I love small multi-tools. You never know when you’ll need a tool on hand for a small job. Screwpop takes the multi-tool in a new direction, offering various focused tools in keyring form and tossing in a bottle opener for good measure. I looked at the Screwpop Tools Pliers and Utility Knife; are they worth space on your keyring?
Let’s start with the utility knife, as that’s a logical one for most people to carry. It’s basically a boxcutter, with a metal sleeve holding a razor blade in place. The blade is notched, and there’s an arm that locks it into place at whichever notch you need, making it capable of small cuts or giving you a larger blade if you need it. There’s also a bottle opener on the end for those times when you don’t need to slice and dice but just need a cold beverage. In addition to the arm holding the blade in place, there’s also a small magnet. This serves double duty, as it keeps the blade from sliding around (and possibly getting dulled in the process), and it also means you can keep the knife on any metal surface for easy access. The blade is sharp, and while the whole package is thin, it’s easy to hold it steady for simple cuts. It’s obviously not TSA-compliant, but if you find yourself in constant need of a small utility knife, this is a compact, attractive, and utilitarian choice. And at $6.95, it’s a lot cheaper than most multitools!
Then there’s the Screwpop Pliers. Like the Utility Knife, the pliers have a bottle opener built in as well. They also clip on with a built-in carabiner, so you can easily connect it to a backpack, etc., without needing a split ring. They’re also cheap in price but not in quality, at $7.95. The question is whether you find yourself in need of pliers often while you’re on the go. I had a few coworkers who were very unimpressed with the pliers, finding them too bulky and heavy, and they couldn’t think of times when they’ve been out and about and thought “If only I had a small set of pliers!” However, I was a bit less skeptical, and spent time the last few weeks paying attention to when a small pair of pliers would be helpful. I found a few instances where they were handy:
- My son has a car with a push handle so he can ride around the neighborhood; the handle was a bit loose, and the pliers are the perfect size to tighten the nut holding it on.
- We swapped our bike rack from my car to Sarah’s over the weekend, and I had some trouble tightening the bolts that lock the rack into position. Small pliers offer just the right amount of extra grip.
- About a month ago we had several friends over for dinner, and we moved the dining room table outside. This involved removing the legs off the table and reattaching them, and while we managed with a wrench, a small set of pliers would have fit much better in the tight space.
Now, would I carry these on my keyring all the time? In the case of the pliers, probably not. I’d keep them handy in my car/go bag, because I could easily see myself needing them to tighten the bike rack or try to fix some small issue on the go, but they’re a touch too heavy to be comfortable on my keys. The utility knife is pretty fantastic, and I do plan to keep that on my keys regularly (except when I fly!) I try to keep my keys pretty slim, which is why the pliers don’t make the cut; I do plan to hook them up to the Swiss Army Knife I keep in my bag, since between the pliers and the complement of screwdrivers and knives on the Swiss Army Knife it’s like traveling with a small toolkit!
Source: Manufacturer provided review samples
What I Liked: Utility Knife and Pliers both made of quality materials and do not feel cheap; prices are excellent for simple tools; bottle openers are handy; Utility knife is well designed to keep the blade in place when not in use; carabiner on the pliers makes them easier to transport.
What Needs Improvement: Pliers are a bit hefty for everyday keyring use; can be hard to justify carrying pliers all the time.