The best survival multitool to buy in 2017

best survival multi-tool

Are you that guy who brings along a boat load of tools on his camping and outdoor trips? Or are you someone who wished he had brought along a particular tool and is cursing himself for being so unprepared? If your answer is yes to any of the two questions, then you are in need of a good multitool. In this exhaustive review, we are going to look at some of the best survival multitools in the market and help you pick the best one for your money.

Best survival multi-tool comparison list

Our pick of the best survival multi-tool out in the market and how they stack against each other
PictureProductFeatures 
Leatherman 831426 Wingman Multi-Tool - 11 tools consisting of Small, medium and philips screwdriver, Needle nose pliers, File, Wire Cutter, Wood Saw
, Bottle Opener, Can Opener, Wire stripper, Ruler
- 25 years warranty
- length : 3.8 inches
- weight : 1.6 ounces

LEATHERMAN Skeletool CX Multitool - 7 tools consisting of a Needlenose Pliers, Regular Pliers, Hard-wire Cutters, Wire Cutters, 154CM Knife
, Carabiner/Bottle Opener, Large Bit Driver
- 25 years warranty
- length : 4 inches
- weigh : 5 ounces

Leatherman 830039 Wave Multitool - 17 tools consisting of a Needlenose pliers, Regular pliers, Wire cutters, Hard-wire cutters, 420HC knife, 420HC serrated knife, Saw, Scissors, Wood/metal file, Diamond-coated file, Large bit driver, Small bit driver, Medium screwdriver, 8-inch ruler, Bottle opener, Can opener, Wire stripper
- 25 years warranty
- length : 4 inches
- weight : 12.8 ounces
Leatherman Sidekick Multitool - 17 tools consisting of a Spring-action Needlenose Pliers, Spring-action Regular Pliers, Spring-action Wire Cutters, Spring-action hard wire Cutters, Wire Stripper, Electrical crimper, 420HC Knife, 420HC Serrated Knife, Saw, Awl, Ruler, Can Opener, Bottle Opener, Wood/Metal File, Phillips Screwdriver, Medium Screwdriver, Small Screwdriver
- 25 years warranty
- length : 3.8 inches
- weight : 7 ounces
Magnelex Multi-Tool Plier - 22 tools consisting of a Pliers (Spring-Loaded), Wire Cutter / Wire Stripper, Long Blade, Serrated Blade, Short Blade, Saw, Scissors, Flathead Screwdriver, Bottle Opener, Can Opener, Connector
- Attachable Extras: 3 Philips Screwdriver Bits, 3 Flathead Screwdriver bits, 5 Hex Key Bits, 1 Connector Bit
- 30 years warranty
- length : 3.8 inches
- weight : 7 ounces

Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier12 tools consisting of a Needle-nose Pliers, Wire Cutter/Stripper, Straight Blade
, Serrated Blade
, Phillips Screwdriver, Large and Medium Flathead Screwdrivers
, Scissors, Bottle Opener, Can Opener
, Saw, Awl, Lanyard Ring
- Lifetime warranty
- length : 4 inches
- weight : 9.6 ounces
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Multi-Tool - 12 tools consisting of a Needle nose pliers, Fine-edge knife, Serrated knife, Saw, Phillips screwdriver, Small flat driver, Medium flat driver, Lanyard ring, Bottle opener, Can opener, Scissors, Wire cutters
- Lifetime warranty
- length : 4 inches
- weight : 8.6 ounces
Gerber Diesel Multi-Plier - 12 tools consisting of a Needlenose pliers, Wire cutter, Partially-serrated knife blade, Cross point screwdriver, Small, medium, and large flat blade screwdrivers, Can opener, Bottle opener, File, Saw, Scissors
- 25 years warranty

- length : 9 inches
- weight : 8.5 ounces
Gerber Dime Multi-Tool - 12 tools consisting of a Needle nose spring-loaded pliers, Wire cutter, Fine edge blade, Retail package opener, Scissors, Medium flat driver, Crosshead driver, Bottle opener, Tweezers, File
- Lifetime warranty

- length : 2.8 inches

- weight : 2.2 ounces
Survivor Tech 5-in-1 Multitool - 5 tools consisting of a Magnesium fire starter, Knife, Flashlight, Belt cutter, Window breaker
- Lifetime warranty
- length : 4.96 inches
- weight : 4.2 ounces
Swiss+Tech ST5310019 tools consisting of a 1/4 Inch Hex Wrench, 7/16 Inch Hex Wrench, #0 Flat Screwdriver
, #1 Flat Screwdriver, #2 Flat Screwdriver, #0 Phillips Screwdriver, #1 Phillips Screwdriver, #2 Phillips Screwdriver
, Pliers, Wire Cutter, Wire Stripper, Wire Crimper, Nail File, Hand Drill, Bottle Opener, Inches Ruler, Inches Ruler Extension, mm Ruler, mm Ruler Extension
- Lifetime warranty
- length : 1.9 inches
- weight : 3.2 ounces

What is a multitool?

A multitool as the name suggests is a portable hand tool that combines the functionality of several individual tools into one. The first example of such a tool which provided the functionality of multiple tools in a single unit was the Swiss Army knife. These early models had a knife blade, a bottle opener, a wire stripper and a can opener or a screwdriver. As these evolved, more and more tools found its way into these. Today we can find a range of pocket knives which have scissors, nail files, multiple screwdriver bits etc.

Multitools have been the preferred choice for campers and outdoor enthusiasts as a handy work tool after the first pocket survival tool were released by Leatherman in 1983. Today there are multiple brands that manufacture and sell multitools and the buyer is not short of choice.

Multi-tools Vs Swiss Army Knives

Before we look at some of the factors to consider while picking the most suitable multitools for your needs, let us look at the major differences between the Multi-tools and Swiss Army Knives such as the ones by Victorinox.

Multi-toolsSwiss Army Knives
Pliers-based, with some full sized tools.Blades-based with small multi-utility tools.
Generally bigger and heavier.Generally smaller and lightweight – suitable for carrying in the pockets.
Perfect for bigger, plier-based tasks such as cutting wires, sawing branches etc.Perfect for small, tactical tasks such as for bottle opening, small cuttings, sharpening etc.
Largely suitable only for grown up adults.Because of smaller, safer size suitable for teenagers as beginner knives.

How to pick the best survival multitool?

Picking a multi tool is not about picking a unit with the most number of features in one. To be honest, what are the chances that you will need an awl for and what things will you need a pair of scissors to cut through that your knife can’t get cut? That is not saying that these tools are not useful, they are there for a specific purpose and will come in handy in such situations. But the smart decision to make is if you can get the same job done with a different tool?

Multiple tools that you will not have a use for just adds to the overall weight and size of the tool. A good multitool should be portable and yet have enough tools to get the job done in most of the situation.

When buying the best multitool, you should consider the following factors,

  • Tool options
  • Make and build material of the tool
  • Warranty of the tool
  • Length and weight of the tool

Tool options

Most multitools will have a standard assortment of tools. These will include the following basic tools,

  • Pliers
  • Wire cutter
  • Knife
  • Scissors
  • Nail file
  • Bottle opener
  • Can opener
  • Screw drivers

Anything more than this is just extra add-on. Some manufacturers take pride in the fact that their multitool have more than the required number of tools but to be honest some of these tools will never be used in their lifetime. A simple multi tool is easy to maintain and doesn’t have many moving parts to render it useless. Most of the time, the extensible tools like knife, scissors and nail files are retractable whereas the other tools are built on the body.

Some multitools like the Survivor Tech 5-in-1 also provide a fire starter and a led flashlight but these cannot be considered replacements for the real deal. The led flashlight in this tool can hardly last for more than an hour on full use. It is your choice if you want to go with a multitool with a plethora of options but a basic option with the above tools will be more than sufficient when the need comes.

Make and build material of the tool

Most multitools are the foldable types consists of butterfly-style handles which can be folded around the pliers. These are a little bulkier but the built in tools are very durable. These cannot be carried around in your pockets and will have a leather or cloth pouch to carry on your belt.

Apart from this, there are the lighter Swiss Army type multitools which are lighter and easy to carry around as an EDC option.

Most multitools are made of different grades of stainless steel or carbon steel. High carbon stainless steel is the most preferred steel variant which has a higher carbon content than regular steel. Due to this, it can be hardened to a higher degree and is highly corrosion resistant. Most knife blades in a multi tool are made from 420HC stainless steel variant but some brands also use 420 variant. These variants are preferred for their toughness but these are not known to hold a sharper edge for long. But sharpening them is very easy and you do not need a separate sharpening tool for it.

Most multitools do not rust when exposed to freshwater but it is advisable to still ensure that you dry them as soon as possible and lubricate them to protect any unseen damage.

Some manufacturers provide a black oxide coating to reduce reflection and glaring. It also provides anti-corrosion properties to some extent.

Warranty of the tool

Your may use your multitool every day or extensively during your camping. Either way, it has to endure a lot of wear and tear. It is best to go with a multitool which has a good warranty coverage which can see the tool through its life. Most brands provide anywhere from 25 years of warranty to a limited lifetime warranty. It is good to check what warranty is available with the brand that you plan to purchase.

Length and weight of the tool

Most multitools has an average length of 4 inches and a weight of 6 ounces. This is the length when the tool is folded. When the knife is open, the length can increase by an extra 2 inches. While the weight itself will not be a problem carrying the knife, the length makes it difficult for it to be carried around in the pocket. Some multitools like the Gerber dime multitool and the Swiss+Tech ST53100 are just 2 inches in length and can be carried around easily.

Most multitools come with a sheath or a leather pouch which can hold the tool. This pouch can be worn on the belt.

In case you do not wear a belt, you do not need to wear on to carry the tool itself, you can definitely strap it to your backpack or hold it in a side pocket but it is not something that should influence your decision.

Which is the best multitool and what are our picks?

 

Leatherman 830039 Wave Multitool – Editor’s choice pick for the best survival multitool

Best survival multitool - Leatherman wave
The Leatherman 830039 Wave Multi tool is a very popular tool with large knives, strong pliers, long wire cutters and an all-locking blades, making this an essential piece of equipment.

The Wave multitool’s compact folded shape hides a wealth of tools and blades within. This model has four exterior blades that can be accessed even while the tool is closed. You can open the blades with one hand by placing your thumb in the thumbhole at the base of the blade, and rotate until the knife is fully extended. This securely engages the locking mechanism.

The locking mechanism is marked with a padlock symbol on the tool itself. To unlock the blades, all you have to do is press the locking mechanism toward the handle until the blade slides past the lock.

The interior features can be accessed by gripping the handles and rotating them open. Each interior blade can be opened by using the nail nicks. The scissors extend in the very same way, and they lock into place for secure, safe use. And, of course, it’s easy to change the tool bits, too. Just remove the bit from the driver and pop a new one into place.

The Wave multitool’s capabilities can be expanded with the bit kit, offering 21 double-ended bits.

This Leatherman multitool is covered by a 25-year limited warranty.

For these reasons, the Leatherman 830039 Wave Multitool is our editor’s choice pick for the best multitool.

Leatherman Skeletool CX Multitool – Editor’s choice pick for the best ultralight multitool

Leatherman Skeletool CX Multitool

The Leatherman Skeletool CX Multitool is a perfectly sized ultra-light multi tool with unique aesthetic looks. This lightweight multitool weighs only 5 ounces which is more than 50% less than the weight of Leatherman Wave Multitool. It has a length of 4 inches, making it a perfect fit to carry in the pocket or tactical belt.
The multitool is equipped with 7 tools consisting of a Needle-nose Pliers, Regular Pliers, Hard-wire Cutters, Wire Cutters, Knife, Carabiner/Bottle Opener and Large Bit Driver. A unique component of this tool is that it is equipped with a universal bit driver with 4 bits – Phillips #1 and #2, screwdriver 3/16-inch and 1/4-inch. These bits can be replaced as and when needed.
The high-quality knife available with the multitool can be used when the tool is folded up to create a decently sized blade. The wire cutter in the tool supports both soft and hard wire cutting abilities.
Like all other Leatherman tools, The Leatherman Skeletool Multitool is covered by a 25-year limited warranty. So if you are looking for an ultra-light, high-performance multitool than look no further than this tool.

Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier – Best value pick for the best survival multitool

Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier
The Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier is tough, reliable, easy to handle and is engineered to tackle jobs in every possible situation. It features a sleek butterfly design made of durable stainless steel and Gerber’s patented Saf.T.Plus component locking system.

The tool’s unique suspension-style handle sits comfortably in your hand, giving it a well-balanced feel. Compact enough to satisfy the most demanding minimalists, and cool enough for any camper, the Suspension Multi-Plier offers a sleek, streamlined design that will look as good as it performs.

Whether you’re at home, on the road, at a muddy job site, or deep in the backcountry, you can’t predict what you’ll be up against. The Suspension Multi-Plier is fitted with 11 tools that will give you the edge in virtually any situation.

Starting with the knives, you have the choice of a straight blade for fine-tune cutting or a serrated blade that’s great for cutting rope.

This tool also includes a Phillips screwdriver along with large and medium flathead screwdrivers, as well as a dedicated wire cutter/stripper. Unlike bulky squared-off pliers on many multitools, the needle-nose pliers at the center of this tool are designed for the tightest of spots. And they’re spring loaded so that they open when you release your grip, which makes working with them easily, pinch-free and intuitive.

Other useful features hidden away in the handle of the Suspension include scissors, a bottle opener, a can opener, saw, an awl, and a lanyard ring.

It has a safe and user-friendly design. The Gerber’s Saf.T.Plus system locks components securely in place for worry-free use.

Even with this lock system, deployment is quick and easy. Gerber’s user-friendly design makes it simple to access any tool that you need–just slide the lock-release button back and get set for the task at hand.

This Gerber multitool also comes with a nylon ballistic-cloth sheath so that you can keep it protected from the elements when it’s not in use.

This multitool is backed by a lifetime warranty so that you can use it without any worry.

Multi tool Accessories

One of the most common accessories sought for multitools is the multitool holder to carry it comfortably. While picking the most suitable sheath or holster, check the supported models. A couple of standard models are listed below:

Another set of accessories that is often required is a bit kit – set of bits, with or without drivers and extender. If you are looking for most suitable bit kit, you can consider the following options:

Final thoughts on the best survival multitool

The most important factor to consider while buying a good multitool is the tools that you will really be needing. Once you have decided on that, you can move ahead to consider other factors like build material, ease of use, portability, and warranty. Unlike other camping gear, a multitool can be used in everyday life as well. In this extensive guide, we took a look at some of the best multitools available in the market and presented our picks. We hope this guide will help you in picking the best multitool that will fit your needs.

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