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Best Multitools (Review & Buying Guide) in 2022

You can’t always take your tools with you, but you can take a multitool.

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BY/ LAST UPDATED ON November 5, 2021

Let's be honest—though you may have a thousand distinct screwdrivers, pliers, or even knives, they’re not some kind of miracle tool. You still need others. Where a multitool shines, however, isn’t by replacing your entire tool collection, but rather having something handy more readily available. A multitool is a surefire way to save yourself some time-consuming trips to the toolbox and can even be your ticket out of disastrous situations. That doesn’t mean you should jump on the first option to pop up as there are many different variations out there, and you do need to take the time to pick the multitool that truly suits your needs. That's why we're going to showcase some of our favorites and hook you up with a buying guide that'll help you nail down the perfect multitool.

Best Overall

Leatherman Wave Plus

Summary

The premier quality you can expect from Leatherman. The Wave Plus is a modern take on the original PST. Function and useful features show why it’s the leader of the pack.

Pros
  • Superior quality 
  • Made in USA 
  • 25-year warranty
Cons
  • High price point
  • Black oxide coating wears away easily 
  • Included pouch is subpar
Best Value

Mossy Oak Multitool

Summary

This affordable, but capable multitool proves you don’t need to go broke buying a multitool. Respectable quality and 21 functions makes it hard to beat for the money.

Pros
  • Affordable price point 
  • Operation quality surpasses expectations
  • More functions than average
Cons
  • Materials used are relatively brittle
  • Rust and sticky hinges are common issues
Honorable Mention

SOG PowerLock Multitool

Summary

A track record of military inspired designs with the perfect balance of value and quality earns the SOG  PowerLock a place on our list. Compound leverage, a socket driver, along with the other well-though accessories are simply bonuses.

Pros
  • Sound balance of quality and value
  • 1/4-inch drive lends itself to auto work
  • Unique compound leverage design improve pliers function
Cons
  • Black oxide finish wears away easily
  • Can be uncomfortable to handle
  • Handle covers get in the way
Best Multitools (Review & Buying Guide) in 2022

Methodology

Putting this list together didn't strictly follow the usual mold of either going solely on second-hand research or experience. Some of the multitools you see below were purchased by The Drive for hands-on testing—the Gerber CenterDrive, Leatherman Wave Plus, and RoverTac Multitool Camping Hatchet, to be exact. Others were selected based on our pre-existing knowledge. Believe it or not, we do more with our hands than type. Therefore, we made sure to include exact models we know to trust or at least those from brands that have a solid reputation. Anything we haven't come across in the wild is featured based on solid reviews and unique design elements you may not find anywhere else. Speaking of reviews, we made sure to read the bad first and leave out anything that clearly isn't cut out for any practical use. In short, nothing you see here is anything we wouldn't trust using for ourselves.  

Best Multitool Reviews & Recommendations

If you're new to the market, it's important to understand why the Leatherman name is a big deal. It's the brand that introduced the world to pliers multitools. The multitools it offers truly are among the best in terms of quality as most of its offerings are made in the USA. What draws us to the Wave Plus isn't just the quality of materials used, nor the country of origin. After testing this tool for ourselves in a number of ways—including a tail light replacement—it became clear that years of experience in the industry may have produced the best possible multitool for the money. The pliers, knife, and even the can opener also proves to be a cut above average as does the 25-year warranty. 


As for any potential drawbacks, there are few to mention. The price is substantially more than what you'd pay for a budget-friendly offering, but that's always the case with premium tools. However, the black oxide finish and molle case don’t live up to what the price would lead you to expect.


Product Specs

  • Part Number: 832533
  • Multitool Type: Full-size pliers
  • Number of Functions: 18 

Pros

  • Superior quality 
  • Made in USA 
  • 25-year warranty 

Cons

  • High price point
  • Black oxide coating wears away easily 
  • Included pouch is subpar

Unfortunately, folks looking for knives and multitools are often funneled to the same predatory manufacturers when budgets are tight. You know exactly what kind of cheap, gimmicky product we're talking about. Still, you can find some surprisingly solid multitools for way less than what the premium names bring in and this option from Mossy Oak is a prime example of that. Despite sitting at a low price point, it seems as though this is a true contender. Altogether, it offers 21 different functions, with a set of pliers being the focal point of the design. The knife, saw, bottle openers, and awl are nothing to breeze right over, but the screwdriver is something that truly jumps out at you with its four double-headed bits. 


Does it truly stand in rank with premier offerings? No. The quality isn't bad, but this definitely won't take much of a beating before issues start to arise. Stiff hinges and rust are also known to be problem areas. Even so, it's hard to match the compact size and functions it offers for the money.


Product Specs

  • Part Number: MO19012_SML
  • Multitool Type: Compact pliers
  • Number of Functions: 21

Pros

  • Affordable price point 
  • Operation quality surpasses expectations
  • More functions than average

Cons

  • Materials used are relatively brittle
  • Rust and sticky hinges are common issues

The SOG brand's claim to fame is its tactical knife division. With roots reaching back to the '80s, it's built quite the reputation as one of the best in the business when it comes to balancing quality and value. That said, it's really not a surprise to find that the same is true for its multitools. The PowerLock commands our attention with its compound leverage design utilized in the pliers which helps to promote smooth operation as well as enhanced grip. Though the feature of wire stripping, crimping, and cutting functions do lend the design to electricians, the ability to attach 1/4-inch drive sockets does make it a clear companion to those with a love for all things mechanical. We also enjoy that SOG’s military-inspired theme is present with its proclamation to being EOD ready. 


While there's a lot to like here, it's not all great. It's known to be uncomfortable to use and the black oxide finish wears away quickly. Also, the handle covers are something most users feel impedes its function as a multitool.


Product Specs

  • Part Number: B61N-CP
  • Multitool Type: Full-size pliers
  • Number of Functions: 18 

Pros

  • Sound balance of quality and value
  • 1/4-inch drive lends itself to auto work
  • Unique compound leverage design improve plier function

Cons

  • Black oxide finish wears away easily
  • Can be uncomfortable to handle
  • Handle covers get in the way

The whole idea of carrying a multitool is to have a backup for when your primary tool collection is inaccessible. What if you forgot or can’t take your primary multitool with you? You need a backup for your backup, and that's exactly what we've got here with the Swiss+Tech Key Ring Multitool. This particular multitool is more closely related to a pocket knife in how it functions. However, a cutting edge isn't all that it brings to the table. It is also equipped to function as an awl, bottle opener, Phillips or flat screwdriver, and as an LED flashlight. Despite all of that, it retains a size that's small enough to feasibly wear on your keyring and it’s attached to a bargain-bin price tag. 


We should make it clear that feasible doesn't always mean enjoyable. Many consumers do feel it's a little too large and heavy to keep on a keyring and it is still relatively small, meaning it can still be difficult to get enough leverage to use the attachments effectively in some situations.


Product Specs

  • Part Number: ST60300
  • Multitool Type: Keychain multitool
  • Number of Functions: 7

Pros

  • Compact and easy to carry 
  • Features seven functions despite small size 
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • Relatively heavy as a keychain
  • Can be difficult to use

Why do we deem the Leatherman Rebar as the best option for electricians? As we know, the Leatherman name is responsible for kickstarting this whole category. Not only that, both options on our list are based on the original design that made the company what it is and are covered by the standard 25-year warranty. Both also share the distinct characteristic of featuring multiple wire strippers throughout the accessories, and both have a dedicated wire-cutting function. Well, the Rebar takes things a step further by featuring replaceable pliers. 


Considering electricians will use and abuse this more than the average bear, it's a major benefit to them that they can replace the pliers once they see their day. It's also worth pointing out that the Rebar has a total of 17 functions, is a staple of Leatherman quality, and happens to sit at an economical price point for something in its league. The fact that no carrying pouch is included can be viewed as a drawback for many. Also, the few reports of slight rusting and adjustment issues are hard to ignore. All of which are surprising to hear about a Leaterman tool.


Product Specs

  • Part Number: 831551
  • Multitool Type: Full-size pliers
  • Number of Accessories: 17

Pros

  • High-quality materials used
  • 25-year warranty
  • Replaceable pliers

Cons

  • No storage pouch included
  • Issues with adjustments are somewhat common
  • Some users report signs of rust in short order

Survival is a strong word, but it can mean many things. For the purposes of this review, we're considering it to denote the ability to shine in outdoor settings. This multitool has a specialized design that tailors it to being used for setting up camp, cleaning fish, chopping wood, and virtually anything else you need to do to stay alive. Ok, maybe we're exaggerating just a touch, but the inclusion of a hatchet and hammer clearly separates this from the rest of the offerings on the market. At the very least, you can use this for some small finishing nails in a pinch, but our testing did prove the hatchet to be decently sharp and the tool tough enough to take a moderate beating. 


Would it be the first tool we throw in a bug-out bag? Not exactly. While it is a versatile unit, the size and price make it clear that it’s more of a novelty than a true contender. Also, the inclusion of a hammer and hatchet really does limit it to very specific small jobs.


Product Specs

  • Part Number: SL-FT-RD-01
  • Multitool Type: Full-size pliers/hammer/axe
  • Number of functions: 14

Pros

  • Can be used as an axe or hammer
  • Surprisingly stout 
  • Affordable pricing

Cons

  • Not large enough to be a truly effective cutting tool
  • Hammer and hatchet limit use

Size does matter. That's especially true if you don't have a lot of room to work with or when you need to keep the loadout as lightweight as possible. Your mind may automatically shift to some extravagant trek through the wilderness, but those concerns typically apply to normal societal functions. Either way, the 5.5-inch length and negligible weight of the Gerber Dime make it the perfect choice for those with those concerns. Though it's small, it's not an obscure multitool design. It's simply a scaled-down version of the pliers multitool you're familiar with and even offers a total of 12 functions. Seeing as it's Gerber, it's also attached to a decent balance of quality and price. 


It should be clear that size is something of a limiting factor for leverage and rigidity. However, the fact that consumers report a dull knife edge out of the box and the file being virtually non-existent are issues to be concerned with. Still, it does function well enough for emergencies, which is all it's intended to handle.


Product Specs

  • Part Number: ‎GER1014026
  • Multitool Type: Mini-Pliers
  • Number of Functions: 12 

Pros

  • Affordable price point
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Provides 12 functions despite scaled-down footprint

Cons

  • Size prevents durability and functional issues 
  • Blade and file are poor out of the box

Gerber doesn't limit itself to small multitools. On the opposite end of the scale, we find that the brand can easily produce a heavy-hitter. The Center-Drive Plus is a solid option for those on the hunt for a full-size multitool to consider and it's a pliers-type multitool that offers a total of 16 functions. The first of those functions to grab our attention is the screwdriver which also comes equipped with 12 interchangeable bits makes the tool far more capable than most. Testing proved that the tool's size aids in leverage and it’s built to endure hard work. The fact that everything can be deployed with a single hand is a fantastic touch. We should also point out that the Center-Drive is made here in the USA, and that should give you a warm and fuzzy feeling about it.


That doesn’t mean there aren’t drawbacks. If anything, full-size is an understatement here. Sitting just shy of 10 ounces, this may not be the best choice for EDC due to its heft. Furthermore, lack of refinement makes itself known in the attachments and prevents the pliers from deploying as smoothly as they should for the price.


Product Specs

  • Part Number: 30-001417
  • Multitool Type: Full-size pliers
  • Number of Functions: 16

Pros

  • Made in USA
  • Single hand operation for most functions
  • Well-thought-out screwdriver system

Cons

  • High weight can prove undesirable for EDC
  • Can use refinement despite premium price

Go ahead and try to get your normal multitool on a plane. We'll wait until after the full-body search to ask how that goes for you. All jokes aside, you probably don't want to take a full-size multitool just anywhere. It can be uncomfortable in your pocket on long rides and the TSA really won't appreciate you keeping it on your person while boarding. Seeing as this unit from Keyport is both extremely compact and TSA-friendly, it just might be your best choice for travel. This seemingly simple piece of steel is small enough to hang from your keychain but offers a total of ten different functions. The designers also went as far as to add an ergonomic finger grove to ensure it's comfortable to use. 


While it's handy, it really is a last-ditch effort. A lot of users report that it's too small to use effectively, it can be uncomfortable when certain functions are put to use, and it may be difficult to attach to anything other than a key ring.


Product Specs

  • Part Number: B08DNYTT9B
  • Multitool Type: Key tool
  • Number of Functions: 10

Pros

  • Compact and easy to carry on keyring
  • Use of quality stainless steel
  • 10 functions despite small size
  • TSA-friendly

Cons

  • Size hinders effectiveness
  • Can be uncomfortable to use

Our Verdict on Multitools

While it's hard to say what multitool is best for who, the Leatherman Wave Plus really does stand out as the best option for most in our opinion. However, the  Mossy Oak Multitool is a great option on a budget. We already know that you think we're wrong, though. Afterall, everyone has their own opinion based on experience. So, we want to hear what you have to say about what makes a good multitool! 

What to Consider When Buying a Multitool

If you have the option to build a custom multitool to match your unique demands, take it. The rest of us have to do our best to sort through the pre-assembled options the market has to offer. In all reality, it's not that hard to find the perfect multitool. We’re going to hook you up with some key tips that'll help you get in and out of shopping mode as quickly as possible. 

Types of Multitools

General Purpose 

The majority of the market is loaded with general-purpose multitools. These are the models that feature just the basics, such as a set of pliers, screwdrivers, a knife, and some other odds and ends. While they don't lend themselves to any particular field, they tend to be the best choice for the average consumer. 

That doesn't mean they're all the same, though. General-purpose multitools can come equipped with many different combinations of accessories. Some have more than others, and it is still important to take the time to think about what you feel must be included. Keep in mind that you may want to invest in multiple general-purpose multitools for different situations. What you carry in your pocket may not be the same as what you'd want to keep in your tool belt. 

Specialty Models 

Specialty multitools and general-purpose multitools have a lot in common when it comes to some of the accessories that may be featured. What makes a multitool intended for specialty use ultimately comes down to the exact combination of accessories it features, certain design elements, or the inclusion of an attachment that might not be found elsewhere. 

A good example of what we're talking about is the RoverTac Multitool Camping Hatchet. It does function as a knife, pliers, and screwdriver, but the inclusion of the hatchet head clearly dedicates this to use out in the field. The point is that it's wise to pick a multitool that is specially designed for any specialty field you might use it in. 

Compact Multitools 

What we're classifying as compact multitools might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you start shopping. They're still a valuable offering to consider if space is exceptionally tight. We say that because these are often made from a single piece of steel that is shaped to allow it to work as a multitude of different tools. 

On the larger end of the scale, you can expect these to take up as little room as a credit card, but they can be small enough to resemble a key. Depending on the combination, they may work as a knife, screwdriver, wrench, bottle opener, and so forth. 

Multitool Key Features

Effective Accessories 

The most important thing to look at when buying a multitool is the combination of accessories it features. After all, the accessories determine what kind of bind it can get you out of and you. It's just as important to make sure it doesn't feature too much either, as an overloaded multitool becomes difficult to carry and use. 

Don't commit yourself to the idea of investing in just one multitool either. Think about where you’ll carry it. A general-purpose multitool is great for EDC, while a specialty set, such as an electrician's multitool, is better for work. You may even want a separate multitool to take on weekend camping trips. 

Sound Ergonomics 

It takes more than simply cramming a bunch of tools into a single unit to make a good multitool. Everything needs to be easily accessible and to deploy, and it's ideal if everything can be managed with just one hand. 

While this might seem like a luxury, good ergonomics may make the difference between keeping a multitool on you and leaving it on the shelf with all the other knick-knacks. In the perfect world, you'd be able to test every multitool before you buy. But you can't, so you'll want to factor in what others have to say about how the tool handles before you buy. 

Feasible Sizing 

The size of a multitool is an important consideration. Especially because it might need to be something you're willing to carry around in your pocket or in a tool belt where space is limited. Unfortunately, this generally means some compromises are in order. 

Again, the number of attachments and size often go hand in hand. You'll need to be diligent in your selection to make sure that you can still get plenty of use out of the tool without being bogged down. Also, be aware that size does matter when it comes to hand tools because leverage is a key factor. In other words, while you need to keep a small footprint, it might not make sense to go with the smallest multitool available.

Multitool Benefits 

Minimize Loadout 

Whether for work or fun, tools are a part of life. You'll need them to get a paycheck, get yourself off the side of the road, or to assemble that pesky corkboard furniture you love oh so much. However, carrying tools around isn't always ideal or even possible. 

Multitools have the benefit of saving space and cutting down weight when used in place of dedicated tools. Even if you lug them along with a handful of specialty tools, they may very well be the only piece of gear you need to get a single task done.

Instant Remedy 

Keeping a multitool on you doesn't mean you're carrying the equivalent of a well-equipped tool box. It does mean you’re equipped to tackle many obstacles as they arise, though. As we said, that may be all you need to get a simple task done and that can make all the difference in the world. 

When will a loose screw present itself? You never know. At least with a multitool, you can deal with them when they do without having to run to a tool box or going into panic mode. Obviously, they are equipped to deal with a whole lot more, but you get the idea. 

Universally Handy 

Earlier, we talked through the importance of picking a multitool that matches the setting. We do stand behind that principle, but it doesn't mean specific multitools are only good in certain settings. Just because the multitool features wire strippers doesn't mean the included knife or screwdriver won't come in handy elsewhere. That is unless we're dealing with some extreme example that isn't easy to carry or is only practical in limited situations. 

That's the beauty of trying out different multitools. No matter what you pick, it's almost impossible to go wrong. After all, it's better to have it and not need it than it is to need it and not have it.

Multitool Pricing Considerations

Both quality and the number of attachments will factor into how much you can expect to pay for a multitool, which is why the price range can vary so much. $10 to $20 will land you compact multitools and some very budget-friendly general-purpose multitools. The $30-$50 range is where most options exist and you can expect to find a healthy mix of both general purpose and specialty multitools within this price range. $50 and up is usually reserved for high quality options, which can extend well beyond the $100 mark. 

Tips and Tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and multitools. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • Show some TLC. Take care of your multitool. It's bound to collect all kinds of dust, grease, and other undesirable gunk. 
  • Learn to use it. Many of the tools on a multitool have multiple functions or can be used in different ways. It's best to learn how to use all of the functions to get the most out of your investment. 
  • Use dedicated tools whenever possible. Multitools are handy, but they can't beat a regular pair of pliers, screwdrivers, or so on. Don't rush to test your new investment if you have these other tools on hand. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!

Q: Can a multitool handle heavy-duty mechanic jobs?

A: Not really. Multitools work well in a pinch and can prove useful in removing some screws or any of the various jobs that call for a set of pliers. However, they shouldn't be used to remove large fasteners or for any job that requires a considerable amount of effort to get through. 

Q: Do all the items in a multitool come out at the same time?

A: Multitool attachments are intended to deploy one at a time. Otherwise, the tool can be impossible to use and flat-out dangerous to handle. About the only time you would want to deploy everything is for display purposes or for cleaning. 

Q: Can I rearrange a multitool?

A: It depends on the model. Many use pivot joints that are riveted in place, meaning you can't remove the attachments without destroying the tool. If you can rearrange the tools, you should be careful of the order you place them in as that can determine how easy it is to deploy different attachments.

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