Among the crowded and confusing availability on the market of that specific accessory known as the Multitool - an instrument generally based upon a folding set of pliers and an assortment of added accessory tools mechanically organized in a somewhat similar way to a Swiss army knife - there is no doubt that the Powerassist S66 by SOG stands out.
Although not quite recent (it has been featured in the manufacturer's catalog for a few years), we consider the S66 Powerassist to be a milestone product and when we evaluate other Multitools, we personally regard it as a reference. Not because of amazing and hyped qualities or unique characteristics, but for its undeniably excellent overall balance between price, quality, innovation and performance.
From an innovation point of view, the S66 is the first plier based Multi tool to introduce an assisted opening mechanism, with two blades accessible when the tool is folded closed.
Interestingly, the double blade configuration allows for a really ambidextrous operation, since the thumbstud at the base of each blade protrudes from each side of the tool. A right handed user will find easy to open the first blade, featuring a plain, drop point design, while lefties will find easier to open the second blade, featuring a serrated edge design, useful for cutting materials such as rubber (... or bread!).
The blades are very sharp, and especially when we want to use the serrated blade on the left side with one hand using the assisted opening, utmost care must be exerted to avoid injuries.
Both blades are linerlocked, and to unlock the blade a spring loaded side button must be pressed. Incidentally, this button also allows the blade to raise slightly form the completely closed position, so it is easy to complete the full opening of the blade "by hand". A sliding safety allows the user to lock each blade in a closed position.
To use the pliers, or to access all the other tools available, we must first open the Powerassist S66, grabbing both branches of the instrument and turning them around by 160 degrees. The movement is similar to that of a Bali-Song Butterfly knife deployment.
And in fact, it is perfectly possible, with a minimum of practice, to single handedly operate the SOG S66 Powerassist multitool, opening and closing it completely with a simple flick of the wrist using the same technique for a butterfly knife.
The jaws of the pliers are bird beak shaped, very rugged and precision machined.
The jaws include a cutter portion with a hard-wire clipper and the serrated portion of the jaws feature matched, perfectly mirrored teeth – we have not always found the same care and attention to detail in competing products of other brands. To emphasize the professional nature of the Powerassist S66, inside the handles, just below the compound mechanism pivot pins, we can find a blasting cap crimper.
A specific version of the SOG Powerassist is also available, called Powerassist EOD, it replaces three of the folding tools for a C-4 charge punch for blasting cap priming.
A hinged cover protects the folding tools in the right handle, and offers an ergonomic surface on which the user can easily exert strong pressure with the palm of the hand when using the pliers.
The tools include the now classic (and patented) "V Cutter", an accessory for easily cutting vehicle safety belts, webbing or clothing, a can opener with small flat bladed screwdriver, large flat-blade screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver, a bottle opener with medium screwdriver and finally a double sided metal file.
The entire multitool, except for a black polymer separator placed between the two assisted opening blades and housing the mechanism springs and liner locks, is manufactured from high quality 420 stainless steel: cold rolled sheet for the handles, forged and machined steel for the blades, and micro cast finished with CNC machining for the various accessory tools.
In the field, the possibility to flip open the Powerassist S66 with one hand is a major selling point, as well as the option to immediately use one of the blades without having to open the fold-open the tool.
The engineers at SOG’s research and development department designed a perfect example of versatility, simplicity and ergonomics with the Powerassist S66. We feel the Compound Leverage gearing allows this multitool to stay a step ahead of the competition, considering that one of the main drawbacks of most folding pliers is the limited size of their handles that translate to a small lever and therefore a weaker “bite”.
Thin beak jaws, compared to standard flat nose jaws, make much more sense in a multitool pliers, taking into account the mentioned limited leverage available due to the short length of the handles, and at the same time still allow the user to “do the job”.
Professional users will find an excellent tool in the Powerassist S66, thanks to some specific features (such as the blasting cap crimper… which also doubles as an electrical cable crimper) and the suitability of this tool with firearms maintanenace and repair.
Outdoorsman’s, campers and Motorsports fans will appreciate it for its excellent performance and versatility, coupled with reduced size and reasonable weight. If we really must find a drawback, the metal file is not aggressive as we’d like.
The SOG Powerassist S66 includes a decent quality black Cordura pouch with a button latch.