In the wake of the global pandemic — which were still right smack in the middle of combating — people have been trying to figure out ways to limit their exposure to germs. The most widespread of those methods is probably wearing a cloth face mask when out in public places — which is mandatory in many areas. Similarly, sanitizing your hands and surfaces is another widespread tactic, as is social distancing (AKA keeping a 6ft distance between you and others).
Interestingly, in the everyday carry world, another trend has come about. In fact, it’s spread so quickly that there’s probably a decent chance you’ve seen advertisements online for one or more of this new class of tool. Known by many names, these pocketable devices all serve the same basic purpose: to help reduce your skin-on-surface contact out in public in an effort to reduce your overall exposure to germs, especially those of coronavirus. Of course, like all gear, some are built better than others. As such, we’ve rounded up our ten favorites — be that for their usefulness or unique design — for a list of the best hygienic no-touch tools for EDC.
What To Look For In No-Touch Tools?
As mentioned, most of these tools serve the exact same purpose. In fact, most of them look remarkably alike — to the point that you might have a hard time telling them apart. That being said, not all of them have the same suite of features. As such, we’ve put together a quick primer outlining the common features you should be looking for in a no-touch tool.
Door Hook: One of the easiest and most common ways for a person to get exposed to germs in their daily life is by touching dirty door handles. While these tools can’t help you with knobs that need turning, any “pull” door can be avoided, at least as far as contact is concerned, with a simple hook attachment.
Button-Pushing Point: Usually on the front side of the hook attachment, these tools have a protruding, rounded point that was added specifically to push buttons — like those you might find in an elevator, on an ATM, or even on a credit card machine — which will keep your fingertips clear of those surfaces and their germs.
Touchscreen Tip: Typically, this feature goes hand-in-hand with the above one. However, you’ll want to make sure the tip of your tool of choice is actually compatible with touchscreens, as the functionality requires a coating and/or the addition of a stylus-like tip. Simply put: a metal point doesn’t work on touchscreens without the extra addition.
Keychain Attachment: Convenience in a pinch is certainly a major factor with these devices, lest you want to keep one of your hands occupied all-day-long. As such, most of these tools can be attached to your keychain, thus keeping them within reach at almost all times. You could use one that just fits in your pocket, but a keychain attachment also adds a bit of security.
Bonus Features: The four features above are certainly the most dire, but they’re not the only ones available. Many of the options on our list actually boast bonuses — like integrated bottle openers or the ability to function as a bag hook. These additions are not nearly as important, but they do have the potential to make or break your decision.
The Antimicrobial Myth
If you’re wondering why there isn’t a section above for construction — as most of these tools are made from brass and/or copper — there’s a good reason for that. The chief reason put forth by most of these brands for creating their no-touch tools out of copper and/or brass is that these metals have antimicrobial properties. And we’re not here to dispute that. In fact, it’s been demonstrated numerous times that these metals are quite inhospitable to bacteria and viruses.
But there’s a problem with suggesting that a pocketable EDC tool has antimicrobial properties. Namely, viruses — including COVID-19 — can survive for as long as two hours (according to the Copper Development Association Inc.). That means, unless you specifically sanitize your no-touch tool after every use, there’s a fairly lengthy period in which you could transfer the germs to your clothes (e.g. your pocket), your hands, and/or your face, should you touch it at any point following the use of your no-touch tool. So, while copper and brass are certainly helpful, users will not immediately benefit from their antimicrobial properties.
SafeTouch Hygiene Multi-Tool
If you’ve seen any of these multi-tools in recent days, there’s a pretty good chance the one you’ve seen is the SafeTouch pictured here, as the brand has been running a massive ad campaign. Still, there’s no denying that this no-touch tool is amongst the best of them with its touchscreen-friendly tip, grippy hook, integrated bottle opener, and all-copper construction. Better still, it’s made right here in the USA.
StatGear Hygiene Hand LITE
StatGear was one of the early initiates into the no-contact tool industry with their Hygiene Hand. However, they also realized the merits of paring down their design to make it as lightweight and minimalist as possible, hence their ultra-slim LITE edition. Crafted from solid brass in the USA, this contactless tool is just 1/8-inch thick and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Unfortunately, it’s unclear as to whether or not this one is touchscreen-compatible.
interval Social Distancing Multi-Tool
While many of these tools look remarkably similar, some manage to stand out courtesy of more unique designs — like the interval Social Distancing Multi-Tool you see here. While this tool isn’t made from brass or copper, trading it out for a rustproof zinc alloy, it does feature a hook, keychain attachment, button-pushing touchscreen-friendly tip, and an integrated bottle opener.
The Dango Hook was actually around long before the hygienic multi-tool trend kicked into high gear. That also means it doesn’t quite look like the rest, which we don’t mind one bit. Unfortunately, it also means it isn’t touchscreen-compatible. However, it makes up for that with its unique ability to allow you to hang your bag from countertops and/or subway straps, rather than resting it on the filthy floor or a seat. It’s also keychain-compatible, has an integrated bottle opener, and was made in the USA.
KeySmart is another staple EDC brand that’s dipped its toes into the no-touch tool market with the all-brass CleanKey. Simple and about as minimalistic as they come, this device still boasts a hook, button pusher, touchscreen tip, and has a keychain attachment point. It’s a simple, no-frills version of these touchless multi-tools, but it does everything you could want it to do very well.
Aviano Copper Protector Door Opener Tool
Another ultra-slim option, the Aviano Copper Protector Door Opener Tool, as much of a mouthful as its name is, boasts a clever design aspect that helps set it apart from the competition. You see — along with its door hook, touchscreen button-pushing tip, and keychain attachment point — this tool also has a split in the finger hole so, if you don’t have your keys on you, you can just hook it to your belt loop or hang it from your pocket. And that makes it more versatile than a lot of its competition.
Leatherman Clean Contact Carabiner
Leave it to the folks at Leatherman — the brand chiefly responsible for making multi-tools what we know them as today — to make one of the most well-thought-out no-contact everyday carry devices around. Along with a 260 copper alloy construction, door hook, button-pushing tip, and integrated bottle opener, it also has a spring-loaded carabiner-style gate so you can attach it to your belt loop or even a bag. The only downside to this one might be its lack of a touchscreen-friendly tip. Otherwise, it’s near perfect.
BeerShark GermShark Tool
It actually makes quite a lot of sense that a brand that specializes in bottle openers, like BeerShark, might try their hand at building a sturdy and reliable pocketable no-touch tool. And the execution of the aptly-named GermShark confirms that it was a good idea. On top of its all-brass construction, it boasts a door hook, button pusher, keychain attachment point, and (of course) an integrated bottle opener.
Toor Knives The Rona Ring
Proving that you can be a bit tongue-in-cheek while still crafting a superb touchless multi-tool, the knifemakers at Toor have pared their expertise in crafting superb blades down into their cleverly-named Rona Ring no-contact tool. And while this tool is crafted from solid brass — giving it a hefty weight of 2.2 ounces — and has all the features you’d expect, ranging from a door hoot to an integrated bottle opener, this one has an added bonus: it can also be used as a knuckle-duster for self-defense applications. And that little addition might edge out the competition for many.
Peel Keychain Touch Tool
If style and minimalism are two of your chief concerns when it comes to everyday carry gear, then you’re probably going to be drawn especially to the Peel Keychain Touch Tool. It’s remarkably simple, even amongst other minimalist options, and has a gorgeous silhouette alongside its door hook, button pusher, bottle opener, etc. Yes, it’s the priciest of the bunch, but it also might be the best looking overall.
The 15 Best One-Piece Multi-Tools For EDC
If you want something that’s just as compact as these tools but with a lot more functionality, you might find yourself drawn to one of the available EDC devices on our list of the best one-piece multi-tools.