Hands-on Gear Review
Compare multi-tool knife ratings side-by-side >
Street Price: Varies from $90 - $116 | Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros: Functional and well-built
Cons: Relatively simple design
Best Uses: Keep one in your car for routine repairs on the go
Our testers enjoyed the practical and well thought-out design of the Leatherman Wave. This is a tool intended for use by the masses. Each of the modest selection of tools is functional and sturdy. Leatherman Inc. has been in the multi tool business for many years, and that experience shows in the Wave. Just like our Editors Choice winner Leatherman Charge TTI the Wave has the most commonly-used tools on the "outside" and readily accessible. This also means that these handiest blades and saws are larger than those on other tools. As compared to the Gerber Multi Plier 600, (otherwise similar in overall size and weight) both main blades are over a half inch longer on the Wave.
Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Leatherman Wave sits smack in the middle of a practical and well-built spectrum of tools from this venerable manufacturer. While it didn't win any of our awards, it is entirely possible this may be the tool for you.
The Leatherman Wave doesn't have the most functions in our test, nor are any of the functions particularly unique. However, it does have the combination that our testers have deemed to be essential on a multi-tool. And then some, of course. Only our Editors Choice winner had the same magic combination of a nice blade, tight pliers with wire cutters, scissors, and integrated bit drivers. The Leatherman Charge TTI comes with a full selection of bits for their proprietary driver while the Wave simply comes with a single, dual-purpose bit. Of course, additional bits can be purchased for any Leatherman tool equipped with the driver, the Wave included.
This is a clean, sturdy tool. The materials aren't the flashiest, but they'll get most jobs done. The main blade is constructed less expensively than the main blades on the Charge TTI and Top Pick winner SOG PowerAssist.
With construction that will last a lifetime and a price that won't break the bank, the Wave is a great value in our book. We had to give our Best Buy award to the Wave's cousin Leatherman Wingman on account of the Wingman's almost outrageously low price and similar construction quality. As compared to the Wingman, the extra cost of the Wave gets you better ergonomics, far more features, two larger blades, and is customizable with aftermarket products.
While the Leatherman Wave doesn't have flashy exotic materials in its construction, or super-compact portability, or advanced mechanical advantage, it is an excellent work-horse tool in a category where work-horse status is exactly what the user may be looking for. The Wave has many of the advantages of our Editors Choice winner, without the astronomical cost.
Other Versions and Accessories
Our Editors Choice Leatherman Charge TTI, $180, is a more "pimped out" version of this same tool and wins the Editor's Choice Award. If you want some of these features at a more budget price, the Wave can be upgraded with after-market bit kits, pocket clip, and/or lanyard clip. The Leatherman Wingman, $42, wins the Best Buy Award as it is an average-sized tool with an easy-entry price. The Leatherman Squirt PS4, $40, wins the Top Pick Award for its prowess as compared to other small, pliers-based multi-tools.
— Jediah Porter
Compare this product side-by-side to top competitors >
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: March 18, 2014
Where's the Best Price?
*Help support OutdoorGearLab. If you click on one of the seller links and make a purchase, a portion of the sale helps support this site
Related Best-in-Class Review
Helpful Buying Tips
Get More OutdoorGearLab
Follow us on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook!
Related Gear Reviews
Other Gear by Leatherman
Recent Best-in-Class Reviews