If you haven’t heard of Leatherman you have likely been living under a rock for the past 35 years, as they are the leader in multi-tools for everyday life. Once you have one you won’t leave home without it. Generally, all Leatherman multi-tools are made of stainless steel and have a knife and or saw, pliers, wire cutters, screw drivers, bottle openers, and a variety of other tools depending on the model. Arguably they are a one-handed operable unit that will come in handy more often than not, and Leatherman backs all of its multi-tools with a 25-year guarantee.
The following review looks at three different Leatherman models: the Skeletool RX, the Charge ALX and the Signal, so let's dig in.
Weight: 142g / 5oz
Closed Length: 10cm / 4”
Blade: 6.6cm / 2.6”
The Leatherman Skeletool RX is for the basic hero. This lightweight, seven in one multi-tool can be easily operated with only one hand and aside from the tools found on the common Leatherman, it carries only the essentials; a blade, screwdrivers and a glass breaking kit. The 154cm blade is serrated for cutting most anything and the screwdriver includes Phillips #1-2, a 3/16” flathead, and a glass breaker bit. One of the two, double-sided bits can be snapped into the bit storage while the other is readily available when the Leatherman is opened. A release button and the over all design of the Skeletool protects the bits when not in use. I like the carabineer and pocket clip features to ensure it stays where you put it, especially without a carrying case.
The Leatherman Skeletool has a Swiss cheese design that makes it lightweight and sleek.
The serrated blade is easily accessible from the outside with only one hand. It can cut through most anything, especially fabrics.
When opened, the screwdriver bits are accessible as well as the pliers and wire cutters. The carabineer is at the upper left and doubles as a bottle opener.
Two blades are easily accessible with one hand from the outside. The knife has both a straight and serrated blade.
The sharpener tool is removable and also works to strike the top of the safety whistle to ignite a spark when building a fire.
I really like the Leatherman Skeletool for being a lightweight, emergency response multi-tool, for EMT’s or first responders who need to be prepared to break glass and cut fabric quickly. Using only one hand you are able to open and operate all features, inside and out. It does a great job of saving space and weight by combining a Swiss cheese design with two in one features, such as the carabineer/bottle opener, and the bit driver and storage. If having a one handed multi-tool is critical for your profession I highly recommend the Leatherman Skeletool RX. It is small, lightweight and instead of a sheath it comes with a pocket clip, giving it that pocketknife feel.
The Leatherman Charge ALX is the heaviest and most bulky of the three Leathermans in this review. At 10cm and 235g you will definitely notice its presence. I like that all the features are lockable so you know they will perform as advertised every time and it comes with every screwdriver bit you will ever need. If these features align with your general tasks then this is the Leatherman for you.
The Leatherman Signal is the ultimate multi-tool for the outdoorsy types. It is well thought out and designed by Leatherman’s development team and includes more features per ounce than any other multi-tool. You can start a fire with the Ferro Rod, summon help with the safety whistle and keep youre blades sharp with the sharpening tool. These three removable pieces are easily secured to the tool without any chance of losing them. The hammer tool sends tent pegs into the ground like butter and the combo blade is both serrated and straight, located opposite the saw. The carabineer can hang anywhere you want it, and a pocket clip will keep it from falling out and losing it. The standard Leatherman pliers, wire cutters, screwdrivers, bottle opener and more can be locked inside when closed, but the one handed accessible knife and saw can still be used. There is no dedicated lanyard ring, but the design allows for options to do so in many places. I would recommend this product to everyone.
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