Buck is a well known knives manufacturer. They used to sell a multitool: the BuckTool. This model never did as well as the Leatherman and Gerber tools. Now, they are trying again with the X-Tract. This is a radically different multitool. It features only the basic tools: a pair of pliers, a knife, a normal and phillips screwdriver and (curiously) a can opener. The unique selling point is the fact that all the tools can be opened with one hand. I am sure most outdoor fans will instantly see how useful this is.
The X-Tract is featured in the Seattle Times: Small Tools to Keep You Safe
In their usual style, with many high quality pictures, multitool.org gives a comprehensive review of the Leatherman Surge and compares it with the Wave. The Surge is a much heavier multitool than the Wave, which is a good thing, if heavy duty is what you need.
The conclusion: The Surge is a good heavy duty tool, but it does have a few drawbacks, the main one being that it rattles.
Two German Scouts demonstrate and compare the SwissTool Spirit and the Wave. Interesting, if you understand German.
Multitool.org forum user dunc5 says the Gerber Multi Plier 600 is the worst multi tool he owned:
the screws in the handles kept coming loose on both handles and the awl broke after trying to put a small hole in a thin bit of plastic , I've never bought another gerber product again
According to user damota the handle problem can be remedied as follows: Simply use Loctite on the threads when ever you loosen or tighten those threads.Can be applied with a pin so you do not need to strip the thing right down to do it.
BladeForums user Bodieism gives an initial impression of the SwissTool Spirit. He reviews it very favourably and prefers the Spirit over Leatherman's Charge Ti. He also posts some detailed pictures that compare the Spirit with an older model of Leatherman's Wave.
Doug Ritter has a great review of the Leatherman Wave and the two Charge models at Equipped to Survive. The review is accompanied by many pictures that greatly help in deciding which of the tools is better for you. The most shocking for me was the comparison with the old wave, which I owned and loved. The scissors on the older model were great, those on the new model seem flimsy and way too small.
Mr Ritter's conclusion: Which model to get, Wave or Charge, really boils down to your personal needs. For many, the Wave will suffice quite adequately at much lower cost, and we prefer its sheath. If the advantages of the better knife steel appeal to you, the Charge is your tool. As to Ti vs. XTi, my personal choice is the Ti simply because I prefer the availability of the scissors in my multi-tool.
Do read his entire review and marvel at the pretty pictures. He makes some important points about the shortcomings of both the Wave and the Charges, the most important one (in my opinion) being that they do not feature traditional screwdrivers. They have bit holders with proprietary bits that cannot be easily replaced.
Blogger JWZ reviews the Gerber Recoil and compares it with an old style Leatherman Wave. In his opinion, the Wave is superior. Keep in mind that this review is a few years old. The new Wave is radically different from the old one and nowadays there are many multitools with all locking tools.
JWZ does praise the scissors on the Recoil. Scissors on newer Leatherman tools are said to be much worse than classic Wave scissors, so if you are looking for good scissors and don't mind the clumsiness of the Recoil, this may be a good tool for you.
Read the entire review.
Multitool.org reviews the Leatherman Kick. The conclusion: The Kick is a decent tool at a good price, but not an option for a heavy user or a bigger person. I would say it is better suited as a small tool for a lady's purse or as a child's first tool. The biggest drawbacks of the Kick, according to the reviewer, are the flimsy feeling and the low quality fake leather sheath.
A picture gives a good comparison of the Kick vs. the Leatherman Juice and the original PST.
BackPackGearTest gives very extensive reviews of all kinds of backpackgear. Three reviewers have tested the Spirit for months and give three reviews: an initial report, a field report and a long term review. If you are looking to buy a multi tool for backpacking use, these reviews are very useful.
The verdicts (keep in mind that these are from people who were asked to review the tool, not from people who sought out a multi tool themselves):
I don't really feel as though the Spirit has offered anything unique beyond the other multi-tools I have used in the past although the Spirit has held up to general use better than less expensive counterparts. Anthony Smith
The Spirit has mainly performed as expected. It's come in handy at home, work, and while backpacking. Even though there are a few things that I would do differently if I had designed it, I still like it quite well and will carry it on future trips. Becki Stacy
Overall, I have been extremely pleased with the Swiss Tool Spirit. It has been a well used, and very usable tool. It is amazing that it looks like new, with very little change to the surfaces of any of the tool's parts. [...] There have been no issues with its use, and I find that it is the first tool I reach for. Leesa Joiner
Backpacker Raymond Estrella gives a good overview of the Gerber Diesel. He provides a nice picture that clearly shows all the included tools.
His opinion is positive except for the fact that [the knive and tools] open from inside the handle to accommodate the sliding pliers. This puts the tool open above the opposite handle which limits its clearance and usability. A picture makes this problem painfully clear.
The Crunch is sort of the odd one out in Leatherman's tool collection. It is the only tool that features locking pliers, instead of regular needle nose pliers. So, if you have a good use for locking pliers, you are pretty much stuck with the Crunch. If you have no idea what to do with locking pliers, you should definitely not buy the Crunch.
It is a bit more awkward to use than regular multi tools and according to one reviewer the included tools do not feel as solid as the tools on other Leathermans. The Crunch clearly is not meant to replace your Wave or SwissTool. For those times that you do need locking pliers, users agree that the Crunch does a great job.
Multitool.org has a good review of the original SwissTool, with many high quality pictures that clearly show the superior quality of the tools.
Their conclusion: Overall the Swisstool is one of the biggest and baddest tools on the market today and will hold it's own in competition with the best of them. The ease of use and commitment to quality will make it a definite pick for those veterans who use their knives and those who need a tough tool for the job. If you don't mind the weight of the tool this is the perfect [tool] for you.
Joshua Feldman has written an extensive comparison of the SwissTool Spirit, Leatherman Charge Ti and the Gerber Legend 800 on Amazon.com. A couple of the points he compares, with the winners per category (read the full review for all the categories):
- Size: Swisstool Spirit
- Pliers: Gerber Legend
- Knives: Charge Ti
- Saw: Charge Ti and Swisstool Spirit
- File: Charge Ti and Swisstool Spirit
- Phillips screwdriver: Swisstool Spirit
- Scissors: Swisstool Spirit
- Flat screwdrivers: Swisstool Spirit
- Can/Bottle opener: Swisstool Spirit
- Awl: only available on Swisstool Spirit
- Ruler: only available on Charge Ti
- Fit and finish: Swisstool Spirit
The conclusion: Overall winner depends on your list of priorities. I'd say the Charge Ti is the best overall - most useful in the widest range of situations. Ultimately, any of these tools will serve you well. The Victorinox Spirit with its high utility, great refinement, light weight and low price is real nice pick - expecially well suited to the well dressed, ladies, and anyone who appreciates a nice unit.
Read the entire review with the explanations for the winners in each category and Mr Feldman's overall opinion.
- The XTi and Ti are replaced by the ALX and the AL. The handles are no longer made of titanium, but of anodized aluminium.
- A titanium model remains: the TTi. It is based upon the XTi, but gets scissors and the blade is of better quality steel. It is going to be more expensive than current titanium models.
Release date for all three models is early 2007.
If you are just interested in finding the best tools, without wanting to get a college degree in knifeology, Gerber's encyclopedia is just for you. It explains terms like 154CM steel, high carbon steel, clip point blades and Zytel in very simple terms.
If you want a little more beef Wikipedia's entry about knives is also pretty good.
August 18, 2006