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All About Leatherman Multitools

leatherman-multitoolsOver the years, Leatherman has continuously filled out and improved their line of multitools. They now have a multitool for any budget and job, with prices ranging from $25 to $200. The problem is figuring out the right one for yourself, or for a family member or friend if you are purchasing one as a gift.

We’ll only look at the larger multitools in this article. Smaller multitools like the Juice and Squirt will not be considered.

Multitool Weight and Price

A multitool should be light enough for you to carry every day (EDC – Every Day Carry). A super-duper multitool with a hundred functions is useless if you leave it at home because it is too heavy. However a large multitool does have a place in your toolbox or car glove compartment.

One question you’ll need to answer is – Is the multitool for personal carry or toolbox use? You’ll probably want to get more than one multitool, optimized for each application.

For a gift, you can’t be sure how much weight the recipient can tolerate so err on the side of choosing a lighter multitool.

For personal carry you also need to decide between carrying the multitool in your pocket and carrying it on a sheath on your belt. For pocket carry, you’ll want a smaller multitool (a pocket clip is also handy to keep the multitool in place). For belt carry, you can comfortably carry a larger multitool.

The lighter multitools are usually cheaper, since they contain fewer tools. Cheap is good because you are more likely to use and abuse a cheap multitool – you don’t want a multitool that is so expensive that you don’t dare use it.

A cheap (but good) multitool like the Leatherman Sidekick, can be loaned out to friends with less fear of damage because they are easily replaced at low cost. You can also afford to buy a few and toss them into bug-out-bags, first-aid kits, vehicle glove compartments and tool boxes.

Tool Selection

The basic tools for a multitool are pliers, blade, and screwdrivers (flat head and Phillips cross head). These tools will cover most uses. So if you’re looking for a lightweight, bare basics multitool, keep your eye out for these.

Don’t just look at the number of tools on the Leatherman. Make sure that the tools are the ones that you need.

The problem with all multitools (including other brands such as Swiss Army Knife, Gerber and SOG) is that you often can’t find the exact combination of tools that you want on one multitool. For example you might want the hammer on the Leatherman MUT, the diamond file on the Wave, and the oxygen tank wrench on the OHT. Obviously you’re going to need to prioritize and compromise.

Leatherman Large Bit Driver

leatherman-large-bit-driverSome Leathermans come with a Large Bit Driver that accepts Leatherman’s proprietary screwdriver bits. These are the same size as standard hex bits, only flatter. You can actually make your own by grinding flat a standard hex bit.

(There’s also a Small Bit Driver which accepts small bits the size of toothpicks. There’s only one type of bit – a jeweler’s or precision screwdriver for eyeglasses and watches. There’s a flat head screwdriver on one end of the bit and a Phillips cross head on the other).

If you work with machinery or otherwise expect to encounter a lot of different types of screws (Torx, hex key, Posidriv), get a Leatherman with a Large Bit Driver. Not only will you be able to swap out different bit heads (the Leatherman Bit Kit has 20 large bits, for a total of 40 different bit heads), you can also replace worn-out bits.

The disadvantage of the Large Bit Driver is that it is possible for the bits to fall out and get lost. Usually not when the multitool is closed, but when you are changing bits in the field, or when you lend your multitool to a friend.

Another disadvantage is that the bits are shorter than Leatherman’s fixed screwdrivers.

If you do have a Leatherman without a Large Bit Driver, all is not lost. You can get the Leatherman Removable Bit Driver. One end slips over the fixed cross head Phillips screwdriver (found on many but not all Leathermans without a Large Bit Driver), and the other end is a Large Bit Driver. Unfortunately you can’t stow the Removable Bit Driver on your multitool. You’ll have to keep it in a pouch.

Leatherman Pliers

leatherman-pliers The main reason to get a Leatherman and not something else like a Swiss Army Knife, is the full-sized pliers. Most Leatherman pliers are roughly the same but there are some difference.

One difference is size. The Surge’s pliers are larger than the Wave’s, which makes it able to take on tougher tasks without breaking. The jaws open wider,allowing them to hold on to larger bolt heads. The handles are also longer, giving more leverage.

Pliers on newer Leathermans – such as the OHT, Sidekick and Wingman – have spring-action pliers (the spring is hidden inside the pliers head). The spring pushes the pliers open when you release your grip on the handles, making them easier to use. However the spring-action does make it harder to use the pliers as a third hand or simple vice to hold something (for example a piece of wire when soldering).

Leathermans designed for heavy-duty use, such as the Surge, Super Tool, MUT and OHT; have replaceable wire cutters inside the pliers head. This means that you can replace them when they are worn out from use.

The wire cutters on the Sidekick and Wingman are anvil cutters – they don’t overlap like scissors blades – they are aligned with each other like nail clippers. There’s usually a gap between the blades even when closed so you don’t get a clean cut through the whole wire. The advantage is that if you try to cut thick wire, the blades are less likely to twist and deform compared to the standard Leatherman overlapping (bypass) wire cutters.

Leatherman counts 4 tools on most of their pliers (except with smaller pliers such as the ones on the Style PS, also note that some pliers do not have a hard-wire cutter):

  • Needle nosed pliers
  • Standard pliers further down the head
  • Soft wire cutter
  • Hard-wire cutter

Leatherman Blades

leatherman-bladesThe blade is an important part of a multitool, allowing a multitool to replace a pocketknife, at least for light work. A multitool is a general-purpose compromise and the blade is no exception. The main problem with Leathermans is that the multitool forms the handle of the blade, and isn’t very ergonomic.

There’s actually significant danger of your hand slipping and ramping up onto the blade, causing the blade to cut your fingers. To avoid this, attach a lanyard to the multitool and wrap it around your hand. This works for the newer Leathermans which have the knife on the outside, such as the Wave and Surge. It doesn’t work as well with the older designs such as the Rebar and Super Tool because the lanyard hole is on the same side as the knife hinge.

If you do a lot of heavy-duty cutting, you’ll want to carry a dedicated pocketknife.

Most Leatherman blades blades are about 3 inches long, plus or minus a few tenths of an inch. A few Leathermans do have significantly shorter blades. You should check your local laws for limitations on the blade length that you are allowed to carry. If the blade is longer than the legal limit, one option is to break or grind off the tip.

The standard steel for Leatherman blades is 420HC. It’s not a “super steel” but is used by other knife manufacturers such as Buck, so it should be good enough for general use.

154CM, a higher quality steel, is used on some premium Leatherman models. Leatherman claims that it holds its edge 3 times as long as 420HC. S30V, an even higher quality steel (holds its edge 6 time as long as 420HC) and which definitely qualifies as a super steel, is available on even fewer models.

Most of the blades lock in the open position (the smaller blades such as the one on the Style CS, don’t lock), which increases safety as it reduces the chances of the blade accidentally closing on your fingers. This doesn’t mean that you can abuse the knife. The lock can break, so take care to not over-stress it.

Most of the newer Leathermans have one-handed opening blades – you can open the blade using only one hand. This means that the blade is located on the outside of the multitool – you don’t have to open up the pliers to deploy the blade. The blade also has a thumb hole so that you can flick the blade open with your thumb.

Smaller multitools such as the Style CS have a nail nick on the blade, making one-handed opening impossible. Older designs such as the Rebar and Super Tool have the blade inside the multitool, so you need to open the pliers before deploying the blade.

The blades are either plain-edged, partially-serrated (combination plain and serrated – Leatherman calls this a combo blade), or fully-serrated. Most blades are either plain or partially- serrated. Only Leathermans with two blades, such as the Wave, have a fully-serrated blade (the other blade is plain-edged).

Plain-edged blades are easier to sharpen. Serrated blades stay sharp longer and are good for slicing fibers such as rope, seatbelts and clothing (for EMT or first aid use). If you’re not sure which type you prefer, don’t worry. Either type will work well.

TSA Compliant Multitools

Leatherman claims that the Style PS is “TSA compliant.” It has a pair of pliers, a pair of small scissors, a nail file, but no blade. This is good for people who travel light and don’t have any checked luggage, only carry-on.

While they might be theoretically approved for carrying on board aircraft, you still run the risk of an over-zealous TSA agent confiscating them. Carry one onboard an aircraft, at you own risk.

You could theoretically convert any Leatherman to be TSA-compliant by breaking off the blade, saw and other sharp tools (not a totally crazy idea if you fly frequently); but again, there is no guarantee. You might want to try it out with a cheaper Leatherman such as the Sidekick or Wingman.

Leatherman Multitools

We now look at specific Leatherman multitool models, starting from the cheapest and moving up to the most expensive. This also means that we will be roughly going from the lightest to the heaviest.

Some Leathermans come in a Black Oxide version. The Black Oxide is designed for military (“tactical”) use, covering the shiny stainless steel of the multitool. This is to avoid reflections that could betray your position to the enemy. The Black Oxide can wear off, so you’ll need to touch it up with black paint.

Style® CS

The Style CS shares the curved skeletonized look of the Skeletool but is much smaller. It’s closer in size and function to the Leatherman Squirt series than a Skeletool.

It has a pair of scissors at the top of the tool instead of pliers. It does have a small 1.6 inch blade (non-locking) and a screwdriver, making it a passable multitool for those looking for something small and light. The small blade makes it suitable for office or other public use, where a larger blade might draw unnecessary attention.

With its tweezers and nail file, it will appeal to those who like the smaller Swiss Army Knives. In other words, people who want a lady’s or gentleman’s personal grooming or office (paperwork) tool, more than a DIY or survival tool. (Similar to most Swiss Army Knives, the small blade has a nail nick instead of a thumb hole for opening, and is held open by a spring instead of a lock.) You can also think of it as a keychain tool to supplement your main multitool.

Weight: 1.4 ounces, 41.1 grams
Closed length: 2.9 inches, 7.5 cm
Tools: 6
Blade length: 1.6 inches, 4.06 cm

Tools:

  • 420HC Knife
  • Spring-action Scissors
  • Flat/Phillips Screwdriver
  • Tweezers
  • Nail File
  • Carabiner/Bottle Opener

Style® PS

The Style PS is similar to the Style CS, with the scissors head replaced by a more conventional pliers head at the top of the tool, making it more of a DIY tool compared to the CS. However Leatherman only counts one wire cutter in the pliers. There is no “hard-wire cutter.”

There is a smaller pair of scissors inside the tool, which replaces the blade on the CS (there have been user reviews that claim that the spring in the scissors breaks easily).

The pliers pushes the tool count up to 8 from the Style CS’s 6 because Leatherman counts the pliers as 3 tools (needle nose pliers, regular pliers, wire cutter).

The lack of a blade makes it unsuitable for survival use but does make it TSA-compliant, according to Leatherman. However you’ll need to trust the competency of TSA staff to recognize this.

Weight: 1.58 ounces, 44.7 grams
Closed length: 2.9 inches, 7.5 cm
Tools: 8
Blade length: none

Tools:

  • Spring-action Needlenose Pliers
  • Spring-action Regular Pliers
  • Spring-action Wire Cutters
  • Spring-action Scissors
  • Flat/Phillips Screwdriver
  • Tweezers
  • Nail File
  • Carabiner/Bottle Opener

Wingman®

The Wingman is Leatherman’s cheapest general-purpose multitool. It’s a cheaper, smaller version of the Wave and has few of the limitations of the Style series. If you’re looking for a budget multitool, this (or the similar Sidekick) is it.

It has all the basics – a medium-sized partially-serrated knife, pliers, flat head and Phillips cross-head screwdrivers. Notable omissions are a Large Bit Driver and hard-wire cutters (which means that like the Style PS, you won’t want to risk cutting steel wire with it but copper wire should be fine).

One unusual tool is the Package Opener which is a sharp hook that allows you to open plastic blister packs with less risk of cutting yourself or the contents of the package, compared to using a full-sized blade.

Weight: 7 ounces, 198.4 grams
Closed length: 3.8 inches, 9.7 cm
Tools: 14
Blade length: 2.6 inches, 6.6 cm

Tools:

  • Spring-action Needlenose Pliers
  • Spring-action Regular Pliers
  • Spring-action Wire Cutters
  • Wire Stripper
  • 420HC Combo Knife
  • Spring-action Scissors
  • Package Opener
  • Ruler
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wood/Metal File
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Medium Screwdriver
  • Small Screwdriver

Freestyle®

The Freestyle is a stripped-down Skeletool, consisting of pliers and a partially-serrated blade. There are no screwdrivers and not even a carabiner or bottle opener.

Unlike the Sidekick and Wingman, it does have hard-wire cutters. However the lack of screwdrivers greatly limits its usefulness as a multitool.

Weight: 4.5 ounces, 127.57 grams
Closed length: 3.45 inches, 8.76 cm
Tools: 5
Blade length: 2.6 inches, 6.60 cm

Tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Hard-wire Cutters
  • Wire Cutters
  • 420HC Combo Knife

Sidekick®

The Sidekick is similar to the Wingman. The difference is that the Sidekick has a wood saw and a mini serrated knife. While the Wingman has scissors and a package opener.

The main blade is also different. The Sidekick has a plain-edged blade, the Wingman has a partially-serrated blade.

Weight: 7 ounces, 198.4 grams
Closed length: 3.8 inches, 9.7 cm
Tools: 14
Blade length: 2.6 inches, 6.6 cm

Tools:

  • Spring-action Needlenose Pliers
  • Spring-action Regular Pliers
  • Spring-action Wire Cutters
  • Wire Stripper
  • 420HC Knife
  • 420HC Mini Serrated Knife
  • Saw
  • Ruler
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wood/Metal File
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Medium Screwdriver
  • Small Screwdriver

Rebar®

The Rebar is an old-style Leatherman that lacks the one-handed opening blade and Large Bit Driver of newer Leathermans. It’s mechanically simple, with just a plain U-shaped trough to hold the tools. It looks like the original Leatherman PST but the tools do lock into place, which is way better than the PST. Compared to the PST, the edges of the trough are folded in to give a more comfortable grip for the pliers (the PST was notorious for cutting into your hand when you squeezed the pliers).

Despite its simple design, it is meant for heavy-duty use – with replaceable wire cutters (which the Wave lacks), and 2 large 2.9 inch blades (one plain-edged, the other serrated). You can think of it as a budget, old-fashioned Wave. Cheaper and less ergonomic, but just as capable. Another way of looking at it is, as a smaller Super Tool 300.

Weight: 6.7 ounces, 189.94 grams
Closed length: 4 inches, 10.16 cm
Tools: 17
Blade length: 2.9 inches, 7.36 cm

Tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • 154CM Replaceable Wire Cutters
  • 154CM Replaceable Hard-wire Cutters
  • Electrical Crimper
  • Wire Stripper
  • 420HC Knife
  • 420HC Serrated Knife
  • Saw
  • Awl with Thread Loop
  • Ruler
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wood/Metal File
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Large Screwdriver
  • Small Screwdriver

Skeletool®

The Skeletool is a bare-basics multitool with pliers, 2.6 inch partially-serrated knife and Large Bit Driver (there’s also carabiner and bottle opener). It’s main attraction is its cool skeletonized design.

The handles are more rounded than the Wave’s, so using the blade is almost as comfortable as using a dedicated pocket knife. If you use the knife a lot, the Skeletool is a good choice.

In terms of the number of tools, you get more bang for your buck with a Sidekick or Wingman. But in terms of looks, you can’t beat the Skeletool. The look was so popular that it was copied in the Style CS, Style PS and Freestyle.

Despite its stripped down functionality, it does have one advantage over the Wave. There is space for 2 screwdriver bits in the Skeletool, whereas the Wave can only store one. There is space in the Skeletools’ frame for a second bit, but it has been known to fall out and get lost.

Weight: 5 ounces, 142 grams
Closed length: 4 inches, 10 cm
Tools: 7
Blade length: 2.6 inches, 6.60 cm

Tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Hard-wire Cutters
  • Wire Cutters
  • 420HC Combo Knife
  • Carabiner/Bottle Opener
  • Large Bit Driver

Skeletool® SX

The Skeletool SX is the same as a plain Skeletool but with a diamond-coated file on the outside frame. It was designed for snowboarders, in partnership with Signal Snowboards®.

Weight: 5.0 ounces, 142 grams
Closed length: 4 inches, 10 cm
Tools: 8
Blade length: 2.6 inches, 6.60 cm

Tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Hard-wire Cutters
  • Wire Cutters
  • 420HC Combo Knife
  • Carabiner/Bottle Opener
  • Diamond-coated File
  • Large Bit Driver

Super Tool® 300

Similar to how the Rebar can be considered a cheaper old-fashioned Wave, the Super Tool 300 can be considered a cheaper old-fashioned Surge or an upsized Rebar. Its simple design makes it cheaper than the Wave, yet heavier-duty, with larger pliers and blades.

Like the Rebar, the wire cutters are replaceable. What you give up is a one-handed opening blade and a Large Bit Driver.

Weight: 9.6 ounces, 272.15 grams
Closed length: 4.5 inches
Tools: 19
Blade length: 3.2 inches

Tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • 154CM Replaceable Wire Cutters
  • 154CM Replaceable Hard-wire Cutters
  • Stranded-wire Cutters
  • Electrical Crimper
  • Wire Stripper
  • 420HC Knife
  • 420HC Serrated Knife
  • Saw
  • Awl with Thread Loop
  • Ruler
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wood/Metal File
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Large Screwdriver
  • Medium Screwdriver
  • Small Screwdriver

OHT®

The One Hand Tool is the opposite of the Rebar and Super Tool – the pliers and knives can be opened single-handed. To deploy, the pliers head is pushed out from the handles like a tortoise’s head, instead of like on conventional Leathermans where the handles having to turn 180 degrees like a butterfly knife.

The trade-off is that despite being longer (when closed) and heavier than the Wave, the blades are shorter.

Conventional Leathermans can deploy the pliers using one hand – you hold one handle and brace the end of the other handle on your body to open the pliers. But Leatherman doesn’t consider this one-handed opening. The OHT pliers do deploy more quickly, so it isn’t all hype.

Aside from the blades, the wood saw, strap cutter and oxygen tank wrench can also be deployed with one hand.

The smaller tools have nail nicks instead of thumb holes and need both hands to deploy. Unusual tools include a strap cutter (can also be used as a gut hook/skinner) and an oxygen tank wrench (mainly for firefighters and paramedics).

Weight: 9.9 ounces, 280.6 grams
Closed length: 4.5 inches, 11.5 cm
Tools: 16
Blade length: 2.37 inches, 6 cm

Tools:

  • Spring-action Needlenose Pliers
  • Spring-action Regular Pliers
  • Spring-action 154CM Replaceable Hard-wire Cutters
  • Spring-action 154CM Replaceable Wire Cutters
  • 420HC Knife
  • 420HC Serrated Knife
  • Saw
  • Strap Cutter
  • #8-32 Cleaning Rod/Brush Adapter
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Oxygen Tank Wrench
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Large Screwdriver
  • Medium Screwdriver
  • Small Screwdriver

Wave®

The Wave caused a stir when it was launched. Its sleek looks, one-handed opening blades, locking tools, Large Bit Driver, Torx screw pivots, and rounded pliers handles were a huge leap in the evolution of multitools. Earlier Leathermans such as the PST (and even today’s Rebar and Super Tool) look crude in comparison.

The design was so successful that its DNA lives on in the Wingman, Sidekick, Surge and MUT.

(On a personal note, it was the Wave that made me switch from Swiss Army Knives to Leathermans. I thought the PST was primitive compared to a Swiss Army Knife, and that the pliers didn’t make up for that.)

The current model is actually the “New Wave,” the second version of the Wave. The New Wave came out in 2004, so the New Wave is now often simply called the Wave.

Leatherman says that the Wave is their most popular multitool and it is easy to see why.

It is 2/3 the weight of the Surge and is almost as capable. Its 8.5 ounces is about the maximum for comfortable pocket carry. Unlike the Skeletool, maximum use is made of the available space and it is packed full of tools. It doesn’t have all the possible Leatherman tools (no Leatherman does), but it has a good set.

The Wave isn’t perfect. It does lack replaceable wire cutters and having two full sized blades is redundant – the serrated blade could be replaced with a larger pair of scissors like in the Surge. But if you are new to multitools and can’t decide which model to get, and can tolerate the weight, you can’t go wrong with the Wave (or its smaller siblings the Sidekick and Wingman).

Weight: 8.5 ounces, 241 grams
Closed length: 4 inches, 10 cm
Tools: 17
Blade length: 2.9 inches

Tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Hard-wire Cutters
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wire Stripper
  • 420HC Knife
  • 420HC Serrated Knife
  • Saw
  • Spring-action Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wood/Metal File
  • Diamond-coated File
  • Large Bit Driver
  • Small Bit Driver
  • Medium Screwdriver

Skeletool® CX

Compared to the Skeletool, the Skeletool CX has

  • Higher grade steel (154CM) for the blade
  • Non-serrated (plain-edged) blade (the Skeletool’s is partially serrated)
  • Carbon-fibre inserts for the handle, but the weight of the Skeletool CX is the same as the Skeletool

You’re basically paying more for a blade with better steel.

Weight: 5 ounces, 142 grams
Closed length: 4 inches, 10 cm
Tools: 7
Blade length: 2.6 inches, 6.60 cm

Tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Hard-wire Cutters
  • Wire Cutters
  • 154CM Knife
  • Carabiner/Bottle Opener
  • Large Bit Driver

Super Tool® 300 EOD

EOD stands for Explosive Ordnance Disposal, which is what the army calls bomb disposal. The Super Tool 300 EOD really is designed for EOD work and comes with a black oxide coating to reduce reflections from sunlight (which could betray your position to your enemy).

Unusually for a Leatherman, the EOD has needlenose pliers but no regular pliers. Instead, it has a blasting cap crimper. Even the wire cutters have been replaced with fuse-wire cutters.

Like the Surge, the EOD has a Bosch standard T-shank jig saw holder for a metal saw.

The differences between the regular Super Tool 300 and the EOD are listed below (tools that are the same are not listed):

Super Tool

  • Regular Pliers
  • 154CM Replaceable Wire Cutters
  • 154CM Replaceable Hard-wire Cutters
  • Stranded-wire Cutters
  • 420HC Knife
  • 420HC Serrated Knife
  • Wood/Metal File

Super Tool 300 EOD

  • Stranded-wire Cutters
  • 154CM Replaceable Fuse-wire Cutters
  • Military Performance Spec Cap Crimper
  • 420HC Combo Knife
  • Replaceable T-shank Metal Saw
  • Replaceable C4 Punch
  • #8-32 Cleaning Rod/Brush Adapter

Most of the tools are the same as those on the regular Super Tool, so you would find the EOD useful even if you aren’t a bomb disposal soldier. But unless you want an EOD for the cool factor and the T-shank replaceable metal saw, you’ll be better off with the cheaper Super Tool 300.

Weight: 9.6 ounces, 272 grams
Closed length: 4.5 inches, 11.5 cm
Tools: 19
Blade length: 3.2 inches, 8.13 cm

Tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Stranded-wire Cutters
  • 154CM Replaceable Fuse-wire Cutters
  • Military Performance Spec Cap Crimper
  • Electrical Crimper
  • Wire Stripper
  • 420HC Combo Knife
  • Saw
  • Replaceable T-shank Metal Saw
  • Replaceable C4 Punch
  • #8-32 Cleaning Rod/Brush Adapter
  • Awl with Thread Loop
  • Ruler
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Large Screwdriver
  • Medium Screwdriver
  • Small Screwdriver

Crunch®

The Crunch’s main tool is a pair of locking pliers or vise grip. It’s a combination of pliers and wrench (spanner). Like a wrench it holds on to the bolt head even after you release it, but it gives you the leverage of a pair of pliers, allowing you to put tremendous force on to the bolt head.

The locking pliers helps you torque stuck bolts because you don’t have to waste effort gripping the pliers shut. It also works as a third hand, freeing up one hand for other tasks. The jaws open up to a maximum of about 1 inch.

The Crunch is more specialized than the other Leathermans, with most of the space in the tool taken up by the locking pliers. Don’t be fooled by the high tool count. The other tools are almost an afterthought, as can be seen by the short 2.2 inch serrated knife. The Crunch is best carried in combination with another Leatherman, not as your only multitool.

Weight: 6.9 ounces, 196 grams
Closed length: 4 inches, 10 cm
Tools: 15
Blade length: 2.2 inches, 5.5 cm

Tools:

  • Regular Pliers
  • Locking Pliers
  • Hard-wire Cutters
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wire Stripper
  • 420HC Serrated Knife
  • Ruler
  • Pin Vice
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wood/Metal File
  • 1/4 inch Hex Bit Driver
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Large Screwdriver
  • Medium Screwdriver
  • Small Screwdriver

Surge®

The Surge is probably the ultimate general-purpose heavy-duty Leatherman. It’s a larger Wave or a more ergonomic Super Tool 300. If weight and cost are not a consideration, this is the Leatherman to get.

The original Surge had fixed wire cutters but the new version has replaceable wire cutters, just like the Super Tool and Rebar.

Weight: 12.5 ounces, 335 grams
Closed length: 4.5 inches, 11.5 cm
Tools: 21
Blade length: 3.1 in, 7.87 cm

Tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • 154CM Replaceable Wire Cutters
  • 154CM Replaceable Hard-wire Cutters
  • Stranded-wire Cutters
  • Electrical Crimper
  • Wire Stripper
  • 420HC Knife
  • 420HC Serrated Knife
  • Saw
  • Spring-action Scissors
  • Awl w/ Thread Loop
  • Ruler
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wood/Metal File
  • Diamond-coated File
  • Blade Exchanger®
  • Large Bit Driver
  • Large Screwdriver
  • Small Screwdriver

Charge® AL

The Charge AL is an upgraded Wave, with a higher quality steel for the plain-edged blade (154CM instead of 420HC) and aluminum handles. The rest of the tools are the same. The serrated blade is made out of 420HC, the same as the Wave.

Weight: 8.3 ounces, 235 grams
Closed length: 4 inches, 10 cm
Tools: 17
Blade length: 2.9 inches, 7.37 cm

Tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Hard-wire Cutters
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wire Stripper
  • 154CM Knife
  • 420HC Serrated Knife
  • Saw
  • Spring-action Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wood/Metal File
  • Diamond-coated File
  • Large Bit Driver
  • Small Bit Driver
  • Medium Screwdriver

Charge® ALX

Like the Charge AL, the Charge ALX is an upgraded Wave. But instead of just upgrading the steel for the plain-edged blade (154CM instead of 420HC) it also adds – a gut-hook or seatbelt cutter on the serrated blade (steel is the same – 420HC), a crimper on the pliers head, and a second Large Bit Driver (replacing the fixed flat screwdriver and scissors).

Weight: 8.3 ounces, 235 grams
Closed length: 4 inches, 10 cm
Tools: 18
Blade length: 2.9 inches, 7.37 cm

Tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Hard-wire Cutters
  • Wire Cutters
  • Crimper
  • Wire Stripper
  • 154CM Knife
  • 420HC Serrated Knife
  • Saw
  • Cutting Hook
  • Ruler
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wood/Metal File
  • Diamond-coated File
  • Large Bit Driver (II)
  • Small Bit Driver
  • Large Bit Driver (I)

Charge® TTi

The Charge TTi is the most expensive of the Charges. Its tools are a combination of the AL/Wave and ALX. It has the cutting hook and crimper of the ALX, but lacks the second Large Bit Driver. Instead, it has the standard Wave scissors and flathead screwdriver.

The handles are made out of titanium but that shaves off only 0.1 ounces compared to the other Charges.

The main upgrade over the other Charges is the S30V plain edged blade. S30V is considered a “super steel” in the blade world, one of the best available (Leatherman says that it holds an edge 6 times longer than the 420HC used in the Wave). However S30V has a reputation for being difficult to sharpen, requiring diamond files. You’re not going to be able to sharpen it in the field with a rock, which is a likely scenario in a survival situation.

Weight: 8.2 ounces, 232 grams
Closed length: 4 inches, 10 cm
Tools: 19
Blade length: 2.9 inches, 7.37 cm

Tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Hard-wire Cutters
  • Wire Cutters
  • Crimper
  • Wire Stripper
  • S30V Knife
  • 420HC Serrated Knife
  • Saw
  • Spring-action Scissors
  • Cutting Hook
  • Ruler (8 in | 19 cm)
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wood/Metal File
  • Diamond-coated File
  • Large Bit Driver
  • Small Bit Driver
  • Medium Screwdriver

MUT®

The MUT is designed for AR “black rifle” maintenance. With specialized tools such as a bronze carbon scraper, cleaning rod/brush adapter, disassembly punch, and bolt override tool.

However the MUT does have enough general purpose tool to be useful for other tasks as well. Unusually for a Leatherman, there’s also a hammer. Another unusual feature is that it stores a longer-than-normal bit for the Large Bit Driver, allowing you to reach recessed screws.

Weight: 11.2 ounces, 317.5 grams
Closed length: 5 inches, 12.7 cm
Tools: 16
Blade length: 3 inches, 7.6 cm

Tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • 154CM Replaceable Wire Cutters
  • 154CM Replaceable Hard-wire Cutters
  • Stranded-wire Cutters
  • Electrical Crimper
  • 420HC Combo Knife
  • Saw
  • Replaceable Cutting Hook
  • Hammer
  • Bolt Override Tool
  • Replaceable Bronze Carbon Scraper
  • #8-32 Cleaning Rod/Brush Adapter
  • Replaceable Firearm Disassembly Punch
  • Carabiner/Bottle Opener
  • Large Bit Driver

MUT® EOD

The NUT EOD is an MUT modified for EOD (bomb disposal) work. There are still AR rifle maintenance tools such as the bronze scraper and bolt override tool. Specifically for EOD work, there’s a cap crimper and a C4 (plastic explosive) punch (replacing the firearm disassembly punch on the MUT).

The MUT EOD has the honor of being Leatherman’s most expensive multitool.

Weight: 11.2 ounces, 317.5 grams
Closed length: 5 inches, 12.7 cm
Tools: 15
Blade length: 3 inches, 7.6 cm

Tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Stranded-wire Cutters
  • 154CM Replaceable Fuse-wire Cutters
  • Military Performance Spec Cap Crimper
  • Electrical Crimper
  • 420HC Combo Knife
  • Saw
  • Replaceable Cutting Hook
  • Hammer
  • Bolt Override Tool
  • Replaceable C4 Punch
  • Replaceable Bronze Carbon Scraper
  • #8-32 Cleaning Rod/Brush Adapters
  • Carabiner/Bottle Opener
  • Large Bit Driver

 

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