Tim Leatherman propounded this concept as he was travelling through Europe. He realized that the Swiss Army Knives lacked the characteristics for heavy-duty work and, thereby, developed a compact and versatile tool that included a great pair of pliers and other things you can expect to find in a standard Swiss Army Knife such as screwdrivers, a can opener, and a knife.
The most significant and most notable difference between a multi-tool and a Swiss Army Knife is the pair of pliers. A few Swiss Army Knives feature pliers; however, they are just handy for small jobs. Also, a multi-tool tends to feel very different: it is relatively bigger; therefore, you could hold it much better or more comfortably.
However, the bigger size of most multi-tools can also be a disadvantage compared to Swiss knives because you often get more tools in a Swiss Army Knife regarding weight.
One of the main downsides to the Swiss Army knife is that just the mechanic models feature pliers. You would probably run into a situation out in the wilderness where you will need pliers. For example, take an aluminium cooking pot or container off the fire or bend a fishing hook.
Having pliers built into a multi-tool is a convenient feature. Also, the blade on most Swiss Army knives are often too small and can’t complete specific jobs where you need a mid-size blade. So if you need high-quality pliers, you certainly need a multi-tool.
On the other hand, if you need a knife, it mainly boils down to your personal preference; however, keep in mind that the knives in both Swiss Army Knives and multi-tools are not as great as quality knives. It is also worth mentioning that people who depend on knives carry both a multi-tool and a knife.