I’m always fascinated by guys who holster a big multi-tool on their belts, but who don’t work in the trades. What’s going on at the office all day that they feel compelled to arrive prepared to tackle any DIY emergency? And how many times a day are they fixing the copier or the coffee machine or the sliding door to the main conference room to make it worth strapping that damn thing on every morning?
I wonder because I’ve actually debated wearing ⏤ or at least toting in my bag ⏤ the giant sheathed multitool I own but that rarely leaves my toolkit. It seems wasted sitting in the garage and having it on my person would at least ensure I’m prepared for every possible contingency. In the end, though, I always decide against. For two reasons: First, short of seeking out projects when I should be working, I don’t have enough stuff to fix every day to warrant lugging the thing around; and second, I love my Leatherman Juice CS4, a much smaller multi-tool that fits in my pocket when I do need to take it somewhere, and that always gets the job done.
The CS4 is part of Leatherman’s Juice series, which debuted in 2001, and includes seven models that function as much like Swiss Army knives as they do full-fledged multi-tools. Depending on the version, they include anywhere from two to 18 tools and cost between $20 and $80. In addition to their pocket size, they stand out from other Leathermans thanks to their textured aluminum handles in multiple colors.
The $80 CS4 sits atop the Juice ladder in terms of price and function. It measures only 3.25-inches closed (the blade is 2.27 inches) but packs 16 tools, including both needle-nose and regular pliers, wire cutters, four screwdrivers, and spring-action scissors. Also, a saw, which admittedly I don’t use much around the house but love having when we go camping or hiking ⏤ along with the can opener and corkscrew. I never hit the trails without it and almost always take it on trips, assuming I’m checking my luggage. Plus, it easily fits in a side pocket on my work bag.
I’ve had my CS4 for almost 15 years now, even before they introduced the textured handles, and it’s hands down our go-to tool for almost every quick-hit house repair. It lives exactly where Leatherman intended it to, in our kitchen junk drawer ⏤ so it’s readily available for everything from installing blinds to opening boxes from Amazon. It may not get called into action every day, but it’s on the counter a lot.
Is the CS4 a replacement for that bigger multitool in the garage? Of course, not. In fact, using the screwdriver can sometimes be uncomfortable and awkward depending on the length/angle of the screw. But for its size and functionality, it’s a must-have for everyday repairs ⏤ whether at home, camping, or yes, even in the office kitchen. Better still, I don’t have to remember to strap it on my belt every morning.