SOG is one of just a few tool brands that offer unique multi-tool designs. I bought a SOG PowerLock more than 10 years ago, and while it’s never my go-to, it has some compelling attributes.
The biggest selling point of SOG multi-tools are their pliers, which open quickly and easily, and deliver compound leverage.
According to SOG, the compound leverage pliers design “makes cutting and tightening twice as easy.”
The standard SOG PowerLock multi-tool has common tools and features, such as combination jaws, wire cutting blades, a combination knife blade, scissors, wood-cutting saw, bottle and can openers, and several screwdriver sizes.
It also has a 1/4″ driver that pairs with a square-to-hex socket adapter for use with 1/4″ hex screwdrivers and accessories. Mine came with such a socket, and the sheath had a dedicated spot for storing it.
SOG PowerLock multi-tools, even those described as being suited for daily professional use, also have an EOD crimper for military users.
I tend to prefer other brands’ multi-tools over SOG’s, such as Leatherman, Victorinox, and Gerber – in that order – but the PowerLock pliers have kept me from passing mine along to anyone else.
The pliers open quickly, via a geared mechanism. But, tread carefully, as you can smash your knuckles when opening the pliers with a wrist-flick motion.
I all but swore off SOG tools nearly 13 years ago, right after I received my purchase and asked them a question about the tool’s country of origin labeling. SOG customer service never responded to my two email inquiries, and I felt that their phone agent wasn’t any more helpful.
But, the pliers continue to offer distinct benefits.
Gerber and Leatherman have developed good one-hand-opening multi-tools as well, but nothing quite mirrors SOG’s compound leverage design and benefits.
The rest of my PowerLock tool is decent too, with easy-accessible tools. In addition to all of the non-pliers tools and functions requiring the pliers to be flipped open first, they’re also all secured behind a hinged cover.
A pro in some regards, and con in others, the PowerLock pliers are longer than other multi-tools. It also has a larger sheath, which fits the 1/4″ square to hex socket adapter at the bottom. Its size isn’t a concern when carried or stored in a pouch, bag, or tool box.
The latest models have a different nylon belt pouch, and it’s unclear as to whether SOG stills gives you the square to hex socket adapter. This is an inexpensive accessory you can always purchase separately.
- 7″ overall length
- 4.6″ closed length
- Weighs 9.6 oz
- 420 stainless steel construction
Would I recommend the SOG PowerLock multi-tool?
Personally, I prefer more compact tools for EDC (everyday carry) and travel.
SOG advertises the PowerLock as having an “electrician wire cutter.” The wire cutting blades don’t have user-replaceable inserts, which I consider a must-have for modern tools aimed at professional use.
Aside from the pliers, the rest of the SOG multi-tool is average. However, the tools and functions feel strong, reliable, and as mentioned are easy to fold out and access. While not as good as the action on Leatherman’s Free series multi-tools, the SOG cost less than half the price.
The price is a strong selling point. You can get a basic but reliable Gerber for less, but there’s no similarly-featured Leatherman or Victorinox multi-tool at anywhere close to the PowerLock’s under-$40 price point.
The SOG PowerLock seemed worth revisiting for those 3 reasons – it’s decent enough I haven’t given mine away yet, it remains affordably priced, and its pliers are as of yet unmatched in their ease of opening and compound leverage.
All that said, I would recommend it, but not unconditionally. This is one of the most highly-functional multi-tools for the money.
The next step up would be the Leatherman Rebar multi-tool, which I reviewed here. At the time of this posting, the Rebar is $80 at Amazon, which is more than 35% higher-priced.
I think the Powerlock makes an excellent glovebox multitool, where weight and speed of tool access is less critical – and having a strong pair of pliers can be very handy.
It’s kind of an old-school design at this point, requiring the pliers to be opened to access the other tools. The design is quite comfortable when bearing down on the handles though.
The plier heads are really good too – both sufficiently heavy duty to work with the compound leverage and still come to a fine point for precision. No replaceable cutting inserts – but last I checked SOG would sell you a whole replacement plier head for $14.
For the price, I think they’re recommendable too.
I used to be a huge SOG fan, having at least 6 of their knives and a few multi-tools. However the company was sold to GSM Outdoors in 2021 and has been a disaster to deal with for customer service since. There support for replacement parts is limited or null.
SOG has some pretty compelling knives these days, though I wish they didn’t insist on making so many with assisted opening. The Terminus XR for example – pretty good! They seem to be leaning hard into the crossbar lock on all their pricier models (they call it the “XR lock”).
Sad to hear that. Not all acquisitions backed by venture capital firms (in this case GSM is owned by Gridiron Capital LLC.) result in poor customer service – but sometimes buyouts do result in changes.
Very true Fred!
I love the SOG powerlock. I have a pair marketed by paladin tools (powerplay) for about 18 years. They have saved my *ss on dozens of occasions in and out of network closets. A few months ago I picked up the s62n model. They seem just as solid and I look forward to having them for an equally long time.
Had these as well, the PT-525 I think they were. I worked in facilites and occasionally dabbled in low voltage stuff, these weren’t perfect but they saved me more than a couple times when on the road in unfamiliar buildings or just being young and unprepared for a task. Sadly they walked away at some point.
I got one because the price was right. I just removed the guards. The pliers are excellent and I have to admit there is a fidget factor with one hand pliers opening. I still prefer my Leatherman wave overall, but they’ve gotten quite expensive lately.
Never tried a SOG multitool. Only ever had a Gerber work-issued multitool that did nothing but piss me off. Don’t remember the model number.
I carry a Victorinox Swisstool Spirit X on my tool pouch. Good enough in a pinch to save a trip to the toolbox most times. Tools on the outside, don’t have to open it up for anything but the pliers. That and an open end 8+10mm wrench will cover prob 90% of the stuff I work on daily.
The powerlocks are fine. I’ve got a few pairs of them that I keep stashed in the car, camping gear, etc. At the end of the day, they’re too inconvenient to use for daily tasks. The opening/closing required to use the tools just ruins them for me from that perspective. First world problems, I know. But that’s the world I live in, and there’s better options available to me.
I use a free p2 for daily use, much nicer having quick access to everything. I’m waiting on the Leatherman Arc to release.
Have had two of these for ~20 years now. Honestly they’ve been fantastic and I was given Gerbers and Leathermans by my S4 all the time. There are a few “bad” things about them.
1. Gotta make sure you check the nuts – then again that’s a good life rule in general
2. Your options were stainless, stainless or stainless
3. Kinda heavy compared to other options.
4. Takes more time to get the other tools out.
Aside from that they’re great. I actually like the pliers shape on them more than any of the other multitools I’ve tried.
Took them on every deployment, one is beat to hell and back and looks about as rough as me with all it’s scars and some rust staining. The other one looks virtually brand new because it sat in my toughbox.
I really should find the gallon zip lock bag I have of other multitools and either get rid of them or start putting them into various tool kits.