Best Leatherman Tools: Do It All with One Handy Everyday Carry
Be ready to get to work with these Leatherman multitools.
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BY Hank O'Hop / LAST UPDATED ON April 23, 2021
It’s a good idea to have a multitool on your side at all times. You never know when you’re going to need a set of pliers, a screwdriver, a knife, or even a bottle opener. I think we can all agree that when those situations arise, it’s far more convenient to whip the tool you need out of your pocket instead of running to the toolbox. I think we can also agree that many multitools fall short, which is why it’s a good idea to get your hands on a Leatherman.
Let’s not beat around the bush. Leatherman multitools are some of the best in the business. All your mentors keep one on them, your fellow tradesmen talk them up, and you’re ready to set yourself up with one. The catch is, there are a ton of options from this single manufacturer. We’re going to run through some of the things you need to consider to ensure you get the one you need. Those on the hunt for alternatives to Leatherman might want to review our guide to the best multitools.
Leatherman’s top-selling multitool. This model balances weight savings and useful features better than most and is the ideal option for many consumers.
- Balances ease of carrying with useful features
- Viable for use on the job
- Issues with quality control are seemingly common but are easily taken care of
A compact and lightweight Leatherman tool that still packs enough functionality to help you with everyday tasks.
- Includes personal care tools that make it convenient as an EDC tool
- Includes spring-assisted functionality for easy one-handed operation
- Small tools can be hard to sharpen or handle
- Somewhat flimsy scissors
The Leatherman that’s ready for work in the trades. The heavy-duty construction and abundance of features make this one’s best friend on the job site.
- Heavy-duty construction
- Loaded with features that are useful on job sites
- One-handed operation
- Large size may not be desirable for EDC
- Premium price point
- Finish wears easily
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Leatherman got its start back in 1983. Tim Leatherman, the founder, had an idea that he worked tirelessly to bring to life. That idea was the first folding plier multitool that many have since tried to emulate. Today the company operates out of Portland, Ore., and offers a wide range of tools like the Leatherman Wingman Multitool.
Benefits of Leatherman Tools
- Multiple uses. Like any multitool, a Leatherman has various functions for use on the fly. The model you choose can have any number of features and can serve you on the job or during any other time you stumble across a minor job.
- Convenient to carry. The whole idea of a multitool is being able to conveniently carry a collection of tools on you without having to worry about pack space or weight. Depending on the model you select, you can comfortably carry it in your pocket or store it in a sheath you wear on your belt.
- Superior quality. Leatherman multitools bring a level of quality to the table that many others can’t. These tools are made in the USA and are built to last. Needless to say, that’s very important to have in a means that you depend on for work and otherwise.
- Excellent warranty. If you do happen to have an issue with a Leatherman tool, it’s good to know that they come with outstanding warranties. Most are backed by a 25-year warranty in case issues arise due to manufacturing flaws.
Types of Leatherman Tools
Here we have the staple of the Leatherman name. Plier, or what many call regular, multitools didn’t exist in this form until Tim Leatherman patented the design. These look much like a standard set of pliers but with extra tools built into the handles. If you need a more inclusive option, this is the type of multitool you want. Those who are just setting up their tool collection might want to consider our guide to mechanic's tools.
Pocket Knife Multitool
A step down from plier multitools are pocket knives with extra features. As the name implies, these are about the size of an ordinary pocket knife but are usually a bit wider to accommodate additional tools. It’s worth noting that the blade is the primary tool here, and there is a limit to how many functions it can feature. If you need something to carry around in casual settings but don’t want the extra bulk of a regular multitool, this is the best option.
You could probably guess that these are a multitool that’s small enough to fit on your keychain. The benefit is that they usually have a sharp edge coupled with a bottle opener, a ruler, and a screwdriver. These are perfect for someone who wants the most low-profile option possible, but they have minimal uses. Leatherman offers very few of this type of tool, to be honest, so you might want to check out our guide to keychain multitools if these pique your interest.
Leatherman Tool Pricing
- $5 to $10: This price range is primarily occupied by keychain multitools. Again, Leatherman has very few of these offerings.
- $10 to $30: within this price range, you’ll start finding compact Leatherman plier multitools and pocket knives. These are more convenient for carrying around, but the size can limit their potential use.
- $30 to $60: This price range includes a wide variety of offerings from Leatherman. You can expect to find basic offerings along with some ramped-up versions of the options that exist in the lower price range.
- $60 to $100: As you near the $100 mark, you can expect your Leatherman multitool to include more features and special designs to appear. Bear in mind that it’s not rare for premium options to run for more than $100.
The most important thing to consider is what functions a multitool offers. You want to make sure it has enough to aid you in the situations you run into daily. There are always going to be incidents requiring you to run to the toolbox. You want to eliminate that as much as possible, though. That said, think about what tools you have to grab most often and make sure the multitool has those functions at the very least.
It's always a good idea to balance the tool's size with its function. While multitools are designed to be easy to carry, many are best paired with a sheath you wear around your belt. If you're in a trade or regularly need a multitool, that probably isn't an issue for you. Other folks might want something they can keep in their pocket with little discomfort. This ultimately comes down to personal preference, but it is a major factor to consider.
- Storage Sheath. Most Leatherman tools come with sheaths; many also give you the option to select the type of sheath you want to go with the tool. Nylon sheaths are pretty well standard, but you may have the opportunity to go with leather or MOLLE, depending on the model. If you prefer one over the others, you’ll want to make sure to select it if you have the option. If you don’t have that option, you will need to purchase it separately.
Best Leatherman Tools Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Keeping a Leatherman clean is key to outlasting that 25-year warranty. It’s a good idea to regularly wipe it down with light oil and make sure there’s no debris trapped in the many crevices.
- Joints are a primary area of concern when it comes to caring for a Leatherman multitool. You should apply Teflon-based lubricant every so often to the joints to keep them moving freely.
- Leatherman multitools are great, but they have their limitations. It’s always a good idea to have other tools you may need access to when you do hit a wall.
- You may not know this, but driver extenders and bit kits are available for Leatherman multitools. Investing in these will help you get far more use out of your Leatherman.
Q: Which is the best Leatherman tool to buy?
Our top pick is the Leatherman Wave Plus Multitool. It’s a great tool, but it might not be the best for you. The best Leatherman multitool that best suits your lifestyle or profession.
Q: Are Leatherman tools made in the USA?
Yes, Leatherman tools are made in the USA. Not all the components and materials are sourced from the USA, though.
Q: What are the tools on a Leatherman?
That depends on the tool of interest. Most at least have a plier, screwdriver, knife blade, and a range of other devices. Some have more than others, and that’s something to pay attention to as you shop.
Again, our top pick is the Leatherman Wave Plus Multitool. We’d be lying to say popularity doesn’t sway our opinion. But it is hard to ignore a compact, high-quality, useful tool like this. Those who want to save some money can do so with the Leatherman Micra Keychain Multitool, though. That does not mean either of these is what you need. Of course, we want you to fill us in by letting us know what Leatherman tool you’ll be carrying on you every day and what features make it stand out to you.