Buyer’s Guide: Multitools

Condense your toolkit and be more prepared than ever? It's possible. Meet the best multitools according to DIYers.

The Best Multitools, According to DIYers

Photo: istockphoto.com

Sometimes life can be unpredictable. You might start one task, such as a paint job, and you find yourself with a few more chores to check off like tapping popped nails back into place and spackling over them. Or, you might need to mitigate an unplanned emergency using the limited tools you have on hand.

In any of these scenarios, it pays to be prepared.

Many do-it-yourselfers choose to invest in a quality multitool, an innovative implement that serves more than one function—often more than even a handful. These supplies not only anticipate a wide range of needs but, by forging a set of individual tools into a compact design, they can save on space and weight in a toolbox. Cumbersome tools like scissors, files, screwdrivers, and knives are combined into a sleek and portable unit. The most famous multitool is probably the Swiss Army Knife, an icon that dates back to the 1890s. American companies later innovated this pocket-sized design to also include a pair of pliers, leading to a boom in multitool design.

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Plus, they’re naturally ready to go: These versatile, portable tools are designed to be kept on hand (or in a pocket) for whatever the day may bring. Once favored for outdoor activities like fishing, traveling mechanics, and survivalists, this classic multitool has evolved over the years to adapt to a modern lifestyle. This ever-expanding category of tools now includes everything from classic folding knives to LED lights and USB drives. Check out some of the best multitools on the market below, according to the handy consumers who use them on everything from emergencies to weekend projects.



The Best Multitools, According to DIYers

Photo: amazon.com

1. Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier ($20.49)

Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by Amazon consumers, this classic multitool does the work of 12 tools: needle-nose pliers, a straight blade, a serrated blade, a Phillips screwdriver, large and medium flathead screwdrivers, a wire cutter/stripper, scissors, bottle opener, can opener, saw, and awl. The open-frame design makes it lightweight and versatile, and its safety locking system makes it a great choice if the tool may be left around children, or to prevent it from accidentally opening in your pocket. Slide it into the included nylon sheath for extra protection from the elements, and you can even attach it to a belt. Available from Amazon.

Rave Review from a DIYer: “This tool has it all. I’ve had it for over three years now, and the number of times it’s come in handy has been incredible. The pliers set these apart from other multitools. They have been very handy for fixing my bicycle, motorcycle parts, and countless other things. On top of that, the tool has a fantastic locking mechanism which prevents them from slipping shut and injuring you, and I’ve used it without fear of hurting myself or anyone else. Absolutely fantastic purchase and worth buying for anyone, around the house, car, or on the go with you.”



The Best Multitools, According to DIYers

Photo: amazon.com

2. LighterBro Lighter Sleeve ($10.49)

This 4.5-star product integrates all the features of a multitool to an item many people already carry in their pocket: a lighter. Using a lighter sleeve as a base, the multifunctional add-on includes a knife, scissors, bottle opener, and a micro Phillips head screwdriver size 000 for delicate repairs on eyeglasses and small electronics like phones. Available from Amazon.

Rave Review from a DIYer: “This is great for everyday carry or to keep in your bug-out bag. The blade is very sharp, as advertised, plus the end of the blade can be used as a flathead screwdriver, sharp spring-action scissors, and handy tiny Phillips head screwdriver. The LighterBro can also open any beer/soda bottles with ease. I would definitely recommend this item for anyone who carries a regular sized Bic Lighter, especially anyone who is a prepper/survivalist.”



The Best Multitools, According to DIYers

Photo: amazon.com

3. Hyde Tools 17-in-1 Painter’s Multitool ($10.81)

Painting is a complex job that can involve a lot of scraping, nail-pulling, and can-opening, among other tasks. This 4.1-star multitool aims to lighten your load by anticipating all of the steps in a paint job and equipping you with the 17 tools you may need along the way all rolled into one lightweight carbon steel blade. This classic paint scraper (which already shaves loose paint, spreads putty, and cleans out cracks) features additional distinct edge profiles that serve as tools for removing nails, cleaning rollers, opening cans, and cracking open bottles. Meanwhile, the handle of the tool also contains four different screwdriver bits, specialized tools for spray guns, and a scribe beneath a durable cap that sets nails. Available from Amazon.

Rave Review from a DIYer: “I just bought a new house and am in the process of painting 90 percent of the inside. This stays in my back pocket the entire time! I’ve used it for opening cans, scraping rollers, applying spackle in a pinch when I’m stuck on a ladder, stripping old paint globs on trim, pulling nails, and even opening beer bottles.”



The Best Multitools, According to DIYers

Photo: amazon.com

4. Victorinox Swiss Army Midnite Manager @Work ($68.23)

The most famous multitool in the world got a modern update! Once used as a survival tool for soldiers, today’s Swiss army knife now includes a tool for the digital age as well: a removable 16GB USB flash drive for USB-C or USB-A ports. With its other practical features—a LED light, ballpoint pen, small blade, scissors, bottle opener, Phillips screwdriver, second screwdriver, wire stripper, and nail file, all on a key ring—it earns 4.4 stars on Amazon and 4.9 stars on the manufacturer’s site. It’s perfect for any modern weekend warrior who may need to slice, cut, trim, write, or take files to go. Available from Amazon.

Rave Review from a DIYer: “This medium-sized multitool fits on my keys and can be carried every day, yet you almost never notice it. The Swiss army knife has a fair amount of options for its size. The dual USB-C & USB-A flash drive is awesome if you have one of the new MacBook Pro’s and not all of your other devices support USB-C. This is an excellent addition to anyone’s keychain.”



The Best Multitools, According to DIYers

Photo: amazon.com

5. Leatherman Micra (starting at $27.79)

Leatherman has been at the forefront of multitool design since Tim Leatherman created his first “pocket survival tool” in 1983. This keychain-sized design honors that original, neatly-folding design with this newer, smaller, even brighter design thanks to its five color choices. It earns 4.7 stars from Amazon consumers by managing to squeeze some of the essential instruments—spring-action scissors, Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, a knife, bottle opener, nail cleaner, nail file, tweezers, and ruler—into a compact, two-and-a-half-inch silhouette at a price point that anyone can enjoy. Available from Amazon.

Rave Review from a DIYer: “I would highly recommend this pocket tool to anyone who is looking to save space but requires a durable product. I personally bought this one for a survival tin, but I also keep one in my glovebox and briefcase. The scissors have a strong resistance and allow for a superb cut. The other tools also come in handy quite a bit: short/sharp knife, nail file, flat/Phillips screwdriver, bottle opener, and tweezers. This tool even has a keychain and a basic ruler on the backside. Plus, I cannot stress how small this tool is when completely folded down. I’ve carried it in my fifth pocket and didn’t even realize it was there. If you’re an avid outdoors person, an urban warrior, a traveler, or a parent that can’t be burden down by carrying a full-sized Leatherman, then this is the best choice out there.”



The Best Multitools, According to DIYers

Photo: amazon.com

6. Wallet Ninja ($11.99)

Does it ever feel that the times you need a multitool most are the times you aren’t carrying a pocket tool? Slip this 4.4-star, credit card-sized tool into your wallet and never be without again. Made from heat-treated steel, the versatile card is strong, rust-proof, and downright reliable whenever you need to use one of its 18 features. It packs the power six wrenches, four screwdrivers, four openers (letter, box, can, or bottle), two rulers, a fruit peeler, and a cellphone stand built in, so you’re bound to find a use for it. Available from Amazon.

Rave Review from a DIYer: “I wouldn’t believe how many times I find myself using this tool to go and do everyday tasks. This tool works great and fits in my minimalist wallet perfectly. And, it is made of thick enough steel so that, when actually working on a project with this multitool, you won’t have to worry about it breaking and wishing you used a normal tool. I feel confident in this tool and its construction.”



The Best Multitools, According to DIYers

Photo: amazon.com

7. Sheffield Premium 14-in-1 Multitool ($8.31)

Hammers are notoriously clunky and take up a lot of space, yet this 4.4-star folding multitool squeezes much more into the standard profile. The claw hammerhead does the work of two types of pliers and wire cutters, as well, while eight other tools fold right into the handle: large and small slotted screwdrivers, a Phillips head screwdriver, knife, serrated knife, bottle/can opener, wire stripper, and a soft file. Available from Amazon.

Rave Review from a DIYer: “Very handy especially for emergencies. I bought this for my freshman daughter to have for an emergency toolkit, and we began using it almost immediately on dorm move-in day. This is definitely something I will order again for myself to keep in the car. I have full-size tools in the garage, but it’s always nice to have something handy when you are out and about and have a need.”



The reviews in this post have been edited for length and clarity.