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Finding the Best Alternatives to a Swiss Army Knife

Have you ever wondered how come Victorinox managed to remain the first choice for a multi-purpose pocket knife for so long? After all, there are so many great knife-making companies all over the world. Could nobody design something better than the Swiss Army Knife?

Well, the simple truth is, nobody could match the three criteria that Victorinox seems to hit every time with every Swiss Army Knife they produce – quality, durability, and price.

But today, there are a number of ingenious multi-purpose pocket knives that can give the Swiss Army knife a run for its money. These are designed and manufactured by reputed companies with years of experience in knife making. This article will discuss some of the best alternatives to a Swiss Army Knife available in the market today.

Boker Plus Tech Tool

Boker as a company has its roots in Solingen, the German city known as the ‘City of Blades‘. They have been making blades since the 17th century.

Boker Plus Tech Tool would probably be the first choice for anyone looking for a Swiss Army Knife alternative. Boker has managed to design something that is as close to a SAK that you can get, yet is not a SAK. It is not a copy, but it is no doubt ‘inspired’ by the Swiss Army Knife. And in the process, Boker has managed to produce something that many would believe surpasses a similar-sized Swiss Army Knife.

There are some fundamental aspects in which the Boker Plus Tech Tool differentiates itself from a Swiss Army Knife.

The most visible difference is the handle. The design of the handle in the Boker Plus is more ergonomic than a 91mm pocket SAK.

Boker Plus Tech Tool
Boker Plus Tech Tool | Image source: bokerusa.com

Also, the G10 (glass-fiber-reinforced plastic) scales that Boker uses in some of the models may be more desirable than the shiny Cellidor scales that Vic uses in their SAKs.

The blade in the Boker Plus has more belly and is made of a harder steel variety. As such, it will definitely hold an edge longer. The Boker Plus also has a glass breaker and a pocket clip. While the glass breaker is something you would find in larger SAKs (111mm SAK models), no Swiss Army Knife comes with a pocket clip!

In fact, the pocket clip might be just the thing to make you switch from a SAK to a Boker Plus Tech Tool as an EDC.

How is it different?

  • Better designed handle, and better material in the scales
  • Pocket clip
  • Glass breaker

If you don’t like the pocket clip, you can simply remove it as it is held in place by easily accessible screws.

Just like Swiss Army Knives, Boker has many models of Boker Plus Tech Tool, with a different assortment of tools in each. You will probably find one that suits your needs. Look for the one pictured here on this Amazon listing.

Have you ever struggled to get the SAK tools out with the nail nicks? Well, no relief here. The tools in the Boker Plus are also accessible by nail nicks. I particularly struggle to get the awl out (it broke my thumbnail once). But once you get them out, they are as useful and functional as any pocket-sized Swiss Army Knife you can think of.

Swiza Pocket Knife

Perhaps the Boker Plus models look very tactical to you? Maybe you need something more brightly colored, a more readily ‘acceptable’ design that doesn’t make people alarmed or freak out when they see it in your hand? Well, a Swiss-made Swiza Pocket Knife is probably the one you are looking for to replace your Swiss Army Knife.

Note that Swiza is a Swiss Company primarily known for making watches. However, the company came into the limelight when it got the Red Dot Design Award – Red Dot best of the best 2016, for its pocket knife design.

A Swiza Pocket knife looks significantly different from a Swiss Army Knife. It has a distinct curved design that is more ergonomic than that of a SAK with its traditional slightly oval-shaped handle. 

In fact, the curve of the handle in a Swiza knife is more similar to the Boker Plus Tech-Tool.

Swiza Pocket Knife
Swiza Pocket Knife | Image source: Swiza

The scales used in the Swiza have a rubbery feel, thereby providing a better grip. also, the scales are available in punchier colors that would stand out from any other pocket knife.

However, the most significant difference between the Swiza and the SAK is its lockable blade. The blade has a safe locking mechanism with a linear lock.

How is it different?

  • Better designed handle and grippy scales
  • Locking blade
  • Hole instead of nail-nick on the blade for easy opening

Also, the blade has a small hole instead of a nail nick thereby making it much easier to open even without nails.

I have written a complete hands-on review of the Swiza pocket knife where I outlined the various aspects of the knife as well as my experience of using it as a pocket knife. I got the model Swiza D04 from this Amazon listing.

You may also like to know how the Swiza pocket knife differs from a Swiss Army Knife in this post: Swiza Vs Victorinox – 17 Differences Between a Swiza Knife And a SAK.

In case Swiss quality matters to you, the Swiza pocket knife is the best alternative to a Swiss Army Knife that you can get. It’s cool, elegant, and still very functional. You can choose one from the many models that Swiza makes with different combinations of tools.

Gerber Armbar

If I want to replace my pocket Swiss Army Knife with something else, I would probably go for something that looks significantly different from a SAK, something like the Gerber Armbar.

Gerber has a long history of making knives. It is in fact the largest maker of knives and multi-tools for the US armed forces. They have many pocket-sized plier-based multi-tools in their catalog. But they never really had any significant model in the multi-purpose pocket knife category, something that could be an alternative to the Swiss Army Knife. But the introduction of the Armbar changed this.

In fact, the Armbar doesn’t look like a knife at all, it looks like a multi-purpose tool. But make no mistake, it has a well-designed blade within its slim body.

The blade is broader than that of a SAK, and it is also lockable (linear lock), a feature that you sorely miss in a pocket SAK.

Gerber Armbar
Gerber Armbar | Image source: Gerbergear.com

And yes, that blade has a hole that aids in the opening (just like a Swiza). So no more fiddling with your nails to open it.

An interesting functionality that the Armbar has is how you can use it as a hammer. It has a little piece of metal at one end that you can strike with like a hammer. One of the models of the Armbar also has a screwdriver that accepts replaceable bits.

The Armbar offers a significantly different design for a multi-purpose pocket knife, yet retaining most of the functionalities of a Swiss Army Knife of similar size.

How is it different?

  • Totally different design compared to a SAK
  • Locking blade with a hole for easy opening
  • Can be used as a hammer

Gerber makes multiple versions of the Armbar with slightly different tool-set in each. The most versatile one is the Gerber Armbar Drive (Amazon link). One of these models might just prove to be an adequate replacement for your pocket Swiss Army Knife.

Wrapping up

There are some excellent multi-purpose pocket knives with just as much quality and durability as a Swiss Army Knife. I have included just the most promising ones, each of which can be the perfect alternative to a Swiss Army Knife.

Note that all these tools can do everything that a medium-sized pocket SAK can do, and these are manufactured by some of the most reputed companies having years of experience in the business.

Some might still think that dollar-for-dollar a Swiss Army Knife can’t be beaten, and they are probably right. But these alternatives pack just as much punch and style as a Swiss Army Knife and has the quality and durability to last just as long. You won’t be disappointed with any one of them.

About Me
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Deb is passionate about pocket tools, bags, and accessories, especially any type of everyday-use gear (or not so everyday-use gear) that makes life efficient, comfortable, and more enjoyable.

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