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Tuesday, 07 October 2014 23:14

IDL Tools T10 Review

Written by Lynn LeFey

Lost in a sea of better known competition, the T10 Multitool by IDL Tools is a lesser known, but not lesser quality, contender.

The tool is all stainless steel construction, and held together with peened pins. The tool is 2" (51mm) long, 1 1/8" (29mm) wide, and an incredibly thin 5/16" (including pins. Without them, it's only 1/4" (6.5mm) thick. Weight is 1.7 oz (49g).

Here is the tool folded up.

T10 Multitool by IDL Tools


Here is the tool unfolded in plier configuration

T10 Multitool by IDL Tools

And here is the tool folded with outside folding tools deployed.

T10 Multitool by IDL Tools

Here's the T10 next to the Leatherman Squirt PS4, Leatherman Micra, Victorinox Rambler, and SOG Crosscut for size comparison.

T10 Multitool by IDL Tools

It is shorter, slimmer, and wider than other similar tools. Thickness seems to be the primary dimension felt in pocket carry, so this tool seems to almost disappear in the pocket.

The primary function of the T10 is as a small pair of pliers. The needle nose is less pointed than most small tool offerings. The wide tips might make getting into very small spaces problematic, but the tips meet up with great precision. The teeth of the jaws are well formed, and aggressive. Many other small plier based tools will flex frighteningly under rotational torque, but the pliers of the T10 seem a good deal more sturdy. In fact, they slightly exceed the much larger Leatherman Juice series in this regard. The wire cutters will easily manage 12-gauge solid copper wire. The abilities of the plier head of this tool is more limited by the short tool handles than the plier head itself.

And speaking of the handles, when the tool is open onto plier configuration, the rounded metal of the handles offers a fairly comfortable and ergonomic hold under light and moderate forces. Under heavy force, the ends of the handles can dig uncomfortably into the palm.

The back of the plier head has an opening that allows the tool to be clamped onto a keyring when closed.

T10 Multitool by IDL Tools

This holds the ring fairly securely, but forces the keyring to lie nearly perpendicular to the tool body. This is less than ideal if the intent is pocket carry. While this may be a problem for some, it is also allows the tool to be quickly removed from the keyring.

All of the remaining functions of the tool are accessible while the plier head is folded shut. All of these tools also have locks to prevent folding under force. The locking tabs at the end of the arm can unlock the tools, but I find these tabs to be small and somewhat uncomfortable to use. I prefer simply deploying a second tool far enough to cause the lock to disengage. Tools all have nail nicks for extraction. These nail nicks are close to the pivots and recessed on the center tools on each arm of the tool (the nail file and philips head driver), making them difficult to open without first opening the outermost tools. Spring retention of all tools is strong, adding to the difficulty.

One arm of the tool has tweezers, a combination bottle opener small screwdriver, and a nail file. The tweezers are fairly precise, and function as expected. The small screwdriver is not quite fine enough (in my case) to fit an eyeglass screw, which is the main function of this scale driver, in my opinion. It may still find other functions, and a bit of work with sandpaper could slim it down to fit it's intended role. The nail file has a course and fine side, and functions as expected. It comes to a tip more reminiscent of an awl than a tool for cleaning under nails, and may work as an awl to some degree.

The other arm holds a flathead driver, philips driver, and small blade. The flathead is well formed and a good size for most tasks. It is also be capable of light pry duties. The phillips driver has a long, thin shaft, with a finely formed and fully three dimensional head. This driver works very well on small electronics screws. The thin shaft may make it a bit weak for use on larger tasks. In the case of all of the drivers, the wide body of the tool allows for ample grip to apply torque, and the locks mean a fair amount of force could be applied. The final tool is the plain edge, chisel ground blade. It is up to small tasks but it's size is going to limit its usefulness. It is perfectly adequate for simple day to day cutting chores.

The price on this tool seems to be in line with, or a bit lower than comparable offerings from more major brands. If you don't need scissors on your keychain sized tool, this becomes a real contender.

Final Note: This tool was originally produced as the M4 Sebertool, and there may be branded versions such as Craftsman.

Pros:

  • Excellent pliers
  • Great drivers
  • Locking tools

Cons:

  • Difficult to reach nail nicks
  • Difficult to unlock tool locks
  • Problematic keyring attachment

 

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