Screwdrivers are an important part of any multitool. Unfortunately there’s more to screwdrivers than the standard flat head and cross head (Phillips) screwdrivers – there are various sizes of Torx, Hex key, Pozidriv and Square Drive, amongst others.
Many Leatherman multitools now come with a Leatherman-proprietary bit driver (Leatherman calls it the Large Bit Driver) that holds removable screwdriver bits. The bits are double-ended, meaning that each bit has two screwdriver heads. You pull the bit out, flip it 180 degrees and push it back in, to use the other head.
These Leatherman bits are like standard industry hex bits, only flatter. You can actually make one by taking a hex bit and grinding down two opposite sides. The Leatherman bits are more expensive than hex bits, but they are also smaller and lighter, making them more practical for EDC (Every Day Carry).
The Leatherman Wave comes with one bit (total of two heads), the Skeletool comes with 2 bits (total of 4 heads) and has a storage area in the frame for the second bit. Before buying additional bits or drivers, think about how you will store and carry them. Some might fit in together with the multitool, inside the multitool’s carrying pouch.
There are a few different accessory kits. We’ll look at each in detail, including the Removable Bit Driver that enables you to use bit heads on multitools that don’t have a built-in bit driver.
There’s also a Leatherman Small Bit Driver, taking mini bits that about the size of a toothpick. The bits are jeweler’s or “precision” screwdrivers, used with small screws such as those found in eyeglasses and wristwatches.
Leatherman has only one bit for this driver, with a flat head screwdriver on one end and a cross head Phillips screwdriver on the other. Due to its small size the bit is easily broken – don’t use it as a punch or awl, and don’t over-torque it on stuck screws.
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How to Use Jig Saw Blades in the Large Bit Driver
One popular modification to the Large Bit Driver is to drill a small hole through it. This allows you to use Black and Decker jig saw blades in the Large Bit Driver. The hole is used to pin the blade with a piece of wire, to stop the blade from falling out.
Which means that you get similar functionality to the Leatherman Surge’s blade exchanger, which takes Bosch T-shank jig saw blades. The difference is that with the Surge, you can fold the jig saw blade into the multitool. With other multitools, you need to remove the blade after you have finished using the jig saw because it can’t fit inside the multitool.
To drill the hole
- Place a jig saw blade into the Large Bit Holder
- Place an identical jig saw blade on top of the Large Bit holder, aligned with the jig saw blade inside the Large Bit Holder.
- Mark the position of the hole in the blade onto the Large Bit Holder, with a sharp pencil.
- Remove both blades.
- Drill through the pencil mark.
To stop the blade from wobbling inside the Large Bit Driver, wrap duct tape or heat-shrink tubing (less messy than duct tape) over the end of the jig saw.
Leatherman Bit Kit (21 pieces, 42 bit heads)
This is the standard upgrade kit. If you have a Leatherman bit driver, this Bit Kit greatly expands the type of screws that you can handle. There are 20 large bits (total 40 heads) and one small bit (the same flat head and cross head small bit that comes with some Leathermans).
The bits are of the same high quality as those that are shipped with Leatherman’s multitools – medium-hard steel and precise dimensions.
New Bit Kits come with 2 black plastic bit holders, each holding 10 bits. The old Bit Kit is similar except the plastic bit holders are translucent white and more brittle, so avoid the white bit holders if possible.
The bits are various sizes of Square Drive, Torx 6-point (standard Torx), Pozidriv, Hex (metric millimeters and English/Imperial inches), flat head and Phillips cross head. Obviously not all sizes are provided, but the bits should fit most screws that you will encounter.
Missing are Torx 5-point (security) bits as well as a few, more obscure, types of bits. Strangely enough, Leatherman uses Torx 5-point screws to hold many of their multitools together.
The size of each bit head is engraved into the bit, but you need to slide the bit out of the plastic holder to read the engraving.
Leatherman 9 Piece Bit Set / US Replacement Bits (9 pieces, 18 bit heads)
There are 7 large bits for a total of 14 large bit heads, and 2 small jeweler’s bits. However there are two copies of each bit, except one (the 1/8&Prime and Torx), for a total of 4 unique large bits and 8 unique bit heads, with 1 unique small jeweler’s bit and 2 unique small bit heads. The bits are:
- 1x Screwdriver 1/8&Prime and Torx #15
- 2x Phillips #1-2 and Screwdriver 3/16&Prime
- 2x Phillips #1 and #2
- 2x Screwdrivers 1/4&Prime and 3/16&Prime
- 2x Phillips and Flat Tip Eyeglasses Screwdriver
The bits are shipped loose inside a blister packet – there is no plastic holder for the bits. While not as comprehensive as the 21 piece Bit Kit, it does contain the more commonly used bits, making this Bit Set useful for replacing worn-out or lost bits.
Leatherman Bit Driver Extension
The Bit Driver Extension effectively increases the length of the built-in bit driver in your Leatherman Multitool. It has a Leatherman bit driver on one end. The other end slots into the Leatherman bit driver on your multitool. It allows you to reach recessed screws but there are limits – it isn’t as slim as a long shank screwdriver.
A less well-known secondary feature is that the Bit Drive Extension holds standard hex bits as well as Leatherman flat bits. Leatherman’s 40 bit heads in their Bit Kit fit many screws, but not every screw in the world. With the Bit Driver Extension, you can use hex bits that Leatherman doesn’t have.
It is possible to use the Bit Driver Extension and hex bits exclusively, instead of buying Leatherman’s Bit Kit. In other words, only use hex bits and avoid using Leatherman’s flat bits. Hex bits are cheaper, but larger and heavier so this might be a good solution for a toolbox, but not for EDC in your pocket.
Leatherman Removable Bit Driver
The Removable Bit Driver is designed for Leatherman multitools that do not have a built-in bit driver – Super Tool 300, Super Tool 300 EOD, Blast, Core, Fuse, Kick, Juice, Genus, Hybrid, Rebar, Vista.
One end slips over the fixed (non-removable) Leatherman cross head Phillips screwdriver. The other end is a bit driver that accepts Leatherman flat bits, as well as standard hex bits.
The Bit Driver comes with 4 Leatherman flat bits. The Removable Bit Driver and the 4 bits fit into a plastic holder.
Leatherman MUT Bit Kit
The MUT Bit Kit contains only 3 bits – 2 long and one short (for a total of 6 bit heads). The long bits are useful for reaching recessed screws (they are slimmer but shorter than the Leatherman Bit Driver Extension).
The kit is meant for the MUT and MUT EOD multitools. The long bits will fit into the bit drivers of other (non MUT) Leatherman multitools, but are too big to be stored in the multitool.
The bits are:
- Long Phillips #2 and 1/4&Prime Screwdriver
- Long Torx #15 and Hex 7/64&Prime
- Short Phillips #1-2 and 3/16&Prime Screwdriver