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This was going to be a simple post comparing the Gerber Artifact with the Mini SuperKnife as a keychain knife/tool. As I started gathering details, it was turning into a Gerber vs. Gerber post: Gerber was acquired by Fiskars in 1986, and in 2005 Fiskars Brands acquired Superknife and integrated it into their Outdoor Recreation division, Gerber Legendary Blades. One big happy conglomerate…

Anyway, I decided to add a couple more similar-sized tools alleged to fit on a keychain, and solicit your opinions. From right to left in the picture (not to scale): the folding blade SOG Micron, 1.5″ blade length and 3.44″ overall length when opened, costs around $10. The Mini SuperKnife, 1.77″ long closed and 2.95″ long opened, is a small folding utility knife that costs about $5. The Utili-Key, 2.75″ long, goes for approximately $7 (TM mentioned this device 7/24/08, 5/1/09, and 8/20/09). The Gerber Artifact, 3.5″ long closed and 4.8″ long opened, is available for $6-7 (TM had a 9/15/08 post on the Artifact).

What’s your choice for a small keychain knife/tool: A knife-only option, or a pseudo multi-tool?

SOG Micron Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Mini SuperKnife Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Utili-Key Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Gerber Artifact Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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21 Responses to Keychain Knife/Tools

  1. cybertrash says:

    I have a utili-key and a gerber artifact.

    The Utili-key goes EVERYWHERE I go, (including planes, as it looks just like a key, and I know I’m a bad person so hush) it’s the size and shape of a key so I don’t even notice it until I need it.

    The gerber artifact sits in a drawer at home. It’s a lovely idea, but it’s a bit too large and the claw will tear up pants pockets.

    That said, the utilikey is really only useful as a knife in the loosest sense. Good for opening boxes, but I wouldn’t try cutting up an apple with it for instance. I do carry a full size folder pocketknife 24/7, so I can get by without a good knife on my multitool.

  2. ToolGuyd says:

    I’ve found that the most useful keychain pocket tool is one that has scissors. The blades of the pictured keychain tools are just too small to be utilitarian.

  3. Matt says:

    I have the utili-key and the artifact, and it’s the artifact that goes with me everywhere. My wife keeps one in her car for emergencies, too. I found the utili-key hard to use for most tasks, but not the artifact.

  4. Samuelito says:

    I am currently carrying the Gerber Clutch. I have used the pliers a few times. The knife blade isn’t very sturdy. It bends back an extra 15 degrees when open (about 195 degrees vs. 180). Moderately usefull, overall.

  5. My EDC is a Boker Wharcom, a Peter Atwood flat titanium gasbaby and a Fenix LD01. I’ve never been happy with multi-tools ’cause they always seem bad at everything.

    The Boker is the smallest sturdy/stable knife I’ve found. The gasbaby weighs nothing and is strong enough for pretty intense prying and beer opening. The Fenix is as big as a car key and as bright as a quad D-cell mag light.

    The Atwood is hard to find and a little expensive, but everyone who handles it gets the appeal of his tools. Manly jewelry.

  6. Jerry says:

    I like the utili-key but agree with cybertrash that it isn’t much of a knife. My current keychain knife is a CRKT P.E.C.K., which is reasonably priced ($22 from Amazon) and small. For a while I was collecting Peter Atwood pieces, but his latest stuff isn’t my style. That being said, his original Prybaby and Titanium Keytons are often in my pocket. I recently came across the work of Joshua Rice at JDR Knife & Tool, and his titanium tools (in particular the Ti Betta) are quite nice. Atwood and Rice tools are not cheap, but they are extremely well made and will last. On the inexpensive side of things, I like the various sizes of the Widgy prybar from CountryComm. Brian Green has a nice blog posting showing what the Widgy looks like when given a Peter Atwood style cord wrap treatment: http://www.briangreen.net/2008/04/mini-pocket-prybars.html

  7. corto says:

    funny question – swiss army knife (mini) is small knife and some tools – without pseudo

  8. _Jon says:

    I love my utili-key. I carry few keys, so there is very little bulk.

    I don’t do much actual work, but opening computers sometimes have stuck screws. I have broken one trying to use too much leverage.

  9. Discobubba says:

    Have carried a Leatherman Squirt P4 for years and seems to always come in handy. Used to have a Swiss Tech Microtech (the mini plier tool) but lost it after using it and misplacing it. Came in handy as well but wasn’t nearly as comfortable or useful as the P4 so it was a welcome upgrade.

    Also have a similar mini utility knife like the Mini Superknife in my EDC bag which is nice and compact.

  10. flarney says:

    I carry a Bob Dozier Kabar with a 3 inch blade on my keyring. Its large enough to handle almost any cutting task I’ll encounter, lite enough to go relatively unnoticed and not so large as to scare small children and wimpy dorks.

  11. Fritz Gorbach says:

    leatherman micra kickin around somewhere – i think in the tacklebox. Nice to have scissors sometimes, but i carry a full leatherman and a single blade folder all the time.

  12. David Bryan says:

    I’ve traveled a lot by bus, and nowadays they’re particular about what you’ve got in your pockets, too. If I go somewhere I can’t go tooled up, I have a P-38 or P-51 on my keyring, which will do all kinds of things for you besides open cans, especially if you do a little creative filing on them; one of those old Craftsman or Utica keyring screwdrivers, or one of the old Stanley ones with the flat Phillips on the end, depending on what I think I can get away with; a big safety pin and a big paperclip; one of those little bottle-opening claws; and a round spark-plug gapper, which fits all kinds of slotted screws. I’ve never had any problems taking that stuff anywhere. Something like the Leatherman Micra is hard to beat for concentrated utility when you can carry it. I’ve had one of those Gerber Artifacts, and I liked it all right, but I gave it away and haven’t cared enough to replace it. I have a couple of the Utili-keys, but I don’t think much of them. I do like the Swiss-tech fold up pliers with the extra screwdrivers; I appreciate the shear-cutting feature on them.
    I keep a good hard washer in my wallet, about 1/16th inch thick, 1-1/2″ outside and 7/8″ inside diameter. I can do all kinds of prying, mashing, and turning with that.
    And you can take a shark’s tooth just about anywhere, and it’ll do some pretty fair cutting for you in a pinch.

  13. james b says:

    These rock, and TSA shitheads let them on planes:


    Good steel, fit and finish, and usable tools.

  14. Chris says:

    james b: not that I would ever defend the Theatrical Security Agency, but, uh, that meets all the regulations for being allowed on an airplane, so there’s no reason they wouldn’t let it through.

    A lot of TSA employees are barely functional as human beings, but they’re not shitheads because they let this tool on a plane.


  15. Rich says:

    I just want one with a blade, phillips, and straight screwdriver. As small as possible. Preferably a standard utility knife blade so I don’t have to sharpen it and it has a chance of getting on a plane if I take out the blade. Does such a bear exist?

  16. David Bryan says:

    Rich, that’s pretty much what the Gerber Artifact is. If you grind off one side of the little forked end it’s a lot easier to use as a screwdriver, and you don’t lose much utility by doing it.

  17. Jim says:

    Gerber used to make a tiny and I mean tiny folding knife, philips, flat head tool. It had a funky locking system and was probably only an 1 1/2″ closed. The knife, phillips, and flathead all folded out seperately. If anyone has one of these I want it. TSA douche bags took my 4 years ago and have missed it dearly ever since.

  18. Alan T says:

    I’ve had a Swiss Utili-key on my key-ring for years now – I wore out one of them, and got another one for Christmas. It has been indispensable for doing the small stuff when I don’t have my leatherman with me. Yeah, it’s not the greatest knife in the world, but it works great in a pinch. I can’t tell you how many screws I’ve tightened in odd places at odd times when I was without my multi-tool. I work on a grounds-crew, and it’s serrated edge is pretty darn handy. I’ve even used it to get into a few doors 😀 My only complaint is that the clip part of it can become embrittled with use… and it eventually snaps. That’s how the last one wore out. I got good use out of it before that happened, but still..

  19. JXL37 says:

    When in doubt, throw it out. ,

  20. The Micron is almost too small to be usable. The Spyderco LadyBug is about as small of a keychain knife is I would want and it locks.


  21. SOG Knives says:

    The micron is a pretty cool knife for when you need to dig under your fingernails or open boxes.


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