Multi-Tool Vs Knife

Jacob Moore

Last updated April 17, 2021

When you are looking for an EDC tool, you may find yourself stuck between a knife and a multi-tool. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so we can easily see why you may find yourself struggling to make that decision.
In order to help you, we thought we would take a look at each and give you some differences between the two.
By understanding the differences, you should be able to figure out which tool is the right one for you. So let’s take a look at the multi-tool vs knife debate to see which is the best.

Knife – Pros & Cons

Though the pros and cons of a knife will depend on the build, materials, and brands, there are a few that encompass all knives. Here are some of the pros and cons of a knife:


  • Can easily be carried in your bag or on your belt
  • Tend to be lighter than multi-tools
  • Opening it is often easier than opening a multi-tool
  • Typically has a better blade locking mechanism


  • Limited functionality
    Now, the question is probably bouncing around your mind – if the knife is so good, why even worry about whether to choose a multi-tool or not? The answer comes in the con of the knife. It has limited functionality. Though a good knife is a nice tool to have when enjoying the outdoors, in that situation, it has less usability.
    When you are out in the great outdoors, you can use your knife for a lot of activities, and it can be used to protect you in case of an emergency, as well. This means that they would definitely come in handy. There are many types to choose from, and each of those will have their own capabilities. Some of the types you can choose from include:
  • Fixed blade
  • Multifunctional folding knife
  • Lock-back knife

Multi-Tool – Pros & Cons

The multi-tool takes the knife and adds many more tools into one easy-to-handle implement. In typical multi-tools, you get a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, files, saws, and a whole bunch of other tools in some models. With that being said, here are the pros and cons of a multi-tool:


  • Fits a lot into a compact tool
  • Comes with various tools for added convenience
  • Versatility of use


  • Tools tend to be less effective than a dedicated tool
  • Not as easy to open like a knife
  • Can not be used to protect yourself
    You can see that the multi-tool has more disadvantages for most people. Where the multi-tool shines is when you want a tool that can be used both when you are out exploring the wild and when you are at home and need to get some projects around the house taken care of.
    The versatility of tools (which will vary from model to model) is what makes this battle an even bout. There are multiple types of this implement, as well. Here are a few types you will have to choose from:
  • Multi-tool pocket knife
  • Electrician
  • Military

Multi-Tool Vs Knife

Which Should You Choose? Some Final Thoughts

Now that you have an idea of the advantages and disadvantages, how do you decide which one is the right choice for you and your needs? Well, we have a few final thoughts on that subject.
If you are someone who isn’t a big outdoors lover, then a knife may not be the right option for you. You would get less use out of a tool that is designed solely for cutting or self-defense. On the other hand, if you are someone who loves to go out and explore, then the knife is a great choice.
However, if you are someone who spends time at home and in the wild, then the multi-tool may give you more versatility of use. It will allow you to have all the tools you need to get that fire started, as well as tighten the screws on that dining room table.
We might suggest getting a knife and a multi-tool, but if you are looking for the tool you will get the most out of, you might go with the knife.

Also Read: How to use an Oscillating Multitool


There are clear differences between the usability and versatility of tasks that can be done by either a knife or a multi-tool. In the end, the decision of which tool to go with is up to you and depends on what you intend to use it for.
The best option would be to choose one of each and add them to your kit. This way, you get all the benefits of the two tools individually. If you have to choose, though, the knife will be a must if you are an outdoorsman or woman. However, if you are traveling a lot but want to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, then the multi-tool is a better choice.