The compact multi-tools, also called pocket multi-tools (or simply “small multi-tools”), are usually compact enough to carry in a pocket, as opposed to the full size multi-tools that most people carry in pouch clipped to a belt. Recently, cheap imitations with poor quality craftsmanship and mediocre materials have flooded the market. Our advice is, don’t waste your hard earned cash on cheap knock-offs, especially when it comes to tools. Instead, we encourage you to take the time to pick the right compact multi-tool manufactured by a brand with a proven track record.
We put together this list in an effort to highlight the best compact multi-tools with pliers made by companies renowned for their quality and the durability of their products. Most of the pocket multi-tools listed on this page come with full-sized folding pliers, except for the Victorinox Swiss Army Swiss Champ which has smaller size fold out pliers, but compensates for this by offering significantly more tools than any other product on this list. If you want a small multi-tool without the full size pliers, that’s fully loaded, then Victorinox Champ is a great option for you. However, if you want your pocket tool to have full size pliers and you want all the other extras, than consider Leatherman Juice XE6 (listed below in top 10 grid).
But, if you just want something light and simple, than you can’t go wrong with our Top Pick in this category: Leatherman Skeletool CX. The Skeletool is bigger than the Juice series, but it keeps it simple, light, compact, and easy to transport. With its open hardware, skeletal design and hardy appearance, the Skeletool boasts a premium stainless steel blade, pliers, a universal bit driver, and a carabiner/bottle opener … and that’s it. You have all the basic essentials in this simple, lightweight tool. Here are more specs:
Leatherman Skeletool CX
Our Top Pick as the best compact multi-tool is Leatherman Skeletool CX. Though it might be considered a little large to be labeled as a pocket multi-tool, we picked Skeleton CX as best in it’s category because it keeps weight and volume to a minimum without sacrificing quality and true functionality. Skeletool CX is very light and streamlined, offering minimal weight, compact size and endless capabilities.
Top compact multi-tools