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Leatherman Wingman Review

A budget tool with real value and function, this model is compact with a feature set that does much of what you want and little that you don't
Leatherman Wingman
Photo: Leatherman
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $60 List | $59.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Inexpensive and well-made, spring-loaded pliers, scissors, pocket clip, one-handed blade
Cons:  Hybrid straight/serrated blade, squashed Phillips driver, short main blade
Manufacturer:   Leatherman
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 4, 2021
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53
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 21
  • Functions - 40% 4
  • Construction Quality - 25% 4
  • Ergonomics - 20% 8
  • Portability - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The Leatherman Wingman is a slightly below-average-sized tool with an easy entry price. In our testing, its function and durability were above standard. It exceeds the competition with a couple of externally opening tools and a unique package opener. The Wingman is smooth and rounded when closed. This Leatherman's integrated pocket clip is among just a few in our test and was appreciated by many. Finally, the small file on the Wingman is the coarsest in our test. In fact, some caution is advised if you intend to use this file for nail grooming. This grinder removes material fast. If you want a basic, well-built multi-tool at a bargain, this is the one we recommend first.

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Leatherman Wingman
This Product
Leatherman Wingman
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  
Price $59.00 at AmazonCheck Price on REI
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Pros Inexpensive and well-made, spring-loaded pliers, scissors, pocket clip, one-handed bladeTitanium handle, S30V steel blade, modular portability, full functionsCompact, light, with multiple carry options, smart, effective toolsComprehensive, well-made, aftermarket accessories and carry optionsVersatile and comprehensive outdoor tool kit
Cons Hybrid straight/serrated blade, squashed Phillips driver, short main bladeHeavy, expensive, squashed bit driverFew featuresProprietary bit driver, no pocket clip includedSpecialized components, independent parts can get lost
Bottom Line A compact budget tool with excellent construction and a reasonable set of features for daily useThe sky-high standard by which other multi tools are comparedClever and clean, with only a few tools, all of which are executed well for everyday carryAll you should need, with proven pedigree, at a forgiving priceFor outdoor adventures and wilderness survival considerations, we don't know of a better tool than the Leatherman Signal
Rating Categories Leatherman Wingman Leatherman Charge+ TTi Leatherman Skeletool CX Leatherman Wave+ Leatherman Signal
Functions (40%)
4
9
5
8
7
Construction Quality (25%)
4
9
9
8
8
Ergonomics (20%)
8
7
10
7
7
Portability (15%)
7
6
8
5
7
Specs Leatherman Wingman Leatherman Charge+... Leatherman... Leatherman Wave+ Leatherman Signal
Number of functions 10 19 + bits 5 + bits 18 + bits 17
Weight (ounces) 6.8 oz, 7.8 oz with sheath 8.8 oz 5.0 oz 8.5 oz, 9.5 oz with case 7.6 oz, 8.7 oz with sheath
Locking tools? Scissors and blade All but pliers All but pliers All but pliers All but pliers
Pliers type Spring-loaded regular and needlenose Needlenose with wire cutters, crimper Needlenose with 2 wire cutters Needlenose, regular, wire cutters, hard-wire cutters, crimper Needle nose, regular
Tools accessible without deploying pliers Blade and scissors Blades, saw, file Blade Blades, saw, file Primary blade, saw, sharpener
Blades and type 1 hybrid serrated/straight drop point 1 serrated gut hook type, 1 straight drop point 1 straight drop point 1 straight, 1 serrated 1 hybrid straight/serrated
Scissors Yes Yes No Yes No
Number of screwdrivers 3 1 integrated. Many bits included, with more available aftermarket for proprietary driver 4 included, more available aftermarket for proprietary driver 5 included/integrated. More available aftermarket for proprietary driver 2 included. More available aftermarket for proprietary driver. Even more availalbe aftermarket for limited-function, standard 1/4 inch driver socket.
File? Yes Yes, wood/metal and a diamond-coated file No Yes, wood/metal and a diamond-coated file No
Saw? No Metal and wood No Yes Wood
Openers Can, bottle, and a unique box opener Can and bottle Bottle Can and bottle Can, bottle
Other important features Very small ruler Ruler, cutting hook, wire stripper None Ruler Knife sharpener, ferro spark striking rod, whistle, 1/4 inch socket.
Sheath included? Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Other carry options Pocket, Pocket clip Pocket clip, key ring Carabiner style clip, pocket clip Pocket Pocket, Pocket clip, carabiner clip
Closed dimensions (Length by thickness, in inches) 3.8 x 0.7 4 x 0.8 4.3 x 0.6 4 x 0.7 4.5 x 0.6
Open length (pliers, in inches) 6.2 in 6.2 in 6.2 in 6.3 in 6.8 in
Open overall length (primary blade deployed, in inches) 6.4 in 7 in 6.8 in 6.9 in 7.1 in
Length of primary blade effective edge (inches) 2.4 in 2.8 in 2.6 in 2.8in 2.6 in

Our Analysis and Test Results

Leatherman's Wingman tool is an out-of-the-park swing at their competitors that are offering "budget" multi-tools. Leatherman brought their long lineage of success to a less expensive offering. We've tested it over a few years now and can say that our impressions hold up. In many ways, we continue to be impressed by the value and function. Our original is still in use "in the family" while a newly purchased tester is exactly the same; quality control at this price point can be credited to the high-end approach of Leatherman.

This is an excellent tool for every day carry or for storing around the house for occasional light-duty repairs and improvements. Similarly, it could be stored in one's car for occasional work there. In many ways, the affordability and relatively compact stature optimize the tool for the majority of users. Only those users with extensive construction and handiwork tasks will need more sophisticated or burlier tools.

Performance Comparison


The scissors on the Wingman are the largest in our test. And they...
The scissors on the Wingman are the largest in our test. And they can be deployed from the outside of the tool.
Photo: Megan Seel

Functions


All but one of our award winners has scissors built-in. Now, all of these award-winning tools are great in many ways, but it is the presence of scissors that seems to differentiate the tools. Wingman's scissors are the largest in our test, and they are precise and sharp. In the pocket knife world, Victorinox sets the standard for compact scissors on folding tools. Their scissors are indeed excellent. Further, the main hinge on Victorinox pocket knife scissors is a screw. With usage and wear, the tension on the scissors can be adjusted. We wish multi-tool manufacturers would follow suit. All of our tested tools with scissors, including the Wingman, have riveted hinges, so the user cannot adjust the scissors at all. Even the tested Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X has riveted scissors, unlike the screwed scissors of their pocket knives.


In another relatively minor complaint, especially at this price point, the Wingman comes with a single blade equipped with a hybrid straight/serrated edge. The steel is good enough and the edge arrives sharp, but we wish it were just straight. Or, better yet, omit something else and include two blades. Even some otherwise underwhelming options include two blades. While we're discussing the Wingman's blades, it must be noted that the blade is considerably shorter than other options and is shorter than what would fit in the handle. There is more than 1/4 inch of space in the Wingman handle that the blade is not using. In many ways, these few small gripes merely explain the lesser cost. We couldn't gush on and on about the low price of the Wingman without pointing out what it'll cost you.

The Wingman's blade. This modified drop-point, hybrid straight...
The Wingman's blade. This modified drop-point, hybrid straight serrated edge will do the job, but isn't as user serviceable or long as the blades on some of the other tools we tested.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Perhaps the most unique feature on the Wingman is the package opener. This small, unassuming sharpened hook is purpose-built to tear into those plastic "blister-packs" that so many small electronic devices come in. One can cut into the package without worry about damaging the contents. The package opener can also safely cut the packing tape on cardboard boxes. For many, this feature alone will seal the deal.

This photo shows the Wingman blade slightly opened. You can see the...
This photo shows the Wingman blade slightly opened. You can see the length of it, relative to the space there. This blade could be 3/8 inch longer.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Ergonomics


The Wingman has a modern, asymmetrical, and contoured shape. The scissors and main blade can be engaged without folding out the pliers. These outer tools lock into place with a "liner-lock" style tab. The inner tools engage with positive and clear fingernail slots. Our testers like that the Wingman comes equipped with a secure pocket clip. It would have been even better if the clip were turned 180 degrees. As it is, pulling the knife out to use the main blade requires flipping the tool in the user's hand first. The spring-loaded pliers make extended usage far less tiring on the hands.


Portability


To save money, the Wingman originally shipped without a belt sheath. There might be options like this still on the market. Our latest tester, at the same price, included a belt sheath. Added value! As mentioned above, the pocket clip is a welcome addition. Anyone on our test team accustomed to carrying a pocket knife in a pants pocket easily transitioned to carrying the Wingman the same way.


The Wingman is also equipped with holes in the frame, either of which can take a lanyard cord. All edges of the Wingman are rounded to save wear and tear on whatever pocket or bag you carry it in. We can't emphasize enough the value of pocket carrying your multi-tool. When it fits in your pocket and stays clipped up out of the lint and quarters, your multi-tool will never be handier than it is when clipped to a pocket edge.

The pocket clip of the compact and inexpensive Wingman certainly...
The pocket clip of the compact and inexpensive Wingman certainly augments its appeal.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Construction Quality


The full steel construction of this Leatherman model inspires confidence and will last you a long time. The blade will need to be sharpened, just like any other knife. Sharpening the straight portion is relatively straightforward. However, resurfacing the serrated portion requires more skill, special equipment, or professional assistance. If you anticipate significant and extended cutting, consider this additional complication in your purchase decision. In short, we had no issues with the construction quality and durability of the Wingman. And that is the best endorsement we can give.


We don't make many generalizations, but we are finding that budget products from manufacturers of high-end consumer goods are generally well-made. Leatherman cut costs with materials and functions for the Wingman. But they didn't make any compromises with the construction quality and thoughtfulness of the design.

The latest test Wingman we bought came with a sheath. This is a...
The latest test Wingman we bought came with a sheath. This is a great value upgrade over the original. The tool itself remains unchanged.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Value


The value of the Wingman should speak for itself. It hits a price point with plenty of competition. However, none of the competitors stack up. Leatherman is head-and-shoulders above the rest when it comes to well-thought-out tools, and the Wingman is no exception. If the selection of tools works for you, and you anticipate light to medium usage, the Wingman will serve you well.

The spring-loaded pliers of the Wingman do better in repetitive...
The spring-loaded pliers of the Wingman do better in repetitive tasks than non-sprung pliers. We have found no real disadvantage of spring loaded pliers.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Conclusion


Leatherman's Wingman hits the nail on the head in delivering reliable functionality at a bargain price. We recommend the Wingman, without hesitation, to a whole host of users. The casual user will appreciate the solid function at a reasonable price, while the dedicated user might own a Wingman as a second tool for the car or toolbox as a great back-up tool.

The Wingman with all tools and functions deployed and visible. It's...
The Wingman with all tools and functions deployed and visible. It's a pretty good feature-set for the money, and well made.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Jediah Porter