Best multi tool: The most comprehensive buying guide and suggestions

When searching for the best multi tool, I faced a challenge with product information. What I wanted to find, and many people were on my boat, was a comprehensive and detailed  all-in-one comparison of all the top multi tools on the market. It took me ages to search for product details, read many reviews of each individual product, compare products and gather opinions about available tools. After all of that work, I have found the perfect multi-tool for my needs, that is rugged enough, has many features and tools that I would require in years to come. And best of all, value for money.

So, instead of keeping all the knowledge gathered for myself, I want to share everything I have learned about multi tools to you. If you are looking to buy the best multi tool, but not sure where to start, I hope that this website will help you to save time doing what I did. To begin your journey, I have collected information about lots of tools, and some of them are rare to find or not listed on the manufacturers’ websites, then narrow them down to the best 10 and present them in a comparison table. Then I will review the top 5 multi tools and give you a guide to find your best.

Best 10 Multi-tools comparison table

Multi tools
Leatherman Charge Tti
SOG B61-N EOD PowerLock
Leatherman Skeletool CX
Leatherman Surge
Gerber Diesel
Multi Plier
Leatherman New Wave Multitool
Victorinox Swisstool Spirit III
Leatherman Squirt PS4
Leatherman MUT Tactical Multi Tool
Leatherman Super Tool 300
Images buy buttonLeatherman-charge-tti-thumb buy buttonSOG Specialty Knives & Tools B61-N EOD PowerLock, Black Oxide buy buttonLeatherman Skeletool CX buy buttonLeatherman Surge Silver photo buy buttonGerber Black Diesel Multi Plier buy buttonLeatherman-New-Wave-Multitool buy buttonVictorinox Swisstool Spirit III buy buttonLeatherman-Squirt-PS4-Keychain-Multi-Tool-thumb buy buttonLeatherman MUT Tactical Multi Tool thumbnail buy buttonLeatherman Super Tool 300
Our Review Our Review Our Review Our Review Our Review Our Review Our Review Our Review
Best for Hardcore general use. Small, light and durable for a fullsize Dealing with lots of wire, and bomb squad of course Light weight daily use Full size, heavy duty Quick plier access with sliding or flicking action. Good for every day carry Tactical and heavy job Small, light and handy Heavy duty, great for fire arm Big, heavy duty use
Material Stainless steel/ Titanium handle Stainless steel Stainless steel/ Carbon fiber handle Stainless steel Stainless steel Stainless steel Stainless steel Stainless steel/ Aluminum handle Stainless steel Stainless steel
Color Silver/Gray Black oxide Black oxide Black oxide, silver or Black oxide camo Black oxide or silver Silver or Black oxide Silver Silver with options of Red/blue/black handle Silver or Black oxide Black oxide or Silver
Closed length 4 in 4.6 in 4 in 4.5 in 4.92 in 4 in 4.1 in 2.25 in 5 in 4.5 in
Weight 8.2 oz 9.6 oz 5 oz 12 oz 8.6 oz 8.5 oz 8.7 oz 2 oz 11.2 oz 9.6 oz
One hand action Knife, saw and file x x Knife, file and saw Wrist flick deploy Blades, saw and file x x x
Warranty 25 years Lifetime 25 years 25 years Lifetime 25 years Lifetime 25 years 25 years 25 years
Spare parts available
Pouch/ Sheath included Yes/ Sheath usable in Plier mode Nylon or leather Nylon Yes- Leather or Nylon Leather MOLLE steath Yes- Leather or Nylon
Friction adjusting screw x x x x x x x x x x
Total number of tools 19 18 7 21 12 17 27 9 16 19
Knife Yes/ S30V steel Yes/ 420 steel Yes/ 154CM steel Yes/ 420HC steel Yes/ 420HC steel Yes/ 420HC steel Yes/ 420HC steel Yes/ 420HC steel
Blade length 2.9 in 2.75 in 2.6 in 3.1 in 2.5 in 2.9 in 2.75 in Combi-edge 1.6 in 3 in 3.2 in
Serrated knife Yes/ 420HC Steel x Yes/ 420HC steel Yes/ 420HC steel x Yes/ 420HC steel Yes/ 420HC steel
Plier/ Needlenose Needlenose Yes/Yes both with spring action
Wire cutter Yes / with hard-wire Yes/ with hard-wire Yes/ with hard-wire Yes/ with hard-wire Yes/ Spring action 154CM wire/ hard wire cutter (replaceable) Yes/ with additional stranded wire stripper
Screwdriver L-M-S bit driver Yes/ Phillips & large flat driver Large bit driver Small & Large bit Driver
Large flat Screwdriver
Small, medium & large flat screwdriver. Phillip screwdriver Large&Small bit driver, Medium screwdriver 2, 3 & 6mm Yes/Medium – Flat/Phillips screwdriver Large bit driver Large, Medium, Small and Phillips screwdriver
Scissors x Yes/ can cut leather Yes, spring loaded Yes on PS4 x x
Saw Wood saw x Metal & wood x
Bottle opener
Can opener x x
File Yes/ Metal & Wood Yes/ 3 sided x Metal & Wood with diamond coated Yes/Metal Metal & Wood x Wood and metal
Scraper x x x x x x x Yes (replaceable) x
Punch/Awl x Yes/ C-4 x Yes/ comes also with thread loop x x Chisel x Yes, fire arm disassembly punch Yes, awl with thread loop
Hammer x x x x x x x x x
Wrench x x x x x x x x Separate wrench assembly x
Wire stripper x x
Ruler Yes/ 8 in x x Yes/ 8 in x x x Yes/ 9 in
Cutting hook x x x x x x x
Electrical crimper x x x Black version only x x Yes, electrical crimper Yes, electrical crimper

Why do you need a multi-tool?

Every single person in this world needs a piece of multi tools. In fact you might not think you need one until you have one. Multi tools just come in so handy that once you have one, you would wish you had made the buying decision way earlier. Whether you are staying indoor, going camping, fishing, working on site, cycling or lost in some survival situations, there are always chances that you will need a set of different tools. On some forums, there are even threads where people share about things they can do with multi tools and the list comes close to 3000 applications. At one time it can be a pliers, other time you may need a knife, saw, or just a simple screwdriver.  Since you never know when you need which tool, you have to bring all of them. However, it is not an easy task to carry a large and heavy box full of tools with you everywhere, that is why multi tools were born – for wise men (and women) who always prepare for the worst situation.

Think about having a whole tool box in your pocket or clipped on your belt. You can do that with the best multi tools because they are small and light weight. But each multi tool is a different tool box configured for different purposes, so planning ahead and getting the right set of tools for your needs will help you through the hard time.

What to look for when buying multi tools?

There are so many models of multi-tools available on the market right now and everyone can get the perfect multi-tool for their needs. But before going out there and buy the multi-tool with most functions, is most expensive, or something most  people like, take some time to think about some of the following.

And to start, I would suggest you to watch a short video. This guy will show you in-depth information about different types of multi tools and what features you should look for when choosing one for yourself.

Your purposes of using multi tools.

Are you preparing for survival situation?

Are you going camping?

Are you a mechanics?

Are you a computer fixer?

Or you just need a multi-tool for everyday carry?

Answering these questions will help you determine which functions you need in a multi tool. In general, most multi tools will have blades, scissors, can/bottle opener, pliers, wire cutter and Phillips/flat head screwdriver. However, there are some multi tools that have a hammer head, an adjustable wrench, etc… which aim specifically at mechanics. Some others have scraper, Firearm Disassembly Punch, which are clear things used by firearm lovers or soldiers. That is to say different specifications are for different people.

Size & weight of the ideal multi-tool

Multi tools come in variety of sizes and shapes. Their shapes can range from folding knives to credit cards and weigh from 1.5 to 15 oz. Knowing how much weight you can bare and how portable you want you best multi tool to be can be a critical step to choosing the perfect metal companion that can serve you some years to come.

Material

Most multi tools on the market are made of steel. But the quality is not the same since they are different types of steel. Handles are usually made of stainless steel, but each tool, especially the knife blade is different. Different steel types affect the hardness and durability of the tools differently. So make sure to take this into account when comparing specifications of different multi tools.

Which functions should the best multi tool have

As I mentioned several times on this page, most multi tools you see will have a plier, a knife, saw, file and screw drivers. What else apart from those do you need? Do you need a spoon and fork for camping? Or do you need a hammer for the weekend project? Or do you need a knife that is longer and stronger than ordinary for survival purposes.

Easy to operate

A good quality multi-tool will be easy to operate. Opening and closing tools have to be smooth, not too loose nor too tight. Tools have to be positioned such that they can be ready-for-action without too many moves. Sometimes, one-hand-operation is great if you need a tool while the other hand is occupied.

Safety

While you want a tool with the sharpest knife and all best quality functions, the requirement for safety comes naturally. You will need a tool that has secured locking mechanism so that it does not hurt you or cut your clothes while staying in your pocket. When searching for your best tool, check the locks to make sure they are easy to open when you need to use the tools, but secured enough not to unlock itself in your bag or pocket.

Warranty

The warranty shows the best multi tool makers’ commitment to their customers (you) and show their confidence in the product. All tools in the above table have at least 25 years of warranty.

Reviews of the 5 best multi-tools

1Leatherman Charge TTi

Leatherman charge tti

Leatherman charge tti comes with 19 awesome tools

In my own list, the Leatherman Charge TTi is the best multi tool. It is a sleek looking tool that has most functions I would require for hardcore daily use. The body looks and feels solid, and the titanium handle scales make it scream good quality. But the value of this best multi tool makes it my choice. Really, this tool is the combination of best.

The Charge TTi comes with 19 quality tools that can take most jobs done with ease, but only at 4 inches in length when closed and a manageable 8.2 ounces in weight. Detailed specifications are in the table above, but I want to note out a few points that I think are most important with this metal tool(s).

What impress me most about the Charge TTi are the blades. Please note that the Leatherman Charge TTi has 2 blades separately, one pointed and one serrated blade. Both blades are made of high quality stainless steel. While the SV30 steel on the plain blades is the best available steel for knives – and you will not need to sharpen it for lifetime, the 420hc steel on the serrated cutting edge is not as good in term of sharpness, but can still get most of the cutting jobs done in a slice. On the other side, 420hc steel is great for its edge retention, that is why they use the material on the serrated blade.

Apart from the best available blade and the titanium handle scales, other tools on the Leatherman Charge TTi hold up to all other full size multi tools. Such as strong pliers with needlenose, wire cutter, stripper, a pair of scissors, and openers. The driver bits can be changed with the optional bit set of different sizes.

>>>Check out the Leatherman Charge TTi on Amazon

2SOG Powerlock B61-N EOD

SOG Powerlock B61-n EOD Stainless steel

The SOG Powerlock B61-N EOD might not be the quickest tool to operate, nor you can use it with single hand, but its true value lies between the ergonomic and comfort when using. This is a full size multi-tool is made especially for bomb squad and those of you who deal with lots of wires. In fact, that is the main difference between the EOD version and the “normal” version of these multi tools. I can say that the SOG Powerlock B61-N EOD is the best multi tool for bomb technicians.

While not focusing on the blade as the Leatherman Charge TTi, the SOG Powerlock B61-N EOD is best with its power aided (Compound Leverage) pliers, which make gripping job a whole lot simpler without squeezing the handle scales hard. All other features such as wire cutter and strippers are ideal for those of you who have to work with wires and lots of wires.

>>>Check out the SOG Powerlock B61-N EOD on Amazon

3Leatherman Skeletool CX

Leatherman skeletool cx

This cool robotic looking Leatherman Skeletool CX has become one of the most popular multi-tool for guys and girls who love to have something lighter and more portable than the full-size metal friends. And the drawback to compact size and weight is always the number of functions packed within this tool. However, the 7 tools that come with the Leatherman Skeletool CX are all most frequently used ones including pliers, wire cutter, 154cm steel pointed plain blade, openers, etc.

Obviously, the Skeletool CX’s size, weight and tools do not aim for tactical quality works, but it is perfect for its clearly targeted customers. If you look for something for light jobs and sudden events in everyday use, or to buy it for your girlfriend or wife, this is ideal.

>>>Check out the Leatherman Skeletool CX on Amazon

4Leatherman Surge

Leatherman Surge silver

Yet another Leatherman! Surge is a full size, very heavy duty multi-tool that has all functions that my favorite Charge TTi has plus some goodies. The tool bears almost every job you can think of and with survival and tactical quality. The cool interchangeable saw and file comes in handy when you need to use the file to sharpen the knife. Though you will not likely to sharpen the 420hc blade anytime soon, it is still something unique that needs to be spoken of.

In addition to the above, the Leatherman Surge has a very strong pair of spring loaded scissors, which cuts leather like paper. Scissors in other multi tools can be used mostly for easy stuffs and the pair of scissors on the Surge make them look like toys.

All 21 pieces of tools on the Leatherman Surge works well, and unassumingly the plier does, too. This multi tool is great overall, but only comes 4th for its weight. At 12 oz, this tool is not for everyone. But if you deal with serious jobs daily, this is the show breaker.

NoteThis cool tool has 3 colors for you to choose from, which are silver, black oxide, and the limited edition camo.

>>>Check out the Leatherman Surge on Amazon

5Gerber Diesel

Gerber Black Diesel Multi Plier big

The Gerber Diesel Multi-Plier is the one of a kind multi tool designed especially for people who require frequent use of pliers. It is clearly shown by the way you can access the pliers. Unlike the usual flipping action to access pliers, Gerber took another route to make the Diesel’s pinching jaws accessible via a flick of the hand. This make it so quick to use them, and with one hand operation.

Other highlights on the Gerber Diesel Multi-Plier are:

  • Partial serrated knife
  • Scissors
  • Screwdrivers
  • File
  • Saw
  • Openers
  • etc.

But best of all, you can get up to 61% discount for the Gerber Diesel Multi Plier on Amazon, which makes this multi-tool one of the most value for money multi-tools so far

>>>Check out the Gerber Diesel Multi Plier and its discount on Amazon

Your turn

I have given you a brief guide to successfully choose your best multi tool, and also showed you my best 5 metal friends. It’s now down to you choose select yours based on your needs. If you have any opinion, feel free to post a reply below.

Comments

  1. As a multitool collector, my recommendation for 2014 goes to the leatherman wingman. At around $30, it’s more likely to be bought, and more likely to be put to use than the pricier tools. It also contains tools more likely to be used in the day to day such as a 1 handed opening knife, good scissors, and a tool for opening clamshell packages (a much more common problem than needing to saw down a tree with a 3″ saw).

  2. Kane Venecia says:

    I have to admit, this website is incredible. It is very concise, descriptive, informative, and easy-to-understand all rolled up into one. This article is perfect for not only first time buyers, but also seasoned collectors to view the current market. I am currently working on a research paper and desire to cite this article. May I ask who exactly wrote this article and what their credentials entail?

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