The Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-Tool is the second smallest and lightest tool in our test and by far the least expensive. It is half the price of our Best Buy Leatherman Wingman and can be found for even better deals. As compared to the similarly sized Leatherman PS4, the Gerber is less strong but has an extra blade. The blades on the Gerber are one of its best attributes. There are two of them, and both are basically the same length as that provided on the overall much larger Gerber Multi-Plier 600.
Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-Tool ReviewPrice: $20 List | $12.59 at Amazon Pros: Compact and inexpensive
Cons: Secondary tools difficult to engage with fingernails. Pliers will not withstand heavier use.
Pliers type: Small Needlenose. Wirecutters
Locking tools?: none
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-Tool is exactly what it sounds like: a small set of folding pliers that's chief claim is the endorsement of the television survivalist.
This tiny guy comes with 10 simple and useful tools. We like that there are two blades. Having a full serrated edge as well as a full straight edge is an excellent advantage of this compact multi-tool. As compared to our Best Buy pick Leatherman Wingman, these two blades are a welcome addition.
The phillips head screwdriver on the Bear Grylls tool is actually a flat-head, pointed driver that is lightly contoured to look like a phillips head. In light usage, this will be fine. If your task calls for more torque, this design may come up short. In a small tool like this, the readily accessible bottle opener will be one of the more commonly used items. The inclusion of a small pair of tweezers sets the Gerber Compact tool apart. No other multi-tool in our test includes tweezers. This may seem like an important distinction. However, our Top Pick tool, the Leatherman Squirt PS4's main pliers are actually more pointy and precise than the tweezers on the Gerber.
Small multi-tools are inherently more difficult to use. All the features need to be miniaturized, and as a result, functionality is compromised. Of the tools we tested, the Gerber and Leatherman PS4 are roughly similar in size. The Gerber, if anything, is slightly larger. If you are looking for a keychain tool, but want a little extra to grab ahold of, the Gerber may be for you. All the secondary tools fold out with little fingernail tabs. As compared to similar fingernail tabs on the Editors' Choice winning Leatherman Charge TTI, the little Gerber has subtle and rounded insets. Short and dull nails will have a tough time engaging them. We like, however, that every feature on the little Gerber can be engaged without deploying the pliers.
Gerber generally makes excellent equipment. However, the Bear Grylls Compact Multi-tool came up short in our testing. In the very beginning of our review period, a tester was faced with a repair task that required the improvisation of toolbox hinges. Small-guage wire coat-hanger wire was perfect for the job. Our tester had the Bear Grylls in his pocket and used the included wire cutters to try and cut the wire. While squeezing the handles, something in the hinge mechanism on the pliers failed. The handles closed without the pliers/wirecutter closing. And the damage has been permanent. The pliers still do not close without manually squeezing the jaws. In essence, the pliers are now permanently ineffective.
The Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-Tool is the least expensive in our test. If you are looking for a tool to attach to your keys for lightweight application, this is an excellent value. However, if you will ever try to engage in any more rigorous usage, your money will be far better spent on a more rugged tool.
A tiny folder that brings a useful suite of features to an inexpensive package.
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: September 29, 2013
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