The 11 Best Multitools of 2024 - Multitools for Every Situation

Cut, tighten, loosen, open, and twist your way through whatever challenges crop up with these innovative pocket tools.

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The 11 Best Multitools of 2024 - Multitools for Every Situation

If you often encounter the unexpected and fancy yourself a real-life MacGyver—the type of person that waltzes in to save the day, with your tool kit in miniature at the ready—then chances are, you could use a multitool. These implements have come a long way from Swiss Army knives of yesteryear.

While a Swiss Army Knife comes with several small tools that fold into its iconic red body, it lacks the durability and utility of a modern multitool. Most of the tools on a Swiss Army Knife don’t have the thickness and durability of their multitool equivalent. The thin steel, while durable, isn’t meant to be twisted, hammered, or squeezed with the same force that a quality multitool endures regularly.

Today there are dozens of multitools, from a slew of manufacturers such as Gerber, Leatherman, Victorinox, and more. These devices come with as many as 20 to 30 tools integrated into the frame and still fit comfortably in a pocket. To determine which multitools stand out from the pack, we tested out several options and recorded our results. Following our hand-on tests and some in-depth research, here are the multitools that get the job done, even when that job clears out your tool chest.

While the number of tools and functionalities on your multitool isn’t the only measure of how helpful it’ll be, it does give you a sense of its versatility. The multitools we recommend have anywhere from 5 to 20 or more different functions, but before you choose, it’s key to pay attention to the quality of each tool and, of course, how often you’ll use them.

For instance, a multitool with a screwdriver attachment is great, but if that multitool grip doesn’t give you the leverage to twist off stuck on screws or only comes with one screwdriver bit, it’s far less effective in practice.

Note that, in their descriptions, manufacturers often count different capabilities of a specific tool individually to arrive at a higher number of “tools.” Pliers, for example, may be counted three or four times if they can function as needle-nose pliers, regular pliers, wire cutters, and wire strippers.

The size and weight of your multitool is key for both functionality and portability. A major reason to buy a multitool is to replace larger, bulkier tools, so a pocketable size is vital. That said, size isn’t everything. Each item on a multitool needs enough space from the others to work effectively, and make sure you have a good grip for leverage.

The weight of a multitool only becomes a problem if it is too heavy to comfortably clip onto a belt or slip into a pocket. The majority of the tools on our list are made of stainless steel which is durable, yet relatively lightweight.

What makes or breaks a multitool for any user is which tools you use most often. We recommend starting your search by making a list of the three or four tools you use most often. Then, opt for a multitool that does really well at those functions. A multitool that has a few tools you use frequently will end up being more valuable to you than one packed to the brim with tools you don’t use much at all.

We made our final selections for this list by testing out several multitools. In fact, we have tested every multitool on this list with our own hands. We designed our tests to actively utilize every tool and function of each model.

In our test, we cut rope, twine, lamp wire, 14-gauge indoor branch circuit wire, maple saplings and branches, paper, and plastic. We also stripped the wires we cut and crimped electrical connectors. With the pliers, we gripped, squeezed, twisted, and turned various bits of hardware. We carved white pine boards and maple branches. We opened bottles, cans, and shipping packaging. We disassembled and reassembled an old British carburetor, an electrical junction box, and a standard three-prong outlet. Finally, we filed wood, metal, and even our own fingernails.

During these tests, we paid close attention to the performance of the tool in the given task, the ease of use, how each multitool ergonomically fit in our hand as we worked, and how we expect each tool will last over a long period of time. After all that was said and done, we noted our impressions and made our final judgements. Below, you’ll find the best multitools available, some surprising values, and plenty of options that fit your needs.

Fresh out of the box, the SwissTool Spirit X impressed us with its fit and finish. The tools are packed into the frame very closely, like scientific instrumentation. All the tools—save one—deploy from the outside of the frame, so you can access them all without much hassle. The company claims 24 tools in this multitool, but we counted 23, including one that’s simply a hook for a lanyard.

The needle-nose pliers, wire cutters, scissors, three standard screwdrivers, and can opener work well, it was the less common tools that really impressed us. This is the first multi we’ve seen with a metal saw, which is on the edge of the file. It cut through mild steel hardware surprisingly well and the file did a nice job cleaning up the edges when we were done.

The Phillips screwdriver shank flares out at the end so that all four points on the head are the same size, making for very solid engagement. The Spirit X’s bottle opener is made from wide stainless steel stock, which keeps it flat on the bottle cap so it doesn’t slip or cut into the cap. The combination reamer-punch efficiently opens up holes in wood, leather, and soft metals, and it can drill holes through 3/4-inch pine board.

An all-around great pick, this multitool will get the job done, no matter what that job happens to be.

Rovertac’s 12-in-1 initially caught our eye because users on Amazon rated it highly and it’s affordable, too. While it might be a little bulky and heavy, we have to admit it’s a decent value. We don’t expect it to hold up to heavy use, but in a “save your butt” kind of capacity, most of the tools functioned acceptably well.

The long-nosed pliers, wire cutter, and wire stripper all worked reasonably well, as did the can and bottle openers and various screwdrivers. RoverTac claims the tool includes a saw blade, but it’s more like a serrated knife, which worked—just not very well.

The plain knife blade is sharper than it looks and easily cut through rope and twine during our tests. The RoverTac multi-tool comes with a sewn nylon sheath to attach to your belt. Don’t expect this device to be the pride of your tool collection, but when you need it most, the RoverTac is more than ready to tackle the job.

This PowerLitre exhibited a buttery-smooth action that was so pleasing, we could barely stop playing with it. Its main pivot is a geared compound leverage mechanism that opens in perfect symmetry. Squeezing the tool frame closed, a latch on the opening end maintains pressure on the jaws holding the bit securely in place—which works amazingly well, although you do need to supply your own hex bits.

SOG calls this a mini multitool, and the PowerLitre is about two thirds to three quarters the size of most tools of this type. The narrow pliers worked very well in testing, and we found the ridged surfaces of the jaws gripped things firmly. The bypass wire cutters did a great job cutting and stripping 14-gauge copper wires, and the crimper on the opposite side of the pivot—although small—was effective.

One side of the frame features five tools, including a narrow knife blade, a hook cutter, a flat jewelry-sized screwdriver, an awl, and a cork-screw. All of these performed better than average, and though we like the tiny screwdriver, it wasn’t quite small enough for some eyeglass screws.

The opposing frame includes scissors, a bottle opener, a small Phillips screwdriver, a can opener, and the latch that holds the tool frame closed. These all worked as expected, although we had trouble at times engaging the outer lip on certain cans with the can opener.

With its wide frame and large plier jaws, the Dual-Force is a beast of a multitool. You can open the pliers and slip the pivot to spread the dual-position jaws extra wide to grab large fasteners or objects. The jaws feature three separate gripping areas: two for large or small round objects and one for gripping flat things. We appreciated the versatility in these new pliers, they hold well in a variety of situations.

One of our favorite things about the Dual-Force is that all the other tools are accessible when the pliers are closed. This multitool also features a bit holder with two Phillips and one plain screwdriver bits. We regard these among the most useful multi-tool screw drivers available, although they are sometimes difficult to use in tight spaces.

The Dual-Force is rounded out with a large knife, a saw blade, and a three-sided file. The knife blade is reasonably sharp right out of the box, and we easily cut through thick rope with it. We used the saw blade to cut both green and dried-out sticks and branches with relative ease. We were able to use the file on both wood and metal, although it was more suited for the metal.

The SOG Powerlock features a clean, smooth design with rounded edges and tool frame covers. We were able to open it with one hand and found it very comfortable to hold. The 18 tools to choose from include five for fasteners: three sizes of flat screwdrivers, one Phillips screw driver, and a 1/4-inch square drive to accept sockets (not included). The 1/4-inch driver can be oriented 90 degrees from the tool body for more leverage, but the frame cover has to be popped off to use it this way.

The Powerlock has true needle-nose pliers machined down to a nice point, the jaws of which meet very tightly and accurately, making it easy to grip small things. The wire cutter and stripper also work very well.

Most of the other tools performed up to snuff, with the bottle opener, can opener, awl, scissors, and ruler all doing their jobs with ease. The partially serrated knife was very sharp and cut through several materials easily.

The saw blade was a surprise—its aggressive teeth made quick work of maple tree branches. We liked the simple-to-operate locking system, although fishing the tools out from under the frame cover was occasionally awkward.

The Free P2 is built with tight tolerances, evident in its smooth opening and closing action. You can open it with one hand, and it makes a gratifying click as the handle locks in place. A nice feature of the P2 is tool accessibility; all of the implements are accessible without opening the pliers.

We were impressed with the pliers as their tight pivot, strong grip, and replaceable wire-cutting blades performed well under testing. The wire stripper, included on the medium screwdriver, only really worked on wire of a specific size. However, the notch for hard wire worked well up to 12 gauge.

A typical gripe of ours with can openers is that a wide tool frame can interfere with the can. But on the P2, the opener is the last tool on the row, so it’s perfectly positioned for clearance. The scissors cut well and were easy to manipulate while snipping intricate shapes, while the combination plain/serrated knife blade was extremely sharp.

Three flat screwdrivers were adequate, with the largest being made of thicker material to resist twisting. The Phillips screwdriver is good on a wide range of sizes, and its flat stock folds into the tool frame smoothly.

With its svelte minimalist frame featuring three main tools, this Gerber multitool cuts down on the crap and keeps it tools simple and effective.

As a pocket knife-based multitool, it features a full 3-inch, locking plain blade. Although it isn’t the sharpest right out of the box, it was keen enough to cut cleanly through, paper, plastic, rope, twine, and steak, and was adequate for some light whittling. The side opposite the blade features a hex bit driver and scissors. The driver features a reversible bit in a magnetic holder—we love this because you get legit flat and Phillips screwdrivers that just plain work.

The scissors are a bit larger than those found on other models, and were easy to control cutting out intricate shapes from paper to medium cardboard. Between the scissors and the driver is a sharp, narrow awl. We were able to use this to drill holes in wood and plastic, but it works well, as intended, to poke holes through leather and canvas.

Rounding out the Armbar’s eight functions are a nice bottle opener that pivots of the end of the tool frame, a pry bar using the bottle opener flipped over, and a hammer using the wide base of the bottle opener. In the traditional sense, the hammer isn’t what you’d expect, but who among us hasn’t hit something using a tool as a makeshift hammer?

The Gerber Truss is a burly multitool, thicker and wider than many others. Security comes from the very strong magnets that keep the Truss closed, which is useful if you prefer to hang it on a lanyard through the dedicated hole on one end. And we liked the two-sided lock release and quickly became adept at pulling it down with our thumb and index fingers.

As with several other models here, all of the tools—except the pliers—are accessible from the outside of the tool frame, which we always appreciate. In use, the handles open, snap securely into place, and make for a very sturdy-feeling pliers with spring-loaded jaws that open easily on their own. In testing, we liked how the grip facilitated manipulating wires as we were making electrical connections.

The Truss has an anvil-style wire cutter, rather than a bypass, so the cutting surfaces meet at the point when the pliers close. This forces the wire apart, rather than shearing through it, which doesn’t cut as cleanly but is stronger and works better on hard wire.

The three sizes of flat screwdrivers worked well, covering the range of screws we encountered while taking apart the carburetor. Both the serrated knife blade and the saw were very sharp, and between the two easily cut the string, twine, rope, saplings, and wood. The scissors—despite their small size—we were able to cut out intricate shapes from paper and light cardboard.

The Wave+ is a capable tool with 18 functions. One of the best is the needle-nose pliers, which tapers to a fairly fine point to get a grip in tight spaces. It also features replaceable edges on the wire cutters and has smooth, rounded edges on the handles. The cutters are effective on fine telephone wire or 12-gauge copper wire, as well as harder steel baling wire.

If cutting through wood is important to you, the saw blade is up to the task. As for maple branches and scrap 2- by 3-inch lumber, it hewed cleanly through both. The plain and serrated knife blades were quite sharp—there wasn’t a task they couldn’t handle. While the standard file was adequate, we found the diamond-coated one specifically worked very well for fine jobs, like smoothing burrs on metal edges.

The Wave+ has two screwdrivers, one large and one small. The bits on both are reversible, with standard and Phillips tips on opposite ends. The smaller bits are perfect for emergency eyeglass repair; the larger will work for many average screws. We found the scissors worked well, although they need to be opened completely to store, rather than closed.

While not quite as effective for tinkering or building, this multitool from Leatherman is more suited for emergency situations. This multitool isn’t built on pliers or a pocket knife, but instead, a pair of trauma shears that cut comfortably through different types of cloth including rougher, thicker material like burlap.

The glass breaker on the back of the shears easily shattered thick glass bottles and tempered glass without having to exert a ton of energy, while the seatbelt cutter sliced through a backpack strap with relative ease.

This multitool also comes with an oxygen tank wrench for opening or closing tanks in a pinch, and a utility holster which can strap through to fit on a belt.

Tom Price is an Associate Editor of Reviews for Popular Mechanics, and also contributes to Runner's World, and Bicycling. He has previously covered product reviews, startup news, and even professional wrestling. In his free time, he enjoys watching pretentious TV, low-brow movies, and exercising for beauty, not health. If you are interested in exploring more of his work, check out his website.

Brad Ford has spent most of his life using tools to fix, build, or make things. Growing up he worked on a farm, where he learned to weld, repair, and paint equipment. From the farm he went to work at a classic car dealer, repairing and servicing Rolls Royces, Bentleys, and Jaguars. Today, when he's not testing tools or writing for Popular Mechanics, he's busy keeping up with the projects at his old farmhouse in eastern Pennsylvania.

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The 11 Best Multitools of 2024 - Multitools for Every Situation

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