Isn’t it annoying when you’re out in the wild and you find yourself needing a tool but it’s nowhere to be found? It’s just frustrating to be left hanging on an unfinished task. Of course, bringing multiple tools to your trip would be a burden. That's why there are portable multi-tools like the Leatherman Skeletool CX Multi-tool.
When it comes to multi-purpose tools that are truly portable, you can’t go wrong with a good multi-tool. From EDC (every day carry) to outdoor applications, it’s never a bad idea to have a multi-tool on your person. After all, this is one of those things that it’s better to have and not need it, than otherwise.
Today, we set our sights on the Leatherman Skeletool CX Multi-tool. Is this multi-purpose tool worth the pocket real estate? Let’s find out.
Leatherman Skeletool CX Review
Leatherman is widely considered to be a premier multi-tool manufacturer in the United States. They offer many multi-tools in different sizes, each designed for varying users and situations.
Is the Skeletool CX a worthy addition to the Leatherman multi-tool line? Let’s take a closer look at some of its key features.
Right off the bat, you can see that the Skeletool is a beautiful multi-tool. It looks like it’s something that’s designed by Apple that gives a striking balance of form and function. The design is fairly minimalist but I can’t help but see serious quality even with face value alone.
The blending of carbon fiber and diamond-like coating makes for some striking visual appeal. It won’t be surprising if people bought this tool just for the looks alone.
What’s a multi-tool if it can’t provide the appropriate functions for various applications? When it comes to the number of functions, the Leatherman Skeletool CX doesn’t have that many to offer.
At the basic level, you have the pliers, the blade, and a bit driver. However, once you look closer, there’s more to the tools than what’s officially listed. For example, the pliers can be used to cut wires and do a great job.
Next, the lanyard/key clip also doubles as a bottle opener, which is nothing short of great. Lastly, the bit driver can be used for unlimited accessorization. You can also purchase an upgrade pack for a more comprehensive set of bits.
As you can see, this Leatherman Skeletool Multi-tool is the antithesis of the traditional multi-tool. Instead of cramming many useful tools in a highly portable package, the Skeletool opted to provide only the basic functions in an ultra-lightweight and minimal form factor.
The Skeletool’s design has been optimized for ergonomics.
First, the 154cm blade features good orientation and can be accessed via a simple one-thumb swipe. When in pliers mode, the rounded carbon fiber handle provides good comfort, as opposed to other similar multi-tools with plastic or metal handles. The bit driver rests at the end of the narrow handle, which enables easier reach and longer grabbing.
All of these features help the Skeletool CX score higher in the ergonomics department.
You can’t talk about a multi-tool without mentioning its portability.
At 4.96 ounces, the Leatherman Skeletool CX is one of the lightest multi-tools that you can buy. This lightweight profile is attributed to the quality carbon fiber materials. However, the main reason why this multi-tool is really lightweight is that it only has the essential functions.
Most similar products would pack in every imaginable tool, which defeats the purpose of carrying an easy-to-carry set of tools. Not to mention, many of these tools are hardly used. The Skeletool’s functions are simplified, and there’s a good chance that you will use most of the available features, more often than not.
As for the carry options, I carried the Skeletool in my pocket with little to no problems. However, the smooth edges can be an issue if you carry this tool loosely in your pocket. This Leatherman doesn’t come with a sheath, but it does include an excellent pocket clip.
This is clearly not a multi-tool for someone who’s looking for an extensive list of tools. And speaking of tools, the pliers are a little bit too thin for my taste, and it seems like it’s going to break with normal use. Other than that, I have no other complaints.
However, there are other users that commented on the quality of the Skeletool CX. They have been saying that the tool is not that durable, with small bits falling out with continued use. Fortunately, we didn’t run into such an issue with our tests.
For the most part, buyers are as pleased with the Leatherman Skeletool CX as we were. With a respectable average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon, customers have given it many thumbs up.
Many buyers laud its light weight and durability. Most have found it to be extremely well machined. A few downsides, however, is negative feedback regarding opening the knife. Some say it’s difficult to open. Others thought that it wasn’t durable as it should be, considering the price. Most noteworthy the wire cutters and pliers seemed a bit weak.
The Leatherman Skeletool CX Against the Competition
To provide a truly comprehensive review, we’ve taken a look at the CX’s closest competitors. We collated data from comparable brands with similar capabilities.
Victorinox Swiss Army Spirit X
Coming in near the same price-point, the Victorinox has a sterling reputation as the “Swiss Army Knife” go-to manufacturer. The Spirit X model offers 27 different tool functions and stainless-steel construction. It is, however, somewhat heavier than the Leatherman model
Buyers have loved this little knife, and it boasts an average Amazon rating of 4.9 out 5 stars. With it’s thorough set of tools, if you need a truly multi-purpose tool for every day, this may be the one worth looking at.
Gerber Center Drive Multi-tool
Also in the same price range as the Leatherman and Victorinox tools, the Gerber multitool offers 16 different functions. On the upside, it also looks pretty cool and offers different color schemes. It also boasts a longer blade than other models.
But best of all, it offers a full-size screwdriver for maximum torque. Folding mulitools are great, but let’s face it, they don’t offer a lot of leverage because of their portable size.
Despite this unique feature, buyers only awarded it an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon. While that’s a respectable rating, it may only be the best deal for those who require its specific functions.
Leatherman Free K4
How about a Leatherman-to-Leatherman comparison? If you’re brand loyal, but need more than the Skeletool CX offers, take a look at the Free P4. This redesigned multitool boasts enhanced ergonomics for a better fit in your hand.
With a simpler opening mechanism and magnetic locking, the Free K4 is easier to use, and the tools easier to access. Even with just one hand. Best of all, you’ll get 21 tools in one.
Buyers on Amazon give the Free K4 an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. And while some think it’s the best thing for slicing breads, others aren’t convinced. The most significant criticism is that it doesn’t have a pocket clip. However, apparently Leatherman has heeded customer feedback and started including a clip in the package.
Is This a Worthy Addition to Your EDC?
If you’re looking for a reliable, lightweight multi-tool that offers the most basic functions, the Leatherman Skeletool CX is an easy recommendation. It’s compact, easy to use, and functional, what more can you ask for?
Featured Image: via Amazon