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The Best Pocket-Friendly Multitools For Tasks Big And Small

Full size multitools are great, but they’re normally too big to fit in your pocket on a regular basis. Here’s our favorite pocket-friendly multitools for projects (and budgets) big and small.

Sure, you can keep a full size multitool nearby at your desk or in your car (or if you’ve fully given into the efficiency-first ethos of middle age, a belt holster), but you can’t just toss them in your jeans without worrying about being uncomfortable or getting some awkward looks. Here are the best pocket friendly multitools that pack tons of tools without the bulge.

What counts as a pocket multitool is up for debate. If you’re the kind of person who rocks cargo shorts year round, anything smaller than a dinner plate is technically pocket friendly. For most people, however, we felt that a tool that was about 3.5 inches long and less than around 0.75 inches thick was right. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket with your keys or money clip, but still big enough to be useful. You might struggle to squeeze our picks into the pocket of your skinny jeans or dress pants without throwing off the cut, but for the pants you’re wearing everyday they’ll be perfect.

Leatherman Juice CS4 ($80)

At 3.2 inches long and 0.8 inches wide, the Leatherman Juice CS4 Multitool ($79.95) is the best pocket friendly multitool—by our definition—in Leatherman’s line up. It comes in Granite and Columbia Blue.

What sets the Juice CS4 apart from many of Leatherman’s smaller multitools is that it has a proper Phillips head screwdriver included among the 15 tools; which is a great inclusion given how many day to day tasks call for one. The full list of tools is:

  • Needlenose pliers
  • Regular pliers
  • Hard-wire cutters
  • Wire cutters
  • 420HC high-carbon stainless steel knife
  • Saw
  • Spring-action scissors
  • Awl
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Corkscrew
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Medium/large screwdriver
  • Small screwdriver
  • Extra small screwdriver

Like most multitools, the Juice CS4’s tool list is padded somewhat (are the needlenose pliers and regular pliers really separate tools?) but it’s got the important everyday basis covered. Like all Leatherman tools, it comes with a 25 year warranty.

Leatherman Style PS ($30)

At a hair under 3 inches long and 3/8 inches wide, theLeatherman Style PS Multitool ($29.95) is the smallest tool in our lineup. It technically works as a keychain multitool, but I find it’s a little too big to sit comfortably with more than one or two keys. Instead, it’s a much better on its own as a small pocket multitool.

The Style PS is also the only TSA friendly multitool on this list since it doesn’t have a knife. In a pinch, the scissors work for opening Amazon packages and the like. The honest truth is if you’re really serious about using a knife every day, you’re better off with a proper fixed blade rather than getting by with a multitool, so a blade-free multitool isn’t a huge deal.

The Style PS’s 8 tools are:

  • Spring-action needlenose pliers
  • Spring-action regular pliers
  • Spring-action wire cutters
  • Spring-action scissors
  • Flat/Phillips screwdriver
  • Tweezers
  • Nail file
  • Carabiner/bottle opener

Of all the tools on this list, the Style PS is the one that’s most regularly found in my pocket. Make of that what you will.

Gerber Crucial ($55)

While the styling Gerber’s matte black “tacticool” design is of dubious utility, there’s no denying they’re incredibly functional and the Gerber Crucial Black ($54.95) is also available in much less in-your-face blue, green, and gray.

The Crucial is 3.6” long and, as the name implies, has the tools you’re likely to find most crucial as you go about your normal life. The predictably padded, but still great, list of ten tools includes:

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Standard pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Pocket clip
  • Carabiner carry clip
  • Bottle opener
  • Partially serrated blade
  • Tool lock
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver

The choice between a Gerber tool and a Leatherman tool really comes down to personal preference. I lean Leatherman, but lots of people go Gerber. And if you’re going Gerber, this is the one to get.

Victorinox Super Tinker Swiss Army Knife ($39)

While there are a million different Swiss Army Knives available from Victorinox with endless combinations of tools, our pick is the Super Tinker Pocket Tool ($38.99).

The Super Tinker is 3.6 inches long and 0.8 inches wide. With its slim, traditional Swiss Army Knife profile, it sits really comfortably in your pocket since there are less random protrusions than you get with a Leatherman or Gerber tool.

The 14 tools include an ever useful Phillips screwdriver which has featured heavily in this list, as well as the traditional but utterly useless Swiss Army Knife tools like the awl. The full list is:

  • Large blade
  • Small blade
  • Can opener
  • 3mm screwdriver
  • Bottle opener
  • 6mm screwdriver
  • Wire stripper
  • Reamer, punch, and sewing awl
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • Multipurpose hook
  • Toothpick
  • Tweezers
  • Key ring

The Super Tinker might not be the most useful multitool on this list—it’s the only one without a pliers—but it’s definitely the best looking and most comfortable in your pocket. If you want a traditional look that won’t snag on anything in your pocket and still holds a lot of tools, this is the pocket tool for you.

In this list, we’ve focussed on everyday multitools for most people. If you’ve got super specific needs, Leatherman or Gerber may make a dedicated tool that suits you better. They make them for surfers, hunters, and the like, so it’s worth exploring if there’s a multitool for your hobby or profession.

Harry Guinness Harry Guinness
Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like the New York Times and on a variety of other websites, including Lifehacker. Read Full Bio »