Best Multitools: Carry Pliers, Scissors and More Everywhere You Go
Get access to a variety of tools in the palm of your hands with these multitools
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PUBLISHED ON November 21, 2019
A multitool is a handy kit for anyone who doesn't like to sort through their toolbox for the right tool to handle daily tasks. It can be used by every auto mechanic, handyman, electrician, HVAC technician, DIY warrior, and camper. Our buying guide will help you find the best multitool on the market that will make your life easier.
- Best OverallLEATHERMAN Rebar MultitoolSummarySummary
A safe multitool that’s equipped with 17 tools that can handle heavy-duty tasks around the home or campsite.ProsPros
Durable stainless steel construction. All tools lock in place when fully opened. Compact, slender, and streamlined design. Has both straight and serrated knives. Allows for one-handed operation. Replaceable wire cutters included.ConsCons
The handles may pinch your hand. The handle may lock and make it difficult to close in a tool.
- Best ValueGerber Dime MultitoolSummarySummary
A pocket-friendly multitool equipped with 10 tools and a keychain for easy accessibility.ProsPros
Compact and lightweight. It has a sharp knife and a convenient bottle opener. The tools automatically lock in place when open to prevent cuts. The opener stays accessible even when the unit is closed.ConsCons
Small pliers. The scissors aren’t very sharp. It’s difficult to get some of the tools out of the handle.
- Honorable MentionVictorinox Swiss Army MultitoolSummarySummary
A durable, stainless steel multitool with 27 tools that can be used individually outside of the handle.ProsPros
Includes tools that help with light mechanical work and camping. Lightweight and ergonomic design. The tools lock in place when in use. Safe and highly functional. It can fit in your back pocket. It comes with a leather pouch.ConsCons
Expensive. May come with a few tools missing. The leather pouch doesn’t snap to close.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Multitools
- Convenience. Typically you can carry a multitool in your pocket, on a belt loop, or in a purse. There’s no reason to have separate tools to locate (and then store) when you need to perform a task.
- Multi-use. With a multitool, you can repair a loose armrest, a lamp, or a caster in your work space or in your co-workers’ spaces. You can also cut cardboard or paper and open boxes, bottles, and cans. If you’re working outdoors, you can cut wire or saw wood.
- Great for the outdoors. When camping, hunting, or hiking, your multitool comes in handy. Use it to cut rope, filet fish, and prepare food for cooking. You can also repair your truck, car, camper, or ATV with it.
Types of Multitools
A full-size multitool has quality tools worthy of your toolbox. You can use the multitool to perform almost as many tasks as the tools in your toolbox. Carry this multitool in a leather or nylon holster that usually comes with it. Attach the holster and multitool to your belt for instant, easy access.
This is a pared-down version of the full-size multitool. What remains are essential, specialized tools, and usually smaller versions of them. The tool is typically small enough so you can carry it attached to a keychain or in your pocket unnoticed. Yet you can still perform thousands of different tasks with it.
These miniature multitools have minimal functions such as a bottle opener, knife, and flathead screwdriver. They are not designed to actually replace anything you carry, but function instead as modified keychains. The tool is definitely handy for various jobs and it is small enough to be almost invisible, so you can carry tools and no one will notice.
The idea for the company started in 1975 on founder Tim Leatherman’s trip to Europe. He needed basic tools to fix his car and the plumbing in his budget hotel room but didn’t have them. The multitool idea took root then and in 1983, after years of rejection by major companies, he started Leatherman and engineered and produced his first multitool model, the PST. Leatherman multitools are still manufactured in Portland, Oregon, where the company started. Popular models include the Super Tool 300 and the Free P4.
The Gerber company was founded in 1939. It is an American brand that focuses on products for tradesmen, soldiers, and hunters. Gerber is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, where the company engineers and still produces many of its products. Although based in the USA, it sells products worldwide. Check out its Suspension Multi-Plier and the Truss Multitool.
The story of SOG Knives begins in the jungles of Vietnam where a U.S. Army special ops unit carried a uniquely-designed knife on covert missions. This knife inspired company founder Spencer Frazer to engineer and produce the commemorative SOG Bowie knife starting in 1986. With offices in Lynwood, Washington, the company now produces a full spectrum of knives and tools, including the Multitool Pliers PowerPlay and the PowerAssist Multitool.
- Under $30. In this range, you’ll find multitools made in China and other areas outside of the U.S. that are of fair quality. These light-duty tools usually have pliers, flat-head screwdriver, scissors, bottle opener, and a few other standard tools. They do not normally lock in place.
- $30-$75. The tools in this price range are sturdy yet economically priced. Many are engineered and manufactured in the United States. In addition to the standard screwdrivers and pliers, look for rulers, wire cutters, and other helpful tools.
- Over $75. These upper-crust multitools are manufactured from premium stainless steel and appeal to the quality-conscious professional and homeowner alike. They often feature one-handed accessibility, magnetic locking, numerous tools, and a top-grade sheath.
Number and Type of Tools
Some multitools have as few as eight implements; others have as many as 21. More tools equals more variety, of course, but the type of tools are also a consideration. Do you want simple tools like pliers, a screwdriver, and a knife, or do you need others like wire cutters, a ruler, and a saw blade? Some multitools even have personal grooming implements such as tweezers and nail files.
Materials and Construction
Obviously you want a tool that is made of a durable, long-lasting material like high-carbon steel so it gives you years of dependable use. Other materials to take into consideration are those from which the handle is made (plastic, bone) and even the storage sheath (nylon, leather).
How does the multitool operate? Does it have a “butterfly” or a rail system design? Can you operate it with one hand or does it require two? These considerations come into play depending on whether you are a professional, like an electrician, who needs a multitool with definite capabilities, or if you are a homeowner who simply likes to have tools at the ready when performing tasks around the house.
- Size and Weight. The size and weight of the multitool when it is folded is important so you can decide if you feel comfortable carrying it in your pocket or purse. How the tool feels in your hand when you use it is also largely dependent on size and weight.
- Locking Capability. If the tool has a locking capability, it locks in place so it does not move or pivot during use. This gives you added stability and power, and allows you to get the job done sooner and more efficiently.
- Manufacturer and Warranty. Choose a reputable manufacturer that backs up the purchase of your multitool with a solid warranty. Many top-brand companies feature either a 25-year or lifetime limited warranty. Research both the company and the warranty specifications.
Best Multitool Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Best Overall: Leatherman Rebar Multitool
We recommend this multitool as the best overall because it handles the toughest jobs and yet it is compact, durable, and safe to use. The tool is modeled after the original Leatherman multitool, called the PST, which the founder of the company designed.
This tool has 17 different functions, including screwdrivers, pliers, knives, wire cutter and stripper, electrical crimper, can and bottle opener, file, awl, saw, and ruler. At 9.6 ounces, it is lightweight. It measures 4 by 1.5 by 1 inch, so it is compact and slender in your hand. A lanyard ring makes it readily available and the all-locking ability allows all tools to lock when fully opened, keeping you safe.
The multitool is made of stainless steel for durability and strength. The design allows for one-handed operation. Some users, however, report the handles may pinch your hand. Also, the handle may suddenly lock, making it difficult to close the tool.
Best Value: Gerber Dime Mini Multi-Tool
This best-value multitool is a pocket-friendly option. It’s lightweight and compact. With a closed length of only 2.75 inches, it fits nicely in your pocket. The tool also includes a keychain for easy outside-of-pocket accessibility. The 10 tools in this multitool include spring-loaded needle-nose pliers, a fine edge knife, wire cutter, package opener, scissors, flat-head screwdriver, crosshead driver, tweezers, bottle opener, and file.
The butterfly-opening design provides easy accessibility and convenience. The implements automatically lock in place for the safe operation of the extra-sharp knife and bottle opener. However, the pliers may be too small for some applications and some users think the scissors could be sharper.
Honorable Mention: Victorinox Swiss Army Multitool
This tool has 27 functions, among them are needle nose pliers, four screwdrivers, bottle and package openers, scissors, file, saw, wire stripper, and scraper and chisel combo. One neat feature is that you can use these tools individually outside of the handle.
The tool is lightweight at only 9.8 ounces and small (4.13 by 1.22 inches), so you can take it with you wherever you go. It’s great for light mechanical work and for camping. Tools lock in place for safe usage. This multitool comes with a leather pouch for storage.
The tool is a little pricey for some buyers. Also, the storage pouch does not always close properly, which can be frustrating.
- Sharpen the knives in your multitool to keep them from getting dull. If you sharpen the knife on a grinding wheel, remember to use water to cool the knife; otherwise, it may get damaged.
- Store the tool in a cool and dry place to prevent rust from forming. Also, wipe each tool with a dry cloth to remove grease and dirt stains that may corrode the metal.
- Remember to slide the tools back in the handle before putting the multitool in your pocket to avoid tearing your pockets and injuring yourself.
- Apply a few drops of oil between the blades and the spring to keep the tool release mechanism functioning at its optimal level.
Q: Where should I store a multitool?
A: Store the multitool in the most convenient and accessible place, preferably where you do most of your work. You can put it in your kitchen drawer, toolbox, glove box, or in the back pocket of your overalls.
Q: Can a multitool handle heavy-duty mechanic jobs?
A: A multitool is not a permanent replacement for most hand tools. It simply helps you accomplish light jobs when your toolbox is not in sight. It can help you tighten a loose screw, open bottles, remove splinters, and cut through light material. That's why it’s a great survival tool for camping.
Q: Can I rearrange a multitool?
A: It is possible to rearrange the tools if you feel like they aren’t in the order that you prefer. Most multitools have a screw holding all the tools together, and you can remove it to carefully rearrange the tools. Just take care not to damage the locking mechanism. Also, the warranty won’t cover any damages or defects thereafter.
Q: Do all the items in a multitool come out at the same time?
A: Only if you pull them out at the same time or if the locking system is faulty. Most of the tools have small slits that allow you to pull out each individual piece with your fingernail. You can also pull out two pieces at the extreme ends of the handle. For example, you may have a knife on one side and a screwdriver in the other.
Our top pick is the LEATHERMAN Rebar Multitool. It has a tough all-steel construction, and its slim design will help you maneuver into tight spaces.
Consider the Gerber Dime Multitool if you’re looking for a product that will offer great value for your money.