To some, the idea of a multi-tool or knife that is shaped like a credit card screams, “Flimsy, impractical, and a piece of junk!” However, this could be farther from the truth.
While they probably shouldn’t be used as a highly durable knife that will get you through a zombie apocalypse, credit card multi-tools and knives can be easily carried around with you and can be very useful in everyday tasks. They are infinitely useful and they fit in your wallet or pocket easily so you always have one on you when you need it the most. And best of all, high-quality ones are dirt cheap but are quite durable and hold up through everyday usage.
Personally, I own the Holtzman’s Credit Card Knife and the Ninja Outdoorsman Credit Card Multi-Tool. Both of these are really great options that I highly recommend to anyone interested. They are very versatile and useful, while at the same time high-quality and durable. Basically, everything you could ask for in a credit card tool.
So let’s get right into what exactly credit card multi-tool and knives are, the advantages and disadvantages of owning and carrying one, and what to look for in a high-quality credit card multi-tool or knife when buying one.
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2 Main Types of Credit Card Shaped Tools
There are many different designs and brands of credit card multi-tools and knives. New designs and variations are popping up all over the market constantly. Most of the common credit card tools can be categorized into two main categories:
- Credit card knives
- Credit card multi-tools
I’m positive there are more credit card-shaped tools that have other features and functions, but in this article, we will discuss these two main categories mentioned above. Below are an overview and definition of the two categories.
Credit Card Knives
The name of this group of credit card-shaped tools is pretty self-explanatory. They are basically knives that fold into the shape of a credit card.
Materials and Form
Credit card knives are usually made of stainless steel with a light weather coating for longer durability. Credit card knives can be made of other materials as well such as hard plastics and other types of metals, with varying protective coatings or none at all. Many, like the Holtzman’s Credit Card Knife that I personally own, have a metal blade with a durable plastic handle.
Opening and Function
Usually containing no other tools or features like a credit card multi-tool would, a credit card knife is a knife that conveniently folds into the shape of a credit card. When in card form, the knife will usually be slightly thicker than a standard credit card but will be the same size so that it can fit easily in a wallet.
To open a standard credit card knife, unlock the small lock switch and flip open the blade. Next, fold the sides of the card inwards to form the handle of the knife. The handle flaps or pieces should have some pins or another way of attaching together so they don’t come unfolded.
This might not be the exact process for your particular credit card knife, but they are all pretty similar and often intuitive to open and close.
The blade of a standard credit card knife will normally be slightly thicker than a credit card but will easily fit in most wallets. A credit card is usually around 0.80 millimeters thick and a credit card knife around 2.20 millimeters thick. This might seem like a significant difference on paper, but the difference, when you hold them side by side, is noticeable but barely there.
When you compare the weight of a credit card knife to a standard credit card, they are surprisingly similar. Credit cards weigh in between 0.2 ounces and 0.7 ounces depending on what the card is made of. While credit card knives weigh in at around 0.5 ounces depending on what the knife is made of.
The weights and thicknesses of the credit cards and credit card knives mentioned above are general estimations and yours might be thicker, thinner, heavier, or lighter depending on the brand and what it is constructed of.
Credit Card Multi-Tools
Just as the name suggests, credit card multi-tools are pieces of material the size of a credit card that have many handy tools and multi-purpose functions built into them.
Materials and Form
Credit card multi-tools are usually made of stainless steel or some type of other durable material. They are the size of a credit card with a variety of bottle openers, saw edges, measurement edges, and other useful tools cut into them.
Functions and Uses
The combination and number of different tools in a credit card multi-tool is dependant on the model and brand of the gadget. Everything from knife blades, saw blades, bottle openers, screwdrivers, measuring edges, and countless other tools can be included in a credit card multi-tool.
What functions and tasks a credit card multi-tool can perform depends on what it has built into it. There is no shortage of options out there on the market today so it is pretty easy to find one that will fit your particular needs.
Generally, credit card multi-tools are around 2.0 millimeters thick. While standard credit cards normally come in at around 0.80 millimeters thick, the difference when you hold the two side by side is slight. Even with the added thickness, both the credit card knives and multi-tools should fit very nicely in a standard wallet.
Unlike the credit card knives we discussed earlier, credit card multi-tools often weigh a little bit more than a standard credit card. While a credit card comes in at between 0.2 ounces and 0.7 ounces, credit card multi-tools often weigh around 0.9 ounces. The reason for this added weight is that they are often made of solid metal for durability purposes.
Again, the weight and thickness of the credit cards and credit card multi-tools mentioned above are general estimations and yours might be different from what is mentioned here.
Advantages of a Credit Card Multi-Tool or Knife
The advantages of carrying a credit card tool around with you are virtually endless. You never know when you will need a sharp blade, a bottle opener, or a mini serrated edge to complete some random task that you encounter.
The beauty and advantage of a credit card tool over a traditional multi-tool or knife is the form factor. The fact that it is such a small and manageable size so that can fit into a wallet makes it infinitely more portable and less of a burden to carry around with you. Most of us already carry around a wallet wherever we go, so adding the weight of one, maybe two, credit cards to our wallet is a small price to pay to always have a knife or multi-tool on us.
There is rarely a time when you put a multi-tool in your pocket for a specific task. The whole idea and usefulness of multi-tools are to always have one on you to complete those odd tasks that arise at random. With a credit card multi-tool or knife, it just takes that idea one step further and makes it small enough to fit into something you always have on you anyways, your wallet, so that you are never caught without the tools you need.
While the number of tools available on a standard multi-tool would put the number on a credit card multi-tool to shame, the real advantage is in the portability of the tool. The same goes for the credit card knives. Everyday carry knives and pocket knives are probably stronger and will last a bit longer than a credit card knife, but you can’t fit one of those bad boys in your wallet.
In my opinion, credit card knives and multi-tools have so many advantages that I don’t see the harm in carrying one in your wallet. You don’t have to love it or use it all the time, it’s just there when you really need it the most.
Disadvantages of a Credit Card Multi-Tool or Knife
Generally, the advantages of a credit card tool outweigh the disadvantages of having one.
Concerning credit card knives, the main downsides to having one are the durability and quality of the knife. Most of the credit card knives out there on the market are pretty well made and quality shouldn’t really be an issue. However, a general rule of thumb would be to look for all metal credit card knives just because they tend to last a bit longer than the other options out there.
There are exceptions to this rule of course. I own the Holtzman’s Credit Card Knife and it is made of plastic with a metal blade. It holds up fine under everyday use and I haven’t had a problem with its quality or durability.
The problem of the durability of a credit card knife can often not be helped and is kind of baked into the whole design a concept of the tool. If a knife is going to have so many foldable parts and be so thin and light, it’s not going to last forever. That’s just common sense and reasoning. But, this can be lessened if quality brands and materials are used to construct the credit card knife.
The other disadvantage that comes along with credit card knives is their ability to handle hard and intensive tasks. Generally, credit card knives should only be used for around-the-house tasks and opening mail and packages. They are often not designed for intensive or survival needs in mind, so don’t complain when your credit card knife breaks when you try to process a deer with it. It’s not designed for that, so don’t expect it to be able to do it.
The same disadvantages mentioned above about credit card knives also apply to credit card multi-tools. There is however one more disadvantage that comes along with credit card multi-tools.
The one new disadvantage that comes with credit card multi-tools is the lack of options in regard to the number of tools. While standard multi-tools try to pack as many tools into them as possible, a credit card multi-tool has a weight concern to deal with. To keep it light and effortless to carry in your wallet, credit card multi-tools have to sacrifice the number of tools they include.
While none of these disadvantages are major and can often be avoided if you choose a quality credit card tool from a trusted brand, they are still things to keep in mind when deciding whether to start carrying one of these useful tools around with you in your wallet.
Choosing the Best Credit Card Multi-Tool or Knife
While most credit card knives and multi-tools out there on the market will serve their purpose and get the job done in a pinch, here are a few things to look for if you want to get a high quality and durable credit card tool that you will be hyped to pull out and use on a regular basis.
While there are a lot of things to look for in a credit card tool to find one that fits your needs, is enjoyable to use, and is durable and tough, the material that it is made of might just be one of the most important factors.
I would recommend a solid metal credit card tool just for the added durability and resilience against everyday wear. However, ones with plastic parts or ones made completely of another material can be fine. Just be careful and research the particular material that it is made of and make sure it is high-quality and tough.
Now that you have decided on a metal or other durable material for your credit card knife or multi-tool, it’s time to look at the build quality. You can have a tool that is made out of the toughest material ever in existence, but if it isn’t built and put together well, it will fall apart and not work properly.
Make sure the company that makes the multi-tool is trustworthy and puts an emphasis on quality craftsmanship. This all comes down to researching the particular credit card knife or multi-tool that you want and reading what previous customers and the reviews say about the build quality of their products.
In the end, you must decide what you will mostly be needing your credit card tool for. This will influence whether you get a credit card knife or a credit card multi-tool.
If you are just looking for a self-defense weapon, a package opener, a mail opener, or a survival tool in a disaster, a credit card knife would be a good option. On the flip side, if you want a multi-purpose tool to open a bottle, loosen a tight screw, or cut through some string, you should probably look into a credit card multi-tool.
No matter which one you choose, look at the tasks it can complete and what functions it has before you purchase a credit card tool. If the credit card tool doesn’t do what you want it to be able to, you will never use it. Get a credit card tool that fits your needs.
Ease of Use
When you want to quickly open a package or pop open a bottle, the worse thing is to fiddle with your credit card tool for five minutes trying to get it ready to use.
For credit card knives, find one that has a nice opening system and is comfortable to hold. Practice opening the blade so that it isn’t a problem when you actually need to cut something with your credit card knife.
Credit card multi-tools often have a lot of tools on them, so find one that isn’t so full of tools that it is uncomfortable to hold. I suggest learning all the functions that your credit card multi-tool can perform so that you know its full potential. Nothing would be worse than carrying around a tool that you only use for one thing, when really it has ten other functions.
Knowing what tasks our credit card tool is capable of completing will make using it fun and a breeze.
As with most tools, aesthetics are not the most important thing on a credit card knife or multi-tool.
Aesthetics should be factored in last because they do not add or take away from the functionality of a credit card tool. It won’t matter whether your credit card knife is matte black or no when you want to open a package that just came in the mail.
However, there are people out there (me) who like their tools to look nice. Once you have picked out a credit card tool that fits all your needs and is a quality tool, then and only then, would I advise you to look at the aesthetics of the credit card tool.
It would be a crying shame if you bought a credit card tool based solely on its looks, and it breaks while opening a package because you didn’t pay attention to the other criteria for identifying a quality credit card tool.
An aesthetically pleasing credit card tool is fine, just don’t make the mistake of putting looks before functionality.
Recommended Credit Card Multi-Tools and Knives
Now that we’ve identified what the two main categories of credit card tools are and went into a little bit about them, talked about the disadvantages and advantages of owning and using a credit card tool, and went over the attributes of a quality credit card knife or multi-tool, here are a few recommended products that are sure to serve you well.
This credit card knife is a complete beast. While it does have a plastic handle with a metal blade, the plastic is very high quality. It is super light and is an all-around good option when choosing a credit card knife.
Made of solid metal, this credit card tool is an all-around good choice. While a sort of basic and simple design, it is very practical and seems like it will hold up for a long time.
Made by the famous company that makes Swiss Army Knives, this credit card tool has many functions that you would normally not find on such a small device. Very practical and high-quality.
This credit card tool is a sort of combination between a credit card multi-tool and a credit card knife. It has a metal foldable blade with a metal multi-tool handle. Very unique design and surprisingly useful.
Well, that concludes this complete guide for credit card multi-tools and knives. I hope you learned something interesting and are prepared to make an educated purchase that you won’t regret one bit.
Knives and multi-tools are very useful and you always need one at the weirdest times. So by having one of these tools that fit in your wallet, you have a knife or multi-tool with you at all times and it also leaves room in your pocket for all the other junk you carry around with you.
If you are interested just a little, go ahead and try a credit card multi-tool or knife. A very high-quality one is super cheap and if you don’t like it (which is highly unlikely) you can at least say that you tried. You will never know how truly useful credit card tools are until you carry one around and experience it for yourself.