The best way to group and understand the many Swiss Army Knives is by their length:
These small Swiss Arm Knives fit easily onto your keyring. With their small size and low weight, there is no reason to not carry one of these with you every day. They are also very affordable.
These were previously Wenger keyring SAKs (now rebranded under Victorinox) and are roughly equivalent to the Victorinox 58mm keyring models, though with a longer 1.75 inch blade (compared to 1.25 inches for the Victorinoxs).
This is a niche group, with only 3 models – Money Clip, Ambassador and Executive. At 2.91 inches in length, they can still fit on your keyring, but barely.
84mm (3.31 inch)
There are 9 models in the 84mm group. The Cadet model is popular for its minimalist functionality – more versatile than a Classic but still light enough to be carried everywhere.
85mm (3.34 inch) – Evolution and Evogrip
These were the Wenger Evolution and Evogrip models (now rebranded under Victorinox), with a 2.5 inch blade (some models have a locking blade for safety). They are equivalent to the Victorinox 91mm models. If you want a medium-sized SAK with a locking blade, look no further.
The Evogrip is similar to the Evolution, but with a grippier handle. For example, the Evolution S16 has 14 functions, and so does the Evogrip 16.
The Evolution S54 Toolchest Plus (Evogrip S54) has the most functions – 31, and was Wenger’s competitor to the Victorinox Swiss Champ.
91mm (3.59 inch) – The Definitive SAKs
The 91mm models are Victorinox’s main multitool type. The 91mm models are what people have in mind when they think of a Swiss Army Knife. There are 30 different models, including well-known ones such as the Tinker, Huntsman, Handyman, Cybertool, and Swisschamp.
If you’re not sure which SAK to get, start by looking here. You will find a wide variety of models, with almost any tool imaginable. The thinner models fit easily into your pocket. However the thicker models, with more tools, can be big and heavy – they are more suited to your bag, tool box, or glove compartment.
The 2.45 inch blades don’t lock. If you want a small locking blade, look at the Evolutions and Evogrips.
The Lite models have a small LED flashlight while the Cybertool models have interchangeable screwdriver bits (flat, Phillips, hex, Torx).
111mm (4.37 inch) – Full Sized
These are the new full-sized SAKs, with a nice contoured handle and locking blade. Modern features such as one-handed opening and a pocket clip, are available on some models.
Be warned that these SAKs are big. Try to see one in real life before ordering one online. Otherwise you might be in for a shock. They are much less pocketable than the 91mm models but the extra length is especially useful if you use the wood saw a lot.
These are big multitools, designed for heavy duty work. The official, standard issue German Army and Swiss Army multitools, are 111mm models.
With 16 different models (not counting variations), Victorinox is filling out the 111mm line almost as much as the 91mm line.
130mm (5.1 inch) – Hunter and Rangergrip
These were Wenger’s competitor to the Victorinox 111mm line (now rebranded under Victorinox). They have a large 3.9 inch locking blade with one-handed opening.
While not as popular as the Victorinox 111mm models, they are definitely worth considering.
Some have full-sized pliers, making them an alternative to the Swisstools and Leathermans.
The Swisstool series is Victorinox’s answer to Leatherman. The Swisstools are pliers-based multitools, ranging from 105mm to 115mm in length.