Home Science and Nature The best multitools for 2024, tested and reviewed

The best multitools for 2024, tested and reviewed

by News7

Brandt Ranj / Popular Science

Published Jan 19, 2024 11:00 AM EST

This pocket-friendly accessory is a one-stop shop for many DIY or home projects.

Best overall

Leatherman Super Tool 300

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An all-around pick that’s comfortable to hold and well equipped.

Best splurge

Gerber Gear Center-Drive Multitool Bit Set

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Having the most frequently used tools in the most accessible spot makes this multi tool worth the extra cost.

Best value

Gerber Gear Suspension-NXT 15-in-1 Multi-Tool

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A less expensive—but not appreciably less equipped—version of our most premium pick.

Published Jan 19, 2024 11:00 AM

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A multitool is the kind of object most of us forget exists until we need it. It can be annoying to begin what should be a small project involving a screwdriver and watch it slowly devolve into a day-long task that requires frequent trips to different parts of your home. Instead of feeling like a hunter-gatherer, you can feel like Inspector Gadget as you pull out a pair of scissors, then a file, then a Phillips head screwdriver, and then a flathead screwdriver. Best of all, you can take this tiny, trusty tool wherever you go since most are compact enough to slip into a coat or pant pocket. Even if you’re not working on a big DIY project, a multitool can be a lifesaver if you’re milling about town and suddenly need to trim some wires. The best multitools will save you steps (and time!) by offering quick access to knives, screwdrivers, pliers, and more.

Best overall: Leatherman Super Tool 300

Best splurge: Gerber Gear Center-Drive Multitool Bit Set

Best for camping: RoverTac Camping Essentials Multi Tool

Best compact: Amazon Basics 15-in-1 Stainless Steel Multitool

Best value: Gerber Gear Suspension-NXT 15-in-1 Multi-Tool

Suppose you’re lucky enough to have a tool room or smart enough to take a well-stocked toolbox with you just in case; well, more power to you. With a multitool, “something” is better than “nothing.” Our recommendations are based on a mix of hands-on testing and deep research. We considered how one might regularly use a multitool, which lesser-used tools are still useful to keep around, and overall durability. Portability was also a factor because multitools are generally kept in one’s pocket, so bigger didn’t necessarily mean better in this case. The cost was also a concern, as multitools can quickly get pretty pricey. Our objective was to be able to cover as many budget brackets as possible, from dirt cheap to splurge.

The best multitools: Reviews & Recommendations

Need a single tool to help you take on just about any simple task? You’ll find what you’re looking for in these all-purpose tools. Be mindful that as useful as a multitool is, it won’t be able to handle the same projects as power tools like a drill or orbital sander. Having a quickly accessible multifunction tool is helpful, but know when to call in the more powerful reinforcements. For those smaller jobs, especially ones out and about, one of the multipurpose tools below is a great go-to.

Best overall: Leatherman Super Tool 300

Specs

Number of tools: 19

Included tools: Knives, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, electrical crimper, wire stripper, bottle and can openers, file, saw, awl, and ruler

Price: $99.95

Pros

Durable

Well-equipped

Comfortable

Cons

Smaller tools can be more difficult to access

Leatherman’s Super Tool 300 proves the company’s rock-solid, decades-long reputation for releasing durable tools is well-founded. It came through while we were tightening screws on drawer handles and door knobs, cutting fishing lines and small branches, or taking a quick measurement. When folded, the Super Tool 300 fit neatly into a front-right men’s jeans pocket, though its weight made a noticeable difference when walking around. Unfolding this multitool revealed a pair of pliers at the ready, with the other tools neatly tucked away under both sides of its handle.

Bigger tools, like the serrated knives and file, were easy to pull out because they were located at the edges of the multitool’s handles. Smaller tools, like the screwdriver, required a little more effort to unfurl as they required pulling on little hooks that were harder to finagle with larger fingers. However, once those tools were out, they performed perfectly. The Super Tool 300 is the platonic ideal of multitools because it has all the tools you’re likely to need around the house. We even feel comfortable recommending getting a second one to keep in your car’s glove compartment next to a flashlight during those just-in-case scenarios.

Best splurge: Gerber Gear Center-Drive Multitool Bit Set

Specs

Number of tools: 16

Included tools: Spring-loaded needle nose pliers w/ X-Channel rail system, rotatable carbide wire cutters & strippers, full-size 3.25″ 420HC fine edge blade, magnetic 3.2″ center-axis bit driver, pry bar w/ nail puller & bottle opener, serrated blade, awl, file, magnetic flathead, and Phillips bit

Price: $144.99

Pros

Solid feel

Smart tool arrangement

Safe locking mechanism

Cons

Expensive

If you’re willing to spend a little more money, jumping up to Gerber’s Center-Drive Multitool Bit Set makes a lot of sense. It has most of the same tools as our best overall pick but has a better overall design. It easily slipped into the front-right men’s jeans pocket and handled our basic screw tightening and weeding tasks with aplomb. You wouldn’t want to use this multitool to saw through a two-by-four, but the sharp tines on its serrated knife are sharp enough that cutting through a thinner piece isn’t out of the question.

The best part about using this multitool was how Gerber designed it with accessibility and safety in mind. The multitool wouldn’t open until we pushed down on a button and moved it upward, slowly revealing the head of a pair of pliers. This meant it wouldn’t accidentally pop open, which is especially helpful if you have kids in the house. Once fully opened, its fine edge blade and screwdriver were immediately available.

Pliers, a knife, and a screwdriver are the three most-used tools on most multitools, and having them accessible in seconds made using this one much more useful. Additionally, Gerber includes a 12-bit set with this multitool so that you can have an assortment of Phillips heads and flatheads at the ready. It may cost you a little more, but Gerber’s Gear Center-Drive Multitool Bit Set is absolutely worth the extra expense.

Best for camping: RoverTac Camping Essentials Multitool

Specs

Number of tools: 14

Included tools: Axe, knife, pliers, saw, hammer, wrenches, screwdrivers, bottle & can opener, and file

Price: $22.99

Pros

Includes non-standard tools

Comes with a carrying case

Cost

Cons

Large compared to other multitools

Camping safely requires a handful of tools, so RoverTac’s Camping Essentials multitool will come in handy the next time you’re backpacking or spending several days outdoors. Its biggest strength is the inclusion of a hammer, axe blade, fish scaler, bottle opener, and other tools that you won’t find on most multitools. These tools won’t necessarily be as important at home but can be indispensable when you’re setting up a tent or cutting kindling for the night’s fire.

Most of the tools are tucked away inside the hilt of the axe, but keeping a sharp blade out all the time could get dangerous. That’s why we’re pleased that RoverTac includes a nylon sheath to reduce the odds of a camping accident. If you’ve been taking an entire toolbox with you each time you camp or hike, this multitool could help free up space in your pack for additional gear, like a pair of compression socks.

Best compact: Amazon Basics 15-in-1 Stainless Steel Multitool

Specs

Number of tools: 15

Included tools: Knife, saw, fish scaler, hook remover, scissors, bottle opener, slotted screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, ice breaker, metal file, nail cleaner, needle, corkscrew, and key-ring

Price: $12.91

Pros

Small size

The inclusion of scissors

Cost

Cons

Less equipped than larger multitools

Multitools are all relatively portable, but if you need one roughly the size of a mid-sized switchblade, you can’t go wrong with this one from Amazon. It doesn’t fold out like most of the multitools we’re recommending, and its tools are all a lot less heavy-duty, but they’ll still do in a pinch. The essentials include a screwdriver, multiple knives, and a pair of scissors. The latter is a helpful tool you won’t find on most multitools, which is a shame, given its utility.

The inclusion of a key ring on the end of this multitool should tell you everything you need to know about its intended purpose. This is the one you’re supposed to take with you everywhere, whether you think you’re going to need it or not. It may not be up to the same tasks as a typical multitool, but it’s far better to have it on you than stuck without one.

Best value: Gerber Gear Suspension-NXT 15-in-1 Multi-Tool

Specs

Number of tools: 15

Included tools: Spring-loaded needle nose pliers, wire stripper, flathead drivers (small, medium, large), #2 cross driver, awl, nail file, scissors, tool lock, can opener, bottle opener, 2.25″ partially serrated blade, lanyard point, and pocket clip

Price: $28.99

Pros

Sleek stainless steel design

Wide tool assortment

Cost

Cons

Smaller tools tucked away

It’s telling that the company that made our most splurge-worthy multitool has another model perfect for more value-minded DIY enthusiasts. Yes, there are less expensive multitools, but they all have some compromises. Gerber’s Gear Suspension-NXT doesn’t have any of the typical tradeoffs in a model that costs under $30. It’s made from stainless steel, is pocket-friendly, and has every essential tool—including scissors—with a sleek design.

This multitool folds up and, when unfolded, reveals the head of a pair of pliers. All of its other tools are tucked away into the plier handles, which means you’ll have to dig around a little to access the screwdriver. This is a small—and easily forgivable—concession given the multitools’ extremely reasonable price. While you can keep this multitool in your pocket, it gets extra points in the portability department thanks to an included pocket clip, which makes it even more accessible. If you’re looking for a fully-featured general-purpose multitool under $50, this is the only one you should seriously consider.

There are many factors to weigh when deciding which multitool is best for you. Below are the ones we felt were most important while compiling this guide.

Number of tools

Having multiple tools is the namesake feature of a multitool, so in this case, more really does mean more. The purpose of this device is to save you from making more than one trip to grab a tool, so having the most fully-equipped model is preferable.

Types of tools

While tool quantity is important, look through the full list of a multitool’s tools to ensure it has the ones you’ll need more frequently. Some common tools, like scissors, are available on fewer multitools than you may think. Companies have opted to include multiple knives and more obscure tools that many folks may not have on hand in a junk drawer instead.

Cost

Multitools can get shockingly expensive very quickly, so we were committed to finding models at a wide range of prices. Most of our recommendations clock in at under $50, including some designed with a specific task—like camping—in mind. If you put off getting a multitool because of sticker shock, you can easily find one for you.

FAQs

Q: Why carry a multitool? You know how it always rains when you don’t have an umbrella? The same thing goes for multitools. A multitool is a compact way to carry pliers, files, and screwdriver heads without carrying an entire toolbox with you or running out to the shed. You can keep one in your glovebox or carry it in your pocket. The one time you leave it at home will be the time you’ll need it most.

Q: Are all multitool blades the same? No. Some multitool blades are smooth, while others are serrated. Knives on multitools also vary in length and sharpness. If you need to replace a blade in your multitool, contact the manufacturer to see if they offer replacement blades.

Q: Why do my multitool blades wear out so fast? Multitool blades will wear out quickly if used on extremely hard surfaces such as stone, metal, or dense wood. To make your tool last, you can sharpen the standard blade and scissors on a multitool using a sharpening stone. You can sharpen the serrated knife using a round sharpening steel.

Q: How much does a multitool cost? This depends on its material, number of tools, and types of tools. Our recommendations cost between $12 and $145.

Best overall: Leatherman Super Tool 300

Best splurge: Gerber Gear Center-Drive Multitool Bit Set

Best for camping: RoverTac Camping Essentials, Multi Tool

Best compact: Amazon Basics 15-in-1 Stainless Steel Multitool

Best value: Gerber Gear Suspension-NXT 15-in-1 Multi-Tool

A multitool may not be the first piece of gear you think to grab on your way out the door, but it’s important to pay it some mind. This time-saving tool will come in handy more often than a power tool because you can reasonably carry it around or throw it into a small pack on the off-chance you’ll need one. We strongly recommend keeping a multitool in an emergency preparedness kit because that’s the type of scenario in which it’ll thrive. It’s frustrating to get caught flat-footed and need to pause your task to grab just one more tool, especially if you’re not home at the time. Save yourself the stress and pick up a multitool.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

Source : Popular Science

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