We love multi-tools. That's what we're here for. The big ones are the most exciting, but it is the keychain-sized models that go everywhere with us. The Gerber Vise goes up against a strong field of other keychain multi-tools. In this competitive subcategory, we wish the Vise had scissors, but are thankful for its serrated blade. Basically, if you cut small string, toenails, and fabric with regularity, choose a keychain multi-tool with scissors. If you cut sturdier rope and webbing, choose this Gerber Vise for the serrated blade. There are other minor differences, but the main discerning characteristic of the Vise is its dual-blade design.
Gerber Vise Review
Cons: Flexible construction, stiff hinges
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Vise is one of a few keychain-ready multi tools they make and have made over the years. All of these are roughly similar in size, but have different features and construction quality. The Vise is our least favorite of the Gerber keychain tools. Its construction quality struggles, its bottle opener requires extra moves, and there are no scissors. The Vise, as compared to other small tools, has two blades. This is nice. The Vise's combination of a straight edge and a serrated blade is unique among small tools and is the main reason you might pick it.
The Vise is pretty typical for a keychain sized tool. Closest competitors include scissors but omit the second blade that the Vise has. For most of our team, the little scissors on other keychain sized tools are preferred to the serrated blade of the Vise. If your habits have you cutting sturdier rope or webbing and want a blade to do so on your keychain multi tool, the Vise is the best bet that we know of. Otherwise, other tiny tools in this size range have better feature sets.
Just like other small multi tools, the functions are tiny and compromised. You can't get around this on a keychain ready device. For light-duty tasks, the drivers, pliers, and files are better than nothing but nothing like their full-size, standalone alternatives.
Again, tiny tools are inherently compromised. The Vise packs a lot into a tiny space, but those little tools are limited in utility. The pliers are better thought of as sturdy tweezers and the wire cutters are only appropriate for the wires in small electronics and the like. You won't be cutting household or automotive cables with the Vise.
Both blades are similar in size and that size is small. We measured the main blade to be 1.4 inches. On a dedicated pocket knife, this would be one of the smallest possible functioning blades. It does function, but won't stand up to sturdier applications. This isn't the tool you pick for extended work. The blades of the Vise are better suited to opening letters and to carving up a small apple than they are built for whittling or extensive carving.
The outside corners of the deployed pliers handles are sharper than they need to be. In the unlikely event you are using the Vise for extended pliers work, you risk chafing and abrasion from these handles.
All the above compromises we observe are mitigated by portability. The Vise is tiny. Others are smaller, but not by much. As modern car keys get bulkier and bulkier, small multi-tools seem smaller and smaller. Fact is, they aren't actually shrinking, but it is a relative thing. A Vise on your keyring definitely takes up less space than the wireless fob of your new Audi (or Hyundai…). This is a very good thing. There might not be many functions and the ergonomics may suffer, but the Vise virtually disappears in your pocket or purse.
Our experience with Gerber multi tools is definitely mixed. Some are tight and stiff, with good materials and confidence-inspiring design. Others are more flexible and flimsier. There seems to be only the slightest correlation, within the Gerber line, between price and quality. The Vise is one of their lower quality products. If only as assessed by play and flex in the pliers action (which we've found to be a pretty good indicator of overall quality) the Vise suffers next to similarly priced and sized Gerber offerings. This is perplexing.
The Vise costs less than a family's visit to a fast food restaurant. This is a low-priced product. The quality is in line with the price, and function suffers as much for size as it does for design issues. We can call it an ok value. Really, the only reason you might not choose an alternative product that is a few bucks more is that you really want the Vise's serrated blade on your keychain multi-tool.
Gerber virtually floods the market with new tools and knives. They regularly roll out new products that don't seem that different from other offerings of theirs. This is exciting for a multi-tool review team, but it doesn't necessarily help the consumer a ton. Each product is only slightly different from other Gerber offerings. What sets the Gerber Vise apart is the serrated blade. That is very subtle. However, it very well might be exactly what you are looking for in a tiny multi-tool.
— Jediah Porter