Leatherman Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best?

The American Leatherman brand has already become a household name and is known to people far beyond the borders of the country. Having been established in 1983, the company has been developing and manufacturing folding and hunting knives, garden pruners, LED lights, and much more. However, their greatest success came after the creation of one of the best multifunctional tools. Such compact devices combine several tools in one case and are adored by millions of people for compactness, convenience, and quality. Today, the best of the best are three multitool models – Leatherman Surge vs. Wave vs. Charge. What are their similarities and differences, how to choose the best? Let`s answer all these questions below.

 Date of Release

So, each model was released in its own year and, subsequently, underwent a number of changes and improvements.

The first of three multitools was Leatherman Wave. This tool was released in 1998 and even managed to star in the Hollywood movie Rush Hour where Jackie Chan used it. However, four more generations of Wave were later introduced. In chronological order, these are the Wave Original, the Limited Edition Damascus Wave, the Wave +, Heritage Wave +, and the Black & Silver Wave. At the moment, the Black & Silver is the latest configuration.

Then in 2004, the company introduced the Charge multitool. In total, the history of this instrument counts 9 variations, each of which received a particular improvement. Some models have a vast tool number; some are equal.

Finally, Surge is the youngest of all three. Leatherman developed it in 2005, and now you can purchase one of two models – Original Surge and Black & Silver Surge.

 Materials and Dimensions

Speaking about the materials of the Leatherman tools, we should mention that they all are made of stainless steel. The company is known for its high-quality products, so all three multitools totally justify this reputation. None of them is inferior or senior to others, so here you can rely on the durability of the instruments. Besides, Leatherman provides a 25-year warranty.

On the other hand, one can find the difference between the multitools in their dimensions. Wave and Charge models feature almost the same sizes and weights (about 4 x 1.5 x 0.8 inches and 0.8 pounds). Surge is slightly bigger and heavier with its 5 x 5x 2 inches and 1 pound of weight.

Though the weight and sizes don`t influence directly on the quality and convenience of the tools, we believe that a bigger and heavier model may turn out to be handier.

 Number of Tools

Perhaps, the number of tools forms the main difference between the Leatherman models and will be a crucial factor in choosing the most suitable product.

The latest Wave modification offers 18 tools. These are:

  • pliers (regular and needlenose ones)
  • replaceable wire cutters and hard-wire cutters
  • wire stripper
  • electrical crimper
  • knives (standard and serrated)
  • saw
  • spring-action scissors
  • ruler
  • can & bottle openers
  • wood, metal, and diamond-coated files
  • large bit driver and small bit driver
  • medium screwdrivers

Leatherman Charge (like the TTI) takes the second place in terms of the number of instruments. Here one case combines 19 tools. Most were introduced back in Wave, but engineers also included a cutting hook:

  • pliers (regular and needlenose ones)
  • replaceable wire cutters and hard-wire cutters
  • wire stripper
  • electrical crimper
  • knives (standard and serrated)
  • saw
  • spring-action scissors
  • ruler
  • can & bottle openers
  • wood, metal, and diamond-coated files
  • large bit driver and small bit driver
  • medium screwdrivers
  • a cutting hook

And Surge with his 21 tools becomes the most multifunctional product. Here we have:

  • pliers (regular and needlenose ones)
  • replaceable wire cutters, hard-wire cutters, and standard-wire cutters
  • wire stripper
  • electrical crimper
  • knives (standard and serrated)
  • saw
  • spring-action scissors
  • ruler
  • can & bottle openers
  • wood, metal, and diamond-coated files
  • large bit driver
  • large and small screwdrivers
  • awl with thread loop
  • blade exchanger

 Customization

All three Leatherman multitools have customizable models, i.e., the user can replace some elements at his discretion and as needed. For instance, Wave +, Charge +, and both Surges offer replaceable wire cutters and files. Mind that though these multitools are customizable, it doesn`t mean that all their modifications have replaceable elements. Thus, while looking for a Leatherman tool, choose the customizable one to be able to prolong its service life.

 Price

Leatherman uses high-quality materials and produces most of the elements in the United States, so the buyer should be prepared for reasonably high prices. Besides, acquiring a multitool, you automatically receive a 25-year warranty, so the investment is still profitable.

The cost for the Leatherman Wave varies from $99 to $125.

Depending on the model, you can buy Charge multitools for $130-150. For example, Charge + costs $139, while Charge + Forest modification is as expensive as $144.

Original Surge costs $129, and the price for Black & Silver Surge is $155.

As we see, despite the variety of configurations, most Leatherman multitools are very similar. The main difference lies in the set of tools and price. Here are the moments for your consideration:

Better choose those models, which have been recently released, as they have some advantages compared to the old ones.

  • Choose customizable multitools.
  • Don`t overpay for unnecessary tools. Thoroughly consider your needs, and you may find out that 18 instruments are quite enough in your case.
  • Don`t feel lost in model ranks. Though Leatherman produces various Forest, Heritage, Plus, Limited Edition, etc., if you`re not looking for some specialized additions, take a standard product.

Obviously, the choice of the best Leatherman multitool is a challenging task. It depends on many factors and mainly on your needs. Still, we give our preference to the Surge Original instrument, as it features the broadest toolset while costing no more than modest Wave with its 18 tools.

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