I have collected several different Multi-tools over the years. I thought i would do a bit of a review / rundown of how they go, as there are a lot of different ones out there, and it can be hard to know what you want, and if the extra cost of a quality tool is actually worth it.
Leatherman Wave – Old Wave
This was the first “proper” multi-tool I owned. From memory, I bought it with the first pay check from my first full time job, as an Audio Visual Technician, and for me, is the yard stick to measure all other multi-tools. This is one of the original style Waves. The outside tools, the blades, Saw, and File, all lock into place with a liner lock style system. None of the inner tools, the screwdrivers and other bits lock into place, but I don’t generally find that a problem.
For the wave, I also have the matching Bit driver, that clips onto the Leatherman and takes standard hex bits. Not used so much these days, but back in the day, it was a valuable addition to my belt
The Skeletool was a bit of an impulse Ebay buy. I actually bought 3 of the things on the US ebay, for about what it would cost for one of them locally. I sold the other two on the Australian eBay, hoping to get at least my money back. I ended up not making it all back, but that was OK, as I was keeping one, it cost me a whole lot less then going down to King of Knives and buying one would.
Anyway, onto the knife itself. I took it to work, as that is my main use/excuse for owning multi-tools. The carabiner was very handy in that it can clip onto my keys, and is compact enough to fit in my pocket with the keys. The downside was, which i have noticed on a lot of tools, is the needle nose tip is a lot less pointy then i would like. for a lot of uses, this doesn’t matter so much, but some jobs, such as straightening bent pins in VGA cables, need a fairly small needle nose to do.
One thinng to note about the skeletool, is the lack of aditional tools. It has a knife, pliers, and 2 leatherman interchangable bits, and thats it. you can buy additional bits from leatherman, but thats an additional cost. This is ok, the Skeletoool is designed to be minimalistic and compact, not massive and feature packed
The Shortcut is identical to the Gerber Clutch, except there is a pair of scissors instead of a pair of pliers. This was an accidental eBay purchase. I was supposed to be buying a Gerber Clutch, but bid & bought the wrong item. That’s OK though, after kicking around the office, i came to the conclusion it wasn’t much use there, so it has been relocated to the mini first aid kit i carry in my backpack. I figure the scissors make it more useful there then anywhere else.
The newest addition to my family of tools, The clutch resides on my work keys. Much smaller then the Leatherman Skeletool, it takes even less space in my pocket. The Clutch is still in the testing phase, I think it will be around for a while, as it fills a nice niche.
The build quality of th Shortcut and the Clutch are what you would expect from a name brand tool. I’m more then happy with them
As you can see from the photo, there is a small keyring clip thing on the tool. I added this myself, cutting the clip off a un-used lanyard i had kicking around the house
This one is the only one that doesn’t have a pair of pliers on it. Instead, it it made up of a carabiner, and a shifting spanner. I had less of a use in mind when i bought this one, It was more an impulse buy to expand my collection of multitools. Its an interesting concept, Shifting spanner one end, a carabiner, and a hex bit scredriver on the other end. Integrated into the magnetically clipped on bit holder is a little LED torch. This little fish certainly packs a few features, but I tend to miss the pliers too much, so this will likely never be more then a piece in my collection
I also have several no-name tools, of varying quality, most pre-date my Leatherman Wave. However, there is one that i bought recently, while in search for a tool that fits on my keys, but doesn’t take up space.
Many of the no-name tools are of pretty poor build quality, and most likely pretty poor material quality. The best quality one was probably the small tool I bought at Supercheap Auto recently. As mentioned before, I was searching for a small tool to add to my keys
The cheap tools have seen virtually no use over the years I’ve had them. I’ll usually go for my leatherman Wave first, as Its usually nearest, apart from the gerber clutch, which is on my work keys.
So, now you have seen most of my multitools. I have some good quality ones, some poor quality ones, and some inbetween. In a recomendation to someone looking at buying a multitool, I’ll almost always recommend a good quality name brand, be it Leatherman, or others such as SOG, Gerber, CRKT, spyderco etc… If you go to the cheap end, you’ll get a tool, but the quality won’t be there. Having said that, it appears that some cheap tools are getting better. the Supercheap Auto tool was exceptional for a cost of less then $10
There are some odd ball tools out there, like the CRKT Guppie seen here. They may do the job you’re after, you’ll have to make that call. as mentioned before, the guppie was more a gimick, one for the collection, as opposed to a tool that gets everyday use
have I found my perfect tool? well, the Wave is probably as good as any, Its my favorite, and I don’t know if I could ever bring myself to replace it. Having said that, i won’t stop expanding my collection. There are a few tools on my wish list, but that is a post for another day.