You’re not likely to skin a moose with a Leatherman Skeletool, but you are very likely to leave it to your grandkids as a memento.
If the multi-tool industry was high school, the Skeletool
would be the rebel kid with the Cherokee haircut and black eye-liner
who doesn’t talk to anybody and nobody pays attention to –
only to discover, years later, that he was, in fact, a genius
and went on to find the cure for polio.
Let’s get serious and see some numbers from our February update.
The Skeletool is currently sharing 2nd place on the list of best-rated multi-tools overall with the Charge TTi (as you can see in the sidebar) – rated at 4.56 / 5.
Yes, you read that right, this little freaky piece is only second in ratings to the Leatherman Wave.
Let’s get into what makes it special
To better understand the rest of the review take a minute to watch the demo video of the Skeletool’s features.
90 Sec Features Demo
Skeletool after 2 years of use and abuse aka. The Torture Test
Now, that was a useful video to introduce you to the tool, but let’s get real and see how the Skeletool stood up to the pains and tribulations of real-life, everyday use (credit RoyalMarc Reviews).
That’s the “meat” of what we really need to know, we’re sure you’d agree.
Skeletool after a year of “torture”
Skeletool vs. the top-rated Leatherman Wave
(out of 5):
(out of 5):
(out of 5):
(out of 5):
|Value for $|
(out of 5):
(out of 5)
Versions of the Skeletool to choose from – fire RX orange is our favorite
Get yourself a cup of coffee before we move on because we are about to get into the nitty-gritty. There’ll be some technical talk, so if you have any questions or dilemmas, use the comments section at the bottom and we’ll clear it all up.
DURABILITY – 4.6/5
A 25-year warranty is not something you see often
in this price range
More importantly – Leatherman does honor their warranty policy every time – we’ve seen it.
They’re very efficient and don’t many questions when it comes to claiming your warranty. We won’t name names because we might get into legal trouble but we know a brand or two that will drag you along when you try to claim your warranty until you just give up.
Not Leatherman. You don’t stay in business for over 30 years by falsely advertising…
Having said that, if something does break or becomes loose on this tool, it’s fair to assume that you got a piece that was faulty out-of-factory or you got yourself a knock-off of the real thing.
The 420 High-Carbon (HC) steel was the perfect choice
The 420HC steel is a martensitic steel
This means it can be hardened by heat treatment up the Rc (Rockwell scale) of 56-59. The steel of the Skeletool is hardened past Rc of 55 which is the sweet spot. Hardening steel for tools like this is tricky, because if hardened past Rc 61 and it becomes brittle.
Bottom line – the 420HC is just right for this kind of everyday tool.
We wouldn’t assort it as a super-steel (like the 440c) but a super-steel would be an overkill for Skeletool. It would double the price and wouldn’t add anything to this tool simply because it’s not designed for jobs that would call for a super-steel.
The higher carbon levels in the 420HC make for very precise and easy sharpening. The high Chromium content makes it extra strong and impressively resistant to wear and corrosion.
The Skeletool was one of the first five pieces we tested and reviewed back in 2012. We initially sent out 7 pieces to our featured testers and got two for ourselves to use and see how they stand the test of time.
Only 1 warranty was claimed because the spring on the handles, where keys are supposed to go, became loose. The warranty was resolved within a week and our friend and featured tester, Bram, got a new tool.
In case you’re wondering about the eye-candy above: It’s the Midas Touch edition of the Skeletool, a limited edition piece modified by the artisans over at TxToolCrafters – the handle are 24-karat gold-finished and it’s not available anywhere anymore. Trust us, we looked. It did cost an arm and a leg, so forget about it…moving on…
Not all 420HCs are created equal
In our experience, the 420HC steel used for the Skeletool (and in most Leathermans for that matter) is almost as good as those of Buck knives and Buck’s 420HC steel is, in our opinion, without a doubt the best 420HC out there.
The quotes from the PROs our testers shared over the years:
- I wasn’t expecting it, bu it’s ability to keep an edge and remain sharp for a long time is nothing short of amazing…
- Loving the fact that it is actually made in the US…
- If you intend to use the tool in moist condition, the tungsten coating will make the world of difference…I use mine on my boat, it’s been two years now and I’ve seen virtually zero corrosion…
- If it held up my daily abuse with no damage…I doubt anybody can do anything to this tool…great quality…
- Like how much lighter and portable this tool is compared to it’s bigger and heavier brother…
- Just the amount of tools one would need for 99% of jobs…
- Good solid grip, sturdy pliers and screwdrivers…great value for money…
- I love how I am able to open and close the knife with one hand…
- Best multi-tool on the market…this is my third but just because I gave my previous two away as presents…
- Great for carrying every day…I’ve never been a knife guy until I got this tool…
- This tool eliminated the issue I had with my previous one and that is the precision and how well the sides of the pliers meet…
- It looks so sexy that I carry it on me every day almost as a fashion accessory…I am loving the comments that I get…
- Amazing design…looks like a spare part for a Megatron 🙂
- Functional and light and real eye candy, too…
- Includes everything that you need and eliminates anything that you don’t…
- It is so light that I forget it’s there…
- Very well made, sturdy material, slim design…perfect for every day use without a bulge in your pocket…
- My favorite is the screwdriver…very practical and the screwdrivers on multi tools can be tricky to use…
- Just plainly awesome…worth every dime…
Quotes from less favorable reviews of the Skeletool:
- It’s not a bad tool, but it’s not really a choice for those who need a multi-tool for more serious jobs
- I already own a Leatherman Super Tool 300, and the two can’t really compare if you are working construction like I am
- Tip of my pliers broke…really disappointed, this was supposed to be super durable…
Skeletool review resume
As we say in many of our reviews the important part here is to be able to filter amongst the negative reviews and look for red flags that are a real quality issue and being able to recognize things that are a matter of taste or pure statistical flaws.
We know how this thing is made and we know the materials used.
This is why when I read that someone broke the pliers after one month of use I know that it is due to the wearing of the material on that particular piece during production. It is a statistical flaw that will happen with any tool that comes to the market. If this happens just return it.
I know for a fact that a normal piece like this is built to last.
As we mentioned – 4.56 out of 5 stars for the Leatherman Skeletool and a well-deserved 2nd place.