Top critical review
175 people found this helpful
Meh. Good tool for the occasional user, or as a first leatherman.
on March 27, 2013
I bought this because I needed to send my original Leatherman PST back for some repairs, but didn't want to be without a multitool for 6-8 weeks. The price point on this one was good, about what I paid for my PST 15 years ago. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a lot of improvement in the last 15 years.
1) Spring-loaded pliers/wire cutters. It's really nice to not have to manually open the tool jaws when you're working on something.
2) Much more ergonomic handles. Squeezing something really hard with the PST can be uncomfortable; the Sidekick has rounded edges that are much easier on your hands.
3) Larger pivot point for the jaws and heavier wire cutters. Seems like it'll hold up better than the PST; mine had loosened up to the point that cutting wire below 12ga was nearly impossible.
4) The knife blade is considerably sharper than on my PST. When I got my original PST the knife blade was just a bar of stainless steel that had been beveled. Not overly effective. This one is much better; nearly shaving sharp out of the box, and it holds an edge very well. Plus you can access the blade without having to open the tool, which is a nice bonus.
5) Locking blades is a nice touch. I've nearly cut myself using my PST when the blade has folded up unexpectedly.
6) Still has the 25-year Leatherman Warranty. And if you use your tools at all, believe me when I say that you'll need it. These are great rugged tools, but anything that gets used every day (I use mine as part of my EDC) is going to eventually need something fixed. Can you think of ANYTHING that you've carried every day for 25 years that hasn't needed repair at some point?
1) Blades are too small. The blades are too small in relation to the handles. You've got a handle that's 4 inches long and nearly 2 inches wide, with a 2.5 inch blade. And the blade isn't even as long as it could be; there's space in the handle for another 1/2 inch of knife to fit. And I think having the extra length would have made a big difference in both how this knife looks and handles. Same problem with the serrated blade; it's only about 1.5 inches long, but there's space in the handle for it to have been a bit longer.
2) The saw suffers from the same length problem as the blades; there's just not enough of it. This is only partially Leatherman's fault, as they made the saw blade fit the handle but made the handle shorter on the saw side. Bottom line is; you're not sawing anything larger than an inch wide with this thing. Scissors would have been a better option, I think, because anything smaller than an inch you can cut with the regular blade, or just break with your hands.
3) No ruler. The PST has a perfectly functional 8-inch ruler with both standard and metric measurements. The design of the handles on this tool negates that, and instead you get a dinky little 1.25in/6cm ruler on the back of the nail file/screwdriver. And the edges aren't straight, and the notches aren't marked, so it's essentially useless.
4) The Phillips head screwdriver isn't, really. its a flat driver with two little nubs pretending to be a Phillips. The original PST has an actual, real, 4-equal-sides functional Phillips head. This one doesn't. And I'm not sure why; where it sits in the handle has plenty of room for a real Phillips. Leatherman simply chose not to put one in there. Maybe to keep machining costs down? Regardless, it's a miss.
5) The wire cutters don't overlap, they meet. And just barely, at that. Cutting fine-gauge automotive wire is a chore with this tool right now while it's brand new. Once there's some wear on the cutters it might become impossible.
6) The sheath. This is my biggest hangup for this tool. It doesn't come with a belt sheath that lets it ride unnoticed until you need it. Instead it comes with what is essentially a pouch, and a carabiner to to clip it to your belt loop if you want. Personally, I've been carrying it in my jacket pocket, because having 8oz of stainless steel bumping around on your belt loop gets annoying in a hurry. So that means you've got to spend some extra $$ for a decent sheath if you want to have this as part of your year-round EDC. The carabiner lets it clip well to the molle loops on my day pack, so once I get my old tool back this will probably just live in my Bug-Out bag or my Get Home Bag. If it hadn't been for this crappy sheath I'd have given it 4 stars.
Bottom line is that it's ok as a basic Leatherman, but if you're just looking for a basic Leatherman save yourself a couple bucks and get the Wingman instead. I think the scissors on the Wingman are more useful than the saw on the Sidekick, from a usability standpoint. Plus you can buy the Wingman on Amazon with a sheath. If you want something that you're going to use every day, though, I think you'd be better served going with a Wave, a Supertool, or a Charge (Or the new Rebar! Great tool!). I'd consider them to be true evolutions of the original PST, with more functional tools that you can use in the real world.