Our team has tested and reviewed different multitools and in this article, let’s go and tackle the creams of the crop for this year!
LEATHERMAN, Charge Plus TTi
19 TOOLS IN 1: Get it all done with pliers, replaceable wire cutters, wire crimper and stripper, serrated and plain knives, saw, spring-action scissors, cutting hook, bottle openers, files and more
Our overall winner is the Leatherman Charge+ TTi for its excellent mix of functional features. It is made of high quality materials and is versatile in nature. Among all its features, the blades come at the top of our list. Its titanium frame decreases the weight slightly. This multitool is average in weight at about ½ pound. Although it’s not on the lighter end, people find it easy to carry around as it can sit well on the belt sheath, on a lanyard, or simply clipped to the pocket.
However, the Charge+TTi holds a rather high price tag. It’s the most expensive of all the products we’ve tested. Another thing is that we wish it came a full-size ¼” bit driver instead of the smaller version. They could’ve just removed the generic flat screwdriver to make way for the full-sized bit driver. Despite the drawbacks, the pros still easily outweigh the cons making this our champ!
- Number of functions: 19 + bits
- Weight: 8.8 oz
- Sophisticated materials and build
- Impressive features
- Well-thought layout
- On the heavier side
- On the pricier end
Leatherman Skeletool CX
Stainless Steel with Nylon Sheath, LEATHERMAN 42 Piece Bit Kit Set, and LEATHERMAN Bit Driver Extender
If you’re all for a smaller tool set, this one is a great option. It’s easier to carry around on the daily. The features included, although limited, are usable and cleaner. You can rest in the fact that it’s of high quality as Leatherman is known to not compromise in this department.
The Skeletool CX is just the right amount of small in our opinion. This was pretty much a risk for the company but it ended up paying off just fine. It contains the most usable features so it’s great to have it in your pocket just in case. However, the bit driver is again too small for our liking. But if portable is what you prefer, the decision is way too easy with this one.
- Number of functions: 5 + bits
- Weight: 5.0 oz
- Pocket clip carry
- Low profile transport
- Tool come in full sizes
- Limited features
- Proprietary bit driver
Packs a quiver of 18 tools, including pliers, replaceable wire cutters, wire stripper, knives, saw, spring-action scissors, ruler, can & bottle openers, files and screwdrivers
The Leatherman Wave+ is almost as complete as the Charge TTi. It houses 90% of the features Charge TTi has but is sold at only 60% of the cost which makes this the tool that’s truly worth every penny.
In terms of sophistication, of course this runs second to our overall winner. But then again, it comes at a fraction of the price. The downside is that it does not house everything the Charge TTi does. But other than materials and accessories, both of the multitools chrome in similar general design, tool selections, and dimensions. If you want to save some money, this is a great option to consider.
- Number of functions: 17
- Weight: 8.5 oz
- Full of features
- High quality build
- Limited stock carry options
- Compromised materials
Equipped with 14 tools to handle almost anything: knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, a wire stripper, scissors, a package opener, bottle and can openers, a file and a ruler
Are you working on a tight budget here? Well, fret no more! The Leatherman Wingman brings the company’s high quality promise but with a price tag no one can say no to. It has interesting features as well: quirky opener, hand strain-reducing pliers, and an integrated pocket clip for easy carrying.
But of course, the deduction in the price is for a reason. The lone blade comes in a hybrid straight or serrated edge which demands for regular sharpening because of its mid-grade steel material. But still, we attest that you truly get more than your money’s worth with this multitool. If you’re the type to lose things quickly, you might need to consider this as it won’t hurt your pocket that much!
- Number of functions: 10
- Weight: 6.8 oz
- High quality
- Excellent tool selection
- Hybrid blade is difficult to sharpen
- Short blade
- No accessory bit driver
Includes one 16 piece multi tool, a 12 piece standard bit set, and a coyote brown molle sheath
The Gerber Center-Drive is undoubtedly the best screwdriver in town! It has easily dethroned our former favorite SOG Baton Q4. The Center Drive screwdriver houses a longer extension and a handle that is capable of more torque, thus, more efficiency. It is also ergonomically-made with it centering the bit along the axis. This mimics the feels of a single-purpose screwdriver. Overall, the Center Drive is more versatile and diverse than the SOG.
If what you always need is a screwdriver, the Center Drive will fit you just right. It is the best we’ve tried so far. But, if you need the other tools as much, it’s not the best of the other departments. The pliers are pinching-prone and it takes several steps to access other available tools.
- Number of functions: 15
- Weight: 9.9 oz
- One-handed pliers
- One-handed main blade
- Deploying pliers is required to access other tools
- Rattly build
Gerber Dime Mini multi-Tool
10 tools: Needle nose spring-loaded pliers, Wire cutter, Fine edge blade, Retail package opener, Scissors, Medium flat driver, Crosshead driver, Bottle opener, Tweezers, File
The Gerber Dime wins our best keychain tool award. In fact, it is smaller than the usual key “fob” available in newer cars. This minimalist keychain houses some useful tools that can help you in your daily lives.
If it were up to us, this may also be called a keychain bottle opener. The bottle opener is protruded in a way that it’s easily accessible and available for use. This feature is actually what made it rise to the top of the keychain tool department.
- Number of functions: 9
- Weight: 2.3 oz
- Readily available bottle opener
- Blade is short
- Other functions are too tiny
Leatherman Crunch Multitool
15 TOOLS IN 1: Features a variety of pliers, wire cutters, wire stripper, serrated knife, ruler, pin vice, bottle opener, files, hex bit driver and screwdrivers
If you’re looking for pliers, you might have just found the best one yet. A typical multi-tools buyer would buy one to use it in his/her daily life. This is why versatility and portability are of high importance. What sets this apart with other pliers is that it is a locking type.
The drawbacks are the readiness of the other tools and their selection. It houses just about half of the number of Charge+’s features. It also takes multiple steps to be able to access the Crunch’s blade. The Crunch comes with an integrated but driver, however, the locking mechanism screw should be removed first to access it. But if the majority of your needs lies in the pliers, this may be more than enough.
- Number of functions: 8
- Weight: 6.8 oz
- Locking pliers
- Excellent quality
- Limited features
- Pliers must be deployed to access other tools
Analysis and results
In 1984, Tim Leatherman placed the “Pocket Survival Tool” in the market. This basically started the multi-tool we know today. Here, we disclose the specifics of how we tested and analyzed the different multi-tools in this article.
We have examined the relationship between the price and its functions, construction, materials, and ergonomics. This is basically a question of “is it worth my money?” One thing to note is that multi-tools, no matter how good, assume compromise when it comes to ergonomics. No matter how expensive, it will still be better to utilize a stand-alone screwdriver than a multi-tool with one in it.
Points were awarded to those with comfortable operation. The Leatherman WIngman is a great value since it’s perfect for everyday carry. It houses the typical functions needed. On the other hand, the more expensive but still cheaper than the Charge+ TTi is the Leatherman Wave which performs similarly with its pricier counterpart.
For this parameter, we have evaluated the features of each multi-tool. We took into consideration the usability of each tool more than the number of functions they house. For example, we will choose a multi-tool with ten great tools than one with fifteen below-average functions.
The most valuable functions are: a great blade, tight-and-pointed pliers that come with wire cutters, integrated bit drivers, and scissors. The topnotchers of this department are the Leatherman Surge, Leatherman Charge+ TTi, and Leatherman Wave. Moreover, some users prefer the advance package openers of the Gerber Dime and the Leatherman Wingman.
Different companies count their tools in different ways. The SOG PowerAssist and the Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X feature almost similar sets but the former has claimed 16 features while the latter 26. The Gerber Suspension offers sufficient feature sets while the SOG Baton Q4 has lesser features. Additionally, the Leatherman Skeletool, Gerber Crucial, and Gerber Center Drive house few features than others but every function offers great ergonomic consideration.
Products with locking pliers typically house less features but the features available are fully functioning. Examples are Leatherman Crunch and Irwin 5WR Vise-Grips with the former having fewer tools than the latter. This Irwin is bigger with an accessible blade from the outside. Despite this, we still prefer the Crunch a lot better.
The small Gerber Dime houses a package opener while the Leatherman Squirt PS4 has a file, but they almost look the same. But between the two, a ready-to-use bottle opener is better, thus, the Gerber Dime is the better option.
A line of multi-tools called “Free” was recently released by Leathereman. The hinges in the products of the line boast of a smooth and unresisted pivoting mechanism. This is due to the hinges being heels in place by magnets and springs rather than friction. The Leatherman Free P4 is a helpful tool, but a lot less than the other variants from the same company. It does not have a bit driver which is a big drawback.
Now, let’s look into the Leatherman Skeletool CX which is a full-sized but minimalist tool. This is important for those who prefer their tools as normal-sized as possible. But, the bit driver can still be bigger for better usage.
Among all the products within our arms’ reach, the Havalon Evolve is the only one with a user-replaceable main blade. It comes with a thin and interchangeable blade that is sharp, flimsy, and flexible. We would’ve loved it if the Havalon also included a more traditional blade.
With every product is a unique construction. The hinges and locking mechanism can easily give out the quality of the build. Higher scores were awarded to those with durable materials, tight build tolerances, and smart constructions. The winners in this department are the Charge TTi, SOG PowerAssist, Wave+, Skeletool CX, and Victorinox Swisstool.
The smaller models such as the Squirt PS4, Gerber Dime, Gerber Vise, and SOG Micro ToolClip don’t have the greatest construction quality since all the tools are downsized, thus, weakening the build. Among these, the SOG and the Gerber Dime are the most durable.
One class that is typically quality-compromised when it comes to construction are plier hinges. But the models we have here help up pretty well. The Victorinox SwissTool Spirit XC wins because of its smooth construction and Swiss precision.
The Leatherman Crunch’s construction is rugged and sturdy. It’s filed under the locking pliers category so the hinges have more play in this one. It houses reliable and sufficient blades and drivers. The Irwin 5WR Vise Grip is similar to the Crunch. It has locking pliers as well with a bit driver and a blade attached to its body.
The ergonomic quality is primarily judged via the comfort of the handle shape and the accessibility of the tools.
All of the variants tested come in a set of pliers with other tools built into the handle, except the SOG Baton Q4. The Baton is elongated like a screwdriver in its stowed form. Typically, the pliers fold into the handles, but the manner by which this is done differs from one model to another. All of our products actually passed this test. The SwissTool and Charge TTi win the smoothest handling category while the Leatherman Free P4 inches close to the two.
In terms of plier handle roundness, the Crunch and the SOG PowerAssist are similar. The close the pliers handles are, the higher the chance of pinching your hand during use. This is not a problem with the Gerber Suspension with the Victorinox coming in second. They both have handles that are curved away leaving enough space to prevent pinching. On the other end, the SOG PowerAssist and Center Drive have the most pinch potential.
Another great consideration is that main blades that are deployed with the use of just one thumb without the need to deploy any other tools. These are the Havalon Evolve, SOG PowerAssist, Gerber Suspension, Wingman, Free P4, Skeletool, Charge+ TTi, and Wave+.
The one-handed blade opening is a convenient trend nowadays. It’s easy to understand why tools with this feature scores high under the ergonomic department. In line with this, we bow to the SOG PowerAssist because of its ease of deployment.
The Crunch on the other hand requires deployment of the eplieres before getting to the blades and drivers. The smaller products also fall short in terms of ergonomics such as the portable Gerber Dime and Leatherman Squirt PS4. An exception, however, is the Gerber Dime’s bottle opener since its bottle opener is readily accessible.
We love our tools with various carrying methods for convenience. The Leatherman Charge+ TTi is easily carried around with a pocket clip, a lanyard, a kitchen, or through a rugged belt pouch. This makes it portable despite it being on the bigger side. The Leatherman Surge and the Leatherman Wave+ can also be configured to be carried in different ways.
Among those that house full-size features, the Leatherman Skeletool CX is the most portable among all. It’s available in almost all of the common carrying options. Take note that it does not have a lot of features, but all that are present comes full in size with an external tool housing an integrated carabiner style clip and a smart pocket clip. The Gerber Crucial also has similar portability features.
Moreover, we have the Havalon Evolve which is a little bigger than the Crucial and the Skeletool. This is because of the interchangeable blades and blade changing tool taking up significant space.
With the exception of the Dime, Crucial, Squirt, Micro ToolClip, Vise, and Wingman, all other products came with sheaths. The Skeletool and Irwin 5WR can be bought without a sheath so it’s basically your choice. Only the SOG Baton Q4 cannot be put onto a pants belt among all the products equipped with sheaths. The Gerber Center Drive’s sheath is available in horizontal and vertical carrying options. The Free p4, Skeletool, SOG Micro, Havalon, Wingman, Baton, Crucial, and the Charge TTi is clippable to the front pocket’s edge. An aftermarket pocket clips are available with the Wave+ and Surge. The Leatherman Crunch, additionally, is best carried with the sheath it comes with or loosely in one’s pocket. The largest and the least portable among all the products under our belts is the SOG PowerAssist.
Now that we have given you our extensive review of the multi-tools of 2020, the decision is now all yours to make! Happy shopping!