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Multi-tool Buyer’s Guide

All the full-size tools in the 30-drawer tool chest sitting in your garage won’t do a thing for you if you can’t carry them with you. How many times have you needed a tool for a quick task but didn’t have it on you? Perhaps you could’ve used a screwdriver to tighten down a screw or a pair of scissors to snip off a random loose thread. Life is unpredictable; you never know what tool you’ll need throughout your day. If we could only carry around our tool chests with us everywhere we went. Thanks to EDC multi-tools, in a manner of speaking, we can.

Those who live the EDC lifestyle understand that limited carrying capacity requires us to make choices. The types of tools that one chooses to carry on them are dependent on a variety of factors including one’s line of work, lifestyle and environment, just to name a few.

The multi-tool genre as we now know it traces its beginnings back to an inventor named Timothy S. Leatherman. His name should sound familiar to anyone who has looked for a multi-tool before. Over three decades ago, Leatherman added pliers to a Swiss Army knife and gave birth to the multi-tool revolution that we are now beneficiaries of. Modern multi-tools have come a long way since then with many innovations that make them more useful than ever before. Join us as we look at some of the latest multi-tools along with some proven favorites. Maybe you can’t bring your garage with you everywhere you go, but at least you can have a tool chest in your pocket. EDC

1.Gerber Truss

Suited For
Maintenance, Repair, DIY

Number of Tools
17

Closed Length
4.35 in.

Weight
8.4 oz.

Details
Aiming to slim down the size of the multi-tool yet retain all of its effectiveness, Gerber presents to you their newest offering, The Truss. This multi-tool is equipped with 17 tools built to handle any and all tasks thrown at it, whether it’s at the job site or around the house in a slimmed-down package. The optimized tool pack retains only the most-used tools and features all outboard tools, all locking tools, and spring-loaded pliers. Key features include a wire stripper, medium flathead driver, awl, file, and ruler.

$52
gerbergear.com

2.Leatherman Rebar

Suited For
Maintenance, Repair, DIY

Number of Tools
17

Closed Length
4 in.

Weight
6.7 oz.

Details
The Rebar features the iconic lines of Leatherman’s famous PST multi-tool and includes all-locking tools for safety as well as robust all-stainless steel construction. Its pliers have been designed for strength and feature replaceable wire/hard-wire cutters, a first for a compact 4-inch-long tool from Leatherman. With plenty of features to get tough jobs done, yet in a portable, smaller, slimmer size, the Rebar is ready to tackle any job you task it to do no matter where you go.

$70
leatherman.com

3.CRKT Technician

Suited For
Automotive, Maintenance, DIY

Number of Tools
9

Closed Length
4.45 in.

Weight
11.8 oz.

Details
Designed specifically with mechanics and automotive enthusiasts in mind, designer Glenn Klecker set out to create a utility-packed automotive technician specialized multi-tool. Other than the standard tools you find in most multi-tools, the Technician also includes a telescoping magnetic pick-up device, needle-nose pliers that are backed up by grippers, wire cutters, and a wire stripper, a standard feeler gauge and a gasket scraper. A standard quarter-inch bit driver is also built in. If you work on cars and trucks, this is a multi-tool worth considering.

$90
crkt.com

4.Boker Plus Tech Tool City 5

Suited For
Maintenance, Repair, Rescue

Number of Tools
12

Closed Length
4.5 in.

Weight
5.6 in.

Details
The Tech Tool City 5 features a hollow ground stainless steel blade made of Swedish Sandvik 12C27 steel that has a rated Rockwell hardness of 58-60 HRC. The multi-tool also includes a glass-breaker, screwdriver with bottle opener and wire stripper, small serrated blade with screwdriver tip, scissors, foldable lanyard hole, punch/awl, pliers, Phillips screwdriver and a pocket clip. The tool’s construction is based on solid steel liners with two contoured black G10 handle scales.

$80
bokerusa.com

5.Gerber Center-Drive Plus

Suited For
Maintenance, Repair, DIY

Number of Tools
14

Closed Length
6.6 in.

Weight
9.5 oz.

Details
If you’re looking for a multi-tool that simulates full-sized tool capabilities, the Center-Drive Plus might be what you’re looking for. Gerber designed this multi-tool to have a center-axis driver that opens to align like a real screwdriver. Its center axis helps yield maximum torque and rotation. The knife blade is easily accessed on its outboard and sliding plier jaws open with the slide of a thumb. The Center-Drive’s full-size tools give the user a distinct advantage with repair and maintenance jobs.

$125
gerbergear.com

6.Leatherman FREE T4

Suited For
Maintenance, Repair, DIY

Number of Tools
12

Closed Length
3.6 in.

Weight
4.3 in.

Details
As a part of Leatherman’s newest line of tools, the FREE T4 is designed and built for general purpose duty in a compact package. Complete with all the standard tools you’d find in most multi-tools, the T4 also includes scissors, tweezers, and a heavy-duty file. It also comes with a pocket clip attached for easy access.

$60
leatherman.com

7.5.11 TKO Ratchet Kit

Suited For
Maintenance, Repair

Number of Tools
9

Closed Length
4.25 in.

Weight
3.74 in.

Details
This is clearly not your traditional multi-tool. We included it in this guide precisely because of that fact. A useful multi-tool is one that works for your required purposes. It doesn’t matter if its loaded with a ton of tools, if it’s missing the one that you need the most, you might as well not have it. The TOK handles many ratcheting duties that you’d find in firearm, knife, and multi-tool maintenance.  It includes a compact bi-directional magnetic ratchet, magnetic bit holder, six hex bits, pistol punch, pry tool, and bottle opener.

$23
511tactical.com

8.Keyport AnyWhere Tools

Suited For
Tech, Maintenance

Number of Tools
varies

Closed Length
2.87 in.

Weight
1.52 in. as configured

Details
Another nontraditional multi-tool, the Keyport Anywhere Tool is a modular fingernail clipper-size tool that can be configured by way of modules and inserts to fit your needs to a tee. The one shown here is made up of a Keyport MOCA 10-in-1 multi-tool and Pocket Flare modules. Stack up to three modules to create your perfect pocket-size tool. The MOCA Multi-Tool is made of stainless steel and includes a bottle opener, screwdriver, cord cutter, box opener, scoring tool, hex bit driver, 1/4-inch wrench, 5/16-inch wrench, 3/8-inch wrench, and 2-inch ruler. The Pocket Flare can light up as both a 24-lumen lamp or 27-lumen front beam flashlight.  Other inserts include USB flash drive, pen, charging cable, and more.

$32.98 as configured
mykeyport.com

 

 

Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the Winter, 2019 print issue of EDC Buyers Guide.