There are a lot of other multi-tools available, and brands like Leatherman and Victorinox have models upon models that make it confusing to figure out exactly what to buy. Here are some others I like.
Leatherman Skeletool CX for $90: This is slightly smaller than the Wave Plus, but still a standard-sized multi-tool. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles from our top picks, you can probably make do with a less bulky device that still has the most commonly used basic tools, like a knife, bottle opener, can opener, and bit drivers. and pliers.
Victorinox Swiss Tools for $153: Yep, I did a double take too when I first saw the price tag. At 10 grams it is also on the heavier side. But it is beautifully made and I love the square, straight handles. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a tool that doesn’t try to look modern. It is beautiful.
Leatherman Style PS for $62: Try flying with one of the tools in this guide. It’s a good way to get on the no-fly list. For those who plan to get on the plane and do not want to go without tools, you will need a multi-tool without a blade. The Style PS includes pliers, scissors, a combination flat/Phillips screwdriver and more in a small, pocket-sized 1.5-ounce package. Leatherman hasn’t officially discontinued the Style PS yet, but it’s almost impossible to find. It pains me to recommend it at $62 when the retail price is $35, but of the small, airport-compliant multi-tools, this is by far the best option. The $24 Victorinox Jetsetter is short on useful tools, and Gerber discontinued his mediocre Dime Travel, so the Style PS is pretty much the only game in town – as long as you can find it.
SOG parashears for $61: Joining Leatherman’s battle with multi-tool rescue scissors, the SOG has a few more small, foldable tools that the Leatherman Raptors don’t have, including a flathead and Philips screwdriver bit, tweezers, an awl and a bottle opener . . The blade is about an inch shorter than the blades of both Raptors, which is a minor drawback, but weighs 0.7 to 1 ounce less, due to its more skeletal build, especially in the handles. They retail for $80 on Cabela and SOG’s own website, but you can easily find them for less at Amazon and Walmart.
Leatherman Charge TTi for $190: This is a weak recommendation. It’s packed with 19 useful tools and comes with the great Leatherman build quality and warranty. I have been using one with great pleasure for years. That price anyway. Even though it’s made of titanium, it’s no lighter than the Wave Plus, which costs much less and comes with 18 mini-tools, many of which are the same as the Charge TTi. Buy the Wave Plus unless you Real like the appearance of the dark titanium.
Leatherman Free P4 for $150: I was on the fence about this one. Like most of Leatherman’s range, the Free P4 is a quality, well-built tool, but is it worth a $40 increase over our top pick, Leatherman’s own $110 Wave Plus? The big difference is that the Free P4, with its 21 tools, uses magnets to open and lock the tools, and a new mechanism to unlock and close the mini tools, which doesn’t require you to get your finger in the way of the blade to place. . The magnets require no less force to initially open the tool than other Leathermans, but once you get it started the opening mechanism terribly smooth and effortless.
Smallrig Universal Multi-Tool for Videographers for $30: If you find yourself lugging around a lot of videography equipment, like our product reviewer Eric Ravenscraft, you may want a multi-tool made for adjusting and maintaining cameras without knives and pliers. The Smallrig consists of nine tools, including hex wrenches in various sizes common to cameras, a Phillips screwdriver, and a pair of flat-head screwdrivers. Eric likes the wider flat head for screwing on and removing tripod heads, which he says typically get scraped and chewed up by smaller screwdrivers.
Leatherman Micra for $57: Instead of pliers, the Micra opens into scissors. It feels like it’s made of cheaper materials and has thinner tool blades than the Victorinox Mini Champ, which is of similar size, purpose and price. The spring mechanism is difficult to open and close without poking yourself. But it has character, and I like the little thing. It’s a good alternative to the Mini Champ, especially if you want a small multi-tool that revolves around scissors.
Leatherman Wingman for $70: The Wingman just feels great to use. No wildly structured surfaces and no plastic anywhere. The smooth scales feel old-fashioned, in a good, ‘remember back then’ way, similar to the Victorinox Swiss Tool. There are 14 tools in the handles, all of which slide open and closed as smoothly as if they were smeared with butter. The entire package folds down to just 4 inches long and weighs 7 ounces. At this price it’s a bargain.
SOG Key Knife for $12: The best knife is the one you have at hand. That Leatherman Wave Plus won’t do you any good if it’s home and you’re not. Micro tools like the Mini Champ and Micra are easy to put in your pocket, but you still have to remember them. The Key Knife fits directly on your key ring, so you always have it with you. The blade unfolds and measures 1.5 inches, which is sufficient for most small cutting jobs. However, it is a one-trick pony and only has a blade. You don’t get a premium product, but the stainless steel blade is quite sharp enough.
Kershaw Select Fire Multi-Purpose Pocket Knife for $31: This cheap Kershaw is great at opening packages and doing other knife-like things, but it has a special trick up its sleeve that most utility knives of a similar size don’t: a surprisingly good screwdriver. Fold down a built-in section in the body and fold out a flathead or crosshead point. There’s even a beer bottle opener, for the drinking and Ikea types.