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Leatherman Surge Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

A close-up image of the Leatherman Surge 21-in-1 Multi-tool laid on a table top.

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to go from store to store looking for the best multi-tool that fits your needs? Then you gave up and went online hoping the internet will have your back? If you still have doubts in your mind, let us put those to rest by saying you came to the right place so sit back, grab a cup of coffee and read on.

Whether you’ve got experience using multi tools before or this is your very first time shopping for one, you’re sure to have heard of the name Leatherman Surge Multi Tool before. Even if you haven’t which is unlikely, well now you have.

We know your head must be filled with questions by now and might even be confused with all the information and technical mumbo jumbo out there in the wild. So we set our goal to give you an authentic guide that is guaranteed to help you through your Leatherman Journey from their origins to their current dominance worldwide with a healthy sprinkle of some frequently asked questions as well.

Who is Leatherman?

Leatherman Tool Group is arguably one of the most renowned and famous multi tool makers in the United States offering top of the line multi tools for outdoor campers, handymen, and hunters since 1983. Finding their place in the market early on, Leatherman gained popularity delivering products with their unique twist of innovation and quality which gave them an upper hand to compete against much older companies in the business. Along with their continued success and accomplishment in the market, Leatherman flourished into a global enterprise bringing you exceptional products like the Surge and its smaller sibling-Wave into the hands of hundreds and thousands of people worldwide.

Leatherman Buyers Guide:

Before buying any product or device online in today’s day and age, we’re already at the point where it has become a tradition for us to learn almost everything we can about it as it does not provide the tangibility and realness when compared to shopping in person at the store. So we broke down some of the key aspects you’d surely want to know when buying a Leatherman Surge in our buyers guide down below.

Features:

When it comes to extra and special features, the Surge takes the crown. It is always nice to know that there are bonus features added to the ones you wanted in the first place. If you don’t want to or simply don’t have the time to go through their original product description, we’ve taken our time to briefly explain some of the major ones below.

All Locking Features

One of the most basic yet essential features that are crucial when using your tools effectively. What this does is that it provides users with easy to use locks on the tool they are using currently so that they can properly apply pressure and get the job done safely without having to worry about others getting in your work, which can also be conveniently unlocked manually allowing you to stow your tool away after you’ve completed your job.

Lanyard Ring

This sturdy well-built ring is used to attach the tool to a lanyard, giving people a lot more freedom to work with than carrying it on a nylon sheath or in your pocket clip. It is quite useful for people who are rather busy and get a lot of work done with this tool. Sadly for Leatherman and ultimately for us as well, this is the only feature the Wave does not have in its arsenal.

Outside accessible Features

Quite possibly the most convenient feature anyone would look for in a multi tool. The Surge is capable of mimicking the features of a typical pocket knife allowing the user to use certain tools while it’s in a closed or folded position which can then be used as a stand-alone tool.

One-hand Operable Features

Each and every tool in this device can be used and operated with one hand which enables you to use the other hand for whatever you’re currently working on, or to multi-task, or to just keep it free till something comes along.

Performance:

Performance and efficiency is quite possibly the most essential aspect of any product that you’d hope to buy and it is only fair that you have more information and details that are not as easily seen from outside.

The Surge is fully packed with some of the most commonly used and versatile tools enabling people to get their work done with ease. When talking about scissors alone, the Surge has managed to equip their device with scissors that are larger than those on a full-size swiss army knife allowing their users with more surface area for a comfortable grip.

Similarly, Leatherman has their own Bit Kit Set that is fully compatible with the included bit driver allowing the user to customize with bits of their own liking and according to the job.

But unlike Wave-the smaller version of the Surge, the actual weight of the device might cause you some minor portability issues which could result in poor performance. Even though it can be carried in a pocket clip and keep it with you at all times, it could cause you some discomfort over time which is why it’s recommended to keep it within your toolbox or glove compartment.

Construction Quality:

If you were wondering about the construction quality of a premium Leatherman Surge costing well over $100, it is exactly as you would expect or perhaps even more. Having made of 420 High Carbon Stainless Steel, the Surge is assuredly built to last longer than any of its competitors in the current market.

Due to its significantly larger size, Leatherman was able to pack broader and thicker tools inside the Surge giving people a superior yet comfortable feel in the hand as if they were holding a premium version of that specific individual tool. Even the springs and pivots used in wire cutters, pliers, and pretty much every tool is manufactured to the highest standards giving it a more robust look and feel.

When talking more specifically about the built quality of certain tools, the jaws of its wire cutters are made to be easily maintained, serviced, and replaced effortlessly wherever you are without the need of any additional help. Just like wire cutters, every other tool is meticulously created and assembled in such a way making the Surge, even more sturdier and powerful. If you’re on the lookout for a quality durable multi tool, we assure you will not be disappointed going with the Surge.

Ergonomics:

When it comes to the ergonomics of a product, especially when it is a device with various uses which can be used in endless amounts of ways, it is crucial to design tools with simplicity and practicality in mind so that people of every skill level and experience can use and enjoy even if they haven’t used one before.

This is where Leatherman excels as it is designed with considerably larger tools that are easy to use and handle in a small form factor. In the course of all our testing and after going through hundreds and if not thousands of customer reviews, we found that the Scissors and Pliers performed exceedingly well in particular while being extremely easy to handle and work with.

If you’re looking for a bulky all-rounder with fairly bigger tools that are built for maximum durability, this is definitely the way to go. However, if portability and weight is a major concern for your day to day activities involving a multi-tool, you might be better off with their smaller Leatherman Wave instead of the Surge as it is considerably lower in both weight and size.

Portability:

As Leatherman multi tools are meticulously built to withstand most environments and situations, and along with the inclusion of 21 well-built tools, the Surge could feel a tad cumbersome to some people when it comes to every-day portability as it weighs a bit over 12 ounces.

Nonetheless, being a bit chunky doesn’t necessarily mean it cannot be carried freely wherever you go. You’ll definitely feel the size and weight of the device if you decide to carry it within your pocket, but the fact is it can be done just as easily like any other. Although, it is generally recommended to keep them in your glove compartment or toolbox so that it won’t get in your way as much.

But if you’d still like to use it on a regular basis or you’d like to keep it within you at all times without getting in your way, going for a handy pocket clip would be the ideal alternative. Even though almost all standard pocket clips are compatible and would fit the Surge perfectly, Leatherman has conveniently provided us with their own pocket clip which often comes bundled and offered on discounted prices from time to time as well.

Value

Just like any other product you’d buy online, it is important to consider its price and the value it contributes when compared to other similar products in the market and even their own minor version- the Wave. Although the Surge is undeniably a bit pricier than most multi tools that are currently available, it provides you with quality and function unparalleled to any other making it certainly worth the price.

When talking about the quality, it is worth mentioning that the Surge is built for extreme heavy-duty situations with premium top-notch materials and even comes with extra bits for added functionality. Not only is it built like a miniature tank, but it is also widely accepted among outdoor enthusiasts for its phenomenal strength and mass giving it a sturdier grip for whichever tool you use.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to your own preferences and desires. While some might consider the Surge a bit out of their price range, others might be ecstatic and even think of it as an absolute steal considering the amount of premium multi tools they get to enjoy in one small yet reliable package. Either way, Leatherman has presented us with yet another masterpiece that is certainly worth the price without a doubt.

Leatherman Surge’s 21 Tools:

In a compact and easy to handle casing, the Leatherman Surge multi-tool brings 21 different yet impressively valuable tools to the table and potentially to your pocket or backpack as well. Coming up to almost 4.5 inches in length when opened, it only weighs 12.5 ounces making it one of the lightest mini tools in the market. Here’s our brief guide to Leatherman’s well-known arsenal of mini tools and their features.

This is an image of the Leatherman Surge multi-tool with labeled parts.

1. Needlenose Pliers

One of the handiest and useful tools you would ever need from a multi-tool kit, ideal for holding smaller objects and can be further used for bending, snipping, and repositioning slimmer wires on even narrow spaces as well.

2. Regular Pliers

Performs exactly like a Needlenose plier, except that it conveniently enables you to have a better and tighter grip on slightly larger objects.

3. Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters

Can be used to cut through standard and light-gauge wires effortlessly, which is conveniently replaceable and more than capable of retaining its edge in a mini tool such as this and is not included in the Wave.

4. Premium Replaceable Hard-Wire Cutters

Have the same characteristics as a regular wire cutter, but these wire cutters are optimal for electrical hard wires while still being replaceable and edge retaining.

5. Stranded Wire Cutters

Perfect for snipping through bundled or wrapped small gauge wires with precision without bruising them. Instead of using an item like a pair of scissors which uses a shearing action, this tool cuts wires by indenting and wedging apart the wire giving it a cleaner cut.

6. Electrical Crimper

These electrical crimpers found at the jaw of the multi-tool provide a gas-tight seal to the end of stranded wires preventing moisture and oxygen from reaching the inner metals which conveniently helps avoid corrosion.

7. Wire Stripper

Optimal for securely stripping the electrical insulation from different wire types and gauges without cutting the interior wire.

8. 420HC Knife

One of the main highlights of the Surge is this corrosion and resistant 420HC High Carbon Stainless Steel Knife which can be used for any indoor and outdoor purposes. It is extremely tough and easy to sharp which makes it even easier to maintain in the long run.

9. 420HC Serrated Knife

Having made of 420HC stainless steel, a tooth bladed knife is the perfect type of knife style suitable and extremely useful for cutting through rope and fiber making it a brilliant choice for any outdoor adventure.

10. Saw

A handy open toothed blade that can be used to saw through tougher materials effortlessly just like its standard bigger counterpart.

11. Spring Action Scissors

By being quite possibly the most common item used by the majority of Surge users, this one-handed multi-tool is designed perfectly to cut through thin materials quickly and comfortably.

12. Awl w/ Thread Loop

Awls are generally used to puncture through tougher materials to form holes or to broaden existing holes with precision and sew it with its included loop. But since it is readily available in a compact multi-tool wherever you go, there can be numerous other uses as well such as using it to chip or break ice if you’re outside during a heavy winter or to even just make a small scribe mark in a piece of wood without dulling your main equipment.

13. Ruler (8in | 19cm)

An accurate measuring tool on the go which is capable of determining length in both inches and centimeters efficiently. A bit smaller than a standard 30cm ruler but it more than makes up for it with its portability.

14. Can Opener

A handy device which is convenient for opening canned goods in the wild or even at home, safely and securely without injuring yourself or the can itself.

15. Bottle Opener

Whether you’re outside in the wilderness or enjoying a couple of beers inside with your best mates, a bottle opener is always a nifty gadget to keep within your reach to pop open your favorite drink or beverage anytime you need.

16. Wood/Metal File

The perfect widget for filing and smoothening edges precisely on any wood or metal surface if you’re into inventive hobbies like woodwork and metalwork.

17. Diamond-Coated File

These neatly designed Diamond-coated files perform outstandingly well when it comes to dressing, notching, and sharpening brittle materials like glass, ceramic, and most typically on hard steel blades. But unlike traditional wood/metal files, these are made with diamond grit making them perfect for honing your knives and blades in the wild.

18. Blade Exchanger

Having a unique Blade Exchanger such as this on an already brilliant multi-tool takes the Leatherman Surge to the next level even when compared to the Wave as this feature is exclusive to this device only. A tool of this caliber is proficient in enabling the user to swap out t-shank tools allowing more flexible customizations.

19. Large Bit Driver

Another handy device that allows the user with great customization by allowing the user to switch out full-size bits effortlessly. For those who are keen on using a bit driver efficiently and more thoroughly, you can pick up a bit driver extender to further your reach which comfortably fits on any Leatherman knife.

20. Large Screwdriver

One of the most commonly used and desired tools in a mini toolkit that allows the user to tighten and loosen flat-headed screws wherever and whenever you are. A must-have device in any multi-tool, and comes handy in most repair projects.

21. Small Screwdriver

Works and performs exactly like its larger counterpart but gives you more flexibility and enables you to use on smaller screws. Another useful feature missing from the Wave.

Conclusion:

If you still aren’t impressed by Leatherman’s unique implementation of a Blade Exchanger or their own compact versions of hard-wire cutters, it’s about time you should be. Having made of premium quality stainless steel, the Surge is among the largest multi tools offered by Leatherman making it a no brainer for any outdoor enthusiast.

Even if you don’t enjoy outside as much, you’d still want to have this on yourself as it provides you with an extensive range of gadgets and devices that are more than appropriate for everyday use all in one compact gadget. Furthermore, you can keep one of these handy little tools in your glove compartment for emergencies if you don’t want to carry this with you all the time.

Either way, this is undoubtedly a worthy pick no matter what situation you’re in. And who knows, it might even save your life someday and you’d be thankful you have a multi tool that can both save your life and crack open a cold one when you go back home.

FAQ:

What is the best Leatherman tool to buy?

As every multi tool offered by Leatherman can be considered the best in terms of their functionality and performance, it obviously relies on you to categorize what counts as the best. However, it doesn’t mean that we can’t give you some basic suggestions and recommendations to give you a small nudge if you’re still on the fence.

When it comes to the best Leatherman has to offer, nothing beats the Surge. It provides you with more than enough utility but has the potential to take it up from portability. If that is a major concern if yours, you might be better off with Leatherman’s Wave which is lesser in both price and functionality but weighs considerably low allowing you to carry it comfortably wherever you go without the need for pocket clips or sheath although it is still recommended to use one if you’re intending to use it often.

How do you open a Leatherman surge?

Opening a Leatherman Surge multi tool is extremely easy and does not require additional steps, which goes the same for the Wave and pretty much their entire full-size line up as well if you were wondering as they are built with almost identical designs.

As the Surge comes with tools that can be used from the outside, they can be quite easily taken out with a gentle swivel whenever you decide to use them. You can similarly use all other tools as well after manually unlocking and stowing away the tool you were using at first as each of them comes with tiny locks that are conveniently easy to use.

Where is the Leatherman surge made?

Leatherman was proudly founded and started in the United States, in Portland, Oregon to be more specific and they have been making their entire line of multi tools in the US from 1983 to this day. However, due to higher demand and appeal, they were quickly made available around the world with exclusive importers. Currently, Leatherman is dominating in most international markets like it has been for over decades.

Is the Leatherman Surge spring-loaded?

The most simple and brief answer is that is it not spring-loaded, but let us explain the reason behind it. To implement a spring mechanism into the pliers or any other tool, it would mean that Leatherman must remove some material from its head which will result in reduced structural integrity ultimately causing it to break due to the hollow cavity where the spring sits.

The only way to remedy that is by fitting in an external spring which won’t make much sense in any aspect and could do you a lot worse than good. Even if they could add a successful spring mechanism, that still would not be a good idea as solid pliers are generally stronger than pliers with a spring when it comes to pliers with the same dimensions and material.

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