There is a huge variety of EDC gear on the market. Yet, among the various gadgets you can strap to your belt or slip into your pocket, few things are more crucial or versatile than a multitool. Leatherman has defined the world of multitools for years, to the point that their name is synonymous with the concept.
Although their models vary broadly, they all provide a rock-solid combination of quality, practicality, and portability. Choosing the best Leatherman multi tool is ultimately a personal decision based upon your specific needs and use.
However, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites to get you started picking out your next Leatherman multi tool.
Last update on 2020-07-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- 1 Leatherman Multi Tool Reviews
- 2 Leatherman Wave Plus
- 3 Leatherman Skeletool
- 4 Leatherman Signal
- 5 Leatherman Free P4
- 6 Leatherman MUT Tactical Multi Tool
- 7 Why You Need a Leatherman Multi Tool for EDC
- 8 Conclusion
Leatherman Multi Tool Reviews
The Wave Plus is one of the most versatile models in the lineup. Although this is decidedly a full-size multitool, it manages to remain pleasantly compact and light despite its full complement of tools. The Wave Plus is a tool that is perfectly suited for any handyman or survivalist that finds themselves in a variety of situations. This tool isn’t specifically geared toward camping, carpentry, or any other specific activity. Rather, this model was envisioned as a jack of all trades.
Starting on the outside of the tool, the Leatherman Wave Plus has four unique blades. There is a straight-edge knife, a serrated blade, a saw, and a file. Each item is beautifully made and very confidence-inspiring to use. Crucially, each of these tools can be accessed via a flick of the thumb without opening the tool. Given that the blades are likely to be the most-used tool in the arsenal, this ease and speed of access is a welcome touch.
The remainder of the tools are well-chosen with little redundancy or gimmicks. When assessing a multi tool, I often put as much emphasis on what isn’t included compared to what is. Although versatility is nice, EDC tools are too-often burdened with pointless additions that are designed for marketing, not for function. Within that perspective, I appreciate the simplicity of the Wave Plus. The interior tool list features a bottle opener, scissors, flat-head screwdriver, an eye-glass screwdriver, and a bit-driver. The bit driver is a particularly welcome addition as it allows you to swap various bits to customize the tool to your specific workflow. For a one-size-fits-all solution, this is a beautiful answer.
- Great tool choice
- Easy to access tools
- Good value
- Variety of blades
- Some tools are slightly redundant
As mentioned above, the worst mistake you can make is selecting a tool based on the number of “features” it advertises. Whenever a multi tool markets itself as “37 in 1”, you are almost certain to unearth a tool that does 37 things poorly. The Skeletool bucks this trend and instead opts for elegance and simplicity. In its svelte frame, it features only the main three tools. There’s a knife, pliers, and a bit-driver. Despite this diminutive list, it performs these tasks so admirably that it is arguably the ultimate minimalist EDC multi tool.
The Skeletool is very compact. With the included pocket clip, it easily disappears in your pocket until needed. The form-factor makes it clear that this unit was designed to be a pocket knife with additional functionality, rather than an “everything but the kitchen sink” toolbag. Using the knife is an absolute pleasure. The blade is partially serrated and opens with a satisfying flick. The liner-lock and gentle curvature of the body mean this is one of the most ergonomic multi tool knives available.
The pliers are equally pleasant to use, and the bit-driver can be used while the tool is partially folded for additional leverage. Within the handle, there is an additional area to store a spare bit. Lastly, the edge of the unit features a multi-function carabiner clip that doubles as an easy-access bottle opener. This tool is simple, but every last detail has been considered with obsessive care. For a compact EDC option, this is a beautifully elegant option.
- Elegant design
- Very compact
- Great ergonomics
- Multiple bit holder
- Somewhat limited tool set
Some multi tools are designed to be multipurpose solutions to any given scenario. These generalist models, like the Wave Plus above, can be a wonderful solution for a multitude of situations. However, other tools are designed with a more specific philosophy in mind. These semi-specialist tools offer a pointed solution to a specific problem and excel in the process. The Leatherman Signal is a primary example of just such a tool. While this multi tool can happily serve as an EDC item, it is designed with camping and survival at the forefront.
The signal combines all of the gear you need for a safe and enjoyable camping or hiking expedition into one tool. Thus, rather than fumbling through a bag for the item you need, your essentials can be easily accessible from your pocket. Starting with the basics, the Signal didn’t skimp on what makes a multi tool great. The overall design is rugged and unique, and the tools are easy to access. The knife is a 420HC stainless steel unit that feels fantastic in use. It can be flicked open with one hand, and the blade is partially serrated for versatile. The saw is equally well designed and ideal for cutting small branches or trees. The very useful bit driver and can opener round out the “standard” complement of tools.
When you look beyond the normal fare and look at the camping specific inclusions, the Signal really starts to shine. The body of the tool is blunt and designed specifically for use as a hammer. Hammering in tent stakes or straightening a pole is no longer an issue. Perhaps the most talked-about feature in the Signal’s repertoire is the fire starter. Tucked neatly into the handle of the tool is a ferrocerium rod that, when run across the back of the blade, creates a shower of sparks to easily start a campfire. Leatherman understood that having a sharp saw and knife is a crucial aspect of survival, but keeping a proper edge on a blade can be a challenge during long trips. To combat this issue, they included a knife sharpener for putting a new edge on the blades.
This is certainly a specialty tool. However, they packed enough functionality into it that this is an ideal solution for EDC use as well as camping. For anyone who loves the outdoors, this is multi-tasking at its finest.
- All-in-one camping solution
- Tough design
- Lots of novel features
- Great quality
- Somewhat heavy
Quality can sometimes be a hard thing to describe. We often get so caught up in listing features or specifications that we forget to account for the x-factor that makes an item feel like a premium experience. Yet, holding the Leatherman Free P4 in your hand, the feeling of quality is undeniable. In some ways, the Free P4 is the most traditional Leatherman we reviewed for this comparison. In design, it closely echoes the clean lines and understated looks of the original 1980’s basic Leatherman. Don’t let the looks deceive you, however. This is a thoroughly modern tool.
In terms of tools, there is almost nothing that Leatherman overlooked with the Free P4. It has the full complement of knives, saws, screwdrivers, awls, scissors, pliers, and everything else you would expect. Each tool feels superbly designed and is impressively ergonomic to use. The knives are especially confidence-inspiring. The edges were extremely sharp from the factory, and the thin body of the tool made it easy to hold in your hand. Tool access is one of my favorite details of the Free P4. With the exception of the pliers, all of the tools are easily accessible from the outside of the unit. Thus, accessing items quickly or with one hand doesn’t pose a problem. I struggled to think of a single oversight in terms of the quality of the tools.
But despite the functions of this multi tool, the thing that continually drew me back was the sheer attention to detail. The exposed screws and knurled body are, quite simply, beautiful. It walks the line between a multi tool and a piece of stainless steel jewelry that you’d be proud to clip to your pocket. If you want a multi tool to make a statement, this is the Leatherman model for you.
- Beautiful finish
- Externally accessible tools
- Excellent pocket clip
- Slightly more expensive
- Wire cutter is small
The Leatherman MUT is an imposing beast. Many Leatherman multi-purpose tool models utilize a subtle and elegant aesthetic. Somehow, “subtle” is not a word that I think was used often when designing this tool. From its black finish to its tactical set of tools, this Leatherman utility tool means business.
Much like the Signal above, the MUT is designed with a very specific purpose in mind. Although it can serve as an incredible functional EDC tool, the primary intention of the MUT is for firearm and military equipment maintenance. Thus, in addition to the full complement of standard multi tool gear, the MUT features a bronze carbon scraper, disassembly punch and bolt override tool, and multiple areas for attaching threaded cleaning rods and brushes. Thus, if you are passionate above firearms and maintaining them for top performance, this is the tool for you.
As an EDC model, it is on the heavier end of the spectrum. However, it is a very balanced tool for its size, and the added functionality is well worth the additional heft. It even comes standard with a MOLLE sheath with an included scope adjustment wrench. Finding the best EDC Leatherman is all about finding the model that fits your passion. For any gun enthusiast, the MUT is hard to beat.
- Fits a specific need beautifully
- Tough design
- Great fit and finish
- Incredibly versatile
- Fairly heavy
Why You Need a Leatherman Multi Tool for EDC
There are a lot of multi tool manufacturers on the market. Yet, few have had the reputation and staying power of Leatherman. Here’s why.
They Don’t Focus on Tool-Count
Leatherman isn’t ashamed to put quality over quantity. It is all too common for multi tool makers to strap pointless tools to their products to up the “tool count.” Leatherman doesn’t fall for this trap.
As you’ve seen in this roundup, every Leatherman is made with a specific function and purpose in life. Thus, while some of their products do have some fairly obscure items in their roster, each tool was chosen with a purpose.
They Consider How, and Where, You Will Carry It
Another byproduct of the thoughtful design of Leathermans is they exceed at specific purposes. Although every Leatherman can serve in a wide variety of circumstances, they are all designed with a certain use in mind. Within the roundup today there is ample evidence of this.
The Signal is designed with a camper in mind. The MUT is for gun enthusiasts. The Skeletool puts svelteness first. By designing each tool to fit a specific need, they make sure that each tool will serve its intended user as perfectly as possible.
Your Leatherman Multi Tool Comes With a Lifetime Warranty
Leatherman stands behind their products. With the vast majority of multi tools, you are on your own once you buy the product. Given the inherent levels of abuse and wear that a multi tool is typically subjected to, this can be a huge disadvantage. With Leatherman, however, your fears can be alleviated.
Every Leatherman comes with a 25-year warranty. If anything breaks, you simply send it in and they will repair it or replace the tool. Even if your tool needs something as simple as a resharpened blade, Leatherman will happily take care of it.
They Care About Ergonomics
Leatherman puts a vast amount of effort into making their tools as comfortable to use as possible. Ultimately, having a huge array of tools is pointless if they are uncomfortable to use. I’ve used countless multi tools over the years that leave your hands cramping or blistered after only a short period.
It’s not a pleasant experience. In contrast, Leatherman products feel great in your hand. They make the tools easy to access and make sure that you can comfortably grip the tool while using each of its functions. It makes for a much more enjoyable experience.
Leatherman has a fantastic reputation in the multi tool world, and that reputation is well deserved. I have personally carried one for years and have always been impressed. Thus, picking a single model as the winner is hard, as this is a roundup of the best leatherman multi-tools made.
However, there can be only one winner, and it may come as a surprise. Although it is the most basic tool in many ways with only a few key features, the Leatherman Skeletool is the winner of this comparison. Although it isn’t the perfect solution for every need, its elegant design and minimalistic approach is an EDC winner.
- EVERYTHING YOU NEED: A compact 5-ounce multitool with a combo knife, bit driver, pliers and more; Light enough to use as your everyday carry, strong enough to tackle tough jobs
- 7 TOOLS IN 1: Includes a knife, pliers, a large exchangeable bit driver, wire-cutters and a carabiner/bottle opener; Includes an extra bit stored right in the handle
- OUR GUARANTEE: We’re proud to stand behind every product that leaves our factory in Portland, Oregon; That’s why we offer our 25-year warranty, so you can be confident your Leatherman lasts a lifetime
- ONE-HAND ACCESS. Skeletool only requires one hand to open and use all the tools, even the ones that aren't accessible from the outside; And with a locking blade, you can cut with confidence
- ALWAYS ON HAND: The Skeletool weighs just 5 ounces and is equipped with a removable pocket clip so it's always within reach and ready to work
Last update on 2020-07-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API