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10 Multifunction Tools on the Market


Bypassing all of the implements on his crowded duty belt, Deputy First Class Peter Sabella of Forsyth County, Georgia, reached into his trouser pocket and extracted a well-used Leatherman multifunction tool.

"I probably use this more than anything else I carry," said Sabella, who also teaches classes in disaster preparedness. "It has hundreds of uses, for anything and everything. A tool like this gives you a lot of flexibility and capability."

The Surge is a newer, more inclusive version of the Leatherman tool Deputy Sabella has carried for many years. Cinch your belt up a little tighter if you strap on this bad boy. Its hefty, 12-ounce (340 gram) weight will put some drag on your pants. Closed, it measures 4.5 inches (11.43 centimeters). In addition to 18 tools plus two double-sided bits, it features a stainless steel body, all locking blades and tools, and a blade exchanger so you can choose which four blades are accessible from the outside.

Here's the complete line-up of implements:

  • Clip-point knife
  • Serrated knife
  • Scissors
  • Saw
  • Needle nose and regular pliers
  • Three types of wire cutters
  • Wood/metal file and diamond coated file
  • Wire stripper
  • Electrical crimper
  • 5/16 inch (7.9 millimeter) screwdriver and two sizes of bit drivers
  • 9-inch (22-centimeter) ruler
  • Awl with thread loop
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener

Like other Leatherman tools, it's made in the USA and comes with a 25 year warranty. The stainless steel Surge will cost you around $90 [source: Bass Pro Shops, Leatherman]. A black oxide version is also available for a premium.

If you're looking for good quality on a modest budget, consider the Gerber multi-tools on the next two pages.