There are dozens of different Swiss Army Knife models. We help you choose the right pocket knife.
The best multitool in the world isn’t going to do you much good if you leave it in a drawer back home. So choose the one that is light enough for you to carry every day, while having enough tools to be useful. Read our articles on Swiss Army Knives organized by their size or length and Swiss Army Knives organized by use (camping, survival, for kids, etc.)
- There used to be two official (original or genuine) Swiss Army Knife (SAK) brands – Wenger and Victorinox. Wenger has now merged with Victorinox, and the old Wenger models continue under the Victorinox Delemont name. Technically, there is no longer any need to ask which brand is better. Practically, the Wenger models still maintain their own unique design.
- Victorinox talks about the number of tools and functions. Each separate steel implement (e.g. a can opener) is one tool. Each tool can have more than one function – the can opener functions as a can opener, wire stripper, and small screwdriver. Most SAKs have a keyring and this is counted as one tool and one function.
- Swiss Army Knives come in a variety of scales (handle covers). There’s the classic red plastic, translucent blue or red (ruby), and Alox (aluminium oxide). Alox scales are tougher than plastic and take up less space – creating a thinner multitool. They are also more expensive.
- The Midnite and Lite models have a small LED flashlight.
- The Cybertool models have interchangeable mini screwdriver bits (hex, Torx, flat, Phillips).
- The Toolchest and Champ models (Minichamp, Swisschamp, Workchamp) have the most number of tools.
- The One-hand models have a blade that can be opened using only one hand.
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The Best Swiss Army Knife
If you don’t have time to read the articles linked above, here are the best Swiss Army Knives by size:
Classic for Your Keyring
Coming in at 2.25 inches long (58mm) and weighing only 0.74 ounces (21 grams), the Classic is designed to fit on your keyring. It has a small 1.25 inch blade, nail file with screwdriver, scissors, tweezers, and toothpick (for a total of 7 functions).
For the person who doesn’t want the weight of a larger SAK, now there’s no excuse to not carry one.
One cool thing about the Classic is that it comes in a variety of designs and colors.
Cadet for Zen Minimalism
The Cadet is popular for its minimalist set of 4 tools (2.5 inch blade – double the length of the Classic’s, nail file, can opener, bottle opener) with 9 functions. It’s 84mm length makes it more useful than a keyring-sized SAK, and slightly more pocketable than the standard 91mm SAKs.
It is a popular addition to Altoids EDC survival tins, or anywhere else you want to slip in a small yet functional multitool – only 1.6 ounces (46 grams).
Choose Alox aluminum scales (instead of the normal plastic) for a tougher and thinner multitool.
Huntsman for Serious Outdoor Use
For more serious use, there is the 91mm (3.59 inch) Huntsman. Weighing in at 3.42 ounces (97 grams), it’s not light. But it has everything the Classic has, plus a 2.45 inch blade, wood saw, can opener, screwdrivers, reamer, corkscrew and more (total 15 functions).
You might also want to check out the Camper, Hiker, Climber, Mechanic, Fieldmaster, Angler, Fisherman, Mountaineer, Explorer, Ranger and Handyman models. They are roughly the same size, with some tools being different.
Cybertool Lite for Fixing Computers and Phones
If you live in a city, you’ll probably need to fix electronic equipment more often than you need to saw a tree branch. This means dealing with all those small pesky screws to open up the equipment case, and to remove circuit boards and other components.
The Cybertool Lite comes with a 4mm hex bit socket and 4 double-headed hex bits (in a plastic carrier inside the multitool itself, not carried separately) for a total of 8 bit heads – Pozidrive #1, Pozidrive #1, 4mm flat head, Phillips #2, 4mm hex, Torx #8, Torx #10, Torx #15.
To help you dig around inside those dark equipment innards, there’s also a small LED light.
Swisschamp for Your Bag or Toolkit
The Swisschamp is the same length as the Huntsman but its 6.56 ounce (186 grams) weight makes it almost twice as heavy. Which means that it is more suitable for your bag, toolkit or glove compartment.
This is one of the most famous and popular SAK models. It has everything the Huntsman has, plus a magnifying glass, metal file, small pliers, Phillips screwdriver, and more (total 33 functions).
And if that’s not enough, there’s the Swisschamp XLT (50 functions) and Swisschamp XAVT (80 functions). But these are probably too big and clumsy to be practical.
Soldier Knife for Military Performance
This is the real deal, the actual model (model number 53945) issued to Swiss Army soldiers since 2009.
It has fewer tools than the Huntsman but its 111mm (4.37 inch) length means that its blade and wood saw are more functional. However its large size makes it look like a weapon and could cause problems in civilian settings.
Its contoured body means that you don’t have to worry about it slipping out of your hand. The blade can be opened with one hand and locks open for safety (the large locking blade could make it illegal in some countries). The blade has a combination plain and serrated edge.
The One-hand Trekker German Army (model number 54876) is the same except that it is issued to German Army soldiers and has the German Army logo.
The plain civilian One-hand Trekker (model number 54874) is actually more functional, with additional tweezers and a toothpick. However it lacks the cachet of the military models. It also comes in a plain edge blade (not combo) version (model number 54875).
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