The 3 Best Multi-Tools For Military Use: Heavy-Duty, Compact Products To Get The Job Done

Service any need, get yourself out of any jam; this is the multi-tool philosophy. An all-in-one product ranging from swiss army knives that fit on your keychain to full-scale models for heavy-duty repairs. If your needs are extensive, or you’ll be operating under high intensity military circumstances:

It will help to think of a multi-tool as an investment.

Saving a few bucks at purchase may have you smiling in the short-term, but a multi-tool is only as good as its weakest component. And finding the flaw when you are under heat will have you kicking yourself for not investing fully in the buyer process.
Let’s start with the best multi-tools for military reviews.

The Bottom Line

I’ll outline how to choose the best multi-tool for military use in my Buyer’s Guide, with my 3 best multi-tools for military reviewed below.

We spent several weeks reviewing and comparing the 27 of the top multi-tools for military use on the market and ended up covering 3 of our favorite ones in this guide.

Lets begin with our top picks:

How We Picked?

This guide compares our top picks divided into 3 price-ranges for easy browsing (Here is the full list of the 27 products we tested). You can jump between price ranges using the menu below. Finally, there’s a useful buyer’s guide at the bottom of the page that helps explain what to look for when buying a multi-tool for military use.

This buyer’s guide is suited to everyone from budget conscious buyers interested in learning which military watch to buy or what's good about them,  what's missing from each and how best to choose them.

Choose Your Budget

TOP PICKS

RATINGS

Tools

BEST OVERALL

Leatherman OHT Multitool

4.7/5

16

BEST BUDGET

​Gerber MP600 Bladeless

4.0/5

11

BEST EVERY DAY

Leatherman Multitool

3.8/5

19

Best Overall

Since we are staying within a budget, my Best Overall choice takes into account the whole scope of buyer considerations. Price being one of these. Value for money, this model from letherman packs in all the best features you can find in a multi-tool, while maintaining standards of quality and durability.

1

Leatherman OHT Multitool Review

That a Leatherman would win my Best Overall choice probably comes as no surprise. From one of the leaders in the multi-purpose tool industry, we get the Leatherman OHT: a diverse, durable and portable multitool that services military and casual repairmen alike.


Who Should Buy

This is an ideal intermediate choice, for both military and more casual outdoors purposes like hiking, fishing and survivalist missions.

Full Leatherman OHT Multitool Review:

The Leatherman OHT covers all bases, with an incredibly friendly one-hand accessible design. This is so important for military setting when you only have one hand free, but also for more casual settings like fishing (when you’re holding your catch on the line in one hand) and hiking.

The compact design fits easily in your pocket, opening up into spring-action pliers that offer a solid grip and hold. It also includes all the essential military tools like strap cutters, saw and knife blades, oxygen tank wrench, wire cutters, phillips and flathead screwdrivers, and #8-32 brush adapter. What I like about this Leatherman is that the tools are on the outside of the handles, making them easily accessible.

The Leatherman OHT comes with an impressive 25 year guarantee, which gives you an idea of how confident they are in its quality. While this isn’t as cheap as other pocket multitools of its size, the versatility and quality of this Leatherman really bring it up to par with many full-size mutlitools--giving it my Best Overall choice for the money.

  Tech Specs:

  Tools: 16

  Close Length: 4.5 Inches

  Trusted Brand:  Yes

 Special Features: One-hand fully operable multitool

PROS

  • Great versatility
  • Spring-action pliers
  • Tools on the outer edge of handles for easy access and use
  • 25 year guarantee
  • Imprinted location on handles, so that you can feel where each tool is located even in the dark

CONS

  • Some reviewers have mentioned manufacturing issues, such as loose screws and weak blades

Best Budget

As my budget option, you’re not going to find quite the same quality of components here. That being said, SNE have produced a surprising durable military watch for what you’ll pay. With water resistance up to 50m, alarm, 12/24hr readout options and digital stopwatch/timer, it’s about all you could ask for with a watch in this price range.

2

Gerber MP600 Bladeless Review

It’s strange that this would end up being my ‘Budget Choice’, especially when you consider that the Gerber MP600 platform has been a go-to option for the U.S military. What I mean to say is: while this is indeed the most affordable product I’m reviewing, that isn’t to say you’re not getting quality or value for your money. 

Who Should Buy

Those looking for a value all-in-one solution. Quality Pliers with extra tools added as an afterthought.


Full Gerber MP600 Bladeless Review:


Coming in at 5.7 inches closed, the Gerber MP600 bladeless includes 11 tools and a Gerber Lifetime Warranty. What it lacks in style and flash (in my opinion, this is a pretty utilitarian looking multitool), it makes up for in durability and strength. The needle nosed pliers give a powerful grip and the handle for the screwdriver end gives solid control and ease of use. My final winning point for this Gerber MP600, in particular, is that it is a bladeless model. For the frequent travelers out there, this means no hassles going through airport security.

On the downside,  while it is indeed one-hand operable, having the tools on the inside makes them slightly less accessible. This factor, along with some complaints about the wear and tear being more visible on this model than some other multitools out there, are the largest cons to tally.

  Tech Specs:

  Tools: 11

  Cased Length: 5.7 

  Trusted Brand:  Yes

  Special Features: U.S Military tool

PROS

  • Strong and powerful tools
  • Simple, compact design
  • Lifetime Warranty from Gerber
  • TSA approved for easy travel
  • Budget Choice winner

CONS

  • Tools are on the inside of handle, making them slightly more difficult to access with one hand
  • Wear and tear is more noticeable
  • Somewhat bleak, utilitarian aesthetic

3

Leatherman Charge TTI Multitool Review


​The Leatherman Charge TTI has taken some extra care with quality, producing a stunning, simple and versatile multi-tool. 19 tools, 25 year warranty and a perfectly smooth one-hand operable design, this is another top notch product from Leatherman.


Who Should Buy

Another smaller, pocket-carry option from Leatherman, this is perfect for everyday use--from mechanical repairs, to DIY projects and professional purposes. Can also be used for military purposes.

Full Leatherman Charge TTI Multitool Review:

In my opinion, they really should’ve called it the Leatherman Supercharged TTI. This thing is packed with 19 tools, all the while coming in at a compact 5.2 inches when closed. Backed by Leatherman’s 25 year limited warranty, this is a very finely manufactured product.

The Leatherman Charge TTI includes a couple of useful tools missing from the OHT model listed above. Things like small-bit screwdrivers for handling fine operations (or fixing your reading glasses), a crimper for joining metals, and other handy add-ons like a can opener and spring-action scissors. All of the tools are one-hand operable, and the fit is smooth and well-organized for great functionality.

Lastly, the knife blade on this model is sturdier than the average multitool, which is ideal for military and repairs use. 

 Tech Specs:

 Tools: 11

 Closed Length:
5.7 inches

 Trusted Brand: 
Yes

 Special Features:
U.S Military tool

PROS

  • Tight, compact and smooth-operating design
  • Largest versatility on this list with 19 tools
  • Highest Quality blade and features from Leatherman
  • Beautiful design with comfortable handle

CONS

  • Most expensive item on this list

Buyer's Guide

How to choose the best multitool for military use

The best buyer decisions stem from a step-by-step process. Here are the four main stages:

  1. Consider Your Carrying Method
  2. Make a Value Judgement on Versatility;
  3. Opt For Functionality of Design; and
  4. Demand Durability & Quality (trusted brands).

#1 How will you carry it?

The multitool buyer process is really a process of elimination. The first example of this:

Carrying Method.

By narrowing your search to only those products which meet your ideal carrier method, you can cut down your buyer decisions by more than half the market.

Here are the three main methods you’ll see:


Keychain: Keychain multitools are the most mobile option, suited to carrying in your pocket (and attached to your house keys). What you gain in mobility, you sacrifice in versatility and intensity. Naturally, it isn’t possible to fit a pair of heavy-duty pliers on your keychain, so these models tend to stick with basic, small-scale tools like screwdrivers, tape measures, LED lights and more.
Pocket: These are the next size up from keychain models, and are typically shaped as pliers. In the handles, you can find a serious range of versatility in these models--from saw blades to corkscrews.

Belt: Full size multitools are also sometimes referred to as Belt multitools, since that will be the most convenient way to carry them. Particularly for military purposes, working construction, or survivalist needs, these will be your best bet for handling serious conditions.

#2 Make A Value Judgement on Versatility:

The first question will be: What are your most common repairs?

The question itself works as a good thought experiment: if you can’t pin it down on any single activity, that means you probably need a tool with a broader versatility.

If you find yourself nailing it down to just one or two specific jobs, then it’s a good idea to ask yourself how valuable will 14 different tools really be for you? Leading brands often release more task-specific multitools with just two or three additions to the primary tool. Leatherman, for example, has released a multitool specifically designed for servicing firearms and adjusting sights. In more casual settings, you can almost definitely find specialist tools for tasks like bike repair, house repairs and DIY projects which won’t necessarily benefit from being large-scale multitools.

The point is, versatility isn’t everything. Out in the field is when you’re most likely to face challenging circumstances--unforecasted issues that need fixing, but which are difficult to directly prepare for. In such a dynamic environment, the versatility of your multitool will be its saving grace.

Versatility note: More isn’t always better. For example, if you don’t need a knife in your multitool, don’t include one. The blade itself is likely to bend and be of a lower quality than you could find for yourself in a separate blade, and perhaps just as importantly: multitools don’t make for very comfortable knife handles. When you’re cutting away at something at difficult angles or in a hurry, you’ll want a real knife--so steer clear of knife models that add a blade just for the sake of it. Furthermore, by removing the knife from you multitool, you’ll be able to take it with you wherever you go: from commercial flights to secured locations.

#3 Functionality of Design

Multitools necessarily make sacrifices on any single tool’s accessibility and primary function. However, this doesn’t mean that some aren’t worse than others. Structural designs that hinder access to some tools (like blades that lie beneath other superficial tools) can be more than just a hassle--they can be dangerous in high-stress or battlefield scenarios.

You want to find a multitool that allows you to both access and use each tool as if it were being used by itself. This can be a big ask for pocket and keychain-sized models, since they try to save on space by cutting down the mechanisms necessary for true functionality. In some cases, you’ll find pliers in awkward positions, blades tucked away beneath other tools so that you need to have everything sticking out just to cut a loose thread. If you’re looking at a product in store, be sure to test out each tool and see how accessible, functional it is in action.

#4 Demand Durability & Quality


All of the good reasons for carrying a multitool, like convenience, sizing and simplicity, are taken away if it isn’t high quality. With so many moving parts, one point of failure can be a real setback--when one tool breaks or doesn’t function as it should, it can get in the way of other tools and make the entire multitool defective.

My best advice for this issue is to stick with trusted brands: Leatherman, Gerber and Victorinox are all a good start. 

Summing Up

In the end, choosing the best multitool will start with outlining your most common needs. Do you need to carry it with you easily, everyday? Will you be fixing fences, performing specific mechanical repairs, or just taking it with you fishing? Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s a balancing act between price, quality and versatility. Each of the best multitool for military reviews in this post are backed by quality brands and trusted manufacturers. Take a look through my Best Overall, Best Quality and Best Budget picks for inspiration, then take your handyman skills to the next level with the best multitool for your daily needs.

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