The Multi Plier 600, with its unique plier deployment method, comes out near the top of our testing in the ergonomics category. For many users, easy one-handed pliers deployment will be crucial. Imagine yourself holding a bolt in place and realizing that your wrench is out of reach. You can pull out the Gerber Multi Plier 600, engage the pliers, and get the bolt started. All without letting go with the other hand. You'll let go to finish the job with a "real" wrench, but the Gerber saved you a fair amount of hassle. And this is the essence of multi-tools: they're not as good as dedicated tools, but they'll be handy and accessible far more often. In this way, the Gerber is a great set of pliers to have around. Almost incidentally, there are other tools included on the Multi-Plier 600. The blades and drivers, however, are small and difficult to engage. They'll serve the purpose when needed, but other offerings can provide more versatility. If you are looking for a tool that will have blades and saws more readily accessible, check out our Editors' Choice winning Leatherman Charge TTI. For a well-made budget tool that has a relatively large set of scissors at the ready, check out our Best Buy Leatherman Wingman.
Gerber Multi-Plier 600 Review
Cons: Bulky with pointy pliers even when stowed
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Gerber Multi Plier 600 is unique in our test. It is the only tool that has sliding pliers deployment instead of "butterfly" style opening. This Gerber is inexpensive, solidly built, and innovative.
The Multi Plier 600 has exactly what you'd expect in a simple multi-tool, and nothing more. The small selection of blades, file, and drivers, augmented with both a can and a bottle opener, is consistent with most tools on the market in this price point. OGL testers regularly use the can opener on a multi tool, and we are thankful for the opener on this Gerber tool. However, having a separate bottle opener is redundant and a waste of space. A beer bottle can be opened just as easily with the can opener attachment. A wood-cutting saw would be an inexpensive and welcome way of filling the space left by omitting a redundant opener. Not to mention that Gerber's competitor has gotten scissors onto our Best Buy winner Leatherman Wingman at basically the same price point.
If you are inclined to carry your multi-tool in a belt holster, the Gerber Multi-Plier 600 will work well. The included nylon holster is simple, durable, and low-profile. The velcro flap is easy to access yet keeps the tool secure. In years of usage by one tester, the velcro eventually wore out. But we wouldn't expect anything else. If you will carry a multi tool in your pants pocket, beware the sharp edges of this Gerber offering. Even in fully stowed mode, the tips of the pliers stick out. These points concentrate stress and, in one case, quickly wore a hole in a pants pocket. The Multi Plier also comes equipped with a fold-away lanyard loop. We like this option for certain applications. If you will be working in a high-angle or running-water environment, a lanyard can guard against dropping the tool irretrievably. Lastly, by virtue of its sliding pliers deployment, the closed Gerber is the longest and thickest tool in our test. However, smooth and thin sheath and middle-of-the-pack weight, fully negate any concerns with the carry of this tool as compared to the other full size tools we tested.
The bulk of the Gerber Multi-Plier 600 is sturdy and durable steel construction. Only the locking mechanism is plastic, and we have had no trouble at all with that. With extended usage, many of the hinges and linkages loosen up. If anything, with locking tools and the sliding mechanism to engage the pliers, this loosening only enhances the function. However, it can be disconcerting as compared to the close and lasting tolerances of the Leatherman and SOG tools.
This is a handy-person's dream. It's sharp lines and bulkier carry make it less appealing for every day carry, but the pure function and unique one-handed pliers engagement will make it perfect for the mechanic or home improver.
With a one-of-a-kind construction, useful tools, and Gerber's blade pedigree, the Multi-Plier 600 is an excellent value. The price is moderate, the sheath is included, and the tool will last you years. Keep an eye on the bushings and hinges as they wear and loosen. Like we observed, this can enhance the functionality. But it also comes with some risk of further break-down.
We recommend the Gerber Multi-Plier 600 for those looking for a different take on the multi-tool format. If your tasks are routine and you are willing to carry the tool on your belt, you won't do better than this tool. If you are looking for scissors and tighter construction, at an even-lower price, check out our Best Buy winner Leatherman Wingman.
— Jediah Porter