Handheld Toolbox: The 10 Best Multi-tools

Aug 23, 2017

Category: Gear

Multitools are a beautiful thing. Not only are they handy in a pinch, but they can make the difference between a quick job done well and a heinous nightmare of a project. And while they’re certainly no replacement for a good old toolkit full of specialized instruments, they’re definitely a good deal more portable and adventure-ready. And that makes them ideal for the everyday carry community.

Unfortunately, multitools have become somewhat ubiquitous in the tool world – which has led to a lot of unworthy brands putting out their own sad excuses for the devices. Trouble is, it can often be difficult to tell the difference between a legitimately good one and a big hunk of junk. That’s where we come in. Rather than leaving you to scour the internet and/or your local hardware stores for hours on end (and risking potential disaster), we’ve taken it upon ourselves to round up the absolute best multitools the world has to offer in the following roundup. So, for all of you would-be handymen and MacGyver wannabes, here are the best multitools to get you started.

Gerber Dime

While it isn’t going to be as tough or capable as it’s beefier counterparts on this list, the Gerber Dime is more than worthy of picking up for what it costs and how big it is. For starters, it’s tiny enough (just 2.75 inches in length when closed) that you could attach it to your carabiner keychain or even stash it in your pocket without thinking twice. And you don’t have to worry about weight, either – because it only weighs 2 ounces altogether. And it’s still made from durable stainless steel, so it can take quite a beating without suffering any negative effects.

In regards to tools, the Dime is equipped with 10: spring-loaded needlenose pliers, wire cutters, a small blade, box cutter, scissors, a medium flathead driver, crosshead driver, file, tweezers, and a bottle opener. And they are all accessible via an easy-to-use and convenient butterfly opening. If you’ve been hesitating on picking up a multitool to add to your everyday carry because of weight or space, the time has come to pull the trigger, as the Gerber Dime is exactly what you’ve been waiting for.

Purchase: $15

Gerber Suspension

Although it doesn’t quite measure up to the lightness of Leatherman’s Skeletool, Gerber’s Suspension is still a fairly lightweight multitool, weighing in at 9.6 ounces (thanks to its titanium-coated open frame design), and it actually offers a good deal more in the realm of functionality – more than 12 integrated and fully-locking components, to be exact. They include: needlenose pliers, a wire cutter, wire stripper, straight blade, serrated blade, philips screwdriver, both large and medium flathead screwdrivers, scissors, bottle opener, can opener, saw, and awl.

This comprehensive and inexpensive multitool also incorporates the brand’s Saf.T.Plus system – a technology which easily locks all components in place for safe and easy use. And while the system is secure, it still makes for quick access and tool changing thanks to a simple sliding lock-release button. And just a note on this multitools construction: it was inspired by the precision engineering of the bridges of Portland, Oregon – the very same city which Gerber Gear calls home.

Purchase: $23

Leatherman Wingman

The Wingman is kind of like Leatherman’s entry-level multitool. But don’t let that statement fool you – it’s still incredibly capable and worthy of being carried by even the most seasoned craftsmen, gear heads, and adventurers. It’s a well-rounded folding multitool that features 14 different functional attachments including needlenose pliers, spring-action regular pliers, a wire stripper, 420HC partially serrated knife blade, box cutter, spring-loaded scissors, a combination imperial and metric ruler, can and bottle openers, three different screwdrivers, and a wood/metal file.

That 2.6 inch knife blade, by the way, is accessible with one hand from the outside of the tool – so you can use it quickly in a pinch, if you have to. Also, the Wingman measures up at just 3.8 inches when closed and weighs only 7 ounces. If you’re looking for a simple do-it-all multitool for around the house projects or you just want something to carry in your commuter backpack that you know you can rely on, the Wingman is definitely a safe bet.

Purchase: $33

Leatherman Skeletool

The Leatherman Skeletool – and its variations therein – is perhaps the best tool for anybody looking for a comprehensively functional multitool that’s also going to be the least impactful on the weight of their everyday carry. That is, to say, that this piece of gear is incredibly lightweight for what it can do. In fact, it weighs in at just five ounces overall. And that’s pretty impressive when you consider all the things it comes equipped with.

While it doesn’t have quite the same complement of tools as its larger counterparts, it is still plenty equipped enough for most everyday tasks. It’s built-in tools include needlenose pliers, regular pliers, hard-wire cutters, a partially serrated 420HC knife blade, a combination carabiner and bottle opener, and a large bit driver. It also has a closed length of four inches overall and, since it is made from stainless steel, it is also corrosion resistant. If you’re an outdoor adventurer who needs to pare down your carry gear to just the essentials, here’s a multitool you can happily clip to your hiking pack.

Purchase: $48

Gerber Diesel

Though they got their start in the knife-making trade, Gerber has certainly not skimped on the quality of their catalog outside of knives. Case in point: their Diesel full-sized folding multitool. What’s especially cool about this beefy industrial strength multitool is that, besides its solid construction and numerous different included tools, all of its functionality is available at the flick of your wrist. That means that you could potentially access your bottle opener without even having to set down that nice cold beer.

Besides the bottle opener, the Diesel also includes needlenose pliers, standard pliers, wire cutters, a cross driver, a partially serrated blade, three sizes of flathead drivers, a coarse and fine file, scissors, a can opener, and a saw. What’s even better is that each of those tools can safely lock into place thanks to the brand’s included Saf.T.Plus system. If you’re in the market for a no-nonsense multitool that can get just about any job done, even in the worst conditions, this might just be the thing for which you’re looking.

Purchase: $62

SOG PowerAssist

SOG got their start making the sort of hard-use tools that are built to travel with and be used by the toughest soldiers through the thickest and most unforgiving of landscapes in the world. So it’s no surprise that they also make one of the world’s best multitools. Their 420 steel PowerAssist features a complement of 22 functional tools, including a straight blade, serrated blade, three-sided file, wire crimper, bottle opener, can opener, wire cutter, three sizes of flathead screwdrivers, a ruler, V-cutter, needlenose pliers, philips head screwdriver, and more.

SOG is so confident in the quality of this tool, in fact, that they offer a limited lifetime warranty against the materials and their manufacturing. Seriously: if there is any issue with the way it is built, the brand will take care of it no questions asked. The PowerAssist weighs just 9.6 ounces, has an overall length of 7 inches, and closes down to a compact 4.6 inches. And, if you’re looking to carry it around with you everyday, you can be safe in the knowledge that SOG included in its construction one-handed rapid access to the attached blades and helpful tool locks to keep the whole device secure whether you’re using it or not.

Purchase: $62

Gerber Center-Drive

The newest offering from the folks over at Gerber Gear, this super rugged multitool boasts a seemingly simple innovation that gives it a major leg-up against the competition. What’s that innovation, you ask? Well, this multitool features a full-sized screwdriver attachment that aligns in the center of the tool – making it function more like a regular driver and offering maximum torque and rotation thanks to the center axis design – and keeping it balanced so you don’t have to adjust your grip like you might with a regular multitool. And it’s not just the screwdriver attachment that makes this multitool special, either.

It also features a 420HC steel 3.25 inch knife blade – which is 30% larger than the competition – is equipped with rotatable carbide wire cutters, spring-loaded needlenose pliers with the brand’s X-Channel rail system, a combination pry bar/bottle opener/nail puller, a secondary saw blade, a file, and a complement of magnetic flathead and philips driver bits. We should probably also mention that the Center-Drive is made proudly right here in the USA.

Purchase: $86

Leatherman Wave

Favored by everyday carry enthusiasts, craftsmen, backcountry explorers, engineers, industrial designers, and gear heads alike, the Leatherman Wave is kind of like the Holy Grail of multitools. Or, at the very least, it’s like Excalibur. That is to say, it’s pretty damn near perfection when it comes to usefulness, durability, and overall format. For reference, it includes all of the following 17 tools in its construction: needlenose pliers, regular pliers, hard-wire cutters, wire cutters, a wire stripper, 420HC steel knife, 420HC serrated knife, saw blade, spring-action scissors, dual function metric/imperial ruler, can opener, bottle opener, combination wood/metal file, diamond-coated file, large bit driver, small bit driver, and a medium screwdriver.

Honestly, the Wave isn’t just one of the best multitools – it’s one of the most comprehensive and handy devices ever to have graced the planet. Trying to find a task that this tool can’t complete is a task comparable to, say, actually seeking out the real Holy Grail.

Purchase: $90

Victorinox SwissTool X

While just about everyone in the everyday carry world is familiar with Victorinox as the manufacturers of the highly lauded Swiss Army Knife (and all its variations therein), you might not know that their expertise also extends to folding-style multitools, as well. Take, for instance, their SwissTool X. Made in the brand’s home country of Switzerland, this sturdy and compact multitool boasts a whopping 23 different functions that includes pliers, four different sizes of flathead screwdrivers, wire cutters, a bottle opener, large knife blade, saw, wood saw, reamer, philips driver, chisel, crate opener, wire bender, wire stripper, wire scraper, can opener, both imperial and metric rulers, an electrical crimper, a metal file, and scissors.

And all of that weighs a total of just 10 ounces altogether and measures up at only 4.5 inches long when closed. And, best of all, almost all of the tools can be accessed from the outside of the tool (without having to open up the pliers) and can be kept securely closed thanks to a simple slide lock system.

Purchase: $116

Leatherman MUT EOD

Although it was designed specifically for military use, this 15 tool multitool is an excellent everyday carry option for anyone looking for the ultimate in durability, functionality, and reliability. And, not only does it feature a whole complement of fold-out tools, but its design also incorporates the ability to access a number of the included tools from the closed (aka folded) position.

The full list of included functions is as follows: needlenose pliers, stranded-wire cutters, 154CM replaceable fuse-wire cutters, mil-spec cap crimper, electrical crimper, 420HC steel partially serrated knife, saw, replaceable cutting hook, hammer, bolt override tool, replaceable C4 punch, replaceable bronze carbon scraper, #8-32 cleaning rod/brush adapters, carabiner/bottle opener, and a large bit driver. The handle also offers bit storage for the screwdriver, so you’re not stuck with just one format or bit size. Best of all, every single one of the tools available can be operated with just one hand – so it’s especially helpful if you need to multitask.

Purchase: $170

Best EDC Pocket Multitools

Looking for something a little more travel friendly? Here are our picks for the best EDC pocket multitools.

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