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The best multitool

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Our choice

Leatherman Skeletool CX

This light and thin multitool focuses on well-executed essentials, such as precise and comfortable pliers, and has no filler. It’s easy to carry every day and built to last.

Of all the multi-tools we have tried, the Skeletool CX is the one we have continued to achieve long after the test ended. Its knife opens and locks easily with one hand, without forcing you to open the pliers first, and its high-quality 154CM steel blade holds a longer edge than most multitool blades. Other multitools are so bulky that they have to be carried in a belt sheath, but the lighter, Thinner Skeletool fits comfortably in a pocket. It can also clip onto your belt or backpack with a pocket clip or carabiner, which doubles as an easy-access bottle opener. The CX’s pliers open easily, have the precision to pull a small splinter and are comfortable to hold thanks to the asymmetrical handle. Its two Phillips screwdrivers and two flathead screwdrivers handle the most common screws perfectly. It’s backed by a 25-year warranty, but it’s sturdy and we’d be surprised if you ever needed to use it – other Leathermans we’ve owned and used for over a decade have held up perfectly.

Closed dimensions: 4⅛ by 1¼ by ½ inches
Weight: 5.2 oz
Blade length: 2 inches
Tools included: Half-round nose pliers, regular pliers, wire cutters, wire cutters, bottle opener, Phillips screwdriver (2), flat screwdriver (2), snap hook

If the Skeletool CX isn’t available, we also like the regular Leatherman Skeletool. It has the same design as the CX, so it’s lightweight, easy to carry, and holds only the most important tools. The downside is that the steel of the blade is of inferior quality and the edge is partially serrated, making it more difficult to sharpen. We also found that the pivot points are narrower, so it’s harder to open and close. It costs less than the CX, but over time we think it will be worth it.

Closed dimensions: 4⅛ by 1¼ by ½ inches
Weight: 5.2 oz
Blade length: 2 inches
Tools included: Half-round nose pliers, regular pliers, hard wire cutters, wire cutters, bottle opener, Phillips screwdriver (2), flat screwdriver (2), snap hook

Also great

Leatherman Free P2

Leatherman Free P2

Free P2 has a wider selection of tools than the Skeletool, including scissors and a can opener, but the biggest difference is that all tools, including pliers, can be used with one hand.

For a larger but extremely easy to use multitool, we recommend the Leatherman Free P2. The Free P2, released in 2019, is a completely new design for Leatherman; with the handles closed, you can access and open all tools with one hand, which is unique in the world of multitools. You can even use the pliers one-handed, with a flick of the wrist. After testing Free P2 for several weeks, other full-sized multi-tools, like the classic Wave +, started to feel clunky and labor-intensive to open. The Free P2 is more than 2½ ounces heavier than the Skeletool, but has a streamlined, streamlined design and comes with a pocket clip. While it has more weight, we’ve never found it bulky or awkward to carry.

Closed dimensions: 4 x 1½ x ⅝ inches
Weight: 7.5 oz
Blade length: 2 inches
Tools included: Half round nose pliers, regular pliers, replaceable wire cutters, replaceable wire cutters, electric pliers, wire stripper, knife, scissors, can opener, awl, can opener, bottle opener, wood / metal file, Philips screwdriver, medium flat screwdriver, small flat screwdriver extra small plate, pry tool, ruler

Also great

SOG PowerAccess Deluxe

SOG PowerAccess Deluxe

This tool stands out for its sturdy, oriented pliers and its ability to accept standard 1-inch screwdriver bits, but is bulky and lacks the precision of Leatherman tools.

Purchase options

* At the time of publication, the price was $ 66.

The SOG PowerAccess Deluxe is another full-sized multitool, but this one puts a lot of emphasis on pliers and screwdrivers. The central articulation point is a rack, which increases the power of the pliers and cutters and allows the tool to be opened with one hand. With this added strength, this multitool performed best with rusty, stuck bolts and cut wire with ease, although cuts on thick sheep fences dented its jaws (proving that nothing really can replace the wire cutter) . The SOG has a saw and two knife blades and can accept standard 1-inch screwdriver bits. One downside is that it is much more difficult to deploy individual tools on this SOG model than on the slightly smaller Leatherman Free P2.

Closed dimensions: 4½ by 1 7/16 by 13/16 inches
Weight: 8.8 oz
Blade length: 2 13/16 in
Tools included: ¼-inch driver, awl, serrated knife, bottle opener, can opener, chisel, three-sided file, small flat screwdriver, medium flat screwdriver, pliers, needle nose pliers, ¼ inch screwdriver, precision screwdriver, protractor, ruler , wire cutters, wire cutters, saw

Also great

Gerber Dime

Gerber Dime

Surprisingly capable for such a small and inexpensive package, the Dime’s pliers, bottle opener, and handy clamshell can opener are satisfying enough.

Purchase options

* At the time of publication, the price was $ 20.

The Gerber Dime is smaller than a Bic lighter, but capable and satisfying to use. Designed to attach to a keychain, it contains a large selection of useful tools, including scissors, pliers, a bottle opener, a knife, two screwdrivers and a clamshell cutter (for safely slicing open retail packs). The Dime has some nice touches: there’s an externally mounted bottle opener (like the Skeletool), precise caliper jaws, typically priced under $ 20, and a nice variety of colors (black, gray, green, purple, and red) . But the knife’s blade doesn’t get stuck, as is typical for tools of its size, and its pliers make tweezers better than the actual tweezers it includes.

Closed dimensions: 2¾ by 13/16 by ½ inches
Weight: 2.3 oz
Blade length: 1 ⅜ inch
Tools included: Half-round nose pliers, regular pliers, wire cutters, tweezers, bottle opener, knife, clamshell bottle opener, scissors, flat screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, coarse and fine file, lanyard ring

All of our choices are arranged on a wooden table next to a bic lighter.
Left to right: Leatherman Skeletool CX, Regular Skeletool, Free P2, SOG PowerAccess Deluxe, Gerber Dime and a lighter. Photo: Doug Mahoney

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