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First experience with Leatherman (and it's not so good)

Discussion in 'Multi-tools & Multi-purpose Knives' started by pfranze78, Jun 20, 2018.

  1. pfranze78


    Aug 31, 2016
    [Disclaimer]This is not a rant, nor I'm a bashing Leatherman, but I would like to share my first try on Leatherman. Also english is not my native tongue, so apologies in advance for my misspellings.

    I have been a Victorinox nut all my life, but I wanted to try something else. I bought a Leatherman Style CS to replace my Classic Alox on my key chain, after reading and watching some reviews. I liked the design very much and it has a very usable pair of scissors. (which was the main reason I bought it)
    I unpacked the Style on fathersday, last sunday and yesterday it broke down on me. The tweezers came apart and the scissors made a very loud "clicking" noise when pressing the both handles together, instead of just smooth operating. The noise was also 'feelable' and felt like I was breaking it everytime I used them.
    So I decided to take them back to the store and see if they could replace it with a new one. It turned out I bought the last one, but they could order a new one, or give me my money back. Disappointed, I opted for the latter.
    Ofcourse I know that my Style is not representative of the build quality of Leathermans in general, but I'm really reluctant to try a new one.

    Whould anyone like to share their experiences with Leatherman and maybe share similar experiences where you bought a certain brand for the first time and disappointend you?
  2. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    In all honesty, its like driving a BMW, and then having to drive a Ford. Victorinox are the best scissors, hands down, end of story. So when the bar is set that high, its easy to be disappointed. The Style has some design features that make it seem not as sturdy as we expect scissors to be, but its does hold up fine in general. I have not heard of fake leatherman styles, but I'll be honest and say that it wasn't their best work. The fact that they back their product, and have such an industry leading warranty is what does it for me, I know tools can be broken. Not all tools are perfect. But don't let this sour your opinion of leatherman overall, it could be that the style just wasn't for you, but another one is.
    pfranze78 likes this.
  3. Mikel_24


    Sep 19, 2007
    So far my experience with Leatherman is the best ever. During one of my dumbest maneuvers I managed to snap the needle nose pliers of an original PST tool. One of them only. Since the tool was unusable in that state, I promptly chopped the other one and turned my needle nose PST into a blunt nose PST. And used it for a long time.

    Later on I bought a Charge TTI and since I don't have any use for two multitools at the same time, I decided to get mine fixed. I contacted the distributor in Spain, sent it and it came back with new pliers, sharpened blade and absolutely pristine.

    So Leatherman is OK in my book.
    pfranze78 likes this.
  4. Pomsbz


    Jul 31, 2015
    I went through 3 Style CS's until I gave up on the scissors and bought a SAK Rambler. Haven't looked back.
    pfranze78 likes this.
  5. L. Richard

    L. Richard Basic Member Basic Member

    Dec 20, 2006
    The scissors are very nice on my new Squirt PS4, but the nail nicks on two of the other tools are hidden beneath the handles and are really hard to dig out. I like my old scissorless Squirt P4 much better. It has an eyeglass screwdriver and an awl in place of the scissors. Fortunately, I don't have much use for the scissors anyhow.
    znapschatz and pfranze78 like this.
  6. Shotgun

    Shotgun Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 3, 2006
    I’ve had about 5 of them. A couple waves and 3 keychain tools. I’ve noticed the build quality deteriorate over the years. I can’t say I’ll ever buy another one.
    pfranze78 likes this.
  7. jackknife


    Oct 2, 2004
    I was anti weatherman for a very long time. I couldn't see the reason, and to a small degree still am. BUT...for the past three or four years now I've been using a Leatherman squirt side by side against a Victorinox classic and have gained some respect for the small Leatherman. I like the tools like the small pliers, but for the job of cutting, the Victoriox blade and scissors beat the Leatherman. No question about tit. The Leatherman is like a old Ford when compared to the Vic, and that was a great comparison. The finish and function of the Victorinox tools is better.

    For. while I carried the Squirt by itself and was on the edge of phasing out the Vic classic, but the blade and scissors on the SAK just cut sooooo well I couldn't turn my back on the Vic. In the end, the big plus to me is the Leatherman squirt mini pliers, but the rest of the functions I have to go with Victorinox. A 91mm SAK with pliers can fix that just fine.

    pfranze78 and Rupestris like this.
  8. Oetheous


    Jun 3, 2018
    Leatherman is a hit or miss. I bought a Rev, it was perfect. No blade play up or down or sideways. All tools were smooth to open. Way better than my Gerber. Then I bought a Wingman, yes for the scissors. Everything is great except the nose of the pliers do not align when clamped together. Annoying but functional. Then Decided to drop a ben and bought a Surge. There was up and down blade play on all the knives. The screw driver bit was messed up. The file was unimpressive and hastily cut, the rev/wingman had a better file. I returned it. Leatherman needs better quality control. I am also hesitant to buy anything from them again unless it was on sale and returnable.
    pfranze78 likes this.
  9. eugenechia1989


    May 15, 2017
    I used to praise Victorinox's 91mm SAK scissors until I bought my Leatherman Surge. The scissors on it blow the Victorinox one out of the water (for me, anyway). That said, it is larger and heavier-duty than other Leatherman scissors so perhaps not truly representative and not really a competitor to the 91mm SAK scissors.

    That said, I have heard of Leatherman's quality control being a bit inconsistent. I bought my Surge at a store and inspected the exact piece before buying, and would advise all to do the same where possible.
    pfranze78 likes this.
  10. pfranze78


    Aug 31, 2016
    A lot of mixed opinions and experiences. Thanks for the feedback so far. I think I'm going to hold out on buying another Leatherman for a while.
  11. jux t

    jux t

    Jan 10, 2018
    The old Leathermans are great. The new ones not so much. The PST II is still my favorite multi tool.
    pfranze78 likes this.
  12. znapschatz


    Jan 24, 2005
    So far, I have had good luck with my several Leathermen, but most of them were acquired an average of 10 years ago. Some are much older. My Super Tool and Micra, dating from 1997, were carried exclusively for 9 years until updated with a Charge TTi. My son still uses ("abuses" more accurate) the PST II I gave him around the same time, once needing a trip back to Leatherman Warranty, refurbished and returned for further abuse. My newest is a 5 year old Rebar that is in excellent condition, works okay, but I can't escape the impression that it is not as well made as the earlier models. SAKs, on the other hand, are great, but I don't care for Vic pliers based multi-tools. For those I still consider myself a Leatherman guy, and if I had to replace any of them, I would shop the second hand market.
    pfranze78 likes this.
  13. Neko2

    Neko2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 18, 2003
    I'd try the Micra. I have several and they're impressive small users. Not flashy but great tools.
    pfranze78 likes this.
  14. znapschatz


    Jan 24, 2005
    Great scissors, but too small for much of what I cut with pocket scissors. Good for threads and nose hairs, but kind of fiddly for much else. Seems like a small difference, but those on the 91 mm SAKs are way better because of size. I also like the Micra, not quite up to Vic standards (what is?), but close enough for most purposes, and the other tools also come in handy.
    pfranze78 likes this.
  15. Pomsbz


    Jul 31, 2015
    Yup, which is why I did this mod. Best of both worlds. :)

  16. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I have had ok service with my Style PS. (Thought it was a CS.) Can't say that I have ever used the scissors though. I mostly have it because it has no cutting blade and can take in places that don't allow knives. My usual carry is a Leatherman Ps4 on two key chains depending on what I'm driving that day.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
    pfranze78 likes this.
  17. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel

    Feb 11, 2016
    My 1996 leatherman Micra scissors still work fine.
    I've spilled paint on it, took it apart, cleaned it, and put it back together 3 times that I remember.
    It's not meant to be taken apart by it's owner but it can be done.

    In my opinion I would say forget the ugly leatherman style cs and get yourself the classic and proven $20 Leatherman Micra which is their highest selling tool and the one with the longest continuous production span of any of their models.
    I'm pretty sure it's smaller than the style as well.


    I've also had great luck with my 2005 Leatherman fuse that I've not taken great care of.
    If you want a knife with some tools get a Victorinox, if you want a pair of pliers or scissors that has some tools and a knife for occasional use then get a leatherman.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
    Pilsner and pfranze78 like this.
  18. Mora2013


    Dec 1, 2013
    My opinion is that leatherman tools are well built and do their jobs well. I think leatherman pays more attention to function and durability over aesthetics, refinement, comfort, ease of use.

    I personally prefer victorinox for a daily pocket edc. I prefer a leatherman to be thrown into a toolbox or pack.
  19. pfranze78


    Aug 31, 2016
    Tanks! The Micra definitely looks more well build than the Style. More sturdier maybe?
  20. jackknife


    Oct 2, 2004
    Leatherman makes a very good product. Kind of like the m1911 of small multitools. A little clunky but rugged and reliable. I tried the micra, and found after a while it was a PITA. Most times, unless you need scissors, you have to fully open the tool, find the half that has the knife blade or bottle opener, then pull that tool out. With the squirt, you just pull our the tool.knife blade and do what you have to do. I developed a real dislike of having to open the tool to access what I wanted. I found a small SAK or squirt better for my personality.
    pfranze78 likes this.

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