Leatherman Skeletool Review: A Minimalist Multi-Tool with Tons of EDC Value

In this Leatherman Skeletool review, we find out if the Skeletool deserves a place in the average everyday carry.
Leatherman Skeletool Review
Leatherman Skeletool Review

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Leatherman created the multi – tool as we know it today and it has dominated the market for decades. The Leatherman Skeletool multi – tool line is the company’s attempt to make multitools for people who normally wouldn’t consider a multitool something they needed.

Skeletools are stripped down to the essentials and designed to offer serious value for everyday users while dropping the bulk and inconvenience that makes regular multitools unappealing to EDC. In this Leatherman Skeletool review, we find out if the Skeletool deserves a place in the average everyday carry.

For the purposes of this Leatherman Skeletool review, we’re going to be reviewing the entire line of Skeletools, which includes…

Leatherman Skeletool

Quick Overview

The Leatherman Skeletool is a stripped-down, value-packed multitool that offers a ton of value. It’s one of the best options for an EDC multitool, particularly since it can legitimately replace a pocket

Functionality

9.7/10

Style

9.6/10

Dependability

10/10

Value

9.9/10

What We Like

Robust, sturdy design (yet minimal)
Can replace a pocket knife
Tools cover majority of tasks
Multiple carry options (belt, bag, etc.)

What We Don’t Like

The bits are in Leatherman’s proprietary sizes, which requires you to buy extras from them

Want more multitool options?

Start with our review the best EDC multitools. From compact designs to innovative features, these multitools are built to handle any task.

What is the Leatherman Skeletool?

The Skeletool is another exceptional product from Leatherman Multi-Tools, is a line of minimalist full-size multitools designed to cut down on bulk and zero-in on practical utility. Where many multitools are all about maxing out the tools and potential functions they can complete, the Skeletool goes for a stripped-down and value-focused approach that’s tailor-made for use on a daily basis.

The Skeletool is the multitool for those who don’t carry multitools. It was designed and built specifically to target the EDC community and worked to solve two critical flaws that most multitools can’t overcome, pocket carry and ease of use.

Leatherman Skeletool Review: What is the Skeletool?

Most multitools are too big, too bulky, and too heavy to acceptably carry in your pocket. You can technically pocket carry something like the Wave+, but you’re going to feel it with every step, and the bulge in your pocket is very conspicuous. (It’s hard to cram regular pliers into a small package.)

The Skeletool avoids this with a hyper focused tool loadout and a design incorporating elements of popular pocket knives to improve pocketability and increase usability.

Key features

  • Light and portable 
  • Included pocket clip makes EDC pocket carry very feasible
  • 2.6 in blade opens with a flick of your thumb without having to open the handles
  • Bit driver compatible with a wide range of bit types and styles including Torx, Hex, etc

Specifications

  • Weight: 5.0 oz | 142 g
  • Closed Length: 4 in | 10 cm
  • Open Length: 6.0 in | 15.24 cm
  • Blade Length: 2.6 in | 6.60 cm
  • Width: 1.24 in | 3.15 cm
  • Overall Thickness: 0.52 in | 1.32 cm

Leatherman Skeletool Design and Style

The Skeletool doesn’t look like other multitools. Its design is visibly lighter, with cutouts on the handles and a flowing shape that brings to mind an organic form rather than the ruler straight and engineered handles of something like the Leatherman Surge.

If you only saw a picture of the Skeletool, you might think it’s a keychain tool rather than a full-size and fully functional multi – tool. That’s particularly true with the combination bottle cap/pocket clip that defines the shape of the Skeletool.

The shape and cutouts are primarily to drop the weight, but they also give the Skeletool a gorgeous skeletal style that’s almost like you’re looking into the tool with an x-ray. The fact that you can get the Skeletool in so many different colors and patterns only adds to its allure as the customizable and highly stylish multitool anyone can carry.

Leatherman Skeletool Review: Design and style

Leatherman Skeletool Usability

Reviewing multitools generally comes down to the number and quality of tools it packs in. The Leatherman Skeletool flips that paradigm on its head, focusing primarily on portability/pocketability, with the few tools it does include designed to maximize daily utility.

Tool loadout

The Leatherman Skeletool takes a lean and mean approach to tool loadout. It has seven basic tools that are light enough to use every day and strong enough for big jobs. We explored all of them during this Leatherman Skeletool review.

  • Combo knife (straight blade)
  • Bit driver
  • Regular pliers
  • Knife (straight edge or serrated blade, depending on the model)
  • Wire cutters
  • Carabiner/bottle opener
  • Extra storage bit in the handle
  • Pocket clip / carabiner clip (also attaches to belt loops)

That’s not a lot of tools for a multitool, particularly compared to something like the Leatherman Wave+ with its 18 extra tools, but looks can be deceiving.

The minimalist tools on the Skeletool are by far the most important and most commonly used practical tools. Writing this Leatherman Skeletool review review made us reflect on how often we use tools like a saw blade, a file, and a can opener on our (many) other multitools and realize we could count the times on one hand.

For the vast majority of people in the vast majority of situations, the Skeletool is all the multitool you’ll ever need. The stainless steel blade is large enough to take the place of a dedicated pocket knife.

Leatherman Bit Driver

The bit driver is honestly our favorite part. It allows you to customize your tools for situations you’re likely to face (such as Torx bits or similar) without adding significant weight to your EDC. We love how they incorporated the spare bit seamlessly into the frame of the Skeletool. You can carry one extra bit without impacting any other aspect of your EDC.

One important caveat with the bit driver is that it uses Leatherman’s proprietary bits. It’s not a huge issue as they offer them at very reasonable prices, but it does mean that you won’t be able to use just any bit you have lying around.

Add in the plier head, and you get a potent mix that makes the Skeletool one of the best general-purpose EDC multitools available.

Blade specs and accessibility

There are several versions of the Skeletool, with the primary difference between each being the color of the frame and the blade type and steel used. All offer the carabiner style removable clip and, robust pliers, and other basic tools, as well as outside access to the blade with a Spyderco-esque thumb hole that makes opening them with one hand a joy. That means you don’t have to unfold the Skeletool to get to the knife blade, making it much more usable as your primary EDC knife.

The base model blade offers 420HC stainless steel. The Leatherman Skeletool CX Multi-Tool offers a 154CM steel blade, which is a noticeably harder, sharper, and more durable. An upgraded blade with a sharp edge may be right for your needs. You can choose a combo blade in the OG Skeletool or a fully plain edge or fully serrated edge.

Unless you have specific requirements that make the serrated blade a good idea, we highly recommend you go with the combo or the plain edge that comes on the Skeletool CX.

Need a great knife? Check out our list of the best EDC knives.

Pocketability

The Skeletool doesn’t seem much smaller than something like the Wave, but when you have it in your hand, it’s surprising how much more portable it is. There are a couple of different ways you can carry it, with our personal favorite in the pocket ala a pocket knife.

We don’t know about you, but something just felt so right about being able to carry our multitool the same way we would a folding pocket knife.

Skeletool Pocketability

Even more surprising is that the Skeletool didn’t feel much different from carrying a full-size knife like the Benchmade Griptilian or Spyderco Paramilitary.

Leatherman Skeletool Lightweight Multitool
$74.95

Compact 5-ounce multitool with a combo knife, bit driver, pliers, large exchangeable bit driver, wire-cutters and a carabiner/bottle opener. Light enough to use as your everyday carry, strong enough to tackle tough jobs. Only requires one hand to open and use all the tools. 25-year warranty.

Buy on Amazon
02/18/2024 12:06 pm GMT

Leatherman Skeletool Durability and Reliability

The Skeletool is a Leatherman, and that means that the Skeletool is built right. Leatherman is renowned for its commitment to quality in everything it does, and everything about the Skeletool shows that commitment is still strong.

It’s made from durable stainless steel with multiple corrosion-resistant coatings available. With many other stripped-down multitools, we have concerns about the strength and longevity of their lighter and thinner frames.

We have no such concerns with the Skeletool. It’s not as beefy or as strong as the Surge of even the Free series, but man, is it still tough. We dropped, dragged, and beat on the Skeletool in ways that most people probably never will. 

Leatherman Skeletool Durability and Reliability

In all instances, the Skeletool held up beautifully, the bearings continued to move smoothly, and every tool worked exceptionally.

Leatherman Skeletool warranty

Leatherman’s 25-year warranty is second to none. They offer a 25-year limited warranty that covers the original purchaser for any defect in manufacturing or materials.

In practical terms, the Leatherman warranty covers virtually any damage done to one of their tools within 25 years. We have personal experience sending in damaged tools to Leatherman. In every instance, they bent over backward to make the experience as painless as possible and went above and beyond to get our tool fixed or replaced as needed.

If you have a problem with your Skeletool, Leatherman will take care of you.

Who Needs a Leatherman Skeletool?

The Leatherman Skeletool is the multitool for someone who isn’t sure they want to carry a multitool. It’s smaller, lighter, and far easier to carry daily than full-size tools like the Leatherman Wave+ or SOG PowerAcess, yet it offers significantly more useful tools than a pocket tool such as the Gerber Dime or Leatherman Micra.

The Skeletool has you covered for the most common everyday tasks and little emergencies. The knife is honestly good enough to replace a pocket knife in your EDC. With a max blade length of 2.6 inches, the blade can handle any reasonable cutting task in daily life, while the pair of pliers and bit driver can adequately handle the most common tasks.

The Skeletool is a highly portable, exceptionally useful, and supremely durable multitool. About the only people who don’t need a Skeletool are those with specialized tool requirements in the trades or other professional settings who genuinely benefit from the additional tools on something like a Leatherman Surge and don’t mind the bulk of such a tool.

Is the Leatherman Skeletool Worth It?

Yes! There are few instances and pieces of gear where we can say an unqualified yes to this question, but the Skeletool is one of those magical tools. It provides the best combination of utility and portability we’ve yet seen in a multitool and does it at a remarkably affordable price.

The Skeletool is significantly cheaper than most other full-size multitools yet arguably offers a better value proposition to the average user. The truth is that most people who EDC don’t need most of the tools in full-size multitools.

The Skeletool can legitimately replace a pocket knife in your EDC for virtually no loss of additional pocket space while also giving you constant access to the most important and commonly used tools on a multitool.

Anyone who already carries a pocket knife can benefit from the Leatherman Skeletool, particularly at its remarkably reasonable price.

Leatherman Skeletool Alternatives

We like to end our reviews with some alternative options and this Leatherman Skeletool review is no exception. There are a couple of solid alternatives to the Skeletool depending on your needs and what you’re willing to spend.

Leatherman Free P2

The Leatherman Free P2 is part of Leatherman’s newest line of one-handed tools. The P2’s handles are specially designed to move freely with a flip of the wrist and allow you to instantly access any tool.

Leatherman Free P2

The P2 is the lighter and smaller of the two primary tools in the line and offers 19 tools within its handles. Despite that, it weighs just under twice as much as the Skeletool and is slightly thicker and longer.

It is noticeably more expensive than the Skeletool, but you get a lot more tools for the price. If you’re debating between something like the Skeletool and a full-size, fully-loaded multitool, the Free P2 is an excellent compromise.

SOG Flash MT

The Flash MT from SOG is the most direct competitor to the Skeletool. It’s virtually the same size and weight and offers the same tool loadout as the Skeletool, with a few tweaks and SOG special touches.

Leatherman Skeletool review SOG Flash MT

It has a 2.4 inch knife vs the 2.6 inch knife on the Skeletool, but the knife on the Flash MT is assisted opening. It’s faster to open than the knife on the Skeletool but enough that we felt it mattered.

Likewise, the pliers and bit driver on the Flash MT offer nearly the same practical benefits as those on the Skeletool. The Flash MT is a more streamlined and slightly lighter utility tool than the Skeletool.

Given that they’re virtually identical in price, tool loadout, and general utility, it comes down to which brand you prefer and what style of tool you like.

Leatherman Skeletool Review Final Thoughts

We had a great time with this Leatherman Skeletool review. The Skeletool is a stripped-down, value-packed multitool that offers a ton of value. It’s one of the best options for an EDC multitool, particularly since it can legitimately replace a pocket knife in your EDC.

If you’ve always thought about adding a multitool to your EDC but weren’t sure how to carry it, the Leatherman Skeletool is the best compromise option out there. It may lack the larger tool selection of other multitools, but the minimalist design, lighter weight, and key selection of tools that makes this the perfect tool for most EDC enthusiasts.

Leatherman Skeletool Lightweight Multitool
$74.95

Compact 5-ounce multitool with a combo knife, bit driver, pliers, large exchangeable bit driver, wire-cutters and a carabiner/bottle opener. Light enough to use as your everyday carry, strong enough to tackle tough jobs. Only requires one hand to open and use all the tools. 25-year warranty.

Buy on Amazon
02/18/2024 12:06 pm GMT
Dennis Hammer
Dennis has been a part of EDC since he was young - before he even knew what it was! As an artist, he loves beautifully designed products that function well. He also likes to be ready for any situation, which makes EDC perfect for his lifestyle.

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