A SOG PR rep emailed in, asking if I would be interested in taking their new SwitchPlier 2.0 quick-action multi-tool for a spin (model SWP1001-CP). Having reviewed the Gerber Flik and liking it, and absolutely loving the Leatherman OHT multi-tool, I couldn’t say YES fast enough.
I’m always eager to check out new tools and equipment, but I have a soft spot for multi-tools. It takes a lot of clever and careful engineering to make a high quality multi-tool that’s functional, user-friendly, and distinct from all the other multi-tools on the market.
The SOG SwitchPlier 2.0 multi-tool is built around fast-opening pliers that deploy with the push of a button. It also features many of the other tools and functions normally found in multi-tools.
- One-handed access to pliers
- Combination needlenose and general purpose pliers jaws
- Individually locking components
- Wire cutters
- Partially serrated knife blade (420 stainless steel)
- 3-sided file
- Phillips screwdriver
- Slotted screwdriver
- Combination can opener, bottle opener, small slotted screwdriver
- Ruler scales
- Pocket clip
The tool folds down into a reasonably compact package.
Here’s a quick SOG promo video:
Street Price: $50
Week 1 First Impressions
So what do I think of it? Well… my Week 1 testing didn’t go as nicely as I had hoped. Maybe I walked into the review with high expectations, maybe I need more time to get used to the design.
The pliers open very quickly and nicely. Closing them isn’t quite as quick, but it’s effortless most of the time. Remember, spring-loaded deployment means that a little more work is involved in closing the pliers and resetting the tool. I pinched the skin on my left palm one time, but it was minor almost to the point of not mentioning it.
All of the tools, aside from the pliers, are only accessible once you open the tool by deploying the pliers. They can all be locked into place.
The tools also tend to open up into a clump. The knife blade and file are relatively easy to isolate, but the same cannot be said about the smaller tools between them. I haven’t figured out an easy way to get them out individually yet. The only way I can access any of them is by using my nail to pry forward the somewhat sharp tip of the small screwdriver at the top of the combination can and bottle opener.
And when I do get the tool clump out of the handle, the sharpened awl springs out and pokes me in the back of my finger, right behind the cuticle. It gets me at an angle just right to where it doesn’t break the skin or draw blood, but stings with a surprise. This happens almost every time I try to retrieve any of the smaller tools. Some of the smaller tools have nail nicks, but none that I can access.
Maybe the instructions have some tips about how to access the smaller internal tools. What’s that? There aren’t any instructions. The basic usage diagrams are printed on the retail box. I typically don’t have to refer to multi-tool instruction sheets, except when there’s a unique feature or hidden function I want to access.
The SwitchPlier 2.0 has some very nice features, and I think a lot of users will love how quickly the pliers can be deployed switchblade-style. The knife is easily accessible, and the file too. I might try removing the factory-applied oil lubrication and reapplying lube just at the pivot to see if that helps with the tool clumping issue.
If I had purchased this multi-tool, I would be on the fence about whether to keep or return it. On one hand, the pliers are amazing, and I’m not talking about how they open – I’m talking about the shape and quality of the jaws. On the other hand, the internal tools aren’t as user-friendly as I would like.
I remind myself that this is the SOG SwitchPlier 2.0. The pliers are the focus here, and it shows.
So the question is this – are the pliers fantastic enough to balance out the initial problems I am having with the inner tools? I think so. If you want fast one-handed-opening pliers in a very compact package, and don’t plan to use the inner tools often, you might really like this multi-tool. If you want a more balanced tool, buy a Leatherman OHT instead.
While I do prefer the pliers on my OHT, I find the SwitchPlier 2.0’s smaller footprint to be a point for SOG.
I’ll spend some more time with the SOG SwitchPlier 2.0 to see if I ease into it a little better. It’s certainly not a bad tool, and isn’t any harder to use than many other multi-tools currently on the market. I’m just having a tough time, as I normally take to a new multi-tool a lot quicker and easier. This isn’t any normal multi-tool, though, which works both for and against the tool.
What do you think? Yay or Nay for a multi-tool that focuses on switchblade-style deployment mechanism?
Thank you to SOG for providing the test sample unconditionally.