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Buying Guide for Multi Tools


By Steve Kopitz

Multi Tool


Multi Tools provide many functions for everything from household work to camping to boating. You have a series of tools at your fingertips so you can maintain and fix just about anything.


Okay, so isn’t Multi Tool just another word for Swiss Army Knife, right? Nope. In fact, when you get a Multi Tool you’re looking at getting a tool that has pliers as the center and other tools around it. Multi Tools are also generally larger, are easier to hold on to but they do tend to weigh more.


When searching for the right Multi Tool, you will find that there are a lot of tools that can be included (or excluded) which makes them more specific towards the activity you are interested in doing.


Knife: If you rely on knives then it is best to invest in an individual knife separate from a Multi Tool. Multi Tool knives have smaller blades and come in either a straight edge or serrated (jagged like a saw) and many Multi Tools will come with both.


• Straight Edge Knives are great for filleting and general cutting needs


• Serrated Knives will cut through ropes and other fiber-materials much easier


Handle Scales: Handle Scales on Multi Tools make the grip easier. This is ideal if you find yourself in wet conditions. On a boat, camping, hiking? You’ll want to consider a Multi Tool with handle scales.


Pliers: You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Multi Tool without pliers as that what mostly differentiates a Multi Tool from a Swiss Army Knife.


Nonetheless, you’ll have to figure out what kind of pliers you would like to have and there are plenty of options and features to choose from.


• Pliers are used to hold an object firmly, bend or physically compress the object


• Needle Nose Pliers are usually used to cut, bend and re-position wires. They are generally used by trades-people


Screwdriver: We all know what a screwdriver is. You just need to determine if you need one. Some options that you might run into are: different sizes of Phillips head and/or flat tip as well as a separate bit kit so you can switch out your screwdriver heads.


From taking out batteries in a flashlight to tightening or fixing, a screwdriver option is nice to have during any activity.


Bit Drivers: Bit Drivers allow you to add on bits like a flat tip or Phillips head screwdriver. They give you the opportunity to have more options and bit sizes but the downside is you would also have to carry (and not lose) a kit that holds the bits.


Bits Included: Bits vary but they can include between different size flat tip or Phillips head screwdrivers as well as square heads, torx and more. Not all bit kits that are included with bit drivers offer plenty of options; sometimes you might get a standard sized Phillips and flat tip.


Wire Cutters: Some Multi Tools will come equipped with a standard wire cutter while others will include a variety of wire cutters. Although you may not need this when camping, they do help make the Multi Tool more versatile when around the house.


Crimper: Mostly used for metal or wires, a Crimper is used to join two pieces of metal or malleable material together.


Cutting Hook: Cutting Hooks can help make cutting a little more safe. Especially when opening boxes, cutting zip ties and materials, a Cutting Hook can add ease and safety.


Hammer: When you need a little extra power, a hammer on a Multi Tool can help as opposed to using anything that has a hard surface. Although you won’t be hammering in an entire backyard deck, a hammer on a Multi Tool works great if you need to smash some things down while camping or hiking or pushing in a loose nail.


Saw: Don’t expect to hack down a tree with a saw on a Multi Tool but a saw feature can come in hand when you need to cut through smaller pieces of wood.


Scissors: Scissors on a Multi Tool are small and ideal for cutting threads, small strings or paper. They are not designed like the office scissors and won’t have the same durability however they are useful for dealing with the small stuff.


File: There are a few different kinds of files that can come with a Multi Tool. They usually are wood filers or metal filers, sometimes both. They are used mostly for woodworking or metalworking and not often needed if you’re camping or hiking.


Bottle Opener: When you can’t twist off the cap of a cold one, the bottle opener on a Multi Tool will get that for you.


Lanyard Ring:  Lanyard Rings make it easy to hang your Multi Tool on a hook.


Removable Pocket Clip: With a pocket clip you can always have the Multi Tool at your side.


Sheath: A Sheath is like a pocket or pouch for you to store your Multi Tool in. It usually can hook on to your belt so that you can always have it within close proximity.



Leatherman Multi Tool


The weight of a Multi Tool can vary by a few ounces. More often than not though a Multi Tool won’t exceed 12 ounces and depending on the amount of tools you have averages around 5 or 6 ounces. Titanium Multi Tools will be a lighter weight option but the majority will be made of stainless steel.


When purchasing your Multi-Tool remember to consider your activities. Campers and hikers tend to be mindful of each ounce they carry.


Also, take a look at the equipment you will be using and see what tools you may need in order to fix or build it. The last thing you want is to have something break and the wrong tool to fix it.

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