I recently posted about recommended EDC multi-tool and LED light options for users sticking to a $50 budget. If you’re willing to spend more, keeping the budget under $200 seems like a good limit for an enthusiast that happens to need a few pocket tools, or someone looking for a very good EDC set up.
Price Point Overview
$200 is the price point where you are getting great materials and great designs without paying for that last 1-5% of performance that most people never need. Thanks to some really great products here you don’t have to compromise all that much, other than maybe a bit of bling. Don’t expect high CRI outputs or titanium framelocks, but if you want elite functionality, aim for this price point.
Setup 1: Spyderco Chaparral in FRN, Olight S1R, Leatherman Style PS
Spyderco Chaparral in FRN: $89.05; Olight S1R: $59.99; Leatherman Style PS: $29.95; Total Price: $178.99
This is a clever set of tools in that it can work as an everyday set up with no duplication, or as an air travel-friendly EDC by leaving the knife at home.
The Chaparral in FRN, reviewed here is probably the best knife on the market for most people with an excellent steel (CTS-XHP), great ergonomics, and a blade so slicey cold cuts tremble when you walk by carrying it.
The Olight S1R is a great light light with an excellent charger. I like the Surefire Titan Plus better, but it costs a bit more money. For $60 this is a good little EDC light. Just don’t expect “light up the side of a mountain” throw.
Last is the Style PS. This gives you a set of pliers, a good cap lifter, and itty bitty scissors. The advantage here is that without a knife blade you aren’t spending ounces or dollars on a redundant tool. And at the same time you get one of the very few good tools that can go flying with you, as the Style PS is TSA approved thanks to a lack of a knife blade.
Knife Restriction Swap Out: If you live in a place where you can’t have a locking knife, swap out the Chaparral for the excellent and similarly priced Spyderco Roadie.
Set Up 2: Leatherman Skeletool CX and Surefire Titan Plus
Leatherman Skeletool CX: $79.95; Surefire Titan Plus: $80.99; Total Price: $160.94
The unnamed piece of kit here is the awesome MaxMadCo Bolt Action Pen.
Over the years Leatherman has constantly pushed the envelope in terms of design, and for me nothing matches the Skeletool CX. It has a very good knife and a very good cap lifter. The Skeletool CX works well as cutters and a pair of pliers, though the pliers are bit stubby. It has everything you need and nothing you don’t, plus, unlike with many multitools, it is actually good as a knife. There is very little compromise here.
The Surefire Titan Plus is a better light than the S1R, but it is more expensive – 35% more. The clip is not great and the lanyard attachment AND lanyard attachment cap are silly, but the form factor, quality, beam pattern, and output are hard to beat. I’d love a Titan Plus with a clicky or a staged twisty and a charging port, but the Gear Gods smile upon us like that, the regular Titan will do just fine.