Victorinox Classic SD Review: Is this The best Keychain Swiss Army Knife?

Updated January 26, 2023

Classicsd Featured

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I still remember the day I got my first Swiss Army Knife (SAK) way back in 2008. It was the Victorinox Classic SD.  When I got it out of the package, it looked like a puny tool not good for anything. But over the years, it has proved to be one of the most used everyday carry tools I have.

Reason? The Classic SD is always with me, dangling from my keychain. But when the need arises, it is there to tackle any light-duty task.

I bet some people haven’t heard the name ‘Victorinox’ but recognize the Classic SD and may also be carrying it in their keychain. That’s the power of a world-class product.

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

The Victorinox Classic SD is the perfect keychain Swiss Army Knife that prioritizes portability and functionality without sacrificing quality. It packs plenty of functions that cover all that is needed for most people on a daily basis.

At the price point at which the Classic SD is available, it is almost impossible to find anything better that performs similarly. However, it is not something to be used for heavy-duty tasks, which can be much better served by other bigger and stronger Swiss Army Knives.

What I Like
  • build quality
  • Ease of use and carrying
  • Functionality
  • The price and availability
What I Don’t Like
  • The blade opens on the same side as the keyring
  • I miss a bottle opener

List of Tools/Functions in the Victorinox Classic SD

Before I dive deep into what makes the Classic SD such an effective keychain tool, let’s have a look at the feature set of this single-layer keychain SAK. I know you can get this info from other sources too, but just for the sake of completeness, here is the list.

Victorinox Classic Sd 500x500
Victorinox Cassic SD |Image source: Victorinox
List Of Tools / Functions
  • Small Blade
  • Scissors
  • Nail file with flathead screwdriver tip (2.5 mm)
  • Tweezers
  • Toothpick

Yes, you have that many functions in this tiny 2.3-inch-long tool!

I know what you are thinking: this toy-like thing is probably just good for the show and not durable or suitable for any real task. Well, let me run you through my experiences of using this for the better part of a decade.

Build Quality

Swiss quality is well-known all over the world. And Victorinox has maintained the same quality in all of its products over generations. 

All the tools in the Classic SD are made of Victorinox’s high-quality stainless steel (more about it here). You will not find a better-made product of the same size and functionality as a Victorinox SAK. The Cellidor scales covering the knife are equally durable.

The Classic SD is built to last and designed to bounce around in your pocket with keys and coins.

Yes, the scales will get scratched and lose their shine over time (mine got a lot of scratches).

But that is something to be expected, a testament of the SAK being actually used, isn’t it?

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You can see the scratches – the effect of carrying in the pocket for years!

After so many years of regular use, the tools still open and close with a snap; the slip joint springs have retained their tension. There is no rusting (mine got dropped in the bathtub a couple of times), and all of the tools are still working as they should! I don’t expect more from such a tiny and cheap little multi-tool.

And yes, Victorinox does have a lifetime guarantee against any defects in material and workmanship.

I know people who have had their Classic SD for over 20 years. Hopefully, one day I will join that club too!

Ease of Use and Carrying

Over the years, I have tried many small keychain multi-tools, from one-piece tools to plier-based ones. Some I have discarded because of lack of functionality, and some others because of their bulk and weight. The Classic SD is the only one that fulfilled most of my needs while being inconspicuous at the same time. 

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Some of the keychain multi-tools I have carried in my pocket at various times!

All the tools in the Classic SD are easily accessible, better than many other muti-functional keychain tools that I have used or seen. Yes, you need both hands and fingernails to open all the tools, but that’s the only requirement of using the Classic SD. 

It’s so light and convenient in the pocket that I don’t even feel or notice it. With just a single layer of tools, the Classic SD is the thinnest 58mm Swiss Army Knife. The 58mm family of SAKs have many other models, with the thickest being the Mini Champ (reviewed here).

You can use the key ring on the Classic SD to attach to your keychain. However, I have started using a carabiner hook to do the same.

That gives me the flexibility of attaching and detaching the SAK in a jiffy.

Very convenient, especially when I want to use the SAK for a considerable amount of time without the added weight of the keychain and other keys dangling from it.

Classicsd 04
This little carabiner is super useful!

Want more ways of carrying the Classic SD with you, including by attaching a clip to it? I have written a detailed post on it, covering not only the Classic SD but also many other bigger Swiss Army Knives.

Tools and Functionals

This is where the Classic SD shines. Each of the individual tools is capable of doing what it is designed for. They are tiny, but they do pack a lot of punch. 

Of course, this is not something you want to use to fix your car or your bike, or for your do-it-yourself home carpentry. You will need bigger multi-tools or preferably dedicated tools for that kind of task.

But if you just use it for the tasks it is meant for, you will be surprised how well the Classic SD performs.

The Blade

The pen blade is deceptively sharp for its size. There is no side-to-side play at all.

On first look, the blade may look flimsy. But it is stronger than it looks which I discovered after years and years of usage.

It comes razor-sharp out of the box. Just do a paper-slicing test and see it for yourself!

Classic SD 06
That blade hasn’t been sharpened for 2 years, but it does a pretty decent job of slicing paper!

I accidentally cut my fingers once when I unknowingly put the Classic SD in my pocket without closing the blade!

I regularly use the knife blade to open packages and envelopes, sharpen pencils, etc. I have even used it a few times to peel apples and oranges. Slicing an apple is a bit challenging due to its short length, but doable nonetheless.

The Scissors

The pair of scissors is without a doubt my most used tool and the very reason why I got my first Classic SD. Quite literally, I haven’t seen a smaller pair of scissors as functional as this. 

I consider a tiny pair of scissors good enough if it can cut paracord. And the Classic SD scissors don’t disappoint. It’s a smooth clean cut, without any pinching or slippage.

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The paracord looks too big for the scissors!
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It takes 2 attempts, sometimes 3, but the scissors can cut type III paracord!

I use the scissors much more than the blade, as it is more suited to many day-to-day cutting tasks. I have used it to open plastic packages, cut paper and cardboard, cut tags or loose strings off clothing, cut various types of threads, and trim bandages and dressings. 

Don’t be fooled by the size. The blades of the scissors are sharper than you think and strong enough to cut nails.

If you want a tiny pair of scissors to carry in your purse, just get one Vic Classic SD! The way it cuts can put some larger pairs of scissors to shame. 

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Yes, you can trim and cut fingernails with the Classic SD scissors!

Nail File

How many keychain tools come with a nail file?

Well, the Classic SD does, and it is super handy to trim nails during emergencies, whether at home or outside.

Can it replace a dedicated nail clipper? No; it cannot!

But combined with the blade and the scissors, the Classic SD is almost a complete manicure set for your personal grooming needs.

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The file works very well on fingernails and toenails!

More than the nail file, I used the screwdriver at the tip of the file. Yes, that is what the tip is, a tiny 2.5mm flathead screwdriver.

I have heard people dismantling a PC with this screwdriver! I will of course, not try such a feat with this tiny little tool.

Do you know? 

The ‘SD’ in the model name ‘Victorinox Classic SD’ stands for the Screw-Driver function at the tip of the file. Yes, there is also a non-SD version, called simply the ‘Victorinox Classic’.

but I must admit that it has come in handy on many occasions when I had nothing else but the Classic SD on my keychain.

I have also used it as a small pry bar/scraper on many occasions. 

 The tip of the nail file also works on some Philips head screws too. That is an extra functionality making the tip quite a versatile tool.

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The screwdriver works on some Philips screws quite well!

Toothpick And Tweezers

The toothpick is the only non-metal tool in the Classic SD. It is made of plastic, and has some flex to it, but gets the job done. My life comes to a standstill if something gets stuck in my teeth until I get it out. So you can understand how often I use it :-).

If you don’t use the toothpick for its intended purpose, it will still come in handy for a lot of other things.

For example, you can use it to clean the nook and corners of your Swiss Army Knife. 

Toothpick Small
I use the plastic toothpick quite often!

The tiny pair of tweezers are not the most precise ones, but they don’t need to be!

Tweezers Small
The tweezers are very handy for picking up small objects!

For me, they have got the job done whenever I needed them.

I haven’t used them to remove splinters (yet), but they are super handy to reach for and pick up small items in hard-to-reach places. 

The toothpick and the tweezers are the only detachable tools in the Classic SD, so there is a chance that you might lose them. But replacement packs for the toothpick and the tweezers are easily available on Amazon.

The Price and Availability

The Classic SD is an entry-level Swiss Army Knife, probably one of the cheapest (if not the cheapest) SAK models you will find. This is one of the main reasons for its popularity.

I have seen the price fluctuating between $12 and $18, depending on the color of the scales, and also the time of the year. The first one I got for about $10 almost 12 years back.

Do you know? 

The Classic SD is the most-sold Victorinox Swiss Army Knife worldwide. Along with the Victorinox Swiss Champ, the Classic SD has remained the most popular Swiss Army Knife for many years now.

I paid around $15 for the most recent one that I bought. Check the current price on Amazon here.

You can probably get used ones for far less if you look around. eBay is one marketplace where you can get second-hand Vic Classics dirt cheap. 

But considering how cheap these already are, especially when compared to other keychain multi-tools, I would recommend you get a new one. I bet you won’t regret it.

What I Don’t Like In the Victorinox Classic SD

I admit it’s difficult to find fault with the Classic SD, especially, at the price at which it sells. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. And of course, there is room for improvement.

I will just talk about two things that I noticed just after a few days I started carrying it in my pocket:

  • The blade opens on the side of the keyring
  • It doesn’t have a bottle opener

When the blade is in the open position, it is on the same side as the keyring!

How the hell are you going to use it if the knife is attached to a keychain?

I am still confused! Is it a design fault?

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How do I work with the blade with all those keys on the same side?

Is Victorinox capable of overlooking such a thing? Or maybe I am missing something? I do not know.

I got rid of this ‘issue’ after getting the carabiner clip as discussed before. This way, It is easier to remove the Classic SD from the keychain, do what I need to do, and then attach it back.

However, I am still looking for a solution for the missing bottle opener. Honestly, it’s hard to find a keychain multi-tool without a bottle/cap owner nowadays. By there is your Classic SD, one of the most popular keychain tools, but it doesn’t have one!

It’s not a deal-breaker for me, but I would much prefer a bottle opener to a pair of tweezers. 

There is another point about the Classic SD that I don’t like. Ok, call this a personal gripe. It is not about the Classic SD as such, but all such tiny multi-tools. I cannot carry it with me on the flight due to security restrictions. And I often forget to detach it from my keychain and put it in my checked bag.

Result – I have already lost two of them to airport security. I got new ones of course. What a relief they don’t cost that much.

Other Variations of the Classic SD

The popularity of the Classic SD has led Victorinox to release many other variations of the SAK. These other variations differ in the color and/or the material of the scales. Some even come with minor differences in the toolset.

Here are some of the popular models that you may find interesting.

Image
Model Name
Specification
Victorinox Classic 500x500
Victorinox Classic

Almost the same as the Victorinox Classic SD, but with a nail cleaner instead of the screwdriver

Victorinox Classic Sd Alox 500x500
Victorinox Classic SD Alox

Aluminium scales instead of Cellidor scales, no tweezers or toothpick

Victorinox Classic Sd Wood 500x500
Victorinox Classic SD Wood

Wooden scales instead of the Cellidor scales, no tweezers or toothpick

Victorinox Signature 500x500
Victorinox Signature

A slightly different model with a ballpoint pen instead of the toothpick

All of the above are single-layer SAKs and any one of them will be a good alternative to the Classic SD. However, if you are ok with a slightly thicker SAK but with more functions, do have a look at my complete review of the Victorinox Rambler.

Classic SD Limited Editions and Special Editions

Classic SD Limited Editions and Special Editions

Victorinox releases Limited Edition models of the Classic SD every year. These are basically the same knife but with scales of different colors and designs. What makes them unique is that each design is available only for a certain period.

Swiss Army Knife Classic Limited Edition
Some of the designs of Victorinox Classic SD Limited Edition | Image source: Victorinox

The Alox version of the Classic SD has its own charm. It is better designed with a slimmer profile and looks quite attractive. Victorinox also releases a unique Classic SD Alox as part of their Victorinox Annual Alox Limited Edition.

And then there is the Victorinox Classic Precious Alox Collection, a set of Victorinox Classic Swiss Army Knives with Alox scales having a tactile woven pattern.

To know more about the Alox SAK models along with the Alox Limited Edition and Classic Precious Alox Collection, read this article.

The Limited Editions and Special Editions of the Classic SD are geared more toward collectors due to their uniqueness. But they make excellent gifts nonetheless.

With such a huge variety of colors and designs, there’s a Classic SD to match nearly any interest or personality. 

Who Should Buy The Classic SD?

The combination of quality, function, and price, that the Victorinox Classic SD offers is unmatched by any other similar multi-tool in its category.

Also, with so many variations available, there’s basically a design out there for you if you want something unique. This is one multi-tool that can be recommended to anyone and everyone.

Is The Classic SD for You?

Of course, even if you are otherwise reluctant to carry a knife!

Get one for yourself, and get some more as gifts for people you love. Believe me, once they start carrying it, they will quickly discover that this small knife is all they need on a daily basis.

Classic SD – Image Gallery

Here are some more images of the Classic SD. Most of these images have been captured with a smartphone and further compressed for upload, so the quality is not optimal. But my old Classic SD is still very photogenic, I must say 🙂

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Size comparison with a 20 cents coin!
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That’s a Victorinox Spartan (91mm) beside the Classic SD!
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The Gerber Dime is both larger and much heavier than the Classic SD!
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The small cover that comes with the Classic SD may help in preventing scratches on the scales!

Final Thoughts

The Victorinox Classic SD is one of the best small EDC tools that you can have in your pocket or attach to your keychain. You will only discover how useful it is when you start carrying one with you.

As far as the Swiss Army Knife’s popularity goes, the tiny Classic SD is only rivaled by the huge Swiss Champ.

Whereas the Swiss Champ remains the most functional SAK, in the domain of keychain multi-tools the Classic SD is hard to beat. 

Top Pick
Victorinox Classic Sd 500x500
Victorinox Classic SD

The best keychain Swiss Army Knife money can buy

All of you wannabe MacGyvers, this is how you start your journey with Swiss Army Knives – by attaching a Victorinox Classic SD to your keychain! If you never had a tool in your keychain before, you are in for a treat!

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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