Swiss tool review

Feb 4, 1999
I was just asked on Rec.knives why I prefered the Supertool to the Swiss.I must add that I sweated for two months over which multi to buy after giving away my Supertool after two years of great service. I checked the specs of every tool and asked a lot of questions. I thought I should include my review here. Don't get me wrong I know there are some real swisstool loyalist out
there who love the Swisstool but it wasn’t for me. I am a heavy multi tool user as I am an
Exhibits person. All those nifty things you see and do at a museum are
Designed, built and maintained by us. There are some real pluses to the
Swisstool but I found that little of it was about real function. For
someone who uses the tool EVERYDAY I think it’s a weak choice.
Details: The good

1. It looks really pretty.
The highly polished tool and rounded handles, stamped Victronix
insignia and so on make this like a Rolex of Multi's. Just the thing
to take out at your beach house to impress the friends.

2. The pliers are Really stout
The pliers feel like a standard single purpose pliers

3. Tool acquisition from the outside

4. The lock mech rules compared to the super

5. Non clumping tools ???

The bad:

1. The tool is WAYYYYYY heavy for daily all day wear.
I found that more often than not when I needed the tool it was in my
ruck because I hadn't put it on. If you have really large hips or don't
mind spending the day pulling up on your pants its fine other than
that it is a pain to wear. Could be great for the car or boat but
tough on the body.

2. The tools are a bit on the flimsier side.
In their eagerness to include a bunch of stuff without having to
redesign the wheel they took a mess of standard SAK blades and stuck
them in the Swiss tool. Now I know again that there is a large
following of the SAK's but I have never been one of them. To me they
were somewhat of a novelty item. Cute but don't lean on them. I feel
the same way about the tools on the Swisstool. Kind of thin and flexi.
The Supertools individual blades are more robust. Again if this is not
going to be a primary tool then this is fine.

3. Did I mention it was HEAVY !!

4. The polished rounded edges on the screwdrivers have had me skip of
screws and stab myself more in one month of ownership than in the two
years I owned my super.

5. I am not a big fan of multiple use blades.
That little screwdriver on the end of the can opener is all but
worthless. Most of those little tiny screws especially with
electronics are slightly or completely recessed. I have yet to find a
use for this screwdriver. I like my screwdriver blade to be a
screwdriver blade. On the Swiss tool almost all the blades are a
combination this, that and the other thing doing none of them
particularly well.

6. Its really heavy.

7. The handles are very large and thick.
It gives the pliers that robust feeling I mentioned before but it also
stops you from inserting the tool into hard to reach spots. A few
times I was able to get the head into something only to bump up
against the handles and not be able to reach the nut or what have you.
I have had better luck inserting standard pliers lets say to engage a
leveler on wall panels than I had with the Swiss. Never had a problem
with the super.

8. Everything you heard about the blunt nose is true.
I'm better off with a dedicated needle nose for this type tool and my
type of work.

9. The crimper is worthless
I use a crimper all the time. The one on the super was wonderful. I
cant get a decent crimp from the Swiss and I think it has to do with
the rather thick handles.

Don't get me wrong the super has its flaws. I hate the way you have to
disengage the lock and I guess having to open the handles to get at a
screwdriver is a time waster (again minor inconvenience) but I think
that is my only complaint. Its not a light weight but feels much
slimmer and lighter than the Swiss. The blades including the knife
blades are stout, outstanding and usually single minded in purpose. I
never have experienced the problem that I hear about with the edges of
the handle being uncomfortable when using the pliers hard. Non
clumping tools to me is a non issue. Never once felt it was an issue
like I did with the lock. I used and abused a super for two years both
indoors and out on an all day everyday basis in a shop and in the
woods and the only damage I did was to the very small screwdriver on a
screw I shouldn't have used it on anyway. (the Phillips head screw that
you don't have the proper size Phillips for) finally I lost it in tall
grass and it lay buried in the snow for three months. My friend found
it and I let him have it. a spray down with wd40 and it is still in
use everyday today. And my friend is a REAL abuser of tools. If anyone has any questions I may not have answered here feel free to email.

I bought my girl the Gerber multi sport. cute but again not in the
league with the Leatherman offerings. The tools are not the most
gadgety or gee whiz but really well thought out USING tools. Follow
this link to see the Leatherman of my future. A little shorter than
the super and a few tools less. But the addition of scissors and remote
lock disconnect.

for details go to &

Alex, did you have any failures with the tools on the Swisstool or did you not actualy use them as hard as you would have on the Supertool for fear of breakage?

I am with you on the rounded tools and blunt pliers, I think that was why I passed on the Swisstool awhile back. Its advantages over the Supertool are for me not functional but more nice to have if you can (better access, nonclumping, better locking, more ergonomic handles).

Have you looked at the new line of Gerber multi-tools? They have been getting many positive comments.

I did not have any tool failures. Like you said Cliff I just didnt feel confident pushing it past a certain point. I felt like I had to baby the blades much more than I did on the super which I pushed.And for 80 some odd dollars I didnt want to break it. The pliers though felt more solid. I'll have to take a look at the new Gerbers. SAK lovers will love the swisstool.

I have both a Super Tool and SwissTool.

I first bought the Super Tool. I did not carry it, but kept it in my briefcase. The inconvenience of having to open the handles before I could get to the tools relegated it to the bag.

I then bought the SwissTool which now resides on my belt every day. I do not find it too heavy and I am not a big guy.

The locking mechanism on the Super Tool is a major pain. The Super Tool is now in the trunk of my car.

My SwissTool gets a lot of use and I have not had any problems with it. I do agree about the combining of the screwdrivers with the bottle/can openers. I wish that they had kept the screwdrivers seperate like on the Super Tool.


P.S. If you know anyone who wants to buy a used, but little used Super Tool; I have one available.

I recently bought a Swiss tool. And my brother is buying Alex's.

I like the convenience and don't mind the weight.

I also carry multiple knives daily. So I don't need the knives, in fact, am contemplating grinding the serrated blade down into a metal match striker.

If I need the full tool I will get one, if I am not already carrying it.

The Swiss Tool is a convenient way to carry a number of compromise tools for the quick stuff. Best compromise for me.

But the main issues are the ways the tools do not clump, they are accessible without unfolding, the locking lugs are metal (durable, as opposed to the Gerber), the tools lock -separately-, the handles are comfortable.

I would love to see a small blade in the mix.

And I have to remember to keep my nails a little long to get the tools out.

Weight is no issue, I weigh enough for three, and carry more gear than my brother weighs soaking wet. Small exaggeration, but you get my point.

Thank you,
Marion David Poff aka Eye, Cd'A ID, USA

Talonite Information and Resource Page, including other cobalt materials.

"We will either find a way, or make one." Hannibal, 210 B.C.
great review.

I don't know about the state side dealers - but here in Israel it may take up to three month to get the Swiss tool serviced and parts to be changed.

I know that from my friend who sells them both and had these problems with clients that brought their Swiss tool for servicing -in some cases it took full three month to get the tool back from service... gr8 everyday tool

My friend - like me - uses the super tool exclusively.

Both he and I were able to destroy parts of the super tool under EXTREME pressure only to have it replaced or fixed
no-questions-asked in a matter of days.

both has seen some VERY heavy military service and held super(bly)

super tool rules.
Gents.. I thank you all for the multi tool thoughts - I WAS stress was thinking about a swisstool - and I like sak's .. I have a Gerber newer model - there are faults - and I have a standard Leatherman - it too has faults - so they get carried and used differently.. the leatherman is a great all purpose tool to work on computers and the like - for fishing I'll pack the gerber needle nose - there's no substitute for that quick deployment in a canoe or along a stream - I think I'll stand pat

I also own both the SwissTool and the Super Tool. I carry the SwissTool on my belt every waking hour, every day of my life, in a nylon Benchmade pouch. (The Benchmade pouch gives you the option of horizontal carry.)

Speaking of Benchmade belt pouches, consider this: The older style pouch--I think it's intended for the AFO--is a bit wider than the SwissTool. The extra bit of width is just about right to accomodate one of those pen-sized Eze-Lap diamond sharpeners. If you get one of the newer Y2K Benchmade pouches (large), I think you'll find it fits the SwissTool perfectly, with no room for the sharpener.

The weight of the SwissTool is not a problem for me. Just spread your legs when you take a leak to keep your pants from falling down. (This will also help prevent dribbling on your shoes.

Boriqua says the blades feel weak on the SwissTool. You know what, though? I think the handle pivot area feels weak on the Super Tool. When I use the Super Tool hard (as when turning a stubborn screw) the handles seem to flex as much or more than the blades of the SwissTool. So where do you want your weakness? In point of fact, I've never come close to breaking either tool.

The SwissTool is not perfect, but it's still my favorite. I've made some modifications to mine:

1) I squared off the screwdrivers. With a bit of patience and a diamond hone, this most common of complaints goes out the window.

2) I improved the little rim-grabber hook on the can opener by grinding off a little with a Dremel tool. It now opens cans more efficiently than the Super Tool. Incidentally, the Super Tool can opener is one important exception to Boriqua's generalization regarding the single-purpose tools advantage. (Has anyone besides me noticed that the respective can openers on these tools seem to work best in opposite directions?--working towards you (clockwise) with the Super Tool, and away from you (counter clockwise) with the SwissTool.

3) I thinned and narrowed the smallest screwdriver to fit the slots on tiny eyeglasses screws. Now it also works surprisingly well on tiny phillips screws, like the ones that hold Photon lights together. Now that's cool. Be careful, though, so you don't bend it on a bigger screws.

I've never even tried to use that little screwdriver at the end of the can opener. (So that's what that thing is for!)

The ruler function is way superior on the SwissTool. I use this feature a lot, by the way. The way the handles fold out and snap smartly at a perfect 90 degrees or 180 degrees is a marvel of engineering.

By far the biggest disadvantage of the Super Tool is the notorios blade unlocking hassle. This is downright dangerous.

I think I've given the Super Tool a fair shake. It's only real advantage over the SwissTool, in my opinion, is the needle nosed pliers for precision work. This is a trade-off, though. Sometimes you want strength rather than precision. For me, the semi-blunt SwissTool pliers are a reasonalble compromise. (Everything about multi-tools is a compromise, after all.) And they are even well enough dressed for pulling minute slivers!

One minor advantage of the SuperTool is that, with a bit of practice, it is possible to open the pliers with one hand, balisong style.

David Rock

AKTI Member # A000846
Stop when you get to bone.
I like the SwissTool quite a bit, but the Wave might tempt me away. The pliers don't crunch your hand, and many of the tools open on the outside. Even a nice pair of scissors! (Something I've always been surprised NOT to see on the SwissTool -- especially as Victorinox makes some of the nicest.)
Lastly, the weight difference is enough that it might matter with the Wave.

Anyone else want to take on this comparison instead of the SuperTool? I'm still making up my mind.
My problem with the wave is that only some of the tools lock. I had a Pst a long while ago and the screwdrivers folding over on my knuckles was a pain. The screwdriver blade didnt hurt much, it was what your knuckles smashed into as a result that was the problem. As many others on the forums have made note of .. Having the externally available locking knife blade is a moot point for me because I always have a Sebenza clipped to one pocket and a rosewood Centercross in the other. Its nice to have if for some reason you are ever with only the Multi but its not really a selling point for me.

Ps BAck to my supertool for a week now and I have used it more in two days then I used the swiss EVER. I often didnt have the swiss on because of its wieght. This time I also bought the Tool adapter. WOW this thing locks in place and you can lean all over it. A really well thought out gizmo that works.
I even dig the neat little case.

Pss I Highly recommend the cutlery shop

Fast service great prices terrific cust service.
Super $49.40
Adapter $22.40
Recieved it in two days for 7.50 shipping
Deal with them for all my production needs and am always happy.


[This message has been edited by Boriqua (edited 02-27-2000).]
This is one of the best threads I've seen on this topic. I'm an SAK fan but the review raised some pretty valid issues. For instance, I can see where the screwdrivers on the supertool can be handier if you dink around with a lot of electronics. Leatherman always did know how to make good screwdrivers.

On the other hand, if you use the pliers a lot, the SAK is going to be a lot more comfortable over a long day of hard use. And as everyone knows, the tools are easier to open and close--a bit of a pain on the supertool.

I like the Leatherman file bettern' the SAK. The chisle blade and wire stripping edges on the SAK are handy though. I've actually used that chisle a lot. A chisle blade can be extremely handy at times, especially if you dink around with a lot of wood stuff. Cuts nice grooves in wood.

Boriqua, do you have a Wave? Would love to hear your take on that. What I like about your review is that you use these tools on a daily basis in your job. There's no substitute for that. I used to be a mechanic so I know a lot about hard tool use. I still have the first leatherman and I've beat it to death and it takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. I even liked the clunky blade on the first issue of the leatherman cause it was stout and held up well to all the gasket scraping I used it for. The supertool is the equal and more.

But what of the Wave? I have one but I find it a little flimsy. However, I haven't used it hard at all. My mechanic test would be to drop it a half dozen or more times (greasy hands) and see if it holds up. One thing about the wave is that it has a diamond file, which would be great for field sharpening a hard edged knife.


The low, hoarse purr of the whirling stone—the light-press’d blade,
Diffusing, dropping, sideways-darting, in tiny showers of gold,
Sparkles from the wheel.

Walt Whitman

[This message has been edited by Hoodoo (edited 02-27-2000).]
Great review, great links.
I'm looking forward to the Pulse after reading this.
The Gereber Croc looks good too.
I find this thread to be very interesting. My father had the Supertool. The thing I did not like about it was the fact that you had to open up the pliers to get to the blades (or anything else). This in my opinion is ludicrous (not to mention the way it closes). So I bought the Wave. I liked the way the blades came out and the diversity of tools it had to offer, but after using it for about a month, I was extremley dissatisfied. It was to say the least "flimsy." The joints became loose, and blades seemed very thin. It seemed to lack the quality Leatherman is known for. Then I purchased the Swisstool. I love it. I bought it over a year ago for everyday use and it functions perfectly. Very sturdy, great locking and closing mech., and no clumping. The weight of the SAK is not even an issue for me, and I carry it everywhere (and I am by no means a big guy either). In my opinion, neither the Super or the Wave can compare to the Swisstool. As for Gerber - I don't know. Anyway, that is just my experience.

"Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." Matt. 10:16
I have to agree with Boriqua. I have a supertool, a wave, a swisstool, and a sog powerlock. I keep coming back to the supertool. I like the combination of tools it has. It may have clumping tools and may not have rounded handles, but it is still tops for me. The wave is nice, but it is more "light duty" than the supertool. I am interested in Gerber's new gator jaw. It looks like Gerber's answer to the wave. It looks interesting. All the tools lock, open from the outside, and no clumping. You can read more about it here:




Dennis Bible
I've read in a few posts about the "pulse". It's coming out from Gerber right? I looked on their web page and didn't find anything about them. Anywhere else I can find out more about them?

The Pulse is Leatherman's new offering. As Dennis pointed out you can see it here:

Gerber's new one looks sweet though I think the fiskars scissors are a little on the small side. Also looks like the plam swells on the handle should be such that they are on the outside when the pliers are out. (does that make sense?)

I carry the Wave everday, but am looking to upgrade soon. I am tired of the screwdrivers folding up on me. I don't really care about the one-handed blades -- I usually have another knife on me for that.

Clay Fleischer
AKTI Member A000847
Does anybody know when those Gator Jaw from Gerber is coming out, or when it's publicly available? Looks cool...

I have a Wave, SOG Powertool, and had a Swisstool.
I sent it back for lack of functionality, size and weight. Of the Powertool and the Wave, I find the Wave much more practical and well made, except for the powerjaws on the SOG. The Wave displays better materials and workmanship. It's my regular carry, along with two Microtech autos. The SOG is reserved for occasions where if it gets lost or stolen, I still have the Wave.

One thing I must point out about the Wave though. despite the so-called heat treatment, in which hardness is not specified, you must remember that the Waves primary concern is freedom from rust, so it's a low carbon stainless. The knife blade is easy to gouge and distort the edge in it's plain edge knife blade. For me that's okay, because I usually have a HALO III and an M-UDT with me for knife chores. The Wave is for other uses.
The scissors are excellent, as are the files. I 'm not impressed with the semi-rounded edges of the screwdrivers, or the lack of a thick screwdriver blade, but overall, I find it the best multi-tool on the market, and am pleased with mine. The tool clumping and lack of locks on some blades is not critical for me. If that's a major concern, the SOG powertool locks almost all blades when deployed, but the scissors and pliers are not as well fitted, and the blades are no better than the Wave. All in all, I think the Wave is a better multitool.