Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier Review
Cons: Bulky, heavy
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Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier
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|Pros||Sturdy, comprehensive||Comprehensive, well-made, aftermarket accessories and carry options||Inexpensive and well-made, spring-loaded pliers, scissors, pocket clip, one-handed blade||Tiny, well made, excellent bottle opener||Small, inexpensive, two blades|
|Cons||Bulky, heavy||Proprietary bit driver, no pocket clip included||Hybrid straight/serrated blade, squashed Phillips driver, short main blade||Package opener is specialized, screwdrivers are tiny||Flexible construction, stiff hinges|
|Bottom Line||A solid, affordable tool with what could be a “just right” set of features for you||A full-function tool from a great manufacturer at a reasonable price||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||A keychain tool with some basic features and two blades; the serrated blade is unique in this sub category|
|Rating Categories||Gerber Suspension M...||Leatherman Wave+||Leatherman Wingman||Gerber Dime||Gerber Vise|
|Construction Quality (25%)|
|Specs||Gerber Suspension M...||Leatherman Wave+||Leatherman Wingman||Gerber Dime||Gerber Vise|
|Number of functions||10||18 + bits||10||9||9|
|Weight (ounces)||9.1 oz||8.5 oz, 9.5 oz with case||6.8 oz, 7.8 oz with sheath||2.3 oz||2.4 oz|
|Locking tools?||All but pliers||All but pliers||Scissors and blade||None||None|
|Pliers type||Spring-loaded pliers||Needlenose, regular, wire cutters, hard-wire cutters, crimper||Spring-loaded regular and needlenose||Spring loaded needlenose pliers||Mini pliers with wire cutters|
|Tools accessible without deploying pliers||All||Blades, saw, file||Blade and scissors||All||All|
|Blades and type||2 straight blade and 1 serated||1 straight, 1 serrated||1 hybrid serrated/straight drop point||1 straight blade||1 straight, 1 serated|
|Number of screwdrivers||3||5 included/integrated. More available aftermarket for proprietary driver||3||2||3|
|File?||No||Yes, wood/metal and a diamond-coated file||Yes||No||Yes|
|Openers||Bottle and can||Can and bottle||Can, bottle, and a unique box opener||Bottle, package||Bottle|
|Other important features||One-handed deploy blades||Ruler||Very small ruler||Tweezers||None|
|Other carry options||Pocket, Lanyard Clip||Pocket, Pocket clip||Key ring attachment||Keychain|
|Closed dimensions (Length by thickness, in inches)||3.8 x 0.8||4 x 0.7||3.8 x 0.7||2.8 x 0.6||2.2 x 0.5|
|Open length (pliers, in inches)||6.1 in||6.3 in||6.2 in||4 in||3.9 in|
|Open overall length (primary blade deployed, in inches)||5.9 in||6.9 in||6.4 in||4.1 in||3.6 in|
|Length of primary blade effective edge (inches)||1.9 in||2.8in||2.4 in||1.4 in||1.4 in|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Gerber's first entry to the plier's based multi-tool business was the slide-to-engage style Gerber Multi-Plier 600. The 600 is unique, but a bit unrefined. The Suspension is a "balisong" style tool, folding open to reveal the pliers. As such, it is less unique in the marketplace. Otherwise, the Suspension is more refined and has more tools than the older 600.
All the tools we reviewed here have multiple functions. Some are ubiquitous, like pliers, blades, and screwdrivers. In terms of these features, we compare quality. Others are less common, like scissors. For these items, simply presence vs. absence is the primary determining quality. For some, scissors are necessary and sorting our selection by those with scissors automatically narrows the field. The Suspension has scissors.
In our experience, as well as in reviews elsewhere on the web, the rounded design of the Suspension make it one of the more user-friendly tools in our test. Additionally, like the best scoring tools we reviewed, tools of the Suspension are accessible without deploying the pliers.
Finally, like some of our favorite multi tools, both blades of the Suspension are equipped with thumb catches for one-handed opening. For the frequent blade user, especially he or she that is right-handed, this attribute is very much appreciated.
We had no issues with the durability and construction of the Suspension. This is as much a testament to our rigorous pre-screening of products as it is to the interest these tool companies take in making solid products. Consumers of multi-tools expect rugged performance, and the manufacturers deliver it. We then select products that represent the best of the best before closely comparing them. At no point in the testing process did we experience any issues with the Suspension. We have heard reports of people having issues with the spring-loaded pliers binding up, but in our extensive use, over multiple years now, this did not bother us.
Most of the tools we tested come with belt sheaths. This is an automatic bump in the tool's portability score. The Suspension comes with a basic nylon and velcro case. Beyond the presence or absence of a sheath, we look for other carry options (like a pocket clip or key ring- the Suspension has neither of these) and size and weight. Regarding mass and volume, the Suspension is near the top of the heap. Only a few tested tools are heavier, and the dimensions are just above average. For large-handed people that will carry the Suspension on their belt, this size and weight are decent. If you wish to carry your multi-tool in your pocket or on extended human powered adventures, others are more compact, lighter, and come equipped with a built-in pocket clip.
A few tools in our test are less expensive, but almost all of them compromise significantly on features and quality. The Suspension is an excellent value, in that it will last a long time and has the features that most normal users are looking for.
We dig the Suspension. It is useful, well-built, and has the most commonly employed tools. It is an excellent value. The only catch is that Leatherman, with their price-point Wingman tool, offers a smaller, lighter, more feature-rich product at an even lower price. We evaluate every product at OutdoorGearLab on individual characteristics and then generate an overall score by weighting the different characteristics. In overall scoring, the Suspension and identical twin Bear Grylls Ultimate tool are at the bottom of the chart. In a select subset of the available products, a subset we choose to represent the top of the heap, something has to score at the bottom. However, as compared to the entire market, the Suspension is still in the upper echelon.
— Jediah Porter
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