Outdoors

The best multitools of 2019

The best multitools of 2019
The Leatherman Free T4 is one of the standout multitools of 2019
The Leatherman Free T4 is one of the standout multitools of 2019
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The Leatherman Free T4 is one of the standout multitools of 2019
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The Leatherman Free T4 is one of the standout multitools of 2019

For products that are compact by nature, multitools still offer plenty of space for innovative design and 2019 has thrown up yet another collection of excellent examples. From fresh faces bringing interesting credit-card-sized options to the table to experienced heads reimagining how their storied implements open and close, this year had a bit of everything for the everyday carry crowd. Here are the best of the bunch.

Leatherman looks to the "future of multitools”

The Leatherman Free T4
The Leatherman Free T4

There are few names more trusted in the world of multitools than Leatherman, and this year the company got a little experimental with the way its utensils open and close. Described as the “future of multitools,” the Free series introduced in April features a magnetic opening mechanism that means the array of traditional implements, like pliers, scissors, files and knives, can be unfurled with one hand instead of two. The company added to the original Free P4 and P2, with the cheaper and lighter T2 and T2 in June, and then added folding knife versions called the K Series in October. All Free series Leatherman tools are available now, with pricing in US dollars as follows:

30 tools. One credit-card-sized package

The Distinct multi-tool in action
The Distinct multi-tool in action

The basic shape of a credit card lends itself well to the idea of an everyday carry item, and plenty of toolmakers are using it as a jumping off point for versatile new tools. The Distinct from New York’s Chiseled Design was a particularly impressive example when launched back in January. Onboard we have 30 tiny tools led by a multi-tasking T-shaped driver, with a suite of screwdriver and hex bits stacked around it. Other features on the Distinct include a file, wrenches, a box cutter, a file and a wingnut tool.

The Distinct is available via Indiegogo now for a second bite of the crowdfunding cherry, with pledges of US$30 still available and shipping slated for March 2020.

A carabiner, but also a multitool

The carabiner has a box cutter
The carabiner has a box cutter

Carabiners can be handy enough items on their own, but General Purpose California wants a little more from its spring-loaded loops of titanium, stainless steel or aluminum. Its GPCA Carabiner also packs a number of tools that fold out from its body, including Philips and flathead screwdrivers, a box cutter, bottle opener, pry tool and even a brass-knuckle-inspired bump for self-defense.

The TSA-compliant device is available via the company’s fully-funded Indiegogo campaign for US$32, with shipping slated for March 2020.

Classy magnetic multitool that stores its own spare bits

A quarter-inch hex extender is included with the M250 for when a little more range is required
A quarter-inch hex extender is included with the M250 for when a little more range is required

This particularly handy multiool comes from gearmaker Tactica and can store up to a dozen hex bits inside its rectangular frame. Called the M250, it comes with an array of tool bits, including Philips and flathead screwdrivers, along with torx and hex drivers. These slot into the head of the frame and essentially turns it into a tool handle. A quarter-inch hex extender adds a little extra reach to proceedings, while the whole thing can be slid into a nylon holster when not in use.

The M250 is up for preorder now for a price of $45, with shipping set to begin in January.

Credit-card-sized tools get trim and terrific

The MultiCard Multitool features wrenches in imperial and metric sizes
The MultiCard Multitool features wrenches in imperial and metric sizes

Here’s another example of a multitool with the dimensions of a credit card, and this time around it can actually be stored as one. The MultiCard Multitool gets bonus points for its clean and elegant design, but above all else is a highly functional accoutrement that can slide out of a wallet to take on a range of tasks. The thin sheet of titanium is filled with carefully crafted voids that act as hex bit holders, a rope cutter, a staple remover, a nail pullers, a can opener and a set of wrenches, plus more.

The MultiCard Multitool is available now for $59.

A clever fastening tool ratchets up the torque

The EverRatchet Clip multitool in action
The EverRatchet Clip multitool in action

Last year, GearInfusion rocked our socks with a tool that uses a thin flexing beam in its center to hold a Phillips head screw driver bit and effectively become a dynamic ratchet, turning a screw when spun one way but rotating freely when spun the other. In fact, the original EverRatchet made our list of the best multitools of 2018, so it’s perhaps only natural that an even better version has again made the grade. This time around it features a stronger grade five titanium body for 25 percent more torque, while side catches have been added that secure the bit in place when not in use, along with a pocket clip for easier carry.

The EverRatchet Clip is available via Indiegogo for an early pledge $22, with the team planning to ship in March 2020.

2 comments
PhilipKFreeman
TSA will likely have a bunch of these soon.
ljaques
Having been an avid tool user ever since I was 3, I can count on my fingers the number of times I've used anything called a multitool, despite owning both a Leatherman and a tiny Chiwanese clone. They made it into my bug out bag, though. Usually, the tools have only one truly usable tool in them. And, more times than not, you need more than one tool concurrently, and that can't happen with a multitool. If I had a specific use for each of those multitools, I might ducttape one to the product it services. My pocket tool kit consists of a 4" needle nose ViseGrip pliers, a 4" Crescent wrench (machined to open to 9/16"), a pocket screwdriver with both Phillips and straight tips, and an LED flashlight. You'd be surprised at all you can dismantle with that little kit.