Though I try to be brand agnostic, it is hard to miss my decidedly anti-Gerber slant. Perhaps it is the regular recalls on Gerber products (three in the last 10 years, one this year on their high profile new knife, the Instant). Perhaps it is their overt abandoning of quality in favor of marketing, as seen by their relentless pushing of Bear Grylls branding on their products. Perhaps it is their steadfast policy of over charging (the Venture, for example, is an $80 knife with 7CR steel, really?). Gerber has been on a downhill trend in terms of quality and enthusiast interest since Fiskar took over. They are the most high profile voluminous peddler of Chinese junk in the gear world.
But even with all that Gerber can still make good stuff. I really, really like the Shard. It has been my keychain OPMT for more than a year and I don't miss my Atwood in the least (though the TT Chopper has caught my fancy again). But for every Shard there is an Artifact--an
ill-conceived, poorly executed, hunk of junk. The Artifact is, without
reservation, the worst item I have ever reviewed. So the question is:
does the Dime belong to the collection of rare and seemingly random
pieces of gear that Gerber produces that is good or is it like the
majority of their product line--total and complete shit?
the Dime is very good. Not just very good, but probably the best
keychain multitool on the market. It's design is nice, its fit and
finish is quite good, and its tool selection is the best ever for a
keychain multitool. Not just the best Gerber ever (after all, one of
the Hilton sisters has to be the smartest), but probably the best ever
regardless of maker, including the vaunted and beloved Leatherman. The
Dime is a premier tool at a bargain basement price.
Here is the Dime's product page. I am surprised they did not find a way to cram it into the zombie kit. Here is a good video review. Here
is a good written review. Here is a link to Blade HQ, where you can
find the Gerber Dime, and all proceeds benefit the site when you
purchase things through this link:
here is my Dime (which I bought with my own money, it is a not a review
sample from Blade HQ that will go back; this one will probably be my
know you have concerns about one thing so let me get it out of the way
first: the bottle opener doesn't poke or really effect the carry of this
tool at all. In fact, I never once noticed it when I was carrying this
multitool or when I was pulling it out of my pocket. It looks like it
might be a problem, but in practice it never was.
that out of the way, let's look at the rest of the design. While it is
superficially a very standard pliers-based multitool, the tool designs
themselves are quite ingenious (more on this later). The handles are
nicely shaped and the spring loaded pliers really do make a difference.
I also like the precision tip to the pliers themselves. They are so
precise in fact I used them to pull out a splinter. It was a fat oak
splinter I got from chopping wood for the winter, not a needle-like
birch splinter, but still that is quite impressive and a good decision
design-wise for a multitool of this size.
pliers-based multitool of the keychain size, this is a bit on the bulky
side--much bigger than the slim as a pin Style and slightly bigger than
That said it is not so big or heavy as to be a problem. In real world
use it is about the same, in the pocket, as the PS4. The tool to weight
ratio is a decent 5.45 (by way of comparison, the tool:weight of the SAK Alox Cadet is a staggering at 11.43 and the Charge TTi has a tool:weight of 2.32).
Fit and Finish: 2
the past, Gerber stuff has been felled by hellacious fit and finish.
Fortunately there is little to complain about here. The tools snap into
place with authority and stay there. The springs on the pliers are
quite strong. The grind on the blade and the finish on the plier tips
are superb. The handles are nicely colored and the texturing is
excellent. The scissors are sturdy, a usual Achilles heel for mutlitool
scissors, especially in tools this small. Finally the handles align
well and do not display the up and down play that many Gerber mutlitools
do. This is a sturdy and well made tool and I never once lacked
confidence when using it.
multitools have to rigorously focused on convenience tools. Doing
otherwise doesn't just make the tool less useful, it can make it too big
to carry. For example, a saw is a ridiculous item to include on a
multitool this small, though Gerber does it on the Vise.
Can openers are stupid on mutlitools in general but even dumber on
tools of this size. Its tempting to lose focus and just cram a bunch of
junk on these tools, but Gerber didn't do so here and the tool benefits
tremendously from that restraint and focus. The clam shell cutter is
one of the best new implements on a multitool I have seen in years and a
perfect example of what devotion to the tool's theme can bring about.
If convenience is the watch word, the Dime passes the test beautifully.
As a pliers-based multitool
grip is a key factor in the tool's overall usefulness (or if I were a
management consultant: "utility"; or if I where Nutnfancy: "useability;"
why has "useful" become such a shunned word?). Fortunately the size of
the tool and the spring loaded pliers give the Dime an excellent grip
in the pliers position. The handles also work well when using the
knife, the clam shell cutter, the scissors, or the screw drivers. The
handles even give you enough purchase to use the bottle opener easily.
Finally, I really like the texture on the handles. Its not a big deal,
but it does help.
as you can tell, was the bottle opener would be be pokey. Its not. The
whole tool carries inconspicuously. The rounded edges prevent anything
from catching and none of the tools protrude (other than the bottle
opener). Excellent all around.
this is the first place where I was waffling. The steel is Gerber's
mystery meat steel, but prior history tells us it is one of a few
choices. It could be there old standby, 440A. It could be there new
standby 7Cr17Mov. Regardless of what it is, it works well. The blade,
with its pronounced belly and reverse tanto shape is still sharp after
three weeks of use. The clam shell cutter is less sharp, because it is
used more often, but still works well. I was concerned about edge
retention and then I realized this is not a tool that will be pressed
into chores more demanding than opening a package or cutting some
twine. In this role, and perhaps this role alone, the steel is
sufficient. The aluminum handles scales are equally fine and the file
is well cut and actually useful despite its tiny proportions.
the accessibility on the Dime is quite good. All but the pliers are
externally accessible. But here is a potential problem area:
you use your keychain multitool drivers in tight spots this will be a
problem as there is a bottle opener, a lanyard attachment, and the
Phillips driver all in close proximity to each other. I typically don't
use my keychain multitool that way, so this is not a problem. I find
cramped quarters are never good for small multitools.
Retention Method: 2
a keychain multitool so you get the standard split ring attachment
point. Nothing special. I have also used the bottle opener to lace my
mechanic's ring through.
know they have to include the split ring for those that still insist on
an old fashioned crappy keychain, but if you have the mechanic's ring
set up, you can remove the small split ring and use the bottle opener
instead, making more room for your driver. Its not like you could use
the bottle opener with the tool attached to your key ring via the small
Tool Selection: 2
is where the Dime shines. There is no keychain multitool out there that
has as good a selection of tools. This gem even bests the perfect PS4
(time to go change that score). Here is the new attraction, the star of
the tool that puts this thing over the top:
The rest of the tools are also nicely
organized around the convenience theme. There are a pair of tweezers
tucked into the aluminum handle scales, a pair of scissors, a pair of
pliers with the wirecutters at the bottom, a nice little reverse tanto
knife, a flat head driver, a Phillips 2D driver, a fine and coarse
file. That, with the clam shell cutter, makes 10 tools, hence the name.
Tool Performance: 2
In the past
Gerber's tools seemed to be there simply to add bullet points on the
packaging. No one really could imagine a use for the saw on the Vise,
right? And the scissors on my other Gerber multitool (review coming
when I get a chance) are really scissors only in appearance. Here they
are beefy and can cut through plastic quite well (I used them to cut the
nib stabilizer in a new F-701 to fit the Fisher insert after my old one
was destroyed from a two story fall).
The knife is likewise an actual useful implement, with a strong tip and plenty of belly for its size:
Overall Score: 20 out of 20
when I get a piece of gear in, I put up a draft of the review and make
notes on that draft as I use the thing. Over the weeks I get an idea of
what the score will be in each category. The text comes next, then the
pictures, and finally an overall score with HTML links and editing.
Here I just took some notes and purposely did not score any of the
categories. I wanted to be extra sure I was right. I have really
bashed Gerber, deservedly so, and before I put my stamp of approval on
something they make I want to me 100% sure I am right. I don't want the
scores to create some sense of momentum. So I took notes and
pictures. Then I wrote the text given each category a score as I went
along. When I was finished, over a period of two days, I realized, this
thing got a 20.
Honestly, it deserves it. This is a
great multitool, regardless of who makes it. I know there are some
reviews out there that claim the Dime has sloppy fit and finish, but
that happens in any mass produced item. Mine is rock solid. This
little puppy is so good that it really does raise the bar for all of the
competition out there. The PS4 is a great tool. No reason to get rid
of one if you have it. But if you are looking for a new keychain sized
multitool, the Dime should be your first choice. The steel is still
Gerber's mystery meat, but it works well here. All of the tools really
carry their weight and the bottle opener, the most unusual of design
choices, is perfectly fine.
Gerber did it. They made a
tool worthy of the highest praise. But here is the problem--it means
they can do it if they want to, which leaves them even less room for
excuses when they make absolute garbage. I am not sure if this is a
sign of a new Gerber or merely a broken clock being right twice a day,
but whatever the cause, the effect is a mutlitool well worth owning,
especially at the $20 price point.