Our favorite EDC multi-tools and knives

ARTICLE – I’ve always loved reading about other people’s favorite EDC items, so I thought all of you might like to know what some of us here at the Gadgeteer use on a regular basis. For this team article, I asked everyone to tell me about their favorite knife or multi-tool. See if you can notice a trend.

Julie Strietelmeier

I have a Leatherman Squirt ES4 (image at the top) clipped to the inside of my Tom Bihn Maker’s bag. It goes with me to work every day and I use it regularly for weird little tasks like scoring the peel on an orange, trimming loose threads on clothing, pulling things out of other things with the pliers, etc. A couple of reasons why I chose this particular multi-tool is that it’s small, affordable, and the tools are easily accessible without needing to unfold it first. You can find one for $34.95 on Amazon.

Bob Patterson

These are my favorite EDC knives. The Higo no Kami knife’s history can be traced back to 1896, the product of traditional sword makers who turned to making knives for fishermen. The friction-folding blade is simple and elegant, and are supposedly still made by hand. I have two of these knives in the #10 size (4” long with a 3” blade), and they’re perfect to stash just about anywhere in my bag or pocket. You can find them on Amazon for under $20.

Andy Jacobs

My favorite EDC multi-tool is the tiny but mighty Leatherman Squirt PS4. When I picked it out years ago, I was looking for a pocket-sized multi-tool that included both pliers and scissors, and the Squirt PS4 was the only one that met that requirement. It also includes a blade, a file with a different roughness on either side, a wire cutter/stripper on the pliers, both a flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers and a split ring to attach it to a keychain or carabiner. Plus, it’s available in several handle colors. Leatherman has packed a lot of function into a small gadget. They are $39.95 on Amazon.

Andy Chen

My EDC multi-tool of choice is the Leatherman Skeletool Damasteel. I’ve owned many multitools, but I always come back to the Skeletool. It’s light (5 oz) and has only what I need: An easy to open blade, pliers, and screwdriver bits. The pocket clip is a perfect finishing touch. This particular limited edition Skeletool variant (discontinued) features a Swedish damasteel blade that holds an edge very well but you can find one without the damasteel blade for $59.95 from Amazon.

Garry Kolb

I like the Leatherman Free T4. Its titanium construction has it coming in at just over four ounces. It packs in seven handy tools with twelve functions. The Free T4 fits the bill for my goto EDC multitool. They are $59.95 on Amazon.

Dave Moore

I’ve been carrying one iteration of Leatherman tool or another since entering college in 1984. I purchased an original “Pocket Survival Tool” PST for more than $100 at “Cutlery World” to replace a gaggle of heavy tools required for engineering classes. Since then, I’ve been hooked and carrying such a useful gadget everywhere. I use mine daily for opening boxes, tightening doorknobs, and even pulling splinters. My current “every day carry” is a heavily modified Leatherman Charge TTI. I’ve substituted blades, added larger scissors, awl, replaceable wire cutting blades, and even a pen, tweezers, and toothpick. The combination of tools is ideal for me and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t use it. You can find a Leatherman Charge Plus TTI on Amazon for $169.95.

Jacob Haas

From my experience, in the world of budget-friendly, EDC pocket knives, the Kershaw Chill is as close to perfect as you can get. It’s got a secure liner lock, reversible pocket clip, super lightweight G10 scales, and is just under 4” closed.

It’s a manual, non-assisted open, but *very* quick to deploy thanks to its “flipper” protrusion on the back of the blade. It’s my favorite knife to open… all it takes is a small press on that flipper, a snap of the wrist, and you’re good to go. Plus, it’s got a simple, clean look, good grip, and best of all, it can be found for well under $50 from places like Amazon.

Smythe Richbourg

I have been a Victorinox Swiss Army guy for decades. My usual knife has been the Super Tinker or the Deluxe tinker, but recently I got a Climber, which doesn’t have the pliers and goes back to the corkscrew, rather than the Phillips head driver. The Super Camper I recently reviewed is what I keep in the car for emergencies. I’ve never had an issue with any of their tools, except for losing a few tweezers and occasionally breaking a scissor spring. Easy enough to replace, however. Check them out on Amazon.

Final thoughts

Leatherman for the win! What about you, what is your favorite multi-tool or knife? Let us know in the comments below.

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12 thoughts on “Our favorite EDC multi-tools and knives”




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  2. I carried (on person or in daily bag) a Leatherman Wave (original) for many years. I’ve been carrying the new Leatherman Free P2 on my belt since it came out.

    I carry one of several knives daily depending on the situation or preference: Spyderco Tenacious, Buck 110, or a Benchmade large Griptilian.

    A few years ago I thought the multitool was a relatively recent invention. But then I have seen some examples much earlier including the Civil War.

  3. I like the Leatherman Style CS4. It doesn’t have as many tools as some other pocket/keychain tools, but it has the best scissors I’ve found in a keychain tool. Also, it has a carabiner-style attachment to your keychain, which is really convenient.

    1. I originally had a Style PS4, which is supposedly TSA-compliant. It replaces the scissors with pliers and the blade with scissors. I switched to the CS4 because: 1. the scissors on the CS4 are vastly superior to use, and 2. the spring on the PS4’s scissors broke on me twice.

      Unlike on Victorinox knives, the springs are not user-replaceable on the Leathermen. After two return/replacement rounds, I switched to the CS4.

  4. There is nothing better for small EDC than the Swiss Army Minichamp. It offers 17 useful functions and is not much larger than a key. I don’t go anywhere without it except through airport security.

  5. I love my Leatherman Skeletool, I wish I had the Damastool one though. I’m a merchant seaman, I love the weight and it has what I need on the fly.

  6. At a Civil War museum in Fort Worth I saw a knife/fork combination for men who lost and arm in the war. There was another multitool that had 3 or 4 different tools but I don’t remember the details. I would think there have been other multitools in history.

    1. I carried a Swiss Army knife (tinkerer) of one type/brand or another for a number of years. I really like the SAKs except for the knife. It is easy to sharpen but dulls quickly. I moved on from the SAKs due to the knife.

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