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The Decline of Leatherman Quality with Budget Offerings

Discussion in 'MultiTools and Other Pocket Tools' started by T.H.Cone, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. leigh_ratcliffe

    leigh_ratcliffe Loaded Pockets

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    I am saying that:
    1) If you want the best or if your life depends on it buy a Victorinox Swisstool.
    2) Given the choice between a Skeletool & a Wingman, I would use the Wingman. Just bear in mind that they are light duty tools not heavy industrial.

    One other point: the Wingman and it's stablemate are marketed for the light sports user who won't pay £100+.
    Given the possibility of loosing it whilst white water rafting, BMX biking, running, climbing etc I wouldn't either.
    For it's intended market, I think Leatherman has got it right.
     
    Last edited by leigh_ratcliffe, May 3, 2015
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  2. Bedlam

    Bedlam Loaded Pockets

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    Interesting thread and commentary from everyone. I've got a Swisstool Spirit and have an itch for a LM Charge TTi, that this thread seems to put me off - my wallet is thanking you all :p
     
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  3. Ben Rubinstein

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    What is so much better with the swiss tool than a comparative leatherman?
     
  4. znapschatz

    znapschatz Loaded Pockets

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    A long time ago I did a several months long comparison between a Leatherman Super Tool, my then EDC, and a Swisstool. Both had their advantages, but on paper, the Swisstool maybe a few more. Initially, I thought it would probably prove superior - better fit and finish, more and outside opening implements - but in practice, I found that the Super Tool handled my chores better.

    During these "trials," in almost every instance I was able to make a direct comparison (there were only a few, really,) Leatherman pliers outperformed the Swisstool's. On one occasion during that time, my wife bought a yard sale kerosene lantern with the gas filler cap stuck on. Since happening to carry the Swisstool that day, I tried to grasp the cap with that, but the pliers wouldn't open wide enough. I then retrieved the Super Tool, which was not only wide enough but provided a sufficient grip to loosen the cap.

    Not long after, I had to drive a few Ph screws into some very hard wood, another comparison opportunity. The Super Tool screwdriver needed a firm hand, but got in all the screws without slipping. OTOH, the Swisstool driver got them in only so far without slipping, then with hard pushing and much slippage, screwed them in a little more, finally not budging any further. The Leatherman then took them in the rest of the way with no slipping at all.
    Big Ph screwdriver advantage over Swisstool, also the slot head variety.

    Outside opening would seem to be an advantage and often is, but not always. Much of the time when using larger multi-tools it is while wearing work gloves. When opening a Swisstool blade or implement, except pliers, I had to remove my glove, a nuisance, while most Super Tool implements could be accessed with gloves on. When no gloves were needed, outside opening was convenient, but the springs were stiff enough so that after a session of pulling out implements by their nail nicks, my thumbnail bed would complain for the rest of the day (much less of an issue with the Spirit, BTW.)

    So, even despite the extra effort it took to access or unlock implements and other quirks, the Super Tool clearly worked better for me. Plus, there were the subjectives; I liked the Leatherman knife blades better and the pliers jaws much better.

    It isn't as if I would get all pouty if all I had was a Swisstool. There is much to recommend it, including a well deserved reputation for rust resistance and reliability. But I seem to be hardwired for Leatherman multi-tools. Love those SAKS, though :dance: .
     
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  5. Riptide

    Riptide Loaded Pockets

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    the sidekick is LM's "entry" level MT. it is for those who want a cheap tool, if you want something with better fit go with a more expensive tool. but if you just want a tool that will work and that is cheap go with the sidekick. for a cheap tool you have to make sacrifices.
     
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  6. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    A value priced tool should not be so "cheap" that the plier head is loose. I have to say, again, that that level of fit and finish is, or ought to be, unacceptable. If it were a budget flashlight that, for example, had a switch that worked only intermittently, would you say that that level of performance is what you should expect in a so called cheap light?

    To my way of thinking certain things just need to be so. If LM cannot make a budget tool with tight reasonably tight plier heads, then maybe they shouldn't even try. Perhaps we are asking for too much for tool little.

    BTW, although my most recent ones were purchased on the cheap, buying one today will cost you between $25 and $50 dollars (LM's MSRP is $49.45). While that is less than their other tools, $50 is only "cheap" in comparison and I apologize if asking for tight plier heads on a $50 tool is asking too much.
     
  7. Riptide

    Riptide Loaded Pockets

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    All i am saying is that there are people who find that lose plier heads are acceptable. it is a value tool, I would rather see slight wobbles in my tool than see a low quality blade. even with the wobbles you still get a great tool with an un beatable warranty. to your point about the flash light, yes if i bought a cheap flashlight ( which i have before) that did not turn on all the time i would only blame myself for buying it. i know that in this day and age you need to spend some money to get a good quality product. if you want a multi tool that is 30 dollars less than others you must prioritize what you need and what you don't need. fit and finish is something that not everyone cherishes.
     
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  8. leigh_ratcliffe

    leigh_ratcliffe Loaded Pockets

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    A good analogy would be to compare a stock 1911 to a Kimber.
     
  9. polonium9

    polonium9 EDC Junkie!!!

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    ask yourself the question: Do you need a pair of pliers with you? If so, get a leatherman or victorinox tool (cant remember the name).
    The main reason I got the wingman over something more expensive was the spring pliers and scissors. they're great around the house.

    Get whatever you need.
     
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  10. Ben Rubinstein

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    Based on what however? As someone in the market for a Charge TTI I'm interested in what you are saying but I need facts. Just from a quick view of the swiss tool models, I see two handed opening blades of inferior steel and no bit holder (very much a must for me). I also can't work out what tools lock. I'm interested in being persuaded but I need facts.
     
    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein, May 4, 2015
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  11. Bedlam

    Bedlam Loaded Pockets

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    I can't help you re the differences between the tools, but I have a Swisstool Spirit, and everything locks on it.
     
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  12. Cheeser
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Cheeser Hey Bub!

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    Based on this thread I don't know what I'm going to do if my 10 year old Wave ever gets lost......
     
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  13. Bedlam

    Bedlam Loaded Pockets

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    Start charging people you search for carrying weapons, and confiscate them until you find a new one? ;)

    I'd like to put in an order for a Charge TTi in that case
     
  14. Cheeser
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Cheeser Hey Bub!

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    Yeah like the guys I deal with carry quality tools ;)

    Most of the cops don't even. I think I'm the only cop outside of SOG, Bomb response or S&R who carries a full multi tool ever
     
  15. Ben Rubinstein

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    From what I understand it's the lower level and perhaps only the Xmas special cheaper tools which have this issue reported here?
     
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  16. Bedlam

    Bedlam Loaded Pockets

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    I expected better of your colleagues ;) Do they at least carry decent flashlights?
     
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  17. Cheeser
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Cheeser Hey Bub!

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    Department supplied..... but not too bad considering

    I bought my own maglite early on in my career to make sure I always had one that worked, and bought the LED conversion for it as well.
     
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  18. znapschatz

    znapschatz Loaded Pockets

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    Those happen to have been the only two 45s I ever handled. The stock version was from way back during my time in the army. By the time it got to me, that pistol was just about shot out, rattled when shaken side to side. I didn't do too well with it, in fact couldn't even qualify. Thinking back, I think it was partly due to a problem with pistolcraft then taught by the military (one hand stance, etc.) Decades later, I shot a box of ammo out of a Kimber rented at an indoor gun range. There was a huge difference in handling and I was able to keep all shots on target at all distances, shooting one ragged hole (one flier) at the 7 yard position. Wow, Kimber, but I think a current stock 1911 would probably do business today, provided it hasn't spent several decades in military service. I'm not sure the analogy holds with multi-tools, though, especially across brands. Despite design differences, I think top of the line from any quality maker are about equally well made.
     
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  19. jdindadell

    jdindadell Loaded Pockets

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    The 2 swisstool spirits I have a very nice multis, and are quite shiny. Tool deployment requires fingernails, and 2 hands. I like the size of the tool and the weight, certainly a good edc size, and not overly heavy. The Charge tti is larger, mainly in thickness. Easier to open the outside tools, fingernails required for the inner ones. I feel that the charge is stronger, and the interchangeable bits are a big plus.

    I really do not feel like there is any quality difference between the two. If you already have a swisstool, adding a charge to your inventory will give you some different and likely welcome additions.
     
  20. Blitzkrieg
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Blitzkrieg Loaded Pockets

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    Since this thread is as about Leathermans needing fixing, can I send in a bunch of them to get serviced at once? My ST300 needs tightening, my Kick has a chipped screwdriver, Wingman blade has had blade play since I purchased it, and my Wave pliers are locking up. I'd rather not send in the Kick though because I'll probably get a crappy Sidekick instead. Anyone bulk ship their returns in?
     
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