No man should be without a multi tool and knife in the woods while camping. This versatile, small all-in-one hand tool can fillet a salmon, open your chili, saw and whittle a stake for your tent — possibly save your life in the outdoors. But a good multitool is essential for every day carry and tasks, too — especially when you need a screwdriver or pliers but don’t have hand tools available.
It’s prudent to get a quality unit, which is why I have dedicated this site to the multi tool reviews on the market in 2014. I compare all the best multi tool brands, including Leatherman, Grisly, and other lesser known (i.e., budget or cheap knock-off) all-in-one multitools.
I did chart out product details and offer my thoughts on the top multitools, with reviews. A buyers guide is also included below the chart, along with reviews to your right of this site.
|Leatherman New Wave||8.5||Stainless Steel||4" Full Size||17||$$||4.5|
|Leatherman Skeletool CX||5||Carbon fiber||4" pocket size||7||$$||4.4|
|Leatherman MUT Black Oxide||11.2||Stainless steel black oxide||5" heavy duty||16||$$$$||4.7|
|SOG PowerAssist||9.6||Stainless steel||4.60" full size||16||$$$||4.2|
|Leatherman Surge||12.5||Stainless steel||4.5" heavy duty||21||$$$||4.5|
|Leatherman Charge TTi||8.2||Titanium||4" full size||19||$$$$||4.6|
|Gerber Black Diesel||8.6||stainless steel non reflective black||4.92" full size||12||$$||4.4|
|Victorinox SwissTool Spirit||5.75||Stainless steel||4.13" full size||27||$$$$||4.8|
|Leatherman Micra||1.8||stainless steel||2.5" keychain||10||$||4.6|
|Leatherman Sidekick||7||stainless steel||3.8" full size||14||$||4.6|
|Leatherman Wingman||7||stainless steel||3.8" full size||14||$||4.6|
|Leatherman Squirt||7||Stainless steel||3.8" full size||14||$||4.6|
|Victorinox SwissTool||10||stainless steel||4.5" extra large||24||$$$||4.6|
|Gerber Suspension Butterfly||9.6||stainless steel||4" full size||12||$||4.2|
Guide to using the interactive chart
- Pictures – (click for more photos)
- Brand and model – (click for additional details and reviews)
- Weight – How heavy is it?
- Material – Stainless steel or titanium
- Size – multi tool dimensions in inches when it is closed.
- Capacity – Number of tools available.
- Price – Discounted price on Amazon.com
- Promotions, availability, and demand tend to change the price, but generally speaking: $ = under $30, $$ = $30 to $60, $$$ = $60 to $90, $$$$ = above $90+
- Rating – Average user rating on Amazon.com.
Tips for buying the best multi tool for your needs
A good multitool will have standard features such as a screwdriver, knife, and pliers. But many will have specific product features for certain people.
Survivalists will want different features, such as a saw. It’s important to determine your requirements before you purchase. I recommend making a list of functions you expect from your unit and compare and contrast those specifically for your occupation.
Heavy and big
Size and shape are important features to consider when buying a multi tool because they vary from folding knives to the size of a credit card.
Weight is another factor to take into consideration. If you are a bicyclist, you’ll want something as light as possible. But you should determine how heavy a metal companion you are willing to bare. Remember, these are portable tools and will last for years.
Nuts and bolts of design
Steel is a common metal for the body of a multitool because it’s inexpensive and lasts. However, it’s heavy. Titanium multitools are lighter and never rust.
When choosing the best multitool for your purpose, you should consider the metal out of which it’s constructed. Most handles are made from stainless steel, which never rusts.
Knife blades may be made from stainless steel, too. The type of metal alloy used in the knife blade is important because if alters the durability and hardness of the blade.
What tools does a multitool do?
An EDC multitool will feature common hand tools, such as pliers, standard and Phillips head screwdrivers, scissors, file, bottle opener, and knife.
When buying an EDC multi tool, you want to find one that’s easy to use. This means the operation of opening and closing the unit is essential; it should be smooth, with no binding — not too tight, not too loose — just right. The last thing you want is a faulty unit while on the job. You may want to consider if the unit can be used with one hand.
You should also consider the the multitool’s secured locking mechanism. This is important when you are using your metal unit and storing it.
An EDC multitool with the sharpest knife is useless if it does not have a secure lock. The lock is needed to keep the blade fixed in position — whether for use or for storage. Nobody wants a knife poking through their jeans pocket or out of their multitool sheath.
The best multitool brands have long warranties — in excess of 20 years. A two decade warranty illustrates that the manufacture is confident in their hardware. And you should be, too.
Crafted from titanium, the Leatherman Charge TTi is of high quality, resistant to rust, and lightweight.
The Charge’s knife blade is S30V stainless steel, which is durable and long lasting. It won’t dull after cutting through rope or filleting a fish.
Aside from a good knife on a EDC multitool, a pair of pliers are another essential item for every day tasks and in survival situations
The pliers perform, too. They have a good shape, with their needle nose; they also have strong internal teeth that will grip all but the most stripped bolt.
One of the benefits I want to draw attention in this review of the Leatherman Charge TTi is how the tools can be accessed with one hand.
I’ve had some EDC units that required two hands to open the pliers. That’s not the case here. I also like how the internal tools lock with a push button release mechanism. I don’t like pinched fingers.
The scissors are sharp but they are tiny and that’s my biggest complaint. There’s no way you’ll be able to cut through a thick material with them. But, the knife should make up for them.
Leatherman’s been around for a long time, producing top rated multitools since 1983. I don’t think they are going anywhere soon, and that’s why they offer a 25 year warranty guarantee on their multi-tools.
I like Leatherman a lot, which is why I’m reviewing the Skeletool CX.
This is a beautifully designed versatile device. All the parts are smooth and the locking system is well designed.
My big impression of the Skeletool CX
focuses on it’s weight and size dimensions. I like how light it is, especially for traveling.
Whether you clip this multitool to your pants or belt, you’ll find that its lightness won’t give you a plumber’s crack.
It’s sturdy and doesn’t damage easily. (I like the test where I get to repeatedly drop things off the second story of my building in the name of science
One thing I will mention is that the driver never came out after the 25 foot drops, which means the locking system is impressive.
This is a pocket size multitool, which has a 154CM stainless super steel blade, which is tough. Because this metal is good against corrosion, you’ll have no issues with the Leatherman Skeletool CX.
Also, it’s easy to open with one hand and has a small cutout for your finger. I like it; it makes it comfortable to use.
From the makers of the Swiss Army Knife, the Victorinox SwissTool Spirit is a work of art.This 4.13 inch has 27 different tools are shoehorned into its stainless steel body.
I like this unit because it is one of the best, versatile EDC multi tools on the market. It has hybrid components to it, making it good for various situation.
Example: The knife blade on this every day carry multitool is serrate and straight, with about 75 percent of the blade’s length being serrated.
The serrations make it easy to cut tougher materials. But don’t discount the straight portion.
Example: The pliers are a cross between needle nose and blunt. They are neither fish nor foul.
The grip, however, is awesome on the SwissTool Spirit; the handles are curved at bit and not straight. The curve makes them comfortable and easier to use the pliers, in my opinion.
The scissors are above average, though. They are spring loaded and can cut through jeans easily.
With its cool design and being from the makers of the Swiss Army Knife, the SwissTool Spirit is a quality, functional unit.
I carry my multitool on my belt and really don’t like when the device is shifting inside the case or pouch.
I don’t have that problem with the SOG PowerAssist. That case holds the unit snug. But that’s not the only reason I like the PowerAssist.
I like the Power Assisted Technology, which boosts the grip strength of the pliers, and the wire cutters. To me, this is a unit that electricians dream of: Being able to cut coins with wire cutters and being able to grip the snot out of something with these pliers.
Unlike the SOG PowerAssist, the PowerAssist doesn’t try to be a hybrid. It has two knife blades: One serrated and one straight. Both are sharp and will hold their edge.
The black oxide finish looks great and can handle tough survivor situations. Did you know that SOG designs are based on what the military uses?
I’m often on the fence when it comes to buying something unless I have done tons of research, so I can empathize with you.
One place I like to look for the best multi tool reviews is on Amazon.
You might also consider reading additional articles to find the best multi tool in 2014 for you.