Best Electrician Multi-tool – March ’17 update

The old “Tools don’t make you  a good electrician” is still true. But the propper tools, especially a good multi tool for electricians, will make your life a lot easier. We’re sure you’d agree. That’s why we set out to compile this guide about a year and a half ago and we finally managed to pool all the data together and present them in a simple and straightforward way.

We hope you’ll find it useful.

44 tools tested over 16 months by 6 electricians

 

We tested 44 electrician’s multi purpose pieces, from the bulky Gerbers to the finer and, let’s face it, cooler Leatherman and Klein multi tools, as well as power oscillating tools and electric bit drivers and punchdown. We separated the wheat from the chaff and selected one product in each category.

In the category of hand multi-tools we tested 10 pieces:

ten-electrician-multi-tools-tested-1

Multi-tools tested for this update, left to right – Gerber Groundbreaker, Gerber Cable Dawg, Leatherman Super Tool 300, ToolZall Crescent, Leatherman Surge, Leatherman Wave, Gerber Flick, Leatherman OHT, SOG PowerAssist & Leatherman Squirt ES4 for electricians

 

electricians experts

Our featured testers for this update – Randy Shadel, Jeff Poholsky, Jack Osborne, Alex Green, Jack Burke and Alexander Marston – all seasoned electricians

In carry-on multi-tools this update near as close as we would’ve expected – the martensitic 154CM steel (heat-treated and hardened to an Rc of 61) which is used for the wire-cutters, strippers and crimpers of our winner ( the Super Tool 300) and the surgical-grade steel used for the blades was obviously too much for the competition. There was no surprises in the multi-tip drivers and punchdowns, Klein is still the overlord of both categories.

Enough with the pleasantries, time for work!

Let’s head-shot! For those in a rush, let us present the list of top-rated multi-tools for electricians in each category (type of tool) right away.

We stand behind our words when we say that these electrician multi tools are the best the market has to offer right now.

Top choices by type

Model
Current rating
Price comparison
& availability
check link
 

Top choice in carry-on multi-tools for electricians

supertool3000-best-electricians-multitool

 

See the Leatherman
Super Tool 300 on Amazon >>

 
 
4.8 / 5
 
Main strengths:
>> rated close to full 5 stars on Amazon
>> materials - surgical steel quality
>>interchangeable wire
cutters (regular & hard)
>> stranded wire-cutters
>> crimper & stripper
154CM steel
 
Main issue:
Often goes
out of stock

 
button compare
Check if available
 

Top choice in power oscillating multi-tools for electricians

dewalt for electricians

 
Check if Dewalt DCS355
is currently in stock
on Amazon >>

 
 
4.9 / 5
 
Main strength:
Unmatched power, versatility
and ease of use. Brushless motor!
 
Main issue:
More expensive than most
oscillating power tools
 
visit site
 

Best multi-tip screwdriver

Klein multi-tool 11 in 1 screwdriver

 
See the Klein 11-in-1 on Amazon >>

 
 
4.5 / 5
 
Main strength:
*Great torque
and a solid grip.
*Best value for money
among multi-tips
 
Main issue:
Shaft retention -
under heavy
resistance
tends to slide
 
button compare
 

Top choice in wire stripper/crimper/cutter
electrician multi-tools

vise grip electrician multi-tool

 
See the Irwin VISE-GRIP
on Amazon >>

 
 
4.5 / 5
 
Main strength:
Durability & automatic
jaw adjustment
 
Main issue:
Not the choice for
those with exceptionally
small hands
button compare
 

Top choice in punchdown multi-tools

klein punchdown multi -tool

 

See the Klein punchdown
on Amazon >>

 
 
4.3 / 5
 
Main strength(s):
Solid grip,
extra long neck
 
Main issue:
Fixed blades
(no spring action)
button compare

 

Let’s take 90 seconds to watch the video brief of the S300

 

 

 

90 Sec Features Demo – Leatherman Super Tool 300

That’s all well and good, but…


You hopefully watched the demo video above. If you didn’t, it would be good to do it now because it will help you better understand what you’re about to see which is the “meet” of the review.

How the tool faced every-day trials and tribulations of electrical work

To be fair, the demo video does make the tool look good, but it’s coming from the company making the tool. But let’s get real.

The video below shows the st300 after 3 YEARS of serious, every-day use on electrical jobs, big and small.

 

 

After 3 years of every-day use on electric jobs

Specs & ratings of the Super Tool 300

Length (in inches)4.5
Primary blade length (in inches)9.6
Weight (in ounces)3.2
Durability (out of 5)4.7
Versatility (out of 5)4.8
Materials (out of 5)4.8
Design (out of 5)3.8
Value for money (out of 5)4.6
Overall Rating4.54

Click below to see the Super Tool 300 on Amazon

read more

The Super Tool 300 Choices

supertool300-stainless-steel

Super Tool 300
Stainless Steel
(leather or nylon pouch)
supertool300-black

Super Tool 300
Black
(leather or nylon pouch)

check-available

check-available

 
 

The ST300 put all the tested tools to shame

 

It was the only tool with clean cuts of both solid and finer-stranded cables

The wire cutters were tested on:

  • 12 gauge stranded
  • 16 gauge stranded
  • 20 gauge solid
  • 20 gauge stranded
  • 12 gauge finer strand (like you’d see in a battery cable)

The smaller tools were too fiddly, leaving the too many strands and the dedicated tools like the Groundbreaker or the Cable Dawg performed well, but then again, these are practically not carry-ons. They’re bulky tools (the Groundbreaker is 9″ inches long) designed to do one or two things – cutting and stripping.

That’s why they were included in the tests in the first place

We included the two dedicated tools in the testing to see if any of the multi-tools can cut as clean as these.

The only multi-tool with clean one-time cuts in all the wire tested was the Super Tool 300.

Below is an example of what we’re talking about – the results of the Gerber Flick and the Super Tool 300 with a 12-gauge stranded.

 

 

cutting the 12-gauge stranded with Gerber Flick

Gerber Flick – very fiddle and with sloppy results on a 12 gauge stranded

 

12-gauge-battery-cable-cut

Clean cut of the Super Tool 300 on the same fine-stranded 12 gauge

Before we move on

We’ll get back to the results in a minute, allow us 20-seconds to explain why should you trust our reviews.

If you are new to our website, this is what we do

We test and review the best multi-tools out there and separate the wheat from the chaff. For general purpose tools we do it in-house (our Editor-in-chief did after all worked in a multi tool factory for 10 years) but for specific use like electric it would be to just wing irresponsible not to.

We don’t just wing it – we have experts test and choose the best electrician’s tools

For this guide we recruited 6 electricians who know their tools to test the 44 pieces and provide insights and ratings.

This page is the aggregate of all their impressions and ratings as well as user reviews – you’ll see top choices in 4 categories of multi-tools for electricians:

The 5 categories:

  1. carry-on multi-tools
  2. power oscillating
  3. wire-strippers
  4. multi-tip screwdriver
  5. punchdown

The SP300 was the only one with clean cuts of the finer-stranded wire

We said it before , but we can’t stress it enough, the guide on the best multitool for electricians is especially tricky because we have to be very picky about who we bring on as a featured tester.

  • Our proprietary system for rating multi tools has been developed in 2012 and tweaked over the years . It includes expert testing and their ratings, and a pool of data from user reviews.

The Overall Rating of a tool combines the two

 

Best multi tool for electricians –  the Super Tool 300

best electrician multitool - the Super Tool 300

Leatherman Super Tool 300 is a POWER HOUSE

 

There are cool multi-tools and then there’s the Leatherman Super Tool 300. If multi-purpose tools were cars, the Wave would be an Escalade.

Over the past months, we set out to separate the wheat from the chaff among electricians multi-tools. The testing and review results came as a bit of a surprise mainly because we expected the latest arrivals and most modern pieces like the Gerber Groundbreaker and the Cable Dawg to find their ways to the top.

 

tools-for-linesman-wire-stripping

The 420HC steel used for the blades, drivers and files is simply superior to materials used in similar tools

None of the other tools were even close to the Super Tool 300

The Super Tool 300 for electricians is rated 4.8/5 by our featured testers and the Groundbreaker and Dawg at 3.94 and 3.78 respectively. Even the small pocket multi-tool for electricians – the Squirt ES4 is rated higher at 4.34. The Super Tool 300 by Leatherman blew away the competition in any quality category that’s be relevant to an electrician.

Materials used set the bar way too high
for other multi-tools

 

420HC heat-hardened (blades) is the same steel used for surgical instruments and the 154CM (used in the wire-cutters, crimpers and strippers) is as good as it gets in terms of materials. This tool is built to last long enough for you to give it to your grand kids as a memento.

Both of these are martensitic steels

The word “martensitic” means that they can he heat-hardened to make them more durable and hold edge longer.

The 420HC steel used in the blades

 

blade-s300

The 420HC (High Carbon) used for the blades of the SP300 has been heat-hardened and it’s the same steel used for surgical instruments

 

The 420HC steel is an improved version of the 420 steel. It’s improved by adding carbon (HC stands for high carbon). The Carbon combined with the Chromium (also added to the 420HC) results in high-end steel that:

  • Holds edge much longer
  • “Lives” longer and is less prone to abrasions
  • Is corrosion resistant
  • Sharpens easily

 

The 154CM used in the wire-cutters,
crimpers and strippers

 

The 154CM used in the wire-cutters, crimpers and strippers

If there’s anything setting this multitool for electricians it’s the replaceable wire-cutters and the 154CM steel.

  • It’s double tempered to make it tougher
  • It’s the sweet spot between hardness and brittleness

The ruler that you’ll actually use

ruler for approximate and precise electrical measuring

Super Tool 300 features a 2-in1 ruler – in a flat position, the two sides of the handles can be used as two rulers, one for approximate and the other for fine measuring

Some of the PROs testers shared with us:

  • This is one mighty tool. I expected to use it occasionally but ended up using it more frequently than my dedicated pieces. I use all of the tools it carries, and you can use them just as you would your regular electrician gear.
  • Pretty strong and durable tools, and don’t become all loose/unusable after a couple of harsher jobs. I used it to fix fridges, heating, AC units, and it never let me down. I have a feeling as if I’m using my standard gear which is just unbelievable since it’s a multi tool. I’m impressed
  • This hefty guy is up for any job, period. You can feel the high quality of every tool when you use it, and every single one works without a hitch. I work in the maintenance, and this is a perfect tool for me. Much better than my old Gerber.
  • These wire cutters and strippers worked just as well as those in my Vise-Grip. No downsides I can see here, so I recommend it to every electrician out there. It will save you the trouble of carrying around all that extra gear. Top to bottom, this is one cool tool for any electrician. I’m saying goodbye to my Victorinox, this is the best pocket pocket knife for electricians.

Some of the CONs:

  • This electrician multi tool is big and heavy. I couldn’t get the true length from the pictures on my computer so I just thought it would be smaller. The tool itself is extremely good, but a bit heavier than I expected
  • This tool is not insulated. It’s very high quality and functional though, and you can see the tools are all there for a purpose. I solve this problem by just turning off one of the circuit breakers, and I’m good to go. Still don’t like the extra trouble though

Review Resume

Rating of Leatherman squirt multi tool for electricians
Overall Quality Rating of 4.7/5.

Let me get this out in the open. The only major downside of this piece is that it’s not insulated. But, as one owner said there’s a really quick fix to this problem – if you use it “live” you’ll have to turn off the circuit breaker or simply use gloves. Other than that it’s really the best every-day-carry option out there.

It’s bigger than your average multi tool but it’s, according to our testing, the best multitool for an electrician out there.

 

 

Honorary mentions among pocket tools

The honorary mentions include general purpose tools and are not specifically designed for electricians like the squirt. All of the tools here are more versatile than the ES4 but they don’t feature wire-strippers but classic pliers.

That’s it, that’s the difference. So, if you do have (or get) a wire-stripper, the tools we’re about to present are a solid choice for an electrician.

Leatherman Wave with cap crimper

It’s by far the most popular multi-tool and one of the best-rated on BMK (BestMultiToolKit.com – it’s not out of arrogance that we use the abbreviation, we just get tired of typing the whole thing).

It’s an industry classic and we can’t even keep track any more on the of the number of products in the Wave Series.

However, one of them stands out as a choice for an electrician, it’s the version with the needle-nose pliers a a cap crimper.

It’s a general, full-sized multitool that’s usable for smaller jobs but lacks the power in areas that matter to an electrician, like the cutting power of pliers.

 

squirt-vs-wave

Almost twice as big and 4 times heavier than the Squirt, the Wave is the obvious choice if you need a heavy-duty tool

 

Here, we only take a look at an excerpt review, it’s specs and some PROs and CONs from our testers.

The specs:

  • 17 tools including needle-nose pliers and a cap crimper (which is what makes this Wave version suitable for an electrician)
  • Handles made of stainless steel, 420HC steel blade and serrated blade
  • Features are all-locking (every tools locks into place making it much safer to use)
  • Outside accessible tools for easy, one hand opening. Just like your favorite pocket knife
  • 3 bit bit driver sizes – small, medium and large
  • Weight: 6.9 oz
  • Dimensions in inches: 3.6 x 5.2 x 1.8
  • 25 years warranty

The PROs as per our electrician testers:

  • This tool is definitely made having versatility in mind. It can do just about anything you need it to. The blades are sharp and easy to open so you can use this tool just as you would your everyday pocket knife.
  • I realized out-of-the-box that this multi-tool will be a good option for an electrician, I thought I’d get some bulky contraption overstuffed with blades and screwdrivers that I’ll never use. But it’s not about the number of tools here, it’s about how well thought out their placement is. The cap crimper works as advertised.
  • It’s very sturdy and heavy, it feels like it’s built to last. I only use USA-made tools, no patience to experiment with cheaper inferior tools from China, so this fits the bill.
  • When the Wave arrived, I expected that it would take time for the sturdy locking pieces to loosen up. It wasn’t the case, this is the tool to look at if you need it for serious work but still need to one-hand stuff.
  • I just love how elegant and classy this tool looks. The finish is great, and you can really feel the quality. It’s very durable as I had mine for quite some time now and not even a scratch on it
  • This is by far the best electrician multi tool I’ve ever bought. I use all of the tools, and they all work perfectly. The blade is sharp and well situated ergonomically for cutting, hinges holding the pliers don’t become loose at all, the screwdrivers are a must in my business, and I use a wire cutter/stripper like crazy. All in all, an awesome buy and recommendation from me
  • I forgot my phone, keys wallet even my wife when I get out of the house. But this little guy is always with me. If you do the math, this cool tool is the best pocket knife for electrcians. It’s bulkier but way more useful.

CONs:

  • It is advertised as carry on, but it’s more of a piece that you keep in the glove compartment. All I’m saying is that it’s not a seamless carry at 7 ounces of weight. You can EDC this Wave, but you’re gonna now it’s there as your pants start to get pulled down.
  • This kind of tools deserves a much better carry sheath. I use the tool and wear it on my belt but I got a premium leather sheath.

Review resume of this electrician multi tool

With an OQT of 4.4 /5, it seems that’s it’s mention is well deserved.

leatherman-wave-multi-tool-with-crimper-for-electricians

Click below to see the Wave on Amazon

 
read more

Other tools we deemed are worth mentioning – Bear & Son and Klein multi tools

 

Klein Multi Tools

Klein 11-in-1 screwdriver multi tool

Take a minute to watch how this inexpensive tool can change the way you go about your work.

Quick Video Demo of this Klein multi-tip

Specs of the Klein multi purpose driver tool:
  • 11 bits in 1 tool
  • Both #0 and #00 Philips bits included
  • Comes with a#1 and #2 combo, square, Phillips and slotted tips
  • Ergonomic cushion grip handles for a better, more comfortable grip and better torque
  • Tip is heat-treated for extra strength
  • Driver sizes – 1/4, 3/8 and 5/16 inch
PROs of the Klein multi-tip:
  • This multi-tip from Klein performs just as advertised. Fast opening and efficient use, good grip and overall a cool electrician’s tool
  • This multi-tip is a tank. Breaking it is nearly impossible, I’ve had it squashed under a brick wall and it survived with a few scratches
  • I already own Klein curve strippers and a few other pieces so I expected good things from this multi-purpose and it lived up to every expectation.
  • This Klein multi tool is well worth the price, well-made, small and easy to carry and works better than my old Neiko that I though I’d never replace.
  • Just simple and functional. I just open the knife with one finger when I need it. No flopping all around when I want the pliers, just one finger used to lock/unlock it. It’s simple, yet effective and very durable
  • This is by far the best multi-tip screwdriver I ever owned. Great torque, easy on the hands, budget-friendly
  • Its one-piece construction makes it virtually indestructible
  •  I’ve overhauled my tool shelve this past month and a good multi-tip is a big part of that, I also got the NECA tools booklet to get ready for next season.
CONs:
  • This Klein is a good multi-tip driver, the issue that I’ve seen is that when I need real pressure, the shaft tends to slide into the handle. It happened to me twice over these 6 months…
  • The multi-tip screwdriver itself is good and cheap, but they get you over time with the replacement combo bits

Review resume of the Klein 11-in-1 tool

It’s rated a solid 4.6/5 by our testers, which make it by far the best multi-tip screwdriver for electricians.

As the man said, this is a beast among multi-tips. It’s sturdy, reliable, effective and low-cost.

Click below to see this Klein punchdown on Amazon

klein-vdv427-807
 
read more

 

 

Bear electrician multi tool

By Bear & Son Cutlery

Bear electrician multi toolFact sheet of this product:

  • Includes Nylon sheath
  • 12-in-1
  • Contains Phillips/large/medium screwdriver, pliers, wire stripper/cutter, Drop point and serrated blade, 2-in-1 file, standard scale, lanyard ring

Pretty straight forward, I like that. I love to see when company is so sure of their product’s quality it lets it speak for itself. No cosmetic mumbo jumbo is well appreciated here.

So, let’s here some of the good experiences the customers shared with us:

  • I’m an electrician, and I just knew I had to have this gadget since the moment I saw it. When I need to do some quick work outside my area and without my gear around this is a lifesaver.
  • I was impressed when it arrived. This is one fine electrician multi tool. It’s very high quality, well made and sturdy. Everything functions as it should and I really like the pliers. They don’t loosen up even after continuous use
  • I literally use every single tool this little thing has to offer. When you hold it, it leaves an impression of a very high-quality piece. Everything lies tightly in its socket, and it does the job perfectly
  • Very solid construction and I like the stainless steel and the finish. Very nicely done
  • I like the idea behind this multi tool, and the materials used are very high-quality. The blade is very sharp, and the wire stripper head works like a charm.
  • One of the best electrician multi tools I’ve ever owned. It does the job I need it to do, it’s very reliable and can take some heavy-duty abuse. The price is great, compared to the quality of the product, and I couldn’t be more satisfied with it

Sounds like a real doozy to me. But we operate a bit outside the scope here, so we’ll check the other side too for some clues.

Here are some CONs:

  • I just don’t have any use for the serrated blade. I would be better off with something different and useful in its stead. Other tools I like a lot though
  • I’m not an electrician, and I bought this tool expecting a standard pocket multi tool. Then I realized, no toothpick, corkscrew, tweezers… Had to return it. I guess I should do some reading before buying. Looked pretty well made, just not my thing…

Review Resume

Rating1_Bear_Son_Cutlery_Electrician_Multi_Tool

Overall Quality Rating of 3.5/5 and one of the best electrician multi tool out there.

I’ve read hundreds of pros and cons considering this multi tool and it’s on my top list for a reason. It’s just an electrician’s dream tool in a pinch. Well made, very functional, a lot of tools inside, and every one of them is up to the task. No mistake with this buy for sure. And now, that you have you own guide on multi tools what happened to this last gentleman will never happen to you.

Knowledge is power.

VDV427-807 punchdown multi tool

 

By Klein Tools

VDV427-807 punchdown multi toolLet’s hear what Klein says about this multi tool:

  • Locking impact mechanism
  • Variety of different driver bits
  • Precision blade for one-step wire cutting and terminating
  • Integrated spudger and hook
  • Adjustable impact force
  • Spring loaded

That’s a mouthful, right? Let’s check the PROs:

  • Well built for handling work
  • I’m covered with this tool, whether I want to use a screwdriver or a punchdown. I like that we’ve been given that choice
  • I’m very rough on my tool, I admit. I’ve used it repeatedly and still, no indications that it might break. It’s made of some high-quality materials and I just love it
  • My first punch ever, and considering the sturdiness might be my last
  • I work at JazzyJoelProductions, and all of our techs are using this product
  • Great price for a very reliable tool
  • Excellent quality! If you’re set on terminating some Cat 5 phone cable, for example, this is a must

CONs:

  • Before it used to lock in “closed” position for some reason. Didn’t happen recently though

Review Resume of the Klein punchdown multi tool

This Klein multi-purpose punchdown is, hands down, the best value for money we’ve seen among the punchdowns tested. To date, we’ve received no reports from our testers using the tool every day.

See this Klein punchdown on Amazon

read more

 

Final thoughts

That’s our list of winners for now. I state my reputation on any of the choices because I know the people that tested and reviewed the products, they jumped a lot of hoops to be here. It’s the list of absolutely best electrician multi tools the market has to offer at this moment.

We do hope that the next update brings some new kids to the block to challenge the veterans.

singature

Comments (1)
  1. Bill Wilson

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