There’s been growing demand in the multi tool market for tools small enough to carry everyday on your keychain or bag. The Dime is Gerber’s main entry in this micro multi tool market, packing shrunken versions of the basic multi tool loadout in a pint sized package. Today’s Gerber Dime review will cover the design of the Dime, its tool loadout, build quality, and our overall opinion of it.
Gerber Dime Overview
The Gerber Dime was built to be the tool you always have on you. It’s tiny, coming in at 2.8 inches when closed and weighing just 2.2 oz. The tools you’re able to put into something that small will necessarily be less capable and durable than those on full size multi tools.
This isn’t intended to be your only multi tool. It’s meant to be the tool that you can bring with you no matter where you’re going. It’s small enough to fit on your keychain and light enough that you won’t even notice it’s there. Gerber offers the Dime in two versions and several different colors.
Gerber Dime Tools
The Gerber Dime comes with 12 tools in a standard butterfly open package. Unlike the majority of Gerber’s other multi tools none of the tools on the Dime lock open. The secondary version of the Dime, the Dime travel, also offers 12 tools.
It’s important to understand when reviewing these tools that we were grading on a curve. It’s a given that the tools on the Dime aren’t as capable as those on full sized multi tools. What we’re looking for is how they hold up and function for everyday tasks.
Pliers and Wire Cutters
The pliers in the Dime have a needle nose point and a standard plier grip below it. They’re spring action and pop open well. We’ll be blunt, these pliers aren’t particularly useful. They have a reasonable bite pattern on them but the size of the handle doesn’t allow you to apply any real torque. You might be able to turn a very small bolt, but even that’s in doubt. Another issue is the numerous reports of broken spring arms, cracked plier joints, and general breakdown during regular use.
The wire cutters on the Dime are only useful for cutting very thin wires. Speaker wires and things of that thickness will easily and cleanly part for the Dime. Anything larger than that becomes a real struggle.
The knife blade on the standard Gerber Dime has a straight blade and comes in at just barely an inch long. Interestingly, it doesn’t have a traditional point but something closer to a modified sheepsfoot blade profile. The blade isn’t particularly sharp straight from the factory but was easy to sharpen up to a nice razor edge. The small size of the blade means you won’t be using this for much more than cutting string, opening packages, and maybe cutting up a very small piece of fruit.
The Dime Travel, Gerber’s TSA compliant version of the Dime, replaces the knife blade with a blunt tip file.
Scissors and Tweezers
The scissors on the Dime are small but effective. They cut through paper reasonably well but aren’t quite as useful as those on some other multi tools of similar sizes. There have been reports of the scissor spring arm breaking frequently with regular and even light use but we can’t really hold this against the Dime. Most micro multi tools share this problem, with all manufacturers doing a pretty good job honoring warranty repairs.
Anyone who’s ever owned a swiss army knife will recognize the thin metal design of the tweezers. They share the same issues all tweezers of this style do, lack of gripping strength and purchase. We found it difficult to grab hold of small objects and very difficult to really get a grip on something like a stubborn splinter. Again though, just about every multi tool tweezer shares this issue. Given their small size and sharp point, you might have better luck using the needle nose pliers as tweezers.
Bottle and Package Opener, Zipper Pull
The Gerber Dime doesn’t have a traditional multi tool bottle/can opener combo tool. Instead the body of the tool itself is shaped into a larger bottle opener that works quite well for its intended purpose.
The package opener is something we’ve started to see in a lot of value priced and micro sized multi tools. The one on the Dime works well, easily cutting through packing tape and envelopes without any issues. On the Dime Travel the package open is replaced with a zipper pull tool to get around blade restrictions. We didn’t expect to like this feature but actually found it to work well for its designed purpose. It easily grabs broken zippers and lets you apply extra strength to stuck ones. How often you find yourself needing such a specialized attachment is another story.
Screwdrivers, File and Lanyard Ring
There are two screwdrivers on the Dime, a flathead driver and a cross driver intended to be used in phillips head screws. The flathead driver is medium sized and works as well as could be expected for something of its size. It can stand up to light prying as well but don’t push your luck.
The cross driver is meant to slip into one slot of a phillips head screw and slide down until it covers most of the width of the slot. In practice this doesn’t work well. The point is very small and doesn’t give you much purchase on the screw. Both screwdrivers suffer from the small size of their attached handle. It’s very difficult to get any torque on them with something that small.
The file is double sided, with both a fine and coarse grind on it. Gerber lists them as full function files but they’re honestly not good for much more than filing your fingernails. Anything more will quickly wear them down, especially with the black oxide coating on them.
The lanyard ring is of much greater importance on micro multi tools than full sized ones. The one on the Dime unfortunately doesn’t seem to take this into account. It’s a tiny little ring with a small keyring on it. It makes it very easy to connect to your keychain but also breaks when just a little force is applied to it, leaving you with a keychain multi tool that won’t stay on your keychain anymore.
Gerber Dime Review
The Gerber Dime is available in several different color options and two finishes. The colors are purple, red, black, and green while the available finishes are black oxide and stainless steel. The Gerber Dime is built around portability. Everything else, from tool loadout to material quality, is secondary to that.
The thin metal used to create such a tiny multi tool just isn’t strong enough for any heavy application. Critical joints and attachment points buckle and give way with regular use. The spring arms on both the pliers and scissors are often the first things to go.
That being said, it’s still a useful little tool to have. It feels cheap because it is cheap, coming in at a tiny fraction of the price of a full size multi tool. It’s not going to be the only tool you need, but it is going to be the only tool you always have on you.
Gerber Dime Pros – Things We Liked
- Highly portable
- Mostly useful tools
- Attractive design
- Warranty swiftly honored
Gerber Dime Cons – Things We Didn’t Like
- Pliers difficult to use
- Black oxide finish quickly shows wear
- Flimsy feeling steel
- Lanyard ring easy to accidentally break
- Spring action arms delicate at best
Who’s The Gerber Dime For?
The Gerber Dime is for anyone who wants to make sure they always have at least some tools with them. It gives you a tool at hand to turn a small screw or get a better grip on something. It isn’t going to give you a tool boxes worth of value but it’s not priced at that level.
EDC enthusiasts and people who already carry a full size multi tool will enjoy adding this to their daily carry.
Gerber Dime accessories and extras
Because of its small size the Gerber Dime doesn’t really have the traditional accessories a larger multi tool would have available. The only real choices available for it are the color and finish options.
Different Colors – The Dime is available in four different colors, purple, red, black, and green. The color is only on one of the handles as the other is always black. The finish options aren’t available on all colors.
The black oxide looks sharp and provides good protection from corrosion, but we always recommend you go stainless. Nicks and scratches that are invisible on stainless steel are extremely evident on black oxide. There have also been reports on some of Gerber’s other black oxide multi tools that the coating flakes off onto hands and pockets during frequent carry and use.
Gerber Dime Vs Comparable tools
The micro multi tool market is rapidly becoming as crowded as the full size one. Here is a basic overview of some of the Dime’s biggest competitors and how we think it shapes up compared to them.
|Top Top||Gerber 31-001134 Dime Micro Tool||Prime||Buy on Amazon|
|Top Top||Gerber Vise Pocket Tool, Black [31-000021]||Prime||Buy on Amazon|
|Top Top||LEATHERMAN, Squirt PS4 Keychain Multitool with Spring-Action Scissors and Aluminum Handles, Built in the USA, Blue||Prime||Buy on Amazon|
|Top Top||LEATHERMAN, Micra Keychain Multitool with Spring-Action Scissors and Grooming Tools, Stainless Steel, Built in the USA, Red||Prime||Buy on Amazon|
|Top Top||LEATHERMAN, Style PS Keychain Multitool with Spring-Action Scissors and Grooming Tools, Built in the USA, Black||Prime||Buy on Amazon|
|Top Top||Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-Tool [31-000750]||Prime||Buy on Amazon|
Dime Vs Vise
The Vise is a redesigned version of Gerber’s older Clutch micro multi tool. It replaces the scissors on the Dime with a second serrated knife blade but otherwise has similar tools. To be honest though, the Vise feels generally cheaper than the Dime. The pliers especially don’t feel sturdy, with numerous user reports of fatal failure.
If you really feel like you need two knife blades on such a small multi tool the Vise provides them. For build quality and overall usefulness though, we say go with the Dime.
Dime Vs Leatherman Squirt PS4
The Dime and the Squirt PS4 have almost identical tool loadouts. The only difference is the PS4’s lack of tweezers and box cutter. They’re almost exactly the same length and weight as well. In build quality though, the Dime just edges out the PS4.
The Dime uses torx bolts in it’s assembly while the PS4 is riveted. Being able to disassemble, clean, and repair your tools is always a good feature in our book. This one is very close, with the biggest determinant being which one you like the appearance of more.
Dime Vs Leatherman Micra
The Leatherman Micra was one of the earliest micro multi tools to hit the market, being released in 1996. It looks just like someone took Leatherman’s Super Tool and shrunk it down. The big difference between the Micra and the Dime is the substitution of scissors for pliers as the main tool. Other than that it has mostly the same tools in the same sizes.
The Micra has been around for a while and is extremely popular. It has a good reputation for quality and maintains it by keeping things simple. The scissors in the Micra work better at this size than the pliers on the Dime do, but many people prefer pliers to scissors even so.
Read our Leatherman Micra review
Dime Vs Leatherman Style PS
The Style PS is Leatherman’s TSA compliant multi tool. It has no blade and a much more basic tool loadout than the Dime, consisting of just pliers, tweezers, a pair of scissors, and a combination file cross driver. It also shares many of the same fail points as the Dime. In our previous review of the Style PS we were very impressed with its overall construction.
The Style PS just feels slightly nicer than the Dime. The metal is smoother and the tools work just a bit better. If you travel frequently or pass into secured areas we recommend you go with the Style PS. This is true even compared to the Dime Travel.
Dime Vs Bear Grylls Compact
The Bear Grylls Compact multi tool is another Gerber offering that falls under their Bear Grylls line of survival gear. It has a set of straight and serrated blades similar to the Vise but packs in four different screwdrivers instead of a bottle opener, box cutter or scissors.
Like the rest of Bear Grylls’ products it’s designed with the wilderness in mind. If you need something to throw in a bug out fanny pack or add to your hiking bag zipper pulls, definitely go with the Bear Grylls Compact. Otherwise, pick up a Dime for general tasks.
Conclusion – Final Thoughts On the Gerber Dime
The Gerber Dime is no one’s choice for best multi tool. It’s too small to be really useful for most tasks and too fragile to be put through serious use. Despite that, we like this little tool. It was never meant to compete with full size tools in either durability or usefulness. It’s small enough to comfortably fit on your keychain and light enough to always be with you.
For what it is, and especially for what you pay for it, it provides one of the better sets of tools on the market.
Agree or disagree with our Gerber Dime review? Let us know in the comments section.
Rating: 4.5 Stars Out of 5.0