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Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge) 1464

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« on: December 25, 2017, 04:57:41 AM »
This tool review is part of the challenge I was given to see what the best tool I could find for $5, tax and delivery included. Link to the main thread of the challenge here...
https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,75094.0.html

This tool was selling new at my local Walmart for $3.87, or $4.22 with all taxes (where I live. Your total might be a bit different) at the time of this writing. Checking Walmart's website, it's only available in stores, but seems to be virtually identical to the Ozark Trail 14-in-1 Multi Tool. The only difference being that the 14-in-1 has a fish scaler and hook remover included on the file. You know what? I'm fine with those features being absent on this one. Really.  :D However, the 14-in-1 is ALSO listed at $3.87, and available on their website. So if this model goes missing, you should still be able to get the 14-in-1 version. I cannot say 100% that they are otherwise identical, but it sure looks like it.

Weight of the tool is 5.7oz (161g).

Here's a look


This tool is, at it's heart, a copy of the Leatherman PST. It has simple construction of a folded handle, connected to the plier head, and the tools, by peened steel pins. If you don't mess up the tools themselves, this is one of the most simple and reliable construction methods for a multi-tool.

Here it is with a PST, for a sense of size.


The sheath that comes with this tool is pretty decent. It is virtually identical to the sheath that comes with the Kobalt 15-in-1 multitool. The belt loop on the back seems very solidly sewn on. The snap seems like it will handle a lifetime of use, and the sheath has a shell of (I assume) plastic under the nylon cover to make it fairly rigid. This makes it easy to get the tool into it without struggling. Here it is compared to the Kobalt MT's sheath.


One of the important distinctions in construction between this tool and a great number of PST knockoffs is that the tool has a retention spring, to help keep the tools held in the open position. Here's a look at the spring, with all tools folded out of the way. It extends through much of the handle, and just past the pivot point of the tools.


And here's a look at the outside of the scale where you can see the rivet holding the spring to the handle, and the butt-end of the tool, where you can see the spring between the tool's handle and the folded tools in their closed position.


This is a great design, and I applaud it. However... the spring is weak, and doesn't really accomplish much. Tool retention in the open position is still pretty bad, and I think mostly stay open from friction against each other, not from the retention spring. Still, when the pivots loosen up from use, it will at least have SOME tool retention.

Individual tool testing coming up soon, so stay tuned.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2017, 05:49:31 AM »
Pliers.

So, some good, some bad.

First, these pliers are sprung. Here's a look at the spring on the back of the plier head. As with most of this kind of tool, I've never had problems with losing the spring, but there's not much holding it in place, so be warned.


The dentition in the jaws of the pliers are pretty well formed, and the jaws close with fair precision.


The tips come together pretty well, not perfect, but reasonable.


There is a little bit of play in the pivot, but it's very minor.

I started testing the tool by working to refine the shape of a handle I'm making for a billy can out of coathanger wire. The tool cut the wire without great issue, and gripped the material for shaping well.


That's the GOOD news. The bad news is the insanely bad ergonomics, tearing my hands up.


Okay... so... what's going ON here? The tools in the handle are all recessed, maybe a millimeter or two. It's enough that essentially ALL of the force on your hands against the handles is right on the very thin metal of the handles.


If it weren't for this nearly fatal flaw, I'd just call it now, and say this is the best thing you can buy for $5. But as it is, you need to find a pair of work gloves for the 78 cents you have short of the $5 limit to make these things good for serious use.

Setting the discomfort aside, I used these to tighten a bunch of bolts on a shelving system in my basement.


They worked very well for getting at the nearly flush bolts. The tool is pretty well designed in this regard. The pliers are slightly offset to one side linearly, so in one direction the plier head is pretty close to flush with the tool's handles on a flat surface. Hope this picture explains what I mean...


Wire Cutter: PASS
Needlenose: PASS
Regular Pliers: PASS
HUGE, HUGE, HUGE CAVIOT: terrible ergo for anything beyond light use.
Thread Killer 2019 No Life Club Posts: 3,934
Re: Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2017, 07:01:44 AM »
It's worth $4 and change even if you throw away the tool and keep the well made sheath. :cheers:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2017, 07:04:20 AM »
That sheath actually IS pretty nice. :tu:

I think, minus ergo issues, the tool is pretty good. But, of course, more testing to come.
Thread Killer 2017 Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,942 Born to multitask.
Re: Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2017, 07:35:57 AM »
Why can this $4 tool's sheath have a snap button? :rant:
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 10,549 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2017, 07:44:02 AM »
Thank you for the review, Lynn!

I bought a few of these at some point for the sheaths and found they are O.K to throw in a desk drawer or kitchen drawers.

One of the sheaths fit my DeWalt MT perfectly,  so I cut out a portion of the DeWalt packaging, laminated it and glued it over the OT logo. Works quite well.  :rofl:

As for the MT, I think you're spot on with the review. The edges are terrible! The drivers are passable with a bit of filing and reprofiling, but suffer the over-polished problem most $5 MTs have. Blades..meh. File is probably best in the sub $10 MT range.

The sheath also holds a Gerber suspension with some stretching. Fantastic snap and fair belt loop. IMHO

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2017, 07:54:54 AM »
That is an AWESOME sheath mod! Cool that you could find something functional and customize it to match your tool. Awesome and a little hilarious. :tu:

I obviously haven't had the tool long, and haven't put the sheath through its paces, but about the only thing I liked about the Kobalt MT was its sheath, which I pictured in the first post on this thread. And I HAVE had that tool for a while. Hard testing has beaten it to ugly, but the sheath remains quite functional.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2017, 06:22:21 PM »
On to blade testing.

Right out of the package, I put this thing to my standard paper cutting test. It was able to cleanly cut both standard printer paper AND very thin receipt paper, both quite cleanly.


The plain edge blade is actually pretty amazing for a sub-$5 tool. That's the edge as new, though. How does it do vs cardboard?


I cut up a cardboard box with it. The ergonomics on the closed position are fine. Very comfortable even for a hard-ish cutting task like this. And when done, I took it back to the paper test, with no noticeable dulling.

Okay, how about whittling and firestick making?


This thing bit well into an ash branch, and made good curls for firesticks, BUT the weak blade retention made fine tasks that require pressing on the back of the blade with the thumb less than perfectly stable. I'd go so far as to call it 'unstable'. Still, it did the job.

Light Cutting Duty: PASS

Now, on to the... uhhh... 'saw'? Really? Because it looks like a serrated blade to me. Might wanna check your packaging, there, Ozark Trail.

I thought I'd make a note here. There are nail nicks in both of the blades. Getting ahold of them is difficult, because the tool is recessed from the handle, this is made worse if the peening on the hinge pin is too tight (as it is on mine on the side with the serrated blade). I have strong nails, and have split two trying to extract the serrated blade. I can ONLY get it open from the blade tip, which I don't exactly consider a safe practice.

Anyway, the serrated blade versus a number of materials...


It was next to impossible to cut 550 paracord with this thing. Jute was easy. It did pretty great versus t-shirt. I also took it against the same cardboard box pictured earlier, and if you don't mind shredding the material, it was okay. Also not pictured, but I took it against a piece of denim, and while it made quick work of it, it also shredded it.

I guess if you want to do heavy cutting and save your plain edge, it's okay.

Serrated hack-master: Pass... I guess...


Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2017, 07:23:22 PM »
On to the drivers here.

The tool has three, a phillips and two sizes of flathead. The Phillips head is well formed. The flatheads are correctly tapered to slot into screws (which hasn't been the case with some of the tools of this challenge), and the corners are not overly rounded.

For light-duty, I tested the Phillips on the latchplate of a door.


It performed quite well. The phillips, as I said, is very well formed, so slotted into the screw and gripped well, with no sense that it would cam out.

I stepped up the difficulty considerably, trying it against a wood screw in a shelf.


The driver still had no sense that it would cam out, and I felt no torsion flex in the tool. What DID happen was that the tool kept trying to collapse closed. The phillips is on the same side of the tool with the plain edge blade, which has lighter tool retention than the other side, and as I mentioned earlier, the retention springs DO NOT hold these tools open under any real force. Still, it succeeded at turning a wood screw, which is a task much harder than most tools of this price range would ever dream of. Due to the design of the tool, a tool collapsing sends it into the opposing handle, NOT into your hand, so there is some mitigation of damage there.

Phillips for light duty: PASS
Phillips of medium duty: PASS (understanding the caution required)

Onto the larger flathead.

For the light-duty task, I picked the faceplate of a deadbolt in a door.


This was not the only flathead I tested this thing on. I went around my house, trying screws in hinges, and woodwork all over. This thing is pretty well formed, slots into screws securely, doesn't cam out, AND felt rock solid, with no flex.

Okay, big-boy. Let's see if you can handle... the crusty paintcan pry test!


Uhh... wow. Effortless. I don't know what the metal is that this thing is made of, but it is a BIG STEP above standard junky MTs. This is the first budget tool that could handle the paint can test, and it didn't even seem like it was trying. I decided at this point to do straight up abuse to this tool, and shoved it into a space between two boards on a heavy wood bench, and just started pushing, to see how much it would take. It took A LOT. I DID get it to deform, but then just bent it back, and the amount of force required was absolutely abusive, and I'd expect any MT to react the same. As another point, that abusive bend test didn't stress or stretch the metal pins holding the tool together.

Another note to be made is that the flathead is on the 'strong side' of tool retention. where the peening made the tools tighter. I had none of the collapse during hard use with it that I had with the Phillips.

Flathead for light and medium screwdriver duty: PASS
Flathead for moderate pry duty: PASS (with distinction!)

The small flathead is similarly well-formed as the larger one, and worked fine for smaller screws. I don't think it's worth photos. A small side note is that it would also slot into phillips screws, which is unnecessary, considering the good phillips on this tool.

Another side note... It seems that the retention spring also holds the tools CLOSED with a bit of force. Huh. That's a good idea for a tool where the pivots may loosen over time.  :tu:

As with the blade testing, the ergonomics of the tool when using the drivers is really pretty excellent... when the pliers are closed.  :D

A last note. The 'large' flathead, while capable, is strangely small. Here's a pic of it compared to the flathead/caplifter on a Victorinox Small Tinker.


Just a little odd.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2017, 07:31:44 PM »
A brief note on the ergonomics of the tool.

This is relevant to all of the tools on this except the plier assembly.

When a tool is deployed, any that require any degree for forward 'thrust' to use, screwdrivers, awl, etc. are aided by the fact that this tool tapers, and the direction of taper means that you get a bit of assistance holding this thing without your hand sliding toward the deployed tool.

I'm not sure how much this helps, but suspect that if your hands were cold/wet/oily, it would be of some assistance.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2017, 09:14:29 PM »
A brief test of the Awl.

I make a lot of 'stoves' from used tin cans. One of the tasks this requires is punching holes through the cans and reaming those out into roughly circular shape.


The awl on this tool succeeds at the task, but as with other tools, and maybe even moreso, it's prone to collapsing closed. I also think this thing would be a good choice for those random scraping tools that require something sharper than a screwdriver, but not as sharp as a blade.


Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2017, 09:23:53 PM »
The can opener/cap lifter.

As a can opener, the blade is sharp and the rim hook is well formed and well placed. It worked quite well for opening a can.


And the caplifter worked well. You just have to open one handle, to get the bulk of the tool out of the way to engage the hook.


Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,909 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2017, 09:42:47 PM »
The file, and closing thoughts.

The File.

It's a double-sided file. The 'less aggressive', or single cut side is absolutely worthless. I handed it to hubby and he said "What the smurf is WRONG with that?"

The doubled-cut, or 'aggressive' side... will file nails.


I expect more from the file on a full-size tool, but at least it has SOME function.

As I stated in the first post, The only difference, as far as I can tell, between this 12-in-1 tool, and the 14-in-1 tool is that the 14-in-1 tool has a fish scaler and hook remover cut into the file. This doesn't have either, and I'm sure it's 100% as useful without them.

File: Very, VERY slim pass.

And that's it. That's the tool loadout.

So...
What's good? Well formed pliers and drivers. Very sharp blade right out of the package. Everything will at least do some level of work for what it's intended. Good belt Pouch.
What's bad? Ergonomics in plier configuration and weak tool retention when open. And there might be some issue of tightness of tools from peening.

Is it worth its $5 pricetag?
ABSOLUTELY. This thing might have issues, but everything actually WORKS on it. Screw drivers actually turn screws. Sure, they might meet their match, but they are 100% up to regular around-the-house work. The pliers might be god-awfully uncomfortable, but they WORK. I think most people who would ever pay $5 for a multitool and think they'd get anything other than a handful of fail would be 100% happy to own this tool.

This is a REAL contender for the best $5 MT. Beyond being a not-terrible tool, it's available at WALMART. So... there's probably one of these within 600 feet of you if you live in the continental U.S. :D

Ubiquitous, cheap, solid. This tool is a real WIN.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 10,549 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2017, 10:25:16 PM »
Very nice write up, Lynn!
I have not put any of the ones I bougt to any real work. I just assumed I'd have to toss it into recycling after a use or two. Good to know these aren't so bad!

You seem to have gotten one with a poorly formed file. But, ut us typical for cheap MTs to have tools machined when the cutting portion of the machine is worn out.
The odd thing is, the OT file worked better than the file in my SOG PowerPlay.

The price really makes that tool a fantastic bargain and a good introduction tool to anyone curious about MTs. Your write-up is highly appreciated and a nice confirmation of me recommending these tools to cheap-skates! :D Good work! :tu:

I am solidly looking forward to you reviewing the fake DET as well. :cheers:

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 14,596 Firm believer of Sturgeon's Law
Re: Ozark Trail 12-in-1 Multi Tool (Lynn's $5 MT Challenge)
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2017, 12:39:18 PM »
I have an old LIDL Multitool with similar looks, toolset and overall design and it shares with this most of the good, and the bad.
the best thing was the sheath, which can be carried vertical or horizontal, has nice stitching and I use it for my Spirit as it fits like a glove     :tu:

Looking forward to the DET review, and I think it'll kick some ass compared to these...if you get a good one, that is   :rofl:

My toys:

MTs: Surge (2x), Skeletool CX, Rebar, Blast, Fuse, Micra, Squirt (3x), Wave, Crunch, Mini, Spirit (2x), Pro Scout, MP700 (2x), Diesel, Powerlock, PowerPlier (2x), PocketPowerPlier, Blacktip , ST6 (2x), 5WR, A100

SAKs: Bantam, Executive, Ambassador, Minichamp, Classic Alox, Champion, Farmer, Explorer, Swisschamp, Golf Tool, Wenger Champ, EVO 52, Pocket Tool Chest

 

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