Swiss Army Knife vs. multitool (Gerber, Leatherman, etc.)

I needed to replace the scissors spring on my first Swiss Army Knife, so I asked how to do it in GQ. Turns out, I came up with a technique on my own.

Since opinions have been posted, I thought an IMHO thread would get some responses; and that the GQ thread could be used if anyone has questions with factual answers about the SAK.


Why do you prefer a SAK or multitool?

I’m bi (that way at least). I have and carry both. Right now I’m carrying a Classic on my keyring and a Gerber Clutch in my pocket. I have several Leatherman tools in my desk and several more in the vehicles. A Tinker resides in my nightstand.

You can’t tie me down to one. Free hearts must roam wild!

I carry multiple tools on my person. Each of them has tools the others lack. Why would I need to pick and choose?

I prefer a Swiss Army Knife. I do have a Gerber multitool, but the only thing I find useful that it has, that one of my SAKs doesn’t have, is the pliers. I just don’t need pliers all that often when I’m away from home. When I’m at home, I get pliers out of a tool box.

All of my SAKs have blades that are perfect for my everyday needs, and scissors and a toothpick that see quite a lot of use. I have a small SAK on my key fob. A larger one, such as the Spartan or Soldier, fits nicely in my pocket. My first SAK, a Champion, sits on the coffee table for any small thing that needs it; and my slightly larger Swiss Champ is on the lanyard inside of my backpack, which I take to the office. I’m never without a useful blade, toothpick, scissors, or tweezers (which work quite well, BTW).

The Swiss Champ has a small pliers. That’s good for occasional use in the office, though not for fixing chairs or anything big. The corkscrews have come in handy several times over the years. Every so often I need a saw, or a file, or a magnifying lens, or a reamer. I need a small screwdriver once in a while for tightening the temples on my shades, and a Philips head screwdriver is nice to have too. I’ll admit that the fish scaler and hook disgorger haven’t seen any use at all. (Well, maybe the hook disgorger a couple of times; just not for fish.)

In short, an SAK has just about any tool I need or might need in the course of my day. My multitool has an excellent blade, excellent (Fiskars) scissors, and screwdriver blades; but it doesn’t have a toothpick or tweezers, or some other tools that I need from time to time. It’s also slower to deploy a tool (other than the pliers, which are literally a snap) than the SAK. And the SAKs are prettier.

I have both SAKs and a multitool, but the SAK gets the most use.

I have several of both but I only routinely carry a mid-range Swiss Army knife. My current every day SAK is a Handyman. Like I mentioned in the other thread, the beauty of a Swiss Army knife is that you can carry it with you all the time and not even notice it. A tool is useless if it isn’t easily available when needed. I like Leatheman’s and Gerber just fine but there is no way I am carrying one of those in a shorts pocket or dress pants but I can do that with a SAK. That makes the SAK superior to the others in my view except for some niche purposes. If a multi-tool isn’t with me all the time, I might as well just use full sized tools when I need them.

That’s what I have on each of my key fobs.

It’s not a ‘choose one or the other’ question. Just ‘Which to you prefer?’ There’s no reason not to have both.

I was looking in my backpack last week, and I found the accessory pouch for the Gerber. It has different screwdriver bits and a socket or two. Not much use, though. I’d used the multitool at home, and forgot to put it back in the pack. :smack: (I didn’t need a tool when I was digging in my backpack. I just noticed that I didn’t have one with me.)

Unless it’s a micro multi-tool you can put on a key ring, few people are going to strap on a full sized multi-tool sheath to their belt for everyday carry unless the multi-tool is used during the day on their job. A bigger SAK can also be a handful as well. I keep a full sized multi-tool in the car and a mix of smaller SAKs and micro-multi tools on my key rings.

I carry a leatherman style cs on my keychain (love the scissors) and keep a classic leatherman (or whatever the big one is called before they had a gazillion models) in the car. I have a swiss army knife that usually stays on a shelf in my apartment as a sort of museum piece.

I prefer the leatherman style because i mostly use the scissors. It’s so small and barely noticeable and clips on and off very easily.

  • I also have a topeak alien tool that I use around the apartment The topeak is primarily a bike tool but it has good screwdriver and Allen wrench sets. I also have a Columbia river zilla tool. The blade and pliers are good but the screwdrivers rely on bits that are carried in the handle and they get detached. I keep it in my day pack.

Actually, the pliers are the tool I use the most on my various multi-tools. You have no idea how handy they are in repairing all the things that can break, fray, snap, pop and sproing during a high school debate tournament. I regularly repair shoes, backpacks, clothing and carts with the Juice I keep in my travel pack.

My Leatherman PST II is the only multitool I carry around. I like the full-size pliers (which SAKs don’t have, except those with the “Leatherman” form factor) and the fact that EVERYTHING locks. Only the bigger SAKs have locking blades, and the other tools don’t lock.

I have a SAK money clip that has a blade, file and scissors. Lost one to the TSA folks. But, I believe they are ok for carry on stuff, now.

My keychain is a Leatherman-micra. It used to be a Swiss Army knife, but every toothpick and every set of tweezers disappeared, and all the scissors eventually died of metal fatigue.

I’ve had the Leatherman-micra for ten years and everything still works. Even when a Swiss Army knife has working scissors, they’re not as good as these.

The scissors themselves, or their springs? If the latter, see the link in the OP. :wink:

They sell replacement toothpicks and tweezers, you know. :stuck_out_tongue:

Not that I don’t agree with you. I generally prefer multi-tools, but I still pack both.

I’m definitely a ‘both’. I’ve got a Victorinox Super Tinker in my pocket all the time, and a Gerber Sport in my messenger bag.

My favorite model of SAK! It is a fantastic every day carry slim knife with aluminum scales instead of bulky plastic. I have given many of these as gifts, both in silver and red. At less than $30 online, I won’t be too upset if I should lose it, unlike some of my other knives.

I have a Gerber Curve on my key ring. It’s smaller than my car remote. It replaced my Leatherman Micra, which now sits in my car, along with my full-size Leatherman (I forget the name, I’ve had it so long and it’s discontinued now but it has a corkscrew.) The Micra is a great little tool with awesome scissors, but I mainly used it at work, where I have… scissors. So the Curve is with me all the time and fits the bill.

The SAK is far better for pocket carry, even the big champion. People carry multi-tools manage the way they carry a basic tool: having a sturdy-enough pocket, or a belt sheath, or a compartment in one’s bag. Even the small leatherman ps4 produces hot spots in one’s pocket.

Yeah, but as I said, even the scissors in a brand-new Swiss Army knife aren’t as good as the Leatherman’s.

I carry my Leatherman in a belt sheath. Yeah, it probably looks a bit dorky, but I don’t care-- It’s useful enough to make up for that. And besides, it balances out the cell phone holster I wear on the other hip.

My Wenger, meanwhile, serves as my keychain, and sits in one of my pants pockets. It’s good to have a keychain with some heft to it: I notice by feel whenever I’m not carrying it, which makes it much harder for me to accidentally lock myself out.