Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Victorinox SwissTool Spirit Multi-Tool with Pouch
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on April 29, 2006
I've been on a quest for the best multi-tool for years. Over the last twenty I've had leathermen, SOGs, Schrades, Gerbers, swiss army knives and more. In this review I will put the Spirit up against the Leatherman Charge Ti and the Gerber Legend 800 - what I consider the primary competitors for best multi-tool on the planet at the moment. I owned the Gerber Legend 800 from 2002-2004 - and lost it when the cheesy nylon case broke. I owned the Charge Ti from 2005-2006 and recently had it stolen or lost in my living room by either my kids or a houseguest when I left it out over a vacation week. I got the Victorinox Spirit to tide me over until I found the Charge Ti. As the months pass I'm pretty happy with the Victorinox and can live with the fact this might be a permanent arrangement. I've had it for 3 months now and it has answered every call.

As way of background I'll share that I'm a computer guy and medium-duty handyman. I use multitools to repair electronics, gutters, minor carpentry & electrical; around the house and work stuff mostly. (Work has been a museum construction site for years).

Short and sweet - the Victorinox is smaller and more dainty - yet stands with the big boys in performance. Smaller and lighter than the others, the Spirit is superbly laid out and moves with solidity beyond its size and a fascinating precisions that is ... well... Swiss. Each tool is easily accessible to the thumbnail and comes out smoothly BY ITSELF. Each tool locks with an individual springlock (the spring lock back looks like the musical part of wind-up music box). Lock release is via an intuitive pull latch. Everything is a chromed glossy mirror finish except the pliers head - which is nice unit. Here's the lowdown on the matchup:

Pliers: Winner - Gerber Legend 800. Gerber has spring-loaded pliers that open themselves up. They also have replaceable interchangeable wire cutter blades. These two features are unique and are great. The downside for Gerber is that the pliers don't open quite as far as the other two - limiting their utility for plumbing. Victorinox and Leatherman have similar pliers - but on the Victorinox the jaws are a little stubbier, and the jaws only touch at the tip when closed (they become totally parallel when the jaw are open 2mm) as opposed to most others where the pliers jaws are totally parallel at the point of closure. In practice none of this made a bit of difference. The most controverial part of the Spirit is the curved handle which gives the pliers grip a short finger throw. This is a nice refinement - they make an elegant pair of pliers - but at the cost of the ruler markings on the grip. In the end I prefer the older swisstool style on this score. Put Victorinox #2. The final issue the the grip. The Gerber has all the tools inside, so the pliers grip is wide smooth metal all the way but theres a seam. The Leatherman charge - like the Wave, has the small tools recessed out on the grip side - so your hand grips the smooth back of the 4 long tools (knives, saws, and files). This makes the grip wider than the old-style leathermen, where you gripped only the metal edge, but narrower than the other two offerings. The Victorinox has all the tools inside the grip - and your hand mostly bears down on the smooth spring lock mechanism.

Knives: Winner: Leatherman Charge Ti. The Charge Ti has two knives, a superb smooth bladed clip point in a special hard alloy, and a nice serrated. Both can be opened with one hand without opening the tool. The Spirit has a single blade - a razor shaped aggressively serrated blade that must be opened with two hands. It's wickedly sharp, but serrated blades are harder to resharpen and the razor shape lacks a point. I find I use the awl when I want a knive point. I guess Victorinox figures the serrated blade will stay sharp. We'll see. The Gerber has a single clip point blade with a smooth front half and serrated back half. This sounds like a bad thing - but it actually worked well. It's openable by one hand.

Saw: Winner: Tie Victorinox & Leatherman. Both are wickedly sharp dual action teeth and are the same thickness. The Victorinox has a lower profile, but the Leatherman has teeth all the way to the tip - call it a tie. The Gerber has a cool mechanism that accepts jigsaw blades, allowing you to choose your own and replace as needed. Great concept - but trouble is that there aren't any great jigsaw blades made - nothing comes close the quality of the saws on these other two.

File: Winner Tie for Victorinox and Leatherman. Very close all around. They all give good files. The Victoriox is the sharpest, but the Leatherman is almost as sharp and gives you a bit more surface area.

Philips Screwdriver: Victorinox - for having the longest (gets in the most crannies). Leatherman Charge and Gerber both have interchangeable bits associated witht he philips screwdriver. The Leatherman Charge has the much better interchangeable bit scenario with cool low profile bits that store in the belt case and have a great selection. Gerber takes regular size bits - which is a plus, but the bit holding adapter doesn't mate totally securely with the screwdriver head and must be carried in a separate case. Victorinox also has a bit arrangement - with a cool little rotary ratchet - but its a completely freestanding separtate arrangment. This is bound to get lost.

Scissors: Winner: Victorinox hands down. Like a swiss army knife scissors, but with an upgraded beefy spring that's gonna last and which also holds the scissors closed enough that the blades are just crossed - so you can breeze through paper. The old Leatherman wave had a great scissors, but they upgraded for the new wave and Charge series. The new leatherman scissor is smaller and wimpier and opens too far to cut when the hand is relaxed. Gerber's is too skinny with too tough a spring (hurts to use it) - but compensates by being the only one openable with one hand.

Flat head screwdrivers: Winner Victorinox (but special honor for Charge Ti for glasses screwdriver/tiny philips). Like a swiss army knife, the Spirit has the excellent can opener combo with small screwdriver head, a beefy big screwdriver with wirebending notch, and now a cool sharp small-mid sized flat screwdriver head with a long narrow shaft - great for computers with serial ports. The Charge Ti has the interchangeable bits - which are great but have a very short shaft, a glasses screwdriver as a full tool which you can pull out and reverse to get a tiny precision philips head screwdriver (unique and totally awesome - great for watches and model trains and glasses), and a medium sized stand along screwdriver that is OK, but not particularly well shaped or long or distinguished in any way. The Gerber has the interchangeable bits and three decent built-in flat head screwdrivers.

Can Opener/Bottle Opener: Winner Victorinox - has good toold for both functions - just like the Swiss Army Knife. The Charge has a combo can/bottle opener that just barely tolerable. The Gerber lacks these tools.

Awl: Victorinox is the only one - and a great awl it is. Good for belts and for cutting nylon cable ties. Makes a great and safer box opener too.

Ruler: The Charge Ti is the only one of these three to include this important feature.

Chisel/Wire scraper - Victorinox - unique and great tool. You can always use the wire cutter to strip and scrape wire. The Victorinox has about a half dozen ways - but thise chisel/scraper tool is a really great wire stripper as well a solid chisel for detail work. For model building this is a big plus.

Handle grip: Winner: Charge Ti - the titanium textured grips are totally awesome. The Gerber has big aluminum grips with inset rubber panels. The rubber comes out after a year. The alumninum is light but bulky. The curve is kinda cool - but also kinda dorky. The Victorinox has a super shiny polished grip that looks like it's going to be slippery. In practice the grip is fine (I haven't used it in muddy or oily situations - but that would be bad for any multitool).

Case: Winner Charge Ti - available leather case with snap closure. Snap is more durable than velco. The bad thing about the Charge's case is the stretchy side panels. I wonder about their durability. The Victorinox has solid leather case - very nice - but velcro closure. After the velcro stops working I'll take it to a leather shop to have a snap closure put in. The Gerber only has a nylon case with velcro closure.

Cost - the Victorinox is half the cost of the Charge - but lacks the bits. The Gerber slots between the two. The Victorinox at $50 isn't dirt cheap - but is pretty good value for the money.

Size - the Victorinox is the smallest and lightest by a wide margin.

Fit and finish: The Victorinox is the slickest with the tightest tolerances and smoothest most polished motions. As someone else points out - however, it has dead pins, preventing you from replacing tools down the road. The Charge is a close second and has torx pin closure. The Gerber must be singled out for scorn on the design front. A number of tools cannot be taken out without removing the adjacent tool and the scissors opens and closes in such a manner that you risk a cut each time.

Overall winner depends on your list of priorities. I'd say the Charge Ti is the best overall - most useful in the widest range of situations. Ultimately, any of these tools will serve you well. The Victorinox Spirit with its high utility, great refinement, light weight and low price is real nice pick - expecially well suited to the well dressed, ladies, and anyone who appreciates a nice unit.
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on April 11, 2005
I used the SwissTool Plus almost every day for three years until I lost it, and I bought the SwissTool Spirit Plus to replace it.

The first impression is that it fits better in the hand, but it feels less solid. I mean, the other tool produced a strong sound while closing and required force to open. It still felt new after three years of heavy use.

However, with the SwissTool one could break his nails trying to open the sheets appling force with a wrong angle. The new tool is much more confortable in that respect.

Also a big improvement are the scissors instead the plain knife. The more useful serrated knife is still there. There are 3-4 new functions and the bit case holds the bits much tighter. The leather pouch has a better construction, but I prefered the black color.

Another benefit is that the new tool is much lighter. To bad there is no ruler on the Spirit, since after some time with the other tool I used to measure small objects or distances on a map quite frequently.

In short, the Spirit is an improvement over the outstanding original tool. I only wonder if the new model will be as solid as the old one.
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on September 27, 2005
I'll definitely give a 5 to my Swisstool Spirit: I must admit it is not something I would need to use much (maybe just once in a blue moon ) but I just love to keep this around in most occasions.

I purchased the "Plus" version, and the pouch is kind of bulky, since it needs to accomodate the extra stuff (maybe I'll separately buy the one just for the main tool).

Also, I'm not very excited about the main blade (It's not a normal, aggressive looking "pointy" blade, but it's sqare-headed, looks more like a tool. Too bad it's still forbidden to take on a plane...

The tool itself is just great: looks gorgeous and shiny, it feel super solid. I just tested the wood saw and it worked perfectly.
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on January 19, 2005
What's good:
1) The needlenose pliers in spirit is more useful if you need need to grip smaller items.
2) Smaller size, easier to carry.
3) Inner tools can be opened when the pliers is closed.
4) Even better fit and finish in general. Eg locking buttoms, individual springs and that unique blade...etc.

What's bad:
1) Why use the dead pins to connect the whole tool? You can't fix it, you can't change the inner tools.... They should use screws instead.
2) May not 100% stainless steel, note that the file or some parts maybe casehardened steel.
3) No ruler.
4) Unlike some people, i don't like the curved handles of the spirit, sure they make the pliers action perform better, but if you want to use the outside tools, it performs poorer...
5) The new scissors design is bad, the spring is still under tension when closed and it's mouth is so short!
6) That stupid and poorly-designed hook. I only need a simple reamer...
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on August 14, 2005
This thing is great for what I need it to do. This collection of tools comes in handy on a moment's notice. Stainless Steel eliminates the worry of rust. The knives work like butter. To close up a tool, once used, the locking spring assure that the tool will not pinch your finger. It came with a leather pouch that is often found sold separately. Compared to the Leatherman, the Victorinox lifetime warranty was the clincher for me.
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on March 21, 2005
I have had the original SwissTool for a few years it is practaly industructable. I wanted somthing smaller and lighter, so when Victorinox came out with Spirit I got one. It is a nice tool It has most of what it's big brother has with less mass. I also would like a straight blade. I like the bend in the handle, it feels right. The Spirit is well desined with all the tools on the outside. The locking mechinisum works great, very safe. I hope that the Spirit will be as durable as the original SwissTool. Victorinox & Swiss Army Brand have a great warrenty Program so no problems.
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on February 7, 2013
This is a very well made tool. Very nice construction, it has nice weight to it (Not too heavy, but decently heavy for its size which I like, shows quality in craftsmanship and materials) and a VERY solid feel. No loose parts wiggling around at all, even when tools and pliers are open. Everything clicks and locks into place VERY securely, I have had other Multi-Tools in the past from reputable brands and always found at least one part that isn't as tight as I wanted it, but this thing leaves me without complaints. Not surprising since it is from Victorinox, who make the original Swiss Army Knife(not to mention a nice selection of other knives and Milti-tools). It even reminded me of my old Swiss Army Knife I had as a kid, with a very familiar feel of quality when handling it and opening the tools.

For those who may be confused, this is the SwissTool Spirit which has the "Combi-Edge" serrated blade, vs. the original straight edge blade with drop point found on the Spirit X. This is the ONLY difference between the two, as many people had complained about the non-traditional knife blade included in this particular version(the Spirit). I personally love the Combi-Edge blade, and chose this version intentionally. It basically looks like a serrated straight razor, and yes it is that sharp too! Almost looks like a mini bread knife, and I can see it being used to spread peanut butter on bread while camping, just for example. Don't be fooled, this isn't just a fancy butter knife, this blade is razor sharp and can be used to cut many things a straight blade would have trouble cutting due to the serrated blade. it also has a straight edge at the very bottom, where a normal knife would have a serrated bottom. Kinda reversed but unique and cool. It has a flat front with no sharpened point, which I can see some people not liking if they want a regular knife in their Multi-tool. I chose this version because I already carry a fixed blade, so I felt this more unique blade would serve more uses than a second knife. If you do not carry a knife, you may want to consider the Spirit X for its traditional straight edge blade.

Every tool on this thing is super high quality and it has a nice variety, although it is mostly your basic multi-tool as you can see when reading the description(screwdrivers, scissors, file, saw, etc). The difference is this thing is built like a tank and it will last for generations (literally). I see some of the more modern designs from other brands have a wider variety of tools already included in the multi-tool(not separate; Many brands offer separate mini-sets of smaller tools including Victorinox), such as hex keys and smaller eyeglass screwdrivers, notably the Leatherman Charge Ti. I personally don't see the need for these extras on a daily basis, but it certainly is nice to have. I just go to my toolbox for those extras when I need them, and since I do not need them as often, I chose the Spirit for its higher-quality tools which are more suited for everyday needs, it has all that you need in a multi-tool and nothing you don't. If you have a use for these other tools on a more frequent basis, I would recommend the Leatherman Charge Ti. It also is a very well made tool, I was originally torn between the two.

I won't go into detail about every tool, if you read the description you see what you get...but I would like to emphasize and stress the overall quality of this tool and everything included. The Phillips screwdriver is longer than many other multi-tools which is great, and you can open one side of the handle which snaps in place to give you much more reach. The scissors don't open very far, but they also don't move around, they stay in place with a piece of V-shaped metal vs. a spring. Nice touch. It opens enough to cut paper or fabric, but I do find it to be limiting. Not a deal-breaker at all, and they do feel nicer than many others I've tried. The pliers closed touch at the tip first, which some saw as a flaw; I see it as an improvement over other multi-tools, you can literally pick up a piece of hair with these. Some other models don't close 100% at the tip, leaving you unable to grasp thin objects. I know people aren't intending to use the pliers as tweezers, just something I liked about it and wanted to add.

Overall this thing is tough, handy, sharp(each tool on it with an edge is very sharp, even the awl has a semi-sharp edge ideal for scraping), everything great you can say about a multi-tool. It also comes with a nice leather pouch that swayed me from keeping the tool in my knife's accessory pouch; I keep this on my belt in its own case. If you, like me, are torn between this and another multitool with more features, and you don't have a need for the less commonly used tools, then I would go with this one. You wont be disappointed, this is swiss-made quality at its finest.
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on January 8, 2012
The best EDC multi tool out there, or at least one of the best.Victorinox is well known and respected for making high quality multi tools for different users. I was looking for a perfect pocket sized multi tool and the Victorinox SwissTool Spirit is it! The excellent SwissTool Spirit is very good for the bulk and weight too. And backed by one of the best warranties in the business. After 4 years of EDC use and abuse, it's still like new.
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on July 10, 2005
What's good:
1) The needlenose pliers in spirit is more useful if you need need to grip smaller items.
2) Smaller size, easier to carry.
3) Inner tools can be opened when the pliers are closed.
4) Even better fit and finish in general. Eg locking buttoms, individual springs and that unique blade...etc.

What's bad:
1) Why use the dead pins to connect the whole tool? You can't fix it, you can't change the inner tools.... They should use screws instead.
2) May not 100% stainless steel, note that the file or some parts maybe casehardened steel.
3) No ruler.
4) Unlike some people, i don't like the curved handles of the spirit, sure they make the pliers action perform better, but if you want to use the outside tools, it performs poorer...
5) The new scissors design is bad, the spring is still under tension when closed and it's mouth is so short!
6) That stupid and poorly-designed hook. I only need a simple reamer...
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on July 2, 2015
love this thing. got it as a present back in 2008 and have been using it everyday (litereally, in my pocket, being used, multiple times a day)... recently, i thought, hmm, all this leatherman talk, im going to try one... so i purchased (from amazon) the leatherman surge. HATED IT! tried it for 3 days, and could not stand it another day.. i missed my little victorinox. what did i miss??
1- the slim, smooth design! fits so nice in the pocket, the surge was clunky, chunky, and frumpy.. trying to be super masculine and rough tough... YUK! the saw would always open up automatically when i pulled it out of my front pocket due do its clunky angles and lines.
2- the ease of using tools without having to open the pliers! this is HUGE!! you can access anytool without having to open up the pliers... and there are more tools on the victorinox than on the surge. the surge has 2 knifes, a file, and a saw that can be accessed with the tool closed. but that is it. i often use the screwdrivers, knives, and poker tool. and it is so slick to be able to take it out of my pocket and get to the tool instantly.
3-kinda fits in with 1, but the weight.. it is light! the surge was so heavy!
4- the screwdrivers are LONG on the victorinox, they have some reach! the surge are short and stumpy, hard to get in tight spots (but one plus for the surge, is it has replaceable and exchangeable bits)

i do like the ruler on the leatherman...
the leatherman also has an option for a pants clip to connect to the quick release

minor to most im sure, i also don't like how leatherman has branded this thing to death, with LEATHERMAN SURGE plastered in 4 places on this tool. both handles and both sides of the pliers. i hate over branding. seems cheap to me
those are the only two things the leatherman has over the victorinox in my opinion and use of the tool.
hope this helps
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