submitted by Jonathan Tayag
When it comes to everyday carry, having the right tool for the job can determine your success. But unless you’re a contractor, the idea of carrying an entire tool box everywhere is simply impractical. That’s why so many people consider the multi-tool to be an essential part of any EDC. A good multi-tool gives you quick access to many useful tools in a streamlined, compact package you can fit in your pocket. There’s a wide range of multi-tools out there, from traditional butterfly designs to unique one-piece tools, and they all help you accomplish more than what you can do with your bare hands. So whether you’re looking for something to help you with do-it-yourself projects, trying to find the right tool in an emergency, or just looking for a good can and bottle opener, there’s a multi-tool out there for you. In this guide, we’ll explain what to look for in an EDC multi-tool, recommend the 20 best multi-tools you can buy right now, and explain what application each multi-tool is best used for.
How to Pick the Best Multi-tool for Your EDC
Consider the features and tools you want in your multi-tool. A good EDC multi-tool should strike a balance of functions you actually use and some you might need in a pinch. Some people prefer to pare things down to the essentials, while others seek multitools with additional features they might need “just in case.” As far as what is essential, you’ll probably want a multi-tool that has at least a knife, a pair of pliers, some screwdrivers, and an opener for cans and bottles.
Size is an important consideration, too. After all, the smaller a tool is, the smaller the tasks you can accomplish with it in hand tend to be. On the flip side, if you have a bigger and heavier tool to carry around, you might find yourself actually leaving it at home instead. Pick something small enough to manageably carry with you every day that’s still big enough to be comfortable and effective for the type of tasks you use it for.
Now that you know what to look for, narrow it down with these 20 recommendations, starting with traditional multi-tool designs and ending with more specialized tools for more unique use cases.
The Best Multi-tools for EDC
- 1 – Leatherman Wave+
- 2 – Leatherman FREE P4
- 3 – Leatherman Charge+ TTi
- 4 – Leatherman Skeletool RX
- 5 – Leatherman Surge
- 6 – Victorinox SwissTool X
- 7 – SOG Powerlock EOD
- 8 – Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer X Alox
- 9 – Leatherman FREE K4
- 10 – Gerber Prybrid Utility
- 11 – Leatherman Style PS
- 12 – Gerber Dime
- 13 – Gerber Shard
- 14 – Gear Infusion EverRatchet
- 15 – Kershaw Jens Carabiner
- 16 – Tactica M.250 Hex Drive Tool Kit
- 17 – Lever Gear BitVault
- 18 – SOG Baton Q1
- 19 – Victorinox SwissCard Lite
- 20 – Leatherman Raptor Shears
Leatherman Wave+Key FeaturesOutboard bladesPrecision eyeglass screwdriverMade in the USA, lifetime warrantySpecificationsNo. of Functions18 functionsWeight8.5 ozMaterialsStainless steel, 420HC bladeReviewsPrice$$For many people in the EDC community, Leatherman’s line of multi-tools is the be-all and end-all when it comes to butterfly-style tools for everyday carry. And for years, the Wave+ has been the standard by which all others are judged. With 18 tools including strong needle-nose pliers, a replaceable wire cutter, straight edge and serrated knives, a saw that can be accessed while the wool is closed, and interchangeable screwdriver bits, the Wave+ has just about everything you need for EDC. And it does all this while still being contained in a relatively small package that still fits your pockets.
Leatherman FREE P4Key FeaturesAll tools except pliers outboardMagnetic design allows one-handed operation of entire toolMade in the USA, 25-year warrantySpecificationsNo. of Functions21 functionsWeight8.6 ozMaterialsStainless steel, 420HC bladeReviewsPrice$$$Not content to sit on their laurels, Leatherman introduced a new line of multi-tools last year, with the FREE P4 is their new flagship tool. Think of it as the spiritual successor to the Wave+, bringing its utility into the 21st century with a new tactile magnetic system that allows for easy one-handed opening of the tool with a flick of your wrist. For added convenience, all of the functions on the tool face outward, meaning they can be accessed without opening the tool up completely. And the new system allows for easy selection of the tools with a single hand, with a nice bump letting you know that what you picked is locked into place and ready to go. If you prefer a more streamlined tool with just the essentials, also consider the slightly more compact Leatherman FREE P2. See our full Leatherman FREE P2 review here.
Leatherman Charge+ TTiKey FeaturesGut-hook/strap cutter built into the serrated knifeDual-tone designMade in the USA, lifetime warrantySpecificationsNo. of Functions19 functionsWeight8.89 ozMaterialsTitanium, S30V blade, 420HCReviewsPrice$$$$If you really like the Wave+ mentioned above, you’ll like the more premium Charge+ TTi. It’s functionally similar to a Wave+, but upgraded with a premium titanium construction and much higher quality S30V stainless steel for the plain-edge blade. Some users prefer the Charge+ as well for comfort in the handles, which lack the hard edges of the Wave+. The dual-tone aesthetic also makes the Charge+ TTi a cut above the standard Wave+ as well.
Leatherman Skeletool RXKey FeaturesBright red Cerakote finish for easy IDCarbide glass breakerCarabiner built into handleSpecificationsNo. of Functions7 functionsWeight5 ozMaterials154CM bladeReviewsPrice$$If you’re looking for a more lightweight Leatherman tool, consider the Skeletool RX, which also features a serrated blade made out of premium 154CM stainless steel. It’s designed to allow for access to the knife without opening up the whole tool, and if you do need to flip it open it can be done with a single hand. It also includes a replaceable bit driver, whose standard bit actually functions as a glass breaker for emergency situations as well.
Leatherman SurgeKey FeaturesFull-size outboard spring-loaded scissorsReplaceable file and sawMade in the USA, 25-year warrantySpecificationsNo. of Functions21 functionsWeight12.5 ozMaterials420HC stainless steelReviewsPrice$$$If size is less of a factor for you, the Leatherman Surge is the premier option for taking on big DIY or construction tasks on a regular basis. The Surge features the beefiest pliers available on a Leatherman multi-tool so far. The bigger size also benefits you if scissors are on your regular tool rotation, because they’re one of the outboard functions on this multi-tool. You can also swap out the file for a saw based on your needs.
Victorinox SwissTool XKey FeaturesAll-locking toolsRuler built into handlesPry tool built inSpecificationsNo. of Functions28 functionsWeight10.2 ozMaterialsStainless steelReviewsPrice$$$While Victorinox is most well known for their Swiss Army Knives, they produce traditional butterfly-style multi-tools with many of the same high-performance implements found in their knives. The Victorinox SwissTool X boasts an impressive 28 assorted functions, making it well-equipped for most projects. These include a pair of spring-loaded scissors, an awl, and a file, and they all lock into place making the tool well-suited for heavy-duty tasks. The contoured stainless steel handles also make it comfortable to use the pliers for extended periods.
SOG Powerlock EODKey FeaturesSOG Compound Assist technologyDurable black oxide coatingSpecificationsNo. of Functions18 toolsWeight9.6 ozMaterials420 stainless steelReviewsPrice$$SOG has made a name for themselves in the EDC community for their quality tactical knives and military-oriented tools. And if you use the pliers on a multi-tool the most of all, you’ll appreciate SOG’s special Compound Leverage Technology built into the Powerlock EOD. Built into the pivot of the tool, it lets you exert maximum control over the pliers and cutters with less effort and strain on your hands than with other multi-tools. Since this particular model was made for explosive ordinance disposal, there’s lots of wire strippers, crimpers, and other electronics-oriented tools that make it suitable for less dangerous applications as well.
Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer X AloxKey FeaturesSpring-loaded scissorsReamer, punchMade in SwitzerlandSpecificationsNo. of Functions9 functionsWeight3.3 ozMaterialsAlox scales, Sandvik stainless steelReviewsPrice$The Swiss Army Knife (SAK for short) is the premier type of EDC multi-tool for people who don’t need a pair of pliers. The best models of SAK feature Victorinox’s corrosion resistant and lightweight Alox (aluminum scales with anodic oxidation) scales, like those found on Pioneer X. With a dimpled texture, you get a more sure grip on this tool compared to the standard SAK. Along with the Sandvik stainless steel blade, the Pioneer X features a pair of spring-loaded scissors, a reamer and punch, and assorted bottle and can openers built into the flathead screwdriver functions.
Leatherman FREE K4Key FeaturesFull-size 3.3″ locking knifeLocking tools built into the handleMade in the USA, 25-year warrantySpecificationsNo. of Functions9 functionsWeight5.5 ozMaterials420HC bladeReviewsPrice$$If having a good knife is the most important part of your EDC multi-tool decision, check out the Leatherman K4. It features a full-size 3.3″ locking 420HC stainless steel blade with a wharncliffe-style utility shape that’s great for daily cutting and slicing tasks. You’ll find the standard bottle opener and screwdriver built into the handle, which locks into place like the rest of the tools in the FREE line. But what sets the K4 apart is the inclusion of spring-loaded scissors and a pry tool that lets you safe your knife from abuse that you shouldn’t be subjecting it to in the first place.
Gerber Prybrid UtilityKey FeaturesStandard contractor blade, retractablePrybar, nail puller at rearBottle openerSpecificationsNo. of Functions8 functionsWeight4.2 ozMaterialsG10 handle scalesReviewsPrice$If opening boxes is something you do on a regular basis, you know how cardboard can dull even the best quality blades after extended use. That’s why it’s a good idea to carry a multi-tool that uses cheap and easily replaceable utility blades for opening boxes. The Gerber Prybrid Utility is a hybrid of a utility knife that accepts standard utility blades and a proper pry bar tool. Between its blade and pry bar, this multi-tool can handle opening packages from cardboard boxes to larger crates you might encounter on the job.
Leatherman Style PSKey FeaturesTSA-compliantTweezers built into the handleKeychain-sized, carabiner in handleSpecificationsNo. of Functions8 functionsWeight1.58 ozMaterialsStainless steel, glass-filled nylon handlesReviewsPrice$If you want a TSA-compliant multi-tool that you can take with you when you fly, the Leatherman Style PS is a good choice. It’s small and lightweight, with a carabiner gate built into the handle that lets it attach directly to your keychain for convenience. And because it lacks a knife, you shouldn’t get into trouble when you go through TSA checkpoints. To ensure less hassle, open up the tool fully and deploy the functions so it’s easy to see in the x-ray machine.
Gerber DimeKey FeaturesSpring-loaded scissorsBottle opener built into handleLifetime warrantySpecificationsNo. of Functions12 functionsWeight2.2 ozMaterialsStainless steelReviewsPrice$The compact and relatively inexpensive Gerber Dime is one of the best choices if you need a pocket-friendly multi-tool that you can use day-in, day-out without too much worry. It features 12 useful EDC essential tools in a lightweight 2.2 oz frame, and it even has a bottle opener built into the handle that doesn’t require you to open up the tool itself to crack a cold one open after you’re done working.
Gerber ShardKey FeaturesTSA-compliantKeychain-sizedLimited lifetime warrantySpecificationsNo. of Functions7 functionsWeight1 ozMaterialsTitanium nitride-coated stainless steelReviewsPrice$If you’re looking for a cheap, effective, no-frills one-piece multi-tool you can set and forget in your EDC, look no further than the Gerber Shard. It’s the most used tool with members in our EDC community by a large margin and it’s easy to see why. It’s designed to fit right on your keychain and give you easy access to the bottle opener, wire-stripper, pry bar, and driver. And at the tip of the tool you’ll find a Phillips screwdriver bit that works well in a pinch.
Gear Infusion EverRatchetKey FeaturesUnique ratcheting mechanismStorage of standard hex bitBox openerSpecificationsNo. of Functions17 functionsWeight20 grams (stainless steel) or 12 grams (titanium)MaterialsTitanium or stainless steel bodyReviewsPrice$The EverRatchet sets itself apart from other standard hex-bit multi-tools by building in an ingenious ratcheting mechanism in the titanium (or stainless steel) body, which allows you to manipulate the bit of your choice like a wrench with less effort than a standard EDC driver. And not content with being a one-trick pony, the EverEatchet includes a box opener and bottle opener built in, as well as storage for either a hex bit or a fire flint for emergency use.
Kershaw Jens CarabinerKey FeaturesSide jimping for easy manipulation of wrenchesBottle opener cleverly shaped like a bottleAlso functions as a strap cutterSpecificationsNo. of Functions6 functionsWeight2.1 ozMaterialsStainless steel coated in titanium carbo-nitrideReviewsPrice$Kershaw has a long history of making EDC knives, but they also put out small keychain tools and gadgets that are worth your attention. Their Jens Carabiner, made in collaboration with knifemaker Jens Ansø, is a solid clip device for attachment to your keys or gear, but look a little closer and you’ll notice that it includes multiple hex drivers, a bottle opener, and even a strap cutter built into the design.
Tactica M.250 Hex Drive Tool KitKey FeaturesIncludes 12 various hex bits, room for two of your ownBit extender made out of tool steelHolster for belt carrySpecificationsNo. of Functions1 function (screwdriver)Weight3.95 oz fully loadedMaterialsComposite polymer bodyReviewsNo reviews yetPrice$A lot of EDC multi-tools sport interchangeable bits, but few are designed specifically to let you carry a ton of them at a single time while still being pocketable. Tactica designed the M.250 as a tool that fits right in your pants pockets with enough space to let you functionally carry a whole set of driver bits without all of the bulk. The tool comes with a standard set of hex bit tools, but you’re free to include the specific security and exotic bits you might find at your job site at your leisure too. And when you need to use it, just pop it into the hex screwdriver tool and get at it.
Lever Gear BitVaultKey FeaturesIncludes two standard Phillips and flathead hex bits, room for 6 in totalWaterproof gasket allows storage of essentialsLifetime guaranteeSpecificationsNo. of Functions2 functionsWeight1.02 ozMaterialsMetal alloyReviewsPrice$The Lever Gear BitVault is another multi-tool option that lets you carry a number of bits to suit your tasks for the day. But it’s slightly smaller than many other bit storage tools and you can even use the waterproof storage area to hold important essentials that are not just standard hex bits. This lets you carry medication, for example, on your keychain without having to worry about it all getting wet before you get to use it. If you’re looking for a companion tool to manage bits in your EDC, as well as stashing a few small essentials safely, consider the BitVault.
SOG Baton Q1Key FeaturesD1 pen refillTransforms into spring-loaded scissorsTSA-compliantSpecificationsNo. of Functions4 functionsWeight2.4 ozMaterials5Cr15MoVReviewsPrice$If a pen is the most used item in your everyday carry, but you want to include a multi-tool into the mix, consider adding the SOG Baton Q1 into your ensemble. It features a pair of spring-loaded scissors built into the body of a pressurized ink ballpoint pen, with a combination screwdriver and bottle opener built into the rear. It’s TSA-compliant, with scissor edges below the limit for airplane carry, and it lets you level up your EDC whether you’re at home or in the office with a nice industrial aesthetic that remains discreet.
Victorinox SwissCard LiteKey FeaturesLED flashlight built into the bodyPull-out toolsCredit card-sized footprintSpecificationsNo. of Functions13 functionsWeight0.9 ozMaterialsABS/Cellidor body, stainless steel toolsReviewsPrice$Think of the SwissCard Lite as more of a mobile toolbox built into a credit-card sized package that can fit in your wallet. It fits 13 different functions that you pull out of the transparent plastic body, including a pair of spring-loaded scissors, a small knife, and a pair of tweezers. And for added convenience, the SwissCard Lite includes a LED flashlight built in, so you can cover your EDC bases with one of the compact multi-tools you can carry.
Leatherman Raptor ShearsKey FeaturesCarbide glass breaker tipMOLLE-compatible holsterDesigned for first respondersSpecificationsNo. of Functions6 functionsWeight5.8 ozMaterials420hc stainless steel, glass filled nylon handlesReviewsPrice$$$Sure, lots of multi-tools offer a pair of spring-loaded scissors, but few can perform to the level of the Leatherman Raptor, giving you a pair of compact foldable shears that can help you get through an emergency situation without a problem. It was designed with EMTs and fire professionals in mind, and along with the sharp 420HC stainless steel shears built in, there’s an oxygen tank wrench, provisions for cutting straps and rings on people’s fingers, and a carbide glass breaker for quick access in the handle. And the holster it comes with is MOLLE compatible, for easy mounting on your webbed gear or in a PALS-compatible tactical vest.
This post was researched and written with the help of our growing (and awesome) Facebook community. What’s your favorite multi-tool?
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