Even though I am a Swiss Army knife guy through and through I have just started dabbling in multitools. During my employment career it was necessary to have a pocket carry EDC knife and most 91mm Swiss Army knives fit that bill perfectly. Now that I telework (thank you COVID) and am about to retire I probably won’t be getting out and about as much and having a few multitools laying around strategically will be fairly practical, I believe.
I decided to try a tool from the major manufacturers and got the following:
- Victorinox Swiss Tool Spirit X
- Gerber Suspension NXT
- Leatherman Surge
After reading dozens of reviews and talking to a few people I also decided to get a Leatherman Wave +.
I think out of all of them I may like the Wave + the best although it is a tossup between that and the Swiss Tool Spirit X.
While the Leatherman Surge is a phenomenal piece of engineering that I LOVE……..it is quite large and heavy. Add a bit kit and a spare blade or two and dragging it around could be a chore. It’s a tool designed to be worn on the belt loop by professionals or a tool that lays on the workshop table always within reach.
You could get into all kinds of crazy nuances and comparisons between them, but lets face it, you need a pair of pliers and maybe a knife blade or a screwdriver 99% of the time. If you are hiking or camping having a good saw for firewood is pretty necessary as well. At any rate I watch all the comparison videos and invariably someone will say……..”I like the Leatherman Wave + but I’d really like it better if it had a digital camera or small fusion reactor on it”.
It’s a multitool. If the file isn’t as great as some other tools, that’s really a dealbreaker? If I’m at home I’ll just go get a proper file and so will you. It’s when you are in the woods or walking the beams on the construction site that you just can’t go grab something else.
These tools can cost a buck or two as well. There are cheaper options such at the Gerber Suspension.
The Suspension NXT will set you back $30 or so or even cheaper if you use your 10% discount somewhere.
It is inexpensive because it is a cheaper, less rugged and less refined tool. That is not to say though that it is a bad tool, because it is not.
One thing I like about it is that when opened as shown in the pic the pliers are spring loaded. I think it makes it easier to manipulate the tool for easy tasks around the house and garage.
It’s a bit lighter than the other tools and the home I found for my Suspension was in my bicycle bag. I ride my bike 25 miles most days and don’t have a road bike with drop handlebars. I have a Trek FX2 that is upright and has a rack on it. Because I get 12 or more miles from my house I carry the kitchen sink with me. Inner tubes, tire tools, bicycle multitool, air pump, CO2 inflator, spare batteries for lights, phone, etc. Now I carry a Gerber tool as well.
The mix of tools isn’t too bad on the Suspension either and it has pretty standard offerings.
Back to the Wave +. A tremendous mix of tools in a more EDC size friendly package. However a tool is only as good as it functions. Case in point. The scissors. I find scissors on a knife or tool to be one of the more frequently used items. I buy bulk weed eater line and when I cut the line I have to kind of cut the end at a 45 degree angle so it will fit in the retention hole on the spool so I can then wrap it. When I used the scissors on the Wave + on the plastic weed eater line the scissors rolled over the line and were very ineffective at cutting it. To be fair I usually perform the surgery with a pair of sharp side cutters.
So right away I’m not sure about the scissors. Time will tell I suppose. I could go on and on and on about these things. Here’s my summary:
- Leatherman Surge – The Mac daddy of all the multi-tools. A powerhouse. Maybe the best one ever. But it is big. Too big to carry.
- Leatherman Wave+ – The quality of the Surge in a smaller package. I now see why the Wave+ is the best selling tool in the Leatherman series.
- Gerber Suspension NXT – Decent tool at a value price. Someone who would routinely put a tool through its paces would wear that Suspension out way before they’d wear our a Leatherman Surge. However, you could buy 3 or 4 Suspensions for the cost of a Surge.
- Victorinox Swiss Tool Spirit X – Refined. High quality tool. Most comfortable of all to use. And believe me, comfort is king when using a hand tool. Not too big, not too small. Victorinox’s warranty is 2nd to none. I have taken old knives that are crap and sent them in to the warranty department and had them made new again for the standard $5 fee. No question they support their tools FOREVER.
If I could only buy one it might be the Victorinox.