Multi-tools combine a range of useful tools, such as pliers, screwdrivers, and blades, into one compact package that generally fits right into your pocket or hangs from your keychain. We evaluated multi-tools based on their versatility and design.
Our favorite multi-tool, the Leatherman Wave+ Multi-Tool, is brilliantly designed for easy use, even with one hand, and includes just about any everyday tool you are likely to need.
Here are the best multi-tools.
Best Overall: Leatherman Wave+ Multi-Tool
All tools lock in place
Straight and serrated knives
Pliers not spring-loaded
Some complaints about difficulty in unfolding tools
No need to run to your toolbox for every little thing when you've got the Leatherman Wave+ Multi-Tool in your pocket. Need to tighten that loose chair leg? No problem, you have a screwdriver and two bit drivers at hand. Loose string on your new shirt? Snip it off with the scissors. Need to twist a stuck screw, cut a wire, open a bottle, or file down a rough edge on a board? You've got tools to do all of those things, as well. And that's not all the Wave+ has to offer; with a total of 18 built-in tools, you're equipped to handle most small tasks that come your way.
Each of the tools locks in place when fully extended to prevent annoying slipping or folding while you work. And you don't even have to open the entire multi-tool to use them; the individual tools on this ingenious device are accessible while the multi-tool is in its folded position. Nor does it take both hands to select and open the desired tool. You can easily open the entire Wave+ and then unfold any of its 18 tools with just one hand, including the saw, two blades, can opener, or diamond-coated file.
Choose from regular stainless steel or stainless coated with black oxide, which gives a slightly better grip. Either way, the Wave+ weighs only 7 ounces and measures 4 inches when closed. An optional small lanyard ring allows you to hang the tool from a strap if desired. And as with all Leatherman products, it's covered by a 25-year limited warranty.
Best Budget: Gerber Gear Dime
Very light and compact
Tools don't lock in position
Difficult for large fingers
There's no need to break your budget for a multi-tool, not when the Gerber Gear Dime is available. This mini multi-tool incorporates 11 handy tools, including spring-loaded needle-nose pliers, tweezers, bottle opener, file, scissors, flat-head and cross-head screwdriver, blade, wire cutter, and a bottle opener. So chances are good that you'll have the right tool at the ready should you need it. Carry the Dime in your pocket or use the attached ring to hang it from your keychain; either way, you'll likely reach for it more often than you suspect.
At 2.2 ounces, the Dime is one of the lightest multi-tools available; you'll barely notice it's in your pocket. When closed, it measures a mere 2.75 inches in length. Open it up, and it's 4.25 inches. It's made of stainless steel and available in black, green, and red. Note that the tools on this mini multi-tool are correspondingly small. You won't be able to exert a lot of force with them or use them to cut, file, clip, or turn anything very large, but it's undeniably a useful addition to your pocket change.
Best Splurge: Leatherman Free P4
Magnetic locking system for smooth opening/closing of tools
All tools lock in place when extended
Removable pocket clip
Some complaints about loose pliers
Handful of complaints about rusting
If the old saying, "You get what you pay for," is true, then the Leatherman Free P4 is worth every penny. While admittedly more expensive than the other multi-tools highlighted here, if you are looking for the best, then you'll appreciate all the Free P4 has to offer. Its 21 tools include screwdrivers, blades, wire cutters, a saw, pliers, scissors, a bottle opener, and more. And you can access each and every one of those tools without having to open the entire multi-tool. Once fully extended, all of the tools lock in place to keep them secure while you work.
It only takes one hand to open the entire Free P4 or to open the individual tools, and you won't have to break a fingernail to do so, thanks to the ergonomic design that requires just a push of your thumb. Plus, the magnetic opening/closing system makes it smooth and easy to use the multi-tool. Don't worry that this stainless steel beauty will weigh you down; it's only 12 ounces. Closed, the Free P4 is 4.25 inches. It includes a removable pocket clip.
Best for Camping: RoverTac Multitool with Hatchet
Good emergency tool for the car
Includes sheath for axe/hammer
Ax is very small
Sheath may not stay on ax
The last thing you need when camping is a heavy box of tools to lug on your back or in your hands. Instead, the ingenious RoverTac Multi-Tool incorporates 14 tools into a design that's basically a hammer on one side and an ax on the other. Along with the hammer and ax, you get all sorts of camping must-haves, including a fish scaler, saw, blade, whistle, fire starter, file, two screwdrivers, bottle opener, assorted wrenches, and bottle opener.
When not in use, the included nylon sheath covers the hammer and ax heads, so there's no need to worry about accidents or damage. The multi-tool is entirely made of stainless steel, with a black oxidized coating over the tools and a red oxidized coating over the handle. At 15.9 ounces, it's not the lightest multi-tool out there, but you won't find many that include a hammer and small ax. The tool measures 7 inches in length, and the head with hammer and ax is 3.6 inches across.
Best Keychain: Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster
Includes a wood saw
Awkward Phillips-head screwdriver
"Swiss army knife" is practically synonymous with this handy pocket package that includes plenty of other useful goodies, and the Fieldmaster is no exception. This offering from Victorinox includes 15 tools, plus a sturdy ring that attaches to your keychain. You'll appreciate the multi-tool's two blades, wood saw, can opener, bottle opener, three screwdrivers, wire stripper, punch awl, scissors, hook, tweezers, and a toothpick.
The tools are made of stainless steel, and the iconic red body of the multi-tool is Cellidor resin, a very tough plastic. The Fieldmaster weighs 3.5 ounces, so it won't weigh you down on your keychain or in your pocket. When closed, it measures 3.6 inches in length. When you order directly from Victorinox, you can choose from several colors or even have the tool personalized with a name, initials, or word.
Best Everyday: Leatherman Skeletool
Handle has storage spot for tool bits
Blade locks into place
Removable pocket clip
Pliers not spring-loaded
If you just want a multi-tool with the basics to serve as your everyday carry (EDC), then look no farther than the Leatherman Skeletool. As the name implies, this is a lean-and-mean multi-tool that doesn't clutter up your pocket with unnecessary frills. Instead, you get a sleekly designed multi-tool with eight incorporated tools, including a carabiner to hook onto your belt or tool bag, pliers, hard-wire and regular wire cutters, a knife, bottle opener, and large bit driver.
Like all Leatherman multi-tools, you can open the various tools with just one hand, and you don't need to fully open the multi-tool to reach them. The knife locks in place when fully extended. The Skeletool is made of stainless steel and is available in several colors, including tan, green, and blue. It weighs 6 ounces and measures 5 inches when closed.
Best for Bicyclists: Topeak Mini 18+
Comprehensive bike emergency set
Includes chain tool and tire lever
Tools a bit tight to unfold
Don't let a problem with your bike put an end to your weekend ride or leave you walking your bike back home. Instead, carry the Topeak Mini 18+ multi-tool in your pack, and you'll be able to handle many common issues easily and quickly. This lightweight specialty multi-tool includes 18 useful tools for various repairs while biking, including a set of 10 Allen wrenches in various sizes, a T25 torx wrench, a chain tool, two screwdrivers, various chain tools, and a neoprene bag that stashes in your kit bag.
Made of alloy steel, this is a durable and strong multi-tool, but be aware that the metal tire lever is for emergency use only, not general. The chain tool is compatible with single and multi-speed chains up to 12 speed. The Mini 18+ weighs only 6.5 ounces and, when closed, measures 3.2 inches long and 1.7 inches across.
Best Mini: Leatherman Squirt PS4
Includes most useful everyday tools
Some complaints about scissors breaking
Good things can definitely come in small packages, and the Leatherman Squirt PS4 is proof of that. This mini multi-tool is only 2 inches long when closed and weighs just 2 ounces, and yet it incorporates nine handy tools, including needle-nose and regular pliers, wire cutters, knife, scissors, two screwdrivers, a bottle opener, and a file. There's a small loop at one end, so you can hang it on your keychain or slip it into your pocket or bag.
There's no need to open the entire tool if you just want to get one of the incorporated features; each tool is accessible from the closed position. Plus, you only need one hand to open the tools, leaving your other hand free. That's very convenient when you need to hold something in place with one hand while cutting or filing with the other. The Squirt PS4 is made of stainless steel and is available in black, red, and blue.
Best for Picnics: Gerber Gear Armbar Cork
Corkscrew and foil cutter
Frame lock for blade safety
Some complaints of short corkscrew
Are you more of a foodie than a handyperson? Don't worry; there's a multi-tool for you! The Gerber Gear Armbar Cork is perfect for picnics, hikes, days at the beach, or even a romantic evening in the backyard with a bottle of wine. This nifty package incorporates several tools perfect for dining on the go, including a corkscrew, bottle opener, can opener, pry bar, scissors, foil cutter, hammer, and smooth-edged blade. A frame lock holds the blade in place when not in use, so you don't have to worry about accidentally being cut while reaching into your pocket or picnic basket.
All of the tools are stainless steel, while the body of the device is made of lightly textured anodized aluminum for better grip. The Armbar Cork weighs 4.1 ounces and is 3.5 inches long when closed and 6.5 inches long with the blade fully extended. You can choose from black, gold, or orange.
Best for Handypeople: Gerber Gear Truss
Tools lock in place
Tool not balanced properly
Whether your profession or your hobbies call for handiness and being ready on the go, the Gerber Gear Truss has just about anything you'll need during your day. This do-it-all multi-tool has 17 incorporated tools, including needle-nose and regular pliers, wire cutter, two blades, scissors, saw, cross driver, three flathead drivers, can opener, bottle opener, awl, file, ruler, and wire stripper. Plus, it includes a sheath that attaches vertically or horizontally to your belt or bag, and it also has a lanyard hole if you prefer to hang it from a strap.
You can access all of the tools without opening the entire multi-tool, and once extended, all of the tools lock in place, so you won't have to deal with annoying slips or unwanted folding while you work. The Truss is made of stainless steel and is available in black or gray. It weighs 8 ounces and measures 4.35 inches when closed and 6.5 inches when fully open.
If you want a multi-tool that includes just about any common tool you’re likely to need, and you also like the ease of a multi-tool that only requires one hand to select and open the incorporated tools, then you’ll love the Leatherman Wave+ Multi-Tool. But if budget is a concern, or you prefer something a little more compact, then the Gerber Gear Dime will give you the most bang for your buck.
What to Look for In a Multi-Tool
There are two basic types of multi-tools: Those small enough to fasten to a keychain and full-size models that fit into a pocket or purse. If you expect to put your multi-tool to heavy use, a full-size model is probably your best choice, as the included tools are obviously larger and often sturdier to withstand more force. But a keychain multi-tool is undeniably handy for those quick and simple tasks that arise throughout the day. Ultimately, the best type is a matter of preference. Some people even choose to have both.
Number of tools
There are multi-tools with “only” five or six tools and multi-tools with over 20 incorporated tools. But don’t assume that the more tools, the better. The right number of tools depends on your needs. If you are an avid DIYer, spend a lot of time outdoors, have a job that is very hands-on, or just want to be prepared for anything, then an option with an extensive selection of tools is right for you. But if you just want a few basic tools close at hand for occasional use, then you might be happier with a simpler option that leaves out more specialized tools such as wire strippers, awls, or multiple blades.
Almost all multi-tools incorporate a blade, basic pliers, a screwdriver or two, and a bottle opener. For many people, that’s all that’s required. But plenty of options go way beyond those basics, incorporating wire cutters and crimpers, various types of nut drivers and screwdrivers, files, multiple blades, and even tiny hammers and saws. There are also specialized multi-tools designed for electricians, cooks, anglers, bicyclists, first responders, and many others that include the basics, as well as tools useful for those particular activities.
As with the number of tools, the best multi-tool for you is the one that includes tools you are likely to need on a fairly regular basis, so keep that in mind when shopping.
Just about every multi-tool includes at least one blade, and many have two or more. If there are two blades, typically one is a fine edge, and one is a serrated edge. The blades might just measure an inch or so in length or closer to three inches, but you aren’t going to find an exceptionally long blade on a multi-tool; you’d need a pocket knife for that.
Keep in mind that currently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows no blade of any length in your pockets or carry-on bag. If you plan on flying with your multi-tool, you need to stash it in your checked luggage prior to arriving at the airport; otherwise, it is likely to be confiscated. There are multi-tools without blades, however, specifically for this reason.
Ease of use
Ideally, your multi-tool should be easy for you to open, and the tools should be large enough for your fingers to pull out and lock into place. Some brands design their multi-tools so you can open the device with just one hand, which is a very convenient feature. Many design their multi-tools so you can access the individual tools without having to unfold the entire device, another handy feature.
There are multi-tools that weigh only a couple of ounces and some that weigh close to a pound, although most fall between those two extremes. Keep weight in mind if you plan on carrying the device in your pocket or on your keychain, as you don’t want to feel weighed down.
What is a multi-tool used for?
Multi-tools are the ultimate multitaskers. These all-in-one compact tool kits keep your most-used tools close at hand, which is especially important for those who have jobs or hobbies that are very hands-on, people who do a lot of hiking or camping, anyone who takes on a lot of DIY projects, or even people concerned about personal safety.
A multi-tool isn’t the right choice for every task—you aren’t going to fell a tree or do construction with it—but it does let you feel more prepared for those small tasks that seem to crop up throughout the day.
What kinds of tools does a multi-tool have?
Multi-tools can have just a couple of incorporated tools or more than 20. You’ll find a wide range of included tools, but some of the most common are straight-edge or serrated blades, regular pliers and needle-nose pliers, bottle and can openers, scissors, and various types of screwdrivers, and wire cutters.
More complex models go beyond the basics. These might incorporate wire crimpers, a wider assortment of wire cutters and bit drivers, files, tweezers, and even tiny saws.
You’ll also find specialized multi-tools aimed at various professions or hobbies, such as first responders, campers, anglers, gardeners, or bicyclists. These include the basics, plus tools most useful for their intended specialized user. Depending on the model of multi-tool, you might find hammers, emergency whistles, glass breakers, and even wrenches for oxygen tanks.
Are multi-tools easy to use?
For the most part, if you can unfold a pocket knife, then you can use a multi-tool. Quality brands design their tools for easy use, often with just one hand. Many include tools you can access without unfolding the entire multi-tool, which is useful when you need a specific tool as quickly as possible.
If you have very large fingers or struggle with fine-motor dexterity, however, you might find it a little more challenging to use a multi-tool that’s exceptionally compact, or that’s loaded with excessive tools. In that case, your best choice is a full-size model with only a few of the most common tools.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Michelle Ullman, the tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs around the house and yard.
For this roundup, she considered dozens of multi-tools, evaluating each for the number and type of incorporated tools, ease of use, and quality of design. She also considered feedback from customers as well as her own experiences carrying out numerous DIY projects.