Today we’re looking at two Multi-Tools from Leatherman; the Leatherman Wave Vs Surge.

If you’re not familiar with Leatherman, it’s an American-based company founded in 1983 by Steve Berliner and Timothy S. Leatherman. Their first product, the Personal Survival Tool, was a tool designed for minor maintenance and repair without the need to carry a full tool-box and was the first of its kind in the American market. Its success launched a new market for portable multi tools that remains extremely popular today.

Older tools like the PST have long since been retired, and new, shiny upstarts have comfortably taken their place. But that same focus on compact versatility still remains in the Leatherman designs.



The heavy-duty, Surge, is a just coming off a 2013 overhaul to its original 2005 design which gives it some impressive new features.  The lightweight, Wave, hasn’t been updated since its launch in 2004 but has held up well; proving to be Leatherman’s best selling product in that time.

Most of us familiar with Multi-Tools know they’re designed for and most commonly used as an everyday carry tool. That means that the design needs to incorporate as much functionality as possible into a small lightweight package while remaining tough and durable.

Pretty stringent demands huh?  That’s why we’re going to rate these two tools in the following categories to determine which one is really the best Leatherman Wave Vs Surge.

  1. Price;

The price needs to be competitive with similar products on the market and be affordable enough to be carried and used as a tool, not a show piece.

  1. Functionality;

Multi Tools need to serve a variety of purposes and serve them as well as possible.

  1. Ease of Carry;

The whole idea of a multi tool is to get away from carrying the whole toolbox.  Must be comfortable and light enough for EDC.

  1. Longevity;

The tool needs to be made from quality materials that can stand up to long periods of heavy use and abuse.

So, which one of these tools best lives up to the Leatherman name?  Let’s find out.


The Leatherman Surge has a bit more steel, a bit more functionality and a bit more weight, so it’s expected that it has a bit heavier price tag.  At a MSRP of $99.85 for the stainless finish, it’s comparable to other premium multi-tools like the SOG PowerAssist or Victorinox SwissTool RS. Get it here for only $86.00

The Leatherman Wave is cheaper, but not as cheap as you would expect for a tool that uses significantly less steel.   With a MSRP of $89.85 the Leatherman Wave is considerably more expensive than other multitools in its category like the Gerber MP-600 series. Get it here for only $74.00

Leatherman Surge:     ✫✫✫✫

Leatherman Wave:     ✫✫✫1/2


The Surge gets the edge again here for several reasons; it has more tools, larger pliers, longer blades, replaceable components (like a swappable blade component and carbide cutter) and is built for heavy use.  Both tools earn high marks for one-hand operable features.

Leatherman Surge:     ✫✫✫✫✫

Leatherman Wave:     ✫✫✫✫

leatherman_waveEASE OF CARRY

While the Wave isn’t a super-light multi-tool at 8.5 ounces, it’s still significantly lighter than the 12.5 ounce Surge. Both come standard with a heavy-duty nylon case that can be worn on the belt or pack but the Surge also comes with a lanyard ring.  We give the edge to the Wave here.

Leatherman Wave:     ✫✫✫✫1/2

Leatherman Surge:     ✫✫✫



leatherman_surgeThis is a close category because both tools sport a full-body stainless steel construction and 420 High Carbon blades.  420 HC is a good middle ground stainless steel, with the High Carbon content giving it an added bit of hardness and the lack of chromium giving it slightly less corrosion resistance than a standard 420.  Ultimately, the Surge gets the nod here for its replaceable components which give some of its tools a much longer life.

Leatherman Surge:     ✫✫✫✫✫

Leatherman Wave:     ✫✫✫✫


So which Leatherman Wave Vs Surge? While we really liked both tools here for their solid performance, we have to give the edge to the Leatherman Surge for its longevity, functionality and value. With its replaceable blades, replaceable carbide wire cutter, longer blades, bigger frame and larger pliers, we feel that the added weight is worth the significant bump in overall versatility.

Leatherman Surge:     ✫✫✫✫1/4

Leatherman Wave:     ✫✫✫✫


leatherman_wave leatherman_surge




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