It was during WWI and the global introduction of the Swiss Army Knife that the idea of a multi-tool first gained widespread popularity. Soldiers, adventurers, and craftsmen alike were enthralled by the idea of incorporating a number of different functions into a single portable format that would take up far less space and weigh them down much less than a traditional box of tools. In the 1980s, Tim Leatherman and Steve Berliner incorporated Leatherman Tool Group, advancing to the next evolutionary step in multi-functional tooling. As time went on, the demand for greater functionality with a smaller footprint grew. Designers began to come up with ways to shrink down the classic folding tools without sacrificing their ability to do their job. And, somewhere along the line, the single-piece multi-tool was born.
There is a line between functionality and portability that classic folding multi-tools simply cannot cross. Collapsible devices can’t shrink past a certain point without forfeiting some measure of strength or performance. And that is where single-piece multi-tools shine. By incorporating the functionality of a multi-tool into the structure of the piece itself, you are not limited by moving parts or specific profiles and shapes. In fact, some of the best single-piece multi-tools have more practical features than their traditional folding counterparts while still being able to fit comfortably in your pocket, on your keychain, or even in your wallet. Here we’ve rounded up 12 of the best everyday carry, pocket-sized, one-piece multi-tools that don’t sacrifice function for form.
Evident in it’s name, the Gerber Shard almost looks more like a bit of shrapnel than a pocket tool. But don’t let the funky profile fool you. This tiny, titanium-coated, stainless steel tool packs six functions – two flatheads, a philips driver, wire stripper, pry bar, and bottle opener – into its unique profile. The 2.75″ tool weighs just 0.3 ounces and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. And it is safe to bring with you on a plane, so you need not leave it at home when you travel.
Nite Ize DoohicKey
One of the best parts of this little tool – just over 2 1/2 inches in length and weighing only 1.6oz – is that it’s equipped with a carabiner-style clip, so you can securely attach it to and remove it from your keys without having to thread it through your keyring. Or you can just clip it to your belt loop. But it doesn’t stop there; this stainless steel multi-tool is TSA compliant, made in the USA, and features nine other functions – box cutter, bottle opener, 3 stepped hex-wrenches, inch and centimeter rulers, and a flathead driver/pry bar.
CRKT 9130 Viva
Columbia River Knife and Tool are, of course, known first for their knives. But that doesn’t mean they don’t excel elsewhere. Such is the case with their Liong Mah designed 9130 Viva keychain multi-tool. This 0.8oz 4-inch device is made from durable stonewashed 3CR13 stainless steel and features 5 stepped hex wrenches, a pry bar, a flathead driver, a bottle opener, and a pocket/belt loop clip – for easy carry and to help with finger retention.
Made to resemble the original MACV-SOG group skull – after which the company is named – this unique keychain-mountable multitool packs 12 functions into its interesting design. It includes 3 wrenches, a hex bit driver, bottle opener, carbide sharpener cord cutter, large and small flathead screwdrivers, nail puller, philips driver, and a pry bar. And the 1.6oz tool is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand with room to spare.
Leatherman Piranha 2
An update and expansion on Leatherman’s original piranha single-piece multi-tool, this sequel boasts more functionality out of the same size and profile as its predecessor. Its seven functions include a scraper, box cutter, bottle opener, 1/4″ hex bit driver, medium flathead driver, a 6-stepped open imperial wrench, and a 5-stepped closed metric wrench. And this little TSA compliant multitool weighs in at only 0.3 ounces and is made from 420 stainless steel, so you can count on its durability.
Griffin Pocket Tool
Like the creature for what it is named, this single-piece multitool is a chimera of some of the best parts of a normal toolbox. Boasting the functions of over 11 different tools – 4-7mm hex drivers, pry bar/flathead driver, 5/16″ hex wrench, scoring tool, bottle opener/bit driver, and a pocket clip. This beast, made by Coyote Mountain Outdoors, is made from tough polished stainless steel, weighs less than an ounce, and is just 3″ in length.
Expanding on the idea of a pocket clip keychain – a device used to float your keys near the top of your pocket rather than in a clump at the bottom – Pangea Designs has escalated the concept to the next level. With a skeletonized design to save weight and a super strong 6AL-4V titanium construction, this keychain-bottle opener hybrid is durable, dependable, and will look great with the rest of your EDC gear.
If you’ve ever bought yourself beer with a twist-off cap, you’ve probably come to understand that they’re not as easy as they seem and can tear your hand up pretty bad. Fret no more if you have the Enigma Pocket Tool by Pangea Designs. This unique little tool features both pry and twist off bottle openers. And the 6AL-4V titanium device also features a pocket clip and 4-stepped hex wrenches (in metric or imperial). Did we mention that it’s also made entirely in the USA? Well, it is.
Machine Era Multi
Created out of their desire to lend both beauty and functionality to all of their everyday carry objects, the Multi is an unobtrusive yet surprisingly tough utilitarian tool. Made from 6AL-4V titanium, this keychain multi-tool offers up a philips driver, flathead driver, pry bar, 1″ and 2.5cm rulers, and a bottle opener. All in a package that’s only 2.5″ in length, 1″ in width, 0.125″ thick, and weighs just 0.4oz.
Boker Plus Cop Tool Knife
Developed and tested by Roy Huntington, an actual police officer with more than 20 years of experience, this utilitarian tool features some rugged functions not normally found in your average multi-tool, yet will most definitely come in handy in a pinch. It can be used as a chisel, pry bar/lever, belt cutter, scraper, or a multi-functional knife. the 440C stainless steel blade is bead blasted and features a G10 handle for both durability and solid grip in any conditions. This 4.2oz tool comes with a leather sheath for discreet carry and a lanyard for expanded carry options.
TT Pocket Tools TT-Chopper
For a multi-tool with over 14 possible functions, the TT-Chopper is still incredibly small. This stainless steel tool is only 2.25″ long and fits easily into the palm of your hand. And the long list of functions is impressive for a device of this stature – a bottle opener/1/4″ bit driver, a flathead driver/pry bar with nail slot, gripper, twist assist, box cutter, and 6-stepped box wrenches. And it is manufactured in the USA.
Cha-O-Ha EDC Card
An unusual design, the EDC card offers up an extremely unique way to carry your multi-tool: in your wallet. If you’re lacking in space on your keychain and you don’t want a stray tool floating around in your pocket, this S35VN blade steel card can fit into the credit card slot in your wallet. And it boasts an insane 30+ possible functions – 23 hex wrenches in both metric and imperial sizes, a 1/4″ hex bit driver slot, 2″ imperial and 30mm metric ruler, a flat and a philips driver, a hammer claw, and bottle opener. And this 2oz, credit card sized multi-tool is TSA compliant.