November 27, 2012

My Two Cents on the Gerber Dime

I've wanted a Leatherman multitool thingy for many years, but never pulled the trigger on one because my desire to own one had been driven primarily by the "cool factor" more than the "hey, I could really use a multitool on a daily basis" factor. That said, I've recently changed my attitude about multitools and I convinced myself to buy one for the "just in case you need pliers or a screwdriver in an emergency" factor. That fresh outlook ultimately led me to the Gerber Dime keychain sized multitool.

Once I convinced myself that a multitool must be acquired, I did some research and price comparisons. I was browsing the offerings on the Leatherman website and got a little overwhelmed with all of the different models. So I did what I always do: checked out some online multitool reviews. I went straight to the reviews posted on the awesome Everyday Commentary blog, focused on the highest rated products, and was impressed with this stellar review of the Gerber Dime. Once I saw the 20/20 score, I was sold.

I purchased the Dime from the evil empire known as Amazon (free shipping with my Prime status) for less than $17.00 . . . "not bad" I thought. When I received it a few days later, I was surprised at its tiny size. The Dime truly is an EDC keychain-carry item. I was also surprised that the product looked like a pre-owned item. For example, the printed lettering on the scales was scuffed up and shoddy looking out of the box. Not really a deal breaker, but also not a great first impression.

Of course, I immediately started to fiddle with the Dime in an attempt to discover all of its useful features. Scissors: check (easy to deploy, well made, cuts paper). Knife: check (easy to deploy, sharp enough, interesting blade shape). Flat screwdriver: damn, that thing is jammed in there, let me try again; damn, I just chipped off my thumbnail, let me try again; WTF this thing sucks, does anyone have a Leatherman that I can use to open this screwdriver? Package opener tool: ditto (now there are two shards of thumbnail on the table next to the Dime). File: check (somewhat easy to deploy, and it came in handy to tune up my jagged and severed thumbnail).

I Used This! Twice!
The Dime also has something that is advertised as tweezers. Unfortunately, the tweezers are not very useful because they are biased in the closed position. Fortunately, I was able to use the end of the file as a pry bar to tweak and bend the tweezers open. After performing this tweezers mod, I used them to pick up and discard my thumbnail shards. Alas, the mod was only temporary; the tweezers returned to the closed position after I slid them back into their retaining slot. The tweezers in my little Swiss Army Knife are much better, and they work as intended without modification.

The pliers are well-designed, easy to deploy and fold, and have a nice spring action to them. I can't really complain about the pliers, and I'm tempted to keep the Dime simply for this nice feature. Tempted, but not convinced.

The Dime also has an exposed bottle opener and a split ring for a keychain. I didn't use either of them, but I assume that they work fine. Here's a picture of the Dime in all of its glory:

I honestly think that I may have gotten a unit that was made on a Monday or a Friday, because I refuse to believe that every Dime has tools that are virtually impossible to deploy and/or use properly. It's a shame, because this multitool has an impressive set of features, it looks great, and it seems to be solidly built (other than the tweezers).

These pictures will be saved, but the Dime is going back to Amazon. First impressions go a long way with me, and the Dime just doesn't make the cut. I still want to get a multitool to keep in my car, so it looks like I'll be navigating the Leatherman website again real soon.


  1. The classic Leatherman is a good investment.

  2. I just purchased a Gerber Dime, it stands up to all reviews save this one. All tools deploy without a hitch, and it's finish is mine to mar. The tweezers also function as intended. I dare say yours very well may have been made on a Monday hangover, indeed.

  3. If you remove the scales with the torx screws you can bend the tension bar that makes the screwdriver so stiff. I did this, and I can now get it out easily. Worth the time.

  4. Sounds like this was a returned item; possibly damaged by the previous owner or maybe a lemon from the factory. I just got one of these today and the tweezers work just like the ones on all my Vics and Wengers. Amazon or whatever vendor the Dime in this review came from should *not* have sent this out if it had been returned damaged.