In our testing, the Leatherman Squirt PS4 is near the top of an important sub-category. It is the smallest in our test but has a blade that rivals some of the full-size folders. It is the lightest, but cuts wire and squeezes with the best of them. It is around the same price as our Best Buy Leatherman Wingman. The Wingman is similarly featured, but larger. In the tiny-tool sub category, the PS4 is only slightly edged out by the more robust Gerber Dime. These two are so close that, to most of our testers, it is just the bottle opener of the Dime that tips the balance. Read on to see just how close the Squirt was to earning an award.
Leatherman Squirt PS4 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Small, well-built, good selection of tools
Cons: Small, flexible pliers
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Leatherman Squirt PS4 is a tiny chunk of well-built and functional steel and aluminum. Strong pliers, an excellent blade, and precise scissors in a keychain-ready package fulfill the needs of many daily multi-tool users.
Stacked up against the literal big dogs, this tiny little thing doesn't stand out at all. However, when you consider that it is 1/3 the size of most of the tools, and therefore sits nearly alone in an entirely different class, the overall score does not matter nearly as much.
In our testing, people naturally gravitated to the tools that include scissors. All models include a blade, screwdrivers, and pliers. It is the scissors that set apart most of our award winners. Leatherman's Squirt series started with the P4 and then later added the PS4. The S stands for scissors. The PS4 has 'em and the P4 doesn't. Recently Leatherman discontinued the P4, because the PS4 has all the advantages of the former, plus scissors. One tester has used the P4 for years and is excited for the inclusion of scissors to his favorite tool. The suite of options in the Squirt PS4 is unreal, considering the small stature.
The blade is small but functional. One of our hunting testers, while bringing a knife that didn't make the cut in our Pocket Knife Review, also carries a Squirt. His pocket knife used for hunting turned out to not be up to the task of field dressing his deer. He had to use his tiny Squirt blade to dress, skin, and quarter a deer. And it did the job. The blade's edge is sharp and durable. The other features in the Squirt PS4 are also useful. The bottle opener is handy. The file is excellent, and the screwdrivers work for light-duty turning. If you require more torque, this sort of design will come up short, regardless of the exceptional construction quality.
The Gerber Dime has virtually the same feature set of the Squirt. The main difference is that the Dime has a "package opener" while the Squirt has a file. Also, while both have bottle openers, the one on the Dime is larger and is accessible without folding anything open. There are pros and cons to each tool, feature wise, and in the end, they each earned the same score.
Smaller multi-tools are inherently tougher to use. One can't exert the same leverage, and the small handles are simply more difficult to manipulate. The Squirt PS4 is no exception. In many ways, portability and ergonomics are opposed. More portable, like the Squirt, and it'll be tougher to use. However, Leatherman's small tool strikes a great balance. All the surfaces are curved for in-hand comfort. All the secondary tools are accessible without engaging the pliers. The pliers are spring-loaded for easy manipulation. The fingernail insets are sharp and in reach even for the most chewed-down nails. In the pursuit of compact build, all locking mechanisms were omitted from the PS4. Our testers find this to be ok. It is unlikely a user will use the PS4 for extended or heavy duty usage (backcountry deer dressing notwithstanding).
Because the bottle opener of the Gerber Dime is accessible from the outside, we tacked one point on to its score, relative to the Leatherman. This miniscule difference is the only distinguishing ergonomic characteristic between these two. Neither is as nice to use as a larger tool, but both can do the job if the job is light.
The Squirt PS4 earns top marks in portability. It is the smallest and lightest in our test and comes equipped with a tiny split-ring to immediately stow on your keys. It is smaller than most modern car keys and remote fobs. You'll hardly notice it until you need it; just what we're on the hunt to find. The Dime is slightly larger, while the rest of the tools in our test are at least three times the size and weight.
Leatherman's long pedigree of making multi-tools shows in the refinements on this tool. All hinges and springs are tight. The pliers withstand as much pressure as one can apply to the short handles. Even all gunked up with pocket lint, the tools fold out smoothly and reliably. The spring tension in pliers, as well as in engaging the fold out tools, is tuned to each application. The aluminum side plates will show some scratching with usage, but the rivets joining the whole shebang remain tight even after years of use. It is in construction quality that the Gerber Dime seems to edge ahead, overall, of the Squirt. The Dime is slightly stiffer in pliers mode, and the blade was sharpened with a more versatile "dual bevel". The Leatherman is serviceable, for sure, but the Dime is slightly beefier.
This multi-tool is an excellent addition to anyone's key ring. You won't tackle huge jobs, but you will find a use for the Squirt every single day.
Provided you keep the blade sharp and don't lose it, this thing will serve you for a lifetime. For a price below most in our test, this is an excellent value.
We heartily recommend this tool for keychain carry for virtually everyone. Only those who regularly need to tackle heavy tasks will need something more than the Squirt PS4. We even recommend this tool for backcountry usage. Most multi-tools are too heavy for inclusion on human-powered adventures. However, the Squirt PS4 weighs less than many pocket knives and can be used for a great deal of improvised wilderness repair tasks. Our lead tester, even on the lightest of ultra-light missions, always carries his tiny Squirt. He sleeps on a square of 3/8 inch closed cell foam and wears the same t-shirt for weeks to save weight, but he brings his Squirt everywhere.
— Jediah Porter