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Review of the Small Multitool 4561

Global Moderator Point Of No Return Posts: 36,546
Review of the Small Multitool
« on: July 13, 2013, 02:02:31 AM »
The Small Multitool. written by zoidberg

Every day I carry around a wallet, phone and keys. With the keys on the keyring, I have a flashlight and a small sized multitool. Don't be fooled by the appearance of these little guys, for there is more to them than one might expect. We'll look at a Kovea branded tool, a couple generations of the SOG CrossCut and a few different models from Leatherman: Micra, Squirt PS4 and Style CS. This review will offer a written and visual comparison, aimed to help you choose the right small sized multitool for you.

Lets begin with their primary functions. First are the pliers. PS4 on the left, longer wire cutters, fine teeth that meet at the points. Kovea on the right, handle tapered on one side, rounder nut gripping area, longer needle nose, fine teeth that interlock at the points. Unfortunately, during a cleaning session I managed to launch the Kovea plier spring into orbit. Otherwise it too would have spring action just like the other multitools.

Both of these tools have micro scissors. On the PS4 they are outside accessible. You open a handle to locate them on the Kovea, left open this provides an extended handle that helps with control. While the Kovea scissors are thinner and don't extend as far, the cutting length and performance is identical to that of the PS4.

The second group are the scissor based tools. On the left is the Micra, handles taper from both sides. In the middle is the CS, slightly thicker scissor blades, very good handle ergonomics. On the right is the CrossCut, longer scissor blades, gear driven compound leverage.

Onto the secondary selection. Left to right, are the blades. Kovea, the only factory v-ground edge, long safe handle, slightly shorter cutting length. Micra, I have modified the factory chisel to a v-grind, long safe handle. The CS and PS4 have identical shaped blades, both outside accessible and with the chisel grind. The PS4 is easier to deploy because of the nail mark placement. The handles can't be extended due to the blades being mounted at the pivoting end. CrossCut, chisel grind, same cutting length as the Leatherman blades. The handles must remain closed when using the blade as the gear system places the scissors in a dangerous position.

Then we have the screwdrivers. Kovea, extra small flat, small flat, small 3d phillips. Micra, extra small flat, small flat/small 2d phillips, medium flat. CS, small flat/small 2d phillips. PS4, extra small flat/small 2d phillips, medium flat. CrossCut, extra small flat, medium flat.

The next items go somewhat hand in hand, attachment rings and bottle openers. Drinking is serious business and these two must work as a team. Kovea, ring doubles as a lock for the handles, right next to the opener, the handles need to be left open for it to reach. Micra, location is not much better, opener works well. CS, the carabiner gate doubles as an interesting bottle opener and works better if removed from the keyring. PS4, good ring position, outside accessible, smallest opener but it does work. CrossCut, similar location to the Micra however the opener itself doesn't function well.

Keeping it manicured. Kovea, nail file and cleaner. Micra, nail file and cleaner, narrow flat tweezers that work very well. CS, outside accessible nail file and removable small slant tweezers. PS4, wood/metal file. CrossCut v1.0, nail file and cleaner, well made slant tweezers. Crosscut v2.0, nail file and cleaner, poorly made wide flat tweezers.

The after dinner mints. The Kovea has a small awl. The Micra has ruler markings in both inch and cm. The CrossCut has ruler markings in both inch and cm and it has a toothpick.

I recommend making a short list in order of tools required. Then go over the notes and pictures to narrow the choices down. Finally deciding on the one that will best suit your style of living. To finish off, I'll leave you with some observations for each tool and pictures comparing their size.

Kovea. Low price, nice pliers. Lanyard ring unlocks handles, short reach screwdrivers.
Micra. High quality tool, tapered handles reduce scissor snag. Older style, chisel ground blade.
CS. Handle ergonomics, carabiner. Nail mark location on blade, minimal tools.
PS4. Outside accessible tools, opens bottles without hassle. No tweezers, handle scales wear easily.
Crosscut v1.0. Quality tweezers, nice long scissors. No phillips driver, poorly shaped bottle opener.
Crosscut v2.0. Uses comfortable torx fasteners, gear driven compound leverage. Poorly made tweezers, gears can be uncomfortable on the hand.

Length: CS, Kovea, Micra, CrossCut 1.0, CrossCut 2.0, PS4.

Width: Crosscut 1.0, CrossCut 2.0, Kovea, CS, PS4, Micra.

Height: PS4, Kovea, CrossCut 1.0, CrossCut 2.0, Micra, CS.

Newbie Posts: 5
Re: Review of the Small Multitool
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2017, 05:10:53 PM »
I'm a fan of the micra. Very useful in a small package and the blade is super sharp.
Newbie Posts: 5
Re: Review of the Small Multitool
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2017, 05:12:03 PM »
I got my wife the CS and she loves that one.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 17,517 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Review of the Small Multitool
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2017, 06:32:17 PM »
I can't believe nobody responded to this thread for 4 years  :ahhh

I'll have a good read through this, and come back with my thoughts soon  :cheers:

The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 17,517 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Review of the Small Multitool
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2017, 07:29:22 PM »
Nice overview zoidie  :cheers:

The main choice for people wanting to add a keychain multitool are whether to go knife based, pliers based, or scissors based. Personally I like to have pliers and scissors, and my current choice, and what has been on my keyring since they first came out, is the Gerber Dime. Much has been said about the dime in terms of sub-par quality, but mine has done everything I have asked of it, with no damage or significant failure. There are however some things that I'm not enamoured with. The nail file is essentially cosmetic, and of no real functional benefit. The scissors are LEFT HANDED and as such need using with thought as to how the forces apply for best cutting action. Despite being essentially the same design as the ones on the Squirt series, the spring on mine hasn't crapped out the same way the LMs have done on me - repeatedly. The backsprings on the pliers aren't as well supported on the Dime as with the P4/PS4, and so must be considered lighter duty.

I have had significant quality issue of the LMs too. Knife blades that collide with the scales on closing, damaging the edge. Bald spots on the files, loose peening, and of course the self destructing scissor spring mentioned above, I haven't received so far ANY keyring tools from LM which I would say were well made, or had quality in accordance with the price. My 30th Anniversary Micra for example, has an atrociously sloppy scissor pivot, and despite being a commemorative anniversary addition, I will have to take a hammer and punch to this myself if I wanted to put it to work.

All these things will depend on the users own needs as to whether they will be acceptable or unacceptable. I also have to say that I haven't found any keychain tools whose scissors are better than a mini Swiss knife. The knives take some beating too, but the one on the Dime does come close, and is a very strong and capable design for it's diminutive size. However, the small Swiss knives do not offer pliers, and there is simply not enough space on a pocket carried keychain for a Swiss knife and one of the pliers multitools - with the exception of possibly the Style PS. I have therefore been considering modifying the tool set on the PS to compliment those on a Manager or PTC/Evo88 so they can be carried together. This project is still very much on the drawing board though.

The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
No Life Club Posts: 1,209
Re: Review of the Small Multitool
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2017, 07:30:25 AM »
Great review/overview :tu:
I also can't believe it didn't get a response for four years :ahhh

In my opinion, the PS4 is kind of the perfect tool to carry if you're only carrying one small key-chain tool.  It really covers all of the bases for someone like me who doesn't need a tool for his work but often ends up doing small repairs when out and about. I have several and while the scissors spring is definitely defective (perhaps they have fixed this issue on the new ones but I can't attest to that) I've been able to get by without the spring when cutting a fingernail or a thread or a zip-tie.

But since I rarely leave the house without some sort of SAK in my pocket, I have come to appreciate the SOG CrossGrip. The pliers on the CrossGrip, while not up to the tasks that a Juice or a Minitool could handle, are surprisingly capable. With the handles splayed wide and using two hands you can grasp things nearly an inch in size. If you have a glove or some sort of cushion you can apply quite a serious amount of gripping force. Yes it can be a bit awkward given the above two constraints but I would rather be able to handle a task in an awkward manner than be unable to complete it entirely. The internal bits range from WTF to pretty good but overall for someone like me who doesn't really need full or medium sized pliers on a regular basis, it has become a frequent carry item. While the nail file it came with was pretty good, especially by SOG file standards, I did replace it with the file from a PS4, which is better in every respect.
Hero Member Posts: 679
Re: Review of the Small Multitool
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2017, 01:25:32 PM »
Thanks for bumping the post!  :like:
Hero Member Posts: 666
Re: Review of the Small Multitool
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2017, 02:23:19 PM »
For scissors, CS is my choice. Used mine maybe 1000 times and the spring is dead. But it cuts well and is thin, so making long cuts is easier. Also its light compared to crosscut and PS4.

Charge TTi, AL, Squirt PS4, Surge, Juice XE6, CS4, S2, ST300, Crunch, OHT, MUT, Rebar, Brewzer, Signal, Raptor, Tool Adapter, Croc, Wave, Style CS, Freestyle, Skeletool RX, Micra, Wingman
PPP, PowerLock, SwitchPlier 2.0, Paratool, PowerAssist, Reactor, CrossCut, PowerPlay
FliK, MP600 ProScout, MP600 blunt, Dime, MP-1, Diesel, MP400
MTT151, MTT051, MTT121
Spyderco PM2, Tatanka, Bug, ZT 0452CF, CS Recon1XL, Benchmade 940-1 and 482
Too many to list here...
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 32,163
Re: Review of the Small Multitool
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2017, 07:47:26 PM »
How on Earth did I miss this review?  :ahhh  I'm very interested in that Kovea branded one. :tu:

I've more than a few keyring sized MTs and SAKs and my choice for most of this year has been my LM Squirt P4 paired with my Vic Rambler. 

Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...



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