Best EDC Multitool

Question: I'm in the market for a new multitool to EDC and don't know which one to buy. I've looked at the ones from Leatherman and the Gerber tools, but the choices seem overwhelming. Any advice is appreciated. -Robert in Indianapolis

Answer: As you've seen there are a myriad of options when choosing a multitool. The best one to EDC will depend on your needs. If size is critical, something like the Leatherman Squirt ES4 or PS4 will come in handy and fits on a key chain. The ES4 and PS4 have a small knife blade, flat screwdriver, file, combination flat/ phillips screwdriver, and scissors. The ES4 is perfect for people who do a lot of electrical work because it has a functional wire stripper in place of pliers. The PS4 has traditional pliers.

The Leatherman Juice series is a little larger than the Squirt, being sized for pocket carry. In a similar size range, I'd prefer the Leatherman Fuse or Kick. They are a minimalist design without the bells and whistles. An aftermarket pocket clip can be added to the Kick making it quick to access. The Kick has a knife blade, two size of flat screwdrivers, phillips screwdriver, and a can opener. The Fuse has the same plus scissors. Both models are best buys, in my opinion.

If you're looking at a full-size multitool, then the Gerber tool is another brand to look at. They feature fast access to the pliers, if that is important. The Gerber 600 series is available with blunt or needle nose pliers. They have a knife blade, serrated blade, file, three flat screwdrivers, phillips screwdriver, and a can opener.

SOG also makes some high quality tools such as the Paratool, Power Assist and Power Lock. The Power Lock and Power Assist have gear driven pliers for compound leverage.

For a combination folding knife multitool, the Leatherman Wave or Charge are the way to go. They combine quick one-handed access to locking knife blades with a multitool. It's like having a folding knife and multitool in one. The Wave has any tool you could want including a knife blade, serrated blade, saw blade, file, scissors, large flat screwdriver, can opener, and large and small drivers with combination phillips/ flat drivers. The Knife blade, serrated blade, saw, and file are accessible from the outside of the tool without opening it up. The Leatherman Charge TTi is similar to the Wave, having an S30V knife blade for improved edge holding. A pocket clip is available for both the Wave and Charge.

Of all the brands, the highest quality and my personal favorite are the Victorinox Swisstools. The Swisstool Spirit is nice because it's a little bit lighter than the regular Swisstool but retains the same tools. There are several variations of the Swisstool Spirit. Two are available in the United States, the Spirit S and X. They both have scissors, saw, file, two flat screwdrivers, phillips screwdriver, can opener, awl, and flat scraper. The Spirit S also has a serrated blade while the Spirit X has a standard knife. All of the tools on the Swisstool Spirit are available from the outside of the tool so that it doesn't have to be opened to access them.

The short answer for me is that if you want to carry the tool via pocket clip, pick up a Leatherman Kick for $25-30 and call it good. If you want to the best quality all-around tool, check out the Victorinox Swisstool. If Victorinox would add a pocket clip to the Swisstool Spirit, it'd be the tool to own, hands down.

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One Comment on "Best EDC Multitool"

  1. P Smith on Sat, 17th Jul 2010 7:25 am 

    The first thing I did when looking at multitools was decide what I would be using it for, then try to find one that met all my needs. It’s better to have too many parts on a multitool than too few, so I erred on the side of caution. But since no single tool met my needs, either not enough or far too many extras, I rethought how to meet my needs.

    My use was for around the home for repairs, for travel, and as a bike tool. I found that a combination of tools was good enough, a basic leatherman plus a multitool specifically made for bicycles (Allen keys, flat blade and a Phillips head) similar to this:

    It means having two tools, but at home that’s no problem, and in a bike bag, weight isn’t an issue either. I also have the benefit of being able to use a driver and the pliers as a wrench simultaneously.

    Here’s another bicycle tool that can be useful, a flat piece of metal with many socket sizes.

    The main point again: think about what YOU will or may be using the multitool for and meet *every* need. Don’t leave yourself shorthanded.

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