Value for $
User rating
Pros: One of the toughest multi-tools ever made. Heat-treated 420HC hardened steel used for the blade which is longer and wider than the one in the Wave. One of the best blades we've seen in a multi-tool. All the main tools outside accessible and lock into place.
Cons: Heavier, bigger and more expensive than most multi-tools.

leatherman surge review and testsThis is the 21st bi-monthly update of the Leatherman Surge review.

It’s one of the first 30 pieces we got when we were starting the website. It’s because we knew that, along with the Leatherman Wave and a few other pieces, it was always going to be a contender for one of the top spots.

We are currently keeping tabs on over 200 tools, testing and re-testing and the Leatherman Surge is the 7th best-rated multi tool Overall and 5th top-rated Leatherman.

Current ratings of the Surge: 4.48/5


90 Sec Tools Demo of the Surge


Hardcore testing of the Leatherman Surge

We like to say that the Surge is Wave on steroids. It’s bigger, heavier, comes with a longer blade and more tools. It’s a beast.

It’s designed for heavy-duty use so let’s see it in action.


Hardcore testing of the Surge


See what the users are saying about the Surge on Amazon below:



As we said, the Surge is a beast and it’s up for 99% of the jobs you’ll see. Seeing it in action is impressive, as we have just witnessed in the video (credit: Test ‘N Think!).

So, where is the difference in ratings coming from – that’s exactly where it is, in the fact that it’s bigger and built for more heavy-duty jobs. For some people that will simply mean that the Surge is the better tool, but not for most people.

As you’ll see in the comparison below, the difference in the ratings comes from two categories:

  • Value for money (Surge is the more expensive of the two)
  • Design  – our design ratings are not a reflection of how pretty the tool is but how easy it is to use, especially using one-hand, tools placement, safety, locking…hence the difference in the rating. It simply means that, for most people, the Wave will pack enough power for EDC.

But, let’s move on and see those ratings.



Leatherman Surge vs. currently top rated tool

Best Overall
Leatherman Wave
Specs and current ratings
of tools
Closed length
Main blade length
& Longevity

(out of 5):
(out of 5):
(out of 5):
(out of 5):
Value for $
(out of 5):
Overall Rating
(out of 5)


See their Amazon ratings and compare prices
See the Wave
See the Surge

An apology to Surge fans


Leatherman Surge is one of the pieces that has a cult following and we’ve seen a lot of grief over the surge not being in the TOP for almost a year now.

But these are not our opinions and preferences.

The rating method includes testing by various people in various circumstances and giving the tools a score in 5 quality categories. The ratings and scores are never going to please everybody.

But it’s the Surge and the Rebar that we receive by far the most “complaints” about.


A never-ending bout – Leatherman Wave vs. Surge


Bottom line – for a lot of people, the Leatherman Surge is the best darn multi-tool in existence.



See what the users are saying about the Surge on Amazon:

In the rest of the text, we’ll look at some quotes from the reviews of our testers…they pretty much confirmed everything we went through in the review above.

Fact sheet and excerpts from tester’s reviews of Leatherman Surge

Leatherman Surge

What Leatherman is saying – the specifications of the product:


  • new design of the pliers, using heavy-duty materials
  • new longer blades and redesigned locks for extra safety
  • a new blade exchanger lets you switch between blades and files
  • 2 knives
  • redesigned scissors for unparalleled strength
  • two bit drivers – large and small
  • includes a leather sheath
  • weight 1.2 pounds, dimensions 4.5 x 2 1 in
  • 25 year warranty
PROs – what our testers shared in their reviews of Leatherman Surge:
  • by far the best multitool I’ve ever used…
  • I am a rancher, and I’ve exercised my warranty for 3 multitools in 3 years before I got the Surge…I’ve been using it every day since 2008, and it has never let me down, not once…
  • finally a multitool with a sizable blade, a real blade…
  • I am loving the beefy, sturdy, big pliers
  • The pliers grip like a vice…
  • The best scissors I’ve seen in a multi tool (I own two more Leathermans and a Gerber), big, strong and they cut through pretty much anything…
  • My favorite part of the Surge is the awl, just right for those jobs where you need something pointy, but still something that will not stab whatever you’re working on…
  • The large flat head screwdriver is just great…
  • The Surge looks great, I get asked about it wherever I go…that solved the problem of a few birthday gift ideas…
  • Clever design with the interchangeable saw/file pocket…
  • I’ve been using the Gerber Needlenose for years and I got the Surge when I lost it…absolutely satisfied…
  • Strong, sturdy and dependable…
  • Very handy design with the outside tools being the ones you will use the most…
  • I love the size of the scissors, most of the time what you expect in a multitool is those little flimsy things that can’t even cut through rope…these are completely different, as strong as conventional scissors…
  • I already have a few multi tools in my garage, but when I saw the set of bits the Surge comes with I simply couldn’t resist. And they’re everything I hoped they would be…
  • Great balance between weight and function…
  • This tool goes way beyond camping, hiking or doing small handy work around the house, it’s a real heavy-duty tool and still small and light enough to carry on you every day…
  • Completely satisfied, just as advertised…
  • I’ve been using the Surge for almost 5 years now, and the only thing that gave in a little is the pocket for interchanging between saw/file…amazing tool…
  • Far better than the Gerber I lost before ordering this…better grip, better power for cutting sturdier things, bigger blade…
  • All I can say to people thinking about getting the Surge is: “Get it.”…a no-brainer now that I own it…
  • The choice of tools is absolutely perfect for a boat…
  • 21 tools !!!…I have a feeling this will be good enough to replace regular tools for 90% of the jobs…
  • No signs of wear at all after months of everyday use…
  • A total hit…
  • best thing since the wheel…a little bigger but much much stronger…

Leatherman Surge

CONs from the Leatherman Surge reviews

(tester quotes)

  • the pouch should be bigger…
  • to heavy and bulky if you are into hiking…
  • shipping took way to long, I expected more from Leatherman…
  • I sent this to my uncle overseas as a gift and one part of it would not open, he says he fixed it, and I am just hoping that he’s not just saying it to make me feel better…
  • I find the edges on the handle not smooth enough…

Resume of the leatherman Surge review:

There are multi tools, and there are MULTI TOOLS.

If you are an ultralight hiker, you’ll probably want to pass on this piece. This product is for heavy duty work and it’s probably the sturdiest piece out there. It’s not small and slick, but it is still small and light enough to carry around.

It’s built for people who intend to do serious work, and it does just that – serious field work. Probably the strongest scissors and blades ever built into a multitool. For most of serious handyman, a little extra weight will fade in comparison with what this tool can do.

I don’t have this piece in my collection, but now that I’ve read all the reviews, I am seriously thinking about getting one for myself. The most heavy duty multitool out there, and I can’t afford not to have something this special in my collection.

Overall – this is a tool for a real man who wants the real thing he can use every day and not a piece that will come in handy now and then. This is one of those tools that will immediately replace at least a third of your toolbox.

When I look at the negative reviews, it’s obvious that most people who didn’t like it didn’t research it very well in the first place – sorry for being blunt here. So, don’t make the same mistake – if you are looking for something to impress your buddies on a camping trip, there are probably better, slicker tools for you out there. But if you need serious work done on daily basis, it’ll be hard finding a better multitool than the Surge.