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leatherman vs swisstool

Discussion in 'MultiTools and Other Pocket Tools' started by face.yo, Apr 2, 2008.

    face.yo Empty Pockets

    i've been an leatherman supporter of awhile now, but i'm not really a fan of the direction the company has been taking of late. my older supertool is very sturdy but the locking mechanism is slightly annoying and clunky. what do people think of Victorinox Swiss Tools? i've never handled one, are the tools good? on the newer leathermans the driver bits are soft and the files kind of a joke as well as the wire cutters (my supertool will cut through chain link fence easily but my newer wave struggles, i never should have traded my old model wave :rolleyes:) basically are the victorinox tools hard use or weekend warrior :censored:?

    Marduke Loaded Pockets

    I absolutely love the SwissTool Spirit. Fit and finish are second to none. I agree that Leatherman used to be superb, but now they are just a small step above a cheap Gerber IMO. SOG and Victorinox I feel have far surpassed Leatherman the past few years.

    bindibadgi Loaded Pockets

    I carried a Supertool (and then ST 200) for ten years. I then got a Surge, but didn't feel the quality was quite up to scratch, so I decided to give Victorinox a go. I bought the Vic Spirit plus (comes with a little set of bits and a handle for them).

    I'm very impressed and it's become part of my EDC. It feels so well made and it's proved its usefulness many a time. There are very few things the old Supertool really did better IMO, at least for my uses. Here's a quick top-of-the-head list:

    "Moby Dick" looking combo blade is actually really useful
    Precision feel inspires confidence
    Great mix of tools (including chisel!)
    All tools open when pliers are closed
    Small and pocketable, although I use the belt pouch
    Pouch with bit kit is still comparable in size to LM pouch (just a bit thicker)

    Scissors are puny and hardly useful
    No straight blade (but see pros about Moby)
    Not exactly needle nose pliers, although still quite usable
    No ruler (I have to admit this is a disappointment)

    parnass Loaded Pockets

    Like the other posters, I carried older Leatherman tools (PST and SuperTool) for years and they were great in their day. I'm not impressed with the newer Leatherman tools so I use a Victorinox Spirit and SwissTool X instead.

    The Vics are very well built but have a few drawbacks including riveted construction, smaller wire cutter blades, and screwdrivers which don't grip screws as well as my old Leathermans tools. I improved the flat blade screwdrivers by squaring them off using a bench grinder, a job which takes only a minute.

    The large size SwissTool X has bigger and has better scissors than the Spirit, but the Spirit is lighter weight so I carry it daily.

    Attached Files:

    Marduke Loaded Pockets

    The "Spirit S"replaces the scissors with a classic drop point blade if that's your preferred flavor.

    kitkat Loaded Pockets

    I have been a Gerber fan for many years. I always owned their top-of the line tool set and I like how the pliers are supported when you squeeze the handles. The reason I used Gerber for years was because my first multi-tool was a leatherman... which I broke. And the way I broke it was this: I squeezed on the pliers and the metal that supports the plier mouth peeled back! That ended it for me with Leatherman... until recently, where a lot of fans have been talking about the skeletool (which I personally think is garbage) and the Charge TTi which I own and it truly is awesome. Very tough tool with an S30V blade. I owned a few Victorinox tools and use them for snowboarding mainly. They still function and no rust.

    stillphoto Loaded Pockets

    Nice timing for this thread. I've come to realize that I had an extra $25 laying around on amazon, and decided it was time for a new multitool. I have the original leatherman, and it was good in its day, but its a still ball of useless currently. I always hated half of the tools coming out when I tried to open just one of them. I had been waiting like crazy for the skeletool cx, but after reading and seeing it, it seems lacking. Especially for the price.

    Anyways, its pretty much down to the swisstool RS, or a version of the spirit (maybe the s?). What are everyone's thoughts between the two? Size and weight don't matter to me, as it will ride in my fastpack. Sorta bummed at the lack of true needle nose pliers, but I'm sure they did that for a good reason.

    parnass Loaded Pockets

    Since size and weight don't matter, I would opt for the larger SwissTool. It has more individual tools and they are beefier.

    Attached Files:

    znapschatz Loaded Pockets

    Although the Swisstool has better fit and finish, I prefer Leatherman in that size category, finding many of the implements superior and easier to use, such as true needlenose pliers and much better screwdrivers with longer shanks. Some while ago I tried out a Swisstool, and was very impressed with its build quality. In the end, I found myself fondling the Swisstool a lot, but kept coming back to my Super Tool (then Core) for actual work. Despite the Vic tools opening on the outside of the handles, they had to be worked out by thumbnail from a rather stiff backspring. Under normal circumstances, it didn't matter much, but If the Swisstool was in frequent use over a period of time, my fingertips got sore. Leatherman tools come out easily with the flat of your thumb, or even while wearing work gloves. That can be a real help, especially when your hands are cold or fingernails softened by wet.

    I don't get your comment about soft drivers. The ones on my newer Core seem as good as those on the older Super Tool. Also, the wire cutters on the Swisstool would likely outperform the Wave, a smaller multi-tool, but are comparable to those on a Supertool/Core.

    In answer to your question, though: whatever else, Swisstools are definitely hard use items, built to last. I have no disagreement with that.

    jzmtl Loaded Pockets

    The needle nose on leatherman does come in handy. Just last night I need to pull some cord through a small opening, and the gerber nose was too thick, so I had to get leatherman to do the job.

    Downside is the rough surface does rusts easily. I had it wet from skiing and left it that way, and with in 24 hours there was a lot of surface rust on handle/jaw/can opener. In comparison my spyderco knife which is supposely less rust resistant is still shiney.

    face.yo Empty Pockets

    i have a wave with a removable 3/16 philips and flat driver and a removable eyeglass size driver. both ends of the 3/16 are rounded a bit and the flat head has a bend. once i accidentally bent the eyeglass driver in the middle (its abt 1.5'' long) and had to straighten it out, there is a slight bow in it now. this would be understandable if i was prying and such, but i wasnt. i do however frequently drop it from ladders, step on, kick, throw in anger, and let other people use it :slap: my tools are for using, i take pretty good care of them, but they gotta earn their keep ;)
    -thanks for the replies, definitely gonna check out the swiss tools, cause even though my wave has nice lines and is really usefull it doesnt stack up to its predecessors, imo of course

    Styerman Empty Pockets

    I think Vic has about the best build quality in the Multi world . I often EDC the Spirit , but more often the Charge Ti - find it hard to do without a one handable blade . Wish Vic would come up with a blade similar to the OHT , and add a pocket clip .

    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
    • In Omnia Paratus

    chaosmagnet Loaded Pockets

    I EDC an LM P4 (on my keychain) a Victorinox SwissTool (in my laptop bag) and an original LM Wave (in my car's glovebox).

    The P4 is there because I can carry it easily in office environments. It replaced an SAK Midnight Manager. I've had it for a week and so far, I like it.

    The SwissTool was a gift from a former employer, and is meaningful to me personally. It also has reasonably good pliers and knife blades. I never use its screwdriver blades because it sits next to an excellent silent-ratcheting screwdriver in my bag.

    The Wave tool gets more use. It's in the car because I often want a blade I can open and shut one-handed when I'm driving. If I could only carry one full-size multitool, it would be the Wave. Reasons:

    • It's lighter
    • It has better pliers
    • It has better Phillips and small screwdrivers (not much better, but better)
    • One-handed opening of knife blades is awesome

    The SwissTool's blades (other than knife x2, saw and file) are easier to get at and the locking mechanism is top notch. I really like my SwissTool; it's excellent. I just think that the Wave tool is darn near perfect for my multitool needs. If I had to pick between the SwissTool and a current Wave, that would be harder; from what I hear I might just pick the SwissTool.

    LLCoolBeans Empty Pockets

    I find that the quality of the Swiss Tools FAR surpass the leathermans, Gerbers, SOGs and others that I have seen owned or played with.

    znapschatz Loaded Pockets

    That depends on how "quality" is measured. During 12 years since I got my first, both makes have proven themselves sturdy and reliable, so that hasn't been an issue. Each has much to commend and some not so much, but over time, while admiring the finer qualities of the Swiss products, more often I gravitate to their Leatherman counterparts. In my experience with comparable Swisstools and Leathermen, points go to Victorinox fit and finish, while LTs provide superior screwdrivers and pliers. That is important to me because tools are what these things are about.

    These remarks concern pliers-based multi-tools, not the traditional SAK, where Vic rules.

    hawkeye Loaded Pockets

    I am on only my second Gerber multiplier in something like 20 years. I fell in love with them because unlike the leatherman, I could flick the pliers out with one hand. That feature alone is so important, because many times I need them when I am holding something and need pliers now. The other advantage the Gerber had over the Leatherman of the time was comfort. The tools fold from the inside, leaving a solid outer surface to squeeze, instead of the back edges of the tools.

    Before I got the first Gerber, I carried the now-discontinued leatherman mini. It took a lifetime to deploy those because you have to unfold the handles and then unfold again to get the handles long enough to use. But it was pretty compact to carry, and the lower parts of the handles presented the same aforementioned solid surface to the hand. The mini is now in my "museum of old tools" along with the original multiplier.

    The only reason I upgraded to the MP600 series was because the old ones would sometimes pinch the palm of my hand. The newer design leaves the handles apart enough to prevent this, plus the other tools lock in place now.

    Yeah, I use them too. Pretty hard, I think. I do a lot of automotive work, metal fabrication, electrical work, and general repairs of household and other equipment, and the Gerbers have always held up to the task.

    I also own some leatherman tools/knives and recently got a swisstool spirit plus ratchet set. But those are in my backpack just in case, and the Gerber rides on my belt, along with my SAK. As far as quality goes, I don't favor either of the three brands. The swisstool is far more "refined" in terms of finish, but I would be comfortable relying on any one of the 3 brands.

    LLCoolBeans Empty Pockets

    I guess what I meant was overall build quality. Different people have different needs so certain multi-tools will be more or less useful based on what you are using it for. I just feel the Swiss Tool is put together better than the others.

    stillphoto Loaded Pockets

    Just got my Swisstool RS today. Wow is it solid. Love the full size drivers built into it. Another plus - it comes well oiled. Extraction of each tool was easy. Can't wait to start using it. Tomorrow will be fun!

    stronzza Loaded Pockets

    I have several leathermans, gerbers and ONE Swisstool.....the Swissttool gets carried and used the most. Its bigger and heavier but on my belt, it doesn't matter. It just feels more solid to me.

    Medic7158 Empty Pockets

    After a brief break-in period, I've never had any problems one-handing my LM Wave or Juice. I Just hold one end and flck it down like a spyderco drop.

    On the other hand I found my Gerber tool to be more uncomfortable because of the lock releases on the sides of the handle.

    To each his own, i guess....