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Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool Review – 2020 [Complete Guide]

gerber center drive review

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When you are banking upon yourself to fix those small issues that arrive, or if you are one of those who truly believe in DIY, this is your holy-grail. No kidding. The Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool is a powerful tool to have in your possession. For all those who are naive or new to the world of multi-tools, Gerber is an American multi-tool. Knife, blade, etc company, which is a legend in the field of multi-tools.

Their products are tough and resistant to corrosion. Their innate strength and multi-functionality have been the reason why it is a life-long partner for most tools man and handymen. This is a brand that is always concerned with breaking boundaries and innovating to produce useful tools for builders, workers, and other people who create with hands.

The Gerber Center Drive multi tool is a powerful tool. We decided to review it and explore its features, build quality, functionality, etc and experience whether they have broken boundaries or not.

Let’s get started with the detailed Gerber Center Drive review:

Introduction to Gerber Center Drive

The Gerber Center-Drive is an American dream of resilience and robustness. It features a small saw, file, knife blade pliers, axis driver, magnetic bits and several other accouterments. It’s constructed with 420 High Carbon Stainless Steel, it’s heavy-duty and at nearly 4.7 inches long closed, it weighs a heavy 9.6 oz. It’s not so light-weight that you carry it around everywhere.

The name Center-Drive is arrived at because of the screwdriver attachment on its side. With one thumb you can slide it open and out it comes in the center of the Gerber center drive, and thus the name. Basically, the geometry of this multi-tool is such that whenever you slide open any of the tools from this multi-tool, you feel it be aligned in the center of it, hence the name.

They pushed the envelope with design. Instead of the traditional (and much common) butterfly design, they have brought out a slide plier design. If you remember or look back to their flagship design of MP600, you will find the similarity with Gerber Center Drive, where the pliers open one-handed and lockout when extended. The ergonomics is the winner here.

Center Drive by Gerber Gear: Tools and Accessories

This 15 tool packed multi-tool isn’t as densely packed as some of the competitors, but it surely shouts quality over quantity mantra with elan! Amongst these 15 tools, there are three major tools that are easily accessible from the outside and lock themselves, giving you a secure and sturdy feel.

To access the other tools, use the one-thumb opening sliding jaws to deliver the immediate response to the spring-loaded pliers, whereby you take control of whatever’s at hand. They pack a punch in using their patented SA-T-LOK system for all internal tools. The easy lock and free system is effortless and seamless.

Needlenose, Regular Pliers and Wire Cutters:

If you are a DIY expert or a handyman, you’d be buffed to know that the Pliers on the Center Drive is an inspired design whereby the snub nose of regular pliers is married with the convenience of a needle nose plier. Thus giving you a grip and sturdiness of regular pliers, all the while being agile enough to get into nooks and corners, therefore being able to amp up the torque on areas that need the effort.

Again, the ergonomic design appeases the tools man in us. It’s quite comfortable to use a thumb to do our bidding and not waste ourselves folding in and out to access a bolt.

At the base of the pliers rest the carbide wire-cutters. These triangular shaped cutters have an added USP of being rotatable or changeable as regular usage might dull it. Thus you have three lives for every set of carbide wire cutters, which are also easily replaceable after their third life. 

With a very small amount of practice, the wire stripper at the bottom of the wire cutter could become your new best friend.

Center-Axis Screw Driver and Holder:

If there is something we agree upon it is this when we say that no competitor has been able to give a longer than normal, nearly full-size driver on the center axis with a standard bit. This has been achieved by creating an off-set design which has been extended to roughly 3.2 inches is powered by its ergonomics of it remaining in the middle of the handle, thereby giving a greater rotation and remaining fastened to the screw head. It’s not just great in theory, but user friendly in practice.

Not only is the driver longer, but Gerber Center Drive also takes a leap by making the bit driver magnetic, this is a boon because it prevents you from losing bits. They made it in a manner that is standard 1/4-inch size.

Important primarily because it makes the bits replaceable. If and when they wear out or break you can replace them and/or customize the bit set to suit your requirements. Even though it comes with 14 bits, you can have two custom chosen bits- one in the holder, and the other in the spare bit holder.

You have to remember though that the body is still a multi-tool, so it’s not as comfortable as a driver alone.

Knives or Knife Blades:

They have kept their word and they have delivered and how. With just a single slide of your thumb, you can access the full-size outboard knife which unpredictably is not just longer, but 30% longer than the competition and is also with reverse thumb support. It uses the same 420H Stainless steel for all of its the 3.25-inch long blade, which is sharp, really sharp.

Not only that, but it also has a small serrated knife which can be used to cut ropes, plastic and other materials. It can be extended from the interior of the handle. It’s not very nicely done, though it is powerful enough to cut through medium strength materials.

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Other Tools: Awl, Pry Bar, Bottle Opener, Lanyard Ring, File, Nail Puller, and Ruler

All these tools are housed within the interior of these multi-tools handles. The bottle opener, nail puller, and pry bar make up one piece. While the bottle opener is standard and functional- in the sense, it opens bottles, the pry-bar is very okayish in comparison to the rest of the product. It’s not strong enough.

While the nail puller here is better than the average which only pulls out staples, this one manages to pull out some nails as well. The Gerber Center driver gets to the bottom of every nail.

Awls- tools that punch holes in leather, wood, and other materials, is again standard triangular fare which most other multi-tool boasts of. The awl is good with other materials and not with leather.

The ruler which though has inch and centimeter marking both on its side is fairly ineffective and useless because of its placement and size.

The file is of two types- fine and coarse. The diamond-type file went missing because it wasn’t the intended use for it. With this, you are safe in deburring- sanding down plastic or wood.

Gerber Center Drive Review

This is not just a tool for amateurs. It is an extremely sound investment for them, but this tool has been most effective for Jobsite workers and handymen. This is in no way replacing the individual tools, but this is an amazingly sturdy and effective multi-tool. The centerline effective bit driver is their biggest flaw. This is a handy tool for those who like getting things done on their own.

Pros

  • This is sturdy
  • Centerline Bit Driver along with the magnetic bit
  • One thumb flicking tools
  • Big Knife Blade
  • Standardized Bits which  help in replacing them
  • All Locking Tools that doesn’t mean your work slips.

Cons

  • The size is a bit too big
  • This is not a light-weight product
  • Ruler and others are pretty useless
  • One-handed open pliers make internal space cramped.
  • The Bulky Carry Sheath is a cumbersome mess

Pouch / Holster / Sheath: Gerber offers a choice for sheath options with the Gerber Center Drive. It has the no sheath, very standard nylon sheath, or the Berry compliant sheath for the defense force.

Because of the weight, it’s not a tool you would carry on your buckle. Also, it is a really large multi-tool to have been reviewed. This occupies bulk space on one’s belt. Gerber Center-Drive review is incomplete without saying that all the sheaths do a pretty decent job.

Bit Kit – The Center-Drive is equipped with two bits standardly, but Gerber Center-Drive is accompanied by an optional 12 piece bit kit. They are the most versatile bits used today. In all of reality, if anyone considers the Center Drive for everyday usage, they will already have a drawer of 1 by 4 in bits.

Warranty: Gerber Center Drive comes with a 25-year warranty on the whole kit. This will cover any and all manufacturing defects in materials or otherwise. Though the damage is not covered under it.

Different Colors: There are stainless steel and black oxide model, both of which work well.

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Comparable Tools Vs Gerber Center Drive

The Center-Drive is a patented design amongst multi-tools, but there are still some serious competitors. The heavy-duty multi-tool market has a lot of similar high-quality tools, here are just a comparison with some we deem best.

Center Drive vs Leatherman Wave+

The Wave+ or the premium Leatherman’s most popular product is an absolutely hit product. This multi-tool packs in nearly 18 different tools in a comparatively smaller and much lighter package. The Wave+ is primarily for and as an EDC tool, which has many a common mix of tools thrown in. In real use, it’s better one of the other critically acclaimed multi-tools being sold on the market today that packs in much more.

Though for the people it targets, Gerber Center Drive defeats the Wave+ by easy miles because of its specialization as compared to the Wave+ would for builders.

Center Drive vs Leatherman Surge

One of the finest multi-tools, the Leatherman Surge is one of the most multi-faceted- multi-tool that is designed to give the most. The Surge packs in twenty-one variety of different tools, which can withstand the worse that one can hit them with. On the flip side, it weighs way more than the Gerber Center-Drive with a weight of 12.5 oz.

The comparison is in all reality a coin toss. The multi-tool brand Surge is a rare product that is designed to be acting akin to a toolbox on the belt. Rough, tough and rugged, it takes a beating. The Center-Drive has equipped with a way effective and powerful screwdriver and a pretty functional and useful nail puller that the multi-tool Surge has missing. Therefore we suggest that you carefully evaluate your usage and then buy it.

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Conclusion

On this Center Drive Gerber review, we tried showing how Gerber Center-Drive is the steam roller in the market. We put it to a variety of tests and its success at most told the take. The Gerber Center-Drive is not a tool designed for aesthetics. It’s a workman’s tool through and through. It only has those tools that are required to work and don’t force fits.

All its tools are well thought, well built and with a purpose. The biggest drawback is the centerline screwdriver which truly is the best innovation on Gerber’s part. Though the carbide wire cutters have a vast room of improvement, they are still functional.

It’s a lumbering product with its weight, but it is also a heavy-duty requirement tool. If you need something solid and dependable, this is the right product for you.