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 purchased and tested 30 multi-tools from various brands in our testing lab, evaluating them for performance, included features, ease of use, durability, and overall value.
Coleman Cosby, a project manager and landscape design specialist at Yardzen, advises, "The best multi-tools are made of stainless steel. It's best if each tool, and especially blades, lock in place when unfolded. Don't automatically assume that the more included tools, the better; remember that the more features, the heavier and bulkier the multi-tool. Consider what tools you are likely to actually use on a regular basis, and choose a multi-tool that includes just those. And once you have your multi-tool, clean and lubricate it regularly to keep it in prime working condition for years."
Leatherman Wave+ Multi-Tool
All tools lock in place
Straight and serrated knives
Pliers not spring-loaded
A bit bulky for the pocket
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. We were impressed with the sturdy build of this multi-tool, as well as its ease of use.
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 most of the features; many of 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. We found that each tool has just enough resistance when opening or closing; not overly stiff, but also not so loose that the tool slipped out of our grasp.
Choose from regular stainless steel or stainless coated with black oxide, which gives a slightly better grip. Either way, the Wave+ weighs only 8.5 ounces and measures 4 inches when closed. An optional small lanyard ring allows you to hang the tool from a strap if desired. The multi-tool comes with a nylon sheath, which has a belt loop if you want to keep your Wave+ by your side. And as with all Leatherman products, it's covered by a 25-year limited warranty.
Price at time of publish: $120
Number of Tools: 18 | Longest Blade Length: 2.9 inches | Number of Blades: 2 | Weight: 8.5 ounces | Closed Length: 4 inches | Closed Width: 1.2 inches | Keychain Ring: No
Gerber Gear Dime Multi-Tool
Available in three colors
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 10 handy tools, including spring-loaded needle-nose pliers, tweezers, bottle opener, file, scissors, flat-head and cross-head screwdriver (although not a true Phillips-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; our tester found it a bit difficult to work the individual tools. Nor will you be able to exert a lot of force with the features on this multi-tool, but it's undeniably a useful tool to have in your pocket for those small tasks that seem to crop up during the day.
Price at time of publish: $29
Number of Tools: 10 | Longest Blade Length: Not listed | Number of Blades: 1 | Weight: 2.2 ounces | Closed Length: 2.75 inches | Closed Width: Not listed | Keychain Ring: Yes
Best for DIYers
Leatherman Free P4 Multi-Tool
Magnetic locking system for smooth opening/closing of tools
All tools lock in place when extended
Removable pocket clip
Some features require two hands to open
A bit expensive
We were highly impressed with the iconic Leatherman Free P4. Its 21 tools include screwdrivers, blades, wire cutters, a saw, pliers, scissors, a bottle opener, and more, all of which were sharp and functioned perfectly. 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. Our tester commented that this would be an ideal multi-tool for anyone involved in carpentry, electrical or HVAC techs, general contractors, or DIYers taking on major projects around the house.
In theory, it only takes one hand to open the entire Free P4 or to open the individual tools, but we found that some of the features required two hands to easily open. Still, everything opened smoothly; no broken fingernails or frustration here. Thanks to the ergonomic design, you can open most of the tools with 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 8.6 ounces. Closed, the Free P4 is 4.25 inches. It includes a removable pocket clip.
Price at time of publish: $192
Number of Tools: 21 | Longest Blade Length: 2.76 inches | Number of Blades: 2 | Weight: 8.6 ounces | Closed Length: 4.25 inches | Closed Width: 1.3 inches | Keychain Ring: No
Best for Camping
RoverTac Multitool with Hatchet
Useful addition to camping gear
Includes sheath for axe/hammer
Also makes a good emergency tool for the car
Ax is very small
Not quite enough resistance when opening/closing tools
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, assorted wrenches, and a bottle opener. Nor are these tools just for show; our pleased tester commented, "The wood saw cut a piece of framing lumber. The hatchet actually split the same framing lumber into kindling-size pieces." Of course, these are not full-sized tools, so we didn't expect the kind of performance a regular saw or hatchet would deliver.
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. There is no locking mechanisms on the tools, however, which slightly lowered our score. The RoverTac 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 8.86 inches in length, and the head with hammer and ax is 3.62 inches across.
Price at time of publish: $26
Number of Tools: 14 | Longest Blade Length: Not listed | Number of Blades: 1 | Weight: 15.9 ounces | Closed Length: 8.86 inches | Closed Width: 3.62 inches | Keychain Ring: No
Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool
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 further 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, a bottle opener, and a large bit driver. We were impressed with the overall design of the Skeletool, as well as its light weight and slim size. We found all of the tools to be sharp and functional, although our tester commented that the screwdriver was a bit awkward in his hand.
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 5 ounces and measures 4 inches when closed.
Price at time of publish: $75
Number of Tools: 7 | Longest Blade Length: 2.6 inches | Number of Blades: 1 | Weight: 5 ounces | Closed Length: 4 inches | Closed Width: 1.24 inches | Keychain Ring: No
Best for Bicyclists
Topeak Mini 18+ Multi-Tool
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. Our product tester, who is an enthusiastic bicyclist, was impressed with the completeness, quality, and ease of use of this bicycle-specific multi-tool, commenting that it was easy to open and close with one hand, although the tools do not lock in place when opened.
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. The chain tool is compatible with single and multi-speed chains up to 12 speed. The Mini 18+ weighs only 6.51 ounces and, when closed, measures 3.2 inches long and 1.7 inches across.
Price at time of publish: $43
Number of Tools: 18+ | Longest Blade Length: Not applicable | Number of Blades: 0 | Weight: 6.51 ounces | Closed Length: 3.2 inches | Closed Width: 1.7 inches | Keychain Ring: No
Leatherman Squirt PS4 Keychain Multi-Tool
Includes most useful everyday tools
Can be a bit tough to grasp the tools if your hands are large
Good things can definitely come in small packages, and the Leatherman Squirt PS4 is proof of that. This mini multi-tool is only 2.25 inches long when closed and weighs just 2 ounces, and yet it incorporates nine handy tools, including needle-nose and regular pliers, wire cutters, a 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. We found all of the incorporated tools to be sharp and functional, albeit small.
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. We did find that while the tools opened and closes easily, it could be a little tough to get them started, due to their small size. The Squirt PS4 is made of stainless steel and is available in black, red, and blue.
Price at time of publish: $40
Number of Tools: 9 | Longest Blade Length: 1.6 inches | Number of Blades: 1 | Weight: 2 ounces | Closed Length: 2.25 inches | Closed Width: 0.78 inches | Keychain Ring: Yes
Best for Handypeople
Gerber Gear Truss Multi-Tool
Tools lock in place
Tools a bit stiff at first
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, a wire cutter, two blades, scissors, a saw, a cross driver, three flathead drivers, a can opener, bottle opener, an awl, a file, a 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. All of the tools were sharp, worked well, and appeared durable in our tests.
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. We found that the first few times opening and closing the tools, they were a bit stiff, but they loosened up after that. The Truss is made of stainless steel and is available in black or gray. It weighs 8.4 ounces and measures 4.35 inches when closed.
Price at time of publish: $60
Number of Tools: 17 | Longest Blade Length: 2.25 inches | Number of Blades: 2 | Weight: 8.4 ounces | Closed Length: 4.35 inches | Closed Width: Not specified | Keychain Ring: No
Best for Around the House
Leatherman Sidekick Multitool
Comfortable to hold
Includes serrated blade
Belt clip broke when dropped
A bit difficult to use with large hands
While you can certainly carry the Leatherman Sidekick in your pocket or attached to your belt, this is also a great choice to use as your "around the house" tool when you don't want to be bothered fetching your tool box. This well-designed multi-tool has 13 incorporated features, including a smooth and serrated knife, a saw, two pliers, a wire cutter and stripper, three screwdrivers, a bottle opener, a ruler, a file, and can opener. We found that all of the tools were sharp, functional, and fairly easy to access, although some of the tools were a bit difficult to open with large hands.
Most of the features can be accessed with one hand while the tool is closed. At 7 ounces and 3.8 inches in length when closed, this is a fairly compact multi-tool, but still very useful. Our tester commented that it was comfortable to hold, even when carrying out a lengthier task like driving multiple screws. On the downside, the belt clip broke in our drop test, although the overall usability of the multi-tool was unaffected.
Price at time of publish: $69
Number of Tools: 13 | Longest Blade Length: 2.6 inches | Number of Blades: 2 | Weight: 7.0 ounces | Closed Length: 3.8 inches | Closed Width: 1.27 inches | Keychain Ring: No
Best for Emergency Kit
Wetols 21-in-1 Multi-Tool
Very reasonably priced
Good selection of common tools
Screwdriver bits have to be swapped out for use
Blade somewhat stiff when closing
Even if you have no need of a multi-tool in your daily life, these devices can be lifesavers in an emergency. The WETOLS 21-in-1 is perfect for your home emergency kit or to keep in your car in case of trouble on the road. As the name suggests, this tool has 21 incorporated features, including four double-sided screwdriver bits, pliers, a saw, a rope cutter, a blade, a file, a hole puncher, bottle, and can openers. We found that the tools functioned well and were fairly easy to open and close, although it was a bit inconvenient to swap out the removable screwdriver bits for the desired size. We also found that it took two hands to open and lock the various tools.
This is a relatively heavy and bulky multi-tool; it weighs almost 12 ounces and is a little over 4 inches long when closed. You probably wouldn't carry this in your pocket, but it includes a carrying pouch with a belt loop, which also serves as the storage spot for the screwdriver bits. Our tester commented that although it took a little wiggling to close the blades, they were sharp, and overall, the 21-in-1 is a very reasonably priced addition to an emergency kit.
Price at time of publish: $30
Number of Tools: 21 | Longest Blade Length: 3 inches | Number of Blades: 2 | Weight: 12 ounces | Closed Length: 4.1 inches | Closed Width: 1.7 inches | Keychain Ring: No
Best for Professionals
Leatherman Super Tool 300 Multitool
Somewhat heavy and bulky
If you are a general contractor, carpenter, electrician, or in any other field where using various hand tools is a regular part of your workday, then you'll appreciate the Leatherman Super Tool 300, which is designed to be usable even when wearing work gloves. This sturdy and well-designed multi-tool has particularly large pliers that are designed to maneuver easily in tight spaces, as well as 18 other features including multiple tools for working with wire, a saw, a straight and a serrated blade, four screwdrivers, an awl, ruler, file, can opener, and bottle opener. We found all of the tools to be sharp and very functional, as well as easy to access.
All of the features lock in place when opened, allowing you to apply pressure when using the tool without fear of slipping or folding. It can be slightly challenging if you have small hands, but for most users, the tool opens and closes easily. At 9.6 ounces in weight and 4.5 inches in length when closed, this heavy-duty multi-tool is a bit heavier and longer than many others, but it still fits in a pocket or can be attached to your belt with its clip. It also has a lanyard ring if you want to wear it around your neck. It's available in matte black or stainless steel.
Price at time of publish: $100
Number of Tools: 19 | Longest Blade Length: 3.2 inches | Number of Blades: 2 | Weight: 9.6 ounces | Closed Length: 4.5 inches | Closed Width: 1.2 inches | Keychain Ring: No
Victorinox Swiss Tool Spirit MXBS Black Multitool
Ergonomic and comfortable in the hand
All tools are sharp and functional
Very attractive design
Slightly stiff to unlock tools
It's quite a bit more expensive than most of our other choices, but if you are looking to splurge on a multi-tool designed with legendary Victorinox quality and function, the Spirit MXBS is a great choice. This slim and sleek multi-tool has 24 lockable incorporated tools that can be accessed from the outside of the tool body with just one hand. This burnished steel multi-tool has just about any feature you are likely to need, including scissors, pliers, screwdrivers, bottle openers, blades, wire strippers, and cutters. It also has a few unusual features, including a seat-belt cutter, chisel, and crate opener. We found that all of the features were sharp, functional, and easy to access as well as close. The only downside is that it was a bit tricky to unlock some of the tools to fold them away.
The Spirit MXBS weighs 7.4 ounces and is 4.1 inches long, so you can easily slide it into your pocket if desired, or carry it on your belt in the nylon pouch. It also has a hole for a lanyard, although not a keychain ring. While not everyone needs or wants a multi-tool that's this expensive, if you like to have the best, and appreciate Swiss design that looks and feels as good as it functions, then this is a worthy addition to your daily carry.
Price at time of publish: $235
Number of Tools: 24 | Longest Blade Length: Not specified | Number of Blades: 1 | Weight: 7.4 ounces | Closed Length: 4.1 inches | Closed Width: Not specified | Keychain Ring: No
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.
How We Tested the Multi-Tools
We purchased 30 multi-tools from all of the top brands for testing at our lab in Des Moines, Iowa. Our team of testers started by evaluating the multi-tools for feel in the hand, including weight, balance, and ergonomics. They then placed the multi-tool in a pocket and noted how easy it was to do so, as well as the fit and weight of the tool within the pocket. If the multi-tool also had a clip or belt attachment, the tester then tried that, noting the belt attachment’s sturdiness, ease of use, and size.
Our testers then opened and closed every feature on the multi-tool several times, noting how smoothly the tool unfolded, how easy or difficult it was to work each feature, and how effectively the lock (if present) functioned to keep the blade or other feature fully extended. They also noted whether or not it was easy to extend and close the blades without danger to the fingers.
Next, the testers used several of the multi-tool features for their intended purpose. Screwdrivers were used to turn screws into wood, blades were used to cut a piece of rope, pliers were used to cut wire if bladed and grip and turn a screw if not, and the bottle opener, if present, was used to open a bottle. Each test was scored for ease and effectiveness.
Finally, each multi-tool was dropped from hip height and any damage to the tool’s function or appearance was noted.
At the conclusion of the testing process, the testers scored their multi-tools on a scale of 1 to 5 for performance, ease of use, included features, durability, and overall value. These scores were tabulated along with the testing results, and the highest-scoring multi-tools were selected as our recommendations.
What to Look for In a Multi-Tool
There are two basic types of multi-tools: Those small enough to fasten to a keychain, such as the Leatherman Squirt PS4, and full-size models that fit into a pocket or purse, like the Leatherman Skeletool. 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. Our top choice, the Leatherman Wave+, has 18 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. The Leatherman Super Tool 300 is designed for contractors, carpenters, or others who need tools regularly for their jobs.
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 relied on results from product testers, as well as manufacturer information and customer feedback both positive and negative. She also received input and advice from Coleman Cosby, a project manager and landscape design specialist at Yardzen, the online landscape and design company.
What Is Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce, we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally, we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut.