There are loads of other multi-tools out there, and brands like Leatherman and Victorinox have model after model, making it confusing to figure out exactly what to buy. Here are some others that I like.
Leatherman Skeletool CX for $90: This is a bit smaller than the Wave Plus, but it’s still a full-size multi-tool. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles of our top picks, you can probably settle for a less bulky device that still has the basic, most-used tools like a knife, bottle opener, can opener, bit driver, and pliers.
Victorinox Swiss Tool for $153: Yes, I also looked at it twice when I first saw the price tag. It’s also a bit heavier at 10 ounces. But it’s beautifully finished and I like the boxy, straight handles. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a tool that doesn’t try to look modern. It is wonderful.
Leatherman charges TTi at $190: This is a weak recommendation. It’s packed with 19 useful tools and comes with Leatherman’s superb build quality and warranty. I have enjoyed using it for years. However, this price. Despite being made of titanium, it’s no lighter than the Wave Plus, which costs a lot less and comes with 18 mini-tools, many of which are identical to those on the Charge TTi. Buy the Wave Plus unless you Really like the appearance of the dark titan.
Leatherman Free P4 for $150: I wasn’t sure about that. Like most Leatherman products, the Free P4 is a high-quality, well-made tool, but is it worth the $40 off our top-of-the-line, $110 Wave Plus from Leatherman? The big differentiators are that the Free P4, with its 21 tools, uses magnets to open and lock the tool and a new mechanism to unlock and close the mini tools that doesn’t require you to put your finger in the path of the blade. The magnets require no less force to initially open the tool than other Leatherman models, but once you activate it the opening mechanism works very gently and effortlessly.
Smallrig Universal Multitool for Videographers for $30: If, like our product reviewer Eric Ravenscraft, you lug around a lot of video gear, you might want a multi-tool for adjusting and maintaining cameras without knives and pliers. The Smallrig consists of nine tools, including Allen keys of various sizes common for cameras, a Phillips screwdriver and a pair of flathead screwdrivers. Eric likes the wider, flat head for screwing on and removing tripod heads, which he says tend to get scratched and damaged with smaller screwdrivers.
Leatherman Micra for $57: Instead of pliers, the Micra turns into scissors. It feels like it’s made out of cheaper materials and has thinner tool blades than the Victorinox Mini Champ, which is a similar size, purpose, and price point. The spring-loaded mechanism is difficult to open and close without bumping into yourself. But it has character and I like the little thing. It’s a good alternative to the Mini Champ, especially if you’re looking for a small multi-tool that involves scissors.
Leatherman Wingman for $70: The Wingman just feels great. No wildly structured surfaces and no plastic anywhere. The smooth dials have a vintage feel, in a good way to hark back to earlier times, similar to the Victorinox Swiss Tool. There are 14 tools in its handles, all of which open and close as gently as if they were brushed with butter. The entire package folds down to a length of just 10cm and weighs 200g. At this price it’s a great bargain.
SOG key knife for $12: The best knife is the one you have on hand. The Leatherman Wave Plus is of no use if it’s home and you’re not. Micro tools like the Mini Champ and Micra are easy to pocket, but still have to be remembered. The key knife can be attached directly to the bunch of keys and is therefore always with you. The blade folds out and measures 1.5 inches, which is enough for most smaller cutting tasks. However, it is a one trick pony and only has one blade. You don’t get a premium product, but the stainless steel blade is reasonably sharp enough.
Leatherman Raptor Response for $80: Rather than being in the form of forceps, these medical scissors feature a blunt tip so doctors don’t accidentally stab a patient while trying to cut through clothing. The Raptor Response is very niche oriented. If you have to ask, then no, you don’t have to. But for an EMT or wilderness medic on remote backcountry trips, it’s an ingenious packaging solution that includes an oxygen cylinder key and ring cutter (for cutting through tight jewelry).