1. Are you a current member with account or password issues?

    Please visit following page for more information

    Dismiss Notice

The Great Debate: Leatherman Charge TTi versus Victorinox Standard Spirit

Discussion in 'MultiTools and Other Pocket Tools' started by leatherman123, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. leatherman123

    leatherman123 BST/Marketplace ban

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey guys, I am going to do a comparison review of the TTi and the Spirit. One could say that they are the best medium sized tools, and I'd agree with that 100%. In this comparison review, I am going to prove why I think the TTi is the superior multi-tool. I am going to be as fair as possible and not hold a bias towards LM.

    Price- The Charge TTi's is about $120 at Kittery Trading Post. One could find them for about $100 on eBay and other sites like Amazon. But, $120 is what I paid at that particular point in time. The Charge comes with an S30V PE blade, Ti handles, a diamond coated file, a pocket clip, lanyard ring (both fixed and removable), a six piece bit assortment, and a premium sheath (nylon). So, you get a lot of expensive materials for the price paid. I paid $68 for my Spirit at the time (Kittery Trading Post) and that included a Victorinox Rally knife, a premium sheath (nylon). The Spirit can be had for $50 on eBay and Amazon. But, that's what I paid at the time of purchase. The Spirit is cheaper but you get a lot more with the Charge like premium materials and extra accessories. So, I am going to call this a tie. Sure the Spirit's cheaper but the TTi has premium materials- that's why it's $120. (Charge TTi- 1 / Spirit 1)

    Sheath- The TTi and the Spirit both come with fantastic nylon sheaths. The Spirit's sheath vinyl with a nylon covering and it has the Vic logo riveted on the front. The Spirit's nylon sheath can only carry the tool vertically: no horizontal carry option is provided. The Charge sheath blows it away, IMO. It has both vertical and horizontal carry options, the LM logo rivited on the front, the ability to open the tool either closed or with the pliers deployed, and compartments to hold accessories like two side panels that can hold small flashlights, pens, sharpeners, and the like. The LM sheath also has a spot to put the bit cards. One can put two cards in the back, but the sheath is significantly bulkier. So, the TTi's sheath wins hands down (Charge TTi- 2 / Spirit 1)

    Quality- Both of these tools are both of excellent quality. But, the Spirit wins, hands down. The Spirit is a lot more elegant. Everything clicks open and close and has a mirror polish finish. The Charge isn't a slouch, but it's no competition. ( Charge TTi- 2 / Spirit- 2)

    Implement Deployment- The Spirit has all of it's implements on the outside. This is extremely handy, but the Charge takes it to another level. All of the Charge's "long" tools can be opened on the outside. This means the blades, file, and saw can be opened on the outside. The inner tools are stored inside the handle. Which is really no big deal to be honest with you. The Charge's two blades can be opened one handed and that is a deal breaker for me. The ability to open the blades one handed is extremely advantageous. So, one handed opening blades is better than all outside opening tools, IMO. So, the Charge wins- hands down. This is the reason why I carry a Charge/Wave/SURGE- one hand opening blades is extremely important to me. So, the Charge is the clear winner here. (Charge TTi- 3 / Spirit- 2)

    Knife blade(s)- The Standard Spirit has one knife blade, a blunt tipped serrated blade with a small plain edge section on the base. I find this style blade to be very clever and it works well. On the forum, it has been called a "peanut butter" blade! I actually really like it. It cuts very well. However, the Charge is a clear winner again. The Charge has two blades which can be opened one handed, the best parts are that the main blade is made of S30v and the serrated blade has a cutting hook! That is another deal breaker for me. I use the cutting hook daily for opening packages etc. (Charge TTi- 4 / Spirit- 2)

    Saw- Both of the tools both come with excellent wood saws. The TTi's saw teeth have a bias pointing inward and the Sprit's saw has no bias at all. This is a definite tie. (Charge TTi- 5 / Spirit 3)

    File- Both of these tools come with an excellent file. The Spirit's file is extremely aggressive and the teeth go all the way to the tip! (something that needs to be addressed on the SwissTools) However, the Charge's diamond coated file blows it away. LM's files are the best in the business, hands down! The diamond file can be used to sharpen knives and other cutting tools so it's definitely nice to have. So, the Charge wins here. The Spirit gets honorable mention because the teeth go all the way to the tip- therefore I am giving the Spirit a point as well! (Charge TTi- 6 / Spirit- 4) I really wish Victorinox would make the SwissTool/SAK files have teeth all the way to the tip..

    Screwdrivers- IMO, this is the Spirit's major flaw. With the mirror polish finish in mind, the screwdrivers are extremely slippery and they are not rounded off properly. This isn't a huge problem, but the screwdrivers are definitely a step down from lets say a Supertool 300. The ST300 has the best drivers by far. The TTi has LM's bit driver which is excellent and the bits work extremely well. The Charge also has an eyeglass driver that is extremely handy. One could make the argument saying the Charge bit driver is stubby, which it is, but the versatility makes it super handy. Leatherman is also introducing long shanked driver bits for the MUT and I am sure that they will be available for the Charge. The Charge wins here... (Charge TTi- 7 / Spirit- 4)

    Awl- The Charge doesn't have an awl, so the Spirit is the clear winner. However, I have an awl that goes in LM's bit driver. But still, the Spirit wins! (Charge TTi- 7 / Spirit-5)

    Scissors- I have to admit, the Spirit's scissors don't open very wide. However, they cut very well. But the LM works just work better IMO because they can cut larger materials and they can be sharpened when the time comes! I don't know what your supposed to do when the scissors get dull on the Spirit. So, the Charge is the winner here. ( Charge TTi- 8 / Spirit- 5)

    Versatility- This is where the Charge really shines. The Charge has bit drivers and multiple carry options. The LM bit driver is extremely versatile. You can can carry a multitude of bits that work extremely well. The Charge also has the ability of carrying it in the sheath, by using the pocket clip, or by attaching some cord or a carabiner to the removable lanyard ring. The Charge also has a fixed lanyard ring.. Without buying the Spirit Plus, you only get the tool... So, the Charge is the winner here. ( Charge TTi- 9 / Spirit- 5)

    Bottle/can openers- This is where the Spirit really shines. The Vic can opener is extremely versatile, and the bottle opener can be used as a crate opener. Plus, the bottle/can openers work extremely well. The LM's work fine, but the Spirit's are above the competition. So, the Spirit wins! (Charge- 9 / Sprit- 6)

    Wire strippers- The Spirit is a clear winner here. The Spirit has SO many different wire applications. It has an isolation cutter, a wire bender, a wire stripper, and a wire scraper! (Charge TTi- 9 / Spirit- 7)

    Locking Mechanisms- The locking mechanisms are both excellent on both tools. The Charge has liner locks for the blades and "push" button lock mechanism for the inner tools. The Spirit's implements all are locked from a sliding mechanism. I remember reading the Spirit's lock's fail while using the awl as an ice pick.. It's definitely a tie! (Charge TTi- 10 / Spirit-

    Plier head- The Spirit has a hybrid blunt/needlenose plier head and the Charge has needlenose. I prefer the Charge because needlenose pliers are far more versatile. You also get a crimper on the pliers. So, the Charge wins in my book. (Charge TTi- 11 / Spirit-

    Wire Cutters- The wirecutters on both tools work well. But, the Charge has a slight edge because they cut wire far more cleanly. The Spirit bites then cuts and the Charge just slices. So, the Charge wins. (Charge TTi- 12 / Spirit- 9)

    Quality of Engineering- The Spirit wins here, hands down. The Spirit is like a precision instrument, everything clicks! The Swiss also incorporate many different tool functions into a single implement. Whereas LM's philosophy is that each implement has one function, but that one function is going to work phenomenally. The Spirit wins here. (Charge TTi- 12 / Spirit- 9)

    Ergonomics- They are both extremely comfortable to hold and use. The Spirit is more comfortable in the pliers deployed position and the Charge is more comfortable in the closed position! So, it's a tie! (Charge TTi- 13 / Spirit 10)

    Extras- The Charge has a lot of extras that you don't ordinarily see on a multitool like a cutting hook, S30V blade steel, a diamond file, Ti scales, and a bit driver. The Spirit has a lot of unique implement like 595885 different wire implements! This is a tie, folks! (Charge TTi- 14 / Spirit- 11)

    So there's my take on the two tools. They are both wonderful. But, the premium materials, versatility, extra accessories, and the one handed blades of the Charge win me over. The Spirit is a good tool, but I truly believe the Charge is a better overall tool. The Spirit is put together, but the Charge's implements work better, IMO of course. So, the Charge is the winner here. But, as I said the Spirit's no slouch. So, feel free to add comments and critique mine! Thanks
     
  2. Bogwan

    Bogwan Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    34
    Wow !

    Thanks for a fantastic review on these two MTs.

    Since the LM Charge TTi costs almost double the Swisstool Standard Spirit one would expect it to win.

    I actually prefer the Swisstool Spirit X simply because you can get at all the tools (except the pliers) without opening it up.
     
  3. Dozer

    Dozer Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Messages:
    212
    Likes Received:
    33
    Nice comparison. I just got a TTi for my bday. I haven't had a leatherman since the original one. I have been very impressed with it. I havent used the Spirit X but i have been nothing but completely happy with the TTi. I have never really used an awl so that really isn't a big deal for me.
     
  4. Eagle Scout
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Eagle Scout Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    Messages:
    756
    Likes Received:
    823
    Ah...too many words. Not enough photos!

    Kidding. Nice write up. I like the Charge as well.
     
  5. leatherman123

    leatherman123 BST/Marketplace ban

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Charge TTi is more expensive because of the premium materials like S30v, titanium, bronze washers, etc.

    I will get some pics up in a bit! :)
     
  6. qharjo

    qharjo Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    1
    Pretty good summary. How do the two compare in weight/carryability?

    I do feel the balance is thrown off a bit when you start looking at the Plus Ratchet package, though. Still costs less than a TTi, but includes the very handy ratchet set and the much better belt pouch.

    For the Wave/Charges, I'm actually glad that the bit drivers don't open on the outside. I'm paranoid enough about losing my bits as it is :p
     
  7. MartinTravels

    MartinTravels Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    2
    I agree that ALL other multitools must bow at the altar of the Charge TTi.

    Something which was not mentioned was the belt clip. This is a huge selling point for those of us who don't like sheaths.

    I think there still is some room for improvement, but this is the best multitool ever made thus far.

    http://www.leatherman.com/products/product.asp?id=6&f=6&c=1

    [​IMG]
     
  8. znapschatz

    znapschatz Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,672
    Likes Received:
    2,178
    After experiencing both, I went with the Charge because, for the most part, the implements work better.

    Vic screwdrivers are okay but compromised by size and functionality. Leatherman bits fit standard screws better and, unlike Vic's, don't slip. Thanks to their flattened bit design, an assortment can easily be stowed in the sheath, more compact than the Spirit's arrangement.

    Because they are more versatile I prefer the Charge needlenose pliers. They open wider and the cutters snip wire more cleanly. Usually I prefer Vic scissors, but the Spirit's don't open wide enough to be of much use on anything more than fishing line or the like, a big disappointment. OTOH, although I originally had my doubts, the Charge scissors have proven reliable on a variety of materials.

    While the Spirit file is okay, what's not to like about the Charge diamond file? I use that every day, nothing better on any multitool. Another big deal: when it comes to one-handed opening any more, I'm really spoiled for anything else. With OH opening both premium quality PE AND fully serrated blades, I can leave the folder at home and lighten the load (quickly filled by something else, but that's another issue).

    Since I carry the tool in several ways, depending on circumstances, the ability to quickly attach and remove a pocket clip or lanyard ring is a big plus, not possible on the Spirit without a kludgey mod. Also, the Charge has a ruler, which I use seldom but just enough to have been annoyed by its lack on the Spirit. OTOH, the Charge misses an awl. Fortunately, I lucked into darn good awl mod from forum member Chako that fits the lanyard ring/pocket clip slot, so I am fully covered.

    There are some things I like about the Spirit. Its cap lifter is better than the Leatherman combo tool that can puncture a bottle cap if you are not careful. Also, I was well impressed by the unusual blade, which turned out to be very functional for all manner of cutting. Then, of course, there is the clever design that takes hand comfort into account, useful extra tools like the crate opener and chisel, and the gorgeous F&F. Although the Charge is not quite to that standard, it is actually quite good. Personally, after years with it I am completely satisfied with its build quality and have learned to live with its quirks, like the dreaded palm pinch (avoiding it became second nature early on.)

    If the Charge were not available, the Spirit would probably be a good choice in that size category. For me, though, the bottom line is functionality, and for that I have found the Charge a better fit.
     
  9. bobrip

    bobrip Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    7
    I consider the mirror finish to very important, on a mirror. It just seems to cause problems on the knife. I have never heard of anyone using a knife as a rescue device to attract attention. Seriously, I never found the screws that the Swiss tools are supposed to fit. Where as the Leatherman bits do fit the actual screws that I find. You see, I actually use my Leatherman TTi to do work, not just show off.
     
  10. leatherman123

    leatherman123 BST/Marketplace ban

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    As expected, I missed a few things so here they are:

    Weight:

    The Charge TTi weighs in at 8.2 ounces respectfully and the Spirit weighs in at 7 3/4 ounces I believe. There is a lot of faulty advertising online as most places, including Victorinox, list the Spirit as a 5 ounce tool. So, there really isn't much of a difference in weight...

    Carriage:

    The Charge TTi has a plethora of different carry options. First off, you can put it in the sheath either vertically or horizontally and you can store the tool with the pliers open if your fishing or using the pliers a lot. It also comes with a pocket clip which is extremely handy as well as a removable lanyard ring. Oh, and the Charge also has a fixed lanyard ring. The Spirit can be carried vertically in the sheath only. No horizontal carry or even a lanyard ring! Don't even say that the corkscrew reciprocal is a lanyard ring as it isn't. LOL The Charge definitely wins here, by a large margin:)
     
  11. qharjo

    qharjo Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    1
    Is the sliding lanyard on the Charge as worthless as it is on the Wave? Not the detachable, but the one that slides out from under the saw. I hate that thing, as it effectively blocks the scissors if you actually use it.

    I've seen at least one mod that removed the sliding lanyard and made the hole work with the detachable one, so you could have lanyard and pocket clip at the same time, which looks rather handy.
     
  12. leatherman123

    leatherman123 BST/Marketplace ban

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's the same thing, but if I were to ever put a lanyard on the Charge it would be with the removable lanyard ring. It's actually extremely easy to take the lanyard ring off. All you need is ONE 6 lobed security torx bit to remove it. If you want to remove the blades for whatever you need two however.
     
  13. styx

    styx Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    well honestly there are really great points here and the matter of the fact is that both are more than just well made tools.
    within the first post i would disagree on one thing - materials used. ok on the blade it's pointless because LM really does take that one, but in general it's more of where you are than "uuuu look the spirit is shiny". my point is how do they hold up under different circumstances.

    so to go on a bit of a rant since i'm new here and still feel that i have to prove myself to the senior members when it comes to useful knowledge. anyway i used to work as a roadie so i got to see how a lot of different things work and in different conditions. personally i'm cheap and i'm young so maybe that makes me a bit over cautious when spending cash on sth. but the point is that on a good amount of seaside, high humidity tours we had problems with our multitools. well all of us but one guy. there were SOGs, Gerbers, LMs, some cheap brands (a mistake i'm not gonna make again since it literally snapped in half) and one Swisstool. for some reason we were all fighting corrosion, while the guy with the Swisstool didn't have any problems at all. i find it a bit odd since LMs should be just as good considering the materials used. but they weren't. and a vast amount of LMs there were Charges and Waves.

    so why it was like that, i don't know, but one thing to consider when getting one of the 2 that are discussed here is also where you are and where you're gonna use it. sure it can be countered with some care but ppl tend to forget about that until it's too late.

    oh and i wanted to ask why is only TTi being discussed?
    the differences between the Wave, AL, ALX and TTi are:
    - materials used on the handles
    - blade steels
    - ALX and TTi have a cutting hook (honestly i'm yet to hear someone finding that useful)
    - ALX and TTi have a wire crimper
    - ALX lacks the large screwdriver and the scissors but it does have one more large bit driver

    well and the number of included bits but there are bit sets that can be bought separately. since the size of all is the same and the weight difference between the Wave and TTi is 0.3 oz or 9 grams it would bring a valid point that depending on how much one would need those extra tools the price can be cut to a range from 80$ to 130$ (i used rockynational.com as a price source so it may be different elsewhere) making the price difference between the Spirit and these LMs even smaller.

    p.s. forgot to mention that while i do see one handed opening blades on LMs as a plus Spirit actually beats them in a way with that because in some places that presents huge legality issues, while the Spirit isn't a problem at all.
    and the second thing - being able to take apart your multitool is a plus, but it should be done by ppl that know what they are doing. too many multitools have gone to a worthless piece of trash because of someone going in way over their head
     
  14. leatherman123

    leatherman123 BST/Marketplace ban

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    You bring up some interesting points and I will address them accordingly:

    The Victorinox steel is soft and shiny. It is so shiny that the pores in the steel are pretty much isolated and it makes the finish pretty much rustproof. Whereas the Leatherman steel is harder and it is pretty bead blasted so the pores are exposed and they rust easier. Everyone knows that bead blasted finishes are ultra rust prone! The Victorinox steel falls short because the knives have terrible edge holding capability, the screwdrivers don't come close to Leathermans. The flat heads don't bit into the screws because they are not ground on all four sides and sharp like a Leatherman's- they are rounded off. The philips is especially bad as the soft steel makes it strip easily (one of mine shows signs of stripping from heavy usage one time) and it just doesn't fit the screw head as well as a Leatherman.

    I have never had a problem with rust on a Leatherman. I wipe it down with a Tuf Cloth every so often and I haven't seen rust on any of my tools.

    I wouldn't say Victorinox steel is rust proof as I have seen more rusty SAKs then Leatherman's (on eBay etc). The original Leatherman tools (PST, Supertool, Flair etc) weren't bead blasted so they have a much higher tolerance for rust.

    It just goes to show that ALL steel will rust in certain conditions and if your not properly maintaining the tool then you shouldn't be talking about rust at all...

    I picked the TTi as that's what most people consider when buying a multitool. The Spirit or the titanium Charge TTi. I own 14 Charge's at the moment and I know the differences quite well thanks.

    Lastly, on the knife side of the spectrum. You are completely wrong about this. Pretty much everywhere that bans one handed opening knives also bans locking knives so you are out of luck in both cases.

    EDIT: also, it's not really taking apart your multitool but adjusting it accordingly. I have taken apart Charge's dozens of times and it is not a difficult concept at all.
     
  15. styx

    styx Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    well the rust part is right. it comes down more to maintenance, than anything else. now i honestly can't judge about how often one should clean his or hers multitool, but i know the conditions we were in. when you're going for 3 days without sleep of doing physically exhausting work, and 2 days in a row the organizers forget that you're a living being and you don't get to eat, those 6 hours that you finally get to rest you'll just fall over and sleep. rust is no where on your mind. hell injuries aren't on your mind, and i should know because i almost lost a leg. but that's another story for another day.
    so all this time your multitool has been exposed to rough conditions, you're using it and it tends to rust. but you are right on that one.
    and when it comes to ebay - some ppl there are looking for a quick buck for defunct stuff. so no wonder that you'll find a lot of, well to be polite, bad items there. so i think it's a safer bet to buy a new multitool, or if you have to go with a used one - a chance to have it in your hand and inspect it is far better.

    14? ok that's a pretty nice sum. anyway others that might read this thread, and there will be ppl that come across it while looking what to buy can find that information useful. plus other members might not have the time to check it or sth like that. and it also helps the point of that you may have 80$ to spend, and you want a LM over a Victorinox or any other brand, and a Charge is catching your eye. so it's only fair to mention that there are other options that might satisfy you more than settling on sth you don't want.
    and true ppl go to the TTi quite fast. mostly due to the hype of titanium as a whole concept. only difference that i can see is it being a bit lighter (maybe 2 grams) and more scratch resistant.

    uuu there i can't agree with you. i'm not sure where you're from and how well you know the laws, but a locking blade is not a big deal. a one hand opening blade on the other hand is. and that one i do know because i'm a magnet for cops. and even in Switzerland and Germany where the laws are quite nasty about that (although Britain permits locking blades too) i've come out without a problem with the lock. dudes that had one hand opening blades had a lot more explaining to do and some did get quite hefty fines because of them.

    ok you know what you're doing so there is a lot of sense in having those screws and that ability. the but comes when someone who would stab himself with a butter knife tries sth like that. or even look at sth i have seen reported here. a dude had some problem with his LM skeletool. i think it was that his blade got shipped. LM did fix that, but the representative in croatia didn't do the job accordingly. it's a plus to LM for taking care of their customers, but there's no guarantee that you wouldn't get a doggy bag with parts. so it's a great thing to be able to do sth like that, but it really should be done by ppl who know what they are doing.
    like you have 14 charges. you know what you're doing. someone who got it more for show than for usage better not.
     
  16. zenlunatic

    zenlunatic Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,574
    Likes Received:
    37
    Ive been considering a TTi. I EDC a folder and a Juice S2. My first MT that I got was in high school, and it was a piece of crap. However, all these years I never once used the saw or the file. For me the Juice S2 has all I need.
     
  17. smith

    smith Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    i love my TTi but it's rather stiff at the joints. Anyone have tips on loosening it up just a little?
     
  18. leatherman123

    leatherman123 BST/Marketplace ban

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    You can get two sx pointed security torx bits and loosen them yourself, or, you can watch a good movie and open and close everything while watching and get the tool smooth that way.
     
  19. znapschatz

    znapschatz Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,672
    Likes Received:
    2,178
    Or, watch a bad movie instead. If the movie is too good, you might get so involved that you lose concentration and cut yourself. With a bad movie, you get bored with it and concentrate instead on the project at hand.

    Been there.