The Swiss Army knife has lodged itself so firmly into Americana that it has become a metaphor for versatility. You’ve said it at one time or another: “the Swiss Army knife of blank,” whatever blank is, meaning it’s capable of handling a variety of situations. On its own, no tool in this little gadget is as good as its full-size version—whether it’s the corkscrew or the screwdriver—but that’s not the point. It’s all about convenience. Why wouldn’t you want to carry a whole toolbox in your pocket?
It was the first multi-tool with global popularity. Then Leatherman showed up with a folding pair of pliers to give Switzerland a run for its money. Now, there are multi-tools in all kinds of shapes and sizes from a staggering number of companies. But how many of them are actually well made? I spent months testing several models to find out, putting them to work by assembling picture frames, slicing open packages, opening beer and wine bottles, and cutting apples. These are the ones that did their tasks exceptionally well.
Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, including the Best Gear for Your Home Tool Kit, the Best Gear for Your Car Emergency Kit, and the Best Grilling and BBQ Accessories.
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