Footsteps in the Forest

Search
Close this search box.

Fangfo 14-in-1 Multi-Tool

A Hands-On Review

There are a ton of really low-priced multi-tools on the market, but while some are both affordable and functional, others are just flat-out cheap.

Distinguishing the former from the latter can be tricky, so we took a look at one of the most interesting sub-$20 multi-tools on the market — the Fangfo Multi-Tool.

We wanted to figure out whether it was a good option for budget-conscious backpackers, or if it was merely a low-priced piece of junk that’d leave you wish you’d gone a different direction. So, we put it through its paces to find out what was what.

We’ll share our impressions (spoiler alert: we kinda liked it) and tell you everything you need to know below!

Fangfo 14-in-1 Multi-Tool: The Basics

Fangfo isn’t exactly a household name like Leatherman or Gerber, so this multi-tool probably won’t even catch the eye of many backpackers.

We certainly get that. We tend to like established manufacturers ourselves.

Additionally, there are a lot of red (or at least pink) flags about this tool.

For starters, it costs less than 15 bucks. Secondly, neither you, nor I, nor anyone you’ve ever met has heard of Fangfo.

The manufacturer’s name seems like a pharmaceutical company conjured it up, and their product “literature” is rife with misspellings, typos and broken English.

I understand that there’s likely a language barrier, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with overseas manufacturers. For that matter, I’d wager that the copywriter who penned their content speaks better English than I speak any language other than English.

But it’d have cost only a couple of hundred bucks to hire a native English speaking editor to polish that up.

This, as well as all of the other problems with this tool, combine to scream “pile of junk.”

Nevertheless, this multi-tool has more than 3000 positive reviews on Amazon. Hence, our interest in it.

And once you look at it, this multi-tool actually has a number of intriguing features for being so modestly priced.

For starters, it includes 14 tools, which is a very respectable number for a bargain-priced multi-tool. The Leatherman Skeletool — our favorite ultralight camping multi-tool — only boasts seven.

And some of these tools are pretty interesting.

It comes with all of the basics, including pliers, a knife blade, a file, a saw, and so on. But it also features a hook remover and a set of grips on the inside of the plier handles.

For that matter, many of the tools are actually decent. And they all lock into place — something not every budget-friendly multi-tool can say.

The takeaway of all this?

This 15-dollar multi-tool legitimately deserves some consideration from cash-strapped campers.

Fangfo Multi-Tool Specs & Features

The Fangfo is a full-sized multi-tool, which presents benefits and drawbacks. On the down side, it’s heavier than micro multi-tools, like the Gerber Dime. But on the plus side, it features a fairly extensive set of individual tools, which will leave you better prepared on the trail.

We’ll dive into the specific assortment of tools included below, but let’s look at the Fangfo’s basic specs and features first.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 8.1 oz.   
  • Closed Length: 4.3”
  • Open Length: 6.5”
  • Blade Length:     
  • Width: 1.7”
  • Overall Thickness: 1.0”

Important Features:

  • Made from 420 stainless steel
  • Pliers are spring-loaded
  • Tools all lock into place

Fangfo Multi-Tool: Included Tools

Overall, we like the assortment of tools included with the Fangfo, and it makes sense — mostly. There are a few striking omissions, such as the lack of a serrated blade or pair of scissors.

Nevertheless, we feel like the manufacturer accurately characterizes the list of tools included with the product. They include:

  1. Long nose pliers
  2. Round nose pliers
  3. Cutting pliers
  4. Knife
  5. Philips screwdriver
  6. Small slotted screwdriver (*flathead)
  7. Medium slotted screwdriver (*flathead)
  1. Large slotted screwdriver (*flathead)
  2. Serrated knife
  3. Hook remover
  4. Double-sided file
  5. Box Opener
  6. Can opener
  7. Bottle opener

Now, this list of tools may leave you with a few questions.

Are metal grippers really useful? Will you miss having scissors? Will the saw blade work as a poor-man’s serrated knife?

Read on to find out what we thought.

Our Experiences with the Fangfo Multi-Tool

One of the first things you’ll notice when unboxing the Fangfo is that it comes with a carrying case. Now, this isn’t the highest-quality carrying case you’ll ever see, but it does make carrying the tool easier, and most others at this price point fail to include one.

Once you’ve got it in your hand, you’ll notice that the Fangfo feels solid — it’s not super heavy for its size, but it’s beefy.

At this price point, that’s a good sign; you’re not going to get an ultralight multi-tool for this kind of price unless it’s flimsy — true weight-saving measures would inflate the price drastically. But the Fangfo definitely isn’t flimsy.

All of the joints feel pretty tight — bordering on too tight. But they don’t wiggle in ways they’re not supposed to, nor do they close in misaligned fashion as some more expensive multi-tools do.

Some of the rivets are poorly aligned, but that’s not a huge problem. It’s actually the norm for most multi-tools with budget-friendly price tags.

You do have to open the handles to access the individual tools. That’s a pretty big drawback for those who plan on using a multi-tool frequently (think electricians and similar professionals). But backpackers will generally not use a multi-tool this frequently.

So, the poor tool access isn’t as big a deal as it could be in some situations, but it’s definitely a drag.

When you do need to use a driver or knife blade, you’ll be pleased to know that the individual tools all open with a distinct “click” sound and feel sturdy once opened. Best of all, they lock into place, which will help keep your fingers safe during use. For that matter, the lock release buttons are both really easy to use.

The craftsmanship of the individual tools is a bit lacking, but they’ll all get the job done (for a while).

We’d identify the saw, hook remover, awl, and file as being worthy of some praise.

But the blade is pretty bad. The can opener and bottle opener are a bit small, but they work.

We’d worry about the drivers breaking with serious, repeated use, but they’ll work well enough in a fixing-something-on-the-trail context.

But let’s talk about the two glaring omissions: The Fangfo doesn’t come with scissors or a serrated knife.

Some hikers and campers will miss these tools, but others won’t. You’ll just have to think about your specific needs to decide if you really need them or not.

For our money, the saw will take the place of a serrated blade in most cases. It’s not going to slice through tomatoes as delicately as a finely toothed serrated blade would, but it’ll make quick work of small sticks or plastic.

We miss the scissors a bit more. You can use scissors for a variety of things on the trail, from cutting up vinyl patch kits to delicately trimming trout flies to make them look *just* right. You could also use them in myriad first-aid contexts or to make quick work of fresh herbs.

But with all that said, relatively few full-size multi-tools for camping come with scissors — they’re typically more common among micro multi-tools.

The Fangfo Multi-Tool: Pros & Cons

No multi-tool is perfect (this one certainly isn’t), so the important thing is to weigh the various strengths and weaknesses when trying to make a buying decision. We’ll try to help by identifying some of the areas in which we think the Fangfo excels and the ones in which it falls short.

We generally like to start with the positive aspects of gear, but it’s probably more appropriate to flip things around this time. After all, the Fangfo is one of the lowest-priced multi-tools on the market, so it’s obviously going to have some drawbacks.

In our minds, the Fangfo’s most glaring weaknesses are its overall quality and the fact that you must butterfly it open to access the individual tools.

There’s not much you can do about either; you’ll simply have to decide whether they’re dealbreakers for you or not.

We think that this multi-tool is a decent backup option, but we’d hate to rely on it. We could probably learn to live with the lack of easily accessible tools, but we’d need it to be better made all around to really depend on it.

Now, the Fangfo does have some nifty features that make it better than the multi-tools lurking in the Walmart bargain bins.

It seems like a weird thing to list first, but the tool lock release is actually one of the best we’ve ever encountered. It is super easy to release and it doesn’t hurt the fingers like the releases built into some other multi-tools.

It also has some unusual but helpful tools, such as the hook remover. The metal grips are really unusual (we’ve never seen them on another model), and they may prove helpful in some situations.

Throw in an included carrying case and spring-loaded pliers and you can start to see how the Fangfo is better than many others at this price point.

Fangfo Multi-Tool Pros

  • We love that it includes a hook remover
  • Locking tools are always a plus
  • The wire cutters feature a bypass design
  • The pliers are spring-loaded
  • The tool lock is incredibly easy to use
  • The coarse file is actually pretty good
  • It comes with a carrying case

Fangfo Multi-Tool Cons

  • None of the tools exude quality
  • The knife blade isn’t sharp at all
  • The metal grips are strange
  • You have to open it to access the tools
  • The edge of the file is sharp

User Reviews: What Do Others Think of the Fangfo Multi-Tool?

You can probably tell by now that we have a somewhat nuanced opinion about the Fangfo.

It’s not an impressive tool in any way, shape, or form. But it’s crazy cheap, and it comes with a lot of nifty tools that may prove helpful on the trail.

So, while we don’t love it, it would definitely work in some situations. And it’d always be better than nothing.

But as always, we encourage our readers to get multiple perspectives on any would-be purchase. We’ll share some other reviewers’ thoughts below.

Starting with the positive ones, many users echoed our sentiments — particularly regarding the value it provides:

Well made for price would buy another one.

Amazon Reviewer cwm

it’s not as good as tools that cost 4x more or 10x more, but why would you expect that?

Amazon Reviewer Daniel V

The multi-tool is a great size, sturdy in structure, and easy to manipulate. Price point is perfect for what I needed,

Amazon Reviewer Rubens Dalaison

I thought it would be a simple multi function tool. I was happily surprised by some hidden features, like locking blades (good for sharpening stone – blade does not move around), and useful features. Thinking of getting another one to keep in the car.

Amazon Reviewer Bob

If you want a light, thin, easy to handle multitool, you may want to step up to something else. However, this tool, although a little bulky and heavy, will do everything the more expensive multitools can.

Amazon Reviewer Gor

However, on the flip side, plenty of users didn’t like this tool at all:

Feels kinda cheap, not very easy to use. Eh.

Amazon Reviewer Ai

Some were even blunter about it.

This tool is a waste of money and false advertisement. The blades aren’t sharp. The tools aren’t strong what so ever. Using this weak tool could cause injury to the operator. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I would go as far to say stay away from it!

Amazon Reviewer Lazy J.

Good and bad comments aside, there were a few slightly puzzling reviews too. For example, this reviewer actually liked the knife blade:

Love that you can get a decent knife for under 10$.

Amazon Reviewer Mike

That’s pretty weird, as we — and tons of others who tried it — hated this blade. But to each his or her own, right?

Bottom Line: Is the Fangfo Multi-Tool Worth It?

We think the Fangfo makes the most sense for nature lovers who’re looking for a backup multi-tool or one to stick in a glove box or fishing bag. It’s a pretty good solution for these kinds of scenarios.

But if you need a primary multi-tool that’s affordable, we’d recommend going with the BIBURY Multi-Tool or perhaps a keychain-sized multi-tool, such as the Gerber Dime.

We’d say the same thing for anyone who intends to use a multi-tool frequently — opening this thing to access the tools (which probably won’t hold up to repeated use anyway) is going to get real old, real fast.

Best Budget-Friendly Camping Multi-Tool (Runner Up)

***

Now that you’ve read about our experiences with the Fangfo 14-1 Multi-Tool, we’d love to hear about yours! Have you tried it? Would you buy it again? What do you think those weird metal handle strips are for?

Let us know in the comments below!

Footsteps in the Forest is reader-supported. When you purchase products via links on our site, we may receive a small commission.

Related Articles

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Newest Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *