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15 Factors to Consider When Buying A Multi-Tool
Published: Feb 22, 2021
The moment you decide to buy a multi-tool, you need to figure out what multi-tool is best going to fulfill your needs. Consider one that can serve your daily requirements or that you can perhaps carry along on a camping trip.
When looking for a multi-tool, you're probably going to find one that covers many different tasks, a general-purpose multi-tool, or one that's for a particular task, like fishing. If you have a certain task in mind, then the choice is much easier.
If you're still contemplating whether a multi-tool is the best for you, or which multi-tool you should buy, this guide will offer you ideas and features to consider when purchasing the perfect multi-tool for you.
You should consider your budget, purpose, and your interest or hobby when buying a multi-tool. Consider the durability of pliers, knives, and scissors, and remember the famous brands, size of the tool, design, overall quality and warranty, and much more before making your decision.
Plus, multi-tools carry various functional forms, offer convenience and efficiency in solving daily life problems, and are the right tool to replace a set of traditional tools.
In this article, we'll be sharing 15 important factors to consider when buying a multi-tool and 7 practical reasons why you should have a multi-tool.
Factors to consider when buying a multi-tool
Common multi-tools' functions include pliers, bottle openers, screwdrivers, scissors, and other cutting tools. They come in different shapes and sizes. Practically, you should carry a reliable and functional personal multi-tool.
There are various questions that you should ask yourself before purchasing a multi-tool. Also, make sure to check a model's specifications to see if it that can satisfy your needs.
These are important key considerations when buying a multi-tool.
- What is your budget?
When you're looking for a new multi-tool, one of the first things that you should consider is your budget. How much are you willing to spend?
Regarding the prices of multi-tools, you can't often directly match the cost with the quality. Also, some manufacturers don't offer a lifetime warranty, yet they use the finest quality materials and artistry. So, you're paying for the right quality of the product. Meanwhile, other manufacturers use materials of doubtful quality to maintain a low cost, but provide a lifetime warranty with their products.
- What's your main motivation for acquiring a multi-tool?
The second question you need to ask yourself is, why do you want a multi-tool? What functions will it offer you?
You most probably want a multi-tool because you know that a multi-tool can help you solve some troubles. Having the tool is only part of the equation, but having the skills to use it is very important as well.
- Will it be for personal use or will it be an add-on to your profession?
The third question you must ask yourself is, is this multi-tool for personal use, for your career, or both?
Choosing a multi-tool for personal use only is all about knowing the problems that a multi-tool could assist you with within your daily life—outside of your job. It's great to realize that you have certain tools to use at all times.
- What's your interest?
Do you have any particular interest, hobby, or activity that you need certain tools for? There are multi-tools focused on specific activities, such as hunting, fishing, camping, shooting, cycling, motorcycling, survival, or multi-tools without a blade.
If you don't have any specific use for your multi-tool, that's not an issue. It means your multi-tool must include all different parts that are not tailored to specialized interests.
- The pliers
The pliers are the most common tool on a multi-tool and often take up the most ‘real estate.' They also are the heaviest part of any individual tool. Pliers are most common because they are quite helpful and versatile tools.
All pliers are not the same though. Indeed, different kinds of pliers come with different multi-tools, adding to the uncertainty about which multi-tool you should choose. Multi-tool pliers are commonly either the standard blunt nose pliers, or needle-nose pliers.
The blunt nose pliers are best for gripping and squeezing something while needle-nose pliers are better if you want to get into a small gap or grab something small and fine.
- The knife
Not all multi-tool knives are the same. Some are straight, some are jagged, and some are a combination of both. Also, some multi-tools come with two blades.
- The scissors
Scissors come in various sizes too. Plus, some have tiny blades, so you should only need them for simple tasks. On the other hand, others have very short handles, which make them hard to hold and use. Finally, some are spring-loaded, which makes them easier to use in one hand, while some are not.
- The brand
Remember the famous brands, like Leatherman, Gerber, SOG, Victorinox, etc. These companies have been making multi-tools for several decades, so they surely know what good multi-tools are.
Besides, they have spent millions of dollars improving their products. They also have analytical quality control and offer at least 25 years of guarantee.
- Size matters
The things you want to do with your multi-tool and how you want to carry it are crucial factors in planning which multi-tool is the best fit for you. A multi-tool is no account to you if you forgot to bring it when you need it. So, you must think about how you're going to bring it. Are you going to fasten it to your backpack, clip it to your belt or inside of your pocket? Or do you just prefer to hang it on your keychain?
Multi-tools come in different sizes as well. The smaller ones and those that are easier to carry usually provide fewer tools and are only for smaller jobs. The efficacy of smaller tools depends on their usage. For instance, if you only want to open a purchased parcel, then a small blade in your keychain will do. Yet, if you use your multi-tool for hunting, you'll be probably hungry with this same tool.
- The best multi-tool design
Multi-tool designers spend a lot of time choosing the tools to include and the functionalities of these tools, because that's necessary. It's no good having tools that don't work as they should or are difficult to actually use.
For example, nobody wants handlers on their pliers to have sharp edges so they can't press them hard without a pair of gloves on in their case. You must decide on a design feature that will help narrow your options. In general, multi-tools are designed in one of two ways.
They are either designed to have some of their tools accessible when the multi-tool is closed, or you can't access any tool when they're closed. Almost all of the tools are kept inside the handles, and some designs let you get fast access to essential tools from the outside while it's closed.
- The final design feature: how it looks
Most people who own practical a multi-tool want them to work right and do their job. That's the reality for most multi-tool buyers. Yet, a lot of people not only care about how it works, but also about how it looks.
Designers know this, so they put a lot of effort into making a multi-tool that looks great. If it appears good and works well, they know buyers will appreciate it and give it ‘pride ownership' points.
- The secondary tools
In addition to basic tools, there also are secondary tools, like a bottle opener, wire stripper, file, awl, or hex drivers. Flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers come in a wide range of sizes and you need the right size to accomplish your task. You can't just use a flathead screwdriver that is too small for the screw, for example. It would destroy the screw and make it difficult to remove. Therefore, you need to consider what secondary tools are provided with the multi-tool you saw in order to find out whether this is the right one for you.
If you have found a multi-tool that you think fits your needs, make sure to compare it with at least two other tools with a similar configuration. Read detailed reviews on each, and see why people may select one or another.
Also, check if there's any visible fault in the tool's design. Some tools may look great to you, but the locking mechanism is not ensured or they are just simply too heavy for you to carry all day long.
- How does it resist corrosion?
The majority of multi-tools found on the market are made of stainless steel, which shows durability, but not rust resistance. Hard steel consists of a high percentage of carbon and iron, which has the disadvantage of being sensitive to corrosion.
Some more premium multi-tools are coated with a layer of titanium nitride, which gives it a golden look. This golden coat protects the tools from corrosion, yet the tradeoff is the price.
Yet, there's another way to help maintain your ‘normal' multi-tool from rust. You can rinse it with fresh water after it's been soaked with seawater. Persistent lubricating and cleaning of your tool is also recommended.
- Keep it away from compasses
On camping trips, you will sometimes need to use a compass. Try to keep your multi-tool away from the magnet needle of the compass, as the high level of iron in the steel may affect the compass's accuracy.
- Quality and warranty
Quality and warranty are the final criteria to consider when you first purchase a multi-tool. It doesn't mean that they are the least important. In fact, some people will set quality and nice warranty inclusions at the top of their list.
Quality can be difficult to know because your anticipation and experience of the quality may be different from others'. Having a fine warranty can offer you comfort if something goes wrong with your tool. But preferably, you don't want to go back to the store or manufacturer to bring back your damaged tool.
Why should you have a multi-tool?
Carrying a multi-tool opens up a whole new world of problem-solving and empowerment. It's like having a flashlight in your pocket. If you don't keep one, you can't imagine using it, yet once you have one, you could use it seven times a day.
Sometimes, you know how to solve an issue, but you also hate carrying a large toolbox with you. This is why the multi-tool was invented: to serve you every tool you might need throughout the day and that you can carry in your Everyday Carry Set (EDC).
The reasons why you should own a multi-tool encompass its versatility, functional form, convenience, and efficiency in solving a set of problems. Just make sure it's always available.
These are 7 reasons why you should always carry a multi-tool.
- At the ready
The main idea behind the concept of the multi-tool is preparation, which is mystifying when you realize how few people have actually included one in their Everyday Carry Gear, especially considering that the major precept of EDC is, in fact, preparation.
Multi-tools are functional in a way that almost nothing else in the world of EDC is. Almost every nuance is helpful in one way or another.
Multi-tools are extensive for their ability to provide easy and effective solutions to difficult situations every day. They often come with a variety of functions, and some can be modified to use their provided solutions in unusual ways, if you have vast imagination.
If they may not be a great thing to utilize for a complex task, they can handle a lot of common, simple jobs, such as loosening or tightening a screw, opening a bottle, measuring something, scoring marks on a surface, cutting something, and more.
If you come across a loose thread, an unhinged screw, or a sealed bottle, you'll like carrying a multi-tool every day for a more convenient and quick way to handle a problem, instead of roaming the distance for a toolbox, looking for the needed tool, completing the task, and returning it.
All you need to do when you have a ready multi-tool is to grab it from your pocket, get the job done, save time, and avoid frustration.
You might not always need a bottle opener, a ruler, a hex driver, a pry bar, or whatever other purposes your multi-tool provides. Multi-tools are the most efficient way to bring a lot of tools into one compact object.
Multi-tools can offer swift solutions when facing problems that you couldn't have solved with what you traditionally use.
- Ready for dilemma
Emergencies can't always be predicted. The best you can do is prepare for the worst scenario and hope for the best. Thus, keeping a multi-tool ready is taking a step in the right direction, whether you are stranded on a road or in trouble at home.
For example, imagine that you accidentally locked yourself in a room. If you carry a multi-tool that has a screwdriver function, then you can simply remove the screws from the door and release yourself.
- Functional forms
There are hundreds of ways to discuss the essence of keeping a multi-tool in your everyday life. Perhaps you work in a garage, or you have a large toolbox in the back of your truck. Or maybe you think that your knife can solve most of the pitfalls into which you may run. Or possibly, you don't ever leave the safety of your home and nothing worse will ever happen to you. And the truth is, knowing the benefits of a multi-tool can make the difference on such an occasion.
One snapped a knife blade. One day away from your workbench. One unopened beer on a day when you can't find the bottle opener. When you do run into that moment and decide the time has come to get on board, you have to understand what to look for in a multi-tool.
- The right tool
A multi-tool is by no means a substitute for a bunch of traditional tools. It is just not designed to utilize for the same kinds of specific tasks. Wrenches and screwdrivers exist in their bulky formats because sometimes, extra torque/pressure/leverage is needed.
Multi-tools are incredible as on-the-spot and ever-ready solutions to things you may run into in your travels.
These are the common problems you can solve using your multi-tool:
- Open mail or packages
- Open presents
- Open blister packs
- Clipping coupons
- Remove a splinter
- Replace batteries in kids' toys
- Open a can of paint
- Make a belt fit better
- Tighten a dresser draw handle
- Repair a bent or broken zipper pull
- Replace a blown fuse in a vehicle
- Repair eyeglasses
The list we provide, which comprised the factors in buying a multi-tool and the reasons for having one, is just food for thoughts. As long as you get the qualities and features you want from a multi-tool, there's no wrong choice.
You just need to decide on what you're comfortable with, whether you want a bulky yet flexible, or a tiny key chain tool that suits your pocket but can still be used for a variety of applications. We all have varied reasons that we take into consideration in choosing a multi-tool.
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