Monday, December 28, 2015

Review: FIXR 20-in-1 Multi-Tool

My every day carry hobby encompasses lots of types of items: pocket knives, flashlights, sunglasses, multi-tools, and more. I've always had a soft spot for keychain-sized multi-tools. I also keep a small tool pouch for my small EDC gadgets, so when the manufacturer of the FIXR tool contacted me and asked me if I wanted to review a small multi-tool, I readily accepted. I also noticed that it was available with Amazon even with prime, as well as Rakuten. Doesn't seem to be a hard item to find.

FIXR Multi-Tool - Product Link
FIXR Multi-Tool - Product Link


Product Description


This is a small-ish multi-tool that seems to do a little of everything: Pry bar, metric wrenches, bicycle spoke tool, file, ruler, screwdrivers, and even a wire stripper with a dedicated blade. This is what I would call a gentleman's multi-tool, and even comes with a smart looking sheath.

FIXR Multi-Tool - EDC Tools


Official Specs (From Manufacturer)


Engineered in black titanium coated 422 grade stainless steel with a silver stainless steel disc, rotating on sprung stainless steel ball bearings - The FIXR is flat, light, strong, and infinitely useful.

Clips to anything and is always ready for use, with the most useful array of tools possible within such a small space. The rotating tool plate serves to protect and keep all the tools safe when the FIXR is not in use, or simply twists with a push of your thumb on its sprung bearings to click definitively into set positions to use the driver bits, nail cleaner, extra sockets, razor sharp cutter and wire stripper.

1. Quick Release Clip
2. Bottle Opener
3. Nail Cleaner
4. Large Flat Screwdriver
5. Medium Flat Screwdriver
6. Small Flat Eyeglass Screwdriver
7. Medium Phillips Screwdriver
8. Small Phillips Screwdriver
9. 14mm Spanner/Wrench
10. 12mm Spanner/Wrench
11. 10mm Spanner/Wrench
12. 8mm Spanner/Wrench
13. 6mm Spanner/Wrench
14. Bicycle Spoke Wrench
15. Razor Sharp Cutting Blade
16. Wire Stripper
17. Measuring Ruler
18. Box Opener
19. Pry Bar
20. File

Included in box
The Fixr
Leather pouch
Instructions

Material
Gold titanium coated disc, black
stainless steel body, K5 carbon steel blade

Size
L83 X W25 X D9 mm


FIXR Multi-Tool Clipped To Backpack


Initial Impressions


The FIXR tool looks like a fantastic design. The screwdriver wheel especially interested me, and I wasn't disappointed. It must be on some roller bearings or something, because it it has a superb feel to it.

Looking at the FIXR in the pictures, I pictured some mechanic using this thing with greasy hands. But holding the FIXR in my hand, I could see that it's more like a gentleman's multi-tool; more for around the office than the garage.

FIXR Multi-Tool Product View 1

FIXR Multi-Tool Product View 2

FIXR Multi-Tool Product View 3


FIXR Multi-Tool Product View 4


Build Quality


Good overall. The manufacturer says that it's made from 420 stainless with K5 carbon tool steel for the blade. I've never heard of K5 but it sure sounds like a carbon tool steel. The FIXR is made in China, and every day that goes by, some of these larger factories make better and better tools.

Some of the machining looks a little rough around the edges, but nothing that would affect the functionality. I wish the tool were just a tiny bit thicker to make the tool more rigid, but it's a small gripe.

One of the critical aspects of a Chinese tool is the heat treatment. This is where passable quality steel becomes decent quality steel, and the thing that an overseas factory is most likely to get wrong.

To that end, I picked on the FIXR as much as I could without damaging what I was working on. I specifically tried to "roll" the edge on the screwdriver to get it to fail. I found a screw on my RV to sacrifice just in case, and I was able to put enough force to make a bad heat treatment fail on either, and both held up. The screwdriver wheel is well built!

Fit and Finish


Very good overall. You don't get a fit and finish this good by accident, so I must say bravo to you, sirs, for your attention to detail. The screwdriver wheel has plenty of grease--nice touch. The blade looks well mounted and has a good edge. The material on the file looks to be a well done.

About the best I can nit pick with the finish is some slight tool marks on the spine of the tool--not much.

The "pleather" sheath has an above average fit and finish. Normally the sheath on a budget multi-tool is just an afterthought, but this one looks sharp. The material, sewing and snap all look good. I'm pretty sure the scratch on the snap in the photo was from me.

Carabiner Clip


It's decently done for a budget carabiner. I've never been a huge fan of budget carabiner clips, though I do carry and use a few just for connecting stuff together, like hanging to keep something out of reach of critters or children.

This tool should have omitted the clip and featured a solid piece of steel, like the Pegasus tool it's pictured with. It could've added a separate clip, again, like the Pegasus tool.

Having said that, it's useful having something to clip things to. It just would've been more useful to me as a tool if it had more rigidity since I always carry a couple of carabiners anyway.

FIXR Multi-Tool - EDC Tools 2Screwdriver Wheel


The screwdriver wheel is a very slick design and well executed. It's got a couple philips heads, a flat head and a fingernail cleaner. It says "nails" on it so naturally at first I was trying to figure out how to use that part of the wheel to take off nails.

It would be an even better design if the wheel locked. The wheel tends to slip when I'm putting some force on the screwdriver, which makes it much better as a light duty screwdriver.

FIXR Multi-Tool Screwdriver Wheel


Pry Bar


The FIXR has a pry bar on the front of the tool, and it's well done. However, to put full force on the pry bar means putting full force on the end of the carabiner. Just like the screwdriver wheel, it's good to keep in mind that this is a light duty tool.

There's no shortage of pry bar tools out there made from a solid piece of tool steel, if you really need a tiny, heavy duty pry bar.

Spoke Tool


Did I mention this tool has a clever design? The spoke tool is a nice touch. Currently I'm only riding a stationary bike, but I've been thinking about a mountain bike, so it's a tool I might use someday.

The angle on the spoke tool is pretty good as well. It looks like it will give me all the leverage I would need to adjust a spoke.

Wrenches


I had originally intended to crawl under my truck and find a couple small bolts to try to break loose with this tool, but it's been raining a month straight here in Oregon. So, the hands-on testes never happened, but also notice from the photos that I have similar wrench tools and I know this type of wrench works fine. They aren't the first company to think of this style of wrenches.

Having one end of the wrench tool open with the carabiner clip means it's not as rigid as it should be. In the review of the Navy multi-tool (which itself is an Atwood knockoff) I broke loose a 12 mm bolt on a chair in my garage that was ready to go to the dump.

So, my educated guess is that the wrenches on this tool will be just fine for light duty--maybe to tighten a small bolt on your bicycle or something.

Wire Stripper



This FIXR tool is fairly unique in the fact that it features a carbon steel tool blade as a dedicated wire stripper. Most of the time the blade is obscured by the screwdriver wheel, and there's not much chance of cutting yourself.

In 20 years of knife collecting, I've never been more than nicked by a knife or tool I was handling, and I handle a lot of sharp objects! So, I was a little dismayed that the screwdriver wheel slipped on me and nicked one of my fingers. It's definitely worth noting to remember that this little blade is there inside the tool, and it's sharp.

The stripper itself is pretty much useless for the test I did. The only wire I could easily find that I was willing to sacrifice for the test was a spool of speaker wire. That's a good real world test, too. Maybe the wire is too thick. I don't know what the problem was, but all I could seem to do was damage the wire no matter how I tried to strip it with this tool.

I could have used just the blade to whittle away at the insulation on the wire, though, just like I could do with a small knife. And like the manufacturer's photos show, you can use the blade to cut rope or string.

So, the stripper blade is something I'm leaning towards removing, which is a shame because the blade itself is a decent quality. It should really be on the wheel or something, because it would be a decent utility knife if it wasn't in an awkward location.

FIXR Multi-Tool Wire Stripper


File


The file looks to be good quality. I've used it as a fingernail file and would predict that it would do fine on lots of other materials. Note that you shouldn't press too hard on this type of file, since it gets its abrasiveness from a coating. The coating is fine, but this type of coating can rub off if you press too hard, which is instinct for most people to do.

The coating could be a little thicker, but other than that, it's well done. Files and sharpeners actually work worse if you put too much pressure on them. With a nice steady pressure on whatever your filing, these type of (diamond?) coatings can last a long time.

Ruler


I live in the USA where we still haven't adopted the metric system. Now, when I took chemistry in college, the professor made us memorize every single metric conversion, because science is all done in the metric system.

But this isn't a tool that screams "I am a scientist" so there should be a standard version of the ruler for the system of measurement the Queen forced on us a few hundred years ago. It's not good or bad that we use a different system of measurement. It is what it is. Most people who are likely to see this tool in person would probably want it standard, where practically everyone on earth will say "good" that it's in centimeters.

Sheath


The FIXR tool comes with what I'm guessing is a fake leather sheath with a little snap to hold it in place on the tool. It's well done and gives the tool and almost upscale look, if that's possible with a cheap sheath.

Stitching on the sheath is good, and it's even got the name of the tool stamped onto it. This is one of the few little budget sheaths I've liked.

Usability


Most of the testing I did with this tool went well, with a couple minor exceptions. The screwdrivers work better than I thought they would, other than the fact that there's no screwdriver shaft on the tool, so it only works where there's room to move the whole tool.

The problem is that the screwdriver wheel doesn't lock, and if you put a whole bunch of force on it, the wheel slips. This wouldn't be such a problem, but one time when the wheel slipped, my finger nicked the stripper blade.

Other than that, this is a usable tool. The pry bar, file and spoke tool are especially well done.

FIXR Multi-Tool Wire In Hand 1

FIXR Multi-Tool Wire In Hand 2

FIXR Multi-Tool Wire In Hand 3


Weights & Measures


Not much to see here. The FIXR is lightweight and compact.

FIXR Multi-Tool Wire On Scale

FIXR Multi-Tool Caliper Measurement


Conclusions


I have mixed feelings about this tool. It's a decent tool, and it's earned a spot in my EDC pouch. But it's hard not to see its flashes of brilliance and how the design falls a little bit short. If the gate clip was steel that went all the way around, and if the screwdriver wheel locked, and the blade was positioned better, it could function as a heavy duty tool and be much more useful than it is now.

But it's easy to paint this tool as something it's not. As a light duty, "gentleman's" multi-tool, it definitely serves a need. For my EDC pouch, it will serve as a small pry bar, metric wrenches, as well as a backup file and screwdrivers.

So, while it's not the multi-tool I hoped it would be, it has still earned a spot in my pouch, and that's a pretty good endorsement. Maybe someday a small pry bar tool will knock this one out of the pouch and into the bag of shame, but for now it has earned its place in the pouch. I still might take off that cutter blade, though.

1 comment:

  1. Fixr 20 in 1 multi tool is really helpful for a road biker. I have one, it works like friendly and you can do almost all kinds of work by using it.

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