which mini-tool is best?

Oct 15, 1998
Of all the mini-tools on the market (credit card styles included) which do rate as the best?
Christmas is on it's way ....argh!


Hi Shappa,

I would say that the SwissTech Microtechnician is the best. While the SeberTech may have more comfortable handles and a better pliers jaw design, it's the way the tool locks onto the keyring that makes it very secure, and it won't drop off without you knowing it. I had a SeberTech M2, but it came loose and dropped off my keyring one time. I then bought another as a replacement but soon caught that one before it dropped off. So those of you out there with M2's, please be advised. Go with the SwissTechs - you will not be disappointed

I currently carry the SwissTech Microtechnician Gold, with the TiN coating and the skeletonized handles. Next to it is the Utilikey, also by SwissTech. And in my wallet I have the Tool Logic Tool Lite version of the Credit Card Companion (with the bright red LED light). Along with one or two folders I carry daily, needless to say I am prepared for anything

Oh BTW, to see SwissTech's offerings, go to their <a href="http://www.swisstechtools.com">website</a>.

Dexter Ewing
Knife Reviews Moderator

"The keystroke is mightier than the sword"

micra. Someday we'll all look back on the Bm (Before micras) era and wonder how we survived. I've thrashed mine for two years and it's still in good shape. Plus, they're fairly inexpensive so when your wife, kids and friends take yours you can buy another one.
I`ll vote for the Micra too. I just got one a few weeks ago and I don`t know how I ever did without it. The tools are high quality and even the flat phillips screwdriver works great. Really cool little gadget. Marcus
For me, it's more useful for my keychain tool to be a scissors-based tool rather than pliers-based. Of the scissors-based tools, I also like the Micra. Well built and surprisingly durable for a little tool like this. Besides, it's got a bottle-opener, that may have saved me more than anything!

I have carried them all and only carry the Micra now. I actually broke two Swiss-Tech without using much force. i never thought I would actually use Scizzors til I had them.I LOVE IT

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Lead - Follow or get out of the way!

I recently retired my SerberTech. I initially selected it over the SwissTech because of the finer "needlenose" type pliers. Unfortunately, the thing wouldn't stay shut. The handles were always opening when carried on a keychain. I drilled out the rivets and applied greater frictional force with screw, but its still not that great. I now have a SwissTech on my keychain instead, and I LOVE it.
Best Regards,Todd
Er, Mike? You've carried them *all*? The "pocketable multi-tools"? The Buck MiniTool, the SOG CrossGrip and CrossCut, the Kutmaster Minimaster, all of the various (small) Victorinoxes, etc.? Whew!

I have carried/used (not just tried) only a few, including the Micra, Buck MiniTool, Cross Grip, Minimaster, and some Victorinoxes. The Comparison Page of Mini-Tools (http://www.knifecenter.com/knifecenter/index/minicomp.html) might be a good starting point, though it doesn not as yet include, e.g., the Buck MiniTool and the SOG CrossGrip. Otherwise, not much to add to those remarks. There are some distinct strengths and weaknesses in each, of course, and your choice depends heavily on the tasks you'll need the mini-tool to (and what else you carry).

Some brief personal remarks: Though I almost always have a better blade with me, there are remarkable (and perhaps not so obvious) differences between the *knives* in mini-tools. The Micra's blade, for example, has a bevel only on one side. That may matter in some (rare) uses. The Buck's blade is quite narrow, but at least it takes a keen edge (like the Victorinoxes), unlike the SOG CrossGrip and the Kutmaster Minimaster; not much you can do with (the knives of) the latter two. And almost all knives are on the *wrong* side (up vs. down, like in the Wave). For *pocket/keychain/-ring carry*, many of the tools have unexpected shortcomings. The CrossGrip, due to its "patented gear driven compound leverage" (which does allow a surprisingly strong plier grip), may snag in your pocket. The Kutmaster Minimaster doesn't, but it's lid, like the handles of the SOG and the Buck, do not remain tightly closed and could well open inadvertently. The Micra isn't much better in this respect, though it tends to snap back shut. Of course you could use the pouches (Buck and SOG), but then some quick deployability (and soon the pouches) would be lost. I won't even try to speak about the *other tools* in the mini-tools, except that alarmingly many screwdrivers are already rounded (not the Micra's) and only the Victorinoxes have a personal toothpick. Otherwise, it all depends... For example the tweezers vary in width, the scissors in size, the pliers in shape, etc., but so what? You'd have to know the specific tasks.

To make it short: I have yet to find *the best* mini-tool for me (nothing much I can *do*, e.g., with the SeberTech or the SwissTech). I need both pliers and scissors. For that I could well go one step further in size and settle for belt-pouch carry. Perhaps something like the Leatherman Mini-Tool (which doesn't have scissors, though, and the assortment of tools is *very* limited)? A Wave reduced to 2/3 in size would be fine! I really could use my pockets for other things than a "mini-tool". Fortunately, there are many "loose" keys and other "hosts" around that I don't need to have always with me. The SOG CrossCut could go to car keys (pliers), the Micra to the first aid pouch (scissors), the Minimaster to the sauna keys (great bottle opener)[see, however, contrary experiences below!], the Buck to... And hey, my daughter is nearly three and it really is almost Christmas!


[This message has been edited by Markku Huttunen (edited 03 December 1998).]
I bought a Leatherman Micra for my girlfriend, and decided to get a Kutmaster Minimaster for myself to compare the two. It took less than a week for me to start coveting hers. The scissors on the Minimaster are almost unusable. Every time I opened the "lid", they would pop out; very annoying, but what was worse was having to hold them down in order to close the lid when I was done using a tool. And I spent a frustratingly long time trying to get the cap off of a bottle of beer one night when I Really needed that beer!

Fortunately, I got them both from Brian at discountknives.com, who happily agreed to exchange the Kutmaster and apply the price towards a Micra.
I like the micra. I bought a Swiss Tech the other day--I wasn't that impressed with it, will probably give it away for x-mas. The spring loaded scissor has a great sound when opening. It's durable and useful and I use it more than any other piece of cutlery I own.

Greg Mete
Kodiak Alaska

I've carried a micra for quite a while now, and I think it's great. My wife likes to borrow it for the file when she breaks a nail. The only problem I've had was some spots of rust. I removed most of it with "Never Dull."

Tried a Mini-Master. Hated it. Scissors were unusable, bottle opener stunk, etc.

Stuck with my Micra. Hard to beat. Best screwdrivers of all the one's I had played with. I thought I might like a pliers-based one as I work in computers, but all the other tools on the Buck minitool were pretty cruddy.

Watch the knife blade on the Micra however -- it is very sharp and when closing the tool, the spring-loading closing mechanism can bring that edge into contact with your hand with some force!

A tip for mini-tool users: I have one of the keyrings that looks kinda like this O=-O, with the O's being rings and the center part being the connector. The connector is easily detachable, so you can keep your keys on one ring and multi-tool on the other. Then you can remove the tool from the rest of your keys when needed so the keys don't get in the way.

Just a suggestion...

Clay Fleischer

"10,000 Lemmings Can't Be Wrong!"

I like being able to remove my micra from my keychain also, but found that the detachable-thingies you're describing add too much bulk and length to my already-too-big keychain. Instead, while browsing through REI I found keychained-sized metal or rubber carabiner-like things, where the two ends screw together. Unscrew 'em, and you can slide whatever piece you want off, then you screw the ends back together again. The rubber ones are pretty cool, they're flexible and very light.

Thanks for your opinions and reviews!
Looks like it's the Leatherman Micra overall.
It looks like all the mini-tools have a few flaws but the micra has the fewest.
Clay, I already have one of the detachable key-rings so i'll try it with that . If it's too large I'll give Joes idea a shot.
Thanks again for the reviews.



Cool. That's a good way too. I don't have that many keys anymore so this one doesn't add too much extra. I also removed both split-rings that came with the keychain and on the micra end is just the one that came with it and a medium size split ring is on the key end. They usually come with HUGE rings. This way takes up substantially less pocket real estate, which is good because I need that room for knives...

Anyways, Tom, let us know what you go with.
And may I suggest a PhotonII to complement the micra on you keychain?


Clay Fleischer

"10,000 Lemmings Can't Be Wrong!"
One question for you mini-tool carriers. Does the Micra's screwdrivers fit glasses?? I was considering getting Utilitykeys as gifts for Christmas, because of the small screwdrivers, but if the Micra will work I might get that instead.
Blades. I work in a clinic and I use my Micra to tighten people's loose eyeware all of the time. The bottle opener has an extended tapered "jewler's like" screw driver....very practical.

Can't go wrong with this piece

<<Kodiak PA>>
Greg Mete
Kodiak Alaska

[This message has been edited by Kodiak PA (edited 03 December 1998).]
I would have to go with the Micra. I don't even know its there until I need it, and it is actually usable. They also make great gifts, even to non knife people.

Dennis Bible
Knoxville, Tennessee