Finding a pocket-worthy screwdriver isn’t particularly hard. But few have ever actually simplified carrying bits, which means you’re stuck with one or maybe two bit types in your multitool. Big Idea Design’s Bit Bar EDC Screwdriver handles your bits first and foremost thanks to a magnetic push bar that ejects the eight contained bit heads out of hex-sized holes with a press of your thumb and that retracts immediately when released. Pull out the one you need, push it into the bit driver on the side, and get to work, with its body doubling as a full-sized handle for proper grip. Each comes with 8 black oxide bits — but feel free to customize it with your own standard bits — and finishes include fiberglass-reinforced nylon, tumbled titanium, and battle-worn DLC black titanium (shown).
Find it at Kickstarter – $50+
Multitools save space when compared to their individual single-tool counterparts, but despite this most are rather bulky. Not the Cha-O-Ha Cyclist Card Multitool which is theoretically small enough to fit into a wallet (we say it like this because it’s heavy-duty thick-cut metal isn’t the thinnest) and definitely compact enough to slip away incognito in your saddle bag, jersey pocket, or small messenger bag. The two-part card is made of the same hard-wearing, edge-retaining CPM S35VN Blade Steel as their EDC Card and includes a total of 43 functions if you count each individual wrench, including a tire pry, three spoke wrenches, a truing fork (for straightening disc brakes), a measure, a bottle opener, a few screwdrivers, a bit driver, plus a ton of hex wrenches. And since a card itself won’t give much leverage, a second piece — which holds two 1/4-inch bits — pins onto the Cyclist card to double as a handle.
Learn more at Kickstarter – $35+
Stud detectors are not user friendly devices since they’re usually just equipped with a light or two and a speaker, emitting an annoying beep that vaguely lets you know where a stud is hiding. Ryobi’s Whole Stud Detector leaves less to chance thanks to Auto Deep Scan technology and a series of seven lights that illuminate to show you the entire length of the stud as you pass over it, leaving less to luck while also helping steer clear of wires. A ring of LEDs around the center indicator light up when the stud’s center is located, and when that happens just press the stud marker button to leave a slight dimple in the drywall so you’ll know exactly where to drill, hammer, or screw.
Find it at Home Depot – $30
You might not think much about spirit levels, but Milwaukee does. And the fruit of their labor is the Redstick Level. It’s first of all precise, with a guaranteed accuracy of just 0.029 degrees provided by highly readable, high-contrast (and replaceable, in the event that one breaks or ceases to be accurate) magnified vials. Moreover its red aluminum frame isn’t completely hollow but is instead reinforced by a metal backbone at the level’s weakest points (namely, where the middle vial is held) for added durability against drops and added resistance against bends. The Redstick also features rare earth magnets for serious gripping power, precision milled measuring surfaces to ensure there are no slight production defects that might affect your results, removable rubber end caps, and comes in a variety of sizes, ranging from 16 inches to 96 inches depending on your needs. Bigger models even feature a handle or two to simplify use and carry.
Grab one at Acme Tools – $60+
The best multitool is the one you’ll have on your person when it’s really needed. And most of the time that means we’ve out of luck and need to slice open boxes with a key or tighten a screw with a paperclip. But entrust a SOG Sync II Belt Buckle Multitool to your pant-holding duties and you’ll never be without a tool that detaches with a single hand and handles minor tasks far better than anything you could fit on a keychain. The twelve included tools span a pair of pliers, scissors, wire cutters, a straight blade, a file, a bolt gripper, a few screwdrivers, and the all important a bottle opener for cracking open a cold one after the job’s done. Though it doesn’t include a strap so you’ll need to rid one of your existing belts of up to 1.75-inches in width of its buckle. For smaller belts, look for their Sync I buckle instead.
Find it at SOG Knives – $80
The All In Bike Multitool is built for cyclists, but it won’t take up any space in your bike bag. Nor can you forget it at home because it slips into the [otherwise completely useless] hollow space in your bike’s crankshaft (that is, in the axle between the pedals), locking in place thanks to seven powerful neodymium magnets. If you need a hand, yank it out; the Italian-made tool comes equipped with four Allen keys, a T25 torx, and a Phillips bit — though you can swap out any of these with any standard bit. It’s also got a few slots for extra chain links but doesn’t come with a chain breaker tool, so pack one of those alongside a spare tube and tire levers.
Learn more at All In Multitool – roughly $70
Remember PowerPenz? The SOG Baton Q1 Multitool Pen is a bit like those, but actually useful (and also, you know, not a cheap plastic toy). Part of SOG’s new Baton collection, the TSA-friendly Q1 thrives in office and work settings, functioning as an ordinary ballpoint pen, albeit one with a pressurized ink cartridge. Split it in two and it transforms into a spring-assisted scissor. Its two other functions (totalling four in all) include a bottle opener and a medium flat screwdriver, so while it won’t saw through wood or help filet a fish it’s still more capable than whatever pen is currently in your pocket. If you can do without a pen and want a few more tools in a slender package, however, check out the rest of the Baton collection.
Learn more at SOG Knives – $54
You don’t need to work on airplane engines to appreciate the versatility of the Grypmat Tool Mat. This bright orange polymer-silicone mat is non-magnetic, chemical resistant, and anti-static, but most of all it’s flexible and, as hinted by its name, highly grippy, sticking to a variety of uneven work surfaces to keep your tools in close proximity. Its non-absorbent material won’t suck in grease or dirt so cleaning is generally as simple as wiping gunked-up surfaces with a damp cloth. Get it in three sizes: a small version with six compartments, a medium sized one as well as a large, with the latter two featuring integrated rulers in both metric and imperial.
Find it at Kickstarter – $30+