I don't know what it is about small tools that can do a multitude of tasks that is so incredibly appealing, but I love them. I have often found myself lingering near the check-out counter at the local hardware shop poking and playing with any new pocket multi-tool in sight. Pocket tools have become more versatile, lighter, tougher and user friendly. You can spend anywhere from $8 to over $150 for the fancier models. If you are looking for a useful gift or stocking stuffer, pocket tools are a great value (and they aren't just for men). While there are hundreds of choices of pocket tools, here are a few suggestions of newer items to the market.
Triple Eight Professional
Triple Eight Professional offers seven new lightweight knives developed for hunters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians. The company's website has an amusing tone to promote their high-quality products saying, "We make them small enough to carry every day and tough enough to do jobs like pry open paint cans or jimmy the door when your 8-year-old son locks himself in the TGI Friday's restroom." Closed, the knives are 3", only weigh 2 ounces, and can clip onto a belt or collar. For example, the RhinoKnife ($35) is tiny but can take on the task of chopping vegetables for a whole meal on a camping trip.
Leatherman tools have become synonymous with multi-tools in the same way everyone calls facial tissues "Kleenex." At leatherman.com you'll find a large array of choices, but two new items are the Juice C2 and the Skeletool CX. The Juice C2 is 3.5" closed, weighs 4.3 ounces, and has a 2.6" blade. The Juice C2 has 12 different tools including needle nose and regular pliers, wire and hard wire cutters, an extra small screw driver, four other types of screw driver, a bottle and can opener, and a cork screw. The Skeletool CX is 4" closed, weighs 5 ounces, and has a 2.6" blade. Tools include needle nose and regular pliers, knife, wire cutters, carabiner clip, bottle opener and a large bit driver. Prices vary as the website directs you to several dealers.
Ashworth Turtle Knife
Though not a brand new guy on the market, this one still stands out. If you'd like your pocket tool to be extra small and a bit artistic, the Ashworth Turtle Knife features a blade that is 1" long and the knife is 2" when folded, weighing in at a mere 1.3 ounces. The $40 knife comes in a variety of colors and veneers – and yes, it is turtle-shaped.
Swiss Army Knives
Like the Leatherman multi-tools, Swiss Army Knives have long been purveyors of ingenious pocket tools. Swiss Army Knives all come with a 25-year warranty. You can have your Swiss Army Knife engraved or you can choose multi-tools with stylish patterns and fashion prints. For the tech geek on your list, the Swiss Army Presentation Master is a Flash drive with rugged style.
One of their newer products is a multi-tool with an adjustable wrench, five Allen wrenches, a Phillips and slotted screw driver, knife, O-ring pick, file, and a bottle opener. The Tippmann Multi-Tool offers a few different options than standard pocket tools and sells for $24.95.
There's a tool for every job, and current the trend in pocket tools appears to be smaller, lighter and more fashionable.