Which Multi-tool?

Nov 8, 1998
I am shopping for a multi-tool to carry while at work. I'd like a fairly readily accessible locking knife blade. I am looking for a less menacing blade appearance than my tactical folders which I'll still carry but not openly. Of course the other tools will also come in handy.

My front runners are the Leatherman WAVE and the Victorinox SwissTool. I always carry my Micra, so I have the scissors covered.

Any experiences or suggestions would be appreciated.

I've also heard some complaints about the respective pouches. Any suggestions there?

Axel, you can't go with the Wave. You won't be disappointed and you will be able to leave your Micra at home since the Wave has scissors.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I was very impressed with how handsome the leather pouch is with the Wave. After I ordered it, I even e-mailed Leatherman and asked how I could get a nylon pouch in case I didn't like the leather one. Not even an issue now.

Happy Holidays

Greg Mete
Kodiak Alaska

I own or have owned 3 Gerbers (2 Multi-Pliers and a Mulit-Lock), a Swisstool, and a Wave, and I have to say that I like the Wave best.

The Multi-Lock is nice (ground screwdrivers, locking blades), but the other two are so much better.

The Swisstool is excellent. Fit and finish are marvelous. The tools (ALL of 'em) lock, which is great for those of us who have closed SAK or other multi-tool screwdrivers on our fingers before. It has a chisel, which I never thought I would use, but comes in very handy. You have a micra, so scissors aren't a necessity. It is pretty heavy, but this can be useful too -- I have used it for a hammer a few times and it worked well. All in all, it is a superior tool.

The Wave, however, is my fave. The pliers are "sharper" than the Swisstool, the screwdrivers and file are better, and the blades open with one hand. It is lighter and smaller than the Swisstool. It is very comfortable to carry. This is the only tool I carry EVERY day. Hardly even notice it is there.

In summation, I would heartily recommend either the Swisstool or the Wave, though the Wave suits my needs a little better.

The Multi-Lock would be a good choice if you were on a tight budget, though.

happy holidays!


Clay Fleischer

"10,000 Lemmings Can't Be Wrong!"
I have carried a Gerber Multi-Plier and its tool kit for some years now and have never felt the need for another pocket tool. The blades and tools are of a high quality steel, although they can rust, and the tools and blades lock if you open the blade or tool and then withdraw the pliers, which locks the handles.

Regarding Victorinox, I have discovered that their knives do not appear to hold an edge very well. While Gerbers are a bear to sharpen, they do hold an edge. I wonder about the quality of the steel in Victorinox products.

I have a question. From looking at pictures, I cannot tell if the Leatherman Wave has smooth handles for gripping the pliers. I had one of their original tools and gave it up as the handles cut into my hands so badly when I used the pliers.

I looked at the WAVE and SwissTool at the knife store, and the WAVE does have nicely rounded handles.

Thanks to all for the comments. Here are some of my opinions.

The one handed knife feature of the WAVE is very attractive and it is smaller and more modern looking than the SwissTool. I like the way all the tools are lockable and accessible from the outside of the handles on the SwissTool. Plus no more clumping. I also have occasional need for an awl which the WAVE does not have.

The SwissTool knife blades have that innocent SAK look plus the conventional two handed opening. Thumbing open the clip point blade on the WAVE may elicit more concern from co-workers. I will have to get use to the weight and size of a multi-tool versus a tactical folder.

I put in my order for a SwissTool. I'll see how I like carrying it soon.


When I first got the SwissTool it seemed pretty heavy compared to my Leatherman (original PST). But now I'm used to it and the weight doesn't bother me. I wear the SwissTool on my left side, near my left kidney, although I am right handed. This way the buckle prevents the weight of the tool from pulling out the end of my belt when I'm, uh, taking a wiz. Spreading my legs widely helps keep my pants from falling down, plus I'm less likely to dribble on my shoes.
For me, the greater strength of the SwissTool more than balances the weight issue. I like the semi-blunt pliers on the SwissTool as well. Some people prefer true needle-nose, of course, but for me the general robustness of the SwissTool is a considerable advantage.

The other day I lent my SwissTool to a guy who wanted to unscrew the leg from a table. He expressed concern that he would break the Phillips screwdriver blade on the tool. I was able to assure him with full confidence than he would NOT break the tool. I told him he would mess up the screw head or tear the skin off his hand before he would break the SwissTool. Was I exaggerating? Perhaps a little, but the point is that you can use the tool hard without worry. And having ALL of the tools lock is a huge advantage over the Wave.

When you get your SwissTool you can make it even better by squaring off the ends of the screwdriver blades. An hour or so with a diamond hone should do the job. And the can opener can be improved by sharpening the little hook that goes under the lip of the can, so it doesn't slip off during use. I performed the latter operation in less than a minute with a Dremel.

About the only thing I like better about the Wave is the file. But the fact that there's no awl on the Wave pretty much cancels that advantage.

Axel, you brought up the issue of the sheath. The SwissTool sheath is fine. You can also use a Benchmade belt pouch--the one that comes with the AFO--if you like having the option of either vertical or horizontal carry.

David Rock

[This message has been edited by David Rock (edited 26 December 1998).]

Thanks for the detailed post. I have a few nylon pouches which can be worn vertically and horizontally which came with the knives I bought from Pat Crawford. My Super Tool fits in the pouch just fine so I'll try the SwissTool in it. I wonder if the smaller loops on the horizontal carry will prevent the tool from slipping off my belt when the belt is undone. I'll find out soon. Otherwise I'll do the buckle side carry that you mentioned. I did take the red "Crawford Knives" tag off the pouch so that it won't scream "knife" and will be all black.

I may also file down the screwdrivers once I try them out. Did it take an hour to file down all four screwdrivers?

I have carried an original Leatherman for about ten years, and having compared it to other similar tools, still prefer it.
However, one of my crewmembers got a Leatherman SuperTool for Christmas and it impressed me as a real improvement over the original.
I have yet to examine a Leatherman Wave.
I've got an early non-lock Gerber and the hex bit drive kit. I can't comprehend getting any multitool without hex bit drive. I also have a couple of hardware-store 3" long hex drive phillips and regular bits I keep stashed beside the main body of the tool and I use them *constantly* where more reach is required.

The Gerber also has tough, fast-access pliers. If you're going to keep the Micra, take a look at the tool options on the locking Gerber without scissors and get the Gerber hex bit kit.

Until there's a Wave hex drive adapter it's not a contender IMHO.

Jim March