Over the years, I have used many different multitools from several manufacturers. In my experience, cheap, no-name multitools, are too flimsy for serious use. Other, more expensive, multitools, are much better quality but lacked good ergonomics. After doing some research, I found out that Victorinox, the company that produces Swiss Army Knives, has its own line of multitools, called Swisstools. I picked one up, and after a couple of years of use, it has become my favorite multitool.
One of my favorite things about the Swisstool is its durability. Victorinox’s unique blend of stainless steel is largely responsible for this. It is a mixture of several elements, but it features a large amount of chromium. This makes Victorinox blades and tools incredibly corrosion-resistant.
I have never had a Victorinox knife rust on me, and I have been using them for over half of my lifetime. Since the Swisstool uses the same blend of steel, I feel confident that rust won’t be a concern with it either.
Swisstool’s are also built to exacting tolerances. This reduces slop when operating the tool but it also gives crud and debris less of a chance to work its way into the tool. As you are opening tools and the pliers, you can hear the tool clicking and lock into place. Even after two years of use, everything is still tight.
Like all Victorinox knives and tools, Swisstools are covered by a lifetime warranty, which they stand behind. I know this from experience. A couple of years ago, I had a Swiss Army Knife that I had damaged through normal use and some accidental abuse. I sent dropped it off at a Victorinox store, filled out some paperwork, and included $5 to cover shipping to and from Switzerland.
Several weeks later, I received a package in the mail. It contained a coupon, a Victorinox sticker, and my repaired knife. They replaced damaged parts and sharpened the blade. The knife looks good as new.
Swisstools are also very safe multitools to use. This is because every tool locks into place when in use. Having locking tools allows the user to work without having to worry about a blade or other implement closing on their hand.
To close a tool, the user slides the button on the side of the Swisstool back which allows them to fold the tool shut. The lock button is textured for ease of use and made of the same material as the rest of the Swisstool, so it is unlikely to rust.
Another thing that makes the Swisstool so safe is that all of the tools have an individual back spring. These back springs reduce the chance of tools opening on accident while you are using the Swisstool.
Another benefit of having individual back springs is they reduce clumping when you are opening tools. Clumping is when you try to deploy a specific tool and several others come out also. Most multitools have this issue. Since Swisstools don’t have this problem, you are able to open tools faster and with less frustration.
When compared to other multitools all Swisstools are very ergonomic. This is largely due to how its tools are laid out. All of the tools are accessible from the outside of the multitool without opening the pliers. This makes accessing the tools much more convenient than other multitool designs. However, it also means that when the pliers are deployed, the rest of the tools are on the inside of the pliers handle.
When using the pliers, your hands only come in contact with the body of the tool and the leaf springs. The body of the tool that makes contact with your hands is rounded which makes gripping the pliers much more comfortable.
Most other multitools have implements that are exposed when the pliers are open, which creates hot spots when gripping the pliers. This can pinch your hand and cause blisters.
The Swisstool’s pliers feature a blunt needle nose shape, along with wire cutters at the base. The wire cutters are a kind of two-in-one design. The first notch is for “soft wires”, like those used for electrical wiring. The second notch, which is closest to the base of the pliers is for “hard wires”. This is what you would use if you needed to cut something harder, like a finish nail.
Many of the features found on the Swisstool are similar or identical to the corresponding tools found on Victorinox Swiss Army Knives. As someone who has carried SAK’s for many years, I really like the consistency. The tools are familiar, and I already know how to use them.
Swisstools come in several varieties, each with its own unique toolset. However, every Swisstool comes with the following tools:
Blade: The Swisstool’s blade is 2.9 inches and features a plain-edged drop-point blade. It is great for general cutting tasks and food prep. The blade does a good job holding an edge but is still easy to sharpen thanks to Victorinox’s proprietary blend of steel.
Crate Opener: All full-size Swisstools feature a crate opener that doubles as a 7mm flathead screwdriver. It is thick enough to serve as a small pry bar.
Chisel and wire scraper: The chisel is good for general scraping tasks. It also features a couple of notches for electrical wire stripping and scraping.
Cap lifter, screwdriver, and wire stripper: This 3-in-1 tool features a cap lifter (bottle opener), flathead screwdriver, and wire stripping notch similar to those found on their traditional Swiss Army Knives.
Can opener and small (3mm) screwdriver: This tool is identical to the can opener found on Victorinox’s Swiss Army Knives. It is my personal favorite design of any multitool can opener. The flat tip on the end of the can opener works on small flathead screws as well as some Phillips screws.
Wood saw: The Swisstool’s wood saw has the same aggressive tooth pattern as Victorinox’s Swiss Army Knives. It works really well.
Awl: The awl measures about 2 inches long and comes to a nice sharp point. It works well to punch holes in leather and can also drill small holes in wood or plastic.
Phillips screwdriver: The Phillips screwdriver included on the Swisstool measures a little over 2 1/4 inches long. It works on both #1 and #2 Phillips screws.
Small flathead screwdriver: This screwdriver is about 2 inches long and is 2mm wide at the tip.
Ruler: The ruler is stamped on both sides of the Swisstool’s handle. This ensures that the markings will never wear off. On one side, it will measure up to 9 inches, with markings every eighth, quarter, half, and full inch. The other side measures to nearly 23 cm, with markings every millimeter and half a centimeter.
While every Swisstool features all of the tools listed above, they also contain additional tools. Your Swisstool’s features will depend on which model you buy. As far as I’m aware, the original Swisstool and Swisstool X are still in production. However, the Swisstool RS was discontinued a couple of years ago. You still may be able to find one in good shape on eBay.
This chart shows which additional tools come with each Swisstool model:
Sheepsfoot Serrated Blade: This blade is about the same length as the main blade. The serrations are useful when cutting thick rope or straps.
Metal File/Metal Saw: This tool has two sides, one fine and the other coarse. It is 3 1/2 inches long and includes a saw that runs most of its length.
Scissors: The scissors are about 3 1/2 inches long and are almost identical to the scissors found on Victorinox’s Swiss Army Knives. They are sharp and cut very well.
Seat Belt Cutter: This tool has a curved serrated blade with a blunt end. This allows it to safely slice through a seat belt with ease. It will also cut through rope or other types of straps.
Victorinox also produces another line of multitools called the Swisstool Spirit. These models are smaller and feature curved handles. Many consider them to have the best ergonomics of any multitool on the market.
Like the full-size Swisstools, Victorinox offers the Spirit models with different tool configurations. The Spirit models’ tools are similar to those found on full-size Swisstools but are slightly different. This is to accommodate the smaller, curved shape of the multitool.
Over the past couple of years of use, my Swisstool’s pouch has held up pretty well. The stitching is good, and the belt loop does not show any signs of damage. Although it was specifically designed to fit the Swisstool, it will also hold small pistol magazines.
Most Swisstools feature a shiny polished finish. This makes with Swisstool easy to clean and rust-resistant. However, Victorinox offers some models with a black oxide steel finish.
The black oxide steel finish makes the Swisstool even more corrosion-resistant. It looks very similar to a blued gun barrel. The only downside to the finish is that it raises the Swisstool’s price significantly.
Swisstool Plus Packages
Just like Swiss Army Knives, some Swisstools come as part of a “plus” package. These include a mini screwdriver, corkscrew attachment, driving bits, and either a ratchet or L-shaped wrench.
Both the ratchet and wrench accept any standard 1/4 inch driving bit. This allows you to use either the included bits or mix and match them to better suit your needs. When purchased as a set, the Swisstool and all of the additional tools are designed to fit into the included pouch.
It is the attention to detail that makes the Swisstool such an excellent piece of equipment. The main selling point for me was that all of the tools are accessible without opening the pliers. Other selling points were the elimination of tool clumping and the tools’ similarities to those found on Swiss Army Knives.
Overall, the Swisstool is one of the best multi-tools on the market. I feel confident that as long as I don’t lose it, I will have mine for the rest of my life.
If you are a fan of Victorinox Swiss Army Knives, be sure to check out my other articles. They have a lot of information about which models you may find most useful for your particular lifestyle and preferences.