Buyer’s Guide: Multitools
Condense your toolkit and be more prepared for repairs and emergencies with the best multitools on the market.
Sometimes life can be unpredictable. You might set out to do one task only to find yourself with more chores on your to-do list than you started with. Or you might need to mitigate an unplanned emergency using the limited tools you have on hand.
In short, it pays to be prepared. Many do-it-yourselfers choose to invest in a quality multitool—an aptly named implement that offers the functionality of several different tools all in one. Read on to learn about some of the best multitools out there.
- BEST OVERALL: Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier
- BEST FOR EMERGENCIES: LighterBro Stainless Steel Lighter Sleeve
- BEST FOR PAINTING: Hyde Tools 17-in-1 Painters Multitool
- BEST FOR EVERY DAY: Victorinox Midnite Manager @Work
- BEST FOR KEYCHAINS: LEATHERMAN Micra Keychain Multitool
- BEST FOR WALLETS: Wallet Ninja
- HONORABLE MENTION: Sheffield Premium 14-in-1 Hammer Tool
- There are different types of multitools designed for different types of applications. Once favored for outdoor activities like fishing and trekking, 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. You’re bound to find one that’s designed for the tasks you regularly face.
- 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.
- 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.
Our Top Picks
1. BEST OVERALL: Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier
This modern classic 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 prevents it from accidentally opening in your pocket (and makes this multitool a great choice if you may leave yours around children). Slide it into the included nylon sheath for protection from the elements, and you can even attach it to a belt.
2. BEST FOR EMERGENCIES: LighterBro Stainless Steel Lighter Sleeve
Genius! This multitool incorporates all the features of a typical multitool into a lighter sleeve. Now, you have the ability to make fire, in addition to being ready for almost anything, thanks to the scissors, knife, bottle opener, and micro Phillips head screwdriver (size 000 for delicate repairs on eyeglasses and small electronics like phones) cleverly built into the LighterBro.
3. BEST FOR PAINTING: Hyde Tools 17-in-1 Painters Multitool
Painting is a complex job that can involve a lot of scraping, nail-pulling, and can-opening, among other tasks. This multitool aims to lighten your load by anticipating all of the steps necessary in a typical project and equipping you with just about everything you’ll need along way. The lightweight carbon steel blade—which 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. All the while, the handle of the tool stores four different screwdriver bits, specialized tools for spray guns, and a scribe for setting nails.
4. BEST FOR EVERY DAY: Victorinox Midnite Manager @Work
One of the most famous multitools in the world—once used as a survival tool for soldiers—now includes an extra for the digital age: 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—the Swiss Army offers something for everyone.
5. BEST FOR KEYCHAINS: LEATHERMAN Micra Keychain Multitool
Leatherman has been at the forefront of multitool design since Tim Leatherman created his first “pocket survival tool” in 1983. This keychain-sized version—which squeezes in scissors, Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, a knife, bottle opener, nail cleaner, nail file, tweezers, and ruler—stays true to the neatly-folding design of the original Leatherman, while splashing it with your choice of four bright new colors.
6. BEST FOR WALLETS: Wallet Ninja
Do you always find yourself needing a multitool at moments when you aren’t carrying one? The solution might be to keep this credit card-sized tool in your wallet at all times. Made from heat-treated steel, the Wallet Ninja is strong, rustproof, and downright reliable whenever you need to use one of its 18 features. Believe it or not, the card packs in the power of six wrenches, four screwdrivers, four openers (letter, box, can, or bottle), two rulers, a fruit peeler, and a cellphone stand. It’s just bound to come in handy one day.
7. HONORABLE MENTION: Sheffield Premium 14-in-1 Hammer Tool
This multitool offers just what most others are missing—a hammer. Even better, the head of the hammer actually does the work of two additional tools; its halved design enables it to be used as pliers or as wire cutters. Eight more 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. If you’re not very handy and rarely take on projects around the house, this popular 14-in-1 may be the one and only tool you need.