The Best Multi-Tools Tested in 2023

A plethora of handy gadgets in one compact package makes multi-tools increasingly popular. See how some of today’s models fared in my hands-on testing.

By Cody Calamaio and Glenda Taylor | Updated May 17, 2023 10:51 AM

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The Best Multi-Tool Options

Photo: Glenda Taylor

A twist on the tried-and-true Swiss Army knife, the aptly named multi-tool offers a number of DIY-friendly functions for use at work, at home, or while on vacation—without having to bring along a cumbersome tool box. Many consumers opt to invest in a quality model that truly performs well. Read on to find out what happened when I tested some of the most popular multi-tools on the market today.

The multi-tools that earned a spot in our lineup had to prove they were dependable, well made, easy to use, and safe. Each tool was extensively tested for quality, performance, and value—and compared against other top models. Ahead, learn what to look for when shopping for a multi-tool and find out how I used test results to choose the following models for this roundup of the best multi-tools.

  1. BEST CHOICE: LEATHERMAN Wingman Multitool with Spring-Action
  2. RUNNER-UP: Gerber Gear Truss Multitool with 17 Tools: Pocket
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: WETOLS Multitool, 21-in-1 Hard Stainless Steel
  4. UPGRADE PICK: LEATHERMAN, FREE P4 Multitool with Magnetic Locking
  5. BEST EVERYDAY CARRY: MOSSY OAK Multitool, 21-in-1 Stainless Steel Multi
  6. BEST CAR-CARRY: dpnao Multitool Wrench With 7 Tools/Pliers/Wire
  7. BEST OUTDOOR: Bear Grylls Ultimate Multitool
  8. BEST CAMPING: DR.LILIANG Multitool Camping Accessories
  9. BEST COMPACT: Gerber Gear 30-000469N Dime Mini Multitool Keychain
  10. BEST EASY-ACCESS: LEATHERMAN, Wave Plus Multitool with Premium
The Best Multi-Tool Options

Photo: Glenda Taylor

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Multi-Tool

Why carry a purse-full, backpack-full, or glove compartment-full of tools when you can have a host of functions in one compact package? Multi-tools have long been favorites of DIYers, homeowners, commuters, and campers, among others, simply because they offer a wide variety of tool options that can be helpful in unforeseen situations.

Keep in mind that the tools available in a standard multi-tool are not designed to match a single-use tool’s level of performance. For example, pliers on a multi-tool will not perform at the same level as a pair of high-quality plumber pliers. But multi-tools aren’t designed to compete with high-end pliers. Instead, the tools in a standard multi-tool are made to allow the user to perform specific tasks in a pinch—when single-use tools aren’t available.


Though today’s multi-tools offer many functions, they fall into two main categories: knife-based and pliers-based.

  • Knife-based: This type of multi-tool features one or more large knife blades but usually won’t include a set of pliers. If it does have pliers, they will typically be small and seem more like an afterthought.
  • Pliers-based: A well-crafted and precise set of pliers is the main focal point of this type of multi-tool. It will likely also come with one or more knives, but the pliers will be engineered to grab, twist, and pull virtually any material. Pliers-based multi-tools are the most common types sold today.

Material and Finish

The best multi-tools are made from high-quality steel and feature engineered moving parts. The goal is to produce a tool that folds into a relatively compact space yet is made from quality material that will last for years.

Stainless steel is a favorite for multi-tools, and it comes in a variety of finishes. Today, one of the more popular finishes is brushed gunmetal, which provides a tactical look. Other finishes are highly polished steel, brushed nickel, satin, and black stainless steel. Most multi-tools do not have padded handles, but a few feature padded inserts in the handles that make using the tool more comfortable.

Size and Weight

Multi-tools are typically small and lightweight, with the majority weighing in under 1 pound and measuring just 4 to 7 inches in length. Much smaller models are available, designed for carrying in a purse or a pocket; these weigh just 3 to 4 ounces and are less than 3 inches long. Typically, the smaller the multi-tool, the fewer unique tools it will contain, but this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. Some larger multi-tools that weigh over a pound will have only four or five individual tools, so a wide variety exists.


The most common individual tools in a multi-tool are pliers and knives, since they provide the most sought-after functions. After that, expect to find a variety of screwdrivers, including flat-head and Phillips, bottle openers, files, can openers, and even scissors and tweezers, depending on the model.

In the models I tested, I didn’t focus as much on the number of functions but rather on the quality and performance of those included. Having a multi-tool with 25 different functions certainly covers a lot of usage bases, but each function adds a bit to the tool’s weight, and some functions may never be used, such as a knife sharpener or a whistle.


The value of a multi-tool lies in the ability to access mini versions of standard tools when the need arises. However, most multi-tools are not as comfortable to use as high-end, single-use tools. For example, a standard hammer will often come with a padded nonslip grip that reduces hand fatigue and helps the user grasp the device comfortably. Compare that to a hammer on a multi-tool that might feature ergonomic indentations for fingers but won’t provide any real comfort support.

The individual functions on multi-tools are made for quick, limited use, such as pounding a tent stake into the ground. In contrast, a full-size hammer is made to drive as many nails as necessary to construct a project.


One of the top draws of multi-tools is the ability to take them anywhere—except, perhaps, in carry-on luggage when flying. They’re small enough and light enough to slip in the pouch of a tool belt or tuck into a camping duffel. Multi-tools replace a multitude of standard tools in a compact form.

The smallest models can easily be kept on a keychain or in trouser pockets without being burdensome. Even the largest models are easy to carry in a car console or a backpack. The addition of a carabiner clip is a boon for attaching the tool to a strap, and if the multi-tool comes with a case, it often has a loop for securing on a belt.

The Best Multitools

Photo: Glenda Taylor

Our Top Picks

The market is awash in multi-tools, each claiming to offer the most robust model with the best functions. Rather than take the manufacturer’s word for it, I decided to test today’s top options. I didn’t go easy on the tools, either. If they came with knives, I tested their strength and sharpness. If they came with pliers or screwdrivers, I pushed those functions to their limit on various fasteners.

Tools that broke were automatically eliminated. Points were awarded for high-quality materials, durability, sound engineering, and overall value. At the end of the testing, the following multi-tools earned a spot in this lineup. One is sure to be suitable for your needs.

Best Overall

The Best Multi-Tool Option: LEATHERMAN Wingman Multitool with Spring-Action

From one of the top multi-tool manufacturers comes the best overall pick in this lineup—the LEATHERMAN Wingman Multitool. This tool is designed around a pair of solid steel pliers that offer spring action (meaning the user only has to squeeze the handles to close them; they spring open on their own).

I was impressed with the precise fit of the pliers’ jaw tips. There is no gap or unevenness between the steel jaws, and I could grasp tiny wires as easily as larger items. The Wingman also features 13 other tool functions: a knife, small scissors (not spring-loaded), wire cutters, screwdrivers, and a bottle opener. It also has a tiny ruler but, unfortunately, the increments aren’t labeled, leaving the user to guess the actual precise measurements.

The look and feel of the Wingman are top quality. The steel is polished to a high sheen, the surface is exceptionally smooth, and the tools are easily accessible with minimal effort—no straining or breaking a fingernail to get one out. At just 6.9 ounces and measuring 3.8 inches long by 1 inch by 2 inches, the Wingman is compact enough to carry in a tool belt pouch or stow in a car console for quick access.

Product Specs

  • Type: Pliers-based
  • Number of functions: 14
  • Weight and size: 6.9 ounces; 3.8 inches by 1 inch by 2 inches


  • High quality
  • Precision pliers
  • Easy-to-access functions


  • Ruler has no markings

Get the LEATHERMAN Wingman multi-tool on Amazon, at Ace Hardware, or at The Home Depot.


The Best Multi-Tool Option: Gerber Gear Truss Multitool with 17 Tools Pocket

Gerber, a respected name in multi-tools, pocket knives, and tactical gear, produces the second-to-top pick in this lineup. The Gerber Gear Truss Multitool is a pliers-based tool that features a total of 17 functions. The pliers are heavy duty and spring-loaded for easy use, and the plier jaws meet flawlessly at the tips, making it easy to grab even tiny items, such as wire or paper, without slippage.

I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of spring-loaded scissors because many models don’t have this feature. The Gerber Gear multi-tool fits nicely in the hand with one exception: a molded polyethylene lanyard loop at the bottom of one handle protrudes slightly, and when I grasped the tool tightly to exert force on the pliers, the loop poked into my palm. This could become uncomfortable for someone who needs to use the pliers for an extended period.

This multi-tool is made from attractive gunmetal gray steel that is polished to a satin sheen. Some of the functions, such as the screwdriver and the bottle opener, are slightly hard to pull out, but they’re solid and easy to use once they are extended. Overall, this is a well-made pliers-based multi-tool that offers a range of other functions, including multiple screwdrivers, can and bottle openers, a file, a serrated saw, and more. It weighs in at 8 ounces and measures 1.75 inches by 0.5-inch by 4.35 inches (when closed).

Product Specs

  • Type: Pliers-based
  • Number of functions: 17
  • Weight and size: 8 ounces; 1.75 inches by 0.5 inch by 4.35 inches


  • Well made
  • Quality pliers
  • Spring-loaded scissors
  • Gunmetal gray steel


  • Slightly uncomfortable when gripping tightly

Get the Gerber Gear multi-tool on Amazon, at The Home Depot, and at Walmart.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Multi-Tool Option: WETOLS Multitool, 21-in-1 Hard Stainless Steel

There’s no need to spend a lot to get a decent multi-tool with abundant functions. The WETOLS 21-in-1 Multitool offers a robust set of pliers and a host of other tools in a compact size that’s just 4.8 inches long by 2.44 inches by 1.65 inches. At 11.8 ounces, it weighs slightly more than some other multi-tools in this lineup, but it features a very smooth hand feel, and all the tools are easy to extend and retract. Plus, it comes at an attractive price point.

I liked the ultra-smooth feel of the WETOLS. It has no sharp edges, and the outer edges of the handles appear to have some type of protective coating, which I appreciated. I was impressed by the large (and very sharp) knife: The blade measures a full 3.25 inches, and when locked in place, it measures 7 inches from the tip of the blade to the bottom of the handle. That’s almost unheard of in a pliers-based multi-tool where the knife is basically an add-on.

The WETOLS features many standard multi-tool functions, including knives, files, and bottle and can openers. It also offers something a little unusual and super-handy: a hexagon socket that holds four different driver bits that are kept in a pocket of the tool’s canvas sheath. The double-ended screwdriver bits include a flat-head, a Phillips, and a Torx (star-shape). A strong magnet holds the bits snugly in place; they didn’t fall out even when I shook the tool vigorously.

The can opener on this multi-tool worked better than the ones I tested on the other tools—it was sharp and large enough to cut around the top of a can without slipping. All in all, I found the WETOLS multi-tool offered a lot of value for its budget price.

Product Specs

  • Type: Pliers-based
  • Number of functions: 21
  • Weight and size: 11.8 ounces; 4.8 inches by 2.44 inches by 1.65 inches


  • Ultra-smooth feel
  • Quality pliers
  • Large 3.25-inch knife blade


  • Slightly heavy

Get the WETOLS multi-tool on Amazon, and Walmart.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Multi-Tool Option: LEATHERMAN, FREE P4 Multitool with Magnetic Locking

The second Leatherman multi-tool to make the lineup, the FREE P4, is engineered to near-perfection, and it comes with a softly brushed stainless steel finish that gives it an upscale look. Like nearly all Leatherman multi-tools, the plier jaws on the FREE P4 are highly precise and fit together without so much as a hair’s breadth of space between them. That said, I was disappointed that the pliers were not spring-loaded. Interestingly enough, the small pair of scissors is spring-loaded and cuts exceptionally well.

The individual tools are all easy to extend, and the FREE P4 comes with the nice inclusion of magnetic handles that lock together to keep the tool closed but are simple to pry apart. The FREE P4 comes with a stainless steel pocket clip, but the device weighs in at a total of 12 ounces, so it could get a little heavy if clipped to a pocket for any length of time. It’s probably better suited to a desk drawer, a briefcase, or a car console.

The saw on the FREE P4 is a nice addition—I found it quite sharp and able to slice through a wood dowel quickly and easily. The multi-tool comes with other standard functions, including a wire cutter and an assortment of screwdrivers and knives. It also has a wire stripper and a wire crimper, but since the tool is solid steel and not insulated, working with electrical wires might not be the safest idea. Users should ensure all electrical wires are not hot (i.e., powered) before using the stripper or the crimper.

Product Specs

  • Type: Pliers-based
  • Number of functions: 21
  • Weight and size: 12 ounces; 5.38 inches by 7 inches by 1.25 inches


  • Sleek and attractive
  • Stainless steel belt clip
  • Robust saw
  • Magnetic closure


  • Slightly heavy
  • Pliers not spring-loaded

Get the LEATHERMAN FREE P4 multi-tool on Amazon, at Cabela’s, or at Bass Pro Shops.

Best Everyday Carry

The Best Multi-Tool Option: MOSSY OAK Multitool, 21-in-1 Stainless Steel Multi

Right out of the box, I found the Mossy Oak’s multi-tool to be an impressive combination of quality and engineering. The pliers on this plier-based model are beefy and robust. In addition to precise needle-nose tips, they feature a larger convex area toward the base of the jaws that is suitable for grabbing wider items, such as nuts. The brushed stainless steel handles are well made and very smooth—no rough or sharp spots.

The high quality of the pliers, combined with the inclusion of a magnetic driver socket and four double-ended screwdriver bits (stored in its canvas sheath), makes this multi-tool a beneficial choice for carrying on a daily basis. It can be used to tighten or loosen nuts and screws, cut lightweight materials, or file wood or metal—and its ruler has labeled increments.
Weighing in at 11.8 ounces, it’s on the beefy side, but it features the functions I consider most likely to be used regularly. A pocket clip would be a great addition to the Mossy Oak, but as it is, I found the tool highly functional.

Product Specs

  • Type: Pliers-based
  • Number of functions: 21
  • Weight and size: 12 ounces; 5.9 inches by 2.9 inches by 2.97 inches


  • Well made
  • Quality brushed stainless steel
  • Magnetic socket and driver bits
  • Spring-loaded pliers


  • No pocket clip

Get the Mossy Oak multi-tool on Amazon or at Walmart.

Best Car-Carry

The Best Multi-Tool Option: dpnao Multitool Wrench With 7 Tools Pliers Wire

While the dpnao multi-tool is a pliers-based model, it comes with an adjustable crescent wrench that allows the user to loosen or tighten a variety of nut sizes, such as those found on automobile fixtures, engines, and batteries.

Of all the multi-tools I tested, this one was the best suited for working on minor car issues. I used it to tighten battery cables and remove a frozen stem cap from a tire. While the dpnao comes with a sturdy stainless steel pocket clip, when I went to retrieve the tool from my pocket, the protruding end of the wrench scraped my hand. That was only a minor inconvenience; this is a very nice little tool in general.

It comes with just seven functions: spring-loaded pliers, the adjustable wrench, wire cutters, two screwdrivers, a sharp knife, a handle that accommodates a socket, and nine driver bits that store in the case.

Everything on the dpnao multi-tool is intuitive—the safety lock is in plain sight, as is the rotary adjustment for the wrench. The movement is smooth but solid, and the tool is made from brushed stainless steel. It weighs just 6.7 ounces, making it light enough to carry in a pocket or purse, and it measures 5 inches by 1.4 inches by 0.4 inch.

Product Specs

  • Type: Pliers-based
  • Number of functions: 7
  • Weight and size: 6.7 ounces; 5 inches by 1.4 inches by 0.4 inch


  • Adjustable crescent wrench
  • Spring-loaded pliers
  • Comes with 9 driver bits
  • Easy to use


  • No scissors

Get the dpnao multi-tool on Amazon

Best Outdoor

The Best Multi-Tool Option: Bear Grylls Ultimate Multitool

Made by Gerber for outdoor enthusiasts, the Bear Grylls Ultimate Multitool features 12 functions that will come in handy when users are away from home and modern amenities.

As with most Gerber tools, the pliers-based Bear Grylls multi-tool is robust, well designed, and made to last. However, I found it was slightly difficult to extend a number of the tools, including the two knives, the screwdrivers, and the scissors. After testing it for over 30 minutes, the tools loosened up just a bit. The pliers are the star of the show—they’re spring-loaded and come with both a needle-nose and a wider-throat option.

One of my favorite features is the rubberized inserts on the sides of the handles, which really amp up the comfort factor. A slight downside is that the lock releases the tools with serrated edges, making them uncomfortable to depress and after frequent use, they left a tender spot on my thumb.

The knives are nice and sharp, but to access each tool, I had to open the one closest to the edge to gain access to the next one and the next. It would have been nice to individually select the tool I wanted and open just that one while leaving the rest in place. Still, the Bear Grylls multi-tool offers a good selection of functions, including tweezers that would come in handy for removing splinters. Plus, at just 4 inches by 2 inches by 0.5 inch, and weighing in at just under 8 ounces, it’s an excellent addition to a backpack and can also be worn on a belt.

Product Specs

  • Type: Pliers-based
  • Number of functions: 12
  • Weight and size: 10.5 ounces; 4 inches by 2 inches, by 0.5 inch


  • Well made
  • Rubberized handle inserts for comfort
  • Spring-loaded pliers
  • Tweezers


  • Lock-release buttons slightly rough

Get the Bear Grylls multi-tool on Amazon and at Walmart.

Best Camping

The Best Multi-Tool Option: DR.LILIANG Multitool Camping Accessories

On first inspection, I was slightly surprised but pleased to discover that the Dr. Liliang multi-tool comes with a nice-size hammer permanently affixed to the handle. While the hammer dominates, this is a knife-based multi-tool, as it comes with a very sharp fish-scaling knife, a sharp all-purpose blade, and a heavy-duty saw blade.

This multi-tool would work well at a campsite when used to pound tent stakes into the ground. The hammer is solid and weighted, and indented finger grips on the handle make it easy to hold and maneuver.

Built into the hammer’s head is a screwdriver hole that accepts any of the four bits found in a fold-out tray on the back of the handle. The head also comes with a hexagon hole that can be used as a wrench.

In addition to those tools, the Dr. Liliang multi-tool features a file, a claw for pulling nails, and openers for cans and bottles—13 tools in all. The tool measures 5.9 inches by 2.95 inches by 0.78 inches and weighs in at 10.88 ounces

Product Specs

  • Type: Knife-based
  • Number of functions: 13
  • Weight and size: 10.88 ounces; 5.9 inches by 2.95 inches by 0.78 inch


  • Sturdy hammer
  • Fish-scaling knife
  • Quality materials


  • No scissors

Get the Dr. Liliang multi-tool on Amazon.

Best Compact

The Best Multi-Tool Option: Gerber Gear 30-000469N Dime Mini Multitool Keychain

As small as the Gerber Gear Dime Mini Multitool is—just 2.75 inches long—it surprisingly features workable, spring-loaded pliers with strong gripping jaws. The Dime Mini also comes with a set of sharp (although tiny) scissors that are spring-loaded as well. The brushed-black stainless steel makes for a robust tool that’s compact enough to carry without feeling weighed down.

The tools themselves are slightly stiff and were challenging to extend at first, but a quick spritz of WD-40 had them all opening smoothly. Weighing in at only 2.25 ounces, this little multi-tool is the right size for carrying on a keychain or for keeping in a pocket or a purse.

A bottle opener is located at the very end of the handle, so there’s no need to fold anything out to uncap a beer. Once the pliers-based tool is completely open, a small set of tweezers can be removed from the outside handle. I found the tweezers less than precise, but the other tools are well made. The overall feel of this multi-tool is one of quality and smoothness.

Product Specs

  • Type: Pliers-based
  • Number of functions: 10
  • Weight and size: 2.24 ounces; 2.75 inches by 4 inches by 0.6 inch


  • Compact and lightweight
  • Spring-loaded pliers and scissors
  • Bottle opener accessible without opening tool


  • Tweezers not precise
  • Some tools difficult to open

Get the Gerber Gear multi-tool on Amazon or at Walmart.

Best Easy-Access

The Best Multi-Tool Option: LEATHERMAN, Wave Plus Multitool with Premium

For those who’ve had to let go of a feed sack or bale of hay just to open a knife to cut the sack or the cord, the Leatherman Wave Plus Multitool offers a convenient solution. On either side of the closed tool are blades—one is serrated and the other is smooth—and both feature a groove in their handles. By holding the multi-tool in my hand and exerting pressure with my thumb, I was able to open the blade one-handed. Once I got used to the motion, I could open either blade quickly just by feel.

I found the quick-access knife to be among the best features of this Leatherman tool. The pliers are precise, but they’re not spring-loaded, which just adds to the motions a user must make to open and close them. The included scissors, ironically, are spring-loaded. The Wave multi-tool features a total of 18 functions, including all the common ones—screwdrivers, can and bottle openers, files, wire cutters, and a saw. Still, the quick-access knives set this one apart.

The Wave Plus weighs 11.2 ounces and measures 4 inches by 1.5 inches by 0.8 inch. It’s smooth to the touch and made from quality brushed stainless steel. It’s a lovely multi-tool that could have been almost perfect with spring-loaded pliers.

Product Specs

  • Type: Pliers-based
  • Number of functions: 18
  • Weight and size: 11.2 ounces; 4 inches by 1.5 inches by 0.8 inch


  • One-hand knife access
  • Spring-loaded scissors
  • Quality materials


  • Pliers are not spring-loaded

Get the LEATHERMAN Wave Plus multi-tool on Amazon, at Ace Hardware, and at Lowe’s.

Our Verdict

Multi-tools offer a range of handy functions all in one device, and while all the models in our lineup are standouts in their own way, the LEATHERMAN Wingman ticks off all the boxes with its smooth hand-feel, spring-loaded action, and high-quality craftsmanship. Our budget pick, the WETOLS multi-tool offers surprising quality at an affordable price and comes with all the standard tools seen in more expensive models.

How We Tested the Best Multi-Tools

For consistency in testing, I used a rubric to award points to each multi-tool in different areas, including quality of construction, ease of use, durability, and the ability to use each included tool function successfully.

While I considered top multi-tool manufacturers, such as Leatherman and Gerber, I didn’t automatically eliminate models from smaller or niche manufacturers as long as they offered a quality product that was made to last.

I tested each multi-tool by putting its individual functions to the test. I used the screwdrivers to loosen and tighten fasteners; the knives to cut through cardboard, drywall, and leather; and the wrenches to tighten and loosen nuts. The scissors were rated both on sharpness and ease of use. Pliers had to grip various materials firmly and not slip off when pulled.

The multi-tools were not scored on comfort or ergonomics since multi-tools rarely offer a high degree of comfort during use. Still, I did note tools or functions that were especially uncomfortable or difficult to use. After testing, the scores were tallied, and I used them to determine the best use awards for each multi-tool. The multi-tools that did not meet my high standards were eliminated and do not appear on this list.


Virtually anyone looking for a tool in a pinch could benefit from having a multi-tool around. They’re not in competition with full-size tools. Instead, they’re made to keep and transport where standard tools aren’t handy—in cars, in a desk drawer, or in a purse. Those shopping for a first multi-tool may still have some questions.

Q. Is a multi-tool the same as a Swiss Army knife?

The two are similar, and some folks use the terms interchangeably. A multi-tool is generally designed around a single primary tool, either a knife or pliers, that serves as a focal point. Swiss Army knives offer a variety of smaller tools without any that stand out as a primary tool.

Q. What tools are typically included in a multi-tool?

Knives and pliers are the most common, and a multi-tool may have more than one of each. After that, screwdrivers, wire cutters, bottle openers, scissors, and files are frequent add-ons.

Q. How do I keep my multi-tool from closing on me while I’m using it?

A high-quality multi-tool will come with a locking function that holds the chosen tool open and stable until you press a lock-release button to close it.

Q. How do I clean my multi-tool?

Wipe off gunk, grease, or debris with a soft cloth. When necessary, use a little spray lubricant, such as WD-40, to soften hardened gunk and then scrub it away with an old toothbrush. Most multi-tools can be washed in warm soapy water, but they should be dried promptly with a towel or an air compressor to keep them from rusting.