A lot of companies claim to have the best multi-tool on the market. But what exactly constitutes the bona-fides to make that claim? What specific criteria should a multi-tool be judged by? When most people think of a multi-tool, the most evocative image that comes to mind is the Swiss Army Knife from famed company Victorinox. It’s been around for so long and had such success that it essentially became a proprietary eponym. Kind of like Kleenex has become a proprietary eponym that is used interchangeably with the word facial tissue.
And while Victorinox still makes the original Swiss Army Knife, it, and other high-end multi-tool manufacturers have stepped up their game. Today’s modern-tool is a veritable cornucopia of features and tools for nearly every occasion. Of course, I’m not saying that even the best multi-tools you can buy are a replacement for full-sized tools and a well-equipped toolbox. While that statement rings true for many DIYers and professionals, a top-rated multi-tool can fill in when carrying around a full set of tools is not practical or desirable.
So what standards of excellence should a multi-tool live up to in the year 2020? Before we get to that, let’s first examine the types of multi-tools that are available and why you should own one.
Types of Multi-tools
There are generally four to five types of multi-tools available on today’s market, depending on who you ask. Of-course, startup tool makers are continuously creating new forms and shapes with ever more clever takes on what combination of features constitutes a multi-tool. Most multi-tools fall into the following categories:
- Full-size multi-tools (traditional butterfly design and one-piece solutions)
- Mini multi-tools
- Keychain multi-tools
- Credit card multi-tools
- Non-traditional designs like bracelets
Why You Should Get a Multi-Tool
Aside from being a fantastic and essential part of your EDC gear, a multi-tools very purpose is to be adaptable to almost any situation. If you pick the right multi-tool, you’ll always be ready. Consider all the conditions a multi-tool can be handy in:
- Small home repairs and fixes
- Outdoor activities such as biking
- Camping or hiking
- Multi-day backpacking adventures
- A survival tool in the wild
- A DIYers best friend when working with your hands
- A construction workers handy tool
- Saves money and space over full-size tools if they’re not needed
- A handyman’s best friend
- Excellent for all kinds of travel
Most of you will know what you’re looking for in a multi-tool. But if you’re reading this and need a bit more direction, scroll down to the bottom of this page. There I’ll tell you how to pick the best multi-tool for your purposes. I’ve scoured online retailers and manufacturers for countless hours to bring you the best-reviewed and most reliable multi-tools in the world, and here are twenty of them.
1. Leatherman – OHT One Handed Multitool
Leatherman is another absolute giant in the field of multi-tool production and sales. The OHT is unique in the sense that it’s been designed to be 100% operable with only one hand. This of-course, provided a whole new level of functionality. Leaving your other hand free for added tool use or simply to hold something while operating your multi-tool is kind of a game-changer. With a grand total of sixteen included tools, the OHT features spring-loaded pliers and wire-cutters. And while this is one of the better-looking multi-tools I’ve seen, especially in the matte black, we all know that design is not how a thing looks, but rather how it works. That’s why my favourite feature of this multi-tool for all your camping, worksite, and DIY needs is the imprinted handles. They visually and by way of touch quickly indicate the location of each tool. This can cut-down valuable time you may otherwise spend fussing looking for just the right tool, even in complete darkness.
- 16 tools
- One-handed operation for every tool
- Spring-loaded pliers and wire-cutters included
- All tools including pliers and knives fully lock for safety while operating
- Included tools: pliers, wire cutter, strap cutter, cleaning rod, oxygen tank wrench, screwdrivers, 420HC knife, 420HC serrated knife, saw with blade exchanger, small, medium, large and Phillips screwdrivers.
- Brand: Leatherman
- Model: OHT One Handed Multitool
- Includes 1 key tether and 4 external carry straps
This multi-tool from Roxon may be the ultimate camping and outdoor adventure tool you’ll come across. The part I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around however, is how much value the Roxon CM1349 provides at its current, very affordable price point. With a total of fourteen tools, this outdoor camping and hiking tool includes a useful flint rod to solve problems like lighting a fire to hook or for warming by a fire. As a survival tool, it also does the job by including a loud signal whistle. With an all-black anti-corrosion and anti-rust body, the CM1349 from Roxon is an outdoor enthusiasts dream. That is if you like to fondle really useful multi-tools. And I almost forgot. For the total amount of functionality, this is a surprisingly lightweight tool. It accomplishes this by using a combination of nylon and fibre plastic in its handle.
- An independent locking mechanism for all tools ensures safe handling
- 10 Year warranty
- Included tools: Saw, can opener, flat screwdriver, needlenose pliers, wire cutters, whistle, scraper, knife, bottle opener, phillips screwdriver, regular pliers, flint stone, reamer, and awl.
- Brand: ROXON
- Model: CM1349 Spark Multitool Plier
- Overall length: 16.1 cm
- Weight: 226.9 grams
3. Victorinox – Swiss Army Swisstool
While some prefer multi-tool brands like Leatherman, SOG, and Gerber, there’s no doubt that Victorinox is the company that popularized this tool format. Billed as the ultimate multi-tool, the SwissTool is a tight package with a massive twenty-four tools. Yes, you read that right. The lock and release system, along with included springs, is designed to lock each tool in place when opened. Given the massive amount of choices you get with the SwissTool, I would say that it belongs in the pocket of any handyman that wants the reliability and flexibility of the Victorinox brand. With a solid stainless steel construction designed to resist corrosion and provide the strength you need, there’s not much this tool can’t accomplish.
- Stainless Steel
- Each tool can be accessed from the outside
- Locking mechanism for each tool
- Made in Switzerland
- Tools include: pliers, screwdriver (2mm, and 3mm, 5mm, 7.5mm), wire cutter, bottle opener, large blade, serrated blade, metal file, metal saw, wood saw, reamer, Phillips screwdriver, chisel / scraper, strong crate opener, wire bender, wire stripper, wire scraper, wire crimper, can opener, ruler (cm), ruler (inches), hard wire cutter.
- Brand: Victorinox
- Model: Swiss Army SwissTool
- Length: 4.13″
- Weight: 10.29oz
- Warranty: Lifetime
4. RoverTAC Survival Camping Tool
It’s hard not to notice that this is a very specialized tool, but boy do I wish I had something like this on my last camping trip. Designed by RoverTac, this survival and camping multi-tool has fourteen implements designed to give you everything you need in the great outdoors as far as tools go. This is an excellent gift for any adventure seeker, including those that like to hike, go fishing, go camping, hunt, or go backpacking. Made of heavy-duty stainless steel and oxidized in black to prevent corrosion, this multi-tool is robust, reliable and easy to handle. While the RoverTAC has many included tools, its core is the included hammer and axe. Powerful enough in a self-defence emergency and with enough torque to break car glass. Includes a sturdy nylon sheath case that can attach to your belt.
- Includes 14 tools
- Stainless steel with black oxidation
- Included Axe and Saw can cut branches and wood for campfire, snares or marshmellow sticks.
- Included tools: Axe, saw, knife blade, regular plier, fish descaler, assorted wrenches, slotted screwdriver, file, hammer, wire cutter, flaw jaw plier, bottle opener, Phillips screwdriver, large slotted screwdriver.
- Brand: Miggo
- Model: Agua Versa Backpack 90
- Exterior Dimensions: 11.42 x 18.9 x 6.3 inches
5. Gerber – Truss Multi-Tool
Seventeen tools are brought to bear in this Gerber multi-tool built for the professional user in a size-conscious chassis. Every tool is accessible from the exterior of the body and is locked for safety. The Truss also brings full-size hybrid pliers, all constructed from a single piece of steel for additional strength. At only 8.4 oz, it features one of the lowest weight to tool ratios amongst the multi-tools featured here. The fact that its MOLLE -compatible is another bonus, and of course, the pliers are spring-loaded to reduce hand fatigue while operating it.
Don’t have a ton to spend on a great multi-tool? Then you’ve come across the right product. Its beautiful design is one of the two cherries on top, while the other is the incredible value you get for what is one of the world’s best and most affordable multi-tools.
- All outboard tools
- All locking tools
- Lightweight to tool ratio
- Included tools: spring-loaded needlenose pliers, wire cutters, real cross driver, small, medium, large flathead driver, scissors, bottle opener, ruler, full fine edge blade, lanyard hole, standard pliers, saw, wire stripper, full serrated blade, can opener, awl, file, tool lock.
- Brand: Gerber
- Model: Truss Multi-Tool
- Weight: 8.4 oz
6. Leatherman – Charge Plus TTi Titanium Multitool
This beautiful multi-tool from Leatherman combines some key features that make for a higher-priced product. First, there’s the fact that it has been thoughtfully designed to create a tool that can be operated one-handed. Next is the fact that the handles are made out of Titanium, exceeding the strength and durability of most stainless steel multi-tool handles. And while it has plenty of included tools, it also features a replaceable pocket clip and quick-release lanyard ring for added convenience. But perhaps the single most impressive feature of the Charge Plus TTI is the S30V steel knife blade. This type of steel has become common in high-end pocket knives and provides for longer-lasting sharpness, more cutting power and corrosion resistance.
- Replaceable wire cutters
- Locking blade
- Includes a pocket clip and quick-release lanyard ring
- Included tools: variety of pliers, wire cutters, wire crimper and stripper, serrated and plain knives, saw, spring-action scissors, cutting hook, can and bottle opneres, files, screwdrivers and a ruler.
- Brand: Leatherman
- Model: Charge Plus TTI Titanium Multitool
- Main Blade Length: 2.9″
- Closed Length: 4″
- Weight: 8.89 oz
- Warranty: 25 years, limited
7. Victorinox – Swiss Army Swisschamp Knife
They don’t call you a champ for no reason. This Victorinox multi-tool may be the most versatile piece of equipment you could possibly carry with you. That’s why it’s an EDC dream. No matter if you carry this around with you every day or simply use it for those small maintenance and repair jobs around the house, the stunning 33 built-in stainless steel tools will find some use. On top of that, it is relatively lightweight, compact, and of course, carries that usual slick and minimalist aesthetic that Victorinox products have become famous for.
- Stainless steel tools
- Included tools: large blade, can opener, bottle opener, reamer, scissors, wire crimping tool, fish scaler, metric & imperial rulers, nail file, metal saw, magnifying glass, 4 mm chisel, toothpick, pressurized ballpoint pen, key ring, small blade, screwdrivers (2.5mm, 3mm, 6mm), wire stripper, corkscrew, pliers, wire cutter, gut hook, wood saw, nail cleaner, metal file, 1/2 Phillips screwdriver, multipurpose hook, tweezers, and mini screwdriver.
- Brand: Victorinox
- Model: Swiss Army SwissChamp Knife
- Weight: 6.5 oz
- Length closed: 3.6″
8. Lever Gear Toolcard Pro
Upon first sight of this plainly different multi-tool, the EDC aficionado in me had a little party in my pants. So what was it about this amazing credit-card-sized multi-tool that gave rise (pun intended) to my excitement? I mean, just look at it—forty tools in a compact, credit-card sized 420L stainless steel tool. TSA compliant for travel, this bad boy can go anywhere you go. So what can this handcrafted in the USA little bad boy do? Pretty much anything. From opening bottles and boxes, fixing stuff around the house, prying open cans, measuring, drafting, and screwing, the Lever Gear Toolcard Pro is one ingenious device. And unlike many of its flat, credit-card like competitors, the Toolcard Pro has no sharp or jagged edges allowing you to confidently use plenty of torque without cutting your hands or damaging your wallet. I’ll take two, please.
- Made out of 420L Stainless Steel
- No sharp edges
- CNC milled, heat treated and bead blasted for a satin finish
- Corrosion resistant
- Fits in your wallet
- Brand: Lever Gear
- Model: Toolcard Pro
- Weight: 1 oz.
- Thickness: 1.5mm
9. Gerber – Dime Multi-Tool
As you’ve probably gathered by now, even the most popular multi-tool manufacturers tend to produce them in one of two colours. Silver or Black. There’s a reason for that; it’s the appeal to the male demographic. But from time to time, a manufacturer comes along and throws the proverbial caution to the wind. Such is the case with the Gerber Dime Multi-Tool, which comes in five different colour options. This perhaps makes this particular tool the most female-friendly. But regardless of your colour choice, the Dime is a mini multi-tool with an impressive list of features. It’s small enough to fit on your keychain but capable enough to accomplish plenty of tasks.
- Traditional butterfly open tool
- Fits on your keychain
- Available in multiple colours
- Available as a bladeless version
- Included tools: Spring loaded needle nose pliers, tweezers, fine edge blade, scissors, coarse + fine file, wire cutters, bottle opener, retail package opener, medium flat head driver & cross driver and lanyard ring.
- Brand: Gerber
- Model: Dime Multi-Tool
- Overall length: 4.25″
- Closed length: 2.75″
- Weight: 2.2oz
10. Leatherman – Squirt PS4 Keychain Multi-Tool
I know that many people consider the mini version of these fantastic devices to be plenty for their individual needs when it comes to multi-tools. That’s why alongside the Gerber mentioned above; I also wanted to include this keychain-sized multi-tool from Leatherman. With nearly all the functionality of a full-sized folding multi-tool, the Leatherman Squirt comes with nine standard tools. Weighing only 2 ounces, it’s the perfect high-quality tool you can incorporate into your EDC gear.
- Stainless steel construction
- Keyring attachement
- Outside accessible tools
- Included tools: Spring-action needle nose pliers, spring-action regular pliers, wire cutter, 1.6″ 420HC knife, scissors, flat/Phillips, head screwdriver, bottle opener, file.
- Brand: Tarion
- Model: Camera Bag Backpack Large
- Capacity: 18.5 L
11. SOG – Multitool Pliers – PowerAssist
The SOG brand has appeared numerous times on this list, but that’s because they are one of the best in the game when it comes to multi-tools. This PowerAssist tool EDC loadout is for camping, hiking and other outdoor activities. The black-oxide finish makes for a very handsome looking multi-tool and quite frankly adds to the badassery of the whole thing. This powerhouse of a tool is crafted in 420 stainless steel and comes surgical knife-sharp straight out of the box. With a black ballistic nylon sheath and plenty of tools for your everyday carry and adventuring needs, it’s hard to go wrong when choosing this product.
- 2 one-hand open multi-tool pocket knife
- Black oxide coating helps prevent corrosion
- Made of 420 Stainless steel
- Included tools: Pliers, 2 knives, file, wire cutter, sheath, four screwdrivers, v-cutter, can/bottle openers, crimpers, and ruler.
- Brand: SOG
- Model: Multi-tool Pliers – PowerAssist
- Weight: 9.6 oz.
- Closed Length: 4.6″
12. Leatherman – Signal Camping Multitool with Fire Starter
Speaking of being completely tailored for the outdoors, let me introduce you to the Leatherman – Signal Camping Multitool. This is the perfect accessory for any outdoor adventure you plan to have. It features nineteen tools a relatively compact package and includes something I wish I had as a boy scout—a goddamn fire starting tool. Yes, the included Ferro rod will let you quickly start a fire for your wild camping adventure. But that’s not where the fun stops. This excellent multi-tool from Leatherman is an all-around achiever with plenty of functions, including a built-in hammer. The DLC coating the stainless steel components ensure a high level of corrosion and rust resistance. And if that’s not enough, it also includes a safety whistle as well as a diamond sharpener.
- One-handed operation
- 420HC combo blade
- Includes emergency whistle
- Included tools: pliers, wire cutters, knife, saw, hammer, bottle/can openers, diamond coated sharpener, fire starter, and more.
- Brand: Leatherman
- Model: Signal Camping Multitool with Firestarter
13. Leatherman – Tread Bracelet
I wanted to finish this list with what is probably the most innovative multi-tool that has ever been conceived and produced. And yes, it came from a large brand. Despite the notion that a lot of innovation comes from small startups, most of it comes from the corporate behemoths of the world. After all, they are the ones that have the money to dedicate to this little thing called R&D.
Whatever the thought process was to bring this multi-tool to market, it must have been an EDC enthusiast that gave this product the go-ahead. If you’ve ever wanted to simply wear a multi-tool on your wrist, instead of jamming some six-inch tool in your pocket, Leatherman came up with the solution. Each stainless steel bracelet link is a tool. Adjustable to accommodate nearly any size of wrist, the Leatherman Tread is both stylish and functional. But the pure genius of this product is that each link is fully customizable, allowing you to determine which tools you want to carry on your wrist.
- Made of 17-4 stainless-steel
- Over 29 tools available
- Available tools: #1-2 Phillips, 1/4″ box wrench, 3/16″ screwdriver, 6mm hex drive, 10mm box wrench, 5mm hex drive, 1/4″ hex drive, oxygen tank wrench, 3/16″ hex drive, 1/8″ hex drive, 3/16″ box wrench, 3/32″ hex drive, 3/32″ screwdriver, 1/8″ screwdriver, 4mm hex drive, 8 mm box wrench, 3mm hex drive, 5/16″ screwdriver, 3/8″ box wrench, 1/4″ screwdriver, #1 Phillips, cutting hook, carbide glass braker, pick, sim card tool, bottle opener.
- Brand: Leatherman
- Model: Tread Bracelet Multi-Tool
How to Pick The Best Multi-Tool
These days, multi-tools tend to come with a smorgasbord of features. These can include but are not limited to various knife blades, pliers, screwdrivers, scissors, wire cutters, cans, bottle openers, and more. We’ve seen tools with as many as 30 different functions. Of course, there are tradeoffs when choosing just how many features you’ll want to carry around in your multi-tool. Here are the primary factors you should consider when selecting a multi-tool:
Consider the Tools and Features You Want
Before making your choice, consider what scenarios you’ll likely find yourself. Is it designed to go with you when you’re camping or hiking? Perhaps you’ll be using it just around the house for minor repairs. Or is it something that you’ll always have in your pocket when on a construction site? Maybe its something that you bring with you on long bike rides in the country? If all you ever need are a knife and a screwdriver, perhaps you should consider getting a very lightweight or mini multi-tool. There’s of-course also a question of torque and leverage. The larger the tool, the more torque you can likely exert on it in situations where such power is required.
Knowing what tools you’ll need most often should dictate a large percentage of your decision when choosing the right multi-tool.
Size & Weight
Being a multi-tool means that it will be something that is most likely with you in many different situations. That of-course, belies the consideration of weight and size. Are you ok with something more bulky and heavy, or do you need your multi-tool to be more discreet and lightweight. While materials do play some role, the significant tradeoff is most common between the size and weight of a tool and how many features it carries.
Strength, Durability, Build Quality
Without a doubt, you don’t want to skimp on a multi-tool that doesn’t exhibit qualities of strength and durability. A multi-tool used in the field prone to failure can lead to both frustrating and potentially dangerous situations. That is why I always advise buying both a trusted brand with a reputation for excellence in craftsmanship.
There are some minor tool variations to consider:
- If your multi-tool has pliers, are they blunt-nose or needle-nose? Blunt-nose pliers tend to be great for gripping and squeezing, while needle-nose pliers are better for more delicate work where you might need to get into tighter spaces. Are the pliers spring-loaded or not? Spring-loaded pliers tend to be easier to use.
- Wire cutters – What thickness of wire is the included wire cutter rated for?
- Included knives – are they straight-edged or serrated? Are there other knives included for specialized functions?
How it Looks
Being a common EDC item means that many multi-tools need to look as well as they function. Is it a tool you’ll be happy looking at for years to come or something you’ll want to discard into a drawer, thereby limiting its usefulness. You’ll notice that every multi-tool I’ve listed here tends to hew towards simplicity and minimalist design as that is a personal aesthetic that I tend to favour amongst almost all products.
Finally, if you’re going to spend north of $100 or $200 for a genuinely great multi-tool, make sure the manufacturer thinks its as great as you do before buying it. That means looking into what kind of warranty it comes with. These days it’s not uncommon to find lifetime warranties against manufacturer defects on the highest quality tools.