If someone wanted to buy the single best multitool available today, I would tell them that the Leatherman New Wave is the one to get. It has a versatile mix of tools, great ergonomics and solid construction, and the price tag is fantastic for the amount of functionality you get. It’s just $61 on Amazon today, and ~$51 if you downgrade to the nylon sheath (do it; you won’t miss the leather). You can pay almost twice as much for a multitool, but the extra investment doesn’t buy you a tool that’s much more useful or practical than this one.
Photo credit: Flickr user zomgitsbrian via Creative Commons
If you prefer to spend a bit more for smoother action and a nicer finish, we recommend the $93 Swisstool Spirit X.
There’s definitely some personal preference to consider with these tools. As was revealed by hours of research with experts and interviews with multitool fanatics, it’s important to consider what’s comfortable for you to use. Some people want a smaller tool that’s less bulky in a pants pocket. Others want a big tool that feels heavy and solid to grip. But even taking into account everybody’s differences of opinion, brand loyalties and personal histories with particular tools, the New Wave kept coming up as the answer to what the folks in multitool land call the unanswerable question: what’s the best multitool on the market today?
Why You Should Listen to Me
I was a tool editor at This Old House Magazine for three years and a home editor at Popular Mechanics for four years…
I’ve regularly had my hands on these tools for about a decade. As an Eagle Scout and backpacker, I coveted friends’ gadget-packed Swiss Army knives from a very young age. I graduated to a Gerber; later on, a Leatherman joined me on the trail. As a contractor restoring historic houses, I kept a Leatherman in my tool belt, and it often came through on quick repairs too easy for a trip back to the truck. Now, as a homeowner, I keep multitools in the kitchen and in the car glove box. For quick fixes around the house, they’re still capable enough to solve small problems most of the time.
Oh, and I was also a tool editor at This Old House Magazine for three years and a home editor at Popular Mechanics for four years after that. In those jobs, not many press releases quickened the pulse quite like the announcement of a new multitool.
How We Chose Our Tool
There are a lot of multitools out there. Between Leatherman, Gerber, Victorinox (the Swiss Army knife company) and a handful of smaller manufacturers, you’re looking at nearly 100 multitools on the market today. And that’s just counting the pliers-and-knives type. You could expand the definition of “multitool” to include a powered oscillating tool, a multi-bit screwdriver, little metal oddballs like Gerber’s Shard—even a basic claw hammer is a multitool. But this story is focused on the kinds of multitools that fold up into a compact handle and then splay out to reveal an array of problem-solving implements.
To find the best choice, we talked to the kinds of people who live and breathe multitools. A big thank you first goes to the inviting international community we found at multitool.org, a group of pros and enthusiasts who have spent years buying, trying and discussing every multitool on the world market. Dozens of that forum’s members were more than happy to weigh in on the best multitool—the unanswerable question—and their insights were invaluable to this research. Other sources of wisdom included Stuart Deutsch, a guy with a strong mechanical engineering background and the editor of toolguyd.com; Doug Mahoney, general contractor by day and tool tester, Sweethome contributor and toolsnob.com editor by night; the reviews and recommendations of the tool buying public on Amazon; and the test results found in the pages of Popular Mechanics.
Photo credit: Flickr uer npmeijer via Creative Commons
What Makes a Good Multitool?
Like the best basic home tool kit, you don’t need to own a home to need a multitool. Everyone has an occasional need to cut tape or twine, tighten or remove a screw, and get a firm grip on a small object with a pair of needle-nose pliers. This is an investment that ideally costs you as close to $50 as possible; anything near or above $100 is pretty high-priced for the category unless you’re using it everyday. But even then, there are plenty around $50 that will please power users.
…quality steel blades that can hold an edge, solid construction…and strong hinges that hold their position but are easy enough to open and shut…
With the best manufacturers, that $50 investment gets you quality steel blades that can hold an edge, solid construction that doesn’t have dust-collecting cavities or wiggly components, and strong hinges that hold their position but are easy enough to open and shut one tool at a time without feeling like you’re fighting the thing.
Here’s how this item fits into the toolbelt of Doug Mahoney, Sweethome contributor, Massachusetts contractor and editor of toolsnob.com: “The main selling point that I see with multitools is that they give you the ability to immediately deal with problems… for example, if you’re up on a step stool swapping out the batteries on your smoke detector and you notice that the unit is sitting loose on the mounting screws, you can just tighten up the screws and move on. Otherwise, it’s an additional trip to the garage or basement or wherever and all of a sudden it’s a process. Knowing I had the Leatherman on me, I knew that I always had at least a fighting chance of being able to fix something in one stop.”
It helps to take a closer look at the specific tools that will make this a one-stop item. One of the most important features is having strong, reliable locks on the knife blades. A knife blade that can unexpectedly close when working under pressure is dangerous.
The plier tips should meet at a precise point. Since you’re often using the pliers to grab very small things, having the tips out of alignment makes a hard task difficult and frustrating.
More generally, you should be comfortable carrying this tool around with you. A major reason to own a tool like this is for the convenience of having what you need on your person so you can do a quick job without having to fetch a tool. You’ll want a slender profile and a smart design that gives you the most features at the minimum size. The balance of features and size, of course, comes down to personal preference, comfort, what you need it to do and whether you’ll have it in a pocket, on a belt or in a backpack.
There are also a few things you can de-emphasize to make shopping easier. As long as you’re buying a quality brand, you probably don’t need to worry much about the exact chemistry of the steel in the blades. As one multitool.org member, 50ft-trad, put it, “Many guys want the ‘best’ possible steels. 154CM or S30V would be a minimum requirement for some people—but for me they have no place in my line up as they chip too easily and are more difficult to sharpen. Give me a properly treated 420 type stainless blade, and I’ll be perfectly happy—generally happier than I would be with one of the supersteels.” It’s safe to assume that a Leatherman or Victorinox tool will have a properly treated stainless blade, and that upgrading beyond that will cost you more without much noticeable difference in daily use. One other thing you can ignore (and this probably goes without saying) is the celebrity endorsement. It really shouldn’t affect your buying decision whether Bear Grylls’s name is on the tool or not.
After hours of research, backed up by casual testing over several years, it’s clear that the New Wave has everything a multitool needs in a compact arrangement without any superfluous parts. It’s useful in the woods, around the house and on job sites. When using it, you likely won’t miss the individual versions of the pliers, knife, screwdrivers, saw or scissors it’ll often replace.
As Stuart Deutsch, who calls the Wave “my all-time favorite multitool,” puts it in a recent Toolguyd review: “A great multitool, to me, is one that performs tasks nearly as well as standalone tools of good quality … A well designed and engineered multitool blends into the background and helps you get the job done without disruption or discomfort.” The New Wave is just that.
The 4-inch, 8.5-ounce New Wave comes with:
a 2.9-inch 420HC knife (HC stands for “high carbon,” which means the knife will hold an edge better)
a 420HC serrated knife
a saw; spring-action scissors
a wood and metal file
a diamond-coated file
a large bit driver that flips between a flat and Phillips head
a small bit driver with an eyeglass screwdriver
a medium fixed-blade flat screwdriver
an 8-inch/19-cm ruler
a bottle opener
a can opener
and a wire stripper.
The tools are also well designed so you won’t miss the full-sized counterparts when using them (unless you need a hammer).
The tools are also well designed so you won’t miss the full sized counterparts when using them (unless you need a hammer).
One reason the original Wave rose to such popularity after its 1998 debut—and likely a major reason Leatherman claims it’s the company’s most popular model to date—is the way the knife blades can be accessed without opening up the whole tool. Before the Wave, you had to flip open the pliers, pull out the knife, close the tool back up, and then start cutting. This blade can be opened more like a basic pocket knife. You can even do it one-handed if you’re dextrous enough. This feature alone, paired with the company’s already well-known reputation for quality tools, ensured that the Wave would be a hit from the start (and that it would remain a success after its relaunch as the New Wave in 2004). As Popular Mechanics put it in a test of the New Wave from several years ago, “The Wave was our fave.”
Beyond the knife, there’s a saw, which—in a rarity for a multitool—is actually usable and not all that frustrating. Its teeth are triple-ground, meaning they have three facets, which allows the stubby blade to clear a lot of wood with each short push through the kerf. I’ve personally used the saw to prepare a set of tent stakes when I (idiotically) left my real tent stakes in a car trunk before setting off backpacking. I’ve used it to make a single cut in a 2×4, too, but if you had to make more than one of those you’d want to get a real saw.
The pliers’ jaws are nicely machined, and they meet at a precise point on every Wave (original or New) that I’ve ever picked up. The needle-nose tips flare out to a wider, serrated jaw ideal for gripping small, round pipe and other slightly larger objects. And having a wirecutter in the crotch of the pliers makes short work of wire when you don’t need your full electrical kit. The scissors are plenty sharp enough to get the job done, and the serrated knife blade is nice to have when cutting rope or twine.
One other feature that should get a special mention is the extremely versatile multi-bit driver. You swap bits in and out of this piece, but the little chuck holds them quite securely when you need to put some pressure on a fastener. It’s a more versatile feature than you might realize—there are more Leatherman bits available and an adapter that can fit standard 1-inch bits, as Deutsch explains:
“I am actually quite fond of the removable bit holder. I have a complete bit assortment and 2 additional bit cards that came with other Leatherman multi-tools, and they have come in handy over the years. If I need a screwdriver bit style that Leatherman doesn’t offer, I pull out my 1/4″ adapter/extension and use it with standard 1″ insert bits. The extension can also be used with Leatherman’s low-profile bits.”
The New Wave isn’t the company’s latest and greatest, but that’s actually a good thing; the latest and greatest costs $100 or more, but this can do almost everything just as well at roughly half the price.
At the top of a list of criticisms you could have about the New Wave—especially if you handle it alongside a Charge or a Swisstool Spirit, described below—is that the functions can be a little stiff, particularly in the early days of using it. But that improves with time. Other shortcomings are not so much flaws as they are things it’d be nice if the New Wave had—I’ve wished it had good wire strippers built into the pliers to take jackets off the common gauge wires you find in light switches and outlets. (There’s a little notch listed as a stripper, but Deutsch and I both think it’s a last resort.)
I’m not sure how you’d design a wider and longer pry bar onto a multitool, but there are times when that would have come in handy. You can, at least, use the larger fixed-blade screwdriver can to pry open a paint can. Really, though, until you can design a drill into a multitool, there are not a lot of realistic additions I’d suggest for the New Wave. Trying to think of what the tool needs quickly leads me back a Popular Mechanics cover several years ago, 25 Skills Every Man Should Know, which imagined a fantastic Leatherman-style multitool sporting a chainsaw blade and a paint brush.
The Step Up
The Victorinox doesn’t do anything that the New Wave can’t but it’s built better and just feels better to use. It’s a bit lighter, smoother and more polished all around.
Think of the Swisstool Spirit X ($93) as the luxury version of the New Wave. While it doesn’t do any tasks that the New Wave can’t, it feels nicer doing those same tasks. It’s definitely a step up in terms of build quality. The Swiss-made Victorinox tool shares some genes with Swiss Army knives, but since everything is centered around a pair of pliers, it also has a little bit in common with the Leatherman design. It actually came up almost as often as the New Wave when we consulted with the forum at multitool.org.
It’s pricier, but for that investment you get a little more from its 27 functions. The pliers are buttery smooth in action. The scissors are easier to use than the Leatherman’s. Its lighter, 5.75-ounce frame feels great in your hand, and the soft leather pouch it comes in makes Leatherman’s look cheap. The slide-style blade locking mechanism is on the side of the tool; whether you like Leatherman’s liner lock better is a personal call. Each works as designed as a strong blade locking mechanism.
On the topic of blades, oddly, the basic Spirit model does not have a knife blade on board. That’s why we opted for the Spirit X, a similar tool that’s slightly shorter, weighs the same and has many of the same functions and manufacturing quality as the basic Spirit. There are a few other configurations that Swisstool offers in the Spirit line, but the Spirit and Spirit X were the only ones that were consistently recommended to us during our research.
…when you hold both of these tools in your hand and use their functions with a lot of repetition, it’s clear that the Swisstool has an edge…
It may seem like this tool costs more to do what the Leatherman does just as well, and you could make that argument. But it’s a little like Mahoney’s comparison of multi-bit screwdrivers—when you hold both of these tools in your hand and use their functions with a lot of repetition, it’s clear that the Swisstool has an edge in its build quality. The smoothness of its scissors and pliers and the precision of its metalwork eventually just make the New Wave seem stiff. If you never picked up this tool, and only knew the feel of the New Wave, you’d be happy with your Leatherman. But once you’ve tried the Swisstool, the New Wave’s minor shortcomings become much more noticeable.
Here’s the major drawback of either of these tools, as one forum member put it: “While a Wave or Swisstool Spirit approach perfection in engineering design and quality, they are still both way too big for an average person to carry on an [everyday carry] EDC basis.”
If Those are Too Big
The Skeletool is much smaller and basically just pliers and a knife with a little screwdriver tucked in the handle if the others seem too bulky.
Recognizing a few years back that some of its multitools were too bulky for the EDC crowd, Leatherman introduced the Skeletool ($38)—a 4-inch, 5-ounce tool that is essentially just pliers and a knife, with a little screwdriver tucked into the handle. It also has a pocket clip and built-in carabiner for easy carrying. The item feels almost unnoticeable in a jeans pocket—or, as Erik Sofge wrote for Popular Mechanics, “it’s the multi-tool you might actually carry around with you.” If you’re the type of person that basically only wants a multitool to cut open packages, grab small parts and tighten the occasional loose screw, the Skeletool could be a completely satisfying item to have. Plus, it looks extremely cool.
Deutsch from the ToolGuyd reviewed the CX version of the Skeletool (which is just the same thing with a carbon fiber insert and a 154CM blade for twice the price) and actually prefers it over the Wave as an everyday carry item. Deutsch writes: “The Skeletool CX (and other Skeletools) are great for casual EDC (everyday carry), but I sometimes carry it around when working on small projects around the home and shop. Rather than run back to get pliers, a knife, or multi-bit screwdriver, I just bring the Skeletool along. I found the Skeletool CX to be well-suited for EDC in laboratory and office environments, where there was little chance I would need a can opener, wood-cutting saw, or multiple flathead screwdrivers.”
A Swiss Army knife shrunk down. It has a little knife blade, tweezers, eyeglass screwdriver, scissors and more into its handle. But, alas, no tweezers.
For some people, even a Skeletool is more than what’s truly needed. That person should look at two popular tools that are small enough to clip to a keychain—the Victorinox Manager ($26) and the Leatherman Squirt ES4 ($23). The former is the type of little Swiss Army knife that some people (like me) will recognize as the tool used to earn a Totin’ Chip on an early Boy Scout camping trip. The 2¼-inch tool weighs just 0.8 ounces and fits a little knife blade, tweezers, eyeglass screwdriver, scissors and more into its handle. It’s classic, and as long as you don’t need pliers, it’s satisfying. (But you probably need pliers.)
An even tinier Leatherman multitool with a knife blade, scissors, a file, screwdrivers, a bottle opener and pliers that feature a tiny wire stripper.
That second pick, the Leatherman Squirt ES4, started out as a tool for electronics tinkerers and eventually made its way into mainstream popularity. It’s very different than the Manager (or any other tool in this story, really), because of the tiny wire stripper built into its pliers. The 2¼-inch tool weighs 1.9 ounces, and the little handles pack in shrunken versions of the tools you’d expect—a knife blade, scissors, a file, screwdrivers and a bottle opener.
One other thing to mention: in spite of these tools’ diminutive size, they’re still plenty big enough for the TSA to confiscate at the airport. The best bet is to include any tools you’re traveling with in your checked luggage, but, if you must have a tool in the air, Leatherman developed the little 2.9-inch, 1.58-ounce Style PS ($17) with TSA guidelines in mind. With pliers, a file, tweezers, scissors and a bottle opener, you’ve got everything you need to crack open a beer and deal with a hangnail. What more do you need to do on a flight, anyway?
Leatherman Charge TTi ($122)
The Leatherman Charge AL, ALX, and TTi are all excellent multitools. Unlike the New Wave, the Charge models’ tools open smoothly out of the box. Of the three Charges on the market now, the cheaper ones cost around $90 to $100; the AL has scissors and the ALX has a cutting hook on the back of the knife blade. The TTi combines those different features and clads the whole thing in a sweet titanium shell. If you’re dead-set on having a Leatherman tool and you want to spend more money, you can go for this one—but most people would be thrilled with a New Wave that costs half as much.
Here’s what separates the Charge series from the Swisstool Spirit X, which is roughly the same price. First, the knife locks on the Charge tools are the liner lock types, which pop a little stilt in front of a blade to keep it from closing. The Spirit has sliding locks on the two sides of the tool. Both are secure, and you’ll probably gravitate toward one or the other when you pick each up and open and shut the blades a few times.
The main difference comes down to size and ergonomics. The AL Charge is a beast of a tool that is thicker and weighs 8.4 ounces—over 46% heavier than the Spirit X (the TTi is .2 ounces lighter, but $25 more). You will feel a difference in your pocket and in your hand. That said, it has a matte finish if you’re into that. Overall, though, we think the lighter Spirit X has superior ergonomics and is the better buy in this price range.
Leatherman Juice (4 models; $40 to $60)
Where the Charge is a little like a souped-up version of the New Wave, the Juice models are like the same thing stripped down a bit and a bit smaller. There are four models in production now: the C2, the CS4, the S2, and the XE6. While I can’t claim hands-on experience with all four in the current line, I can say I’ve never been very impressed with the various Juice models that I’ve tested previously. They’re not quite tiny enough to be called a keychain model, and, unlike a Skeletool, they’re not quite small enough to feel comfortable in your pocket. Yet they’re too small to fit in an adult-sized hand when squeezing the pliers with any real force. Furthermore, the knife blades are too short to be useful in many cases. They’re not really all that cheap, either—prices hover in the $40 to $60 range, depending on the model. Given the prices, along with the design limitations, anyone looking for a Juice is almost definitely better off with the New Wave.
Gerber Diesel Multi-Plier ($42)
The difference in quality between basically any Leatherman or Swisstool product when compared to most any Gerber is immediately apparent. This tool has a clever design idea—the plier handles slip down into the the handle, butt-first, rather than folding shut like a Leatherman. But the idea is not very well executed, with stiff, jerky motion that suggests some loose tolerances in the manufacturing process. Accessing the blades is kind of an annoying and unwieldy motion, as you have to pull each out with the plier tips open, and you will usually have the pliers pointed at your belly whenever you’re slicing with the knife or driving with the bits.
SOG S-62-n Power Plier ($50)
SOG tools also have some creative design ideas that are handicapped by poor execution. In this case, the Power Plier has a compound leverage design that is supposed to give you twice the gripping power. It’s a smart notion, but, like the Gerber, the problems start when it’s time to access the rest of the tools. To do that, you have to flip up this little trap door, then flip out the blade, then put the trap door thing back down and then close up the pliers. It’s quite cumbersome, and, compared to the relative ease with which you can snap out the knife blade from the outer face of the New Wave, it’s a total waste of time.
Gerber and SOG make several models beyond the Diesel and S-62, but the designs share a lot of the same design details and so they have a common set of drawbacks. At one time, Gerber had some of the best tools on the market, but its overseas manufacturing really doesn’t hold up in a comparison against Leatherman’s made-in-Oregon commitment to quality. SOG, on the other hand, started out (and remains) a well-regarded Washington-based knife manufacturer, and there’s reason to believe that the company’s multitools could be among the better options available once some of these design kinks get worked out. But until then, there’s no compelling reason to get one instead of a Leatherman or Swisstool.
There are dozens more to choose from. Here’s a quick list of some other names you’re likely to encounter on a hunt for a multitool (and why the New Wave is a better pick):
Leatherman Micra ($16): This tool is tempting at just $15, and its parts are made of the typical Leatherman quality—but centering its main axis around a pair of scissors (instead of pliers) leaves you with a tool not useful enough. Grabbing stuff just comes up so often.
Victorinox Super Tinker ($30): If you want a keychain tool, this is roughly comparable to the Victorinox Manager; it costs a few more dollars and has a few more functions. But lacking strong blade locks and pliers, it has limitations the New Wave easily solves.
Victorinix Climber Swiss Army Knife ($24): A good little pocket knife, but it has the same features and same drawbacks as the Super Tinker and Manager above.
Leatherman Super 300 Multi-Tool ($60): This is a variation on Leatherman’s classic Super Tool, which is without a doubt an excellent piece of hardware. Extremely strong pliers. Tons of functions. It has problems, though—first, the knife blades fold onto the inside of the pliers, like the earliest Leatherman designs. Second, because each tool is so beefy and solid, it really is too big to even briefly slip in a pocket of a pair of jeans. And all that bulk makes it a little heavy and unwieldy to use, especially for delicate tasks like turning screws. The New Wave has most (not all) of the features you’d find on a Super Tool, and it’s much better balanced and comfortable when you’re using it and carrying it around.
Leatherman Wingman ($22): This is a tempting option; it basically looks like a real deal Leatherman and it costs practically nothing. So what’s the catch? It’s too small. The knife, in particular, is just too short to really cut it. It’s 2.6 inches (the New Wave is 2.9), but the issue is not the 0.3-inch difference—it’s that half the blade is serrated, and only an inch or so of the tip is a smooth, sharp cutting tool. That’s not a lot to work with.
Leatherman Sidekick ($29): The Sidekick is a better budget option than the Wingman, but it still doesn’t quite measure up to the New Wave. Size is the shortcoming again here—the knife blade is the shorter, stubbier 2.6-inch design, but at least this one is all smooth and not half-serrated. The overall closed length is 3.8 inches compared to 4.0 with the New Wave, so there’s a little bit less to grip when you’re using the pliers. All that said, if you really want your first Leatherman and can’t part with the extra $20 for a New Wave, I think you’d be very happy using your Sidekick.
Leatherman Surge ($71): The Surge is another good tool that might look a lot like the New Wave at a glance online. But as seen in a thorough Wave/Surge comparison on multitool.org, the Surge is actually quite a bit larger and heavier. Nothing wrong with that if you need a big 3.1-inch knife and saw, but I think it tips the scales a bit, like the Super Tool, and loses the New Wave’s nimble balance of lightness and functionality.
Leatherman MUT ($115): Before you get excited about this cool-looking black and gold tool, you should know the MUT series is specifically designed for military use (and civilian hunters), with a set of tools ideal for cleaning and dismantling a weapon. If your job requires you to carry an M16, check it out!
Victorinox Swiss Army One Hand Trekker NS Pocket Knife ($38): If you’re going to go with a standard Swiss Army Knife geometry, this is a good one to consider. The blade can be opened one-handed, using your thumb, and it locks in place. Again, no pliers means it’s not really in the same league as the New Wave.
Victorinox Swiss Army CyberTool 41 Multi-Tool Knife ($103): This is an interesting biggie with 41 functions designed primarily for work on computer hardware. It’s the most full-featured of the CyberTool line, and it’s big enough that most users seem to carry it in a toolbox or bag, not a pocket. One thing to note (which applies to all pliers-style tools)—a lot of reviewers on this item prefer it to a Leatherman for jobs that require driving a lot of small screws. I can definitely see how this would stay clear of your wrist in those situations.
Leatherman Rebar ($38): The Leatherman site sums up the difference on this one: “Fans will immediately recognize the iconic box-like shape of Tim Leatherman’s original PST design.” Box-like, in this case, means the blades are packed on the inside, and you have to open the pliers to get them. If that’s what you prefer, go for this one, which otherwise has a similar set of features to the New Wave and comes a few bucks cheaper.
Leatherman Crunch ($68): This is a multitool with really not much else on the market quite like it. Its pliers are a set of locking pliers (like Vise-Grips) which fold neatly into the tool handle when closed. There are a fairly nice set of blades tucked into the handle, too. As a multitool.org review of this oddball puts it, “the design of the locking plier head may be ingenious but is unfortunately not as versatile, which makes the Crunch a more specialized tool than the standard type designed multitool. This can be a serious drawback if your definition of a multi-tool includes being ready for anything. However, if you find yourself needing locking pliers often enough, then this is the tool for you.”
Gerber Flik Multi-Plier ($45): Like a lighter version of the Diesel Multi-Plier, this tool’s plier jaws slide down into its handles. It’s a clever design, but the sliding action often sticks—permanently, according to some reviews—and an unremarkable suite of blades doesn’t put it in the New Wave’s league (even though it sells for roughly the same price).
Gerber EVO ($29): It looks like an inexpensive version of a Leatherman—and that’s exactly how a fairly impressed multitool.org user saw it, too. Most reviewers on Amazon went for it when a Leatherman was out of the price range, but one guy tried both—and preferred the ergonomics of his Wave. (At this price, I’d try a Leatherman Sidekick.)
Gerber Dime ($18): A nice little keychain tool that most everyone out of over 100Amazon reviews compares favorably to the other tools in its size range. A thread onmultitool.org concurs, as the Dime attracted attention even from Leatherman devotees. It’s not going to replace a New Wave for heavy-duty work, but it’s a good option to consider to save a few dollars if you’re looking at a Leatherman Juice.
Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Multi-Tool ($31): This one is a flimsy-feeling set of tiny blades that only a Man vs. Wild superfan could love. If Leatherman and Victorinox weren’t already making so much excellent hardware, this might merit consideration. But it just can’t compare with even the lesser items from those two brands.
Photo credit: Flickr user grahamb via Creative Commons
Wrapping It Up
There’s more than one multitool out there that can make a person happy. But for the most tools for the money, in a satisfying design that leaves nothing out and doesn’t compromise on manufacturing quality, try the New Wave—you’ll understand the appeal behind Leatherman’s most popular tool of all time.
This guide originally appeared on The Wirecutter on 10/20/2013 and is republished here with permission.