Customer Review

824 of 839 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difference Between Stainless and CX Version, June 25, 2008
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This review is from: Leatherman 830850 Skeletool CX Multitool (Tools & Home Improvement)
I think there is a lot of confusion about what advantages the CX has over the cheaper (-$20) stainless version. I hope this review will clear some of that up. Some reviewers are advising you buy the stainless version because the only difference is a slither of carbon fiber. That is simply not true. The CX has a lot more going on for it than that!

1) The metal used to make the blade in each model is different. The stainless version uses 420HC steel, which is a decent metal with good hardness and good edge retention. The CX version uses 154CM steel, which is considered by many as a "super steel" because of its good corrosion resistance and excellent toughness and edge retention. Imho, this is worth the $20 price difference alone.

2) The blade styles are different. The stainless version has a plain edge whereas the CX has a partially serrated blade. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The plain blade is much easier to sharpen because you dont have to deal with maintaining any serrations (if you dont know what you are doing, serrations tend to get ground away when you do any sharpening). The partially serrated blade, however, is much more versatile in terms of cutting. In a pinch, you can used the serrated part of the knife as a saw or just for more cutting power. Additionally, if you learn the proper technique, sharpening a serrated blade is not that much more difficult, albeit a bit more time consuming. Personally, I like the partially serrated blade.

3) The tungsten coating isnt just for looks. True, it makes this tool even sexier than it would otherwise be, but it also adds a layer of corrosion/oxidation protection. This is a big deal to those of us who intend to use the tool in humid or moist conditions. Natural oxidation isnt always that noticeable and protects the layer of aluminum underneath it. However, it is porous and is not as durable as a coating.

4) Some reviewers have stated that the carbon fiber portion of the scales adds cushioning to the handle, making it more comfortable to hold. I dont know if that is true or not because I have only held the CX. Still, it might be something worth considering.

---------------
UPDATE:

*The 2009 model of the CX has a plain edge blade and the Stainless has a partially serrated blade* Thanks, Poiuyt Man, for the heads up.

After 1 year, I still love this tool. So far, it has held up to daily use and abuse very well. I sharpen it maybe 4-5 times a year and oil the joints once or twice a year. I also gave the pocket clip significantly more tension by removing it, bending it inward, and reattaching it. This keeps the tool firmly in place when I clip it in my pocket. Be careful not to strip the threads by cross-threading or over-torquing if you decide to do this. The pliers have developed a tiny bit of lateral play, but they still work great for anything I throw at them. The spare bit holder still has a lot of bite and holds the spare bit firmly in place. I still lost a bit, however, out of carelessness and had to order a replacement from Leatherman. Although the replacements are pricey, Leatherman got it out to me extremely quickly and customer service seemed very responsive and helpful. The tool's black anodizing has held up remarkably well despite being dropped countless times, used heavily, and tossed around in my pocket with keys.

Overall, I am very happy with this tool and it has been my trusty daily-carry almost every day since I got it. Much more versatile than a pocket knife alone and not much bulkier. You really cant appreciate something like this until you start to carry one and forget it at home one day. You will find yourself constantly reaching for it throughout the day, only to be greeted with an empty pocket and disappointment. I almost feel naked without mine.

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UPDATE:

Its been almost 5 years since I wrote my original review. The original tool held up great until I lost it 2 months ago. I held off on purchasing a replacement until this week, hoping that the original would magically turn up somewhere. It never did so I am back here for #2. The original helped me through dozens of bicycle repairs, motorcycle repairs, car repairs, and it opened hundreds of packages, countless bottles of beer, and even some canned food. It was often the only tool I needed to assemble toys for the kids or small pieces of furniture. It also helped me save the day several times--such as the time I used it to help a fellow motorist secure a loose front bumper, or when I used it to pull a nail from a punctured tire, or that time I used it to fix a broken pump at a gas station. It wasn't always the PERFECT tool for the job, but it was the one I always had on me. It served me well and I expect the replacement to do the same.
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Comments

Tracked by 6 customers

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 18, 2008 12:40:50 PM PST
Russ Palmeri says:
What an outstanding review! I was looking for just this info.

Posted on Oct 18, 2009 11:58:53 PM PDT
Poiuyt Man says:
The new 2009 editions of the Skeletool and Skeletool CX have the blade types (but not materials) reversed. The Skeletool now has 420HC steel, partially serrated, and the CX has 154CM in plain edge. Personally, I'm glad I got the 2008 version of the CX.

Posted on Jan 25, 2010 11:38:46 PM PST
I purchased a Skeletool CX from Amazon, and last Saturday, I was prying apart an old tape recorder and one of the plier ends snapped off. The tool should be able to pend a piece of 5 mm polystyrene without breaking. What irritates me is that since I bought the tool more than 30 days ago, and took it out of the box, Amazon told me basically to contact Leatherman. So, from now on, I am going to buy directly from Leatherman, which offers a 25-year guarantee. BTW, I was very fond of that tool. No play in the pliers or anywhere else. Very handy. Awesome blade.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2010 10:21:14 PM PDT
leatherman will take care of the tool for you. all you have to do is send it to them. they will fix/replace it and send it back. no questions asked.

Posted on Dec 9, 2011 12:13:02 PM PST
My wife gave me a Blast about five or so years ago. Best Christmas present I have ever gotten, and certainly the only one I remember from that long ago. I feel kind of helpless without my Leatherman, kind of like a de-clawed cat. Looking to get one for my 13-year-old. Probably go with the non-CX as a "starter", unless someone else has any recommendations.

Posted on Dec 21, 2011 6:00:48 AM PST
E. Huff says:
Thank you for reviewing this item! I am not familiar with Leatherman tools, but know that husband talks highly about them. This review helped me buy a Leatherman for my hard working husband for Christmas! I hope he likes it! Thanks again!

Posted on Dec 21, 2011 9:35:33 AM PST
K. Hung says:
Hi,
Thanks for the review! I have a Skeletool with the partial serrations. Do you have any links to how to properly sharpen the blade?

Thanks

Posted on Dec 22, 2011 11:28:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 22, 2011 11:29:15 AM PST
Steven Bopp says:
You said, "I sharpen it maybe 4-5 times a year."

Really, a good review with lots of information, but why does it lose its edge so fast? Are you cutting cardboard all day/every day?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2011 11:48:54 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 22, 2011 11:51:05 AM PST
P. Tran says:
Thanks, E Huff. I hope your husband enjoys the gift.

K. Hung, you will need a special tool to sharpen serrations. Each serration needs to be sharpened individually to avoid grinding them away. I actually avoid using the serrated part unless I really need it in order to avoid having to do this too often.

Steven, the blade steel is not ultra premium steel like s30. Its good but not great. It takes a razor sharp edge quickly but also looses it a bit quickly. Since it takes a great edge so quicky, I just give it a few quick swipes every now and then to keep it sharp enough to shave with. Its the same care I give all my tools.

Posted on May 15, 2013 4:30:13 PM PDT
I concur. Additional points to your review would be . . .

-Fit and finish is superior to the stainless version
-The stainless versions (I owned 2 prior to having the CX) did not retain the bits in the bit holder well, the CX holds them solid (both mods. held the extra bit securely in its spot though)
-The CX's weight is slightly less (that is a pro for carry and is also why I don't carry a Charge TTI)
-I had the stainless pliers break on me once (Leatherman replaced it with no problem) but I did not encounter that yet with my CX (it might be a coincidental thing but it is an observation)
-And for my mileage NO SERRATIONS yay! hate em that alone was worth the cost to me

It all depends on your needs and then also on your wants but it can safely be said that the extra cost of the CX is decidedly worth it, especially if you are looking for the stamp of workmanship on your product.
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