Sometime in not-so-ancient history, someone looked at a lanyard and wondered if they could fit an entire toolbox on a keychain.
…A little over-ambitious right?
Well, not long after, the first tool-related miracle occurred.
Out of one nonconforming thought, a new category of multi-tools was birthed. And thus began the advent of the little laborers we would eventually come to know as keychain multi-tools.
Forget card tricks and floating mid-air, keychain multi-tools are probably history’s most impressive adaptation of the disappearing act. And you have to admit, anything that shrinks the contents of a full-sized tool-belt or box, into its pocket-size equivalent is nothing short of supernatural.
Humorous references aside, keychain multi-tools are remarkable. Over time, they have gained far more popularity than the credit card multi-tool and sog multi-tool. This is because, they are easily the perfect blend of practicality and convenience, lending a helping hand to men and women across the globe in miniature doses; because…well, we can’t all lug our 40 lbs toolboxes around even if we would very much like to.
What is a Keychain Multi-tool?
We should have probably led with its definition, but where’s the fun in that?
The idea of keychain multi-tools comes from the original multi-tool design which essentially consists of general-purpose, pocket-size tools. Keychain multi-tools are basically multi-tools with a keychain attached to them – or vice versa.
The distinguishing factor between keychain multi-tools and their counterparts is probably the fact that the tools are shrunk to the size of your keychain, and your keys can sit beside the tools on the key ring with no trouble at all. This way, you do not only have the convenience of miniature tools within your reach at any time, they can actually glide right into your pocket without drawing attention.
Who Needs a Keychain Multi-tool?
Keychain multi-tools are a basic human necessity.
Fine, they may not be as basic as air, and we certainly cannot recommend that you buy one for a child, but a keychain multi-tool might be the difference between being in a sticky situation and always having a solution to every hiccup. And if you ever saw a self-defense keychain in use, you’ll most certainly agree.
Our expert advice is this – as long as your right hand can reach over your head and touch the tip of your left ear (and you should unless you are 7 years old or very, very short-limbed) then you are most certainly qualified for a keychain multi-tool.
Qualities That The Best Keychain Multi-tools Usually Have In Common
Finding the best keychain multi-tool isn’t likely to occur by mere coincidence. While one great strategy is to examine the tool for the features it has to offer and weigh them against your lifestyle; However, there are a few other elements must be taken into great consideration before making a decision.
A Known Brand Name:
Set your sights on the very best.
It is somewhat true that brand-names are sometimes an excuse to rip-off unknowing customers, but when it comes to devices or tools (in this case), you will be doing yourself a world of good by choosing a product from a manufacturer who knows their onions.
Not only will this guarantee that you make a well-informed choice based on other customer reports and reviews, you actually have a chance to challenge the seller’s integrity or threaten their popularity if you aren’t satisfied with your purchase.
Here’s a shopping tip that will save you many-a-night of stewing in buyer’s remorse; do not buy anything from anyone who has nothing to lose.
Never mind, you can thank us later.
It is one thing to have a ‘pliers/knife/nail file /every-tool-imaginable’ multi-tool, but it is another thing to actually have a use for it.
The biggest temptation most keychain multi-tool shoppers have is the temptation to buy something they do not need because it seems like a great concept.
Don’t just buy something because it is cool. Resist the burning urge to send your hard-earned money down the drain.
Other than having useful features, each function on your keychain multi-tool must also be easily accessible. Like the Victorinox Swisscard. Ensure that each collapsible function doesn’t require a struggle to be deployed. What is the point of having a tool in case of emergencies if accessing the tool proves to be an emergency of its own?
Rest assured, the overall quality of your keychain multi-tool will only be as top-notch as the materials it consists of. Similarly, its construction will determine durability, functionality and overall strength.
In this light, consider sturdily built keychain tools made of stainless steel. Not only are they the most reliable option in terms of strength and rust-resistance, they make maintenance a breeze; and unless you like the idea of rusty, flimsy multi-tools, stainless steel is almost always the best choice.
Very few people seriously consider the implication of the size of their keychain multi-tool. It must be perfectly clear that your keychain multi-tool should be small enough to slide in with your keys on your key ring; or at least, small enough to fit on just about any keychain at all. Anything short of this will mean that the purpose of its being regarded as a ‘keychain multi-tool’ is defeated. Not to mention, it might weigh you down rather than be a convenience.
A Great Guarantee:
The longer a product’s warranty, the less likely it is of breaking down too easily.
Nobody likes to ask for their money back – it’s exhausting, often involves a lot of paperwork and may involve screaming. This notwithstanding, manufacturers are not in the habit of doling out lifetime warranties if they aren’t very certain of the products that their offering. Rather than risk losing the money they are trying to make, they’ll toss you cheap-skate offers with absolutely no chance of a return policy.
Want to find the best keychain multi-tools? Well, look for tools with the best warranty arrangements.
How to Choose the Best Keychain Multi-tool
Like with any other merchandise, choosing the best keychain multi-tool might leave you confused and a tad spoilt for choice. How about we walk you through two considerations before you make your choice?
What Do You Need?
If your keychain multi-tool must serve any meaningful purpose, it must suit your lifestyle. You do consider yourself a D-I-Y’er? Would you rather face the malfunctioning garbage disposal head-on or do you dread the singular thought of changing a light bulb? The answers to these questions will determine what your choice for a keychain multi-tool is.
People who consider themselves handy may be far more demanding in the features that their final choice has. Ultimately, the idea is to ensure that your keychain multi-tool is neither lacking in the features that you need, or functions that will be rendered obsolete because you have no use for them.
How Will You Be Carrying?
Whether you would like to swing it around on a key ring or stash it in a bag/pocket will also influence your final choice.
While you might get away with some adventurous options if you are choosing to carry your keychain exclusively in your hand or stash it in a bag, the same may not be said if you would rather put it in a pocket where its profile would be obvious. Plus, keychain tools with sharp edges will not be very merciful to the inside of your clothing or your skin; you certainly don’t want to be poked and prodded by your own multi-tool.
The Best Keychain Multi-tools
In order to provide a complete and balanced insight into the best keychain multi-tools, we have spent a significant amount of time investigating the most popular options; Here is what we found –
Gerber Shard Stainless Steel Keychain
[amazon fields=”B002ZK45IQ” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Gerber Shard Stainless Steel Keychain”]
When we think of multi-tools, we often imagine a device enveloped in folding joints, retractable parts, and collapsible features. The Gerber Shard stainless steel keychain caught our attention by first, obliterating that stereotype.
But other than being a multi-tool that looks nothing like you would expect, the [amazon link=”B002ZK45IQ” title=”Gerber Shard” /] is a standard multi-functional, keychain-sized tool. It is dubbed ‘the little-devil’ for its unique single-form design which is coated in titanium nitride and delivers 7 essential features that will make your life just a little easier; bottle opener, small-sized pry bar, wire strippers, cross driver, lanyard and one Phillips screwdriver plus two flat heads. Overall, the Shard will get the job done without the hassle of deployment.
Plus, it isn’t intimidating and is popular for being a great travel companion because of its airline-complaint construction. And at barely 1-ounce, you won’t even notice it is there until it is time to crack open a bottle of wine or can of paint. That is, after all, the beauty of a multi-tool.
- Unique single-body design
- Ease of deployment
- Airline safe
- Lightweight & portable with a rust-resistant coating
[amazon box=”B002ZK45IQ” template=”horizontal”]
Leatherman –Style CS Multi-tool
[amazon fields=”B0032XVNMQ” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Leatherman –Style CS Multi-tool”]
The Leatherman-style CS multi-tool is, as its manufacturers so delicately put it, ‘ready for anything’.
We would completely agree if it wasn’t for the tool’s long and somewhat awkward construction that makes it anything but ready to be put in a pocket. Beyond that, however, there is no question of its ‘readiness’ to perform.
This keychain multi-tool is basically the sporty and somewhat miniature version [amazon link=”B0032XVNMQ” title=”Leatherman Squirt PS4″ /] – which is just as popular as the Leatherman Tread bracelet. But unlike most of the competition, its design includes a handy carabiner for your belt loop or backpack. It is accompanied by 7 other functions including a knife, scissors, tweezers, bottle opener, nail file and screwdrivers, mostly suggesting that the tool was made with the light-traveler or hiker in mind. While its design is conspicuously missing pliers, this also translates to a significant weight difference compared to its counterparts – and if you think about it, pliers aren’t considered a bare necessity when you are constantly on the move.
- A unique nylon scale which is glass filled
- A much-needed carabiner
[amazon box=”B0032XVNMQ” template=”horizontal”]
Victorinox Swiss Army Rambler Pocket Knife
[amazon fields=”B000FNFXQS” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Victorinox Swiss Army Rambler Pocket Knife”]
Anyone with some insight into the multi-tool market will admit that it is considerably difficult not to develop a weakness for [amazon link=”B000FNFXQS” title=”Victorinox” /]. Their bolstering lifetime guarantee aside, there is something about having a touch of Swiss workmanship that simply puts a stamp of superiority on your multi-tool. I mean, look at this bad boy…
The Victorinox Swiss Army is essentially a 10-function sleek multi-tool, made from stainless steel and doused in elegant red, ABS scales. It consists of a simple knife, a versatile bottle opener, screwdrivers as well as grooming scissors and a toothpick that, if you ask us, you can do without. But leave it to Victorinox to offer features that might be superfluous but no doubt, unique. Its features notwithstanding, the focus of every multi-tool owner is to have a device that comes in handy when called upon, and so far, the Army Rambler has not disappointed anyone we know.
- Includes a Phillips screwdriver with magnetic features
- Sturdy, reliable workmanship
- Sleek, rust-resistant design
[amazon box=”B000FNFXQS” template=”horizontal”]
Gerber Dime Multi-Tool Black
[amazon fields=”B006M9NIDO” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Gerber Dime Multi-Tool Black”]
There are a few reasons why the [amazon link=”B006M9NIDO” title=”Gerber Dime” /] thrives in spite of its stiff competition – for one, it is black. And in a world full of grey colored stainless steel tools and those somewhat generic cherry colored pocket knives (yes, we know you have one), black is a breath of fresh air.
Easily one of the most endearing aspects of this tool is the fact that it provides features similar to one of the most sought-after Leatherman tools, at a significantly lower price. And at only 2.2 oz, its 10 functions are truly impressive; that is, despite being nearly 3 inches long and almost impossible to fit in a stuffed pocket. Overall, you can’t do any better than the Gerber Dime if you are looking to find something with which to tackle a few quick-and-dirty fixes around your home or office; unfortunately, we can’t speak of its durability in the same light. But you can be assured you will have a great time with this baby while it lasts.
- Ergonomic design and clean construction
- Budget price
- Lightweight; at only 2.2oz with 10 functions
[amazon box=”B006M9NIDO” template=”horizontal”]
Nite-Ize Doohickey Key Tool Keychain
[amazon fields=”B00FIX126K” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Nite-Ize Doohickey Key Tool Keychain”]
Far too many people use the word ‘doohickey’ in a bid to describe something small and handy. Rather than go through the trouble of giving their product a name you probably won’t remember [amazon link=”B00FIX126K” title=”Nite-Ize” /] decided to save us all the trouble of blubbering and stuttering. By simply calling this keychain ‘the doohickey’, Nite-Ize completely seized our attention – and probably yours too
Like the Gerber Shard Stainless Steel Keychain, the Nite-Ize doohickey is a single-form constructed key tool with a slew of helpful features and a lightweight form that makes it almost hidden in plain sight. Unlike the Gerber Shard, however, this key tool is accompanied by a built-in clip, which like a carabiner allows it to be easily attached to, just about anything. Between being sleek and handy, the doohickey easily makes up for the conspicuous absence of a conventional knife or scissors. Oh, and did we mention it is TSA compliant?
- Accompanying carabiner
- TSA friendly
- Single-body design
[amazon box=”B00FIX126K” template=”horizontal”]
Swiss+Tech ST53100 Polished SS Micro-pocket Multi-tool
[amazon fields=”B001AY2WLU” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Swiss+Tech ST53100 Polished SS Micro-pocket Multi-tool”]
In many ways, this Swiss Tech multi-tool is an idyllic representation of what every keychain multi-tool should be. It can alternate seamlessly between being used for auto repair, to repairing/tweaking hunting and camping equipment. As far as being a multi-tool goes, this bad-boy already has everything down.
Between its construction and generous inclusions, this tool is nowhere near as lightweight as its counterparts, but what it lacks in portability, it makes up for in multi-functionality with 10 features including two hex wrenches and a tiny hand drill. Its tools notwithstanding, Swiss Tech ST53100 isn’t heavy. It might feel a little like a chunky key fob, but it weighs only 3.2 oz, and can always be gotten out of the way thanks to its detachable feature.
- Includes two wrenches and a small hand drill
- Sturdy but lightweight design
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
[amazon box=”B001AY2WLU” template=”horizontal”]
Swiss Tech ST66676 Polished SS Utility Key Multi-tool for Keychain
[amazon fields=”B0001EFSTI” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Swiss Tech ST66676 Polished SS Utility Key Multi-tool for Keychain”]
So, you have a mild but expertly disguised OCD, and you secretly want your key collection to look as identical as possible – well, we found the perfect guy for you.
This [amazon link=”B0001EFSTI” title=”Swiss Tech multi-tool” /] is dubbed the ‘utility-key’ for obvious reasons. It is designed in the profile of the standard key but actually opens up to reveal 6 functions including a screwdriver, bottle opener, flat head, Philips and a unique miniature mash-up of a serrated and straight knife blade. It is pretty basic, but provides good leverage for typical just-in-case scenarios; at a mere 0.8 oz, you might have a hard time convincing people that you are lugging around 6 handy tools.
- Blends right into the bunch (of keys)
- Can easily slide off the key ring
- Lightweight and sleek construction
[amazon box=”B0001EFSTI” template=”horizontal”]
Leatherman – Micra Keychain Size
[amazon fields=”B0007UQ1B0″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Leatherman – Micra Keychain Size”]
For a tool of its size, the [amazon link=”B0007UQ1B0″ title=”Leatherman Micra” /] packs a small but impressive punch. We are talking more than 10 tools on a 2.5-inch surface area that still weighs under 4 oz; now that is the kind of EDC versatility that makes you want to buy one for everyone you know. Imagine the look on their face when they see a 4 oz tool morph into this manufacturing genius;
The Micra is basically a miniature version of the original classic Leatherman with a knife, bottle opener, screwdrivers, file, nail file and a few other features that collapse into the 4-ounce key-sized tool. It certainly costs a little more than a few of the other alternatives, but with a 25-year warranty and the gentle assurance of buying from a well-known brand..well, we all know it is well worth the cost.
- Long term warranty
- Includes 10 tools ( a few more if you are willing to get creative)
[amazon box=”B0007UQ1B0″ template=”horizontal”]
True Utility Firestash Lighter Multi-tool
[amazon fields=”B007IOHPQS” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”True Utility Firestash Lighter Multi-tool”]
As if choosing from a robust pool of the best keychain multi-tools wasn’t already hard enough, these guys decided to give us a little something extra to consider; a keychain tool with fire making abilities. How do you even compete with that?
If you are in the habit of forgetting the lighter or matchbox, the [amazon link=”B007IOHPQS” title=”True Utility Firestash Lighter” /] will save you a world of trouble. Simply snag one of our other multi-tool recommendations and double up with the Firestash for good measure. And unlike most lighters that are basically useless when they run out of lighter fluid, it is reusable and is waterproof packaging doubles as a cash stow-away. Good luck convincing yourself that you don’t need one of these.
- Portable, waterproof multifunctional packaging
- Reusable unlike other lighters
- It makes fire – come on!
[amazon box=”B007IOHPQS” template=”horizontal”]
Reducivist Ringtool Black
[amazon fields=”B01KIPF2J0″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Reducivist Ringtool Black”]
We end our line-up with one of the more unconventional keychain multi-tool options. Heads up: if you choose this piece, prepare to have more than a few people ask you ‘what is that?’
The [amazon link=”B01KIPF2J0″ title=”Reducivist Ringtool Black” /] was clearly designed with a unique audience in mind. It certainly doesn’t disqualify it from regular use, but you have to wonder if it is every day that one needs a torxhead T25 driver or Hex bits. It makes a great bottle opener no doubt, but unless you have some serious auto or electric repair inclination, most of its tools are rather complex; not that you will find another Phillips screwdriver quite as sturdy as the one on the Reducivist Ringtool…
No, no, we’re are just keeping your options wide open.
- Single body construction
- Unique functions including the Torxhead T25 driver and varying size wrench heads
- Sturdy construction
[amazon box=”B01KIPF2J0″ template=”horizontal”]
Tempted as we are to conclude this round-up by saying; ‘this is an all-inclusive list of the best keychain multi-tools’, we really cannot make a definitive judgment. The market is constantly changing, and our needs are all unique.
That said, our list has something for everyone; from the auto-head who needs a little help ([amazon link=”B01KIPF2J0″ title=”Reducivist Ringtool Black” /]) to the camper who wants to cut, pry-open, fasten and maybe set something on fire ( [amazon link=”B002ZK45IQ” title=”Gerber Shard Stainless Steel Keychain” /], [amazon link=”B000FNFXQS” title=”Victorinox Swiss Army Rambler Pocket Knife” /] and of course, [amazon link=”B007IOHPQS” title=”Victorinox Swiss Army Rambler Pocket Knife” /] ).
Whatever your situation, there is a keychain multi-tool for you out there; it is probably just waiting to be called upon to fill the position of your trusty sidekick. You only have to answer the question – what do you need?