What does $2 get you in the world of new multitools?
The Project Source 5-in-1 Pocket Knife.
This knife was available at my local Lowes for $2.
Colors available were Red, Blue, and Black.
The tools is familiar to anyone who has had a Victorinox Classic. Here it is, in red, compared to a Victorinox Classic in black.
The tool is fractionally longer than the Vic Classic, and maybe a millimeter thicker. It is also, strangely, a few grams lighter, without the included loop of ball chain.
So, how is this little miracle of technology?
Let's start with the scissors. These are about what I expect from knock-off scissors. They cut paper, heavy card stock, t-shirt material, and Pete plastic like a plastic soda bottle fairly well. They'll snip threads and errant hairs. Don't expect anything over that. Unlike the genuine Victorinox Classic, these will not tackle larger jobs. They absolutely refuse to cut suede leather, khaki seam, corrugated cardboard, 550 paracord, or heavy plastic.
This is not a complete failure, as most people wouldn't expect tiny scissors to manage those tasks, and wouldn't use them in that way.
Next function is the Nail File. For a budget tool, the file is actually quite aggressive, and does it's job convincingly.
The third major function of the tool is the knife blade. This spearpoint blade came very very raggedly paper-cutting sharp. It took a surprising amount of work to get it to reasonably paper-cutting sharp. The most disturbing aspect of this tool is that the side to side play of the blade is staggering, considering the size of the tool. This also affects the nail file, but is less disconcerting with that tool, since you can't seriously injure yourself with it. Besides this, the lockup against the backspring is good, and should allow the kinds of force against the blade that would be reasonable for any task expected of such a small tool.
The toothpick... is a toothpick. The plastic flexes a good deal, but springs back into shape. The head wedges into the slot of the scale securely, and doesn't threaten to slip out accidentally.
The tweezers have a metal head, which, like the toothpick, wedge securely into the scale. The tips of the tweezers are imprecise, and one of the arms is torqued, so that the flat faces of the tips do not come together on both corners at the same time. This is really only a minor annoyance, and should be able to be corrected by torquing the bent arm slightly. The tweezers are a fair step above the worst of the Chinese swiss army knife knockoffs on the market.
The lanyard attachment and split ring are suitable to the light duty likely to accompany this tool. It also came with a small loop of ball chain. This gives a couple options for connecting it to a keyring.
The scales on the tool are made of a slightly translucent plastic. Not transparent, not completely opaque. Tested with a stainless steel implement, it resisted scratching somewhat better than the Classic's scales.
Now to the major problem, at least with the model I have. It's not put together correctly. The internal backsprings overlap in a way they're not supposed to, essentially making the internal bay 3 springs wide, instead of two. Then it was peened together. This is, I believe, the cause of the major side-to-side blade play. It also makes one side of the tool bow out noticeably. This is probably particular to my specific copy, and close examination of them before purchase should keep you from picking a lemon.
In the end, thought, the only thing that really matters is... is it worth it?
For most people, I'd say yes. Particularly if you're willing to put a few minutes into touching up the blade. It's not as good as the Victorinox Classic, but it might be 50% as good, at 20% the cost, and where it fails are in areas where most day-to-day use will never test it.
If I had my choice, I'd take a Classic any day of the week, but for the cash strapped, or those prone to lose tools anyway, this might not be a bad option.Pros
Capable of light tasksCons
Blade is not as sharp as it should be
Tweezers are borked
Potentially shoddy construction