Last updated date: September 12, 2019
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We looked at the top Multitools and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Multitool you should buy.
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From The Manufacturer
A great choice for first-time users, the Sidekick is a handy pocket-sized tool that has all the features you need to get your project done. The outside-accessible blades mean you can open the knife with just one hand and rounded handles make getting a grip around their all-new, spring-action jaws easy and very comfortable.
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An Overview On Multitools
If you’re not much of a handyman, you could be forgiven for thinking of the once-ubiquitous Swiss Army Knife when you hear the word “multitool.” And while that trusty red pocketknife is still around, the design of the multitool has come a long way since they were standard issue for your Boy Scout troop.
These days, the term multitool can encompass anything from a weighty gadget that requires a holster and incorporates 30 tools or more to a stealthy metal card that doubles as a wrench and bottle opener. But though the design may differ, you’re essentially talking about something roughly the size of a pocketknife that instead flips out an assortment of screwdrivers and other useful tools (and possibly a knife or three as well).
The pocketknife configuration may have worked fine for the Swiss Army, and it’s still the standard for some multitools. But more recently, if you go shopping for multitools, you’ll find most are modeled in the design of the balisong or butterfly knife.
This setup has a lot of advantages. For one thing, you can open it with a simple flick of the wrist. With certain adjustments, the twin handles can be used as grips for pliers, scissors or any number of tools where a little extra torque is needed. To get the various gadgets loose from their folded-in position, some multitools may have a release catch or just require you to pry them loose with a tab that protrudes from the central cavity. Once they’re in use, most will have a mechanism that locks them in place for ease of use (and your safety).
What tools can you expect to find on a standard multitool? The list can vary widely, but it should include a screwdriver (with a Phillips and flat-head driver, at least), pliers, scissors and possibly a knife or two. Most will also have a bottle opener or something you can use as one. It’s a good bet that this tool is the one that will see the most actual use among weekend warriors.
“If you’re involved in a specialty activity, there are multitools on the market that cater to those needs,” says our home improvement expert Vicki Liston. Her award-winning show “On The Fly…DIY” has plenty of home tutorials for testing out your multitool. “Don’t assume that the manufacturer knows exactly what you need, though. Read through the list of included tools before assuming it’s the whole enchilada.”
The total number of tools incorporated can be as few as two or three to 40 or more. Just remember the main asset of a multitool is portability. If you can’t use a tool, it’s just dead weight. Heed that Boy Scout motto and “be prepared” … just remember, it’s possible to be overprepared.
DWYM Fun Fact
When it comes to functionality, too much wasn’t nearly enough for the F.W. Holler company of Solingen, Germany. In the 1880s, they created the mother of all multitools, a lethal piece of equipment that incorporates 100 blades. If you were patient (and careful) enough to unsheathe all the weapons in this Old West relic, you’d find daggers, shears, scissors, saws, button hooks, mechanical pens, a straight razor and even a functional .22 caliber pin-shot revolver. Strangely enough by modern standards, there was no bottle opener — but then, bottle caps weren’t quite on the market at the time.
The Multitool Buying Guide
- The selling point on a lot of multitools is quantity. It might indeed be impressive to see 30 tools or more packed into a somewhat compact package, but keep your lifestyle in mind. Do you really need a hex driver in 12 different sizes while you’re on the go? Unless you’re a professional handyman, probably not — and even then, you’ve probably got a full-sized tool that will do the job far more effectively. If you’re planning to carry your multitool around the house, a few screwdrivers and wrenches might be all you need. On hikes, look for a gadget with a focus on knives, scissors and saws. If it’s going to be kept in the glove compartment, a strap cutter and window breaker might be life-saving tools to have. Match the multitool to your situation.
- While we’re on the subject of tool selection, a word about knives: They’re fairly common on most multitools and can be handy on everything from whittling primitive tools to opening stubborn packages. They’re so small on many tools that you may not even consider them as weapons — but the TSA will. “In some places, blades over 2.5″ are not allowed, and you may get your tool taken away altogether,” says our home improvement expert Vicki Liston. When traveling by air, take that multitool off the belt and stow it in checked baggage, or leave it at home entirely.
- Size matters. The whole point of a multitool is that you can carry it easily. An arsenal of gadgetry is no good if you can’t fit it into your pocket. It’s up to you to find that sweet spot between portability and functionality. Be advised that while credit card-sized multitools can be cute, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to use it for anything strenuous. No matter what the size, look for stainless steel construction or something just as sturdy.
- Most decent multitools can fit in a pocket, but just barely. And depending on the design, you might not be able to easily retrieve it there anyway, especially if it shares space with a wallet or keys. Look for tools with at least a belt clip or sheath if you’re dealing with anything larger than five inches or so.