Swiss Army Knife vs Multitool: Best All-Around EDC?

Swiss Army Knife vs Multitool

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing an EDC. In this article, I’m going to dive into the Swiss Army Knife vs Multitool debate to compare features, pros, and cons.

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Swiss Army Knife vs Multitool – Which One is better?

A Swiss Army Knife is built mainly as a knife with other items or tools included as accompaniments. On the other hand, multitools are built around the pliers as the main tool with other items included as add-ons.

While the Swiss Army Knife and the Leather Multitool are very functional, the Swiss Army Knife is the better option whether in a rural setting. It has features that are ideal for any camper, angler, hunter, outdoorsman, or someone who loves being in the wilderness.

On the other hand, a multitool can be ideal for someone in more of an urban setting. They are popular with folks in the public service, be it a policeman, a firefighter, or a paramedic. It can also be ideal for a mechanic or a carpenter.

They’re both amazing tools that have stood the test of time, but this article may help you narrow down your selection.

While a Swiss Army Knife to a multi-tool provides a mix of common tools that can help you solve everyday problems both indoors and outdoors, a Swiss Army Knife and a multitool have very different designs.

In essence, they’re designed differently to accomplish almost the same tasks albeit with a few differences here and there. 

That being said, there are several factors that you need to consider when comparing the two and when choosing the one that best suits your needs.

Because there is a wide range of multitools and Swiss Army Knives available on the market, we’ll use the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife and the Leatherman multitool for the sake of our discussion.

Comparing Parts

To compare a Swiss Army Knife and a Leatherman multitool, it’s important to look at each feature within these two tools. Here are some features. 

PartsVictorinox Swiss Army KnifeLeatherman Multitool
Lanyard ringYesYes
Regular bladeYesYes
A pair of pliersYesYes
Phillips head screwdriverYes (2 pieces)Yes
A pair of scissorsYesYes
A folding wood sawYesYes
Flathead screwdriverYesYes
Bottle opener/Can openerYesYes
A pair of tweezersYesNo
A toothpickYesNo
A reamer/punchYesNo
An eyeglass repair toolNoYes
Metal/Wood fileNoYes
Serrated BladeNoYes

Main Features

To understand whether to choose a Swiss Army Knife or a Leatherman multitool, it’s essential to look at the features of various parts, their similarities, and how they differ.

By doing this, you’ll be able to determine which tool best suits your needs.

The Standard Blade/Knife

When it comes to the blades, the Swiss Army Knife is usually easier to sharpen than the Leatherman blade. This is because the Swiss Army Knife has a bigger knife and standard handle, which not only offers a better size but also more leverage when cutting through materials.

Verdict: The Swiss Army Knife has a better knife.


The Leatherman multitool comes with a full set of pliers similar to the one you’d buy down at the store. It’s very sturdy, durable, larger, and can be ideal for heavy chores, which makes it perfect for mechanics.

On the other hand, the pliers on the Swiss Army Knife are very short and are designed with lots of moving parts. The spring is likely to wear out in the future or even break, so it isn’t ideal for heavy chores.

Verdict: The Leatherman multitool has much better pliers.


The Swiss Army Knife comes with a pair of scissors that’s bigger and very springy. This is unlike the Leatherman’s pair of scissors, which is very short and not very springy, therefore, difficult to use.

Verdict: The Swiss Army Knife has a better pair of scissors.


The Swiss Army Knife has two Phillips head screwdrivers and a flathead screwdriver, which also functions as a bottle opener. On the other hand, the Leatherman multi-tool comes with a Phillips head screwdriver and a flathead screwdriver.

But in terms of functionality, the Leatherman’s screwdrivers come out on top thanks to the bulkiness of the multitool, which gives you more leverage when in use.

Verdict: The Leatherman multitool has better screwdrivers and offers better leverage due to its size.

Folding Wood Saw

The Swiss Army Knife has a better wood saw given its length and teeth that are a bit more jagged and rugged than the Leatherman’s wood saw. As such, the Swiss Army Knife comes with a wood saw that is easier and quicker to use.

Verdict: The Swiss Army Knife has a better wood saw and more comfortable (plastic) handle.

Can Opener/Bottle Opener

Both these tools have very excellent can and bottle openers.

Verdict: A draw.

Other Parts

  • Eyeglasses Repair Tool – It’s only available in the Leatherman multitool. This can come in handy if you have loose screws on your eyeglasses.
  • Rulers – These are only available on the Leatherman multitool and can be ideal for construction workers and carpenters, especially when making measurements.
  • Serrated Blade – It’s available only on the Leatherman multitool. It can be ideal for cutting through rope or a piece of cloth. It’s, therefore, ideal for paramedics and can be used to easily cut through clothing when someone is injured.
  • Metal/Wood File – It’s only available on the Leatherman multitool and is ideal for sharpening a knife or filing down wood.
  • Toothpick – It’s only available on the Swiss Army Knife and can be used to remove anything stuck in your teeth. The toothpick is one of the swiss army knifes most popular features!
  • A Pair of Tweezers – They’re only available on the Swiss Army Knife. It can be essential to remove splinters or any sharp object that’s stuck in your hand. Dont understimate these microtools!
  • A Reamer – It’s only available on the Swiss Army Knife. It’s used for enlarging holes in leather or wood.
  • Corkscrew – It’s only available on the Swiss Army Knife and it’s perfect for opening up a bottle of wine or champagne.
  • Lanyard Ring – Available both on the Swiss Army Knife and the Leatherman multitool, it’s the attachment point for both the tools so that you can connect them to your keys or something else.

Size, Grip & Safety

In addition to functionality, it’s important to look at other features such as construction, ergonomics, and prices when choosing the right tool for you. Let’s take a look at these features.

Construction and Weight

Both the Swiss Army Knife and the Leatherman multitool are made of stainless steel, which makes them very durable. But as far as weight is concerned, the Leatherman multitool is heavier than the Swiss Army Knife. 

As such, the Leatherman multitool can weigh you down if you keep it in your pocket and that’s basically why it comes with a leather pouch to help you attach it to your belt.

The Swiss Army Knife is lighter, so you can keep it right in your pocket. It’s very easy to conceal.


The Swiss Army Knife is well-designed and very comfortable in the hand. The edges are finely polished and will feel compact and right at home in your hand or pocket.

On the other hand, the Leatherman multitool is sharper along the edges and has a lot of hot spots (areas that may rub or cause blisters) but that’s expected in almost every multitool.


Safety is often the responsibility of the user. However, the only fault with swiss army knives is that many of the tools do not have a locking mechanism.

Some models of multitools have lock-back mechanisms which prevent an extended tool from closing or collapsing unexpectedly.

Price Ranges

A Swiss Army Knife can cost you between $60 and $200 depending on the model. On the other hand, a Leatherman multitool can cost you between $70 and $250 depending on the model and additional features. 

See Also: Are Expensive Pocket Knives Worth It?

Swiss Army Knife Pros


One of the main advantages of a Swiss Army Knife is its weight. If you want a versatile tool that’s lightweight and doesn’t weigh you down, then this is a great option.

Endless Options

With over 100 different Swiss Army Knife models, you get endless options ranging from smaller to bigger versions. You can rest assured that there will always be a Swiss Army Knife that suits your needs.

The practical uses of a Swiss Army Knife are endless. From the screwdriver, knife, corkscrew, pliers, to scissors, you get a whole load of tools that you can use regularly in your everyday life.

Swiss Army Knife Cons

No One-Handed Opening Feature

While multitools include one-handed opening as one of the main features, the Swiss Army Knife does not. This means that you have to use both your hands to open and close any of the tools.

No Pocket Clip

Unlike the Leatherman multitool, the Swiss Army Knife doesn’t come with a pouch or pocket clip, so you have to always keep it in your pocket.

No Locking Features

The Swiss Army Knife doesn’t have the locking feature for every tool. This makes it less safe than the Leatherman multitool.

Leatherman Multitool Pros

Locking Blades

Most multitools including the Leatherman multitool are designed with locking features. This means that each tool is locked in place to make it safer.

Leather Pouch and Pocket Clip

In addition to the leather pouch, most multitools come with pocket clips to make it a lot easier to carry either by clipping it on your pocket or belt.

One-Handed Opening

Multitools are designed in such a way that you can access each tool with one hand. You can open each with just a thumb.

Heavy-Duty Pliers

This is, without a doubt, the main feature of a multitool. It’s what makes it quite different from a Swiss Army Knife. In fact, they are large and strong and can also be used as wire cutters.

Leatherman Multitool Cons


Multitools are generally built around pliers, which make them bulky and can weigh you down easily.


Multitools are designed with lots of moving parts so they’ll need regular maintenance to function perfectly. There’s also the likelihood that the moving parts may fail in the future.

See Also: Can You Clean a Pocketknife With Rubbing Alcohol?


I hope this article helped you determine the pros and cons of each of these timeless tools.

For me personally, I prefer the swiss army knife due to its compact size, and features intended for more of a rural & outdoor setting.

With that being said, I always have a multitool in the glove compartment of my truck!

Thanks for reading.

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