Multi-Tool – The Great Debate.

The older I get, the less I want to carry in my pockets. I can’t say for sure why. Perhaps it’s just a phase I’m going through at the moment. Maybe it just makes life simpler to just grab one thing on the way out of the door than grabbing 5. Who can say?

Insert the multi-tool.

I’m not talking about the ‘multi-tool’ types which are essentially a bottle opener with a hex hole in the middle, (which by the way I love. In fact, I’d probably still grab one of these), no, I’m talking actual multi-tool. For me, it comes down to two main styles; The Leatherman style and the Swiss Army Knife (SAK) style. The Leatherman style is based around a pair of pliers or scissors, with the tools folding out from either handle. The Swiss Army knife style being simple knife style with multiple tools from either side.

Now, before I go in to it, Yes, there are other types of multi-tool. I am generalising. There are many different types of ‘knife style’ multi-tools, but for the purpose of this post, I am combining them all under one bracket. The same goes for the Leatherman style, just change the words in the previous statement to make it fit. Why? It’s easier and these two are the best in class. In my opinion at least. 🙂 

Both styles have their pros and cons. For the most part, they will contain similar, if not the same tools. So what it really comes down to is the usage. The Leatherman is a more robust tool, often containing locking tools so you can feel safe they aren’t going to pop closed on you. But the pay off for this is the size. Generally, (apart from the odd model) you’ll be looking at a larger tool. The SAK is generally smaller but with less tools.

So who reigns supreme?

This is the question that has divided the community since the beginning of time, and if not, certainly since the beginning of this post. 

Compact and lightweight VS robust and variety 

For me personally, I look at the SAK as a pocket tool, whereas the Leatherman is a pack tool. If i’m rushing out of the house, I’m more likely to grab a SAK than a leatherman. The size and weight isn’t justified by my usage. But I’ve always got one in my bag. I currently have one in my day pack, my camera bag and my work bag. Whereas I have no SAKs stored away in bags. All that said, if I had to choose one, Id take the SAK.

Where do you stand on this argument?

Is the Swiss army knife the champion of the multi-tool or is it just a knife stepping out of its class?

Is the Leatherman the top dog, or overkill?


  1. I prefer the Leatherman, for its usage and looks and the fact its generally an overall more useful tool. However………the SAK is smaller, lighter and easier to carry. If you say multitool I say Leatherman but the SAK is the original king of the hill and will always be the boss when it comes to the vote. But as a straight contest for which I would grab it would always be the Leatherman.

  2. For me, the leatherman reigns supreme. SAKs are alright, but I never have the confidence in them in the same way as I do with a Leatherman.

  3. I have both SAK and Leatherman and carry them daily. I think they both have a place in my EDC but do find myself carrying the Leatherman more often. I think this is mainly due to 2 reasons – full size pliers and better screw drivers.

  4. Difficult I tend to lean towards Leatherman in my work gear as far more useful in that situation but SAK more day to day as less bulky and I always have my cadet on me. So with that said I guess I’m a SAK man first but only by a whisker.

  5. They are both amazing in there own right….. and I’m a massive SAK fan, however as a “Multi tool” I would say Leatherman’s are the top dog

  6. For me it’s the SAK.

    I bought a Victorinox Huntsman a month or 2 a go and use it a lot. Maybe not daily, big at least every few days.

    On the other hand, a couple of years ago I was trying to justify spending out for a decent leatherman. I wasn’t sure if I could justify the expense so I bought a cheapest clone. This is in my on the go bag nearly all the time but i’m Not sure i’ve Ever used it.

    I love the look of a leatherman but the SAK gets much more use for me.

  7. The same as you, I prefer to take a SAK in my pocket. I don’t carry a Leatherman in my bag or purse, but I have one at home, one in my car and another at work. Over all, I can say that I’m a SAK girl, those are my favorite.

  8. Always thought the SAK was a more discreet carry ie wedding and funerals and the leatherman was more day off around the house and yard doing odd jobs kinda carry.
    Each has it’s own advantage SAK lightweight suitable for trouser wear.

    The LM jeans pockets DIY kinda carry.

  9. I personally prefer a SAK, just because they are more streamlined than most milti-tools and still serve the same or similar purpose. they are also way more customizable, so the options are only limited by your imagination.

  10. Multitool, hands down. Mostly because I work with tools all day, every day. Having a full-sized set of pliers is paramount and extremely necessary in my trade. My multitools get used many times a day and have to be accessible and good quality. The weight of the tool is of no concern. It’s on my belt in a sheath and I don’t even realize it’s there. For me, the great debate is based on preference geared towards making my day easier. Multitool FTW!
    *** I do love all of my SAKs and use them often. Just not S frequently as my multitools***

  11. I personally like to use a leatherman style tool. Both on my person and a bag carry. My justification on my choice is because i trust a leatherman robustness over a swiss army knife. Whenever i need a multitool on my person, it usually is not a critical issue so a small leatherman like a leatherman style cs, a leatherman squirt ps4 would do the job. And if i needed a more of a heavy duty task multitools i have a fullsize leatherman in my bag. I need to trust my multitools that it can stand the work i needed it to do, and a leatherman give me that.

  12. Alox Pioneer for me. I’ve tried to EDC the Skeletool in my pocket but always come back to the pioneer.

  13. Leatherman all day , tougher & easier to clean & maintain. SAKs are cool and have their place but lack that strength that gives you confidence when putting it to work. 😘

  14. When it comes to Leatherman type tools I have the Skeletool and Wave +. I keep a Leatherman Skeletool in my pack on a daily basis along with a 4 layer 111mm SAK. The Leatherman Wave stays home with tools. A 58mm SAK is on my keys daily. Basically I use a SAK for most purposes, but use the Leatherman when I need pliers.

  15. I carry a Leatherman everyday at work, it gets used hard and I don’t think a SAK could cut it.

    At home however I’ll often carry a SAK as a lightweight tool that will cover all the lights duty stuff I need throughout the day. It slips easily in the pocket and can be used almost anywhere.

    They both have a time, place and function I think.

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