Pocket Power: our 5 favorite mini multi-tools

Multitools come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s our short list of the best pocket multitools.

We love multitools. Whether you are hiking, camping, or hit the trails with your bike, few technologies offer such a versatile service. But when setting up our Guide to the best multi-tools for 2022many offerings leaned towards the larger side.

And while belt holsters are a great carrying option for the outdoors, what about the days when you’re traveling or strolling around town?

And let’s be honest: although we like adventure, a good part of our life remains rooted in civilization. And for everyday activities between trips to nature, pocket multitools can sometimes be better suited. As such, we’re highlighting five options for everyday carry, each with a different skill set.

What they share is this: a capable, ready philosophy that can tackle more tasks than your standard keychain or pocket knife. They are also lightweight and affordable, providing comfort for both your wallet and your pocket. Take a look below to find the best mini multitools for your daily needs.

The 5 Best Pocket Multi-Tools

Leatherman PS Style

I’ve been singing the praises of this tool for years, and for good reason. With eight tools crammed into less than 3 inches of space, the Leatherman PS Style is the essence of compact capability.

Its spring-loaded design houses the best set of compact pliers I’ve come across, with two levels of grip and built-in cutting pliers. There is also a file, a flat screwdriver and a nice pair of scissors. Add a few tweezers and a carabiner that doubles as a bottle opener, and you’ve got a well-rounded miniature toolbox weighing just over an ounce and a half.

One thing noticeably absent here is a blade. Although Leatherman offers such an option on the same CS-styleI prefer it PS specifically for its knifeless nature.

The lack of a large cutting tool makes it a great pocket multi-tool companion on your next adventure. It is fully TSA compliant and the scissors are sufficient to perform minor cutting tasks.

A word of warning, however; Just because airports in the US let them through doesn’t mean you’ll be covered elsewhere. My previous model was confiscated on a return trip from Mexico, despite having no blade. But, with a price tag of just $35, it was easy enough to order a new one when I got home.

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Leatherman Squirt PS4

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Pocket Multi-Tool

If you like the size of the Style but look for some additional tools, the PS4 juice ($40) is a great way to go. Offering the same spring clips as the model above, the Squirt is also slightly shorter at just 2.25 inches.

But inside its hard-anodized aluminum handles is an equally capable piece of kit. With scissors, several screwdrivers, and a combination of wood and metal files, it almost feels like a slightly heavier option.

But perhaps most important is the inclusion of a 420HC stainless steel blade. With a reach of 1.6 inches, this little knife is a remarkable inclusion in the Squirt’s arsenal.

Not to mention, it’s an understated testament to Leatherman’s commitment to manufacturing excellence. Sounds like an exaggeration? Take a closer look. While most small plier-type tools come with a chisel-sharpened blade, the folks in Oregon took the time to bevel both sides.

So instead of a pointy angle with a flat edge, this gives you a real functional knife.

And, like the Style, all of these tools are accessible without deploying the gripper. Although I would say its 2 ounces are a bit heavy for a key ring, a bit of paracord looped through its ring would make it a great pocket companion.

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Victorinox Field Master

Victorinox Fieldmaster pocket multi-tool

I thought about including the classic Swiss army knife, really I did. But this is a list of the best pocket multitools, not the best keychain multitools. And although the two listed above are rather small, they are much less likely to fall out of your pocket than the Classic.

Instead, I opted for something that shows Victorinox’s range a bit more.

With 15 functions nestled in its ultra-recognizable frame, the field master ($38) is a great representation of this company’s versatility. The standard knife and scissors are present and functional as always.

But then you get options like a saw, can and bottle openers, and three types of screwdrivers. Add the tweezers and a secondary blade, and the ability here is almost out of this world.

I will admit that some of the tools are only of questionable utility. When was the last time you looked around and wished you had a sewing awl or a versatile hook?

But overall the field master is an incredible piece of equipment. It takes all the promise of the Classic key fob, and pushes it as far as possible without splitting the frame and adding a few clamps. For a one-piece multitool, this is near the top of the heap.

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Gerber Cuff

Gerber Armbar Pocket Multi-Tool

Speaking of one-piece pocket multi-tools, few have drawn more intrigue than the Gerber Cuff ($37). An early proponent of plier-based tools, Gerber has had some pretty strong times in the industry. Thanks to a combination of poor design and production, it also had some pretty embarrassing lows.

But with the Armbar and its screwdriver-centric approach, it really does feel like the brand has stepped back into interesting territory.

According to Gerber’s website, here’s what you get for under $40: “An awl, pry bar, bottle opener, hammer, scissors, and 2.5-inch extension screwdriver with double-sided bit .”

Add a 2.5 inch blade with a frame lock and one-handed opening, and you have a pretty good recipe in your hands. The complete set weighs 3.1 ounces, which is also less than some high-end pocket knives.

But unfortunately, the weight comparisons are kind of where the “high end” discussion falls. The Armbar uses basic stainless steel, which probably won’t last more than a few years.

I would really like to see Gerber offer it in a better option, especially because this screwdriver is really good. But if you’re ready to roll the dice, it’s definitely one of the more innovative options out there.

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CIVIVI Review

Civivi Crit Pocket Multi-Tool

So we’ve covered different types of pocket multi-tools – pliers-based, screwdriver-based, and one-piece construction. But, wait – what about one that’s actually more on the knife?

If that’s what you’re looking for, then it’s hard to argue with the uniqueness of the CIVIVI Review ($72). Just look at this blade: 3.18 inches of Nitro-V steel, with a nice flat burr on its faded finish.

And at just 0.1 inches thick, its slicing ability will be on par with the Victorinox models listed above. Only here, the design of the front flipper and liner lock allows for fast and user-friendly action.

But what about the “multi” in this particular tool? At first glance, it appears to be a piece of metal with holes in it. These are hex keys of different sizes, allowing you to turn bolts on vehicles or other machinery. It also sports a pair of slotted screwdrivers, as well as a bottle opener and strap/clamshell cutter.

Although this might at first seem like an odd combination, CIVIVI has put together a compelling package here. And where some companies are vague about the materials they use, this group proudly lists its ingredients. Along with the G-10 grip slabs and the aforementioned Nitro-V, the multitool is forged from 9Cr18MoV, both running on caged ceramic ball bearings.

Although it’s the most expensive offering here, it’s also one of the most original. Pocket knife enthusiasts will find plenty to like, as will those looking for a little extra capacity in their EDC.

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