Gerber Crucial Review
Cons: Flexible and rattly construction, limited feature set
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|Pros||Compact, pocket clip, one-handed blade deployment||Comprehensive, well-made, aftermarket accessories and carry options||Small for carry, effective function, spring-loaded pliers||Inexpensive and well-made, spring-loaded pliers, scissors, pocket clip, one-handed blade||Tiny, well made, excellent bottle opener|
|Cons||Flexible and rattly construction, limited feature set||Proprietary bit driver, no pocket clip included||Awkward and squished phillips drive, main blade requires two hands and fingernail||Hybrid straight/serrated blade, squashed Phillips driver, short main blade||Package opener is specialized, screwdrivers are tiny|
|Bottom Line||A simple, compact tool in which each feature is optimized for basic use and the whole thing is easily transported in a backpack or pocket||A full-function tool from a great manufacturer at a reasonable price||Fitting into a niche size sub-category, this neither full size nor keychain tool has functions that are worthy and effective||A budget tool with real value and function, this model is compact with a feature set that does much of what you want and little that you don't||A keychain tool whose utility belies its tiny stature|
|Rating Categories||Gerber Crucial||Leatherman Wave+||SOG Micro ToolClip||Leatherman Wingman||Gerber Dime|
|Construction Quality (25%)|
|Specs||Gerber Crucial||Leatherman Wave+||SOG Micro ToolClip||Leatherman Wingman||Gerber Dime|
|Number of functions||10||18 + bits||8||10||9|
|Weight (ounces)||5.1 oz||8.5 oz, 9.5 oz with case||3.2 oz||6.8 oz, 7.8 oz with sheath||2.3 oz|
|Locking tools?||All but pliers and bottle opener||All but pliers||None||Scissors and blade||None|
|Pliers type||Needlenose, regular pliers, wirecutters. Spring-loaded||Needlenose, regular, wire cutters, hard-wire cutters, crimper||Spring-loaded pliers||Spring-loaded regular and needlenose||Spring loaded needle nose pliers|
|Tools accessible without deploying pliers||All||Blades, saw, file||All but phillips driver||Blade and scissors||All|
|Blades and type||1 partially serrated blade||1 straight, 1 serrated||1 straight blade||1 hybrid serrated/straight drop point||1 straight blade|
|Number of screwdrivers||2||5 included/integrated. More available aftermarket for proprietary driver||3||3||2|
|File?||No||Yes, wood/metal and a diamond-coated file||Yes||Yes||No|
|Openers||Bottle||Can and bottle||Bottle||Can, bottle, and a unique box opener||Bottle, package|
|Other important features||None||Ruler||Wirecutter||Very small ruler||Tweezers|
|Other carry options||Carabiner style clip, pocket clip||Pocket, lanyard, clip||Pocket, Pocket clip||Key ring attachment|
|Closed dimensions (Length by thickness, in inches)||3.6 x 0.7||4 x 0.7||3.9x0.5||3.8 x 0.7||2.8 x 0.6|
|Open length (pliers, in inches)||5.5 in||6.3 in||3.9 in||6.2 in||4 in|
|Open overall length (primary blade deployed, in inches)||6.0 in||6.9 in||5.8 in||6.4 in||4.1 in|
|Length of primary blade effective edge (inches)||2.4 in||2.8in||1.9 in||2.4 in||1.4 in|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Crucial tool is a compact and simple tool for everyday carry and backcountry use. Its features are spartan and simple, to maximize portability and utility of those features it does contain. Some tools attempt to pack as much function as possible into a tool while others, like the Crucial, prioritize usability and portability over maximizing options.
The Crucial is a multi-tool, but it doesn't maximize the functions. Ergonomics, value, and portability are prioritized over a maximum number of features. The Crucial is pliers, blade, two screwdrivers, and a bottle opener. Virtually every other tool we tested has more functions than the Crucial. The Leatherman Skeletool has a similar feature set.
Gerber tools and knives are highly regarded, but suffer some construction issues. The Gerber Crucial has hinges and pivots that rattle a little and the whole thing flexes more than the competition. In heavy tasks, you will notice some give in the pliers and drivers. Torquing super tight screws with the Crucial drivers feels vulnerable. We didn't torque to failure, but it seemed imminent on a couple of occasions. Our lead tester used multi-tools in a renovation of his camper. Rusted screws tested the limits of all our new multi-tools. Of this robust crew, the Gerber Crucial is the most flexible.
The Gerber Crucial is as small as we would dare call a "full size" multi-tool. The deployed plier handles almost exactly fill a typical adult hand. The knife blade is definitely on the small end. The cutting edge of the knife is short, but we are thankful that it opens from the outside and the full edge is usable. Tools with knife blades that open from "inside" the folded plier handles are hampered by interference with the blade. Most tools are going away from this design, but a few hold out. In these other tools, the working edge of the knife blade is blocked near the handle by the handle itself. In some cutting tasks, this doesn't matter, but in others, it is very noticeable. The full length of the Crucial's 2.4-inch outside-accessed blade is usable.
Given the size of the pliers, the Crucial is quite portable. It strikes nearly the perfect balance of portability and usability. The Leatherman Skeletool strikes this same balance. Both weigh right around 5 ounces and have a secure and modern pocket clip. The pocket clip holds the tool up out of the random bits in your pants pocket. For rapid access, this is key. We like carrying the Crucial in all sorts of day-to-day situations.
If you need a lightweight, small multi-tool for minor tasks, this model holds a lot of value. From front- to backcountry, you'll find a lot of use for this tool without setting you back much cash.
We recommend the Gerber Crucial for routine use around home, work, car, and campsite. It won't hold up to more serious repairs and tasks, but its portability will have it always at the ready.
— Jediah Porter