Best Multi-Tool [2019]

Best Overall: Leatherman Surge Multi-Tool
With 21 tools and/or features, there’s not much missing from this all-in-one multi-tool. It has tools that will work for most any task and/or profession. And it’s priced right in the middle while still giving you tools that have an actual purpose.

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Leatherman Surge Multi-Tool

  • Locking-Mechanism
  • Can Use One-Handed
  • Replaceable Cutting Blades

Best For Tough Jobs: Leatherman Super Tool 300
While most multi-tools are built for tough jobs, they aren’t built like the Super Tool 300. It’s a full-size beast with one of the largest combination blades on the market right now. Plus, nothing can escape the grasp of the pliers as this is the strongest plier-styled multi-tool available from Leatherman.

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Leatherman Super Tool 300

  • 3.2 Inch Combination Blade
  • Amazing Grip Strength
  • Replaceable Parts

Best Value: Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool
For those on a budget, the Skeletool by Leatherman is a great option. Again, built from one of the best multi-tool companies, you still get a great selection of usable tools without all the “extras” that don’t matter. For the price, nothing else really comes close.

Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool

  • Built For EDC Use
  • Full-Size Blade
  • Hide-A-Bit

How We Picked

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you just needed a knife? What about a screwdriver? Or maybe you needed a bottle opener?

Unfortunately, these aren’t everyday tools that we just happen to carry around with us – unless you have a multi-tool in your pocket. Multi-tools are great for those moments when you might need something a little uncommon. Multi-tools can help you complete common tasks without having to go search for the “right” tool. Plus, in an emergency situation, just about anything can help.

But, finding the right multi-tool can be extremely difficult. There are so many options to choose from, from different brands, at different price points. Today, we are going to show you ten of the best multi-tools we found for 2019. We will explain why each of these made our list while using the guidelines provided in our buyer’s guide below.

So, are you ready to see the best multi-tools available right now?

#1 Leatherman Surge Multi-Tool

Leatherman Surge Multi-Tool

Specs:

  • Style: Plier-Based Folding
  • Number of Tools: 21
  • Weight: 12.5 oz
  • Warranty: 25-Year Limited Warranty

For those who want just about everything in a multi-tool, the Leatherman Surge is a good start.

Right out of the gate, the Surge is a plier-based, folding multi-tool with 21 different tools to work with. Briefly, they are:

  1. Needle Nose Pliers
  2. Regular Pliers
  3. Replaceable Wire Cutters
  4. Replaceable Hard-Wire Cutters
  5. Stranded-Wire Cutters
  6. Electrical Crimper
  7. Wire Stripper
  8. Knife
  9. Serrated Knife
  10. Saw
  11. Spring-Action Scissors
  12. Awl With Thread Loop
  13. 8″ Ruler
  14. Can Opener
  15. Bottle Opener
  16. Wood/Metal File
  17. Diamond-Coated File
  18. Black Exchanger
  19. Large Bit Driver
  20. Large Screwdriver
  21. Small Screwdriver

To fit all of these tools into one package means that this is one of the largest multi-tools created by Leatherman. But, this was built with the handyman and/or DIYer in mind.

Leatherman Surge Multi-Tool in stainless steel

Now, this isn’t small or lightweight. In fact, it has a closed length of 4.5 inches and reaches almost to a full 8 inches when the blade is fully extended. Plus, it weighs 12.5 ounces which is slightly more than 0.75 pounds.

Leatherman Surge Multi-Tool saw

Most plier-based, folding multi-tools need to free hands to be used initially. However, the Leatherman Surge is designed to work with only one hand. And even though it only takes one hand to access everything, it also has a locking mechanism to make sure everything stays where it should while you are working.

Leatherman Surge Multi-Tool wire cutter

Knowing that certain tools will get old and/or break over time, leather men included the ability to replace the wire cutters and even swap out cutting blades as needed. Plus, you can buy additional accessories such as a bit kit set and bit extenders, removable pocket clips and lanyards, and leather sheaths for your Surge.

Leatherman Surge Multi-Tool screw driver

What We Like

In most cases, a large multi-tool is going to be full of useless tools that you won’t need. But, the Surge from Leatherman has tools you can actually use. More than just that, the one-handed accessibility makes this a versatile tool when you only have one free hand.

Overall

It’s hard to say that a multi-tool could actually replace most full-sized tools, but the Surge from Leatherman makes a great argument for just that. This multi-tool was designed for both practicality and functionality. No matter what your profession, there’s a good chance that this has the tools necessary to make your life easier. Plus, it comes with a 25-year warranty which means it’ll probably outlast most of its owners.

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Leatherman Surge Multi-Tool

  • Locking-Mechanism
  • Can Use One-Handed
  • Replaceable Cutting Blades

#2 Gerber Dime Multi-Tool

Gerber Dime Multi-Tool

Specs:

  • Style: Keychain/Plier-Based Folding
  • Number of Tools: 12
  • Weight: 2.2 oz
  • Warranty: 25-Year Limited Warranty

Now, for those who don’t need everything including the “kitchen sink”, the Gerber Dime multi-tool makes a lot of sense.

Gerber Dime Multi-Tool folded

While the Surge is a great multi-tool, it’s BIG. Of course, it has 21 different tools to choose from. However, the Gerber Dime multi-tool is not big. Instead, it’s designed to fit comfortably on a keychain while still providing a good selection of tools; in fact, they still manage to fit 12 different tools into an extremely compact design. Briefly, those tools are:

  1. Needle Nose Pliers
  2. Regular Pliers
  3. Wire Cutters
  4. Tweezers
  5. Bottle Opener
  6. Fine Edge Blade
  7. Package Opener
  8. Scissors
  9. Medium Flat Head Driver
  10. Coarse And Fine File
  11. Cross Driver
  12. Lanyard Ring

Now, these are not full-sized tools as they don’t have as much space to work with. The Dime has a closed length of 2.75 inches and a full length of 4.25 inches. However, it is extremely light at 2.2 ounces.

Gerber Dime Multi-Tool scissors

Due to its compact size, this isn’t one-handed accessible like the surge above. But, the Dime wasn’t designed for use as a primary tool but rather as an accessory when in a pinch. When in use, the tools automatically lock in place to protect you from accidental closures and/or nicks.

And finally, Gerber also believes in backing their products for an absurd amount of time with a 25-year limited warranty just like Leatherman.

Gerber Dime Multi-Tool knife

What We Like

This is one of the lightest multi-tools that we’ve seen yet weighing in at only 2.2 ounces. It’s extremely easy to forget that you’re even carrying this tool with you. And even though it doesn’t have 21 different tools to choose from, the tools provided will take care of most needs without any problems.

Overall

The Dime by Gerber was not created to host the most tools of any multi-tool on the market. Instead, it was designed to be a functional and lightweight multi-tool that can help in a pinch. It’s exceptionally portable without a huge price tag, easily making it one of the best multi-tools we’ve seen so far.

Gerber Dime Multi-Tool

  • Locking-Mechanism
  • Extremely Light At 2.2 Ounces
  • Budget-Friendly

#3 Leatherman Tread Bracelet Multi-Tool

Leatherman Tread Bracelet Multi-Tool

Specs:

  • Style: Bracelet/Wearable
  • Number of Tools: 29
  • Weight: 5.9 oz
  • Warranty: 25-Year Limited Warranty

Stepping away from traditional design, Leatherman has created a wearable multi-tool. The Tread Bracelet is designed to fit on your wrist like a traditional wristband while giving you access to a plethora of tools.

Leatherman Tread Bracelet Multi-Tool screw driver

This is not your standard multi-tool as it won’t include pliers and/or knives, instead giving you access to screwdrivers (multiple sizes/styles), box wrenches, and other oddities. Here’s a quick breakdown of every tool that is available with the Tread multi-tool:

  1. #1-2 Phillips
  2. #1 Phillips
  3. #2 Phillips
  4. 1/8″ Flat Screwdriver
  5. 1/4″ Flat Screwdriver
  6. 1/4″ Box Wrench
  7. 3/16” Box Wrench
  8. 3/8″ Box Wrench
  9. 6mm Box Wrench
  10. 8mm Box Wrench
  11. 10mm Box Wrench
  12. 3/32” Screwdriver
  13. 3/16” Screwdriver
  14. 5/16” Screwdriver
  15. 3mm Hex Drive
  16. 4mm Hex Drive
  17. 5mm Hex Drive
  18. 6mm Hex Drive
  19. 1/8″ Hex Drive
  20. 3/16” Hex Drive
  21. 1/4″ Hex Drive
  22. 3/32” Hex Drive
  23. Oxygen Tank Wrench
  24. Carbide Glass Breaker
  25. Pick/Sim Card Tool
  26. Cutting Hook
  27. 1/4″ Socket Drive Adapter
  28. Bottle Opener
  29. #2 Square Drive

So, space is kind of a moot point as this wraps around your wrist. It’s easy to carry around and it looks great. It’s not very heavy with a standard weight of 5.9 ounces. It’s a little wide at 1.2 inches, but nothing out of place for most men.

Leatherman Bracelet Multi-Tool

Customizing your Tread by Leatherman is fairly simple – simply use a flat tip screwdriver and back the retaining screws attached to the link(s) you want to remove and/or replace. Place the new link where you want it and screw the retaining screw back in. You can customize your tread in 1/2-inch increments and 1/4-inch increments.

Leatherman Tread Bracelet Multi-Tool bottle opener

And just like all of the other Leatherman products, the Tread is backed by their 25-year limited lifetime warranty.

What We Like

This is one of the most unique multi-tools we’ve seen. It doesn’t look out of place on your arm and actually looks “cool”. And it is still functional, giving you access to a bevy of tools that can help you with most tasks. You’ll still need a knife and/or pliers, but overall, there’s not a lot that we can gripe about with this one.

Overall

While not a standard multi-tool by design, this has the functionality that some multi-tools lack. If you were to combine this with the Leatherman Surge, you would have almost everything you’ll ever need for most problems (except “Duck Tape” and a “Hammer”).

Leatherman Tread Bracelet Multi-Tool

  • TSA Compliant
  • Modular Design
  • Wearable

#4 Victorinox SwissTool Multi-Tool

Victorinox SwissTool Multi-Tool

Specs:

  • Style: Plier-Based Folding
  • Number of Tools: 27
  • Weight: 9.8 oz
  • Warranty: Lifetime Limited Warranty

Remember earlier when we were talking about Swiss Army knives? Well, here is one of the oldies from a brand whose defined the multi-tool industry.

This is comparable to the Leatherman Surge in size. However, this multi-tool manages to squeeze in six more features/functions while keeping the weight down too. Here are all of the tools/features offered with this model:

  1. Needle Nose Pliers
  2. Screwdriver (2mm)
  3. Screwdriver (3mm)
  4. Wire Cutter (for wire up to a hardness of 40 hrc)
  5. Bottle Opener
  6. Screwdriver (6mm)
  7. Strong Crate Opener
  8. Combi-Edge Blade
  9. Scissors
  10. Metal File
  11. Metal Saw
  12. Wood Saw
  13. Reamer
  14. Phillips Screwdriver
  15. Chisel/Scraper
  16. Isolation Length Cutter
  17. Wire Bender
  18. Wire Stripper/Scraper
  19. Round Cutter
  20. Can Opener
  21. Multi-purpose Hook
  22. Nylon or Leather Pouch
  23. Coupling for Corkscrew
  24. Hard Wire Cutter
  25. Lanyard Hole
  26. Ten Individual Springs
  27. Lock Release

As you can see, there’s not really much that could have been left out. Now, the Leatherman Surge gave you one-handed access to their tools; this multi-tool from Victorinox does not give you one-handed access but instead gives you one-step access to the tools without having to open the pliers.

Victorinox SwissTool Multi-Tool open

Another great feature of this multi-tool is the fact that the tools are attached to individual springs, reducing tool clumping where multiple tools come out at the same time. Also, the tools will lock into place when fully opened to avoid damage and/or bodily harm.

Included with your multi-tool is a belt pouch to protect it while not in use and a lifetime warranty that is unrivaled by any other manufacturer.

Victorinox SwissTool Multi-Tool and other outdoor equipment

What We Like

The Swiss Army knife was the first multi-tool to become so well-known by its name only. And this multi-tool maintains the legacy of the past. With so many tools, we really couldn’t find anything to stand in its way. Being able to access the tools without having to fully open the pliers was great.

Overall

If you don’t know what you’ll encounter on a day-by-day basis, then this multi-tool from Victorinox is a great addition to your EDC list. It offers so many features/functions, there’s really no one who can compare directly. And, the lifetime warranty means you’ll never have to worry about breaking it.

Victorinox SwissTool Multi-Tool

  • Locking-Mechanism
  • One-Step Tool Access
  • Included Leather Sheath

#5 Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool

Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool

Specs:

  • Style: Plier-Based Folding
  • Number of Tools: 19
  • Weight: 7.5 oz
  • Warranty: 25-Year Limited Warranty

This next multi-tool is focused on the outdoorsman more than the handyman, though it could work for both fairly well.

The Signal from Leatherman is another multi-tool that has functionality and purpose. This time, Leatherman made a tool that focuses on someone who lives life on the wild side. They still don’t overload it with “too many” tools, but they find a way to give some unique tools with the Signal. Here’s a list of what’s available:

  1. Needle Nose Pliers
  2. Regular Pliers
  3. Replaceable Wire Cutters
  4. Replaceable Hard-Wire Cutters
  5. Wire Stripper
  6. Combination Knife
  7. Saw
  8. Hammer
  9. Awl With Thread Loop
  10. Can Opener
  11. Bottle Opener
  12. 1/4″ Hex Bit Driver
  13. Bit Driver
  14. 1/4″ Box Wrench
  15. Carabiner
  16. 3/16” Box Wrench
  17. Safety Whistle
  18. Ferrocerium Rod
  19. Diamond-Coated Sharpener

As you can see, it’s a pretty standard multi-tool except for the safety whistle, the ferrocerium rod, a saw, and a hammer. So basically, if you need help while lost on a deep trek, you have a whistle to reach out for help. If you need to start a fire, you have the ferrocerium rod that’ll light up some kindling fast. And if you need to make a makeshift home, you’ve got a saw and a hammer, along with a full-size combination knife.

Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool with opened tools

It’s almost identical in size to the Leatherman Surge mentioned earlier. It has a closed length of 4.5 inches with a full-sized blade at 2.73 inches. It is almost half the weight of the Surge, coming in at a paltry 7.5 ounces.

Again, this is designed to work one-handed, so you’ll be able to access all of the tools with just one hand; this is good for those moments when you just can’t let go of something. Of course, there is a built-in locking mechanism to keep you safe while using just one hand.

Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool folded

What We Like

While you might not have much use for the extra tools like the ferrocerium rod and the safety whistle, it’s nice to know it’s there. In fact, if we were on a hiking trip or expedition, we’d prefer to carry this one. The fact that it doesn’t weigh a ton is great and it has an included sheath and the pocket clip doesn’t hurt either.

Overall

While most of the other multi-tools from Leatherman are focused towards electricians and handymen, this is more focused on the outdoorsman and adventurists. It comes with some unique features that are more “safety” minded than utilitarian. While it’s a good multi-tool, it’ll be better suited for someone who enjoys nature.

Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool

  • Fire-Starter Ferrocerium Rod
  • Nylon Sheath Included
  • Safety Whistle

#6 Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool

Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool

Specs:

  • Style: Plier-Based Folding
  • Number of Tools: 7
  • Weight: 5.0 oz
  • Warranty: 25-Year Limited Warranty

Next up, we’ve got a multi-tool that cuts back on all the fluff. The Skeletool by Leatherman is built on pure functionality. And, that’s why they’ve cut their tool/feature count down to seven. Here’s what the Skeletool offers:

  1. Needle Nose Pliers
  2. Regular Pliers
  3. Regular Wire Cutters
  4. Hard-Wire Cutters
  5. Combination Knife
  6. Carabiner/Bottle Opener
  7. Large Bit Driver

Did you notice something? That’s pretty much everything you need on a daily basis.

Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool knife

Like most of the other Leatherman multi-tool products, this is also one-handed accessible making it great when you’re in a bind. The pliers can produce good grip due to the 4-inch handle and the blade of 2.6 inches is more than enough to handle most jobs.

Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool in pocket

One feature that stood out was the “hidden” ability to hide a bit in the handle. While it’s only one bit, it gives you an extra tool on-the-go. And finally, the Skeletool is available in three different color options: stainless steel, blue, moss green.

Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool wire cutter

What We Like

This is an extremely light, extremely versatile multi-tool at a weight of 5.0 ounces. Even though it only has seven features/tools, it handles most everything you’d need to do. While it doesn’t have multiple screwdrivers to choose from, it does allow you to use other bits.

Overall

Sometimes you don’t need everything in your toolbox to complete a simple job. The Skeletool from Leatherman builds on this theory and they’ve provided one of the best EDC multi-tools on the market today.

Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool

  • Built For EDC Use
  • Full-Size Blade
  • Hide-A-Bit

#7 Leatherman Super Tool 300

Leatherman Super Tool 300

Specs:

  • Style: Plier-Based Folding
  • Number of Tools: 19
  • Weight: 9.6 oz
  • Warranty: 25-Year Limited Warranty

With all the Leatherman tools we’ve listed so far, you would think we’ve got Leatherman on the brain. But, it’s just a testament to their dedication to the multi-tool industry. They’ve managed to snag the title from Victorinox/Swiss Army and it looks like they intend to keep it for a long time.

Leatherman Super Tool 300 wire cutter

With that out of the way, the Super Tool 300 is one “BAD” multi-tool. It still gives you access to nineteen tools/features but they are purposefully built for the “hard jobs”. Here’s a quick breakdown of the tools and features:

  1. Needle Nose Pliers
  2. Stranded-Wire Cutters
  3. Replaceable Wire Cutters
  4. MilSpec Cap Crimper
  5. Electrical Crimper
  6. Wire Stripper
  7. Combination Knife
  8. Saw
  9. Replaceable T-Shank Metal Saw
  10. Replaceable C4 Punch
  11. #8-32 Cleaning Rod/Brush Adapter
  12. Awl With Thread Loop
  13. 9” Ruler
  14. Can Opener
  15. Bottle Opener
  16. Phillips Screwdriver
  17. Large Screwdriver
  18. Medium Screwdriver
  19. Small Screwdriver

This is built for the handyman, technician, electrician, plumber, and even the stay-at-home mom. This is one of the most “complete” multi-tools available on the market right now. Plus, it’s built for work with all of the replaceable parts.

Leatherman Super Tool 300 screwdriver

This is one of the strongest, most durable multi-tools built by Leatherman. The knife blade is an astounding 3.2 inches in length while including the strongest pliers built by Leatherman to date. Accessing any of the tools in question is easy with the large access cutouts on the side of each handle.

Leatherman Super Tool 300 saw

The Super Tool 300 comes in one of two color options: stainless steel or black. You can purchase other accessories such as a sheath and/or replacements parts as well. And it’s backed by the Leatherman 25-year limited lifetime warranty – if it breaks, send it back and they’ll fix it.

What We Like

First, the knife blade is the longest we’ve seen at 3.2 inches. It will cut through most anything without giving you a second thought. The pliers have some serious grip, making it near impossible to “accidentally” lose control of what you’re holding. We really couldn’t find anything we don’t like about it.

Overall

If you want a workhorse multi-tool, the Super Tool 300 by Leatherman is perfect for you. It’s built with some of the strongest components while giving you a lot of replacement options. If you manage to break it somehow, the 25-year limited lifetime warranty has you covered. While most of the other multi-tools are built strong, this one is built stronger.

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Leatherman Super Tool 300

  • 3.2 Inch Combination Blade
  • Amazing Grip Strength
  • Replaceable Parts

#8 Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool

Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool

Specs:

  • Style: Center-Drive/Plier-Based Folding
  • Number of Tools: 16
  • Weight: 13.6 oz
  • Warranty: Lifetime Limited Warranty

Here’s a multi-tool that not from the Leatherman lineup, and it’s a contender!

Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool screwdriver bits

The Gerber Center-Drive multi-tool fixes one of the most common problems in the multi-tool industry – the ability to use it like a normal tool. Most multi-tools are off-centered, making it harder to use the screwdrivers and other adjustment tools. But the Gerber center-drive system puts everything back in the middle.

Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool screwdriver

It comes with sixteen different tools/features to work with; they are:

  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Rotatable Wire Cutters
  • One-Thumb Opening System
  • 3.25” Blade
  • 3.25” Center-Axis Bit Driver
  • Bit Driver
  • Extra Bit Holder with Flathead Bit Included
  • Ruler
  • Bottle Opener
  • Pry Bar And Nail Puller
  • Awl
  • Fine/Coarse File
  • Serrated Blade
  • Lanyard Hole
  • Tool Lock

It’s not small either. It has a closed length of 4.7 inches which means it’s almost 9 inches when using the blade and/or center-axis bit driver. This isn’t a toy – it’s a competitor. It’s a very heavy, durable, and an all-in-one solution for most any situation. The knife blade is one of the longest in the industry and the center-axis design changes how you think about multi-tools.

Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool scissors

What We Like

The center-axis drive is an improvement that’s been needed for a long time. It takes simple tasks and makes them even easier. The 3.25-inch blade is one of the longest in the industry and cuts through everything.

Overall

Gerber has proven themselves as a true multi-tool competitor. This is one of the best multi-tools you can have. It’s a little heavier and bigger than other comparable tools, but it’s a great option if you want a full lifetime limited warranty.

Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool

  • 3.25 Inch Combination Blade
  • Center-Axis Design
  • Longer Than Most Designs

#9 Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier Multi-Tool

Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier Multi-Tool

Specs:

  • Style: Plier-Based Folding
  • Number of Tools: 12
  • Weight: 9 oz
  • Warranty: Lifetime Limited Warranty

While this isn’t a center-drive multi-tool, it’s definitely worth a look. This multi-tool is built primarily for electricians, mechanics, and HVAC technicians. It comes with twelve different tools/features to work with; they are:

  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Fine Edge Blade
  • Large Flathead
  • Cross Driver
  • Saw
  • Can Opener
  • Small Flathead
  • Scissors
  • Serrated Blade
  • Bottle Opener

It’s an extremely portable design with a closed length of 3.5 inches and a weight of only 9 ounces. While this doesn’t load up on extra tools, it provides everything you need for someone who deals with hoses and wires a lot. It’s got a contoured handle to make it even easier to hold while in tight situations.

Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier Multi-Tool unboxed

What We Like

This is a small, utility-driven multi-tool that works great for small projects of any type. If you work with wires and hoses, you’ll love the tools that this multi-tool offers.

Overall

This is a great budget-option that has a lot of tools. While it does focus on the general handyman and/or technician, you’ll find most of what you need without any problems.

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Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier Multi-Tool

  • Small, Portable Design
  • Contoured Handle
  • Budget-Friendly

#10 Hoffman Richter Multi-Tool

Hoffman Richter Multi-Tool

Specs:

  • Style: Keychain/Plier-Based Folding
  • Number of Tools: 7
  • Weight: 2.72 oz
  • Warranty: Lifetime Limited Warranty

And finally, here’s the smallest multi-tool we could find. It’s a keychain-style, plier-based folding tool with seven tools. Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s available:

  1. Needle Nose Pliers
  2. Wire Cutters
  3. Can Opener
  4. Small Knife Blade
  5. Serrated Edge
  6. Mini Phillips Head Screwdriver
  7. Stay-In-Place Clip

Now, this is not meant to solve all your problems. Instead, it is supposed to solve problems when you’ve forgotten all of your other tools and you need something in a pinch. The pliers can handle most jobs and the blade will cut wires and string without any issues. But, it’s always with you because it stays with your keys – you’ll never leave home without it.

Hoffman Richter Multi-Tool folded

What We Like

It has several small tools that are extremely useful when things “go wrong”. It’s easy to forget you even have it as it just hangs with your keys. But, it’s extremely handy when you absolutely need “anything” that can help.

Hoffman Richter Multi-Tool on MOLLE backpack

Overall

This is not going to replace your toolkit. It’s probably not going to replace your EDC multi-tool. But, it will be a great complement to your toolkit and/or vehicle.

Hoffman Richter Multi-Tool

  • Small, Portable Design
  • Seven Tools
  • Budget-Friendly

Buyer’s Guide To Find The Best Multi-Tool

It’s easy to look at “too much” when considering a new multi-tool. With all of the tools and/or features that are available, what really matters when picking out the best multi-tool? With all of the multi-tools we looked at, these are the factors that mattered most. While some of the other factors were important, they were extras (not necessities).

Ergonomics / Design

The first thing that you need to consider is how the multi–tool is designed. There are numerous designs for a multi-tool including keychain-style, general-purpose and/or full-sized, and specialized designs.

Keychain-style multi-tools are designed to fit comfortably on a keychain without looking out of place. These are considered compact and generally don’t have many tools to work with.

General-purpose and/or full-sized multi-tools are designed to fit in a pocket comfortably or a backpack. These are not compact and have more tools to choose from. This is where the bulk of multi-tools can be found. They tend to be made out of more durable materials and last longer than keychain-styled/compact multi-tools.

Specialized multi-tools are built for a purpose. In most cases, they are rather large and have tools that are considered uncommon for everyday use. However, as they are specialized to a specific function, they are more likely to be used frequently by those who seek them out. Some newer designs have really changed the way that we look at multi-tools. Now, some are specifically built to fit on our wrist and/or be used as a belt latch when not in use (making them easier to wear every day).

Functionality

Next, determine the purpose of your multi-tool. Will you be using this for an as needed tool or will you be using it when going on hiking trips?

If you are looking for an as needed multi-tool, then finding one with the most tools possible is your best bet. The reason behind this is simple as you don’t know what you will need on a day-by-day basis. For instance, you might need a knife one day and a screwdriver the next. On the weekend, you might need a bottle opener and a pair of pliers. With a general-purpose multi-tool, there’s a good chance it every single one of these tools will be built-in.

For those looking for a more specialized multi-tool, you might not need all of those “extras”. If you were hiking, you probably would not need a bottle opener. Instead, you would need a stronger and bigger knife along with multiple bits for different size rigging equipment.

Knowing the purpose of your multi-tool can help you determine the style and type of tools you will need, making a purchasing decision even simpler.

Portability

We’ve already discussed portability somewhat, but size matters when considering a multi-tool. The larger a multi-tool is, the less likely it is to be an EDC tool. This is because it is bigger than your pockets and/or purse.

Again, the size of a multi-tool is based on its primary design: keychain-style, general-purpose, specialized. Of these three, the keychain-style multi-tool will be easiest to carry around every day. It generally has very small tools that are used in a pinch. These are designed to fit on your keychain which makes them insanely portable. General-purpose tools tend to be larger, but they can still fit and most pockets and/or purses. Specialized multi-tools can sometimes be oversized due to the unique tools that they hold.

Overall, portability is a big factor in choosing a multi-tool. Some manufacturers have even gone to changing the design completely, leaving the three primary designs for other offbeat styles: belt latches and wrist tools. However, these newer designs don’t always incorporate the same number of tools. Again, making these more of a specialized multi-tool than a general-purpose multi-tool.

Build / Quality / Durability

Next, you need to consider the build, quality of materials, and durability of the multi-tool in question.

The build is the overall design of the multi-tool. This is what you see when it is both closed and open. How refined does it look? Does it look strong and durable or cheap and flimsy? Did they use quality materials in the design or did they try to save money by using cheap plastics? Does it feel heavy in your hand or light?

The quality of the multi-tool can be determined when you start to use the product. When you open up the multi-tool, do the tools rotate smoothly of freely? Do they wiggle or do they feel solid? While using them, do they feel safe and trustworthy?

The durability of the multi-tool matters because these are the tools that you will be using in possibly stressful situations. You don’t want a knife blade to bend and snap on you at the worst possible moment. Plus, a blade that bends and/or snaps can cause bodily damage to you or someone else. Can you apply enough pressure to whatever you are attempting to work with without fear that the tool will fail?

Cost

It would be great if everything was given to us for free. But, manufacturers don’t give away great products for free. With that being said, how much a multi-tool costs can affect your decision dramatically.

When comparing apples-to-apples, the cost can be the deciding factor. For instance, if both multi-tools that you are looking at have the same number of tools and functions but cost $50 and $150, there’s a good chance that you will buy the $50 one. This is just the reality of cost. In some circumstances, there is a genuine justification for the $150 price such as a lifetime warranty and/or replacement policy.

But, when you’ve narrowed down your search, look for the multi-tool that provides the most functionality at the best price for you.

Warranty

And finally, how willing is the manufacturer to stand behind their products? Some manufacturers are willing to stand behind their products for 90 days, 180 days, or even one year. But, some manufacturers are willing to stand behind their products for five years, and in some cases for a lifetime.

The more that a manufacturer is willing to stand behind their product, the better the chance that it will survive your daily life. Obviously, the manufacturer knows what they did to create a long-lasting product. They know that they used quality products and materials to survive most abuse. As such, they are willing to stand behind what they’ve created.

If durability is important to you, look for a warranty that is longer than most.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a multi-tool?
A: A multi-tool is a collection of tools that are packaged in an easy to carry, portable device. These tools are generally smaller than their singular counterparts. For instance, a screwdriver tends to be fairly long in length with a wider grip than a multi–tool.

Also, some multi-tools will come with a different set of tools when compared to each other. For instance, one multi-tool may come with a blade, a screwdriver, and a bottle opener. Another multi-tool may come with a blade, a screwdriver, and a set of pliers.

Q: How do I use a multi-tool?
A: Using a multi-tool is fairly simple. In most cases, you will open it by pulling two sides apart, revealing an array of tools to work with. Then, depending on your needs, you will reveal the tool(s) that you want to use such as a blade or a screwdriver.

One thing that should be noted is that these tools can be unsafe if not locked out properly. Some multi-tools come with locking mechanisms to keep blades and/or other tools from snapping back and causing damage to you. You cannot use as much pressure and/or force with a multi-tool that you could if you are using the actual tool by itself.

Q: Isn’t the Swiss-Army multi-tool considered the best of the best?
A: The Swiss-Army knife was one of the most universally accepted multi-tools in existence. When they first came out, they were considered the best of the best. But, as time has gone on, and technology has changed, they no longer represent the best of the best.

So, who is the best? Well, that depends on what you need. Swiss-Army knives were known to have just about everything, including the kitchen sink. But, some of the tools weren’t exactly needed and took up extra space. Today, there are plenty of multi-tools that function just as well as any of the Swiss-Army knives of the past.

While the Swiss-Army knife was one of the best of the best, there are other brands that have proven to be better. Some of those are on this list, and you can see why.

Q: Can a multi-tool replace all my other tools?
A: Multi-tools have plenty of tools to work with. So, some people feel like they don’t need the standard tools as they have a multi-tool with everything available to them.

A multi-tools should be used as a last-ditch and/or easily accessible option. When you need to cut some fishing line, a multi-tool will work great. If you need to filet a fish though, the blade is not going to be sufficient for the need. Multi-tools are great in a pinch, but if you have the right equipment available to you, you should use them first.

Q: How many tools do I really need in a multi-tool?
A: Is there really a such thing as too many tools? If you’re in a shed or a garage, the no. But, a multi-tool with a lot of options can become heavy and hard to carry. To determine how many tools you really need, you need to consider what applications you might need a multi-tool for.

Almost all multi-tools come with a knife, a screwdriver, a bottle opener, and pliers. For many, this is enough. However, there will be times when you need other tools as well. To determine the number of tools you really need, make a list of everything this you might need while out. Then, figure out how important each tool is and if it can be replaced with another tool that has dual functions. Doing this will help keep the weight and size of your multi-tool down, making it easier to carry for long periods of time.

Q: Are multi-tools TSA approved?
A: Multi-tools are not TSA approved. They have blades and other devices which can be used as a weapon. Even though the blades are small, they can still be used to inflict small amounts of damage to another person. Not to mention, the TSA is strict about everything related to metal and/or weaponry.

A multi-tool is not an item that you can use in a carry-on and should be packed safely inside of your luggage.

Q: Are the multi-tool knives/blades functional?
A: Multi-tool knives and/or blades are functional as long as they are used in the proper context.

For instance, using a multi-tool knife for EDC protection is probably not functional. The reason is that the blade is small, generally does not lockout, and takes longer to retrieve than a standard knife or other weapon. But, using a multi-tool knife for cutting open an envelope or finishing off a knot is functional.

Q: Can the knives/blades be swapped out?
A: In most cases, the blades of a multi-tool cannot be replaced or swapped out. They are built with special tolerances and/or design, and changing anything like that could cause integrity issues with the device.

Manufacturers are not willing to take chances with their tools by giving them this level of customization. Plus, it would be cost prohibitive for them to give you the option of an “à la carte”multi-tool configuration.

Q: Can other tools be swapped out?
A: As we’ve already answered in the question above, it is not possible to replace or swap out tools in a multi-tool device.

Q: Can I use a multi-tool as a defensive weapon?
A: In an absolute emergency situation, anything can be used as a defensive weapon. A multi-tool, in theory, could be used as a defensive weapon. But, retrieving a multi-tool and opening it is time-consuming. In an emergency situation, there’s not much time to work with. If you absolutely had no other option, then you could try to use your multi-tool for protection. However, we would suggest that you do your best to remove yourself from the situation, rather than engage someone.

Q: Can multi-tools be worn as EDC tools and/or weapons?
A: Multi-tools can be worn for use as an EDC tool. They are considered supplemental to standard tools and give you easier access in a quick pinch. Most multi-tools are small enough and light enough to be carried all day.

However, most multi-tools are not designed as EDC weapons. If you feel the need for an EDC weapon, you should look into an actual protection device such as a standalone knife and/or gun.

Conclusion

With so many multi-tools on the market right now, it can be quite difficult finding the right one for you. But, we did a ton of research trying to find out which ones were really worth your time. As such, we put together this list of the top ten best multi-tools for 2019. We tried to make sure that all of the multi-tools listed provided functionality, portability, durability, and were budget-friendly. We’re pretty confident that one of these will more than satisfy your needs for a multi-tool.

However, it’s possible that our list missed one or two multi-tools that would be better for you. So, we also provided a buyer’s guide to help you see what matters the most when considering a multi-tool. And, we even provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions to really help you make the best decision.

So, there’s only one thing left for us to ask you… did you find the right multi-tool for you?

Product Boxes: Last updated on 2019-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API