Value multi tools are a large and growing part of the overall multi tool market. The Gerber Suspension is one of the least expensive yet feature packed tools we’ve so far reviewed. Gerber claims that it’s a lightweight yet rugged tool that won’t let you down when it counts. In our Gerber Suspension review we’ll go over the included tools, build quality, hype vs reality, and give you our overall opinion of the Suspension.
- 1 Gerber Suspension Overview
- 2 Gerber Suspension Tools
- 3 Gerber Suspension Review
- 4 Gerber Suspension accessories and extras
- 5 Gerber Suspension Vs Comparable tools
- 6 Conclusion – Final Thoughts On the Gerber Suspension
Gerber Suspension Overview
Gerber has long been a proponent of the slide out multi tool design. Their flagship tool, the MP600, is an example of this. With the Suspension Gerber made moves to enter the traditional butterfly open market with a bang. It was built to be a high-quality yet value priced design to compete with the likes of the Leatherman Wingman or SOG PowerPint.
It’s on the small side for a full size multi tool, coming in at 3.5 in, but is actually quite heavy at 9 oz. Unlike any other butterfly fold tools with straight sides an boxy profiles the Suspension is quite rounded. It also has a cutout design that Gerber claims reduces its overall weight.
Let’s see how Gerber did with the tool’s on the Suspension.
Gerber Suspension Tools
The Gerber Suspension includes 12 different tools built around a pair of spring action pliers. As they usually do, Gerber went with somewhat radical looking designs for most of the tools. The can opener in particular has an odd shape compared to typical swiss army style tools.
One thing we really liked about the Gerber Suspension is that it has all outside access tools. It also incorporates Gerber’s Saf.T.Plus locking mechanism that we found to be quite sturdy and secure overall. If you look at the handles of the Suspension you’ll also notice an illustration of the main tool for that side. We found this to be a useful feature, especially for a one handed open tool.
Pliers and Wire Cutters
The pliers on the Gerber Suspension incorporate an internal spring action mechanism that we found to work quite well. This is a major point of failure for many multi tools but so far it’s held up great to fairly substantial use. The pliers are only available with a needle nose point but they have a good bite and grip pattern.
The wire cutters are your standard non replaceable variety but work fairly well. You definitely shouldn’t try to cut any hard wire with them though.
There are two knife blades on the Gerber Suspension, a straight edge and serrated edge. Both use a modified sheepsfoot blade style but were shorter than we expected at just under 2 in each. One thing we did like about them was the addition of a small tab to allow easy one handed opening.
This is fairly common on dedicated pocket knives but rarely seen on multi tools. It definitely made it easier to open the Suspension’s blades.
There are three different screwdrivers on the Suspension, two flatheads and a cross driver intended for phillips head screws. All of the screwdrivers on the Suspension were longer than we expected them to be. It made it much easier to access screws in tight spaces.
The cross driver is common on value priced multi tools as it’s cheaper to manufacture and saves on space. It doesn’t work nearly as well as a standard phillips head but does allow you to turn screws that aren’t too tight.
The flathead screwdrivers come in small and large size. Both work fairly well but we wouldn’t put them through any serious stress. The only real gripe we had was that the small screwdriver was too large for eyeglasses screws. In general that’s the task we most often need a small screwdriver for.
Scissors and Saw
There are both a pair of scissors and a saw on the Gerber Suspension, but they’re nothing to write home about. The scissors on the Suspension were one of the biggest disappointments to be honest. Gerber is owned by Fiskars and we expected the scissors to be of pretty high quality. They work well, but they’re so small we found them difficult to use for any serious task.
The saw blade suffers from the same problem. At just under 2 inches in length it’s almost impossible to effectively saw through materials larger than ½ to ¾ of an inch in diameter. That seriously limits its usefulness.
Can Opener, Bottle Opener and Lanyard
The can/bottle opener on the Gerber Suspension has a very odd look to it but works well enough. It cuts through cans without complaint and pops off bottle caps, honestly we can’t ask for more.
The last tool on the Suspension is the lanyard hole. We aren’t too keen on multi tool makers listing a glorified keyring as a tool but it’s unfortunately quite common. The one on the Suspension is sturdily attached and does a good job at preventing your tool from falling to the dirt when properly hooked up.
Gerber Suspension Review
The Gerber Suspension is a value tool for the value market. It was designed and built to be a decent quality tool at a very approachable price. There were significant compromises made in both the included tools and handle designs to accommodate this goal. The biggest issue we saw was that many of the tools were smaller and less functional than we would have liked on a full size tool.
We also found the Saf.T.Plus system Gerber included to have significantly more play than we like to see. Overall though, our biggest complaint was the Suspension’s weight. Gerber markets it as a lightweight and low cost tool but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It weighs a full 9 oz for a sub 4 in multi tool. The Leatherman Wingman, a similarly priced value tool, is larger in size and includes more tools yet weighs fully 2 oz less.
That isn’t to say there’s nothing to like about the Suspension. It’s just about impossible to get a name brand multi tool at a lower price. While the included tools aren’t the best they usually get the job done. If you have any issues with the Suspension you can count on Gerber’s warranty to make it right. It’s doubtful you’ll get this support from a generic manufacturer.
The Gerber Suspension isn’t a top of the line tool but then it was never intended to be. Gerber put a lot of effort into making a full size multi tool anyone could afford. Instead of going for great they achieved good enough. All in all, the Gerber Suspension gives you a lot of value for your money.
Gerber Suspension Pros – Things We Liked
- Pretty good pliers
- All outside access and locking tools
- Easy one handed opening knife blades
Gerber Suspension Cons – Things We Didn’t Like
- Small main tools
- Heavy for its size
- Thick and bulky
- Low quality belt sheath
Who’s The Gerber Suspension For?
The Gerber Suspension was built to be accessible to everyone. It combines reasonable quality tools in a small package at a price anyone can afford. If you’ve been thinking about beginning the EDC journey the Gerber Suspension isn’t a bad place to start at all.
It gives you a basic set of tools from a good manufacturer at a price you’d expect to pay for a no name junk tool. Not a bad deal at all.
Gerber Suspension accessories and extras
As a value priced multi tool there are understandably fewer add-ons available for the Gerber Suspension. We’ve done our best to list out those you can get below.
Sheath / Holster / Pouch – The Suspension includes a black ballistic nylon belt sheath with every purchase. Unfortunately, you might as well go ahead and throw it away as soon as you open the package. There have been numerous reports of the sheaths being flimsy, poorly constructed, and basically falling apart with just regular use.
The velcro seems to be the first thing to give out, but many users report losing their entire multi tool when the sheath caught on something and was ripped from their belt.
Replacement Parts – One good thing about buying a Gerber product is their excellent warranty. All Gerber products sold in North America come with a limited lifetime warranty. If at any time your product breaks due to poor craftsmanship or material failure you can send it back for repair or replacement. Gerber is very good about standing by their warranty.
Gerber Suspension Vs Comparable tools
Now that you know more about the Suspension you’re probably wondering how it stacks up against similar tools. We’ve put together a list of the most closely related tools we could find to round out this Gerber Suspension review and give you that comparison.
Suspension Vs Leatherman Wingman
The Wingman is Leatherman’s own flagship value priced tool. It packs 14 tools into a 3.8 in package and is similarly priced to the Gerber Suspension. The first thing we noticed is that despite being a larger tool than the Suspension the Wingman is actually 2 oz lighter. The knife blade and scissors are also both longer and more functional than those on the Suspension. The Wingman doesn’t include a saw but overall the tools it does have were better quality than those on the Suspension.
We also found the Leatherman Wingman to be better made. The handles, pliers, and tools themselves felt sturdier on the whole. If you really want the all outside access tools the Suspension is your multi tool, but we found the Leatherman Wingman to be the better choice.
For more information about the Leatherman Wingman, check out our full review here.
Suspension Vs Leatherman Sidekick
The Leatherman Sidekick is another value priced tool built on the same platform as the Leatherman Wingman. The only differences between the two are that the Sidekick has a saw instead of scissors and a serrated knife blade instead of a box cutter. Every other point we made concerning the Wingman applies to the Sidekick as well.
Overall the Leatherman Sidekick is a better multi tool at a very similar price. The Suspension just feels more cheaply made than either the Wingman or the Sidekick.
Read our full Leatherman Sidekick multi-tool review.
Suspension Vs Leatherman Wave+
The Leatherman Wave+ is the company’s current flagship multi tool. It’s a big, well designed tool with all the bells and whistles. It incorporates the latest advances in multi tool technology and is beautifully manufactured. It’s also anywhere from three to four times as expensive as the Gerber Suspension depending on the available pricing.
If you want one of the best multi tools on the market, go for the Leatherman Wave+. If you want a multi tool that won’t break your budget, the Gerber Suspension could be the tool for you.
For more information about the Leatherman Wave+, check out our full review here.
Suspension Vs Leatherman Skeletool
The Leatherman Skeletool is an extremely popular pocket multi tool that pushes the limits of how stripped down a multi tool can get. It only has seven included tools but actually matches a lot of the Suspension’s functionality. It includes an exchangeable bit driver, allowing it to turn phillips and flat head screws of just about any size. It’s also just over half the weight of the Suspension, making it much easier to carry on a regular basis.
The Skeletool is popular for a reason, it’s lightweight, well made, and designed to provide you with the tools you need anywhere you go. This one comes down to how you see yourself using your multi tool. The Gerber Suspension has several more functions than the Skeletool does, including scissors, a can opener, and a saw. It’s also usually about half the price of a Leatherman Skeletool.
If you prefer the stripped down elegance of pocket tools go for the Skeletool, if you want the functionality of a full size multi tool at a keychain multi tool price, we recommend the Suspension.
Suspension Vs Dime
The Gerber Dime is a popular keychain multi tool that packs 12 tools into just 2.8 inches. It has many of the same tools that are included with the Gerber Suspension, just in a shrunken down form. There are compromises to the convenience of its size. None of the tools on the Dime work as well as those on a full size multi tool. The knife blade in particular is much too small for serious work.
That’s not to say it isn’t a good tool. All keychain multi tools share the same design compromises that allow them to weight just over 2 oz. If you like the go anywhere portability of the Dime it’s not a bad choice. If you want a full size multi tool for a very similar price, go with the Gerber Suspension.
For more information about the Gerber Dime, check out our full review here.
Suspension Vs SOG PowerAccess
The SOG PowerAccess is the middle tier tool in SOG’s power line. It includes 18 different tools in a 4.1 in 5.9 oz package. Right away you can see the difference between it and the Suspension. Not only is it a larger multi tool with more included functions, but it weighs less than ⅔ the weight of the Suspension. It has a magnetic hex bit driver, SOG’s compound leverage plier system, and several more features not found on the Suspension. At the same time it’s not significantly more expensive.
This one’s pretty easy to call. The PowerAccess has more included tools of higher quality, yet is significantly lighter than the Suspension. The Sog PowerAccess beats out the Gerber Suspension handily.
Conclusion – Final Thoughts On the Gerber Suspension
The Gerber Suspension was purpose built as an affordable and functional multi tool. It lacks the high end features and craftsmanship of many more expensive tools, but it gets the job done. It’s compact, includes a good selection of functional tools, and does what it’s advertised to do.
It isn’t the best multi tool on the market by a long shot, but it is one of the best value multi tools out there. The best thing we can say about the Gerber Suspension is that it’s good enough, and that’s all it needs to be.