Leatherman's Wave has long been a standard-setting plier-based multitool, but the Portland-based company says it's ready to blow it out of the water with its new Free series gear, which uses a new magnetic one-handed opening mechanism that means you no longer need your fingernails to open it.
The Free tools are said to feel much looser in your hand. Where previous Leatherman gear has been quite stiff to open out, often requiring both hands, the Free gear pops open from its magnetic closure mechanism and swings around as freely as a butterfly knife, letting you get to the pliers with one hand if you're busy hanging onto something with the other.
Where you'd normally need to dig a fingernail in to flip out the other tools, the Free gear uses a new thumb-release mechanism that pops all the tools of a single bank out much more easily, after which you lock out the desired tool with a satisfying click and flip the others back into place in the handle.
That's basically it. Beyond the new opening and closing mechanisms, the Free gear is much the same as the Leathermans you've known and loved. But the company says this single switch in design philosophy is the biggest step it's taken since the release of the original Leatherman "Pocket Survival Tool" back in 1983.
The Free P4, pictured above, packs in 21 tools, including the all-important bottle opener, and there's a slightly smaller version called the Free P2 that omits the saw and replaces the serrated and smooth knives with a single combo blade.
The Free P4 will retail around the US$140 mark, and the P2 around $120. They're already available in some markets and both will come with Leatherman's standard 25-year guarantee.
The video below provides an overview of the Free series.
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