Are Multi-Tools Worth It? The Pros and Cons of Carrying a Multi-Tool


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Most likely, you know someone who regularly carries a multi-tool with them. For all I know, you might be one of those people. Regardless, multi-tools have been around for quite some time and are becoming increasingly popular, so it begs the question, are they actually worth spending money on and carrying around with you? 

For most people, carrying a multi-tool with them is well worth the effort and money. Multi-tools are very portable, making them easy to carry wherever you go. They are handy in many situations due to their selection of available tools such as pliers, blades, bottle openers, screwdrivers, and more.

There is actually quite a bit that you must consider when deciding whether or not multi-tools are worth purchasing and carrying. That’s why, in this article, I’ll take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of multi-tools to help you decide whether they are worth it or not. 

It may just come down to personal opinion, but I’ll try my best to lay out the facts as they are and give my take on the situation, but in the end, it’s ultimately up to you. There’s a lot to go over and talk about, so let’s just get right into it!

Are Multi-Tools Worth It?

In a general sense, multi-tools are handy and versatile tools that are well worth carrying around with you on a daily basis. Just going through your daily routine, there is most likely at least a few times throughout your day where a multi-tool would come in handy.

Carrying a multi-tool is an effortless task, and it alone will make you more prepared for the small jobs and inconveniences that life tends to throw at us. Multi-tools are generally not meant to handle SUPER HUGE jobs or problems, but they really shine when it comes to the odd job or box that needs to be opened.

Many great companies make multi-tools, but one of the best known is Victorinox Swiss Army. If you’re thinking about getting a multi-tool, check out my article on whether or not Victorinox makes quality knives, you might be surprised!

A multi-tool takes no effort to carry around with you, but it can assist you in many situations and can provide so much comfort in knowing you can deal with any small task that arises.

The Benefits of Carrying a Multi-Tool

A multi-tool may seem like a very trivial item to carry around, but it can be super helpful in various situations. There are a million and one reasons to love multi-tools, but below are some of the best benefits that they have over other tools and EDC gear:

  • Multi-tools are perfect for many tasks you come across in everyday life
  • Multi-tools give you many tools and options when tackling a job
  • Multi-tools are small, light, and portable

These benefits alone, at least in my opinion, make multi-tools completely worth it. Not to mention the many other benefits and uses that multi-tools have that I’m unable to list out in this article!

I love to carry multi-tools for their versatility and convenience, and one of my favorites is the Leatherman Skeletool CX. Below I’ll go over some of the qualities that multi-tools possess that make them super handy and convenient tools. 

Multi-Tools are Useful in Everyday Life

There are multiple times in a single day where a screwdriver, pair of pliers, or knife blade would come in handy for most of us. These small and unforeseen circumstances are precisely when a multi-tool comes in handy.

Opening packages, opening mail, tightening a screw on the television remote, and so many other small tasks present themselves randomly throughout everyday life. The vast majority of people don’t have any sort of tool with them to assist in solving these slight problems, so they either don’t get them done or spend a long time searching for a tool.

You might not necessarily need your multi-tool every second of the day, but when the opportunity arises, you’re ready. It’s just the small, quick tasks that pop up in everyday life that you’re able to solve using your multi-tool that makes carrying it around completely worth it.

Multi-Tools Give You Many Options and Different Tools

Another great benefit that multi-tools have is a wide selection of tools. Unlike other everyday carry gear or knives, multi-tools do not restrict you to only completing specific tasks. 

Pocket knives are popular tools that many people carry around with them on a regular basis, but there are only so many things a single blade can do. On the other hand, multi-tools have a wide selection of tools so that you can tackle a much broader scope of everyday jobs. 

While some multi-tools have more available functions than others, the vast majority of them will have at least a handful of tools for you to choose from and use whenever you have the need. Common tools found on multi-tools include pliers, knife blades, scissors, screwdrivers, bottle openers, rulers, wire strippers, can openers, and MANY more.

Multi-tools combine many tools’ functionality into a single form factor to allow for ease of use and more options when tackling a task or problem.

Multi-Tools are Small, Light, and Portable

Besides being perfect for many everyday tasks and containing a wide selection of tools, multi-tools are also very light and portable. While some multi-tools are heavier or bulkier than others, most are very comfortable to carry around and fit perfectly in your pocket or attach to your belt.

Multi-tools are very small, light, and portable, yet have MANY uses, making them an ideal and handy tool to carry around with you wherever you go. Most multi-tools are so small and light that you won’t even realize that you have it with you, that is, until you find yourself needing it, and then you’ll be glad you brought it along.

To get the same functionality that a multi-tool brings, you would need to bring a whole bag of quite heavy and large tools. Multi-tools pack all of the functionality of many tools into a single, lightweight, and small device that just slips into your pocket for whenever you need it. Now, how cool is that?!

The Drawbacks of Carrying a Multi-Tool

While multi-tools are pretty impressive little devices that have many benefits, there are a few drawbacks to them that I would like to discuss. There aren’t that many complaints that I have with multi-tools, but here are the major ones:

  • Multi-tools can restrict where you are allowed to go and where you can visit
  • Multi-tools are good at a lot of things, but EXCELLENT at none of them

That might seem a little confusing at first, so let’s take a more in-depth at the downsides of muli tools and discuss each of these points in more detail.

Multi-Tools Can Restrict Where You Can Go

Multi-tools and other blades that you carry around can often restrict where you are allowed to go. While multi-tools are awesome little gadgets useful in numerous situations, some stores, establishments, and areas don’t allow you to carry them.

This restriction on blades in certain places is a little bit of a hindrance, but if you do your research and pay attention, it usually isn’t that big of a problem avoiding areas that restrict weapons or leaving your multi-tool outside of these places.

Depending on where you live and how long your multi-tool knife blade is, you might not even need to worry about this because your blade is not be considered a weapon. Or, to be entirely on the safe side, you could choose a multi-tool that doesn’t include a knife blade, so you won’t need to worry about this at all.

Multi-tools can restrict where you are allowed to go if you keep it on you at all times, but this is a sort of recognized risk and hindrance that you take on when you decide to carry a pocket knife or multi-tool. Just do your research, stay safe, and follow the laws and rules.

Multi-Tools Can Do Many Things, But None Perfectly

It’s just like the old saying, “a jack of all trades is a master of none.” While this is just a saying that doesn’t hold true all of the time, it is entirely accurate in many cases regarding multi-tools.

The fundamental idea behind a multi-tool is to combine the functionality of multiple tools into a single easy-to-use device. While this might sound fine in theory, multi-tools are often worse at performing a function than a tool dedicated solely to that function.

For example, saw and knife blades on multi-tools are usually lower quality, shorter, and don’t have a locking mechanism compared to dedicated knives and saws, which are typically better quality, are long enough, and lock when opened. By no means are the tools on multi-tools bad, but they are often not as good as tools dedicated to a single function.

Are Multi-Tools Worth the Money?

Multi-tools are the sort of thing where you definitely get what you pay for. If you want a tool that will last many years and a lot of use, be prepared to spend a pretty good amount of money to get that level of quality.

On the flip side, if you are fine with replacing your multi-tool every once and a while, you can get away with spending significantly less, but you’re also accepting the fact that your tool is more likely to break. How much you want to spend on a multi-tool largely depends on your preferences and whether you plan to use it for very straining or extensive tasks often.

Victorinox is a well-known brand that makes fabulous multi-tools, so if you plan to get one of their knives, make sure to read my article on how to choose the perfect Swiss Army knife before purchasing.

If your job or life often requires you to take on difficult challenges where a multi-tool would be useful, it would be well worth spending a little extra money to get a reliable multi-tool that won’t easily break.

However, if you just plan to use your multi-tool now and again to open packages, mail, or other simple jobs, a lower-priced multi-tool will get the job done and hold up just fine. Take a minute to assess what you plan to use your multi-tool for and decide whether it is worth spending the money on a quality tool or not.

Multi-tools are handy little devices that are super useful for doing everyday tasks. Below are some of the best-rated multi-tools out there, so make sure to check them out if you are planning to get one for the first time or upgrade yours:

  • The Gerber Dime is a small yet extremely useful multi-tool for those on a budget
  • For a mid-range option, the Leatherman Skeletool CX is a very slim and clean multi-tool
  • If you can spend a little more for quality, the Leatherman P4 multi-tool is a great choice
  • Both the Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD and Swiss Champ are fantastic options, also

Townsen Bell

I'm the founder and primary author at Knife Manual. Over many years, I have become proficient at survival and bushcraft skills through lots of practice and many great teachers. I enjoy spending time outdoors, collecting knives, and learning new skills.

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