Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X Review
Cons: Heavier, no external bit options
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Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X
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|Pros||Polished, smooth||Compact, light, with multiple carry options, smart, effective tools||Comprehensive, well-made, aftermarket accessories and carry options||Excellent bit driver, big blade, scissors, fast-action pliers||Inexpensive and well-made, spring-loaded pliers, scissors, pocket clip, one-handed blade|
|Cons||Heavier, no external bit options||Few features||Proprietary bit driver, no pocket clip included||Rattly construction, bulky and heavy, serrated blade section||Hybrid straight/serrated blade, squashed Phillips driver, short main blade|
|Bottom Line||A strong European contender in a market dominated by the company that arguably invented the category||A multi-tool that optimizes ergonomics and portability by reducing the tool set to the most important ones for daily use and carry||A full-function tool from a great manufacturer at a reasonable price||A large, full-function multi-tool that includes a top notch bit driver and nice storage via its carry sheath||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|
|Rating Categories||Victorinox SwissToo...||Leatherman Skeletoo...||Leatherman Wave+||Gerber Center-Drive...||Leatherman Wingman|
|Construction Quality (25%)|
|Specs||Victorinox SwissToo...||Leatherman Skeletoo...||Leatherman Wave+||Gerber Center-Drive...||Leatherman Wingman|
|Number of functions||17||5 + bits||18 + bits||16 + bits||10|
|Weight (ounces)||7.4 oz||5.0 oz||8.5 oz, 9.5 oz with case||9.9 oz, 14.4 oz with case and bits.||6.8 oz, 7.8 oz with sheath|
|Locking tools?||All but pliers||All but pliers||All but pliers||All but pliers||Scissors and blade|
|Pliers type||Needlenose pliers, regular pliers and wirecutters||Needlenose with 2 wire cutters||Needlenose, regular, wire cutters, hard-wire cutters, crimper||Spring-loaded pliers||Spring-loaded regular and needlenose|
|Tools accessible without deploying pliers||All||Blade||Blades, saw, file||Primary blade, bit driver||Blade and scissors|
|Blades and type||1 straight blade||1 straight drop point||1 straight, 1 serrated||1 hybrid straight/serrated||1 hybrid serrated/straight drop point|
|Number of screwdrivers||4||4 included, more available aftermarket for proprietary driver||5 included/integrated. More available aftermarket for proprietary driver||14 incuded. Infinitely more available as aftermarket bits||3|
|File?||Yes||No||Yes, wood/metal and a diamond-coated file||Yes||Yes|
|Saw?||Metal and wood||No||Yes||No||No|
|Openers||Bottle, can and crate||Bottle||Can and bottle||Can, bottle||Can, bottle, and a unique box opener|
|Other important features||Awl||None||Ruler||One-handed blade. Replacable wire-cutters||Very small ruler|
|Other carry options||Carabiner style clip, pocket clip||Pocket, Pocket clip|
|Closed dimensions (Length by thickness, in inches)||4.1 x 0.6||4.3 x 0.6||4 x 0.7||4.8 x 1||3.8 x 0.7|
|Open length (pliers, in inches)||6.4 in||6.2 in||6.3 in||6.4 in||6.2 in|
|Open overall length (primary blade deployed, in inches)||6.9 in||6.8 in||6.9 in||7.8 in||6.4 in|
|Length of primary blade effective edge (inches)||2.4 in||2.6 in||2.8in||2.9 in||2.4 in|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The SwissTool Spirit X is solidly built, well-appointed and polished to shine. Few non-award winners scored better than the SwissTool. Two that beat the SpiritX are virtually the same tool, with some budget considerations made for the less expensive version. The SpiritX didn't win any awards because it lags slightly behind these other all-around tools and it doesn't have a unique niche to fill like our Top Picks. Nonetheless, it is a piece of art that can work hard. It deserves your consideration. Read on for more details.
According to the respective manufacturer's count, the Victorinox leads the field, by far, in terms of numbers of features and functions. However, when you boil it down and look more closely, the feature set isn't all that much different than your typical multi tool. First, Victorinox claims 24 functions in bold print alongside the tool's name on their website. This number is pretty liberal, including separate entries for needle-nosed pliers, soft wire cutter, hard wire cutter, wire bender, wire stripper and scraper, cable cover longitudinal cutter, cable cover crossways cutter, crate opener and 7mm chisel. These nine listed tools, best we can tell, are contained entirely in the jaws of the pliers and on a single piece of metal in the folded tools. Another manufacturer might list these ten as three or four, total. Examples of this "feature inflation" exist elsewhere in the Victorinox literature.
When one looks past the potential catalog exaggeration, one sees a pretty standard set of tools for a modern full-size multi-tool.
The durability and strength of all our tested tools is a testament to both our initial selection criteria and the practical design criteria these companies use. Across the board, we had no problems with the strength and construction quality of any of our recently tested tools. (in the past we have had tools fail in testing. We have since omitted those products from our review roster). The SwissTool is no exception to the quality of our tested tools. In going head to head with a category super-power like Leatherman, Victorinox is wise to have built a solid product. They also surely have that Swiss pride that results in precise, smooth mechanical and electronic products.
On one level, the SwissTool is a basic, rough-sided pliers based multi-tool. Of the four "corners" of each plier handle, only two are rounded for comfort. However, for some reason, the tool is comfortable in one's hand, and the squared corners hardly affect the function. The good news is that the rounded corners guard the user's hands when using the pliers, and the fold-away tools themselves sort of round out the external profile of the closed device. The plier handles, when deployed, are slightly curved inwards. It's as if the handles have been bent by incredible hand strength when grabbing a nut or bolt with the plier's head. This pre-curve makes for a small-fist-full with the pliers fully closed, while leaving a generous space between the handles to minimize pinching. We like this.
Finally, every single fold-away feature is accessed from the outside of the stowed pliers. In our review, only select tools were built this way. We like this attribute. In the end, regarding ergonomics, the SwissTool has pros and cons, generally tilting to slightly above average performance and score.
The portability of a tool is a function of its size, weight, external "roughness" (rougher tools tear up pockets), and carry options. The Spirit X is average in size, a little heavy, and has a few squared edges on the outside that aren't that sharp. It's ok in terms of portability.
This is a solid product, and we definitely recommend it. For considerably less, though, one can get a remarkably similar feature set in our Best Buy winning Leatherman Wingman. The only major feature the Wingman lacks, as compared to the SwissTool, is a saw. The SwissTool has two, one for wood and one for metal.
We love the Spirit like we love espresso machines, Arc'teryx jackets, and classy underdogs in major sports leagues. It is a super polished product, whose panache is likely unnecessary and perhaps detracts from some practicality. Not to mention that the sophistication in the Spirit comes at a premium price.
— Jediah Porter