The 10 Best Multitools
This wiki has been updated 36 times since it was first published in March of 2015. These super-convenient multi tools are packed with handy implements, and make for a easy way to have everything you might need on you without having to carry around a ton of gear. They incorporate all sorts of tools, such as screwdrivers, knives, saws, bottle openers, pliers and more, and are ideal for everyone from emergency responders to anglers to military personnel. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 18, 2020:
During this round of updates, while the TAS Accessories 13-in-1 was removed due to availability issues, we also decided on eliminating the HexFlex BO23S and Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster, feeling that the former offering might be better suited to our list of keychain multitools, and the latter to our list of our Swiss Army Knives. It should be noted that both these options are perfectly respectable picks, but while they certainly do qualify under the broadest definition of multitool, my tendency is to think that users browsing this category are more likely to be in the market for a traditional, plier-based model — which is the direction we endeavored to to shift these rankings this time around. Similarly, we came across some interesting hammer multitools and survival cards during our research, but recognized that our users needs were already being met by separate sets of rankings for these categories, and so decided against including them here.
One notable exception to this rule is the Leatherman Raptor Shears, which we thought were still worth listing, considering what a great choice they make for emergency first responders, and recognizing that we presently aren’t maintaining any rankings where they would fit better. Our new inclusions this time around are the Gerber Center-Drive Black — which features a center-axis multi-driver and a set of 11 bits, the Victorinox CS Plus – a 37-in-1 offering that comes in a smart leather pouch, and the Leatherman Free P2 — a 19-in-1 model with an impressive magnetic opening and closing system
A few things to think about for this category:
Versatility: When it comes to multitools, this is really the name of the game. How many implements do they have? While there’s certainly something to be said for slimmed down models that are less bulky and cumbersome, as well as specialized models that provide just the right set of tools for a given trade or hobby, generally speaking, most users look for a multitool with as many implements as possible, to keep them ready for as many unforeseen problems as possible. While the Leatherman Skeletool is equipped with a scant, seven tools, the Jakemy Portable has 11, and the Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier a dozen. Other models are packed with many more implements, like the Victorinox SwissTool and Victorinox CS Plus, which come with 27 tools and 37 tools, respectively.
Transportation: The only thing worse than not owning the multitool that could get you out of a tight situation, is owning that multitool but leaving it at home, so try to pick a model that you’re comfortable wearing as an everyday-carry unit. While options like the Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier and Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate come with belt sheaths, there are other options for users who find such pouches to be uncomfortable or showy. The Leatherman Free P2, for example, comes with a removable pocket clip, and the Leatherman Skeletool features a built-in carabiner. Other selections like the Leatherman Raptor Shears have built-in holes to accommodate lanyards.
Warranty: This consideration is especially worth bringing to mind in this category, because of the massive disparity in price seen between top-end models and budget picks. Understandably, it can be hard to convince yourself to splurge on a quality model when it’s priced at more than 500% of a similar model’s cost. But the difference in quality is often immediately apparent when these tools are in your hand, and with the kind of warranties offered by big names in this category, you should never need to worry about replacing that premium purchase ever again… unless you lose it. All Leatherman products are backed by a 25-year warranty, a term that Gerber matches for users outside North America, while offering a limited lifetime warranty to North American users, which is the same warranty that comes standard with all Victorinox knives.
Leatherman Free P4 The company's Free P2 model remains an excellent all-around choice for just about anyone, but for users who believe in buying top-of-the-line gear and never say no to an extra gadget, the Leatherman Free P4 offers all the same tools as the P2, plus a saw and a serrated knife made of 420HC stainless steel. leatherman.com
Victorinox SwissTool X Plus Ratchet If you've been eyeing up the company's CS Plus model because you're impressed by its bit collection, you might want to give some thought to the Victorinox SwissTool X Plus Ratchet. It has all the same tools as the CS Plus, except its bit wrench is replaced by an extension bar and ratchet, which might offer you more utility. victorinox.com
A Few Words On A Few Tools
With a screwdriver, few actions could be simpler to complete; without a screwdriver, however, it will be nearly impossible to get that screw inserted.
Even the simplest task can prove an almost insurmountable challenge if you don't have the right tools at your disposal. Consider an ordinary can of soup or tomato sauce: the "modern" double seam can approach to canning food has been used for well over a hundred years now, and remains one of the most reliable and convenient ways to store food. But if you don't have a can opener handy, that can of food might as well be back in the store, because accessing it will be remarkably hard.
Consider next the simple act of inserting a screw into a wall or a piece of wood. With a screwdriver, few actions could be simpler to complete; without a screwdriver, however, it will be nearly impossible to get that screw inserted.
From sawing through wood to slicing vegetables to filing down a rough patch of metal to opening a bottle, there are truly countless activities that can be handled in minutes -- if not in mere seconds -- when you have the right tools at your disposal, yet which may be impossible to complete if you are empty handed.
It's no wonder, then, that most professions and hobbies have their own dedicated types of tools. A plumber will use different wrenches then an auto mechanic, the former being more concerned with piping, the latter with nuts and bolts, for example. A fisherman might have a kit filled with hooks, lures, and sinkers, while a hunter will have animal calls and ammunition. The furniture craftsman relies on saws and screwdrivers that a a tile installation specialist might never even touch. And the list could go on ad infinitum, thus instead let us state the point directly: there are few tools that prove genuinely useful across multiple fields of professional work or recreational activity.
But there are certainly exceptions. One that comes to mind is the vaunted Swiss Army Knife, a pint-sized jack of all trades as useful to the hiker or hunter as it can be to the electrician or roofer. Even more versatile than those classic instruments, though, is the multitool, a device that can often serve as pliers, screwdriver, blade, ruler, and so much more.
A Multitool For Everyday Use
If you're looking for a multitool to help you in daily life, first consider what your average day looks like. A person who works in construction might value a strong set of pliers, both a flathead and phillips screwdriver, and a rugged saw. These tools can help a worker tackle a quick job, like replacing a fastener or removing a bit of extra wood from the end of a beam, without the individual needing to sort through a toolbox for a purpose-built item.
A person who works in construction might value a strong set of pliers, both a flathead and phillips screwdriver, and a rugged saw.
A person more likely to spend his or her day fishing than building a house, on the other hand, might have little need for a screwdriver but still value a pair of pliers, which can he helpful for removing a hook from a fish's mouth or for safely baiting a hook without getting poked. And of course the blade is useful for dealing with scales, fish guts, or for cutting away a line that has become snagged or otherwise compromised.
And for the individual simply looking to be prepared for the little issues that pop up in life, from the need to open a battery compartment sealed with a screw to the need to slice through an apple, almost any multitool will suffice; the main concern when it comes to selecting a multitool without a specific activity in mind should be price. While there's plenty of budget-friendly multitools on the market, top of the line options can be quite expensive, so cost is certainly a factor.
A Multitool As Wilderness Gear
If you are including a multitool along with the gear you pack into your hiking, camping, or mountaineering kit, you are making a wise choice. But you also must choose the right tool wisely. When you are carrying all of your gear on your back, every ounce matters. Some multitools weigh only a few ounces, while others weigh as much as a pound or more. That might not seem like much weight when you're standing in your own home packing your backpack, but when you're clambering up a hill or scaling a cliff, you'll certainly feel the weight.
When you are carrying all of your gear on your back, every ounce matters.
When choosing a multitool to bring along for an outdoor adventure, it's important to keep in mind how valuable some tools can be, and how superfluous you will find others. A good pair of scissors is great for preparing a wound dressing in a first aid situation, for example, while an adjustable wrench might be rather useless. A saw is always a good idea, as it can help you build a fire or build a shelter.
Selecting the right multitool for a camping our mountaineering trip does not mean selecting a tool with every accessory you might need out there in the field; rather it means choosing a multitool that will complement the gear you already have, filling in any gaps. It's a safe bet that you will already be bringing along a good, solid knife, for example (and if not, then reevaluate your planned gear at once), so the length and type of blade on your multitool can be of secondary concern. And while some multitools have LED lights built into them, the responsible outdoorsman will already have at least two light sources along for the journey, thus making it a fine choice to opt for a smaller multitool that is without a light built in.
As for the need for a bottle opener when you're out in the woods, that's a priority you can order for yourself.