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Clash of the keychain MTs

Discussion in 'MultiTools and Other Pocket Tools' started by sungame, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. sungame

    sungame Loaded Pockets

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    Many years ago, I got a Leatherman Micra for Christmas. I loved it! For years, this was my EDC MT. Then one day, it was suddenly gone. Lost forever, or so I thought.

    Looking for a replacement, I found out that the Style CS was just a little cheaper, so I went for it, and never looked back. Until the end of January, when I found the old Micra wedged between the seat and the wall of my car. All through February, I've EDCed the Micra again, and now it's time for the big showdown on the little keychain.

    Which is the best EDC keychain MT?

    [​IMG]
    keychainclash by Magnus Holm, on Flickr

    Leatherman Micra

    6.5 cm
    51 g

    Pros: Lots and lots of quality tools in a small package.
    Cons: No outside opening tools

    Leatherman Style CS
    7.6 cm
    41 g

    Pros: Outside opening blade, screws instead of rivets, tweezers can be removed entirely
    Cons: Only one screwdriver, lousy bottle opener (IMHO)

    If you just look at the specs, the Micra is by far the strongest competitor. According to the Leatherman web site, it has ten tools, compared to the six tools of the Style CS. And the three different screw drivers on the Micra really do work a lot better than the single one on the Style CS. Also, the bottle opener on the Micra is much easier to use than the strange bottle opener/carabiner combo on the Style CS. There is no doubt that when it comes to the number and quality of tools, the Micra beats the Style CS hands down.

    However, I still find the Style CS better for actual every day carry. How can that be? Well, it's not just about the tools you have, but the tools you use. And I use the knife blade on my keychain MT a lot. The scissors also see a fair amount of use, but the blade is by far my most frequently used EDC tool. The blade on the Style CS opens from the outside of the tool. To get at the Micra's blade, I have to open the tool first. This might seem like a detail, but when it's repeated every single day, it actually matters. At least to me.

    Conclusion
    If you are looking for a true EDC tool, and you don't carry a dedicated knife, go with the Style CS. If you are building the ultimate keychain, a very small survival/repair kit or if you already EDC another blade, the Micra is for you.

    Or, in terms of tools: If you use the screw drivers most, pick the Micra. If you use the blade more, go with the Style CS.

    Whatever your preferences, both of these tools are great. Before I got the Micra, I used to EDC a huge VIC Rucksack. The big little Leathermen lets me carry what I actually need every day in just about half the pocket real estate. Sometimes - most of the time, actually - less really is more.
     
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  2. powerring
    • In Omnia Paratus

    powerring Loaded Pockets

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    This is why I miss the discontinued Squirt S4. It's basically a Micra with outside opening tools so it's a combination of the good traits of the Style CS and the Micra . I've carried one everyday for quite a while and dread ever losing it. I wish Leatherman would give us a version of the Micra that had an outside opening blade.
     
  3. nuphoria

    nuphoria Loaded Pockets

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    SAK Rambler.... I own the two you have squared up but keep going back to the Rambler!

    I really like the Style PS too if I'm carrying light and have a blade in my pocket.


    Great review either way ;D
     
  4. Gareth

    Gareth Loaded Pockets

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    I've written a review of the Style CS, comparing it to a Micra, for another site and I felt similarly about them. The big difference is that I came out slightly in favour of the Micra, but that's due in large part to the fact I don't use the blade on my keyring tool all that often. I do agree that if the blade is important to you then the Style CS is definitely a good option.
     
  5. JAfromMn

    JAfromMn Banned

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    Two great tool's I own both but like nuphoria I keep going back to a Rambler.

    Of the two I do prefer the micra to the cs. It's a amazingly strong little tool.
     
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  6. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

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    I stopped carrying my Micra because it was a rust magnet (requires carrying in a sleeve), and because the scissors were just not sharp enough.

    I now carry a Victorinox Swiss Army Compact model. Perfect for Urban EDC. A minimum of useful tools, including (for Victorinox) full-sized scissors. It's longer than the Micra, but the weight distribution is much better; especially in the pocket.

    Out of the Style or Micra, I'd prefer the extra tools. But would go with the Style if it's far less prone to rusting than the Micra.
     
  7. able_man
    • In Omnia Paratus

    able_man Loaded Pockets

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    I never really had good luck with the scissors on my Micra. Like Monocrom said, they just weren't sharp enough and mine were kind of "sticky." I do like my Style PS though.

    Overall I still think Victorinox has the best scissors on small tools.
     
  8. Mickey Holmes

    Mickey Holmes Loaded Pockets

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    I carry the Compact too and love it. It has good scissors as well as many more tools. Once again it is perfect for urban carry.
     
  9. znapschatz

    znapschatz Loaded Pockets

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    My keychainer collection consists of a Micra, Style CS, PS4 and Rambler. Although I use all of them, none are "perfect."

    Of them, the Rambler is the most hand and pocket friendly and has the best quality scissors, but they are seriously too small for many of the things I need scissors for. The same is true of the PS4, which I had hoped would be an upgrade of the P4. The CS is nice and thin, good in the pocket, but too light on implements. Overall, the Micra has the best tool set, but is least hand friendly, with too many sharp edges (my wife refuses to touch it) and it has worn a hole in my watch pocket. A leather slip helps, but makes the package too thick. I had hoped the Squirt series would address that problem, but the implements were not equal to those on the Micra (rounded drivers, worst cap lifter ever). That said, the Micra is the only small m-t I use as a standalone when going minimal, the others are strictly supplementary to whatever the full size multi-tools I usually carry.

    Maybe it is too much to expect perfection in this sad world :sigh: :'( ;D .
     
  10. Soappeddler

    Soappeddler Loaded Pockets

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    Just the opposite for me. I had a Rambler in the change cup of my car. It saw use a few times per week and proved itself to be quite handy. About a month ago I picked up a Style CS and put in the in the cup with the Rambler. After using it a few times I had no desire to use the Rambler anymore. The tool in my change cup is primarily used for the scissors, knife and file and I prefer those tools that are offered on the Style CS.

    So now the Rambler is riding around in my daughters purse.
     
  11. sungame

    sungame Loaded Pockets

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    @Monocrom: I wouldn't call the Micra a rust magnet, but it does rust. After spending a year in the car, it had acquired a couple of rather ugly stains. I haven't owned the Style long enough to know whether this problem applies to that model too.

    @nuphoria: Thanks! As for the Rambler, I've never liked the mini SAKs much. The blades seem just to small and thin to be useful, and the small handles make them even harder to use. The keychain Leathermen have slightly wider blades and give me a firmer grip, and as you've probably gathered from the original post, the usefulness of the knife of my keychain tool is pretty important to me.

    @able_man: I have to disagree about the scissors. Even though the scissors of my Micra are a bit dull now, after years of (ab)use, i still prefer the scissors of both Leathermen to the ones on the compact SAKs.
     
  12. tal-c

    tal-c Loaded Pockets

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    I never understood the need of scissors when you have a knife... always seem redundant to me.

    Since the Squirt PS4 is too heavy for my keychain, I belive that the style PS is the best option out today (paired with spyderco ladybug or something alike).
     
  13. sungame

    sungame Loaded Pockets

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    First of all, scissors are better than knives for cutting things like paper and fabric.

    Second, the tiny non-locking blades of the Style and the Micra are of little use when it comes to cutting things like zip ties or clamshell packaging. I fear trying to cut things like these might damage either the little blade or myself. However, the scissors on these tools cut just about anything, including thick cable ties, without any problems.

    Last, but not least, the scissors are perfect for trimming finger nails. Not a very manly reason for carrying a pair, I know, but it sure beats EDCing a nail clipper. :laugh:
     
  14. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

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    I used to feel the same way. But I've found that scissors are far better when you need to make precise cuts in paper. Or, especially with a non-locking SAK, when you need to cut something in a tight space but don't want to apply too much pressure and risk a cutting edge closing on your fingers.
     
  15. CatherineM
    • In Omnia Paratus

    CatherineM Loaded Pockets

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    I also find scissors on SAK's to be nice for things like cuticles and broken nails.
     
  16. tal-c

    tal-c Loaded Pockets

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    I still find the LM squirt/style pliers extemely usefull. A blade might not always be totally comfortable, but i'd rather have SOME sort of gripping tool than 2 sorts of cutting tools.

    If only the style PS didn't have that USELESS (that's right, USELESS!) carbiner/bottle opener... :-\
     
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  17. sungame

    sungame Loaded Pockets

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    Finally! I thought I was the only one who hated that bottle opener! It's an OK carabiner, but opening a bottle with it is a real pain in the lower posterior region. The only thing it's actually good for, is making the entire tool a centimeter longer, giving better purchase when I use the knife blade.
     
  18. Rawls

    Rawls Loaded Pockets

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    For me, I see two keychain tools rising above the rest, and while these two are great, neither are the best in their class. I really, really like the Leatherman PS4. The combination of knife, scissors, and pliers is really amazing. If I had to go with something lighter it would be a SAK Rambler.

    And if I had my pick among all the variants of the Rambler out there I would pick something like this one:

    [​IMG]

    Thanks to BushidoMosquito I have a sweet, one of a kind Ti Rambler with a tritium insert and a POCKET CLIP. Review is coming.
     
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  19. CrazyHighVoltage

    CrazyHighVoltage Loaded Pockets

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    [​IMG]



    rawls that rambler is realy nice;D i have a minchamp but that doenst come close in coolness and one advantage of the torx pins is if u ruin a tool u can swap it.
    wish i had something that sweet:'(.
     
  20. tal-c

    tal-c Loaded Pockets

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    Well, I didn't get to use the style ps bottle opener, so that's not what i meant... :)
    I feel that there is an excessive use of the "bottle opener" function in many multitools and tools, while almost any object can be used to open a bottle. I doubt that even serious alcholics really need a bottle opener THIS much.

    and yeah, that extra 10-15 mm are useless and are kind of a turn-off for a key-chain tool, IMO.
     
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