Mega Multi Tool Review
Back in the old days everybody's Grandpa had a favourite pocketknife. Times change however and the pocketknife has been replaced by the multi-tool, a hybrid of the Swiss Army knife and the humble plier! Here is the latest and greatest in multi-tools for those thinking of a Christmas present, or just another toy.
Gerber "Legend", " Fisherman" and "Pro Scout"Legend (~$225) - The "Legend" tool is the flagship model of the Gerber's tested and features a tungsten carbide cutter, thumb studs for one handed operation of blades, stainless steel locking components, Fiskars? precision scissors and a replaceable jigsaw blade! All tools are locking, the pliers are spring-loaded for one hand operation and the Legend features textured handgrips. Outstanding features included the ability to access tools whilst the pliers were shut, one handed operation of blades and the impressive tungsten carbide blades - these can cut 278 lb. test steel fishing leaders and can be rotated to provide three cutting edges! The Legend is rated as weather resistant, comes with a nylon pouch and has a limited lifetime warranty, as do all of the Gerber's tested.
Fisherman (~$185) - "Fisherman" by name and fisherman by nature! The features of this tool include stainless steel jaws (long nosed pliers), components, hardware and handles, along with "flick-of-the-wrist" opening, needles nose pliers, carbide hook sharpener, split ring / split shot spreading wedge and fishing line crimpers. As with the Legend, the Fisherman also has tungsten carbide cutters, Fiskars? precision scissors and locking blades. The Fisherman blades can only be accessed once the pliers are open, but this is where the fun begins. With a "flick-of-the-wrist" motion the plier heads slide out of the handle and locks in to place! The Fisherman comes with a nylon pouch, a limited lifetime warranty and is a great tool for the tackle box.
Pro Scout (~$179) - The "Pro Scout" is a hybrid between the Legend and the Fisherman. The Pro Scout features conventional flat nosed pliers, stainless steel construction, practical "flick-of-the-wrist" opening, internal tool access only (blades are locking) and a saw. The Pro Scout comes with a nylon pouch and a limited lifetime warranty.
All of the Gerber's reviewed can be fitted with a ¼ inch hexagonal drive
SOG "Switch Plier" (~$149) SOG tools are not as well known as Gerber or Leatherman brands but they are certainly as functional. The "Switch Plier" is the most innovative design of all the tools tested and possibly the most practical - When shut the unit is about half the size of the conventional multi-tool and with the press of a button the "switch" pliers open up ready for use! The plier head is flat nosed (spring loaded for single handed operation) and the tool features a knife and four other blades. Similar to the Gerber's, the Switch Plier can be fitted with a ¼ inch socket drive. All blades are locking and accessed after lifting up the handle / lever. The Switch Plier comes with a nylon pouch. The best tool for light duty use!
Victorinox "Swiss Tool" (~$140) Victorinox have been known for a long time for what was probably the worlds first ever multi-tool, the Swiss Army Knife (created in 1897). The Swiss Tool is guaranteed to please Swiss Army Knife devotees as it features the same tough trademarks and practicality. The Swiss Tool is constructed from stainless steel and features locking blades, hardened steel cutters and the usual plethora of screwdrivers, bottle openers, knife blades, twelve different tools in total. As with the other multi-tools reviewed the Swiss Tool can be fitted with a separate driver / socket set. The Swiss Tool would be the heavier of the tools reviewed but would have to be the most robust, backed up by a lifetime guarantee and supplied with a leather pouch.
Schrade "Tough Tool" (~$110) The Schrade Tough Tool is probably best described as the "Land Rover" of the tools reviewed - it's tough but it's ugly. All of the blades are thick gauge stainless steel (thickest of the tools reviewed) and the pliers are laminated stainless for extra strength. A unique feature of the Schrade is the positioning of the blades in the handles such that they can be accessed with the tool open or closed. All blades are locking, the tool is covered by a limited lifetime warranty and is supplied with a leather pouch.
Leatherman "Wave", "Super Tool 200", "Pulse", "Juice", "Micra" and "Squirt"
Wave (~$169) - The Wave is promoted as the premier product in the Leatherman range and is probably the most popular multi-tool on the market. One of the outstanding features of the Wave is the access to four locking blades from outside of the tool - no fumbling about opening the pliers if they're not needed. Other features of the Wave include hard-wire cutters, diamond coated file, serrated knife, clip-point knife and stainless steel construction. The brochure for the Wave brags "the most comfortable handles we've ever produced", something that would undoubtedly be vouched for by any Wave devotee. The Wave comes with a choice of pouches (leather, nylon), a set of drivers that can be used with the tool and a 25-year guarantee. The best of the best!
Super Tool 200 (~$139) - The Super Tool is the original Leatherman multi-tool. It comes with all the tools you would expect, including a wood saw and a serrated knife. All blades are locking and access to the blades is internal (pliers must be open). The locking mechanism is a bit uncomfortable on the grip but the tool is certainly sturdy. The Super Tool is probably best described as the Wave's father - a bit heavier and a bit uglier! 25 year guarantee and leather pouch.
Pulse (~$119) -The Pulse is one of the best priced tools reviewed and although it lacks the number of accessories of some of the others, there is certainly enough on this tool for the weekend warrior. A knife, scissors and all the screwdrivers that anybody could need are all on this tool and all lock in to place. The Pulse also comes with a leather pouch, 100% stainless steel construction and a 25-year guarantee.
Juice (~ $99 - $159) - The Juice tools are certainly the funkiest tools in town. Probably targeted at those who need to tackle a bottle of red around the barbeque, the juice tools come in a range of colours and styles to suit. The C2 is the most inexpensive of the tools followed by the S2, KF4, CS4 and the XE6. As said, the Juice models are designed more so for the weekend barbeque - they all feature corkscrews and assists to help lever out the corks. The C2 and the KF4 have small leather pouches (not to big and bulky) but the stars" of the show are certainly the CS4 and the XE6. These tools feature a plastic clip to hold the tool, a much slimmer and trendier unit than a pouch. All the tools come with at least eleven features, a great range of metallic colours and a 25 year guarantee.
Squirt (~$75) - Squirts by name, squirts by nature. Although these tools are the size of your thumb, they still maintain their practicability. The P4 features a plier head whilst the S4 features a scissor head - both are spring loaded for one-handed operation. Borrowing from the top of the range Leatherman and Gerber's, the Squirt's feature external access to the 6 blades (you can access tools without opening the plier / scissor head). Both tools feature screwdrivers (x3), files and openers but the P4 contains wire cutters whilst the S4 has tweezers. Squirts are available in a range of metallic colours and come with a pouch and a 25 year guarantee.
Micra (~$49) -The Micra is the smallest of the tools reviewed, measuring about 6cm x 2cm. Despite this the Micra contains a knife, nail cleaner, file, three screwdrivers, scissors, tweezers, bottle opener and a ruler! The tool has a scissor rather than a plier head and is spring loaded for one handed operation. The Micra comes with a 25 year guarantee.