Meet the original multi-tool
Created in Ibach Schwyzm Switzerland and was a pocket knife with other small tools that could fold out from the casing. It has faithfully served the Swiss army for over a century now and is probably the first multi-tool (and pocket knife) that we were introduced to.
Since then, the humbe Swiss army knife has went through numerous permutations from very tiny, to gigantic fold-out tool boxes. But no matter what the size or form, their basic function remains the same; to provide it's owner with a wide variety of tools in a compact portable package.
Size amd Style usually varies by the personal preferance of the individual and situation that it is needed for, but some basics you should always look for are;
-Good solid stainless steel metal construction.
-If it has the fold out pliers, make sure the hinge is strong and tight. If it is loose and feels weak, then it will be useless when the going gets tough.
-A good comfortable hand grip. If you get one that is too small or too large, or the handle is uncomfortably designed, then it will be much more difficult to use.
-Try to avoid models with a bunch of unnecessary tools and options. It might seem really great to have 100 tools all on the same base, but if 99 of them are poorly designed and hard to use, then it is basically worthless for what you need it for. Look for a model that has the basic tools you will need at home or in the field and not a lot of frivolous options.
-What basic tools should a good multi-tool have? It should have a good sharp knife that is at least 2 inches long. A can opener, a bottle opener, a small saw, a good rough file, and a phillips and standard head screwdriver.Some options to avoid if possible are those tiny little scissors and any sort of small, useless looking knives. They never work well and usually break whenever you try to do anything with them.
-Speaking of the tools, you should make sure that they are tight inside the housing, and when you unfold them, they should slide out easily, but require some pressure to unfold. If they just flop out easily, then they will be difficult to use. Also, if you can find a model that has a locking mechanism that holds the tools in place when they are extended, go for it since that will help stabilize the tool and make it much safer.
-And a good, well-made nylon or leather carrying case that has a good cover (either snap or velcro) that will hold the tool snuggly inside the case. It should have a good wide belt loop that is made as part of the case. Clip on and sewn on belt attachments can possibly fail and break during travel through rough areas. If you can also find one with additional pockets and compartments, that is good too since you will be able to turn the case into a personal survival kit.
Here is a great example of what I am talking about...
For around $55, it is reasonably priced for the quality that you get.
So keeping that in mind, you should shop around and find a multi-tool that is the best constructed and is suitable for what your own personal preferance and comfort. And I know I say that a survival kit should be inexpensive and easy to replace, your multi-tool is an exception to this. You should buy the multi-tool that has the highest degree of craftsmanship and don't be afraid to spend a little to get a really good one. Because if you take care of it, treat it right, and keep it with you always (unless you are on a flight of course), a good multi-tool will last you a lifetime and you may even be able to hand it down to your little ones when they join the boy or girl scouts.