The Best Multi-tools

 Multi-tools can help you repair, replace, and tweak almost anything in your home, workshop, or office. From small home repair projects to car repair, multi-tools can replace some of the tools you currently have in your toolbox.

 Perfect for outdoor use, multi-tools provide a fast, easy way to make repairs to boats, hunting, fishing, and hiking equipment. Take a multi-tool on your next camping trip, vacation, or survivalist adventure to make quick fixes or to have just in case of emergencies.

Portable, this handy tool prevents you from having to lug around a huge box of tools when you’re out enjoying your favorite hobbies. With so many uses, multi-tools have become sought-after tools for many people.

But with various Leatherman, Gerber, and other models to choose from, how do you select the best multi-tool for your lifestyle? 

Whether you want to carry a multi-tool around for ‘just in case’ situations or you want a go-to tool for a particular hobby, there is a multi-tool out there for you.

The 5 Best Multi-tools

Here are our picks for the five best multi-tools:

LEATHERMAN Skeletool CX – Best for most people

 This full-size stainless steel multi-tool features bit driver storage right in the handles. Use this basic Leatherman Skeletool multi-tool for everyday projects such as tightening loose screws to gripping and squeezing metal and other materials when making repairs or adjustments. 

Made from durable stainless steel, this lightweight, full-size Leatherman Skeletool multi-tool requires only one hand to open for convenience and ease of use.  

The locking blade allows you to safely use the Skeletool knife to cut through a wide variety of materials such as cardboard, thin wood strips, wire, paper, rope, fishing line, and more.

Attach this Leatherman tool to your pocket or belt using the handy pocket clip. You can also store this multi-tool in your glove compartment, toolbox, utility drawer, backpack, or on your boat.

Made in Portland, Oregon, the Leatherman Skeletool CX comes with a 25-year warranty. 

The Leatherman Skeletool CX features a number of tools such as:

  • Bluntnose pliers – gripping and squeezing
  • Needlenose pliers – fits into tight spaces for pulling and ripping
  • Regular wire cutter – cuts thin electrical and metal wires
  • Hard wire cutters – cuts thick plastic and metal wires
  • Knife – 154CM steel straight blade
  • Bottle opener/Carabiner
  • Large bit driver

The Leatherman Skeletool has one minor flaw – when using the pliers, the knife opens outward a little and can cut your finger if you’re not careful. 

 If you need an everyday tool that includes just the basics rather than all the extra components found on other multi-tools such as the Victorinox Swisstool Spirit X, consider this Leatherman multi-tool.

Unit dimensions: 2 inches long by 5.1 inches wide by 0.5 inches high

Unit weight: 0.36 pounds

LEATHERMAN Free P2 – Best full size

A stainless steel full-size tool, the Leatherman Free P2 features  magnetic opening and closing for fast access. The updated  one-handed design allows you to open and close with your thumb – perfect for working in tight spaces or when your other hand needs to hold an object in place while you work.

 Complete with two plier types, the Leatherman free p2 multi-tool allows you to squeeze, turn, press, hold, and clamp down on both small and large objects. Use the wire cutter and electrical crimper to make clean cuts when rewiring electrical components. Use the wire cutter to cut through metal and plastic wiring as well.

With this full-sized Leatherman tool, you will never have to postpone those small home improvement projects again. Considered one of the best tools on the market, the Leatherman free p2 may become your best choice for a go-to home repair and hobby tool. 

Made in Portland, Oregon, the Leatherman Free P2 comes with a 25-year warranty.

The Free P2 features 19 tools such as:

  • Needlenose pliers – grips smaller objects, fits into small spaces
  • Bluntnose pliers – holding, squeezing, and gripping large objects
  • Replaceable wire cutter – replace with wire cutter turns dull
  • Hard wire cutters – for cutting thick plastic wires
  • Wirestripper – strips back plastic sheathing on wires
  • Electrical crimper
  • 420HC combo knife (a straight blade, partially serrated)
  • Spring-action scissors
  • Can opener
  • Carabiner bottle opener
  • Box opener
  • Pry tool
  • Wood/Metal file – smooth out rough edges on wood and metal
  • Ruler
  • Awl – punch holes in leather and other materials
  • Philips head screwdriver
  • Medium, small, and extra small screwdrivers

Unit dimensions: 5.38 inches long by 7 inches wide by 1.25 inches high

Unit weight: 0.75 pounds

LEATHERMAN, FREE P2 Multitool with Magnetic Locking, One Size Hand Accessible Tools, Made in the USA, with Premium Nylon Sheath
  • MAXIMUM FUNCTIONALITY: Introducing the FREE P-Series, the best multipurpose plier experience to date; A brand-new platform, magnetic closing and outside-accessible tools
  • ENHANCED ERGONOMICS: Feels at home in the palm of your hand; Integrated FREE technology means all 19 tools are easily accessed with one hand, open smoothly and click into place with a confident snap
  • OUR GUARANTEE: We’re proud to stand behind every product that leaves our factory in Portland, Oregon; That’s why we offer our 25-year warranty, so you can be confident your Leatherman lasts a lifetime
  • ONE-HAND ACCESS: Every implement is on the outside of the tool; Quickly open and close every tool with a single hand
  • 19 TOOLS IN 1: Includes all the essentials, from replaceable wire cutters to spring-action scissors to a variety of screwdrivers; Ideal for EDC, home, work and everything else

Gerber Dime – Best mini multi-tool

 Small enough to fit on your keychain, the Gerber Dime features a butterfly design for easy opening. With 12 tools to choose from, the stainless steel Gerber Dime is perfect for  everyday carry. The exposed bottle opener allows you to open bottles without having to open the entire tool.

The Gerber Dime also features a fine edge blade that allows for scoring and cutting plastic with ease. The spring-loaded pliers allow for easy opening and closing. If you don’t want a multi-tool with a blade, consider purchasing the Gerber Dime bladeless multi-tool.

Made of strong stainless steel construction, this multi-tool allows you to easily complete a wide variety of home or on-the-job repair projects. More than just a pocket knife, this tool allows you to tighten loose screws, open boxes, grip small objects using tweezers, and file down rough wood or metal edges. 

Never end up in a situation again where you need to quickly repair or tighten something and you don’t have the tool to do the job. Light-weight and easy-to-carry, this multi-tool provides all you need to make small on-the-spot repairs. 

Compared to swiss army knives and other hand tools, the Gerber Dime provides many of the same tools in a much smaller package.

The Gerber Dime includes a number of tools such as:

  • Small nose pliers – perfect for getting into small spaces
  • Knife with a straight blade – cuts through rope, cardboard, some metals
  • Wirecutter – cuts metal, electrical, and plastic wiring
  • Scissors
  • Box opener – perfect for opening packages
  • Tweezers – used to grip, pull, or squeeze small objects
  • File – smooths out rough edges
  • Medium flathead screwdriver
  • Crosshead hex bit screwdriver

Unit dimensions: 2.75 inches long by 4 inches wide by 0.6 inches high

Unit weight: 2.2 ounces

Gerber Gear 30-000469N 12-in-1 Dime Multitool Mini, Needle Nose Pliers Pocket Knife Keychain, Bottle Opener, EDC Gear, Black
  • 12-IN-1 MULTI-TOOL: Features spring-loaded needle nose pliers, wire cutters, tweezers, bottle opener, retail package opener, plain edge blade folding knife, scissors, small and medium flat head driver, fine and coarse file, and lanyard ringr
  • SURVIVAL GEAR AND EQUIPMENT: Made from stainless steel that will stand the test of time, a lightweight multi-tool knife that can conveniently travel with you on a lanyard ring
  • SLIM DESIGN: Easily accessible and fits compactly in a pocket or on a keychain; Butterfly opening makes it easy to pull out and use
  • CAMPING ACCESSORIES: Great for any hunter, tradesman, and the everyday carry consumer; Perfect addition to camping essentials, backpacking gear, your toolbox, work wear, and fishing and hiking gear
  • CONVENIENT SIZE: 2.75" closed length and 4.25" overall length; 2.2 oz weight; Backed by the Gerber Guarantee, a limited lifetime warranty

Gerber Gear Truss – Best on a budget

The Gerber Gear Truss tool features a handle constructed from a single piece of stainless steel for a  slim design and easier carrying. This full-sized tool includes a spring-loaded small nose and standard pliers that open and close fast. The spring-loaded feature also helps reduce hand fatigue during prolonged use.

This multi-tool also features a wire cutter and stripper for cutting and stripping electrical and other wiring types. You can also use the knife blades and saw to cut through heavy rope and metal wiring. Use the awl to punch holes in leather and other heavy materials.

Use the attached file to even out rough edges on wood or metal.

 Mount this high-quality heavy-duty tool horizontally or vertically on your belt. Molle-compatible, this tool fits nicely on a Molle vest.

Use the included nylon sheath to protect your multi-tool during everyday carry or when storing it.

Similar to a Swiss Army knife, this multi-tool has many components suitable for everyday use. 

The Gerber Gear Truss features 17 tools that include:

  • Small nose pliers – gripping and squeezing small items
  • Standard pliers – holding, gripping, and squeezing large items
  • Serrated knife blade – cuts through heavy, textured materials
  • Straight knife blade – cuts rope and other materials
  • Scissors
  • Wirecutter – cuts through plastic, metal, and electrical wiring
  • Saw – cuts through a variety of materials
  • Cross bit driver
  • Wire stripper – helps remove the plastic sheathing found on the wiring
  • Small, medium, and large flathead drivers
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Awl – punch holes through heavy materials including leather
  • Ruler
  • File

Additional features include:

  • Tool lock
  • Lanyard hole

Unit dimensions: 1.75 inches long by 0.5 inches wide by 4.35 inches high

Unit weight: 0.5 pounds

Gerber Gear Truss 17-in-1 Needle Nose Pliers Multi-tool with Sheath - Multi-Plier, Pocket Knife, Serrated Blade, Screwdriver, Bottle Opener - EDC Gear and Equipment - Gray
  • 17-IN-1 MULTI-TOOL: Features spring-loaded needle nose pliers, standard pliers, wire cutters, saw, cross driver, wire stripper, full serrated blade, scissor, small, medium, and large flathead driver, can opener, bottle opener, AWL, ruler, file, full plain edge blade, tool lock, and lanyard hole
  • SURVIVAL GEAR AND EQUIPMENT: Made from stainless steel that will stand the test of time and conveniently travel with you with a tool lock and lanyard hole
  • SLIM DESIGN: Easily accessible and fits compactly in a pocket or attached with a lanyard; Butterfly opening and locking feature protects when not in use
  • CAMPING ACCESSORIES: Great for any hunter, tradesman, and the everyday carry consumer; Perfect addition to camping essentials, toolbox, work wear, and fishing and hiking gear
  • CONVENIENT SIZE: ‎4.35" closed length and 6.5" open length; 8.4 oz weight; Backed by the Gerber Guarantee, a limited lifetime warranty

LEATHERMAN Wingman – Entry-level pick

This stainless steel full-sized multi-tool features a one-handed opening combo knife blade for easy access. The blade locks securely in place to prevent injury.

 The spring-loaded pliers, wire cutters, wire strippers, and scissors allow for quick opening and closing. Use the pliers to grip or squeeze objects tightly. The wire cutters and wire strippers, components of the pliers, allow you to safely cut and strip electrical and other types of wiring. The scissors allow you to quickly cut paper and other thin materials.

The removable pocket clip allows for a variety of carrying options. Place this everyday Leatherman multi-tool in your backpack, or emergency car kit, or use the clip to attach to your belt buckle or pocket. With this easy-to-use Leatherman multi-tool, you can quickly complete small home or on-the-job tasks. 

Use this Leatherman tool when camping, hunting, fishing, or boating to make quick fixes and repairs. The included screwdrivers allow you to build quality items or make repairs to toys, furniture, equipment, small appliances, and other items.

Made in Portland, Oregon, the Leatherman Wingman comes with a 25-year warranty. 

Comparable to Victorinox Swisstool Spirit X, Leatherman tools feature multiple tools that can help you get the job done.

The stainless steel Leatherman Wingman features a number of tools including:

  • Small nose pliers – holds items in place, suitable for working in small spaces
  • Regular pliers – grips, holds, and squeezes larger items
  • Knife (a straight blade, partially serrated)
  • Wire cutters – cut through electrical, plastic, metal wiring
  • Wirestripper – removes the protective sheath on wiring
  • Scissors – cuts paper and other materials
  • Bottle opener
  • Can opener
  • Package opener
  • File – smooths edges on wood, metal
  • Ruler
  • Small screwdriver
  • Medium screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver

Unit dimensions: 3.8 inches long by 1 inch wide by 2 inches high

Unit weight: 0.43 pounds

LEATHERMAN, Wingman Multitool with Spring-Action Pliers and Scissors, Stainless Steel with Nylon Sheath
  • ONE OF OUR BEST: A classic, designed and assembled with premium materials; The Wingman is your go-to tool for projects around the house, on the job or at the campsite
  • 14 TOOLS IN 1: Equipped with 14 tools to handle almost anything: knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, a wire stripper, scissors, a package opener, bottle and can openers, a file and a ruler
  • OUR GUARANTEE: We’re proud to stand behind every product that leaves our factory in Portland, Oregon; That’s why we offer our 25-year warranty, so you can be confident your Leatherman lasts a lifetime
  • ONE-HAND OPENING: Open all the tools with one hand, even the ones that aren't accessible from the outside; And with a locking blade, you can cut with confidence
  • ALWAYS ON HAND: With its compact size, lightweight design and removable pocket clip, your Wingman is always within reach and ready to work

What to look for in a multi-tool

When looking for a multi-tool, you should first consider your needs. Some multi-tools cater to specific hobbies like hunting, fishing, and camping, while others provide a wide range of tools for general use.

The most common items found on a multi-tool include:

  • Knife – Most multi-tools feature a straight blade or a serrated blade. Straight blades can cut through almost anything, while serrated blades can easily cut rope, cloth, and other textured items. Some multi-tools include two separate blades which can make the multi-tool seem bulky. Other models feature one blade with a partly serrated edge.
    • If the knife component isn’t that important, consider purchasing a multi-tool without a blade – these are also the options that are more likely to be TSA compliant as well.
  • Pliers – Blunt nose pliers and needle-nose pliers allow you to securely grab onto screws, wires, metal, and other materials with ease. Bluntnose pliers provide a strong grip, while needle-nose pliers allow you to get into small spaces. 
    • Another thing to consider is whether the pliers are spring-loaded or not. Spring-loaded pliers allow you to quickly open and close them, while non-spring-loaded pliers require you to manually open and close them.
  • Scissors – Some multi-tools include scissors, and some do not. Scissors help you cut through materials including paper, wire, rope, and cardboard, but so can a good knife. Scissors also add to the bulkiness of the tool, so you need to decide if this is something you really need or not.
  • Secondary tools – These items vary from model to model. Depending on your needs, you should consider these tools when purchasing a multi-tool. Secondary tools typically include a bottle opener, wire cutter (usually a function of the pliers), flat and Philips head screwdrivers, file, ruler, awl, tweezers, and a package opener.
 Some secondary tools just aren’t compatible with your needs. Keep in mind that you probably won’t use all the tools that come with your multi-tool. But just because you don’t need a specific item on your multi-tool now doesn’t mean you won’t need it later on.

When it comes to secondary tools, it’s best to view these components as extras. Don’t overlook an otherwise perfect multi-tool because some of the secondary tools seem useless or pointless at the moment.

  • Design Choose a multi-tool that fits comfortably in your hand. For example, padded grips make holding and adjusting the tool much easier. Some multi-tools allow you to use specific components without having to open up the entire multi-tool – this makes it easier to access tools like the knife blade when you really need it.
    • Look for a multi-tool that’s easy to use. You should be able to quickly open up the tool and use the components without much trouble. 
    • While owning a tool that can help you complete many home improvement or on-the-job tasks may seem like a dream come true, if the tool isn’t easy to use, then it won’t make getting these improvements done any easier. Multi-tools can help out with many small projects, but this tool won’t replace the bigger tools in your toolbox.
  • Size – From small to regular sized, multi-tools are available in different sizes. You can attach a small multi-tool to your keychain, belt buckle, or pocket. You can store a larger tool in your toolbox, glove compartment, or in your backpack when traveling. Select a size that best suits how you want to carry and store it. 
    • Related to size, the more tools included on the multi-tool, the bigger and bulkier the tool will be. If carrying a multi-tool around in your backpack, a big, bulky tool might not pose a problem. If you carry a multi-tool in your pocket or on your belt loop, a lightweight version may prove more comfortable.
  • Cost – Depending on your needs, you can spend a lot or a little for the right multi-tool. Like anything else you purchase, determine your budget, and then find a tool that suits your needs (and your budget). Consider a quality multi-tool with many components as an investment rather than just a fun new tool to have around the house.

Wrapping up

A multi-tool allows you to make on-the-go repairs when necessary. Portable, easy-to-use, and just plain cool, multi-tools help you out when you need them most. 

The best multi-tools include most of the necessary tools you need to further your hobbies, complete random projects around the house, or make minor car repairs. Multi-tools feature many secondary tools that may or may not sway your opinion when comparing various models.

 If a particular multi-tool has all or most of what you need to fix, repair, or replace something, then the secondary tools shouldn’t factor into your decision that much. Because even though you might not think you need a bottle or can opener right now, someday you may find yourself on a camping trip and in need of a bottle or can opener for that tasty beverage you want to drink, your new multi-tool just might save the day


About the Author

Trey is a lifelong hunter and avid camper. He lives outside Denver, CO with his wife Kaci and their lab mix Ziggy. They spend as much time as possible outdoors - hunting, fishing, and camping.

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