Versatility: 10 Best Small Multi-tools for 2019

Benjamin Roussey

Table of Contents

Introduction

Carrying a full-size multi-tool every day might be practical if you are a full-time fly fisherman, a tradesman, or a forest ranger, but for the rest of those who have to get a little dressed up for work, its not the best option. It adds unnecessary weight to an item you will hardly get any full use out of.

For those who do not need a full-size multi-tool, a compact multi-tool is handy to have around. They provide marvelous utility and are very convenient to carry around no matter where you go.

How to pick the best small multi-tool is something we delve in this article. Despite their compact form factor, these little marvels have everything you need for quick fixes and repairs, as well as other small tasks. You should choose a small portable multi-tool which weighs about 2-ounces, or under. Anything that weighs more than this will be inconvenient to carry with you at all times! Obviously, size also matters. The right size for a small ECD multi-tool is 2.5 inches when closed. Again, anything that is bigger than this is not at all convenient for everyday carrying around and also difficult to carry discreetly which matters since most people do not want other people seeing what they have in their pockets.

Best Small Multi-Tools to Carry

There are many excellent compact multi-tools available on the market for every day carry. Here is a look at our top picks to give you an idea of which ones are the best choice when you need a small EDC multi-tool.

Sale
Gerber 30-000469 Dime Multi-Tool, Black
Gerber Legendary Blades - Tools & Hardware
from $13.99
Sale
Gerber Splice Pocket Tool, Black [31-000013]
Gerber - Tools & Home Improvement
$13.16
Sale
True Utility FIXR Multi-Tool (20 Tools in 1)
True Utility - Tools & Home Improvement
$10.20
SOG Specialty Knives & Tools CC51-CP Cross Cut Multi-Tool, 9-Tools Combined, Satin Finish
SOG Specialty Knives & Tools - Tools & Home Improvement
$20.00
Gerber Vise Pocket Tool, Black [31-000021]
Gerber - Tools & Home Improvement
$16.99
Multi-Tool Bear Grylls
Fiskars Brands Inc - Misc.
$17.99

At a Glance: Our Choices for The Top 10 Small Multi-Tools

Click on one of the links to go directly to our overview, opinion, and features of each multi-tool.

Great Multi-Tools for Survival

1. Leatherman Micra

Leatherman - Micra, Keychain Size Multitool, Stainless SteelThe Leatherman Micra is one of the brand’s smallest multi-tools but manages to pack in 10 tools. It is 2.5 inches closed, making it the perfect size. The Micra packs the best spring-action scissors from Leatherman as well as many tools such as a knife, tweezers, nail clippers, nail file, three screwdrivers, a bottle opener, and a ruler. It is stainless steel and is available in different colors. It is among the best small multi-tool on the market and is popular among fishermen and anglers who need scissors that come in a small, portable package.

Opinion: We have high praise for the Leatherman Micra multi-tool. The scissors always get a special mention because as said earlier, it is Leatherman’s best. They are sturdy and strong. We also like its size since it is perfect for carrying around in your keychain. Another excellent thing about this multi-tool is that the knife and scissors hold their edge well.

If we could change one thing, it would be the Micra’s countersunk rivet as it does not pull the blades together hard enough. Apart from this, the Leatherman Micra is an excellent small EDC multi-tool to choose.

Pros Cons
(+) Has 10 useful tools in one compact package (-) A little too small for some users
(+) Excellent spring-action scissors (-) Handles tend to fold during hard use
(+) Outstanding construction and quality materials

Our Rating:                        5.0 stars

# of tools:                           10

Steel type:                         420HC

Closed Length:               2.5 inches

Weight:                              1.8 ounces

 2. Leatherman Squirt PS4

Leatherman - Squirt PS4 Multitool, BlackThe Leatherman Squirt may be a little expensive for a small tool, but the fact is that it is a really good small multi-tool to have, means that it is worth every dollar you spend on it. It is built like a small tank, the Squirt measures 2.25-inch (closed) and comes with 9 tools: spring-action scissors, spring-action regular pliers, spring-action wire cutters, spring action needle nose pliers, flat Philips screwdriver, 420HC blade, metal/wood file, medium screwdriver, and a bottle opener.

This multi-tool also has handles made of aerospace grade that lowers the weight to 2 ounces, which is terrific for a compact EDC multi-tool. The Squirt is also one of the best looking small multi-tools you will find.

Opinion: We believe that the Leatherman Squirt is a great compact multi-tool that you’d be glad to have in your keychain. Its tools are made with fine quality materials that make it strong and durable. We also think that it is the perfect size and weight to carry with you at all times. We like the Philips flat screwdriver and the sharp knife as well. This multi-tool comes highly recommended by everyone who has bought it.

One thing we would like to add, it would be a pair of tweezers. These come in handy for removing splinters so we believe that it should be added to this multi-tool. Other than this, we think the Leatherman Squirt PS4 is a top-notch EDC multi-tool that everyone should own.

Pros Cons
(+) Strong and sturdy construction (-) Slightly heavier and wider on one side compared to older Squirt models
(+) Aerospace grade aluminum alloy handles (-) Scissors a little too small for practical use
(+) Lightweight and durable

Our Rating:                        5.0 stars

# of tools:                           9

Steel type:                         420HC

Closed Length:                 2.25 inches

Weight:                               2 ounces

3. Leatherman Style CS Multi-Tool

Leatherman - Style CS Multitool, Stainless SteelThe Leatherman Style is a magnificent compact multi-tool that features 6 tools: spring-action scissors, 420HC knife, flat Philips screwdriver, nail file, tweezers, and bottle opener/carabiner. It is made of 420HC stainless steel, making it strong and long-lasting. It also has glass-filled nylon which is a thermoplastic material that is made stronger with the addition of chopped glass fibers.

This makes it very durable as well, without adding too much weight. Leatherman’s glass-filled nylon handles are so strong that they do not require an inner steel frame. This makes it lightweight, fabulous for every day carry. The stylish-looking Leatherman Style is a judicious choice if you are looking for an affordable, high-quality EDC multi-tool.

Opinion: We like the Leatherman Style as it has everything you need in a small multi-tool. We find the scissors especially good. It also has a nice blade for its size. Another thing worth mentioning is its compact size and light weight, which makes it perfect to have with you at all times. We think that it is a really good looking multi-tool too.

We believe that the tweezers could have been made better. We find them a little too difficult to take out when needed. This is the only complaint that we have; otherwise, it is a great option to consider for a portable multi-tool.

Pros Cons
(+) Stylish and compact design (-) Screwdriver not strong enough
(+) Ergonomic scissors (-) Tweezers too difficult to take out
(+) Excellent blade for its size

Our Rating:                       4.7 stars

# of tools:                           6

Steel type:                         420HC

Closed Length:                 2.9 inches

Weight:                               1.4 ounces

4. Gerber Dime Multi-Tool

Gerber Dime Multi-Tool, Black [30-000469]The Gerber Dime is a compact and lightweight multi-tool that fits perfectly in your pocket. It comes with 10 tools: scissors, spring-loaded pliers with a needle nose, fine edge blade, wire cutter, file, medium flat driver, retail package opener, crosshead driver, bottle opener and even tweezers. It is made with stainless steel which gives it a sturdy construction.

It measures 2.75 inches closed, which is a great size, especially if you wish to carry it along wherever you go. The Gerber Dime has a butterfly opening, making it easy and convenient to open. This is a nicely-designed small multi-tool that you should definitely consider if you are in the market for one.

Opinion: We like the aesthetic design and size of the Gerber Dime. We found that the scissors and knife are sharp and work well. We also like the fact that it is light weight as it makes it easy to carry around in the pocket.

We think that the scissors could be improved. We wish that it could be opened a little further as they are made in such a way that it opens only a set distance. Apart from this, the Gerber Dime is considered a good multi-tool, perfect for everyday carry.

Pros Cons
(+) Compact design perfect for EDC (-) Tools slightly hard to pull out
(+) Fantastic blade profile, making it a safer shape (-) A tad too small for some users
(+) Tough and durable

Our Rating:                       4.5 stars

# of tools:                           10

Steel type:                         3CR13

Closed Length:                 2.75 inches

Weight:                               2.2 ounces

5. Gerber Splice Pocket Tool

Gerber Splice Pocket Tool, Black [31-000013]The Gerber Splice is a well-designed, sturdy small multi-tool that is handy and can be slipped into your pocket, briefcase or even a vanity case. It comes with 10 tools: scissors, file, fine edge blade, serrated blade, pliers, small flat driver, medium flat driver, cross driver, bottle opener, and retractable lanyard. This awesome compact multi-tool is designed for use in various military, survival, hunting, tactical, outdoor, and industrial situations. It has an intuitive opening and is comfortable to carry in your pocket or you can attach it to your keychain. The Gerber Splice is a great choice if you are looking for a quality EDC multitool.

Opinion: The Gerber Splice comes with many features that make it a good option to carry with you. We especially like its two blades which make it a great tool for multiple applications. We also like the new bottle opener design which provides better leverage while performing the task. We also like that the Splice has the best scissors for a multitool of this size. Also, the size and weight of the Gerber Splice make it a really good option for its category.

One thing we would like to improve about this multitool, it would be the straight screwdriver. The reason is that it is combined with a parallel bottle opener that gets in the way of the screwdriver when you want to open it. Apart from this, we find Gerber Splice a sagacious little multi-tool to have around.

Pros Cons
(+) Sharp knives and scissors (-) External edges around the handle are too sharp
(+) Top-notch serrated blade (-) No hard stop for the straight-edge blade, it flexes backwards easily
(+) Effective for all purposes, such as cutting paracords or fishing line, tightening loose screws, and so forth

Our Rating:                       4.3 stars

# of tools:                           10

Steel type:                         n/a

Closed Length:                 2.4 inches

Weight:                               2.5 ounces

6. True Utility TU200US 20 Tools in 1 Utility FIXR Pocket Tool

True Utility FIXR Multi-Tool (20 Tools in 1)The True Utility TU200US is a top-quality compact multi-tool that comes with 20 handy tools: nail file, cutting blade, large flat driver, box opener, pry bar, medium flat driver, small and Philips driver, bicycle spoke wrench, 1/2 inch wrench, 1/4 inch wrench, 3/8 inch wrench, 5/16 inch wrench, 9/16 inch wrench, measuring ruler, bottle opener, eyeglass screwdriver, and quick release clip.

This multi-tool is made of 420-grade black stainless steel and a gold titanium disc. It has a K5 carbon steel blade that is perfect for a number of tasks. You also get a leather carrying pouch with it. This is definitely one of the most innovative multi-tools out there.

Opinion: We believe that not many multi-tools come close to the True Utility TU200US. It is a high-quality multi-tool that comes with everything you need to perform numerous tasks. Although the design is a little odd, it is highly functional. We also found that many costumers use their True Utility TU200US a lot. We like the tools that it features as they allow for a wide range of applications. We believe that the True Utility is a nice addition to the small multi-tool category despite its strange design compared to the rest of the options available.

One area that needs improvement is the small flat screwdriver, we think is not well-designed. It is completely rounded and useless. This is the only complaint that we have with this tool. It a small and innovative tool to have with you.

Pros Cons
(+) Solid screwdrivers (-) Blade not as sharp as expected
(+) Innovative design (-) Low-quality clip that snaps off easily
(+) Excellent pry bar as well as wrenches

Our Rating:                       4.2 stars

# of tools:                           20

Steel type:                         420 grade

Closed Length:                 3.26 inches

Weight:                               1.6 ounces

7. SOG Specialty Knives & Tools CC51-CP Cross Cut Multi-Tool

SOG Specialty Knives & Tools CC51-CP Cross Cut Multi-Tool, 9-Tools Combined, Satin FinishThe CC51-P is a well-designed small multi-tool that comes with 10 tools: spring-loaded scissors, straight edge knife blade, small flat driver, medium flat driver, nail file, nail cleaner, tweezers, bottle opener, ruler and pick. This multi-tool features SOG’s gear driven Compound Leverage technology which makes use of multiple pivot points to generate better leverage and double its power. It is made of 420 steel with a satin finish which makes it look stylish and attractive. This is a compact and lightweight multi-tool that can be stowed away in your car, or backpack.

Opinion: The CC51-P gives a solid performance when using it for various tasks. We like the scissors which are sharp and sturdy.  In fact, many say that this is one of the best features of this great multi-tool by SOG. The blades are sharp as well, and many say that they use it regularly to open boxes. We believe that the CC51-P is a great EDC gear and that at its price, it is a steal.

One area that SOG could improve is the design. When you open the handle, some of the tools just dangle there. We believe that SOG should take care of this issue and they will have an excellent multi-tool for EDC.

Pros Cons
(+) Lightweight and compact design for easy carrying (-) Need to be cautious when using the knife
(+) Solid construction, making it strong and durable (-) Tools flop without locking
(+) Super scissor angle compared to other models

Our Rating:                       4.4 stars

# of tools:                           10

Steel type:                         420 grade

Closed Length:                 2.5 inches

Weight:                               1.8 ounces

8. Gerber Vise Pocket Tool

Gerber Vise Pocket Tool, Black [31-000021]The Geber Vise is a rugged, sturdy multi-tool that is compact and lightweight and comes in handy in day to day chores. It can be used in various hunting, military, tactical, survival, outdoor and industrial situations. It comes with two blades so you can use it for a wide range of tasks. It also has a new bottle opener design to give you improved leverage.  It is comfortable to carry in your pocket and can be attached to your keychain as well. This is a fantastic product that features tools that you need to conveniently perform tasks whenever you need to.

We like the Gerber Vise’s design – it looks rugged and strong, and it is. We also like the blades, which are very sharp. Many say that they use this multi-tool every day and it performs very well. We believe that it is a quality tool and a handy one that you should definitely include in your bug out bag or emergency pack. We like the size and weight, which is perfect for everyday carry. This is a good small multi-tool that you should consider.

If there is something we would like to change about this tool, it would be to make it easier to pull out the tools. We find hard trying to get them out. Apart from this, we think it is a decent buy for the price.

Pros Cons
(+) Rugged and sturdy, ideal for all types of situations (-) Tools too difficult to open
(+) Handy baby pliers (-) Low quality compared to other Gerber multi-tools
(+) Perfect size for all applications

Our Rating:                      4.2 stars

# of tools:                           8

Steel type:                         n/a

Closed Length:                 2.4 inches

Weight:                               2 ounces

9. Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-tool

Multi-Tool Bear GryllsThe Gerber Bear Grylls is a well-designed multi-tool that is constructed with high-quality materials to make it sturdy, strong and durable. It has 10 components: fine edge knife, serrated knife, wire cutters, small flat driver, Phillips screwdriver, medium flat driver, needle nose pliers, lanyard ring, tweezers and bottle opener. The Gerber Bear Grylls looks great and is tough.

It is compact and lightweight, and hence can be carried along wherever you go. Its tools are well-made and work well on various tasks. This is a good quality small multi-tool that is a sagacious option for those looking for an affordable option to have at all times.

Opinion: We believe that the Gerber Bear Grylls is not only convenient to carry and use but is also very tough. It is durable and multi-functional, making it a great tool to carry around wherever you go. We like that the tool fits well in the hand and is always comfortable when being used. We like the design and the materials that it is made of as well. We think that Gerber did a good job designing this multi-tool and the quality of construction of this multi-tool is a good example of great Gerber workmanship.

One thing we believe that Gerber could improve is its size, is a tad small for some of the applications they need it for. We think that the size should be increased a little more to make it functional for some basic work that needs to be done when you are out in the wild. Apart from that, we think it is a terrific and useful, compact EDC multi-tool

Pros Cons
(+) Quality and compact design (-) Pouch always hangs up
(+) Well-made tools (-) A little small for some users
(+) Key ring bonus feature which can be used for depth-finding while ice fishing

Our Rating:                      4.3 stars

# of tools:                           10

Steel type:                         n/a

Closed Length:                 2.5 inches

Weight:                               3 ounces

10. Swiss+Tech ST53500 Polished Stainless Steel 19-in-1 Micro Pocket Multi-tool for Keychain

Swiss+Tech ST53500 Polished Stainless Steel 19-in-1 Micro Pocket Multitool for Keychain - Gift TinThe Swiss+Tech ST53500 is an excellent small multitool that is made with polished stainless steel to give it great look, strength, and durability. It comes with a handy 19 tools which include 2 hex wrenches, pliers, wire cutter and stripper, wire crimper, hand drill, screwdrivers, 2 rulers, ruler extensions, and bottle opener.

This is a good tool for camping, hunting, auto repair, and more. This multi-function tool set is well-designed, compact, and lightweight, and it also performs incredibly well for a wide range of applications. If you are looking for a unique set that comes with all the tools you need for everyday carry, the Swiss+Tech ST53500 is a good choice.

Opinion: We like the design and functionality of the Swiss+Tech ST53500. It is a handy tool to have around in case of emergencies. We think that its compact form factor makes it a good option to be part of your emergency kit and bug out bag. We also like the quality it offers at an affordable price. It is easy to carry and is ideal to have in your pocket as well as key chains. We believe that the Swiss+Tech ST53500 is a great option to consider when picking a small multi-tool.

One area that could be improved is the size of the tools in the Swiss+Tech ST53500 as they are a little small for some applications. Still, we think this is a handy tool that is appropriate for EDC and small tasks that are common.

Pros Cons
(+) Easy to use and carry (-) Tools are a little too small for some
(+) Sturdy build, ensuring durability (-) Tools also a little loose, meaning they do not stay closed
(+) Versatile, handy for all types of applications

Our Rating:                       4.1 stars

# of tools:                           19

Steel type:                         Stainless steel

Closed Length:                1.875 inches

Weight:                               3.2 ounces

How to Choose a Suitable Portable Multi-tool

Fixing anything, anywhere – that is the purpose and promise of a pocket multi-tool. But if you buy the wrong one, it can leave you stranded. A multi-tool is only as fabulous as your willingness and ability to carry it. Owning one that comes with 101 tools is magnificent and all, but if you cannot carry them with you, they are basically worthless. Here are a few points to keep in mind to choose the best portable multi-tool.

  • Identify your need – This is a critical part of making the right purchase as it can help you avoid buyer’s guilt. So why exactly do you need a multi-tool? For example, if you are a door-to-door computer technician, you will have very little or no need for an 8mm Allen wrench. But if you ride a bike to go from house to house, it might be quite handy to have. You need to identify the utilitarian value of the specialized functions of your multi-tool to find one that suits your needs.
  • Portability – It is stellar to have the most awesome multi-faceted tool with countless functions, but a multi-tool that you leave at home because it is too big or too heavy to carry around is exactly the same as not having one. Carrying a multi-tool should not be a chore. If it is, you have bought one that is just too heavy or too big. You will need to pick one that is the perfect portable multi-tool for you, which has all the functionalities that help you when you need it the most.
  • Do you really need it? – This is a strategic question to ask yourself. If you are someone who drives trucks and works all day with heavy machinery, then it will be quite funny for you to walk around with a portable multi-tool. For all intent and purposes, it is 100% sure that you will never find a good use for it, nor will you be able to justify paying the premium price for a pocket weight.
  • How often will you use it? – When you are choosing a multi-tool, you need to think about how often you will use it. Does your job require you to use one of the tools in it every day? Or do you want to keep it around in case of an emergency or an unexpected repair job? By asking yourself these questions, you will be able to find the right multi-tool that fits your specific needs perfectly.
  • Features – Pocket multi-tools come with more or less the same tools and features but there may be a few variations. You need to consider the features that you think you will be using the most when you pick a multi-tool. For example, if you need to use a mini-knife every day, a multi-tool known for its sharp blade will obviously be the best choice for you. Remember that multi-tools may not replace a tool that is specifically designed for the work at hand, but they are convenient as they come in compact form for small tasks.
  • Warranty – Another vital aspect to consider is the warranty. Does the manufacturer provide a long warranty? It is a positive aspect if they do. And you will find that many manufacturers offer long warranties, like 25 years (e.g the Leatherman Squirt), to repair or replace defective products. Make sure that you choose a multi-tool that comes with a fabulous warranty so that if there are any defects or problems with the item, you can save money by having it replaced or repaired by the manufacturer.
  • Design and quality – You should consider the design of the multi-tool that you are considering. They come in a variety of designs and you need to pick one that is convenient and comfortable for you. This is especially crucial if you will be using your multi-tool every day. Also, invest in a high-quality multi-tool even if it is on the pricier side. This will ensure strength and durability. You will receive your money’s worth and you will find that high-quality multi-tools are much better to use than cheap flimsy ones.

Why Choose a Small Multi-tool

Small, portable multi-tools are a judicious option compared to large sized ones. Here is a brief look at some of the reasons a small multi-tool is the best choice.

  • They are compact and lightweight. Small multi-tools are designed to enable you to give you handy tools in a smaller package so that you are ready for any surprise repair jobs or emergencies.
  • Small multi-tools are extremely affordable, especially when compared to their bigger counterparts. When you choose a small multi-tool, you get useful tools to help you perform a range of tasks without having to spend a large sum of money that you would with large-sized tools.
  • Multi-tools are fabulous for EDC, or every day carry. They can be carried in pockets or linked to a keychain and you can take them everywhere you go every day.
  • Multi-tools give you superb utility in a compact package. This makes them extremely convenient to carry. You do not have to worry about lugging heavy tools around.
  • Quite a few of the small tools can be carried on an airplane. You do not have to worry about them being considered as weapons or anything harmful.

Limitations of a Small Multi-tool

While they are handy and convenient to carry around, small multi-tools do come with limitations.

  • One problem with small multi-tools is that they do not have as many tools as their larger counterparts. This means that when a repair job comes up, you may not have everything you need to get the job done. This can be an inconvenience, but then again, you could always carry larger tools in your car and get them if the need arises.
  • Small multi-tools do not always have heavy-duty tools such as pliers. This means that you will need to find a way to make sure that such tools are on hand so that you can conveniently reach for them when you need them. However, this is not always possible, especially if you are in the wilderness, etc.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many things you need to consider before buying a small multi-tool. The whole process may seem simple enough, but the fact is that you need to put in quite a lot of thought into the multi-tool you choose. You need to make sure that the one you choose suits all your needs perfectly so that every time you need a certain tool, all you need to do is reach into your pocket and you have it!

It is also vital to make sure that your multi-tool is made of quality materials and is respected in the market. This way, you know you made a smart purchase and ensure that you have a durable item that will last a long time.

There are many judicious options on the market when it comes to multi-tools. Whether you need one for every day carry or to keep in your bug out bag or emergency kit, you can be sure that you will find the perfect one. They come in a wide range of designs, materials, shapes, sizes, and prices.

Depending on what you will be using your multi-tool for, you can choose one from hundreds of multi-tools on the market. As mentioned earlier, one of the first things you need to think about is what you will be using your multi-tool mainly for. Once you have that determined, you can make the right choice pertaining to your needs and predilections.

Small multi-tools are a magnificent item to have around at all times. You never know when you may need them. The fact that you can carry them around conveniently is a prolific benefit. Whether you are a fisherman, mechanic, or just someone who likes tools and enjoys fixing what he can, a multi-tool is a must-have that you should carry with you at all times. Just make sure that you choose the one that correlates with your needs the most and it is small enough for you to carry around without you even noticing it is there.

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