Everyday carry (EDC) simply describes what you keep on you whenever you go out into the world. Whether that’s your wallet, a phone, your keys, each piece of gear you take with you counts towards EDC.
EDC is all about solving problems. Your wallet solves the problem of having a place to organize and secure your credit cards and ID. Your phone solves to problem of being able to communicate. But what about being able to fix simple maintenance issues? What about being able to get out of dangerous situations? If you’re like us, you’ll likely want to have more than just your wallet and phone on you each day because at some point or another, you’ll be faced with a problem that credit cards and phones just can’t solve.
Multi-tools are a great way to stay prepared for anything. Their functionality gives you so many options for solving problems that you’ll literally be prepared for just about anything. There are a ton of multi-tools on the market today, so we went ahead and curated a list of our favorites to give you a list of the top 7 best multi-tools for everyday carry in 2023. Let’s get started!
What is a Multi-Tool?
Multi-tool is short for multiple tools. It’s a singular tool that has several different functions built into it. When multi-tools first started showing up on the market, they were often modeled after the Swiss-Army knife.
Swiss-Army knives changed the game when it comes to multi-functional tools. All of the different ways that they could be used made them incredibly useful. As their popularity grew, other manufactures began to try to create their own versions of the Swiss Army knife to compete.
This is where the variety of multi-tools out there began to grow. Today, you can find multi-tools in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They can be carried in a holster on your belt or concealed in your wallet. The fact of the matter is that if you have a tool that can be used for several different functions, you’ve got a multi-tool.
How to Choose the Best Multi-Tool
Knife-based or pliers-based
As mentioned earlier, there are tons of different styles of multi-tools on the market today. The two main styles you’ll encounter are knife-based multi-tools and pliers-based multi-tools.
Knife based multi-tools are like the Swiss Army knife. The entire tool is built around the variety of knives that you can use and have a grip that allows the multi-tool to feel more like a knife in your hand.
Pliers-based multi-tools are more along the lines of what Leatherman produces. The entire tool is built around a set of needle nose pliers.
Whether you decide to go with a knife-based multi-tool or a pliers-based multi-tool really comes down to personal preference and what you encounter every day. Knife-based multi-tools are great for when you have to do a lot of cutting each day. Opening letters, boxes, and other items that require a knife will make having a knife-based multi-tool a good idea.
On the other hand, if you’re working on mechanical problems every day, a pliers-based multi-tool might be the better bet for you. Twisting screws, pulling wire, and turning bolts is what pliers-based multi-tools do best.
Size and weight
Another thing to consider when it comes to selecting a multi-tool is how big you need it to be. This really depends on how often you plan on using your multi-tool and what sort of jobs you need it to do. If you’re someone who works in an office building most of the time, you’ll likely just need a small multi-tool. If you’re someone who works as a mechanic or a farmer, you’ll likely want something a bit bigger because you’ll likely use it a lot more often for more complex jobs.
Functions and tools
The next to think about when shopping for a multi-tool is what sort of functions do you need it to do. If you don’t need your multi-tool to do too much more than open letters and beer bottles, you likely just need something small and simple. But if you’re someone who is constantly on the go, moving from one problem to the next, you’ll want something more substantial with more tools on it so you can deal with all the problems you encounter easily.
Best Multi-Tools to EDC in 2023
Starting off our list of the best multi-tools on the market in 2023 is the Leatherman Wave+. Leatherman is a staple name when it comes to multi-tools. They piloted the very first pliers-based multi-tool and the success has followed ever since. Leatherman uses the highest quality parts and materials to craft each of their multi-tools to stand up to the toughest jobs. The Wave+ comes equipped with 18 different tools and is backed by Leatherman’s generous 25 year warranty, so if anything goes wrong with it, you can send it in for a repair or a replacement at no cost to you.
Best Value Multi-Tool
Swiss Army knives are some of the most iconic multi-tools on the market. For more than 130 years, they’ve been making knife-based multi-tools to help people stay prepared for any situation. The Swiss Army Huntsman is incredibly affordable for all of the functions that it serves. With 15 different functions and its compact design, this little wonder is great to keep in your pocket to use in tight situations due to how small it is.
Best Survival Multi-Tool
Going into the woods for a while? Go prepared by picking up a Leatherman FreeP4. These are great for staying safe in the outdoors due to a key tool that it includes: a serrated knife blade. Having a serrated edge in your survival multi-tool serves a lot of functions when in a survival situation. It can be used to cut up wood to start fires as well as to help dress wild game to help get it ready to cook. In addition to the serrated blade, the Leatherman FreeP4 comes with 21 tools that all fold neatly back into the tool when not in use.
Best Budget Multi-Tool
If you’re looking to add a decent multi-tool to your EDC, but you don’t have the budget to pick up a Leatherman, the Gerber Dime is a great option. This little pliers-based dynamo has 12 tools built into it. It’s compact enough to be carried on a key chain or in your pocket. So for a starter multi-tool, the Gerber Dime isn’t a bad option.
Best Keychain Multi-Tool
The multi-tool that launched a revolution. The Classic SD Printed Swiss Army Knife keeps things simple in this small package. But don’t let size fool you, this great little tool comes with enough tools to serve 7 different functions, packing quite the punch for the size! With a toothpick, 2.5 mm screwdriver, key ring, small knife blade, tweezers, nail file, and scissors, the Classic SD Printed is a great tool to keep with you wherever you go.
Best Wallet Multi-Tool
One of the challenges of EDC is that the more you add onto your kit, the more you have to design methods of carrying those items. Sometimes, there is a limit to how much you can carry without overwhelming yourself. Well, the Axwell Mission Multi-Tool Wallet Card solves that problem. This great little multi-tool comes with over 20 different functions, giving you the mechanical advantage you need to solve practically any problem you encounter. Plus, you can easily slip it into a metal wallet like an Axwell Wallet for easy and convenient carrying.
Best Travel Multi-Tool
Want to pick up a Leatherman, but don’t need it to be the kind that you can get farm work done with? The Skeletool is a great option for you! It’s a pliers-based multi-tool just like all other Leatherman tools, but it’s much more compact. The Skeletool has 7 different tools built into its small frame. It also comes with a built-in carabiner, which is great for secure carrying.
Alrighty, we’ve covered a lot, so let’s recap. Multi-tools are incredibly useful for a wide variety of applications. Whether you have a knife-based or pliers-based tool, the functionality will multiply the amount of work you’re able to do by a large factor. Ensure that you get the multi-tool that makes sense for the work that you intend to do with it each day. IE don’t expect a mini-multi-tool to do the same job as a large plier-based multi-tool like a Leatherman.
To that end, you can definitely double up with your multi-tools, so you have a couple for completing a wide variety of jobs. One way to easily carry an extra multi-tool is by picking up an Axwell Wallet. Axwell Wallets pairs really well with the Axwell Mission Multi-Tool since it’s the same size as a standard credit card.