Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review: Multitools

I did a quick poll at work to see who had a multitool, and if so, what they carried. Bearing in mind I'm now working of of the ICT department of a specialist hospital, here is what we came up with. Out of 14 people, we have 5 multitools in total. I in fact carry two, but we'll get to that. In my straw poll, we determined that there were two of the lightweight Leatherman Kicks one of the Leatherman PST Original tools and my two, a broken Bucktool 360 and a 5th Gen Gerber Multitool (which I have had all kinds of trouble finding a reference for).

I'm going to do a flying review of each of these, to give an idea of the range of features I have to work with around here in case of zombie apocalypse whilst I'm at work (or if the power goes out).

The Leatherman Wave has a very lightweight feel to it, as I mentioned above, and features only a single drop-point blade, wide and narrow flat-head screwdrivers, a can opener, a lanyard loop and a half-wide Phillips head driver. Needle nose pliers with a wire cutter make up the pointy end. A nice feature is the polycarbonate grip liner, which softens the edges of the notoriously bitey Leatherman fold-out handle. The half-wide Phillips head allows the attachment of the Removable Bit Driver accessory) which is cool, if you have one. Inch and cm rulers along the handles are great. However, I didn't think there was enough "tool" to this one and I was dubious of its hardiness.

Next up was the Leatherman PST Original. The PST includes the same drop-point blade, wide and narrow flat-head screwdrivers, a can opener, as the Wave, but also features a small flathead (small enough for fixing glasses) and a rounder Phillips head driver on a nice long haft. It also features a hefty double sided file, which is an awesome addition to any multitool in my opinion. No Lanyard loop means you can't dummy-cord it, but I'm sure you, good reader, wouldn't need that as often as I do ... Again, needle nose pliers with a wire cutter make up the pointy end. Leatherman's "fold out" style exposes the users hand to the backs of tools, and the edge of the frame whilst using the pliers. I guess I have soft hands, as I don't like this.

Onto the Gerber: This was a hand-me-down gift from a very dear friend with whom I was staying after I had an unfortunate turn of events. Amongst other things I had broken my multitool (see below) and he was kind enough to pass on his spare. I love the Gerber design. Instead of the "fold out" of the previous two, the needle nose pliers and wire cutter pointy end is accessed by a click and release "flick-out" style. This leaves the users hand protected from the internal tools whilst using the pliers or cutters. It also opens with a bad-ass "schnickt!" when flicked hard. Yes, it's sad that that impresses me, but it does. it also locks the pliers into their active position. Tool compliment is similar to the PST, with a drop-point blade, wide and narrow flat-head screwdrivers, a can opener, and a small Phillips head driver and a double sided file. It also features a hefty lanyard loop, which I have a split ring fitted to (and is generally carabinered to a long cobra-weave paracord cord. The can-opener features a small flathead at its tip, which puts it back on par with the PST. It also however, features a serrated sheepsfoot blade, which I greatly appreciate. perfect for slipping under straps and webbing and cutting without the worry of stabbing the contents. I like having this option. Yes, I seem to have chipped the tip of the drop-point. It may have something to do with why the tool is now dummy-corded. Again, see below.

Lastly is my old and abused Bucktool. This tool features a unique double-swivel opening method, which does a few things. It allows the user to pick which side of the internal tools they want to access, (a feature the Gerber lacks) but leaves the contoured hand-holds outwards when any of the tools are extended. This leaves the user with a problem however, if you twist your wrist in the same direction as the hinges swivel, the tool tries to fold itself up. Annoying when struggling with a bolt, I can assure you. All the internal tools are lockable, with a press-button release. The sides of the handles have icons indicating which tools feature, which include; on one side three different flatheads of differing width and a drop-point blade which includes a third of the blade being serrated. The other side are two half-wide Phillips heads and a can opener, and another of those serrated sheepsfoot blades I'm fond of. The needle nose pliers and wire cutters at the pointy end show however, what years of abuse can do to your tool. At some point I can not even recall, one side of my pliers snapped off. I simply opened them up one day and one side was missing. Luckily for me, my awesome friend had a spare on hand, and I relegated the broken-winged Buck to my CSI folder (or did when I added that to my collection).

Multitools. They are awesome, have many features, unique drawbacks and advantages. Know your tool, know your needs. Most of all, don't use your expensive multitool as a hammer or a pry-bar if they aren't designed to! That way leads to embarrassing looking broken tools.

1 comment:

  1. I had one of the Gerber flick out tools. Before I went to Japan I gave it to someone for safekeeping and it never made it back to me. Curse you, foggy memory!

    One day I shall have the spare cash to own one again.


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