tool the ideal camping companion. You will also be surprised to learn that this model comes with a lifetime warranty against material and workmanship defects.
You can access the tools directly from the outside of the handle, meaning you don’t need to open the pliers. When opened, the tools will lock into place. Simply slide the release button and fold the tool away to close. There’s a belt pouch included for good measure.
It is far from perfect, though. One implement that is noticeably lacking in the multi-tool is a ruler. Another concern is the scalloped edge of the knife blade that prevents re-sharpening when needed. But those are really minor cons in the otherwise great multi-tool from Victorinox.
Swiss+Tech ST53100 Polished SS 19-in-1 Micro Pocket Multitool for Camping, Outdoors, Hardware
Compared to the Victorinox model, this one has fewer implements at 19. You will get several screwdrivers (flat and Philips), hex wrench, pliers, wire cutter, wire stripper, wire crimper, hand drill, nail file, and bottle opener. But unlike the Victorinox multi-tool, it does have a ruler as well as a ruler extension.
Made of solid, stainless steel, this multi-tool easily attaches to the keychain and quickly released when needed. Probably because it has fewer functions, this Swiss+Tech product is lighter than the Victorinox multi-tool at just 3.2 ounces.
It also happens to be one of the cheapest multi-tools in this list. However, one noticeable weakness of this multi-tool is the flimsy design. Each tool appears extremely thin that there won’t be enough friction in the bearing to keep the implement steady. Many users have been complaining that any tool in this device swivels very easily, thus making it hard for them to keep their hands steady and get adequate leverage.
That weakness aside, this is still a very good multi-tool to have in your backpack.
With just 17 tools in this product, you might think that this Leatherman creation is inferior compared to the two other multi-tools earlier discussed. But a closer look at its design and build quality reveals that despite having fewer features, this Leatherman product is probably better than the competition.
There are 17 tools in this unit, including needlenose pliers, hard-wire cutters, regular pliers, wire stripper, knife, scissors ruler, can and bottle openers, and medium screwdrivers. There’s also a wood/metal file and diamond coated file integrated in this multi-tool. It is made of 420HC stainless steel.
While there are fewer implements in the Leatherman Wave, it can be argued that what it has would be enough to cover all of your bases, so to speak. Moreover, the fewer implements means that Leatherman avoided a common problem in most multi-tools which is packing the available space and compromising build quality in the process.
If there’s anything really annoying with this multi-tool, then it has to be the coating of the product. There have been a lot of complaints about the coat of the tool leaving black smudges and marks. Many users also say that this Leatherman product easily gets scratched.
Victorinox Swiss Army Swisstool Spirit X
Victorinox returns to the list with the Swiss Army Swisstool Spirit X. It features 22 functions that the casual camper would find handy while in the woods, including can and bottle openers, several screwdrivers (2, 3 and 6mm), and cutting blades and scissors.
Also included in this multi-tool are wire cutters, needlenose pliers, chisel, wire bender, crate opener, and wire stripper. It is a great addition to the tool box of any camper, biker, and even carpenter looking for a handy and compact tool. For good measure, Victorinox even throws in a lifetime warranty.
It measures about 4.25 inches long and 1.5 inches wide, and weighs roughly 7.4 ounces. Aside from the well-made tools, you would love how these implements lock when in use.
The main beef that users have with this multi-tool is its poorly designed sheath. But many of them say they don’t buy a multi-tool because of is sheath, so you can say that the flaw is very minor.
Leatherman Charge Titanium TTi
This Leatherman product combines the characteristics of two Leatherman best-sellers—the Charge AL and ALX. It features scissors, a cutting hook, bit drivers, outside-accessible blades, and crimpers. It is relatively lightweight at 1 pound, and measures 10.5 x 6.8 x 2.8 inches.
The titanium handles not only make this product look very stylish, but also improve the grip. There is also a built-in lanyard hole located on the arm opposite of the pocket clip.
While this is an outstanding multi-tool if we are to talk of design and build quality, it does have its shortcomings like the lack of tweezers and the small pouch that goes with it.
Leatherman MUT 850122
This is a multi-tool that appeals to users with a law enforcement background, thanks to its replaceable bronze carbon scrapping tool that is useful for removing carbon buildup on any firearm. It is also ideal for electricians, with its stranded wire cutters and wire crimpers that would come in handy for electrical-type of work.
The replaceable bronze carbon scrapper, stranded wire cutters and wire crimpers are just three of the 16 tools featured in this product. Also included are needlenose and regular pliers, hardwire cutters, knife, saw, hammer, bolt override, replaceable firearm disassembly punch, large bit driver, and a bottle opener.
Upon opening the package, you will notice how well-designed the Leatherman MUT is with its black oxide coating. The excellent coating alone sets it apart from other multi-tools.
The multi-tool is made of 420HC stainless steel that can withstand wear and tear. The knife blades and wire cutters, meanwhile, are made of 154CM stainless steel .
The downside of owning this multi-tool, however, is having to deal with the weight. It weighs a whopping 11.02 ounces making it a lot heavier compared to the other Leatherman units. The weight makes everyday carry of the product very impractical. But that’s not surprising because Leatherman designed it more for hunting and camping, and thus it is not really intended for everyday use.
Leatherman Super Tool 300EOD
This is almost similar to the Leatherman MUT although it doesn’t have the bronze carbon scrapping tool that the latter has.
Moreover, it has 19 tools that includes regular and needlenose pliers, replaceable wire cutters, stranded wire cutters, 420HC knife and serrated knife, and electrical crimper. There’s also a ruler, a can opener, a wood/metal file, a bottle opener, a Philips screwdriver to go along with small, medium, and large screwdrivers.
Similar to the MUT it has a black oxide metal coating that military personnel know is effective in lessening glare and reflection.
While many users agree that this is one of the best Leatherman multi-tools, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have some flaws. A common complaint is that it isn’t as sturdy as Leatherman tools are known for, with instances of the screwdriver bending easily.
Gerber Dime Multi Tool
Looking for a relatively affordable multi-tool? Check. Do you want a compact multi-tool that you can easily put in your backpack for everyday use? Check. And do you wish a multi-tool from a reputable brand? Check.
These are the things that you can expect from the Gerber Dime multi-tool which happens to be one of the more affordable in this list.
However, this one doesn’t have as many tools as the other multi-tools in this list. It does have the basic implements, though, such as stainless steel pliers, spring-loaded scissors, blade, wire cutters, tweezers, a crosshead driver, and a flathead screwdriver. Overall, it has 10 tools.
The few tools integrated into this Gerber unit also mean that the size is kept to a minimum. When closed, the unit measures just 2.75 inches long. Overall, it has a length of 4.25 inches. In fact, it is small enough that you can hide it behind your thumb.
The blade is sharp, but you may have to polish its edge on some ceramic to make it shaving sharp. The outside tools also open and lock with a solid snap.
However, it does have its share of flaws. The materials used in this multi-tool aren’t the best in terms of durability. Many users complain that the multi-tool gets damaged easily. Some tools are also less impressive when it comes to function, like the scissors that can barely cut paper.
Gerber Suspension Multi Pliers
This is a more robust and durable multi-tool compared to the previously discussed Gerber product. It has more tools, too, but that also means you will have to pay more for this.
There are 11 integrated components in this multi-tool. There are scissors, a bottle opener, can opener, needle-nose pliers, wire cutter/stripper, blade, serrated blade, and Philips screwdriver. You also get large and medium flathead screwdrivers, saw and an awl.
It is slightly longer than its cousin with a closed length of 4 inches. It weighs 9.6 ounces and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Aside from being handy, the multi-tool gets raves for its solid and neat-looking frame. Its spring loaded pliers are great, too, and its blade lock mechanism also work perfectly.
But like every unit in this list, it does have its flaws. One is the scissor which can barely cut paper, and the spring loading for it that is too strong.
Yet for its very affordable price, the Gerber Dime is still a very solid pick for those looking for a multi-tool for everyday use.
Rounding out our list is this one from Leatherman. It’s a multi-tool designed for every day use, and features 12 tools including pliers (needlenose and regular), wire cutters, hard wire cutters, knife, can opener, and scissors.
There is also a bottle opener, a Philips screwdriver, as well as screwdrivers of various sizes (extra small, small, medium/large).
It is a light and small multi-tool unlike the other Leatherman models previously discussed. It fits well into your pockets, but the pliers are still large enough to be useful. The pliers, too, are of good quality and shape. The Juice is reasonably priced as well.
Still, there are some noticeable missteps in the design of this multi-tool. The main blade, for example, is shorter than other Leatherman multi-tools. The handle isn’t the best in terms of grip. And the silver handle is a lot thicker than the orange handle, giving a bad impression in terms of design.
But if you can live with those imperfections, the Leatherman Juice may just be what you need.
How to Choose One
So how do you select a multi-tool?
The selection begins with determining the components that the tool should have, based on your needs. The overall design must also be considered, as well as the quality and safety. You don’t want to settle for a poor quality multi-tool as it can potentially harm you in the future.
Generally speaking, you would want a multi-tool with a couple of blades (one serrated and another, straight) , a flat head screwdriver, a couple of needle-nosed pliers, a wire-cutting blade, and at least two blades. You’d also love to have a multi-tool with a LED flashlight and a fish scaler.
While you may want to have a multi-tool with the most features or components as possible, you also don’t want to be carrying a heavy multi-tool, too. Thus, the fewer basic components there are, the lighter the multi-tool becomes.
Warranty is another important consideration when shopping for a multi-tool. You must look for a multi-tool with at least a year-long warranty so that you can return it for repair or replacement should it breaks down.
The build quality is also something that you must look into. Ideally, the multi-tool is lightweight and durable. The quality of the steel used should also affect your buying decision. While you can expect to pay more for a high quality steel, you at least get the peace of mind knowing that it would last for a longer time.
You won’t go wrong in choosing a multi-tool from respected brands. One, you can be assured of the quality of the tool particularly the material and design. Two, most respected brands have multi-tools that come with extensive warranty.
Leatherman is arguably the best brand when it comes to multi-tools. It is not surprising at all because this is the same brand that came up with the original multi-tool. It has continued to innovate and produce top-notch quality tools, making it the king of multi-tools. Moreover, it offers a very long warranty which is among the longest in the business.
Victorinox is another brand that you can trust. This Swiss brand is known for its multi-tools and pocket knives. It’s also the same company that created the Swiss Army Knife, which is a multi-tool itself.
Other brands that you can trust are Gerber, Swiss+Tech, and Co-Bean.
These are the 10 best multi-tools today. Go ahead and look for them in a nearby home improvement store, or better yet, order one online now. You will not regret getting a multi-tool given its many useful features.