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The Best Multi-Tool

Updated Dec 10, 2022
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When you carry a multi-tool, a whole world of problem-solving and empowerment opens up. It’s like keeping a flashlight in your pocket: If you don’t carry one, you can’t imagine ever using it, but once you have it, you use it seven times a day. Over the past few years, we’ve tested 23 multi-tools in rural New Hampshire—fixing fences, slicing hay-bale twine, even assisting in the birth of a lamb on a cold March morning. And the Leatherman Skeletool CX stood out as the best. It has a sleek, lightweight design and a minimal lineup of well-executed essentials. So this multi-tool is easier to use and carry because it’s unburdened by an abundance of rarely used tools. In fact, the Skeletool’s pliers, knife, screwdrivers, and bottle opener were all we ever needed to deal with minor fixes and get on with our day.

Leatherman Skeletool CX, the best multi-tool

Leatherman Skeletool CX

The best multi-tool
This light and slim multi-tool focuses on well-executed essentials—such as precise, comfortable pliers—and it has no fillers. It’s easy to carry daily and built to last.
We recommend
Leatherman Free P2, the best full-size multi-tool

Leatherman Free P2

The best full-size multi-tool
The Free P2 has a larger tool selection—including scissors and a package opener—than the Skeletool CX. But the biggest difference is that all of the tools, including the pliers, can be deployed using one hand.
Another good choice
Leatherman Signal, for the outdoors-person

Leatherman Signal

For the outdoors-person
The Signal has the Skeletool’s basic set of tools, plus a few extras geared toward the outdoors and emergency preparation, including an effective whistle and a fire starter.
Another good choice
Gerber Gear Dime, the best keychain tool

Gerber Gear Dime

The best keychain tool
For such a small model, this tool is surprisingly capable. And the Dime’s pliers, bottle opener, and clamshell cutter are quite satisfying to use.
Another good choice
Leatherman Free T4, a great no-pliers option

Leatherman Free T4

A great no-pliers option
The Leatherman Free T4 lacks pliers, so it’s smaller than the other models here, but it has a nice set of basic tools and a strong build quality.
Another good choice
Gerber Gear Armbar Drive, basic and well-rounded

Gerber Gear Armbar Drive

Basic and well-rounded
The Gerber Armbar Drive is similar to the Free T4, but it’s not as refined. It’s also not as expensive.
Another good choice

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