Best EDC Multi Tools of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

by Vern Evans

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Nearly everyone has use for some type of multi-tool, but most people don’t want or need to carry a full-sized plier tool around on their belt. EDC multi tools occupy an interesting role that must balance ease of carry and usefulness. We all carry the specialized tools necessary for our jobs, and the multi tool is just to fill in the blanks. It needs to tackle tasks that are somewhat regular for you, but don’t require you to carry a specialized tool. Since everyone is different, everyone has slightly different needs and tastes. I like a tool that clips into my pocket, but you might find a keychain tool to be more useful. The best EDC multi tools are ones that you can carry all the time without them being obtrusive and help you quickly accomplish tasks you encounter on a daily basis. 

There are three primary factors that you should consider when shopping for an EDC multi tool:

  • Does it fit my carry style/needs?
  • How well do the tools work?
  • Do the tools fill my day-to-day needs?

The most time-consuming part of testing these various tools was simply carrying them around every day. A key characteristic of any EDC tool, whether it’s a concealed-carry pistol, flashlight, or pocket knife, is how easy or convenient it is to carry all the time. I carried each of these tools around for days (or more) at a time. And I noted how handy they were to carry and retrieve when needed. I specifically avoided any full-sized multi tools that couldn’t easily be pocket-carried. 

Additionally, I tested each of the tool features for common tasks such as driving screws, tightening nuts, prying open lids, opening boxes, cutting wire and zip ties, opening bottles, etc. An EDC multi tool doesn’t necessarily need lots of tools, but it needs to fill a few core needs that you regularly have. Anything extra is unnecessary.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the best multi tools that are unobtrusive to carry, but incredibly useful.

Best Overall: Leatherman Skeletool CX

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Specs

  • Weight: 5.3 ounces (measured)
  • Closed Length: 4.2 inches
  • Blade: 2.6 inches, non-serrated
  • Materials: Stainless steel, DLC coating

Tools and Features

  • Knife blade
  • Needle-nose/regular combo pliers with wire cutters
  • Flat bit driver
  • Extra bit storage in handle
  • Low-profile pocket clip
  • Bottle opener
  • Carabiner snap
  • Price: $90

Pros

  • Large plier handles
  • Low-profile pocket clip is replaceable/repairable
  • Extra bit storage — compatible with many flat bits
  • Good wire cutters
  • Compatible with aftermarket accessories

Cons

  • Flat bits can hurt your hand when using pliers
  • No stock pry tool

Leatherman’s Skeletool is far-and-above the best all-around EDC multi tool for me. It carries in the pocket just like a regular knife with a low-profile pocket clip. Pocket clips tend to catch on seat belts and other things, so I really like that this one is removable and can be bent back into position when necessary. It’s a small detail that can render an EDC tool useless because it won’t stay in place and you won’t carry it.

The Skeletool CX is an ideal balance of size and utility. It has been my EDC companion for years, and has mostly replaced a regular pocket knife. It meets the needs of lots of everyday tasks with a blade, pliers, drivers, and bottle opener. 

This tool has medium-sized pliers with a needle-nose point that are suitable for lots of tasks, including cutting small-diameter wire. The plier handles are comfortable and appropriately sized, but make sure to not leave the flat bit in the driver socket in the handle or it will dig into your hand as you squeeze the pliers.

The Skeletool holds two flat bits at a time, one in the driver socket and the other in the handle. Out of the box you get large and small Phillips and flat bits, but you can buy and swap for any number of Leatherman flat bits including Allen and torx bits of varying sizes. 

Another advantage of the Skeletool is its compatibility with aftermarket accessories. For several years, I’ve had a Hammer Jammer — a 3D printed hammer head and pry tool — installed on mine. It’s a 3D printed stainless steel accessory that is perfect for prying or tapping on stuff. The Skeletool CX is excellent on its own, but it’s perfect with this. The same company also makes a really cool Havalon-style scalpel blade holder that replaces the knife blade. 

Read Next: Best EDC Knives

Best Value: Milwaukee Fastback 5-in-1 with Driver


Milwaukee Fastback 5-in-1 with Driver

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Specs

  • Weight: 5 ounces (measured)
  • Closed Length: 4.9 inches
  • Blade: 2.95 inches, ⅓-serrated
  • Materials: Stainless steel blade, polymer handle scales

Tools and Features

  • Flip-out knife blade with safety button
  • Fold-out ¼-inch bit driver
  • Two-sided flat and Phillips bit
  • Bottle opener
  • Reversible wire pocket clip
  • Price: $26

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Large, strong blade
  • Long, locking bit driver
  • One-handed flip-out blade

Cons

An expensive EDC multi tool isn’t always the answer, and for many people, just adding a bit driver to a workhorse blade makes a huge improvement in utility. I always used to carry a Milwaukee Fastback folding knife in my pocket when I was working in the trades. I used it constantly for opening boxes and packaging and numerous other tasks. And I really liked that it was a solid pocket knife with a serrated first third of the blade, and it was inexpensive. I didn’t want to bust up or potentially lose one of my Benchmade knives in a utilidor or manhole somewhere. If the 5-in-1 model had been available at that time, I would have loved it. I do now.

The Milwaukee 5-in-1 fastback is a pocket knife at its core, with a 3-inch heavy-duty stainless blade that can be flipped out with one hand when the safety lock button is pressed. It’s a simple design with polymer grip scales and a reversible wire pocket clip that’s easy to remove and bend back when you get it snagged on something and it loosens up. It has a bottle opener on the back of the blade, and a flip-out bit driver that locks into place, making the tool the length of a normal screwdriver. The bit driver holds a two-sided bit in standard No. 2 Phillips on one side and a flat bit on the other.

The handle has a hole to accommodate a lanyard if you want one, and at $26, it’s far-and-away the best bang for your buck in this lineup.

Best Without a Blade: Griaitus Multi Tool Pry Bar 


Griaitus Multitool Pry Bar

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Specs

  • Weight: 6.3 ounces (measured)
  • Length: 5.7 inches
  • Blade: None
  • Materials: Stainless steel 

Tools and Features

  • Pointed wedge pry bar
  • Multi-sized wrench function
  • Phillips and flat bits
  • Reversible ratcheting driver
  • Magnetic “eternity pen/pencil”
  • Pocket clip
  • Bottle opener
  • Price: $39

Pros

  • Heavy duty prying tool
  • Nice ratcheting driver accepts ¼-inch bits
  • Chisel tip isn’t easily damaged
  • Can work as a wrench on some bolts/nuts
  • Small steel eternity pin writes well in the cold and doesn’t smudge

Cons

  • No cutting blade
  • Pocket clip is brittle

For not having a blade, this heavy-duty EDC multi tool is quite useful. It’s got a tanto-shaped chisel tip for getting leverage in tight spots, and you don’t have to worry about bending or breaking it. On the other end, it’s got a reversible 1/4-inch ratcheting driver that accepts any normal bits in addition to the Phillips and flat bits that are held in place by a rotating cover on the side of the pry tool. 

On the other side of the tool is a small, stainless steel “eternity” pen, held in place by three magnets. This little writing implement writes like a pencil, but is very durable and as indicated — lasts a long time. I used it a lot in cold weather to write notes while out at the shooting range, and really grew to like this tool. A small cutting blade would make it the complete package, but not everyone really needs a blade in their multi tool.

The only drawback I found of this tool was that the pocket clip is brittle. As I do with most pocket-clip-carried items, I snagged the clip on something, bending it outwards. I tried to remove it and the small torx screws wouldn’t budge, so trying to bend it back towards the tool (so it would hold in place on the pocket when carried) and it snapped right off. I’d like to see a more flexible or easily fixable pocket clip used.

Best Low-Profile: Gerber Lockdown Slim Pry 


Gerber Lockdown Slim Pry 

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Specs

  • Weight: 4.5 ounces (measured)
  • Closed Length: 4.2 inches 
  • Blade: 2.4 inches, 
  • Materials: Cast steel, stainless steel 

Tools and Features

  • Cast grip and pry tool
  • Slim stainless blade
  • Stainless scissors
  • Bottle opener
  • Low-carry pocket clip
  • Price: $45

Pros

  • Good pry tool
  • Ultra low profile
  • Small but useful
  • Thin, tight-fitting pocket clip sets the tool below the top of your pocket

Cons

  • Blade can be tough to open one-handed
  • I’d rather see a driver than scissors

If you’re looking to maximize usefulness in the smallest package, look no further than the Gerber Lockdown Slim Pry. This is a tool that’s the size of a medium-sized pocket knife, but aids with several common day-to-day needs. My most common talks for an EDC multi tool are opening packaging, prying, and tightening/loosening screws. The Lockdown Pry Slim fits discreetly in your pocket, and doesn’t interfere with your phone, keys, or anything else. It’s thin and low-profile.

I liked the slender blade. It’s thick enough to not be fragile, but not over-built. It’s perfect for EDC jobs, but I did find it to be a little tough to open quickly and smoothly with one hand. I have never really found much use for scissors on a multi tool, but if you do need small scissors frequently, it will suit you well. I’d personally rather see some sort of flat-bit driver, but that’s just me. 

The pry bar is an extension of one side of the cast grip scales and it features a notch for pulling small nails, etc., and a bottle-opener tab is incorporated into the pry tool. 

Best Keychain: Edcfans Keychain Multi Tool


Edcfans Keychain Multi-tool

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Specs

  • Weight: 2.3 ounces (measured)
  • Closed Length: 3.2 inches 
  • Blade: 1.7 inches, 
  • Materials: Stainless steel 

Tools and Features

  • Carabiner-style keychain clip
  • Short, tanto-style blade
  • Chisel/pry tip
  • Can opener
  • Small serrated sawing section
  • ¼-inch wrench
  • Bottle opener
  • Price: $18

Pros

  • Easy to carry on keychain
  • Lots of tools in a tiny package
  • Fulfills many EDC simple tasks
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not a great primary tool
  • Not for heavy-duty tasks

Aside from pocket-clip-carry, a keychain is one of the most convenient and reliable ways to carry your EDC multi tool. You’ll almost always have your keys with you when you’re out and about, and a multi tool on your keychain frees up pocket space. This little tool from Edcfans is only $18, but contains a number of useful everyday tools and easily snaps onto your key ring via a small carabiner clip. It’s got a short cutting blade that works well for opening boxes and packaging — it’s not ideally shaped or sized for hunting or more serious applications. The blade folds out and locks in the open position.

The other fold-out tool functions as a pry tool, chisel-type tool, bottle opener, can opener, 1/4-inch wrench, and small nail puller. You wouldn’t want to be using this tool all day — I don’t think it would hold up to lots of abuse — but for an inexpensive tool to keep at the ready for when you might need something in a pinch, It’s a great little option.

Gerber Armbar Trade


Gerber Armbar Trade

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Specs

  • Weight: 3.5 ounces (measured)
  • Closed Length: 3.6 inches 
  • Blade: 2.6 inches 
  • Materials: Stainless steel 

Tools and Features

  • Drop-point knife blade
  • ¼-inch driver
  • Two-sided flat/Phillips bit
  • Saw
  • Awl/punch tool
  • Small serrated sawing section
  • ¼-inch wrench
  • Bottle opener/pry/hammer tool
  • Pocket clip
  • Price: $50

Pros

  • Lots of tools in a small, tough package
  • Durable pocket clip
  • Nice, easy-to-sharpen knife blade
  • Driver is easy to use
  • Hammering surface folds out as pry tool/bottle opener

Cons

  • Thick, narrow design makes it a little awkward to handle
  • Tough to open knife one-handed

For quality and number of tools in a tiny package, the Gerber Armbar Trade is a top contender. This tool is about the size of a small- to medium-sized pocket knife, though it’s thicker than it is wide. It has a nice pocket clip that doesn’t snag easily, and could be fixed if it gets bent out too far. This tool has one of my favorite blades in this lineup; it’s a simple, small, and sleek drop-point design that’s thick and durable while being easy to sharpen. The only downside of this tool is that because it’s thicker than it is wide, it’s difficult to manipulate the blade with one hand. 

The Armbar Trade also has a nice bit driver that magnetically retains a double-sided flat/Phillips-style bit. It has a 2.2-inch, fold-out saw and small punch/awl in its handle as well. On the end opposite the accessory hinge is a hammering surface that folds out to do double duty as a pry tool and bottle opener. 

This is feature-rich tool for how small it is, the only real downside is that it’s thickness-to-width ratio make it a little clumsy to operate with one hand and it wants to roll when clipped in your pocket.

Read Next: Best Swiss Army Knives

ResafeLY Titanium Pry Bar EDC Tool 


ResafeLY Titanium Pry Bar EDC Tool 

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Specs

  • Weight: 2.4 ounces (measured)
  • Closed Length: 4.7 inches 
  • Blade: None 
  • Materials: Titanium

Tools and Features

  • Pry bar wedge with nail notch
  • ¼-inch ratcheting driver
  • Magnetic two-bit retaining recess
  • Flat and Phillips bits
  • Magnetic driver socket
  • Bottle opener
  • Small universal wrench
  • Price: $55

Pros

  • Slim and light
  • Good basic tools
  • Includes and holds two standard ¼-inch bits
  • Strong pry bar
  • Magnetic and pass-through driver sockets

Cons

  • No knife blade
  • No pocket clip

Though it has a lanyard hole, this titanium EDC multi tool is meant to be carried in a pocket or pouch. I prefer a pocket clip, but I found this to fit right into my daily routine while carrying. Equipped with a strong pry wedge and universal wrench as its main tools, this would be ideal for someone who is constantly having to tighten or loosen small bolts. I wish I’d had this back when I was adjusting all-thread pipe hangers years ago. The spring-loaded wrench rotates freely one direction, but like a pipe wrench or strap wrench, it bites when rotated the other way. It’s an efficient way to incorporate a wrench.

A small recess with magnets in the handle of the tool holds two standard 1/4-inch bits. It comes with Phillips and flat bits, but you could substitute anything you need. There is a pass-through ratcheting driver that only goes one direction, so it needs to be flipped to change from tighten to loosen. It’s not the easiest to work with short standard bits but is great with a small extension. The tool also has a small magnetic socket that bits fit into, which make it easier to use with the included small bits.

The two most important things you need to consider before spending your money on an EDC multi tool are: how you want to carry it, and the common tasks you need it to tackle. Is having a pocket clip a deal breaker for you? Are you going to be using a blade and pliers a lot? Or are you going to be opening paint cans and loosening or tightening screws? Maybe you need it to do as many things as possible. Ideally you want a tool that you’ll use every day, that doesn’t include a bunch of things you won’t use at all. 

FAQs

Q: Why carry a multitool?

When selected to match your day-to-day tasks, a multi tool can save you lots of time and effort tracking down tools because you have what you need right in your pocket.

Q: What can a multi-tool be used for?

A multi tool can be used for many things, from opening boxes to replacing light switch covers to changing the battery in your truck. Depending on the tool, you can crack open paint cans, strip and cut wire, pull small nails, and crack open a cold one at the end of the day.

Q: Are EDC multi tools actually worth it?

If you carry them and use them everyday, yes, they’re worth it. There are some very simple and affordable multi tools that are incredibly useful.

Q: What is an EDC multitool?

An EDC multi tool is a small tool that incorporates several practical functions and is intended to be carried with you every day.

Though Leatherman is still at the top of my list with the Skeletool, the world of EDC multi tools has evolved greatly from the classic Swiss Army Knife. There is a wonderful variety of smartly-designed, durable, and functional tools that will satisfy almost anyone’s needs. The key is simply understanding your application and budget and picking the best one for you.

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