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Review of the Leatherman Wave



It’s no exaggeration to say that the Leatherman Wave is a benchmark by which all other multi-tools are judged.  It’s a best seller for Leatherman year after year, and almost universally praised for a product that represents the nexus of quality, capability, size, weight, and price.

I actually own two Leatherman Waves – one I keep in my range bag for when I go to my local gun range to practice or teach, and one in my competition bag which has everything I need when I shoot in 3 Gun or other type of shooting competitions.  Whether I’m teaching, practicing, competing, or taking an instructional course myself, it’s important that I have the capability to fix minor problems.  This could range from removing a shell casing from a firearm, changing a battering on an optic, fixing the “zero” on an optic, or any of a dozen other potential things that could pop up and shut down my session if I can fix it on the spot.  Both my range bag and my competition bag are chuck full of other necessities – I don’t have a lot of extra room for tools, so a multi-tool makes a great deal of sense for this application.  And more times than I can count, the Leatherman Wave has come through for me.  With it’s all stainless steel construction, efficient design, and incredible quality of manufacturing, it may well be the best option available in the mid-size multi-tool segment.

The Leatherman Wave can be purchased with a few different options in terms of what comes with it – I recommend getting the nylon sheath with it:


In terms of the included tool load out on the Leatherman wave, one of the big competitive advantages of the tool is what’s accessible on the outside of the tool without having to open it.  On the outside there are two different knives (straight edge, serrated edge), a two-sided file, and a saw.  The straight edge knife on the Wave is one of the best I’ve seen on a multi-tool.  Easily opened with one hand, The blade is constructed from 420HC stainless steel, which is a very good utility grade of stainless steel.  At nearly 3″ in length, it’s larger and more useful than than knives which come with most competing products.  When opened, the knife blade is held securely in place by a liner lock.

FY7A0704-Edit-Edit-Edit-EditThe serrated edge blade has many of the same specifications (420HC steel, liner lock, one hand operation) as its straight edge counter part:


The saw is quite useful and robust with very aggressive teeth, while the file has a course side, and a diamond dust side for finer work:


A ruler with both metric and English units of measure can be found on the interior handles of the Wave – something I use again at the gun range to measure groups on paper.


Once fully opened, the user can access the pliers and wire cutter.  For a tool at this price point, I’m a bit surprised the wire cutter blades are fixed and not removable.  Still, with their needle nose heads, the pliers on the Wave are considered among the most robust and useful pliers in the entire product segment.


The remaining tools on the Wave are contained within the interior of the handles:


On one side you have a micro screw driver, appropriate for changing the smallest of screw heads such as those found on watches or eye glasses.  It also has a very large flat head screw driver that could also flex into a pry tool if need be.  Finally, there’s a small set of scissors which both of excellent quality and quite useful.

On the opposite handle you find a bottle opener, and the implement which really separates the Wave from many of its lesser competitors – the bit driver:


The bit driver comes with one bit with a flat driver head on one side, and a Phillips head on the other.  This, along with the other fixed flat head drivers in the opposite handle will be plenty for some users.  But by purchasing the accessory Leatherman Bit Kit, you have access to nearly any kind of driver head you might need.  There’s also an accessory Bit Driver Extension tool which can be purchased that not only gives the tool some much needed additional reach, but also makes the Leatherman Bit Driver compatible with any standard bit head – not just those available in the Leatherman Bit Kits:


The Bit Kits and the Extender fit ever so elegantly within the nylon Leatherman sheath, making for an extremely powerful, compact tool kit, which again meets my needs perfectly.  Other manufactures have in recent years begun copying Leatherman’s bit driver, but none do it as well as Leatherman.

The Leatherman Wave itself can be purchased for under $90.00:


The Leatherman Bit Kit can be purchased separately:


As can the Leatherman Bit Driver Extension:


In addition to this written photo review, I’ve recorded a video supplement on the ThruMyLens YouTube Channel:

About John B. Holbrook, II

John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of, as well as and

*All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

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