We Tested the Best Multitools to Have on Hand

Our picks of the best multitools for any situation, tested and reviewed

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Best multitools 2022
Berne Broudy / TripSavvy.

Having a multitool in hand is like having a whole toolbox at your fingertips. If you’ve found yourself in situations where you wanted more than a pocket knife, a multitool is a compact, multifunctional, and relatively affordable solution.

Most multitools have a solid knife and/or highly utilitarian pliers, but multitools run the gamut. When shopping for a multitool, think about how you’ll use it most and what tools are clutch. Regardless, a good multitool should last a lifetime. I recently gifted my first Swiss Army Knife multitool to a teenage friend. Over the years I’ve accumulated a collection of multitools to serve different purposes. It was time to pass one or two on, which opened up space in the multitool drawer for some of the gems reviewed here.

Here are the best multitools currently available.

Best Overall: Leatherman Curl

Leatherman Curl

Amazon

What We Like
  •  Feels great to hold

  • Newest version of the original multitool created more than 40 years ago

  • Backed with Leatherman's 25-year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • No lanyard

Tim Leatherman is credited with creating the first multitool, known as the "Leatherman," some 40 years ago. The Curl, which comes with 15 tools, is the most recent iteration of the tried and true tool. Like the original Leatherman, pliers are the base of this model, sporting both needle nose and regular pliers. The multitool also features wire cutters and strippers, a knife, bit driver and screwdriver, spring-action scissors, diamond coated and wood/metal file, can and bottle opener, awl, and ruler. It’s the most comfortable, functional leatherman for generalist use, priced to be affordable for most.

I loved the blade's sharpness and shape—it’s a perfect knife for camp food prep, whittling a skewer to toast a marshmallow, and trimming tent cord. I was also impressed by the tool’s comfort while using the pliers. A bit driver and holder adds to this tool’s versatility with the option to replace the piece that’s the most likely to wear out with heavy use.

And while the file on some tools seems more of an emery board for smoothing a rough fingernail than a tool for sharpening metal, this tool’s file is legit. When I snapped off the tip of my ice ax on a climb, I paused at a mid-route anchor and resharpened the pick so I could carry on. The tool doesn’t have a lanyard clip, and sheaths are sold separately. The Curl is backed by Leatherman’s 25-year warranty.

Weight: 7.5 ounces | Dimensions: 4 x 1.24 x 0.6 inches | Blade Length: 2.9 inches | Tools: 15

Leatherman Curl multitool
Berne Broudy / TripSavvy.

Runner Up, Best Overall: Gerber Lockdown

Gerber Lockdown

Gerber Gear

What We Like
  • Compact form factor

  • Magnetic bit driver

  • Replaceable bits

What We Don't Like
  • Tools are stiff to open at first

  • Limited toolset

If you use your knife blade for a lot of box opening and lightweight cutting, you’ll love this tool as much as I did. The block-shaped Lockdown-Drive has eight tools, and one of them is a replaceable Exacto blade. It saved me from dulling my regular knife blade with mundane tasks, so it stayed sharp for camping, climbing, and more. My other favorite feature: A powerful magnetic bit driver that locks securely. It comes with a double-sided screwdriver with bits big enough to handle most tasks.

The bits are replaceable, and they’re also usable at 90°, a feature unique to this tool. Also inside: an awl, plain edge blade, and a file. When the tool was new, it was hard to release the tools, but they opened more easily over time. Each has a plastic clip—a modern take on the nail-nic, and the tools require two hands for opening. If you’re a user who appreciates a pry bar, a sister version of this tool gives you prying capability, too.

Weight: 4.5 ounces | Dimensions: 3.87 x 0.56 x 1 inches | Blade Length: 2.5 inches | Tools: 8

Gerber Lockdown multitool
Berne Broudy / TripSavvy.

Best Budget: Dewalt MT16 Multi Tool

Dewalt MT16 Multi Tool

Amazon

What We Like
  • Spring-loaded pliers are easy to use, even with one hand

  • Yellow handles are highly visible

  • Does come with a lanyard clip

What We Don't Like
  • Some tools are short and small

  • Case not included

For the price, Dewalt’s M16 is impressive. I used the spring-loaded needle-nose pliers for projects around the house, garden tasks, and also removing porcupine quills from my dog’s mug. They’re spring-loaded, for one-handed operation, with a textured gripping surface that gave me good traction for any task, even when I had sweaty hands. The M16 has many of the most useful tools, including a wire cutter, wood and metal file, scissors, flat and Phillips head screwdrivers, can and bottle opener, a small knife, and a ruler.

The screwdriver was on the small side. And the knife is too petite to make this my top choice for a tool I’d use to prepare meals camping. But if you’re on a budget, or looking for a tool to handle occasional tasks, it’s up to the job. And, all tools but the pliers and wire cutters are accessible with the tool closed. The tools are stainless steel and rust-resistant, and a lanyard clip lets you connect this one to your belt so if you drop it you don’t lose it.

Weight: 7.2 ounces | Dimensions: 3.5 x 1.5 x 0.75 inches | Blade Length: 2 inches | Tools: 16

Dewalt M16 Multitool
Berne Broudy / TripSavvy.

Best Splurge: Leatherman Mr. Crunch

Leatherman Mr. Crunch

Leatherman

What We Like
  • All tools accessible with the tool closed

  • 21 tools

What We Don't Like
  • No bit driver

Leatherman has sold out of its limited run of Mr. Crunch in 10 minutes, but this one-hand-operable tool feels so good to use and hold, and it has so many highly functional features, we’re begging Leatherman to make it a permanent part of their line. Mr. Crunch comes from Leatherman’s new Garage, which prioritizes innovation, pushes design and engineering limits, and solves problems with unexpected solutions via limited edition Leatherman tools. Mr. Crunch was the name of the original Leatherman sketched by Tim Leatherman in 1975, and this tool has the double pliers of the original prototype that at the time was too complex and expensive to make.

Mr. Crunch is a mashup of Leatherman’s Free P4 with smooth-sided, parallel grip pliers that transforms into powerful needle-nose pliers with a large work surface. The tool uses the Free’s magnetic open/close that provides quick, fluid, and easy access to all 21 tools. The double-pliers snap into place when deployed and stow when they're not needed. The wire cutters are replaceable—it’s one of the best wire cutters and strippers I’ve used on a multitool. And I love that with Mr. Crunch closed, I have access to every tool but the pliers without opening the tool.

Left-handed users appreciated that it’s ambidextrous, and everyone who got to use this tool was impressed by every tool locking open for use, then releasing intuitively for closure. Did we mention the replaceable eyeglass screwdriver that has both Phillips and flat head sides? This tool is gone for now, but the Garage will continue to release limited edition Leatherman products, so bookmark the page, and sign up for notifications if you’re a multitool connoisseur and don’t want to miss out.

Weight: 8.7 ounces | Dimensions: 4.25 x 1.3 x 0.68 inches | Blade Length: 2.76 inches | Tools: 21

Leatherman Mr. Crunch multitool
Berne Broudy / TripSavvy.

Best All-in-One: Gerber Multi-Plier 600

Gerber Multi-Plier 600

Gerber

What We Like
  • Full-size tools

  • Pliers available without opening the tool

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

Made for the military, this multitool has been tested extensively in harsh conditions worldwide. There are two things that set the MP 600 apart: full-size tools and pliers that deploy with the flick of the wrist. Because all the tools are tucked into the handles from the inside, the outside of the handle is smooth metal, which made this multitool one of the most comfortable to use.

It’s a bit fiddly to open the knife, saw, and other tools until you get to know this tool. But once I did, I was impressed that all tools lock open, and I appreciated this tool has both a straight and serrated blade. The three flathead screwdrivers are grouped together, which makes choosing the right one simple. And the tool has a nice locking mechanism. It was solid and secure and prevented this tool from opening in my pocket or inside the included sheath.

Weight: 8 ounces | Dimensions: 5.375 x 1.5 x 0.75 inches | Blade Length: 2 and 1.5 inches | Tools: 14

Gerber Multi-Plier 600 multitool
Berne Broudy / TripSavvy.

Best for Picnics: CRKT Triple Play Pocket Knife

CRKT Triple Play Pocket Knife

Amazon

What We Like
  • A targeted tool for foodies and wine lovers

  • Comfortable to hold and use

What We Don't Like
  • Not as versatile as some other tools

Your kitchen corkscrew will seem insufficient once you’ve used CRKT’s (Columbia River Knife & Tool) Triple Play. It’s a tool for picnickers, campers, home bartenders, and anyone who wants to pop the cork on a fine vintage wine on a whim. The Triple Play has two high-quality carbon stainless steel blades that hold an edge and are easy to sharpen, plus a corkscrew with leverage, and a bottle opener.

Open the main blade with the nail nick, and you’re ready to prep antipasti for a backcountry feast. A thumbnail-sized blade has the perfect curve to slice foil from a wine bottle so you don’t have to pick at it with your thumbnail. I also used the small knife to make toothpick-sized skewers to dress up the spread. The bottle opener is always exposed so you can crack a cold one without opening the knife. The tool is two-handed open with a deep carry clip. Bonus: The pakkawood handle is strong, smooth, durable, and feels good to hold.

Weight: 4 ounces | Dimensions: 3.75 x 1.5 x 0.5 inches | Blade Length: 2.51 inches | Tools: 4

CRKT Triple Play multitool
Berne Broudy / TripSavvy.

Best EDC: Sog Flash MT

Sog Flash MT

Midway USA

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Strong pliers

  • Locking spring-assisted blade

What We Don't Like
  • Limited tool set

  • Pinchy for lefties

If you prefer quality to quantity, this tool is one of the easiest to use. It’s highly functional without a lot of extra weight. The Flash MT has seven tools, including a double-ended 4-millimeter bit, and one of the most robust pliers in any tool thanks to compound leverage that gives them ridiculous grip strength for prying and pulling. The assisted-open clip point blade is highly utilitarian. I used it to cut an old climbing rope into a tow rope. And I also used it to carve up some Vermont cheddar.

The Flash MT is mostly metal, with a modern-looking stainless housing and a plastic clip to store the two-sided bit. That clip becomes part of the pliers’ handle when the tool is rotated open. The shape and the plastic piece felt comfortable in my hand. And when the tool was clipped in my pocket, I sometimes forgot it was there. It's so light, compact, and ergonomic.

Weight: 4.69 ounces | Dimensions: 3.75 x 1 x 0.5 inches | Blade Length: 2.36 inches | Tools: 4

Sog Flash MT multitool
Berne Broudy / TripSavvy.

Best Keychain Tool: Swiss & Tech Micro-Max 19-in-1

Swiss & Tech Micro-Max 19-in-1

Amazon

What We Like
  • Compact

  • Durable

  • 19 tools and less than 2 ounces

What We Don't Like
  • Small tools best suited to light tasks

  • One wrench size only, pliers require two hands

If your car keys are always with you, buying a microtool that attaches to them without weighing you down is a compelling idea. A lot of keychain multitools are too weak to earn our recommendation. Swiss & Tech’s Micro-Max 19-in-1 is small but mighty, and worth the extra weight. The tool has screwdrivers big enough to tighten a loose roof rack, a short but functional millimeter and inch ruler, pliers that pulled a porcupine quill out of a dog snout, a wire cutter, crimper and stripper, and the all-important bottle opener.

The tool’s hand drill helped me bore a small hole in a canvas bag when I needed to add a handle. Swiss and Tech’s Micro Max has 19 tools, but it weighs less than 2 ounces. My favorite feature is that the pliers hold any standard-sized bit. So when I needed to tighten the cleat bolts on my bike shoes, I used it to hold a hex. 

Weight: 1.8 ounces | Dimensions: 1-7/8 x 1-5/16 x 1/4 inches | Blade Length: N/A | Tools: 19

Swiss & Tech Micro-Max 19-in-1 multitool
Berne Broudy / TripSavvy.

Best Rescue Tool: Benchmade Triage 9170SBK

Benchmade Triage 9170SBK

Benchmade

What We Like
  • Burly blade

  • Auto-open feature

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

If you’re looking for a burly knife with a razor-sharp blade that can save you in a car crash or other vehicular emergency, this is the knife for you. Most of the time, the serrated drop point blade will be the tool you use. The black-finished blade is strong, aggressive, and big enough to hunt and camp with. I used it for bushcraft and also prepping a meal. But its benefits don’t end there. If you find yourself in a position to help someone trapped by a seat belt or stuck where smashing glass is the only way out, the Triage is ready.

In addition to its impressive auto opening and locking blade, the Triage has everything you need to get out of a vehicle in an emergency. The tool’s textured aluminum handle houses an auto-opening slicing hook and it has a glass breaker at the tail. And the handle is grippy—it won’t slip no matter which function you’re using. It’s a knife you’ll want to practice with to master releasing the dual locks. And it’s a knife that you’ll enjoy all the time, and also have on hand that one time when its unique features save your life or someone else’s.

Weight: 5.75 ounces | Dimensions: N/A | Blade Length: 3.58 inches | Tools: 2 (blade and glass-breaker)

Benchmade Triage knife and glass breaker
Berne Broudy / TripSavvy.

Best for Cyclists: Topeak ALiEN X

Topeak ALiEN X

Topeak

What We Like
  • Has most tools for roadside repair of modern bikes

  • Capable enough for home shop use

What We Don't Like
  • More than most riders will want to carry all the time

Like having an entire bike shop in your pocket, the two-piece ALiEN X is a two-section, 34 function folding tool that has most of the tools you’ll need for field repair of a modern bike. Master link pliers? Check. Presta valve puller? Check. Plus the tool has  T10 / T15 / T20 / T25 / T30 Torx, a disc spacer, and more. The tool splits into two sections and all the tools are easy to get to. Some users might balk at carrying this tool on the bike, but if you’re far from helping, it will highly reduce the risk of you getting stuck, and it’s big enough to provide leverage for tasks like tightening bolts. Simply put: This is the tool I’ll bring on major mountain bike missions.

But it’s also a great tool for a home shop—significantly more affordable than buying each tool individually—with lots of tools that most users only need on occasion, like a chain tool and spoke wrenches. The tool has a serrated knife, which came in handy for slicing and dicing snacks. It also has compartments to hold a chain pin and master link. 

Weight: 7.2 ounces | Dimensions: 3.1 x 1.8 x 1.6 inches | Blade Length: N/A | Tools: 34 functions

ALiEN X Topeak multitool
Berne Broudy / TripSavvy.

Final Verdict

We love Leatherman’s Curl (view at Amazon) because there’s no tool with more functionality for the price. It’s a highly functional tool for the generalist user. All the tools are easy to access, and while the tool isn’t the smallest, it’s small enough to always be in your pack or pocket. 

What To Look for in a Multitool

Types of Tools

If you’re truly looking for an EDC tool, one that bridges the demands of work and play, consider the scope of your needs. If you need a tool that pinches and grips, pick one with bomber pliers. If stripping and cutting wire or prepping picnics dominate your days, opt for a tool that prioritizes those tasks. If you’re searching for the best tool for kayaking, it might be different than the best tool for rock climbing, backpacking, or a bug-out bag. A keychain-sized tool will always be with you, but it might not have the strength for bigger tasks. 

Then there are the secondary tools, ones you won’t necessarily use every day, but ones you want to make sure you have. I love a multitool with functional scissors, and I want strong pliers too. But I care less about an awl. 

Durability

Also, consider the tool’s durability, and which parts and pieces are replaceable. If you love to whittle, you’ll want a blade that can hold an edge. If your screwdriver will get more action than other parts of your tool, you might want one with a replaceable bit. 

Weight, Comfort, and Price

Balance the tool’s weight, comfort, and price. For me a tool that feels good to hold is essential, but I also want one that’s relatively light because I plan to carry it with me all the time. I’m willing to pay more because I know that whatever tool I purchase will last me for years, and I have no patience for mediocre knife blades. Lefties might find that a tool that feels good to right-handed users pinches when you use it left-handed. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is a multitool useful for?

    Multitools can manage a broad range of tasks, from cutting to screwing, to gripping or filing. Some are equipped to repair a bike, some are best suited to pro-level picnicking. And if you want to be ready in case your car rolls and you’re trapped, there’s a tool for that.

    Some multitools have more specific or specialized functionality paired with everyday tools, like a good knife. Your multitool should be able to manage the tasks most important to you at home, camping, and in life.

  • How much should I spend on a multitool?

    Mid-price multitools, those from $50 to $90, should have a wide range of tools, including powerful pliers, and they’re intended for regular use. Less expensive tools will likely wear out sooner, or they’re smaller, or they have limited functionality. More expensive multitools use the best available materials and have high-tech features, and some are limited edition.

  • How do I care for and maintain my multitool?

    Caring for a multitool is straightforward. Wipe the tool clean after use, keep it dry, or dry it when it gets wet, add a drop of lubricant at the pivot points if the tool gets stiff. If a blade gets dull, sharpen it.

How We Tested

Berne Broudy, the writer of this roundup, has been amassing and testing multitools for two decades now. To select and test products, Broudy tapped into that experience and expertise. Multitools in this roundup were used camping, climbing, kayaking, traveling, skiing, and more. Others included were used to assemble a truck roof rack and repair a broken bike rack. Some tools Broudy keeps in the glove compartment of her vehicle. Others she keeps in her bike maintenance shop. Others stay with her on-hand at all times. Testing also included consumption of a lot of adult beverages, cheese, cured meats, and crudités.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Berne Broudy has been using multitools professionally and recreationally as a guide and passionate skier, climber, cyclist, kayaker, overlander, and camper for more than 20 years. With her Eagle Scout husband, who also tested all these tools, she has amassed a substantial collection of multitools over the past two decades, all of which are now well used.

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