The CRKT Tool – previewed here back in January – is a new multi-tool that packs some handy features in a compact package. CRKT is well known as a quality knife maker, but can they make a great multi-tool?
The Tool, appropriately but uncreatively named, comes complete with a nylon sheath and bit kit.
Push either of the two button, and a spring-loaded screwdriver pops out in a T-handle configuration. One button deploys the Phillips screwdriver, and the button on the opposite side deploys the slotted screwdriver. There’s no reason to release both drivers at once, but you can.
My biggest concern is that one or both of the screwdrivers could deploy if any pressure is accidentally placed on the buttons during carrying. The sheath is thick and rigid enough that this didn’t happen during testing days. Still, I wouldn’t carry the Tool by itself in my pocket as I have enough trouble with my car key deploying accidentally.
The T-handle screwdriver configuration is a nice feature as it allows users to apply pressure while tightening or loosening fasteners. This helps reduce stripping and damage to fasteners, and might also help the screwdriver tips last a bit longer as well. I would recommend using the bit adapter and replaceable screwdriver bits for higher-torque applications.
Both screwdrivers lock in place with sturdy liner locks. At first sight the liners looked difficult to access with their smallish fingertip tabs, but they’re manageable. To reset the Tool after using one of the screwdrivers, release the liner lock and swing the driver all the way to its home position until you hear it click.
The drivers deploy with the push of a button, but it does take two hands to close them back up.
The knife blade is 2.25″ long and is sharp and sturdy. It deploys with the flick of a thumb, and can be closed almost as easily since the liner lock is more accessible than with the screwdrivers. It should come as no surprise that the knife mechanism is so well executed, seeing as how CRKT and their designers have extensive experience with pocket knives.
On the opposite side there’s a 2.5″ wood-cutting saw that deploys in a lefty direction. It deploys and closes as easily as the plain-edge knife, but in practice I found myself opening it with two hands since I’m a righty. This is just an observation, not a complaint. Lefties might lament that the knife blade is designed for righties, but I don’t think any righties will complain that the saw blade takes an extra second or two to deploy.
The Tool comes with 9 screwdriver bits and a magnetic bit holder. Feel free to swap in your own 1/4″ hex insert bits for even greater versatility. The adapter itself isn’t state of the art or perfectly manufactured, but there are no functional issues.
Don’t worry about where to stash the adapter and bits – the plastic holder slides into its own pocket on the back of the sheath.
There are different box wrench sizes on each side of the Tool, with both series of wrenches serving double duty as bottle openers. The box wrenches fit hex fasteners reasonably well, or at least as well as I’ve seen with other such designs.
The holes on the left side of the wrench work with the knife blade to strip 10, 12, 14, and 16 gauge wires. It’s not anywhere near as effective as a true wire stripper, but it works a heck of a lot quicker, easier, and cleaner than hacking wire insulation away with a bare knife.
The Tool is an unusual multi-tool, both in appearance and function. That’s not to say that it’s bad – it’s just different. Its quick-deploy screwdrivers, plain edge knife blade, and saw blade are well made and comfortable to use. The interchangeable bits are a nice touch and the included storage strip adds little to no bulk bulk to the whole package.
At the end of the day, I really like the Tool, even though it’s not quite perfect*. The screwdrivers could be easier to close (do they really need a liner lock?), but that’s just a minor gripe. Overall, the Tool is packed with useful functionality. It’s not a do-everything multi-tool, but it’s not meant to be.
To top things off, the Tool is surprisingly comfortable to use. You might not think so just looking at it, because of its odd shape, but the edges are smooth and the Tool grips well as a knife and T-handle driver.
MSRP is $50, but the Tool can be found for less than $40 on Amazon.
Thank you to CRKT for providing the review sample unconditionally. Review samples are typically given away, donated, or in some cases retained for benchmark and comparison purposes.
More Info via CRKT
*There is no perfect multi-tool, and if there is I haven’t found it yet.
I’ve owned the CRKT multitools for 5 years now and I love it and it works perfectly. I hardly used it but i like it so much because its so compact yet almost anything can be worked on with it.