A couple of the winners of the recent April Tools Day giveaway asked for surprise gifts. I believe all but 1 of those winners should have received their surprise prizes by now, and so I figured it’s okay to tell you what they got.
There’s a common theme to what I sent the “surprise me” winners – all of the tools I sent them are among my favorite mini EDC tools. These tools are highly functional, yet compact enough to place in a pocket, work or personal bag, or keychain.
All of the tools were purchased through Amazon, and they’re sold elsewhere as well.
EDC, for those not familiar with the term, stands for everyday carry.
Leatherman Style CS Keychain Multi-Tool with Scissors
It’s been more than 5 years since the Style CS came out, and I still think it’s a mini Skeletool with scissors. Speaking of which… if you’re looking for a new compact multi-tool, check out my review of the Skeletool CX!
The Leatherman Style CS is slender, but not flimsy. It can be attached to your keychain with the built-in carabiner clip, or you can loop a split ring through the large loops near the clip.
Features include darned good scissors as the main tool component, removable tweezers, a knife blade, and a nail file with a combination flat and Phillips screwdriver tip. The Style CS is made from stainless steel and has a glass-filled nylon scale that I believe is mostly for looks.
Oh, and a bonus – the scissors have a spring-action mechanism that makes them easier to use.
I haven’t carried mine around a lot, but I do like it a lot; this is my favorite mini multi-tool.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
Fenix E01 LED Flashlight
I’ve written about Fenix LED flashlights before, and the E01 has been mentioned in my 5 best LED flashlights for under $20 post, and in my Ultimate Tool Gift Guide list.
I own a number of mini LED flashlights, including a somewhat recent Maglite LED Solitaire purchase, and some are much better than the E01. But the E01 remains one of my favorite mini flashlights for a couple of reasons.
First, it’s reliable. My wife’s had one on her keychain for several years now, and it’s still going strong. There was a hiccup a couple of weeks ago, where the light wouldn’t turn on. I opened it with a loud POP, reset the o-ring seal, swapped in a fresh battery, and it was as good as new.
Second, it’s inexpensive but well made.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the E01 delivers low brightness and long runtime. All too often, small LED flashlights are too powerful for their size. The E01 is a great keychain companion because it’s useful without being glaringly bright.
It’s made from aircraft-grade aluminum and is waterproof with IPX-8 rating. Light output is 13 lumens, and runtime is 21 hours with a single AAA battery. The Fenix E01 is available in several colors – black, blue, gold, purple, and olive.
While not a go-to flashlight when you know you’ll need a flashlight, the E01 is great for carrying around when you least expect to need a little extra light.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
Stanley 4-in-1 Pocket Screwdriver
I also wrote about the Stanley 4-in-1 screwdriver previously, so I won’t say too much here. It’s a good pocket or technician screwdriver, and I use mine at home and in the workshop too. It’s handy, comfortable to use, and very inexpensive.
Again, there are better pocket screwdrivers out there, but this is one is perhaps my favorite.
Bit sizes are 5/32″ and 1/8″ slotted, and Phillips PH0 and PH1.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
Wera Kraftform Bitholding Screwdriver
Wera makes a number of Kraftform screwdrivers, including a mini version. It works with industry-standard 1/4″ hex bits and features the same locking bit holder as Wera’s bigger and more premium Kraftform drivers.
No, you won’t be able to exert incredible amounts of torque with these screwdrivers, but they’re nonetheless handy on-the-go.
The yellow is engineered one has an ESD (electrostatic discharge) safe handle, which you might or might not need, but it’s also been less expensive than the regular green version. This might change in the future, but for the time being, why not save a few bucks and get the ESD safe bitholding screwdriver, just in case.
To clarify, products that are ESD safe are designed to protect delicate circuitry from static discharge. They are NOT designed to protect users from high voltage or current power sources. ESD safe tools are designed to be more conductive so as to not built up static charge.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
I’m having a tough time deciding on which tool should be my 5th mini EDC tool pick, so let’s make this one a reader’s choice entry. If I had to pick one more tool to avoid making the post title a lie, I’d say it’s my new folding pocket ruler.
Which compact and portable multi-tool would YOU say is a fantastic mini EDC tool?
I like my Leatherman Brewzer. Handy little pry tool and you should never be without a bottle opener.
A man with a knife is never without one. I preffer my dillo bottle opener though.
The fenix E05 Is way better.
My favorite edc “tool” is a kershaw knife with a 1/4″ fold bit driver and 4 bits in the handle. Its a little big and heavy but lighter than carrying a whole nother tool. Completely functional and i use it all the time.
My favorite compact EDC is the Leatherman Wingman? Not keychain sized, but about as small as it can be while still having useful sized pliers. I do maintanence work, and lean more towards usable than most compact. At work I am not constrained by size so much as how much or how big a tool I want to carry. To a job where I feel I’ll need a multi tool, I grab my Super Tool 300. Very heavy duty, yet still manageable in size.
My favorite EDC screwdriver would be the Wera, I believe they call it the kraftfrom kompakt. This is the one with that comes with a bit set stored neatly in the handle, and that also has the extendable shaft tha
T can be removed completely and used in a drill or bit driver. Not pocket sized, but fits a lot of functionality for its size, and mine came in a nice belt sheath. It is what I grab when I feel I will be going to a job where I will be needing a screwdriver. Bits lock on securely, and the choice of long or short shank is helpful. Add to that, very well made insert bits, and you know why I like it.
I had a couple of those Fenix pocket flashlights, and really liked them, buth they kept getting lost, borrowed and not returned, etc, so I started buying AAA powered mini lights from http://www.ledshoppe.com. Not as well made as the Fenix, but 2 for $5, shipping included, is hard to beat for a light that works reliably, and is likely to walk off anyway. Like the Fenix, it puts runtime ahead of maximum brightness, and has a simple on off click switch in the tail cap, and not a whole bunch of modes to go through just to turn on or off. It is bright enough to walk a path or change a tire, if Ned be, and has good battery life. I can say as of yet, I never replaced the battery in one of those, as they get lost or ‘borrowed’ before that ever happens. To be fair, when someone calls and says they found my little light under their sink or in their car, I just say it cost under $3, not worth the gas to drive back and get, just return it next time you see me If you remember. I don’t think I’d say that if it were a $15 Fenix.
It fills basically the same role as the Style CS, but I always like to have a Victorinox Swiss Army Classic on my key chain. I use a mini s-biner to be able to easily and quickly remove it when needed.
My favorite EDC has to be my Husky HD-74501 Y screwdriver.
I see that Home Depot has replaced it with a redesigned model. I have yet to try it out, but I suspect it’s as good as the original.
I use this screwdriver everyday and included it in my field technicians standard tool set. We kept half a dozen new ones in the office to replace lost or warn out tools.
I usually remove one of the intermediate bits so that the three most useful bits are always in the storage cavity in the handle.
The tips are seemingly more durable than the Wiha screwdrivers I used to use , and the hollow ground common blades don’t mar small control panel terminal blocks like the more common tapered blades.
No question about it: Knipex 5″ Cobra Pliers (http://www.amazon.com/Knipex-KPX8701125-5-Cobra-pliers/dp/B002A021WS) Fits in your pocket, and I’ve found it to be WAY more useful than any multi-tool pliers. Insanely well made, and strong enough to hold up.
That is so awesome, thanks for the tip, got to get one of those!
The pint-sized Knipex plier wrench is also handy to pocket:
Shopping around for Knipex stuff may get you better prices especially if you buy enough to qualify for free shipping at sites like Chad’s
I’ve had my eye on that model, but $45 is a steep price for such a small tool. A 4″ adjustable wrench can be had for a lot less. I know it’s not the same, and I do like Knipex’s Pliers Wrenches (https://toolguyd.com/knipex-pliers-wrench/), but I wish the smallest version had a smaller price.
I bought mine for about $30 when Zoro was having one of their 30% off sales – bundled it with other items so shipping was free
As a guy that has an IT job and does a lot of shipping I couldn’t live without my Victorinox midnight manager
This thing has:
– LED Flashlight
– Flat Screwdriver
– Philips Screwdriver
– Bottle Opener
– Nail File
I use the small knife to cut packing tape for opening boxes and breaking them down weekly, the small screwdrivers often for loosening VGA cables from monitors, or the occasional small laptop screw, scissors for cutting open small plastic bags of stuff, the pen on occasion when I’m in line at the post office and they don’t have any pens, and the light occasionally when I’m crawling under a desk and need some light to see a port number for an ethernet switch, etc.
Some might ask if these are really THAT useful, well you know that old saying “the best camera is the one you have”? Well it’s very true here, sure an actual pen would be better than using this, an actual screwdriver would be better than using this, but when your options are getting out of that 15 minute post office line to to go your car for a pen, or heading back down 3 flights of stairs to your office to grab a screwdriver and then back up just to loosen a stupid VGA cable screw…let me tell you I’m more than grateful this thing is on my keychain at all times! You try using it for a month you’ll find it’s SO convenient it’s almost unbelievable.
My regular old fashioned Swiss Army knife with scissors. I use the scissors more than I would have thought. I use the knife blades, too. The rest of the tools I use occasionally. I’ve had it for decades. similar to this one. http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Swiss-Climber-Pocket-Knife/dp/B0009KF4H0/
I like that the Leatherman you show, Stuart, has decent scissors. I’ll have to take a look at it. It would be less bulky, though I’m kind of attached to my Swiss army knife.
I also have a dorky fold up set with knife, fork, spoon that I keep in my car. Also use it more than I’d have thought. Used to take it when traveling but now can’t take it if I go by plane.
The Leatherman Style CS is a great pocket carry. The scissors and screwdrivers have saved me many times.
Another vote for the Leatherman Style CS, although the Leatherman Micra is a contender as well. Between the two, I prefer the Style CS, although I do wish they would have curved the bottle opener/carabiner portion the other way. It’s a little uncomfortable to use due to the curve.
The Style CS is just OK, but the discontinued Squirt S4 (which now sells used for twice what it used to cost new) is far superior, and is what I EDC. I don’t understand why Leatherman discontinued the S4 and replaced it with the useless pliers on the PS4 instead – good scissors are for more useful in everyday use.
I carry both the Leatherman Style CS and a Style PS every day. Together, there’s a lot of overlap, but are incredibly useful for any number of things.
If I was to add anything, I’d say a Fisher Space Pen. I have a Matte Black Bullet Space Pen, and a little flip-open notebook in my EDC list. I might add an iGekkos Power2Go Elite USB Battery Backup/Flashlight combo to replace the flashlights being recommended, but this is only for those people who don’t want to carry the battery AND a flashlight. I like mine, but that’s me, and it’s not for everyone.
If I could, and was crazy enough, I’d make a holster to carry around my DeWalt DCF680 Gyroscopic Screwdriver everywhere I go as well. I never know when I’m going to just want to use it on something. But, that’s only if I get crazy. It’s not recommended for everyone.