A multi-tool is the ultimate compromise between the expertise of a specialist and his flexibility. Multi-tools, such as the Leatherman Signal or the Swiss Army Knife, fold a group of specialised tools into a single handle that conveniently fits in a pocket. They can be especially useful to hikers, backpackers and hunters.

Nowadays, millions of these tools are being sold on yearly basis as the market is flooded with brand new exciting designs from various companies. But can these new, complicated and intricate tools do much more than the original design from the 1980s? Here’s what you need to look for when buying a multi-tool like the Leatherman Signal so you can make the right purchase.

The latest tool from Leatherman is the Signal. It’s a simple, robust and useful tool that you can easily carry with you. It has needlenose pliers, regular pliers, a wire stripper, replaceable wire and hard-wire cutters, a combo knife, a hammer, a saw, a can and a bottle opener, an awl w/ thread loop, a ¼” hex bit driver, a carabiner, a ¼” and 3/16” box wrenches, a safety whistle, diamond coated sharpener and ferrocerium rod. Quite impressive for something that can fit in your pocket, right? This amazing outdoors-oriented tool can be useful in any situation.

You probably understand that having a knife can be useful in many situations. It’s probably one of the most essential tools you can carry with you. However, in most cases, a bunch of tools don’t make for a great knife handle. The way you interact with your knife and grip it is the most important aspect. Moreover, most knives made for multi-tools aren’t made of high quality steel, so you might be better off with just carrying a regular pocket knife.

So you basically have to understand that a multi-tool can’t replace real tools in any way. Yeah, you can probably trim a zip tie, pull a fuse or tighten a loose screw, but if the work you’re doing is more serious, you’ll need wire crimpers, T-handles, a socket set and all sorts of gizmos and widgets.

You probably already know this, so you’re wondering why am I even mentioning it? Because it should help you decide easier on what type of multi-tool you need. You don’t need to carry one with metric, Torx and imperial bits. If the work you’re doing needs one of them, you’ll have to get a real tool anyway. Bottom line is, instead of finding a multi-tool that can repair anything that you can possibly imagine, focus on finding one that can easily deal with day-to-day problems, is slim and small enough to carry it conveniently.