Leatherman New Wave Reviews

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“Leatherman (new) Wave multitool. Better than the old wave.”

★★★★☆

written by diablo944 on 17/05/2017

The original leatherman wave had no locking screwdrivers. The revision that leatherman eventually replaced it with had a number of changes including the addition of locking screwdrivers/tools. This 'new' wave has been around for a good while now. I explain this solely so the terms original and new when used in conjuction with the wave make more sense. Supplies of the original wave have long since gone (and by long since we are talking nearly ten years) and the wave in the shops now are the all revised version 'new' waves. I have always been a fan of leatherman tools. On a motorbike and camping they are an essential part of my kit. In everyday life, an appropriate leatherman on the belt can, and does make a multitude of 'spur of the moment' jobs easy to do. Everyone has a story about their tool that is regularly used, mine being the day I bought a piece of wood boarding that was about three inches too big to get in the car. The guy in the car next to me was smirking, right until I pulled the leatherman out and sawed off a three foot long excess. Luckily it wasnt too thick and the leatherman did its job in a minute or so. Big smile, drive away. That was with the old leatherman wave, a trusted and well used tool over the years. The only reason my original wave was retired was because that version didn't have locking screwdrivers. On more than one occasion the driver folded and caused a few bruised knuckles. The new wave addresses that by having locking components and avoids those moments where high forces could cause injury when a screwdriver failed to hold. Back then though, the new wave didn't exist and I jumped to a charge (i cant use its real designation here as the two letters are banned, but its long name would be the charge titanium) for its locking abilities. Being a fair bit bigger (and with the extra bits in sleeves in the pouch) it was also harder to justify carrying every day. Fast forward to my recent acquisition, the new wave. My uncle has been hovering on a wave for a good while now, and a recent ad from a reliable seller had the new wave at around 75 quid. He finally bit the bullet, and me not wanting him lording the new wave over my old faithful, I joined him in purchasing one (though he went the extra mile and bought the extension bar as well, more on the potential problems with that additional component later). So the new wave, on the desk before me and looking shiny and ready for action with no idea of the work it will eventually do. First impressions are good. It's as substantial as you would expect. Compared to the original version it has bulked up quite a bit. The svelte slim original looks now obviously fatter and with blade rears more pronounced. Another part of that bulk being due to the lock release mechanisms at the handle bases. Its not a massive increase in size, but it is very obvious. In terms of tools the new wave has lost a couple of flathead screwdrivers, replaced with other functions. The scissors, whilst very effective, look considerably less substantial than those of the originals. What the new wave lost in screwdrivers though, at least in my eyes, it has gained in the addition of the bit driver and micro (glasses) driver. The bit driver is, to me, a component that no every day carry item should be without and has over the years saved me from no end of difficult scenarios. You get one double ended bit with the wave, one end is a cross head driver with the other a flathead. With the bit driver set (available seperately) the tool becomes far more useful with various allen keys and assorted screwdriver bits for a multitude of tasks. With all the attachments now locking out, and the inclusion of the bit driver, the new wave is a far better proposition than its older relative and is infinitely more versatile while also being much safer to use. The glasses screwdriver (also a double ended bit, crosshead and flathead) is also a nice addition. Many will probably feel its a useless addition, or at the very least an addition that could have been better replaced with another screwdriver or something thats used more often. To me though as a long time user of the old model, that small task of tightening a pair of glasses arms was always out of reach, and on far too many occasions I was confronted with people asking if my Tool had a tiny screwdriver for just that task. So maybe thats actually a stroke of genius adding a micro screwdriver to the new tool. Moving on, the main (non serrated) blade is bigger that its older models blade. The length is the same, but it is both thicker and has more depth. Its worth noting that the new wave also has a way to identify which of the two cutting blades you are opening. The serrated edge blade has 3 lines cut into the rear near the pivot point, while the regular blade is smooth. This ridging is both visual and tactile. On the old wave I regularly found myself part opening the blade, seeing it was the wrong one and having to close it away and flip the wave 180 degrees to open the correct one. The new waves ridge approach (incidentally this was a 'feature' of the charge titanium) makes such actions a thing of the past. Outwardly the external tools are the same, regular blade and serrated blade both easy to open one handed (as long as you are right handed), while the saw and file are tucked away and need to be lifted out using the notches at the end. Its good to see that both of these are as good if not better than the originals. Both the blades, the file and the saw all lock out when in use. The lock is a simple enough design but it works well. I have seen similar tools do this same action very badly. Opening a knife one handed to the locking position is simple and it snaps firmly in the lock position. After a while it becomes second nature to release and close the blade one handed in a fluid movement. The blades themselves come sharp as razors when you get the tool. But from new everything feels overly tight. This tightness eases without becoming slack, but it is the reason I would say take extra care when opening and closing the blades one handed. Your thumb is dangerously close to the blade edge (obviously) when doing this operation, and the newness/stiffness does increase the risk of user error. You dont want to be cutting your thumb by being careless. The pliers are considerably stronger than the originals. Without compromising the actual jaws and making them much larger, the actual working area around the pivot has gained a fair amount of heft. You could throw far more grunt at these than the originals. The wite cutters are still there, and on the can opener you still have the wire stripper component so everything here is good, in fact better than the original, although again, out of the box, the pliers are way too tight and I can't wait for them to loosen up. All in the garden is not rosey though. There are a couple of minor (but fixable) issues that stand out to me. I should add, if I hadnt owned the original wave these issues would be overlooked by most, but to me they were instant niggles. Using the one handed operation approach with the blades is a potentially painful experience on the new wave. The thumb cutouts to give you purchase on the blade itself are straight punched through. On the old wave they were slightly chamfered to remove the edge inside the opening. With the new wave this lack of chamfer makes for a very noticable edge. Its a ninety degree edge, but its perfectly cut so feels sharp in use. As I sat opening and closing the blades to help them 'free up' I noticed my thumb at the contact point was complaining. Reaching for my old wave I tried the same, and though the old wave blades are much more free to move, it was instantly obvious the action was far more comfortable. So with a brand new guaranteed tool I found myself doing the unthinkable, taking a needle file to those thumb notches. It took very little time to make an uncomfortable action into a vastly superior feel. Instead of a sharp corner its now much better to use. I filed it very little, but it was enough to remove that nasty feel from the edge. The other part thats a slight let down compared to the original? Opening the saw. When closed the saw sits deep in the body of the tool. Too deep in fact. It really needs either the cutout on the handle to be deeper, or the part of the saw that butts up to the case when closed could do with an extra millimetre of metal to hold the file tip higher. I cant address the saws missing metal, whats gone is gone and that was done by leatherman themselves. But looking at the tool itself, there is no issue in slightly deepening the cutout to make reaching the saw notch a little easier. As it is you have to pick it out in a way thats far from perfect, its more like teasing it to a point you can firmly hook the notch with a nail. In having to this It just 'looks' wrong. So my job for later is taking a dremel grinding wheel to that part of the case. If I were being ultra picky (which I am right now) I would also point out that the handles steel edges are perhaps one mm proud on the area nearest the blade tips (when closed). Those corners may also get a slight trim when I do the notch later as they are not structural in any way. My niggles though are in no way enough to say the tool isnt perfect at what it does. They are my own 'expect perfection' issues. As they are the tool works as it should and is a huge improvement over the original. The extension bit brings a problem to me and is something leatherman really need to address. Where do you put it? Not for when its used, but where is a safe place to have it on the sheath. Leatherman sheaths invariably have holes at the bottom. Although the sheath supplied has an elasticated side where it would go perfectly, it runs the risk of being lost. All the leatherman sheaths I have seen are either partially open at the bottom, or in the case of sealed bottom units, are not big enough to slide the extender in with the tool. This means the only option is the addition of the bit tool pouch (closed bottom). I am not sure yet how much will go in that pouch, whether it will take the tool along with bit slides and extender, and the only way to know for sure is to buy one and try. Leatherman need a pouch that suits these additions and 'securely' takes things like the extender. Niggles aside, and based on finish and design, the new leatherman wave is far and away better than the original wave. Yes its a bit more bulky, but it has become more of the tool it should have been in the first place. If anything the new wave is right, and the old wave is a slightly inferior version. For anyone with an older wave, the 'upgrade' is well worth considering. But while the old wave is small enough to throw in a pocket without its sheath and virtually forget its there, the new waves additional mass might make that one option less desirable. My old wave is now consigned to the odds and ends jobs around the house. The titanium is still the king for me, but the new wave? Thats the new every day carry with the titanium only now being used for when I am on the motorbike where its extra bulk/strength comes in handy with allen bolts and the like. Without the titanium, the wave could probably easily do the majority of its work and That to me makes the new wave a very worthwhile purchase. As a final note, the new wave has a lanyard point that is extremely well hidden. For those who dont need a lanyard point they may never know it exists. There are plenty of youtubers showing it in detail and far be it from me to try and reinvent the wheel. Its there is all you really need to know, and to open it, the tool you need is actually the supplied bit from the bit driver on the wave. They really did think of everything there. I would have given the new wave a five star rating were it not for the awkwardness of getting the saw out, and the sharp corners of the thumb holes on the blades. For functionality it deserves the five stars, just those niggles knocked a star off. If the rating score was in percentage value, it would have lost at most 5 percent.

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