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Best pocket tools 2024: top penknives and multi-tools

Carving sticks, popping caps or driving screws: there’s a utensil for every task – and with one of the best pocket tools at your disposal, you’re a step closer to getting the job done.

From classic campsite penknives to miniature fixers that can tighten your saddle, the round-up below features our pick of the best pocket tools for every DIY scenario. Whether you want a simple flint to ignite your evening or an all-in-one implement to cover every base, we’ve selected an arsenal of multi-tools for different needs and budgets. There’s even one that’ll fit in your wallet.

If it’s proving tricky to pick your favourite pocket tool from our list, you’ll also find a few handy buying tips and spec explainers at the bottom, to help you whittle it down to the one you want. Think of this as the Swiss Army Knife of buying guides.

The classy clip-on: Gerber Straightlace

There’s no substitute for a proper kitchen knife. But if someone demands a dicing demo and you’ve left your choppers at home, this natty number should do the trick. Sheathed in aluminium and equipped with a nifty pocket clip, its 2.9in stainless blade is perfect for picnic prep. And thanks to a spring-loaded joint, the business end stays in place without breaching UK restrictions.

The wallet wizard: True Utility Cardsmart

Pocket occupied by a wallet? Credit cards might be helpful for hiring a handyman, but the plastic itself isn’t much use for menial tasks. Upskill your billfold with this slender accessory. Barely there at just 40g, the titanium-coated tool is slim enough to slip between your bank cards, yet offers the utility of some 30 functions – including a cutter for shredding your statements.

The olive opener: Mercury 913-3LC

Most people need to open two things on a daily basis: boxes and bottles. This Italian implement does both. Attached to an olive wood handle, its stainless blade makes light work of packing tape and wine foil alike, while the corkscrew and can opener will get you into any beverage. The latter also serves as a flathead screwdriver, in case you need to prise open a cask.

The daily DIYer: Victorinox Handyman

True tinkerers need a task for every hour. Thankfully, this pocket appliance’s 24 functions should fulfil your fixing itch. A genuine jack of all trades, its stainless array features tools for everything from woodwork to patchwork to wire work. And when the day’s jobs are done, its nail cleaner and tweezers will come in handy for some DIY self-care.

The folding fixer: Leatherman Micra

The need for a quick fix can hit at any time. Trouble is, it’s rarely practical to carry an entire toolbox just in case. Do the next best thing by looping this little Leathermoon onto your keyring. Equipped with 10 essential utensils, it folds down light and tiny for instant assistance. Spring-action scissors mean you can even snip your way out of a bind.

The saddle saver: Topeak Mini 9

When grams matter enough that leg hairs make a difference, you need a featherweight solution for repairs on the road. While this dinky bike tool doesn’t include a razor for shaving your pins, it does pack just the right array of wrenches for mid-ride mends. And because it hits the scales at only 92g, you’ll need a different excuse if the peloton drops you.

The flick-out flint: Lifesystems Dual Action Fire Starter

Bushcraft pros can light a fire using two sticks and a handful of dry grass. Not camping with Bear Grylls? Quit spinning twigs and add this fun-size firestarter to your kit bag. Use the built-in striker to shave tinder off the magnesium shaft, then switch sides for quick ignition: the ferrocerium striking rod produces sparks hot enough to set fire to the rain.

The campsite carver: Victorinox Evolution 17 Wood

What better for fireside whittling than an ergonomic knife with a handle itself hewn from walnut? Use the serrated edge to saw off some source material from a fallen trunk, before getting to work with the main blade. Corkscrew in some eyes, before adding a final flourish with the reamer. Two screwdrivers help with wall-mounting when you get home, too.

The capable carabiner: Griffin Adventure Tool

Carabiners are a symbol of daring pursuits. But if yours don’t involve lashing ropes to a rock, you might want one with different skills. Enter this clever clip: besides fastening to a belt or backpack, its streamlined silhouette incorporates a catalogue of tools for prying and driving. Shipped in stainless steel or titanium, it can also pop off bottle tops after a hard day’s adventuring.

How to choose the best pocket tool

Looking to buy the best pocket tool but don’t know where to start? Here are some things to consider:

  • Tools: Multi-tools mean maximum versatility, but compromise can make them masters of none. If you favour form over multi-function, consider something with fewer tools that’s specific to the task at hand.
  • Blades: Knives are nothing to mess with – and neither are the rules. Used responsibly, all of the options above are legal to carry in the UK, with non-locking blades that measure less than 3in long.
  • Grades: Most pocket tools use stainless steel, but not all grades are made the same. Corrosion resistance is usually a given, but toughness and hardness can vary. Search the steel code to confirm its properties.
  • Grips: A slippery grip makes any task harder. Full-metal jackets major on durability but can also feel slick. Some tools enhance traction with contours or texture, while others use rubber or wood to boost adhesion.

Now check out Stuff’s guide to the best torches for lighting the way.

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