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What’s the Better Option-Multi Tool or Pocket Knife?

The multitool and the pocketknife are invaluable tools for everyday life, outdoor adventures, and during a disaster. The Leatherman and the Victorinox Swiss Army knife are two of the most iconic and best representations of both the pocket knife and multitool.

The multitool and the Swiss Army pocket knife aren’t substitutes for a toolbox. However, the right one will allow you to fix most items or prevent damage from occurring or worsening.

The Multitool and the Pocketknife aren’t an either/or scenario as both are relatively compact. However, you will not necessarily need the other if you have one. So, the question that this post will address is:

Should you purchase a multitool or a pocket knife?

 Review Criteria

This article compares the multitool to a Swiss Army Knife by Victorinox because most pocket knifes only have a few knife blades and zero tools. Therefore, comparing a regular pocket knife to a multitool would be comparing apples to oranges. Therefore, this post will compare the following brands most commonly associated with both a multitool (Leatherman) and a multitool pocket knife (Swiss Army Knife-Made by Victorinox).

However, other than specific brands or models mentioned, the information here will apply to all multitool and Swiss Knife-Like pocket knives.

What Is a Multitool?

A multitool is a portable tool that can perform various tasks. in one place. A Leatherman is what one usually thinks of when thinking of a multitool. Pocket knives aren’t generally thought of as being a multitool. But, a Swiss Army knife, which some have 15 or more functions, is an exception.

What Common Tools Does A Multitool Device Have?

Different models will have different tools as they are made to serve various needs. For example, the Leatherman model below is specifically designed for camping and outdoors.

Generally, a proper multitool and Swiss Knife will have the following.

• Corkscrew

• Pliers

• Needle Nose Pliers

• Wire cutters

• Scissors

• Screwdriver

• Phillips’s screwdriver

• Wire Stripper

• Flathead screwdriver

• Serrated Knife

Above is a shortlist of what you might expect because, as I said, there are Leatherman and Swiss Army Knives that are designed for diferent tasks ranging from a camping enthusiast to a professional handyman.

Leatherman Tool Co, Inc.

Leatherman, in 1983, became the first multitool on the market, and they are still the leaders in the industry. However, others have attempted to jump into this market, like SOG, Gerber, Dewalt, Victoronix (Same Company as Swiss Army Knifes), and RoverTac. The Leatherman name though is respected and like many use Google for an Internet search, the Leatherman is thought of by many to the same as the Multitool.

History Behind The Leatherman Tools Company, Inc.

For most people, Leatherman is the first thing that comes to mind when shopping for a multitool, which is quite an accomplishment as the Leatherman Tool company was only founded in 1983 by their founder Tim Leatherman. The story goes that the company founder was on a budget vacation in Europe. While vacationing, he had issues like water leaks and car breakdowns. However, as he was not home, he could not carry with him his toolbox.

Therefore, he was forced to fix things with a traditional pocketknife. This inconvenience resulted in Tim inventing the Leatherman Multitool and Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. And, as they say, the rest is history. Leatherman now employs over 500 people in Portland, Oregon, and this indispensable tool is sold in around 80 countries.

Why I Consider the Leatherman To Be The GOAT Among Multi Tools

Leatherman is the first multitool product on the market. So, presumably, they’ve had time to perfect their devices, learn from their mistakes, etc. Longevity does not always equal quality as many iconic companies that were at once the top of their industry and seemed invincible failed to innovate and are now history or soon-to-be relics of the past.

So, please don’t take my word for it that Leatherman makes the overall best multitools on the market. Instead, look at these two reasons why I feel Leatherman is a GOAT among the multitool market.

In Praise of The Leatherman

1. Voted #1 By Multiple Publications

Leatherman products consistently come up on the “Best Multitools list.” These examples are the highly reputable Wire Cutter and Outdoor Gear Lab.

Wire Cutter

Wire Cutter is owned by the New York Times. So, Wire Cutter has the money to purchase and test all their reviewed products. On November 24, 2021, Wire Cutter rated the Leatherman Skeletal CX as being the best multitool on the market.

Outdoor Gear Lab

Outdoor Gear Lab purchased and tested 21 multi-tool devices. Leatherman and other companies that were reviewed were SOG, Gerber, and even the Swiss Army Knife Maker Victorinox were also field-tested and reviewed.

Leatherman MultiTools won multiple awards, some of the more prominent were the following:

Best Overall EDC Knife

LEATHERMAN, Skeletool CX

Leatherman Skeletool CX

Best Bank for The Buck

LEATHERMAN, Wave Plus

Leatherman Wave+

 

Best On the Tighter Budget

LEATHERMAN, Wingman

Leatherman Wingman

Arguably, of the three awards, the Best Overall EDC is the most impressive as the Multitools are designed to be carried with you every day.

2. Solid Warranty and Durability

Through their 25-year warranty, Leatherman Tools Company, Inc. backs up their product.

Leatherman Product Offerings

Currently, Leatherman offers four multitools categories, which are classified as:

  • Heavy-Duty
  • Full-Size
  • Pocket-Size
  • Keychain

And their multitools range in price from $330 for their Heavy Duty Set to $29.95 for their Keychain, Micra.

Some of their top-selling models are the following:

  • Leatherman Wingman
  • Leatherman Micra
  • Leatherman Wave +
  • Leatherman Skeletool

Additionally, some of the other popular Leatherman tools are:

  • Leatherman Charge TTI
  • Leather FREE P-Series
  • Letterman Surge
  • Leatherman Squirt P
  • Leatherman Free T

Other Offerings

Leatherman Tread

LEATHERMAN, Tread Bracelet

Leatherman Tread Bracelet

The Tread could be compared to a 5150 bracelet on steroids. It is a metallic utility tool, bracelet.

Leatherman Raptor

LEATHERMAN, Raptor Rescue Emergency Shears with Strap Cutter and Glass Breaker, Black with Utility Holster

This is a pair of heavy-duty scissors and glass cutters.

Victorinox Swiss Army Knife

Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool, SwissChamp Pocket Knife, Red, 91 mm (1.6795)

The Swiss Army Knife is an iconic company. It began in 1884 by Karl Eizener in Ibach-Schwyz, where it was a relatively small-time operation. His fortunes began to change in 1891 when his knife factor supplied knives to the Swiss Army. In 1897, the Swiss Army Knife was named and patented, and in honor of his mother, the Swiss Army Knife Manufacturers was changed to Victorinox.

Some of the many interesting facts about the Victorinox are the following:

• 1978-NASA customer orders 50 knives

• 2017- 500,000,000-“Swiss Army Knifes” were made.

• 2018-A new distribution center was started Seewen, Switzerland. This distribution center cost over 50,000,000 CHF or $_____________.

• The Victorinox factory makes over 45,000 knives a day

Pros and Cons of Leatherman and Swiss Army Knife

Leatherman Brand Multitool

Pros and Cons

PROS

• More and Better Versatility-A Leatherman has multiple functions and, other than the knife, those functions are better than the Swiss Knife.

• EDC Friendly-Arguably, it is more EDC friendly because of its superior versatility.

• Pliers-Leatherman is known for having superior pliers.

CONS

• Bulky-The more functions that the model has, the heavier and bulkier it is in comparison to its counterpart.

• Knife-A comparable multi-tools blade will not be as sharp as a Swiss Knife.

The Victorinox, Swiss Army Knife

Pros and Cons

PROS

• Blade Quality-A quality knife will have better blades than almost all multitools. And, as the Swiss Army Knife is made of high-quality stainless steel and has been around for well over 100 years, its knife and cutting ability is superior

• Portability-They are almost slimmer and lighter than a multitoolmultitoolsMultitoolsmultitool, which means that a Swiss knife will be an easier fit for your pocket.

• Ease of Use-For many people, a Swiss knife is easier to work with than a multitool device.

• Warranty-Swiss Knives have a lifetime warranty.

CONS

• Versatility Lacking-The average Swiss knife will not have as many tools as the multitoolmultitoolmultitoolsMultitoolsmultitoolmultitoolmultitoolmultitools.

• Tools Lacking-The bottle openers, compared to the multitool are pretty underwhelming.

• Knife Not Necessary-A Swiss Knife will likely have a sharper and overall better blade than any multitool. However, if you have a survival knife on you as you should, that won’t matter.

Final Thoughts

There isn’t a yes or no answer when it comes to whether to choose the multitool or Swiss knife. The best choice is different for different individuals and groups. And the answer to this question depends on your situation and how you plan on using either tool. For example, you should choose a Swiss folding knife is not needed if you usually have a fixed survival knife on you. (You should have a survival knife on you for outdoors and disaster anyway). On the other hand, the multitool is not needed if you normally have your toolbox nearby.