It may seem that keychain multi-tools are a dime a dozen or that they all do the same thing. It is true that there are a lot of them on the market. But if you get your hands one of the best keychain multi-tool designs, you’ll start viewing them in a different light.
The main advantage of most keychain multi-tools is that they don’t come with blades. While that limits their usefulness for some people, there are others who appreciate the absence of blades because it makes the keychain safer to carry anywhere.
So, given the amount of variety, how can you make sure you’re picking the right product? Start by familiarizing yourself with all the options.
Then compile a list of tasks, situations, and scenarios that you need to handle with the help of only a keychain accessory. Here are five of the best keychain multi-tools to get you started.
Best Keychain Multi-tool Reviews
1. Gerber 7-in-1 Airline-Safe Keychain Multi-tool
High utility in a compact unit – and, as the title points out, one of the best features is that this Gerber 7-in-1 keychain tool can be carried at all times, including when you’re on an airplane.
The seven tools are as follows: pry bar, lanyard hole, Phillips screwdriver, wire stripper, bottle opener, and two flathead drivers (one medium one small). The pry bar is surprisingly strong; you should be able to get poorly hammered nails out in a hurry if you have the upper body strength.
Keep in mind that the tool is small and won’t provide too much leverage. Gerber used stainless steel for the material but doesn’t mention the exact alloy
However, it can’t be too low on the hardness chart given how sturdy the keychain feels. It has good durability and good resistance against corrosion and rust due to the titanium nitride coating.
Its dimensions are 3.1 x 1.3 x 0.6 inches. It’s quite small and all the more impressive given the number of functions and how well it performs.
Overall, this is more than just a handy keychain multi-tool. It’s also really cool whether you get it in black or silver.
- Performs seven functions
- Air travel approved
- The wire stripper is not very sharp
2. Leatherman Micra Keychain Multi-tool
Made from stainless steel and available in various colors, the Leatherman Micra is a truly versatile EDC multi-tool. It features a variety of functions and excellent durability.
The Micra is equipped with 10 tools, if you also count the ruler. Considering the tool’s dimensions, the ruler may not provide enough utility. The bottle opener will definitely see more use over the life of this keychain multi-tool, but your mileage may vary.
When closed, the tool is 2.5 inches long from the base to the top. The knife blade is 1.6” long and fairly thick for a keychain multi-tool.
All the accessories are made from stainless steel, which gives them good corrosion resistance. Durability doesn’t seem to be an issue. Even the spring loading mechanism can handle a lot of fidgeting. The usual issues with such tools don’t apply to this Leatherman.
The best feature is perhaps the sharpness of the scissors. Aside from being a proper grooming tool, they easily cut through zip ties and plastic packaging and boxes and all.
- A peach of a spring loading system
- Razor-sharp scissors
- One-handed deployment
- Quality stainless steel alloy
- The knife blade doesn’t lock
3. Kershaw PT-1 Keychain Multi-tool
A lightweight design is always preferred yet not always guaranteed when buying a keychain multi-tool. If you’re shooting for the most compact mini multi-tool then the Kershaw PT-1 might just fit the bill. It’s 2.75” long, airline-safe, and durable enough in light of its affordability.
The PT-1 may not open any cans of beans while you’re camping but in terms of its four functions, it performs them really well. You get a bottle opener, pry bar, lanyard hole, and flathead screwdriver, probably enough to get you out of a few jams.
The compact size and light weight make it a cool-looking keychain that’s safe to travel with at all times. Its durability is a bit surprising. The keychain is made of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. This puts the hardness rating between 55 and 57 HRC, which is more than some pocket-sized multi-tools offer.
This adds great value for the money and guarantees long-term durability. The glass-filled nylon handle is a bit overkill in terms of quality; the durability of the handle is off the charts. But it is also aesthetically pleasing so there’s an argument to be made for that.
If there’s one thing missing, it’s perhaps a can opener. Other than that, the PT-1 offers everything you could ask for in a TSA-approved keychain multi-tool.
- Airline safe
- Good hardness rating
- Reliable performance
- 4-in-1 utility keychain
- No can opener
4. Columbia River Knife & Tool K.E.R.T EDC Keychain Multi-tool
At first glance, this item looks simpler in design than others in this price range. But its hidden gem makes it a reliable emergency multi-tool.
This keychain multi-tool features a seatbelt strap cutter. It’s such a great tool to have for emergency, survival, or rescue situations. The belt cutter is very sharp but also well-designed and safe to use. And, due to the compact nature of the tool, you can apply a lot of leverage with not a lot of effort on your part.
The tool also offers a flat head screwdriver, two wrenches, and a bottle opener. The silver finish makes it easy to match with everyday keys, belts, or other accessories.
In terms of weight, the K.E.R.T keychain is on par with most products in its category. It weighs just 0.8 oz. while measuring 2.48” in length. The keychain is only slightly wider above the base, as that’s where the belt cutter/can opener extends upwards.
The multi-tool doesn’t have a blade but, because it does have a sharp component, it’s unclear whether or not it’s acceptable on an airplane. It might pass inspection but this is not a subject guaranteed or covered by the manufacturer.
- Seat belt cutter
- 4-in-1 design
- Compact and lightweight
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Not the highest-grade material
5. Swiss+Tech ST66676M2 Utility Key Multi-tool
Utility key multi-tools are somewhat of a novelty. Very few manufacturers manage to hit it out of the park with the design. But there are exceptions. With the ST66676M2, Swiss+Tech hit a home run that just went over the outstretched glove of the outfielder. Here’s why.
There are six tools incorporated in this utility key. You get flat, micro, and Philips screwdrivers (that’s 3), a bottle opener, and a combo straight and serrated knife blade (that counts as 2). Granted, many of these tools are combined or share the same profile, but there’s a silver lining.
This means that the tools are very small and may be hard to use effectively if you have big hands. Nevertheless, six tools are a lot to have on your keychain, especially if you consider the two cutting tools on one blade.
The key design is inconspicuous which is part of the appeal. It makes you think that you always have something up your sleeve, or in this case, in your pocket.
It makes for a great gift and a good EDC multi-tool in general. However, you shouldn’t try to take it with you on an airplane; it may be considered a concealed weapon due to the design and the blade.
The key is available in singles or pairs. Perhaps all the more impressive is the weight. Its weight of 0.8 oz. puts it on par with many multi-tool keychains that offer less utility.
But, if it seems too good to be true, it’s because it is. Nothing’s perfect. By incorporating so many features and being limited by the profile design, Swiss+Tech didn’t manage to get around one thing – the deployment system.
The utility key relies on the user using their thumb to open it up. This takes some practice and even after a while, it may still prove difficult. However, some might argue that a slower deployment mechanism is childproof and prevents injuries.
- Three screwdriver heads
- Two blade sections
- Bottle opener
- Unique design
- Hard to open
As you can see, the best keychain multi-tool can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Different tool combinations and materials may suit some people better than others. Surprisingly enough, the price variation between high-end and average quality keychain multi-tools is almost laughable.
This is where a bit of knowledge or research on steel alloys may come in handy. Some manufacturers don’t bother giving out this information but some do. But keep in mind that this is most applicable to real blades, which you won’t find on most keychain tools.
Each keychain multi-tool on this list has some specific features that have a big impact in certain situations. Some of them are comfort features while others can be lifesaving. It comes down to you choosing what you think is best for you.