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Monday, 01 May 2023 01:45

SOG PowerGrab

Written by

SOG Specialty tools and knives has been a multitool industry leader for decades. They may not have come up with the original multitool; but they have pushed the limits in temps of design and originality. 2017 was a good year for the company with several tools hitting the market. SOG went with some highly original designs like the Baton and Sync series but stayed true to their heritage with the Power Grab.

The Power Grab is what I could call an evolutionary design of the Power Lock series of tools. The Power Lock has such a following and it's clear why it's one of the companies best selling tools. The Power Grab is a full size multitool that is designed to handle tasks that most of the smaller guys cannot handle. With the Power Grab they went back to the drawing board and size is about all this tool and it's brethren have in common. Let's take a look and see what they got right, sets it apart from the pack and needs work.

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The Power Grab in the closed position comes in at 4.6 inches and has several tools accessible from the closed position. The tool features two one hand opening blades via thumb studs on either side of the handle. For right handed individuals we have a plain edge blade with a 3 inch cutting edge. On the other side we have a fully serrated blade that's good for cutting fibrous materials and stuff that a plain edge has difficulty cutting through. These blades may not be as large as some of competitions but they work well for a tool of this size. Some folks hate on serrated blades but I feel they have their place.

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Between the two blades we have three additional tools. The can opener is standard flair for most of the SOG tool line. I personally prefer the type of can opener Leatherman uses but they use the same style that is familiar on the Swiss Army knives. That style incorporates a mini flat driver on the business end of the can opener. It works decent and will certainly get those cans opened but I don't think it's as effective as the other style.

Next is the phillips screwdriver, no multitool would be complete without the addition of one of these. The driver is setup so it's on a center access within the tool and makes driving screws similar to a standard driver. The shaft of my driver doesn't seem quite straight but I have found it didn't effect any of the tools functionality.

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 Lastly tool we have the 1/4 inch hex driver. The hex driver is something that is about as synonymous with SOG as compound leverage. Having this tool allows you to add an assortment of sockets and use those hex bits with specialty drivers. On previous version of this driver it has worked flawlessly but this one gives me some trouble. The spring that holds the socket on has come off on several occasions when removing the socket. I've tried to bend the spring somewhat to prevent it from happening again but I feel the spring is not robust enough to keep its shape and retention of the sockets.

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All of the tools on the Power Grab are locked in place with a new locking system that has not been featured in their line before. The tools are unlocked by pulling the locking tabs toward the inside of the handle. This is very easy to do and when the locking tab is pulled there little to no resistance to put the tool back in the handle. One design flaw with this locking system; at least on this side of the tool has to do with one hand opening of the blades. When trying to deploy one of the blades, the other three tools try to come out at the same time. This is referred to as clumping, some people love it and some people despise it. It was something that all their tools had until they came out with the Piano lock system. With Piano locks but tools each ride on individual springs. Those springs keep tension and allow only the tool you want to be pulled out. The Power Grab features a similar system to the Piano lock. For some reason though they decided to pin the keys together on this side of the tool. This pinning allows the entire lock system to be disengaged when one of the blades is rotated out and allows all the other tools to come with them. This is a major design oversight and one of the main gripes of the Power Grab. Some of the tools done exhibit as much clumping as I do on my particular model but the problem exists.

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Opening this tool allows you to access the other tools nestled on the inside. The  two large tools ride on the outside and the smaller ones in the middle. On the outside we have the three sided metal file. SOG has a love hate relationship with files and struggles to create a file that their customer base is happy with. The file works decent in a pinch but lacks enough bite or depth in the grooves to move any amount of material.

On the opposite side we have a pair of spring loaded scissors. The scissors that SOG uses rides on a spring similar to a torsion bar on some spring assisted knives. They are attached at the base and ride in a channel on the scissors to facilitate the opening and closing. The scissors don't open and close very wide but are wider than some other tools on the market. I love having a pair of scissors on my tools because not every situation can be handled with just a blade.

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In between those main tools we have two flat drivers and an awl. One driver is good for stubborn wide flat head screws and could probably double as a small pry in a pinch. The other one is more medium duty and doubles as a bottle opener. I hadn't had a bottle to test this on, most beers are twist off these days. Seems no different than those of previous models and should work for it's designed purpose.

Last tool on the inside is the awl or reamer. Every multitool manufactures has it's own design and sometimes it can vary from model to model. This style on the Power Grab is very similar to the one they have been using on the Power Lock models. The awl doesn't feature an eye for sewing but it's very pointed and works good for penetration. This style doesn't work as well as the style that had a sharp edge on the side. Having the  strong angles and no sharp edge makes removing material difficult. Awls like this are more adapted to poking and stabbing than making pilot holes.

When this tool is fully open to it's 7.1 inch side you get a sense of how big this tool feels. There's a lot of medium sized duty tools on the market and that's what most folks carry. This choice is because full size tools add a significant weight to your belt and might make you feel like you need the addition of suspenders. Weighing in at 9.9oz this is quite a boat anchor but the weight is very well balanced and it doesn't feel unwieldy.

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The main business of the Power Grab is the compound leverage pliers. SOG's patented gear system has been a favorite for years and still remains to be a defining feature for the companies lineup. The pliers are able to handle a great deal due to the size and compound leverage makes holding onto items easier and cutting various soft wire a breeze. On the underside of the plier head is a crimper and a 1/4 inch driver for screwdriver bits. The crimper is a much better style than that on some of the older models. The crushing or mashing type we'll call it is better than the blasting cap crimper type they use.

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The driver is a new feature SOG has been using on all of their new tools. The company has been trying to find a way to combat the gears from digging into your hands when using the tools. First it was gear covers and now it's an elongated plier head that now has added functional. The new head has a recess that has a magnet and holds standard 1/4 hex screwdriver bits. Coupled with bit kit this tool can handle an assortment of tasks and help make those trips to the tool box less and less.

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The Power Grab is not a tool without it's faults but still is a welcomed design change from the classic Power Lock design. The one hand opening blades, something we have asked for before makes this tool easier to use and it's overall size allows it to handle most tasks without needing to resort to a dedicated tool. At the writing of this review, SOG appears to have halted manufacturing and sales of the Power Grab. Some of the design issues and poor sales sealed the fate of this tool. It's sad to see something like this be shut down before changes could have been made to correct what issues the tool had.

David Bowen

As Co Founder of Multitool.org David has been a multitool enthusaist since the 90's.  David has always been fascinated with the design inginuity and uselfulness of multitools.

David is always looking forward to what's new in the industry and how the humble multitool continues to evolve as it radically changes and improves the lives of users.

More in this category: « SOG PowerAccess SOG Aegis MT »
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