Best vice grip locking pliers & regular heavy duty multi tools – Top 5 – March ’17 update

The first time we separated the categories “heavy-duty” and strongest regular and vice grips multi tools was late 2014. A few months after that we realized that it doesn’t make much sense using the same criteria for heavy duty category and the vice grip multi-tools.

That’s when this guide started living in its current form – top 3 heavy duty tools and top 3 vice grip multi tools with locking pliers.

In spite of the rumors, we don’t think Leatherman will discontinue the Crunch. No reason to, it holds a monopoly in the vice grip multi-tools, with the Irwin pieces far behind it.

leatherman-multi-toolssuper-tool-300-and-crunch-locking-pliers

Two top rated multi-tools in the categories (regular and vice-grip) – Leatherman Crunch and Wave – the wave has just a slight edge in ratings over the Rebar, but the Crunch is by far the best-rated vice grip multi-tool with a rating of 4.62 (the runner up is rated at 4.08)

 

best-heavy-duty-multi-tools-top-4

Top 4 in regular heavy-duty multi-tools left to right Leatherman Super Tool 300, Victorinox SwissTool, Leatherman Rebar and Victorinox Spirit

 

What our methods of rating and reviewing mean for you?

They mean that the results we are about to present are a pool of data collected for over 2 years.

According to our evidence, over 400 hundred man-hours were spent testing and re-testing the tools. And that doesn’t include our featured testers, it only includes “in-house”testing. But enough boasting – for you, it means that the results we are about to present are reliable and up-do-date and not just opinions.

Here’s what you’ll see in this review update:

  • The results of this update in the 2 classes of multi-tools, both overall and more detailed (by category ratings)
  • Video reviews of the multi-tools followed by comments from our featured testers

Results of this update – TOP 5 heavy-duty multi-tools

 
Regular heavy-duty multi tools
 
 
Model
 
 
Overall Ratings
(out of 5)
 
 
See the user ratings
of the tool on Amazon
super-tool-300-strongest-multitool1
Super Tool 300
 
 
 
4.54

see-ratings-button-blue

leatherman-rebar-seond-best-heavy-duty
Leatherman Rebar
 
 
 
4.52

see-ratings-button-blue
3rd-strongest-victorinox-spirit
Victorinox Spirit X
 
 
 
4.42

see-ratings-button-blue
 
 
Vice grip locking pliers multi-tools
best-vice-grip-locking-pliers-multi-tool-leatherman-crunch
Leatherman Crunch
 
 
 
4.62

see-ratings-button-orange
irwin-vise-grip-long-nose-locking-pliers
Irwin Vise-grip
long nose
 
 
4.08

see-ratings-button-orange
irwin-vise-grip-curved
Irwin Vise-grip
curved jaw
 
 
 
3.94

see-ratings-button-orange

Notice – Crunch is only US-made tool on the list of vice grips

Today, most of these pieces are made in China and it’s very hard to follow who’s making what, even for us who are doing this full-time.

leatherman-crunch-usa-made

Read what users are saying about the Crunch
on Amazon >>

 

The problem isn’t the outsourcing, most of our industry is outsourced, but where they outsource to. From my days at a multi-tool company (worked in one for 10 years). We do our to keep tabs on who’s doing what and where and the one thing we can say with certainty is that that Leatherman Crunch is the only on the list of vice grips that’s entirely MADE IN THE USA.

Video Demos and reviews

 

Quick features Demo of the Super Tool 300

See the Super Tool 300 on Amazon

more-reviews-and-compare-prices2

 

Quick features Demo of the Leatherman Rebar

See the Leatherman Rebar on Amazon

more-reviews-and-compare-prices2

 

Leatherman Crunch After 15 Years of Use

See the Leatherman Crunch on Amazon

more-reviews-and-compare-prices2

under construction reviews coming soon

In the meantime, below we’ll share some of the direct quotes that we got from out testers over the years, the are basically telling the same story we’ve seen above.

Top heavy duty multi tools specs and quotes from our testers

As promised, we’ll now take some time to look in more depth into each of these products.

Leatherman ST-300 multi tool

Leatherman 831102 Super Tool-300 Multitool with a Sheath 1

Specs:

  • Tools ad blades are all locking, handles sculpted for comfort
  • Straight edge clip-point knife and serrated sheep’s foot knife, all 420hc
  • Regular and needle nose pliers
  • Electrical crimper, wire stripper, Phillips, 1/8, 7/32, and a 5/16” screwdrivers
  • Can and bottle opener, saw, thread loop awl, file for wood and metal
  • Wire cutters are removable, quick access to the blades

Good reviews of this multi tool that our testers had to share:

  • This is one great tool! I work as a mechanic on vehicles, and I use it daily. The blade opens really quickly and easily. The head of the pliers is considerably wider and stronger than on my old ST-200, and I can even replace the blades of the wire cutters. It’s a lifesaver, and I’m sure glad I bought it
  • The handle’s depth is pretty big, and it adds a very bulky and solid feel to it when it’s in my hand. I have large hands, and this tools sits very comfortably
  • The shank of the Phillips screwdriver is really beefed up, making the screwdriver stronger overall. The blade of the saw is wide enough to possess a considerable amount of strength. All 3 flat screwdrivers have at the tip a quite professional bevel. All in all, this tool has everything I need, and it can handle everything I put it through. I could ask for nothing more than that
  • Very heavy duty pliers and I like how the blades lock in place, so there’s no danger of the blade suddenly closing, and finding your fingers in the process. It seems very durable and made to withstand abuse. I would take to the jungle with me. But until then, it’s irreplaceable when I work around my house or my car
  • I finally have a multi tool I can use as a proper real tool. Real deal screwdrivers with perfect edges. Top notch build quality with a comfortable grip and rounded edges. Not too much stiffness in the plier’s jaws. They open very nicely, and I didn’t even need to oil them before the first se. Tools lie tightly inside the frame, and they lock perfectly in position once in business mode. This tool just rocks!

Less pleasant quotes:

  • This multi tool doesn’t have scissors! Other than that little mishap it’s a great heavy duty multi tool
  • This one heavy tool, might be a good choice for a handymen or a good multi-tool for an electrician but as a pocket EDC, not so much

Victorinox Spirit multi tool

Victorinox SwissTool Spirit Multi-Tool with Pouch 2

Fact sheet:

  • 27 functions folding multi tool with body made of stainless steel
  • Phillips screwdriver, and 3 flat ones (2, 3 and 6mm)
  • Crate and bottle opener, scissors and combo-edge blade
  • Wood and metal saws, metal file, wire stripper and chisel/scraper
  • 4.13” and 5.75 ounces
  • Lifetime guaranty

Good things our testers shared over the years:

  • This heavy duty multi tool can hold its ground against the big boys, even though it’s more dainty and smaller. It performs superbly, and with staggering precision. It’s very well laid out and has a certain solidity in it’s moves. The tools come out very smoothly and are easily accessible. Each tool has its own spring lock for keeping it in place which is safety dreamland.
  • I like how light and small this multi tool is. I just can’t believe something so small can do some pretty hard core work. It’s a great tool, has everything I need and it all works as it should.
  • The chrome and nicely polished finish really make this tool stand out. It’s indestructible and nice looking. Everything is chromed except for the pliers head, but it’s a nice unit and it strikes contrast into the mix. Very gentle price to your budget. Overall, it’s one hell of a tool and I would recommend it to everyone who needs something it has to offer
  • I’m amazed at this wood saw actually cutting like crazy! The tools all lock in place and I can access the tools with pliers in closed mode. I found the chisel to be somewhat unusual in a multi tool, but certainly a welcomed addition to my arsenal. And I can tell you, it’s extremely corrosion resistant

CONs:

  • I don’t like the fact that this tool features dead pins, which prevents replacing the tools down the road
  • The main blade is the only complaint I can make about this multi tool. It’s not standard aggressive looking and pointy blade, but squareheaded, sort of like a butter knife
  • The scissors are too tiny for me. They’re really sharp but just too small
  • Too bad I can’t take this tool on a plane when I travel. Forbidden, they say

Leatherman Crunch multi tool

Leatherman 68010101K Crunch Pocket Multi-Tool with Leather Sheath 5

Fact sheet:

  • Made for professionals and DIY aficionados
  • All blades lock for ultimate power and safety
  • Locking pliers, spreading enough for clamping a 1” pipe
  • Featuring Phillips screwdriver, file, serrated knife, bottle opener, regular and hard wire cutters, 3 slotted screwdrivers, ruler, hex bit driver, wire stripper ad lanyard attachment
  • 25 year warranty

As we mentioned, we don’t believe the rumors of the Leatherman Crunch being discontinued.

PROs:

  • This would be my first choice if I could carry only one multi tool with me at all times. It’s hand down the best tool for a motorcyclist ever. It clamps easily onto my broken throttle cable, I can use it as a break or shift lever and much, much more. It is just an awesome tool
  • The design on this one is masterful. The pliers are technically a pair of fully functional vice grips. They perform equally well as any dedicated vice grips would. Leatherman team really thought it through on this tool. It sits comfortably in your hand, without cutting into the flesh, and you can put some real pressure on these pliers without any fear
  • It has enough of screwdrivers to do any work. The serrated blade is awesome, and I found many uses for it. Never needed sharpening also. Bottle opener works like a charm, and it opens a bottle almost within the first try. This is my ultimate tool I would take with me on a deserted island. Good job Leatherman!
  • Amazing little tool! It’s so compact when folded, and yet so functional. The vice grip is very strong, and that’s all that matters to me. I’m a plumber, and in constant need for these. If you don’t need the vice grips daily, I don’t think this is the right tool for you
  • Rugged and high quality tool. Everything works perfectly, and I really hope that Leatherman discontinued producing Crunch just so they could upgrade the design. Excellent multi tool
  • This one locks so well and hold on so tight that I use it for the most serious of jobs, where’s I’d otherwise use a standalone tool. Just a few weeks ago I used it for most of the smaller jobs while installing sash windows. Let me tell, you process requires some serious sturdy tools.

CONs:

  • No can opener
  • I don’t like the overall finish of this tool. Too rugged looking for me
  • The inside tools can’t be accessed without opening the tool
  • It’s pricey

Two honorary mentions

These are the two tools that we simply had to mention and share what our testers shared about them, it’s the tools that were close to the TOP 3, but didn’t make the cut.

Gerber 07550 needlenose multi-plier 600

Gerber 07550 Needlenose Multi-Plier 600, Black 3

The fact sheet of the product:

  • 14-in-1, fully locking mechanism
  • Needlenose pliers, tools for cutting and wire handling, screwdrivers and much more
  • One-handed opening of the pliers, just one flick of your wrist
  • Handle is made of stainless steel, and it’s coated with black oxide
  • Includes sheath made of ballistic nylon

Straight forward expose, only the essentials. I do prefer those. Now we can let the customers fill in the gaps.

PROs, directly from the users:

  • This is one high-quality creation from Gerber. The main blade is just awesome, super sharp and functional. I really like the overall look of the tool also. It was a pleasure dealing with this company, people are so pleasant, responsive and helpful. Top notch product and service to match
  • I’m a do extensive research before buying anything. I’ve read reviews of different multi tools for 6 months before zoning in on this bad boy. It looks beautiful, and I’m very satisfied with the tools inside. It’s built to last, and you just feel how strong it is while holding it. The blade is very sharp, which was one of my concerns from the start. I especially like the locking mechanism for the tools, it keeps them nicely in place, so no more pinched fingers for me
  • I was serving in Iraq in 2006. With the marines, when I was issued this multi tool. I’ve kept it pretty clean, and it served me through 8 months of some pretty heavy use. It didn’t fail me once, it’s simply indestructible. I can’t see myself ever needing another multi tool while I have this one. The Gerber Needlenose is a solid bang for your buck
  • It’s very incognito tool with its black powder finish. It’s also very practical. Sharpest blade ever, and the needlenose pliers work like a charm. I’m not in the military, but I do work in the field, and I’m using this tool daily. I find some new use for it every day. It’s a great addition to my toolbox, and I never leave home without it

CONs, from some less than satisfied users:

  • When I unpacked this tool, it was covered in black residue. Your hands might be black for a while, but I figure it’s there for keeping the multi tool ready for use. It’s easy enough to rinse and wipe off anyway
  • This tool feels loose overall, and I’m not a big fan of the feeling. My friends from the military told me it’s made that way on purpose, so it could still work properly when you get sand, or whatnot caught in it. The more I looked, the more it seemed true as the looseness of the tool doesn’t seem to affect the functionality, and it really looks like they do it on purpose
  • The pliers were a little stiff when I got this tool. They wouldn’t open using the one-handed move right of the bat. After a while, they loosened up, and now it all works perfe

Leatherman Titanium Charge TTi multi tool

Leatherman Charge TTi Multi-Tool with Leather Sheath and Bit Kit

Fact sheet:

  • Titanium lightweight handles sculpted for ultimate comfort
  • 100% stainless steel
  • Regular and needlenose pliers, wire cutters and strippers, hook, saw, clip-point knife, Phillips, small/standard/large screwdrivers, metal/wood file, can opener and scissors
  • Carrying sheath included, pocket clip
  • Made in USA

PROs:

  • I like how the interior tools are rotating individually, so I can access them one at a time
  • Scissors are extremely strong on this multi tool. They can cut a seat-belt without a hitch
  • Awesome tool. It’s very compact considering the umber of tools included.
  • Awesome pliers head! I especially like the soft wire cutter. It eats wire for breakfast, as far as I am concerned the Leatherman Charge TTi is worth every dime of the hefty price tag
  • It’s an understatement to call this tool solid. It’s very well made, sturdy, and every function is very smooth. I like the main blade particularly, but be careful, it’s razor sharp
  • My god, this file is amazing! I know it’s diamond coated, but if anyone told me it can saw through hardened steel lock?! I did it, so I believe it. Incredible quality, nothing I didn’t expect from Leatherman

CONs:

  • It’s a bit too heavy just to carry around in your pocket
  • The leather pouch I got with it was unsatisfying, I had to buy another one
  • It was sort of an impact on my budget. The tool is really high quality, but pricey

Final thoughts

Let’s take a step back – What is a heavy duty multi tool anyway?

If something is “heavy duty”, it means it’s made to withstand hard wear and use. It’s designed for performing some heavy tasks and handle great strain.

This definition is still applicable on multi tools. They’re used for work that, for example, keychain or mini multi tools just couldn’t handle. We’re talking about things like heavy gauge wire cutting, tightening or loosening of larger bolts, and things of that nature.

Heavy duty multi tools are “bombproof”, as the customers like to say, and will perform, no matter the difficulty of the task at hand.

There it is folks, these are the best multi tools marked as heavy duty. You can hardly go wrong with any of these.

Take care!

Morry Banes Signature

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