Contents of Page
- Multitool Reviews and Ratings for Survival and EDC
- What is a multi-tool?
- Why do I need a multi-tool?
- Best Multi-Tools of 2017
Multitool Reviews and Ratings for Survival and EDC
Let’s start off with the usual note about our recommendations. If I’m going to take the time to research, write and rank the top multi tools I’m not going to do it like everyone else.
What’s the point of writing an article about the best multi tool if all I’m going to do is regurgitate the marketing spiel from all the products I find and then present them to you in a top 10 list?
Because I’m not like everyone else I’m only going to give you the 4 options I like best…because it’s hard enough to decide without having to root through 10 candidates. Without my narrowing down you’re no closer to where you were before you found my article.
Quick Look: Top 4 Recommended EDC Multi Tools of 2018
**Disclaimer: Our product reviews are based mostly on (1) our expertise and that of the experts with whom we consult and (2) the information provided by the manufacturers. We do test many EDC and survival tools (with our team’s help), but we can’t test them all. As such, please remember the above recommendations are our opinions and are subject to interpretation.
What is a multi-tool?
Commonly mistaken for pocket knives, these foldable multi-tools have evolved from a single use cutting object to an all-in-one resource for everyday tool accessibility.
Multi-tools are designed to give you the functionality of any number of common tools, but often trade off some of the benefits of having the standalone tool available.
For instance, the grip required to perform screwdriving motions on most multi-tools doesn’t allow for maximum torque and usually sacrifices comfort as well. Accessing hard-to-reach screws or bolts can also be troublesome.
Why do I need a multi-tool?
For me, personally, owning a multi-tool satisfies three basic motivations:
1. For Utility
It’s pretty rare in every day situations to have the right single-use tool readily available at a moments notice. Carrying a multi-tool satisfies and solves most common scenarios that require something to cut, something to grip or something to torque.
2. To Save Time
By carrying a multi-tool I’m giving myself more options to deal with life’s common annoyances without distracting myself from the task at hand. Rummaging through a junk drawer, tacklebox or tool chest is all well and good, but if I’ve got my multi-tool on my hip I’m easily saving myself hours out of my life every year by removing the search for the right tool in non-essential circumstances.
3. To Help Others
We all want to belong and a lot of time having a multi-tool at the ready allows us to serve others in fulfilling their needs. Everyone has been in a situation where a group is standing idly by when a request for a knife, or scissors or pliers gets thrown out. Usually everyone goes scrambling to be the person who saved the day and got to them first. Carrying a multi-tool not only enables you to help others first, but also shows your value because you came prepared.
Best Multi-Tools of 2017
1. Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier – Best EDC Multi-Tool
Often when you think of multi-tools you picture a solid, singular base that unfolds into pliers and an assortment of other tools. The problem with those items is that the pliers are flimsy and almost impossible to operate with any effectiveness.
For those outdoorsmen who don’t mind a little bulk on their hip the Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier actually emphasizes the pliers as the main tool and tucks the rest of the tools into two separate handles that fold together.
Overall this product features 12 distinct features that don’t go overboard like similar products. Gerber has introduced only the most essential functions to this multi-tool including:
- Straight Blade Knife
- Serrated Blade Knife
- Phillips-Head Screwdriver
- Flathead Screwdriver (Medium & Large)
- Bottle Opener
- Can Opener
- Needle-Nose Pliers
- Wire Cutters
- Lanyard Ring
In addition, they include a carrying case that easily attaches to your belt.
2. Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool – Best Backpacking Multi-Tool
The Leatherman Wave is probably the most popular of the bunch. With a stronghold on the multi-tool market this brand has shown consistently that their products are not only affordable, but well-made and durable.
I like this particular model for situations where you’re hiking or backpacking long distances and are away from camp. It’s light enough not to add any substantial weight to your pack, but has enough features to handle pretty much any scenario you’d run into on a trail.
Of course if you’re going off trail then it’s probably smart to also carry a fixed blade knife for instances where the blade on your multi-tool aren’t enough.
This model features 17 total functions:
- Needlenose Pliers
- Regular Pliers
- Hard-wire Cutters
- Wire Cutters
- Wire Stripper
- 420HC Knife
- 420 HC Serrated Knife
- Spring-action Scissors
- Ruler (8 in | 19 cm)
- Can Opener
- Bottle Opener
- Wood/Metal File
- Diamond-coated File
- Large Bit Driver
- Small Bit Driver
- Medium Screwdriver
3. Swiss Army Classic Pocket Knife – Best Keychain Multi-Tool
As you’re probably well aware Swiss Army is a brand known the world over for its quality craftsmanship and and unique tools. When you think of pocket knives you think of Swiss Army.
The classic version is compact in size. Moreso than the other models listed here. If you’re looking for something low profile without the need for excessive tools this might hit the sweet spot for you.
You’ll notice it doesn’t have a plier functionality so keep that in mind if you’re looking for that tool capability.
There’s a good contingent of multi-tool owners who like the nail grooming aspect of this tool for cutting cuticles.
The fact that it easily attaches to your keys makes it more accessible than most multi-tools that require constant attention either by holstering or clipping to your clothes.
It has 7 functions including:
- Knife with 1.25″ Blade
- Nail File
- Key Ring
4. SOG PowerAssist – Best Tactical Multi-Tool
Aside from just looking like the coolest thing you’ve ever seen the SOG PowerAssist Multi-Tool delivers the right set for the right price.
This all black, tactical style utility knife comes with 2 blades plus additional features for daily use including all important bottle opening capabilities for the beer drinkers out there.
Carriers of this multi-tool often brag that they’re complimented on the look of their knife constantly. In addition, they report not having any problems the majority of the time.
When there are complaints they’re usually in comparison to other tools. Some common ones you’ll see is that some of the functions should be switched out and are hard to access. There is a folding cover to get gain access to the tools in the plier handles that people find annoying, but demonstrated in the video below make good sense and are well thought-out.
- Full-Serrated blade
- Three-sided file
- Blasting cap crimper
- Bolt grip channel
- Bottle opener
- Can opener
- Hard wire cutter
- Large flat screwdriver
- Medium flat screwdriver
- Needle nose pliers
- Philips screwdriver
- Small flat screwdriver
- Straight edge blade
- Wire crimper
- Nylon sheath
5. Wallet Ninja – Best Credit Card Sized Multi-Tool
For simply being a piece of metal with holes cut out of it the Wallet Ninja sure does pack a punch. Leave this product in your wallet and you’ll be surprised how often it comes in handy.
If you’re a weekend outdoorsman, but have to abide by professional workplace rules during the week then traditional multitools with knives on them might pose a problem for more security conscious office buildings.
The Wallet Ninja still allows you to save the day with a bottle opener or tighten that screw on your chair without having to bother someone.
That’s a wrap
As the saying goes in fitness circles “The best protein powder is the one you’ll actually drink.”
The same can be said for multitools. If it’s too bulky to have on you most of the time then what good is it?
If you’re prone to leaving your larger multitools where you can’t access them regularly or forget they exist then consider finding a smaller version to keep on your hip.
Also pay close attention to the tools you find yourself needing most often (particularly from your junk drawer) and make sure the multitool you select contains those features.