Leatherman Buying Guide: which Leatherman will suit me best?
Leatherman multi-tools are famous worldwide. Today this name is almost the same as the generic name for this type of tool. Not that surprising considering the fact that Leatherman produces so many different multi-tools in different classes. There is an appropriate multi-tool for everyone. But how do you choose the Leatherman that will suit you best? We would love to tell you more about all the differences.
The history of Leatherman
At the end of the seventies and the start of the eighties Tim Leatherman and his wife were travelling through Europe in an old Fiat. On the road he used a pocket knife to fix his car and anything that needed fixing in the hotel rooms they stayed at. Every single time, however, he was confronted with the same thing: the pocket knife didn't have pliers. The engineer in him started thinking about a design and not long after he introduced the first prototype of the multi-tool we know today. A salient detail is that Leatherman offered his idea to practically all knife and tool companies. All famous brands. No one wanted to have it. So he just decided to develop the tool with his brother in law and establish a company around it: Leatherman. The father of the modern multi-tool.
The division of the collections according to Leatherman
Apart from famous collections such as the Wave, Charge, Juice and Surge, Leatherman also classifies the tools by size. For many this is already a great first step towards finding an appropriate category. These categories are:
- Pocket Tools
- Keychain Tools
- Pocket Size Tools
- Full Size Tools
- Heavy Duty Tools
Leatherman Pocket Tools
These are the small keychain tools you hang from your bunch of keys. Most tools do not have knives and are therefore suitable for flying. Some are enhanced with a bit holder which makes them very versatile. A tool like the Leatherman Brewzer will always come in handy, and is also great as a gift.
Leatherman Keychain Tools
As the name might already suggest these are also multi-tools you can hang from your bunch of keys. These tools, however, are slightly more extensive than the Pocket Tools. These multi-tools are actually enhanced with foldable tools. Most tools in this range are too small for pliers, so the most important tool is therefore a pair of scissors. There are tools with a knife, tweezers, snap hook, file and screwdrivers. These aren't tools you use for hardcore DIY tasks, they are mostly suited to carry out small tasks on the road.
Leatherman Pocket Size Tools
Perhaps a little confusing next to the Pocket Tools, but the Pocket Size Tools are in fact different. As the name might suggest these are pocket-sized tools. Complete multi-tools but still tools that fit in your pocket without them feeling uncomfortable. They are often (not always) enhanced with a pocket clip to make this even easier. Especially models such as the Wingman, Sidekick and Skeletool are popular examples of what this collection has got to offer.
Leatherman Heavy Duty Tools
These are heavy-lifters. Made for daily use by demanding professionals. Famous models are the Leatherman Surge, SuperTool 300 and the OHT. The target group is largely the same as that of the Full Size Tools, even though you notice that there are small differences to make heavier and long-term use possible. There are, for instance, more interchangeable parts and some tools can handle a little more. As such they are also heavier and larger which makes a belt sheath a must.
Popular models for various purposes
Based on the before mentioned collections you will probably already be able to get an idea of which category will appeal to you most. To help you out further we love to highlight a couple of models.
Leatherman Wave Plus multi-tool, nylon sheath
The Leatherman Wave Plus is the most sold Leatherman multi-tool by far. We understand why. It has practically all tools you could need on a daily basis and with the available accessories you can easily make it even more versatile. It offers the famous Leatherman quality for a great price.
Leatherman Charge Plus TTi multi-tool, nylon sheath
The Leatherman Charge Plus TTi could also be seen as the premium version of the Wave Plus. Enhanced with most of the same tools, only made from better materials and it comes with more accessories. This is Leatherman's absolute top model.
Leatherman Surge, nylon sheath
The Leatherman Surge is the big brother of the Leatherman Wave Plus. Suited for professionals and with many interchangeable parts to make sure you can rebuild it after long-term use. Just like with the Wave many tools can be opened from the outside of the tool to make sure you can quickly start working with them.
Leatherman Signal survival multi-tool, nylon sheath
For survival and camping enthusiasts the Leatherman Signal is ideal. This multi-tool is made for outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to standard tools it has an integrated hammer, firesteel, emergency whistle and sharpener. As such you can fix anything yourself, anytime, anywhere. From the woods to the campsite.
Leatherman Skeletool CX
The Leatherman Skeletool is a popular multi-tool because of its limited weight. It has a number of the basic tools you need a lot, and that's it. As such it is compact enough for your pocket, even though you can also use a snap hook to hang it from a bag or belt loop. This CX-version is even better than the normal Skeletool because of the better 154CM blade and the use of carbon fibre in the handle.
Leatherman Wingman multi-tool 4000-NS, nylon sheath
Because of its appealing price and practical tools the Leatherman Wingman is a popular choice. It's spring-loaded pliers is also appreciated because it enables you to work even faster. The Wingman and Sidekick look very much alike. The first has a pair of scissors on the outside, the other a saw. Other than that they are virtually interchangeable.
Leatherman- Micra multitool
The fact that the Micra is one of the oldest models in the catalogue might already say enough: it is simply practical and good. It has been for years. A strong and sharp pair of scissors with extra tools as a bonus. Small enough for your bunch of keys, capable enough to be useful a lot more often than you might imagine.
A favourite at Knivesandtools: the Leatherman Brewzer. Bottle opener, screwdriver, pry-bar: all tools that will come in handy on a regular basis. Each bunch of keys should contain a Brewzer.
Leatherman MUT (Military Utility Tool), black
MUT: Military Utility Tool, clearly designed for soldiers. With special tools to maintain M16 and AR15 combat rifles. With it Leatherman demonstrates that they also produce the perfect tool for really specific tasks.
To help you out with your choice we wrote a number of articles about how you can choose the perfect Leatherman for your purpose. We have, for instance, written a topic about the Leatherman Surge vs. Wave Plus and a topic about the Leatherman Wave Plus vs. Charge Plus TTi. In these topics we will tell you more about the differences and what you should consider when purchasing one of both multi-tools.