Multi-tool knock offs?

Posted by: MDinana

Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/08/07 10:53 PM

Does anyone know of any decent-quality inexpensive multi-tools? I'm going to put one in my 72 hr bag, and can't justify dropping $40 or more for a Leatherman, SOG, or Gerber that'll hopefully never get used.

Posted by: billym

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/08/07 11:25 PM

I would stay with the name brands. Buy the least expensive model but go with Leatherman, Vic, Gerber or SOG.
I have an original Leathermen Supertool and it is worth every penny. I don't EDC it or even use it much but it does come in handy.
A lot of the cheaper brands are of much lower quality. I saw one the other day that BCB sells; it was so dull I ran the edge of the blade across my palm. It was way too dull to even leave a scratch.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/08/07 11:30 PM

Re MDinana

You might wan't to have a look at the Columbia Sportswear Pocket Pliers - Multi Tool for $17.95

A recently got one in the UK about 7.99, even the ballistic nylon case is worth around half the price so it was a reasonable deal. Its not as good a Leatherman Core I have but it sort of ticks all the right boxes. Just what I think you are looking for. The Knife blade is apparently 440C steel - it does seem to also hold a reasonable edge like the Leatherman Core. It also states that the pliers are also 440C steel. The only downside is you have to be careful when folding the tools in and out of the handles. It certainly isn't as refined as the Leatherman but it appears to be quite a durable and tough little tool.

By the way the handles are not composite they are made from steel covered in a composite/nylon.


The reason I bought a second Multi-tool was that one of the tips of the needle nose pliers on the Leatherman Core snapped off whilst attempting to pry something. Wasn't best pleased. I was expecting the Leatherman Core to be a bit tougher considering that Leatherman claim the model to be their toughest. The steel in the Leatherman core seemed brittle and hard but not tough (in the truest material sense). The pliers are now not needle nose bust just ordinary pliers after snapping of the other tip (carefully with a Vice) and filling the ends down. Please don't think this is again a rant against an otherwise fine US made product. It is just what has happened.
So when I go prying things again I'll think I'll just use the 8 piece of Junk. It hasn't broken so far and if it does I won't be too bothered.

Posted by: 11BINF

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/09/07 12:45 AM

i agree with some of the above posts...stick with a brand name and buy the very best you can.....kit failure in the field when you need it the most is not an option...even the most mundane items of kit from tent pegs to bandaids always buy the best.....vince g. 11b inf..
Posted by: DrmstrSpoodle

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/09/07 01:44 AM

Keep looking through all the big box stores until a brand name multi-tool is sold on clearance price. I once saw a $60 multitool, a Leatherman, I think, sell for half price plus tax at Target. I also once bought a Victorinox Camper/LED light combo for $6. The longer no one buys the multitool, the more the price gets slashed during the clearance. It would be in your best interest, IMHO, to bite the bullet and fork over a few extra bucks for a quality tool, even if it's not on sale. God forbid if you find yourself in a bad way and you find the knock-off multitool you just bought is worth nothing more than a paperweight...
Posted by: ironraven

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/09/07 01:56 AM

Hit the used market- eBay has a lot of used ones, not all TSA tainted.
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/09/07 03:25 AM

I see a lot of junk that mimics the name-brand multitools. They are a failure/injury waiting to happen. If you ask me, the general rule is "avoid them."

You'd be better off to pack some 5" Vise-Grips (with wire cutters) or 8" needle-nose pliers, along with a multi-bit screwdriver and a sturdy folding knife. That way, you can save money and have gear that won't fail in a tight spot.

Posted by: alvacado

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/09/07 05:00 AM

While I agree that you need to purchase a reasonably "good" tool, I do not agree that ONLY the name brands are "good" tools. I spent several decades in manufacturing in the US, Europe, and the Far East and know for a fact that virtually all the "Brands" are manufactured on the same lines as dozens of other non-brands and the machines that make them have no choice but to make the IDENTICAL product every time. Very few brands own their own manufacturing facilities. I just replaced my EDC Leatherman Micra with a Tool the same size that has an excellent saw. This tool is at least as well made as the Micra and retailed for $4.95 in the Walmart fishing department.
Posted by: redflare

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/09/07 08:49 AM

Coghlan's make resonably decent quality multi tools and swiss army type knives.
Posted by: norad45

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/09/07 01:28 PM

I recently had the opposite experience. I tried to take the handle off my Becker with a Leatherman Squirt knockoff (Cabelas brand). The screwdriver twisted like a corkscrew before slipping off the screw head entirely. I got the real Squirt out and it came right off. I'd say go ahead and use a knockoff if you want but make sure you test it first to make sure it holds up, because obviously some are better than others.
Posted by: Tom_L

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/09/07 06:15 PM

Same here. I bought a Leatherman knockoff once that looked pretty good and was not even that cheap. It was a huge disappointment. The jaws actually twisted as soon as I tried to cut some 16ga wire. The knife blade was way too soft to hold a decent edge. The scissors seemed ok but the spring broke very quickly and the scissor blades got out of alignment. The screwdriver attachment worked a little bit better (it had different replacement screwdriver bits), but only for really light duty work. I bought a Leatherman Wave a few weeks later and it was the best investment in "survival" gear I made in a long time. smile
Posted by: raydarkhorse

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/09/07 06:17 PM

one of the guy's that work's for me was using an off brand multi tool when it broke and left him with a bloody hand. keep to the better known brands.
Posted by: jmarkantes

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/09/07 08:57 PM

Forgive my repetition for those who have heard me mention this a few times, but:
"If you can't afford the best, you can't afford to replace broken second hand gear."

I'm a big fan of getting the best tool/gear/gadget right off the bat, and getting the most use out of it for a long time. I've been a dirtbag kayaker for a while and prefer to save money for beer and gas. And not spending it on several broken tools in a year, even when (which is always) I have to scrape funds to pull it together.

That said, I'm also a fan of getting good USED stuff. Or closeouts from manufacturers that I may not know well, but they exist enough to do some research on them and find out more about their gear.

If I can't find out some info on a company, I'll pass even if it's super cheap.

Posted by: clearwater

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/09/07 11:33 PM

I bought several vise grip brand multitools from smokeymtnknives.
Real needle nose vise grips with schrade knife, saw, screwdrivers
can opener etc for $10 each. Too heavy to carry in your pocket,
but just the thing for car, kitchen etc. I gave a batch away
when traveling overseas. Very rust proof.
Posted by: Doug_Ritter

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/10/07 04:03 AM

While that may well be true in many areas, that isn't the case here. Leatherman and Victorinox produce all their tools in their own factories and don't sub-contract for anyone. Gerber produce their full size USA-made tools in their own factory.
Posted by: ducktapeguy

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/10/07 04:15 AM

I know exactly how you feel. It's hard to justify spending $20, $40, or $100 for an important piece of gear that will most likely (if you're lucky) never get used. I feel like it's a waste of money to have a good quality tool sitting in a closet. However, like everyone else mentioned, when you need to use it, that's not the time to find out that your multi-tool isn't up to the job.

What I do now, is whenever I buy some new piece of gear, I relegate my old gear to the emergency bag. That way, I know that I can count of it when the times comes, plus as an added bonus, I get to buy new toys. In your case, if you don't have an immediate need for a multitool, just keep waiting for items to go on sales, you will eventually find something that suits your purpose. For example, I found new SOG Powerlock S60 multitools, normal price $90+, for only $20. I also bought a bunch of leatherman kicks when they went on sale for $9 at Walmart, so I've been able to keep one in every car without breaking the bank. New versions of tools come out every year, and when they do, the older (but still functional) styles are usually sold off at big discount. I regularly see used name brand multitools going for $20-$25 when people get tired of them. This pretty much applies to almost everything I buy, so keep your eye open, you will eventually find what you want.

Oh yeah, regarding the knock-offs. While name brand usually is a good indicator of quality, that's not to say all no name tools are crap. A lot of them are, though, and it takes some experience to be able to tell which ones are good.

Edit: I also forgot to mention that there are other options other than multi-tools. Unless you absolutely want a multi-tool, you can always carry a separate knife, pliers and screwdrivers. You can probably get decent quality tools that individually perform much better than most multi-tools for much less money. It's not as nice and compact, or as fun to play with, but it works.
Posted by: X-ray Dave

Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/10/07 08:53 PM

Try Their prices are good and sales are even better.

Posted by: MDinana

UPDATE Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/16/07 02:52 AM

Just arrived: SOG Powerlock, from ebay, $37, inc. S/H. Big, heavy, but hopefully sturdy enough to get the job done.

Thanks for the info.

I might keep my eye out towards the end of the month; I'll be on a Navy base with a large exchange. Wonder what the Wave is going for there?
Posted by: dougwalkabout

UPDATE Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/16/07 10:30 PM

The pliers on the SOG Powerlock are very strong -- possibly the best ones out there. The blade and saw are a bit light, but are fine for backup use. Overall, a good choice. I've gravitated to the Leathermans mostly, but never regretted having my Powerlock on my belt.
Posted by: JRR

UPDATE Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/21/07 03:11 AM

I have a Winchester that I really like. I wouldn't bet my life on the pliers, but the knife blades, saw, etc seem to be of pretty decent quality. It also has a set of small sockets that attach to a socket wrench and the whole thing fits into a standard multitool sheath. IF the pliers were a bit stronger, I'd rate it right up there with the better name brands.
Posted by: wildman800

UPDATE Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/21/07 12:08 PM

You're right about the pliers, mine lasted a very short time before the pliers broke. I was very disappointed in this product that had the Winchester name on it!

It was probably designed by Sarah Winchester's ghost through a surrogate as she is still tryng to make up for her sins. She doesn't want to make anything even semi-lethal or workable.
Posted by: buckeye

Re: UPDATE Re: Multi-tool knock offs? - 04/24/07 01:11 AM

I had a bad experience also. Received the Winchester tool in a Christmas exchange. The second time I went to use it, it started falling apart -- a small screw had fallen out. Pitched it on the spot.