Generally people think of multitools as something you would carry with you on camping trips. Since I have been in the IT field for a number of years I can say that I see plenty of multitools in use by other computer technicians and as a matter of fact, I was first introduced to multitools in the IT field by other techs. Granted I haven’t been camping as many years as I have been working with computers and being in this field probably lends itself to a greater chance of seeing multitools being used by techs, but I just wanted to put it out there that people like computer techs have and use multitools to help them every day in their IT duties.
So what is the best multitool for an IT technician? Well it seems that the answer would be easy, and if I was forced to give an answer then I would have to say the Paladin PT-525 PowerPlay Multitool is it. The best multitool for an IT tech would be one that has useful tools to help that person complete IT related tasks. But I would like to talk about the things that the best multitool lacks and what I’ve done to compensate for the multitool’s lack in those areas. Most multitools have a set of pliers. Pliers are definitely useful to an IT tech. You can grab those little screws that lodge themselves under the motherboard when it drops from your screwdriver. So pliers is a no brainer. The pliers need to have wire strippers built-in. Worst case scenario should be a set of wire strippers in the multitool, not built-in to the pliers. Most likely you will use the wire cutters built-in to the pliers with your agile hands to strip wires, but we all know how that turns out when you squeeze just a little too hard. The wire you’re trying to strip gets cut. So the best multitool for an it tech would have pliers with a built-in wire stripper.
The next thing the best multitool for the IT guru has to have is a screwdriver, but not just a Phillips and Flat head screwdriver. The best multitool would have one screwdriver with a small set of bits which would include maybe 2 Phillip heads, 2 flat heads and 2 star heads. The problem with having bits is there needs to be a way to store them in the multitool, otherwise you have to carry a set of bits with your multitool. That kind of defeats the purpose of a multitool and the other option is to have 6 screwdrivers built-in to the multitool. This is possible but takes up a lot of tool space in the multitool. This can be solved easily if you carry your multitool in a sheath, but the best multitool for the job would find a way to incorporate the bits on to the multitool itself. A really smart thing to do with your multitool screwdriver(s) is to magnetize them with a strong magnet to help pick up screws in hard to reach places, which is the most common place you will be using your multitool as an IT tech. Just get one of those powerful magnets out of an old hard drive and hold it against the screwdriver tip for a few minutes, rubbing it all around the tip. A better solution is to have the manufacturer make sure the screwdriver tool or the multitool itself is magnetized in the manufacturing process. This is helpful to any multitool user and not just the IT tech.
Next on the list of features for the IT tech’s best multitool is a flash drive. As an IT tech you realize that most USB drives don’t require all that plastic housing that surrounds the actual internal components. I have yet to see a multitool with a flash drive but it is actually pretty easy to incorporate one in to a multitool yourself, depending on your creativity and access to materials. I have done this in the past for a few different multitool models and it has come in handy more than once. If you aren’t handy, you can always get one of the small flash drives (small in physical size, not as in the amount of space on the drive) and attach it with a tiny nylon lanyard to the multitool itself. I think this kind of makes the multitool clunky, since multitools fold up nicely with all tools hidden until you’re ready to use them, but it will get the job done if that’s your only choice.
The needs of an IT tech when it comes to finding the best multitool are quite different from that of a camper, or hiker. I am still on the lookout for the best multitool as described above but I have yet to find one that incorporates all those features or actually any of those features except the pliers of course. An IT tech needs a multitool that has pliers. Pliers with built-in wire strippers to replace the wire cutters usually built-in to inside portion of pliers would be awesome. I would even take a multitool that has a separate wire stripping tool but it seems more efficient to use the knife for cutting wires and removing that function from the pliers. The wire stripper doesn’t need to have slots for 10 different wire sizes. Two common gauges would work just fine. The best multitool for an IT tech would also have more than just a Phillips and flat edge screwdriver. Lots of times I have the need for star head screwdrivers as an IT tech. The best solution would be a set of bits that are stored within or attached to the multitool itself and the screwdriver absolutely has to be magnetized. You can do this yourself but it never seems to be as strong or last as long as when this magnetization is done in the manufacturing process. And finally a built-in flash drive that you can flip out as a tool and can be detached from the multitool itself. You don’t want a 1 lb. multitool anchor pulling the flash drive out of the USB port when you’re using it. You can fashion these things yourself if you’re handy and have access to the right tools. I have done this in the past and the ones I have done it to are the best multitools I have ever used in my every day work. Still, I hope someday to be able to buy a multitool that fits this criteria right off the shelf.