Update, April 2014: Click HERE for my thoughts on the Crucial two years after purchasing it.
Until recently, I haven't been a big fan of multi tools. You see, my first experience with these types of tools was years ago when I got one as a teenager. It was a cheap knockoff of a Leatherman multi tool. Due to the poor quality and the fact that I had to completely "open" the tool before I could use it (which was not a smooth process), I never gave it much use.
Recently, I've noticed that multi tool designs have made a lot of progress. For example, many now allow you to access the majority of the features, such as the knife, while the tool is in a "closed" state. In my opinion, this makes them much more useful.
The Gerber Crucial multi tool has been on my wishlist for a few months now. For starters, most of its tools can be used while the overall tool is closed. The small size as well as the featured tools also caught my attention.
I found a good deal on the Crucial a couple weeks ago so I decided to get one. Now, before I get to my review, I need to bring up a pet peeve of mine. In looking at other reviews, some people dinged the tool for not having certain features. First of all, with any multi tool, you shouldn't buy it if it doesn't have the features that you personally need. If you need a corkscrew, don't give this a bad review. Instead, look for a tool with a corkscrew! Second, multi tools inherently involve a compromise between size and functionality. You can't have all the features imaginable and expect the tool to be small. Likewise, small tools might just focus on basic features.
Some reviewers have questioned the functionality of the Phillips screwdriver. In order to make everything fit, the screwdriver blade is flattened on one axis. I tested it out with a variety of screws, including sheetrock screws and a variety of wood screws. As with any multi tool, you're probably better off with a regular old screwdriver, but I don't think the flattened Phillips tip is going to pose a problem.
- Overall high-quality feel
- Knife and other features are accessed while tool is "closed" and the action is very smooth.
- Tool should not accidentally open or come apart.
- Clip is removable.
- Slotted screwdriver is a pain to open.
- If carabiner is deployed, the knife opening/closing is rough (possibly even dangerous), but the carabiner doesn't totally obstruct the knife blade.
- The Phillips screwdriver is an unusual design but it appears to work well on most screws.
- Usefulness of carabiner is questionable.
- Knife is for right-handed people.
I'm a big fan of the Gerber Crucial. For me, the size and features are just about perfect. The few cons don't amount to a big issue. If this tool has the features you want, I'd highly recommend the Gerber Crucial.
Gerber Crucial Multi Tool - Green