Swiss+Tech Utili-Key 6-in-1 from 12 Multitools to Tackle (Almost) Any Task

12 Multitools to Tackle (Almost) Any Task

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Left: Flickr/Louis Abate; Right: Swiss+Tech

Swiss+Tech Utili-Key 6-in-1

It’d be easy to mistake this tiny tool for a key—and that’s the point. Weighing less than an ounce, this key-shaped tool clips onto your keyring, but when opened it reveals a small knife with a half-serrated blade, Phillips screwdriver, medium and eyeglass-sized flat drivers, and a bottle opener. It’s not the easiest to use—watch out for the blade when tightening screws—but it’s a cheap light-use option if your keychain is already over-cluttered.
$8 on Amazon

Leatherman

Leatherman Micra

It’s hard to go wrong with Leatherman’s most popular keychain multitool. This surprisingly sturdy little tools weigh less than 2 ounces and measures 2.5 inches closed. Cheaper than Leatherman’s slightly more upscale Squirt PS4, the Micra’s tools open on the inside (slightly less convenient) and lack pliers. But its built in tweezers (they won’t get lost), spring-action scissors (good for cutting nails), file and nail cleaner make it a great little grooming kit; and its ruler, small and medium flathead screwdrivers, two-dimensional Phillips head, and capably sharp stainless steel knife make it good for small jobs—it’s popular among anglers says Leatherman. It also has a bottle opener and is available in a variety of colors or stainless steel.
From $19 on Amazon

Gerber

Gerber Dime

Gerber’s answer to the Micra is a worthy keychain multitool in its own right. In place of the Micra’s scissors the Dime has spring-loaded pliers that are seriously strong for their tiny size (and the external bottle opener gives you a little extra grip, too). Its tiny scissors are no match for the Micra’s but they’ll cut paper in a pinch. The Dime also has a medium flathead driver, 2-D Phillips head (at the end of a nearly useless nail file), decent knife blade and tiny tweezers that aren’t good for much. Its real selling point, apart from the pliers, is the package opener, which makes short work of those annoying clamshells, packing tape, or anything you can cut by scoring. One major downside: although the tools deploy from the outside, their stiffness will seriously test your fingernails. Available in red, green and black.
From $16 on Amazon

Columbia River Knife and Tool

CRKT Guppie

A pocket-sized complement to the plier-based tools out there, the Guppie by Columbia River Knife and Tools has an adjustable wrench on its unique carabiner-style body. One of this tool’s best features is its ability to accept hex bits, and it comes with four drivers that sit in a small holder, attached by magnets. The holder also has an LED flashlight, which can be a lifesaver if you need to do a little unexpected after-dark handiwork. The Guppie also houses a 2-inch steel drop point knife that’s easy to open from the blade slot.
$24 on Amazon

Leatherman

Leatherman Juice S2

A great mid-range multitool for your pocket, the Leatherman Juice S2 is a slim 3.25 inches long, but packs a robust 2.6-inch blade and larger-than-average scissors. It’s sleekly designed, with the larger tools on the outside and its four drivers tucked inside. As with all Leatherman tools, the pliers are solid and grippy. The Juice S2 has only the tools you’re likely to use on an everyday basis, so it keeps down on weight and size while staying functional. It has 12 tools in all, including both bottle and can openers. If you like the size, shape and hand-feel of the Juice, but are willing to spend more money for more functions, check out the CS4 or XE6 models.
$42.55 on Amazon

Victorinox

Victorinox SwissTool Spirit

Thanks to its ergonomic shape and the accessibility of its tools—you can deploy them when it’s closed—the SwissTool Spirit is like a Swiss Army knife with needlenose pliers. The comparison is more than apt: its maker, Victorinox, invented the Swiss Army knife as we know it in the 1890s, and to this day has a reputation for highly refined, superbly engineered products. The Spirit, say reviewers, is no exception. It has 25 easy-open, individually locking tools including four screwdrivers (two flat and two Phillips), scissors, metal file with saw, wood saw, chisel, can opener, hook blade, wire cutters and more. If you prefer a typical Swiss Army blade, buy the Spirit X instead, which uses that instead of the butter knife shaped blade on the standard model. Weight: 7 ounces; closed length: 4 inches.
From $71 on Amazon

Leatherman Skeletool

One look at this minimalist multitool and you’ll know where the name comes from. Thanks to  holes cut out of its stainless steel body, the Skeletool is only 5 ounces, and it contains only the bare-bone essentials: flick-open blade, pliers, bottle opener and a driver that accepts Leatherman bits (two reversible bits are included for a total of four driving options). The carabiner-style clip makes it easy to carry on a belt loop or your pack, but, at 4 inches closed, it’s small enough to live in your pocket. Also available is the Skeletool SX model for snowboarders, with an added diamond-coated file on the handle.
$38.40 on Amazon

SOG Specialty Knives

SOG PowerLock

The PowerLock by SOG Specialty Knives is a no-nonsense tool made by a company that supplies tactical knives to the military. What sets this apart from other tools on this list are its exceptionally powerful pliers, which have a “compound leverage” gearing system that exerts twice the force of single-hinged pliers. They are so strong, users say, the wire cutters easily tear through sheet metal. There are other touches as well: you can flip open the PowerLock one-handed (good, since the tools are on the inside) and it has handle covers to keep it from digging into your palms when you grip tight. In all, it comes with 18 tools including a serrated blade, double-toothed saw, 3-sided file and the other usual suspects—not that you’re wedded to them. The PowerLock is customizable, and switching out individual components is as easy as ordering them from SOG and loosening a hex bolt. Weight: 9.6 ounces; closed length: 4.6 inches.
$65 on Amazon

Columbia River Knife and Tool

CRKT Zilla-Tool

The Zilla-Tool by Columbia River Knife and Tool, makers of hunting and tactical knives, doesn’t look like other plier-based tools on this list. Instead of the typical fold-out design, its external pliers are ready to go with the push of a button that releases a contoured handle for easy grip. On one end is a hex driver that accepts the two included bits, a Phillips and flathead, or any other standard hex bit—although users say that bits have a tendency pop out during heavy use. The real raison d’etre of the Zilla-Tool is its 3-inch flick-open, spear point knife with some seriously toothy serrations at the base. More so than the competition, this is a multitool for knife lovers. At 6.5 inches closed and nearly half a pound, it’s not super pocket-friendly. Thankfully, CRKT includes a detachable clip, and also makes a smaller version, the Zilla-Tool Jr.
From $24 on Amazon

Gerber

Gerber Diesel Multi-Plier

The Diesel is practically Gerber’s multitool mascot and considered by many to be one of the best all-around multitools out there. Similar to the brand’s military-issue multitools, the Diesel is made for pro-level abuse. It’s got Gerber’s signature flick-open pliers, double-sided file (one side for wood, the other for metal), a sturdy saw, partially-serrated knife, four drivers, bottle and can openers and scissors. At nearly 5 inches and 8.6 ounces, it’s on the larger end of the pocket-tool spectrum, but a good choice if you prefer a little more heft.
From $44 on Amazon

Leatherman

Leatherman Wave

Another contender for single-best everyday multitool on the market, the Leatherman Wave is the most popular tool from a company that makes the most popular multitools. The Wave’s thumb-open knives—both serrated and flat-edged—are deployable from the outside, along with the saw and file. They lock securely in place so there’s no wobbling or accidental closing on your hand. The inside holds standard implements—bottle and can opener, wire stripper and scissors, not to mention Leatherman’s solid pliers—but there are also large and small bit drivers that accept Leatherman’s proprietary bits (two reversible bits are included for a total of four drivers), so you can fix eyeglasses or your ATV. At 4 inches and 8.5 ounces, it’s compact enough to travel with you wherever you go, but big enough to have all the functionality you need for a job that doesn’t require dedicated tools.
$56 on Amazon

Tool Logic

Tool Logic Survival Card SVC2

We thought we’d throw in a palate cleanser after building up to the heartier tools on this list. The Survival Card is a nice little backup survival kit to keep in your wallet for emergencies. The dimensions of its face match a credit card perfectly, although the depth is that of a few cards stacked. Nestled into its flat package is a red LED flashlight, small survival knife, tweezers, toothpick, a signal whistle (which users say is quite loud) and a magnesium alloy fire-starter strip. Granted, the knife makes a bit of an awkward striker for the fire rod, but it works. ToolLogic also makes a model with a compass and magnifying glass in place of the light, but many reviewers complain the compass is faulty. Best to stick with this one and carry a separate compass with signal mirror.
$14 on Amazon

12 Multitools to Tackle (Almost) Any Task