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on June 28, 2013
I've had this tool for a few years. Right until last month I considered this the best tool I ever had. I used it for camping and freshwater fishing mostly. The blade was one of the sharpest I had ever tested, with the serrated portion adding a whole deal of functionality by allowing the blade to cut through some very tough materials. I've used it anywhere from Houston (where I go out on short camping trips) to North Cascades (where I spent a week fishing trout and salmon using this constantly to cut fish and work with my fishing materials). I couldn't have been happier ...until a week ago.

I feel compelled to publish this review, because never before had I had such an overwhelming 180-degree shift in my opinion of a product.

The fact is I went on vacation to Destin, Florida, where I decided to use this tool all week while kayak fishing. Granted, saltwater is one of the nastiest things there are to put any metal through, no matter how good. Even most stainless steel has trouble with saltwater. It is basic chemistry. The salt gives it higher conductivity, and then chemically induced currents go to work on the metal surface ultimately leading to rust/corrosion. That is why you wash any reel you've used for saltwater fishing in freshwater right after you finish using it. And that is the practice I followed with this tool. Still then, it was useless. Within 6 hours of using it for saltwater fishing, I started noticing signs of rust. So far so good. I thought to myself I culd live with a little orange here and there. Just wash it well in freshwater when you're done, use a little rubbing alcohol to eliminate moisture, lubricate again, and voila. I have to say this knife spent hours in freshwater on previous fishing trips (after which I always cleaned and re-lubricated) without ever showing any signs of rust. Saltwater was different. Very different. The rusting got worse by the day. By the time I eventually got back home (about a week later), I repeated the cleaning/lubrication, but the damage was already done. Today (a week after returning) I opened the pliers and two of the STAINLESS STEEL springs that push the pliers in place simply broke off. I guess it was some kind of metal embrittlement? Not sure what happened, but now even the blade is starting to rust.

So this is not any longer my favorite knife tool. I got a spyderco atlantic salt knife and will eventually put that steel to the test. In any case, as far as this leatherman goes, I can simply share my experience and will attempt to post some photos of what I've gone through (if I find where to do so!). To be completely fair, this is probably a fantastic tool so long as you keep it free of any salt. And I mean never -ever- get it close to salty water. That said, I used it for 2 years with a lot of exposure to freshwater, and never saw a spec of rust.

I hope this helps you make a more informed purchase decision.

7/13/13 UPDATE: ***GREAT CUSTOMER SUPPORT*** I sent this back for warranty. Leatherman's website provides easy instructions to do so. You print out a form and mail it with your product. Obviously you DO pay to mail it TO them, but not for the return postage. The sent a brand new skeletool. I had a Skeletool CX, and it appears the blade no longer comes with the combo serrated/plain edge... there is a disclaimer on their warranty page saying they might send your knife back with a plain edge blade, --which is what they did in my case--. Anyway, I have to recognize their excellent customer support. They could have simply argued that the knife was not intended for saltwater use, but they did not, and --no questions asked-- just sent a replacement. Nice work, Leatherman! I am upgrading my review to a 3-star for this (close to considering 4)...just note that if you are looking at this product, the metallurgy of the steel is such that it will not tolerate any degree of salt corrosion.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 9, 2015
I just realized that after two years of owning this item, I hadn't written a review. I need to change that, because this is a seriously great multitool.

Since March 2013 I have carried the Letterman Skeletool in my left pocket nearly every day, Approximately 900 days. I use it all the time. A knife, Pliers, and Screw driver are my three "essential" tools, and this one combined those three items, with the added benefit that the knife is easy to access. I also use the bottle opener from time to time, but not nearly as frequently.

Over the last ~900 days the skeletool has held up remarkably well. I oil the hinges as needed (only a couple times), and keep the blade sharp, but other than that it has needed no maintenance. As is expected (and personally reasonable) the clip that sits exposed to the outside of my pants has experienced a little wear, but nothing that I care about (I don't want a tool that looks brand new anyway) and the blade guard also has a little but of wear. The tool looks like it has been used, but all the wear is cosmetic, with some minor maintenance it performs as good as new.

The blade: The only reason I bought the Carbon fiber version of this knife was for the better blade. The carbon fiber doesn't really save a noticeable amount of weight, but it's worth the extra price for the better blade. I keep the blade sharp, and with frequent use, the blade holds an edge well. I bought the 830850 specifically because I didn't want a serrated blade. Keep your knife sharp enough and you shouldn't need to saw.

Not only do I carry this thing every day, but I use it pretty much daily too. Just today I've used it to open an amazon package, and I also used the pliers to open a window at my office that is missing the hand crank.

The thing that I love about this tool is that it is small enough that I don't notice it unless I need it. It sits flat in my pocket and doesn't get in the way.

I have two minor complaints, but I feel that they aren't a big enough deal to warrant deducting a star.

The first is my main complaint, the wire strippers are not fantastic. They will do if you are really, really desperate but most of the time I'm in a scenario where I need to strip wire it is easier for me to go grab a pair of strippers, because if I'm stripping wire I'm in our server room, where we have seemingly dozens of pairs of strippers, or at home where I have some. The other leatherman I own (a very, *very* old Supertool 200) also has bad strippers.

My other little nagging point is that they way you store the excess bit head isn't the best. If you keep your fingernails trimmed close like I do the spare bit is difficult to remove.

Other than those two minor sticking points I have no complaints about this thing. It has come in super handy, and I can't imagine life without it.
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I own both the original stainless version from 2008, and a new cx model. There is quite a bit of confusion as to differences in the two models for several reasons. One the design of both has changed since introduction. Leatherman is not a company that produces a tool and they are done. They listen to customers input, usage, needs, and make design changes accordingly.

The steel changes and blade properties has changed. My original stainless has a straight edge, which is now a combo edge in current production. The original cx had a combo edge, and the current version has a straight edge.

The stainless version uses 420HC steel, which is an ok metal with good hardness and good edge retention. The CX version uses 154CM steel which is vastly superior in all aspects.

Skeletool (Stainless) - manufactured with a combo blade edge after June 2009
830845: 420HC No sheath - box packaging
830846: 420HC No sheath -Clam shell packaging
830847: 420HC No sheath, Gift Tin packaging
830865: 420HC Nylon sheath, Gift Tin packaging
830948: 420HC Nylon sheath, Box packaging

Skeletool CX - manufactured with a straight blade edge after June 2009
830849: 154CM No sheath, box packaging
830850: 154CM No sheath, Clam shell packaging
830851: 154CM No sheath, Gift Tin packaging
830866: 154CM Nylon Sheath, Gift Tin packaging
830950: 154CM Nylon Sheath, box packaging

The cx also has a tungsten coating instead of stainless. All in all either one you choose will get the job done. I have around eight multitools. I keep one in each travel bag so a tool is always available and no chance of forgetting one. Remember you always need a tool when you don't have one. One in each vehicle, and some to just carry. I don't carry the ones I bought to carry. Have a leatherman wave and a sog. I end up leaving them behind due to bulk and weight.

While the skeletools aren't perfect, the best tool is the one you have with you, and the skeletools are easy to keep with you.
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on April 12, 2016
I've had leathermans, gerbers and countless pocketknives. This is the tool I have finally settled on, after years of going through various carries. The blade is impossibly sharp and is staying that way, plus it is easily deployed one-handed. I find myself using the screwdrivers a lot more than I thought I would. I didn't notice, but you can have slotted ready to use and keep a flat (or whatever) attachment stored very discretely in the handle (so discretely, I didn't notice it for a couple of weeks).

It's nice and light and has all the tools I actually would use somewhat often (knife, screwdriver, pliers.. in that order), so you don't have to be weighed down by all sorts of stuff you never use. If it breaks, I will buy another one, and so on until they no longer produce them. I've had no issues thus far.
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on February 14, 2016
I'm a tool freak apparently. I didn't know it until I purchased this Skeletool from Leatherman. I keep this in my jacket pocket when doing outdoor activities like skiing or hiking and in my tail bag when mountain biking. It's very light, the lightest of the available tools from Leatherman, and very functional. While it's not the same as having a full tool kit, I also don't want to carry around a bunch or other specific tools for these activities. This is a compromise tool, to be sure, but if something breaks or comes loose, then I have a decent chance of not having to immediately end what I'm doing. It has a sharp knife, decent pliers and a multifunction screwdriver (Philips and flat blades included)

The quality of this tool is great, on par with the larger multi-tools from Leatherman and the visible carbon fiber makes it look cool too! Having a replaceable main locking blade and the interchangeable bits for the drivers are important features for long term use. Unless you lose this, it should be around for a long time. The 25 year warranty just adds to the peace of mind that this tool will be used for many years.

If you get this multitool (and you should if you need a small tool to take with with you), be sure to consider getting the bit assortment here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003E1QPZG?redirect=true&ref_=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_26 as this option includes many more options and sizes for the drivers.
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on December 25, 2014
I have owned several multi-tools over the years. My current daily carry is the Leatherman Wave with the black oxide finish. It has been a good tool but I typically do not use all the features of the tool so I decided to give the Skeletool a try.

tldr; I like it and will probably make a point of using it more than the Wave for now.

Pros:
- It is light
- It is compact
- It feels sturdy. When I squeeze the liars hard my Wave seems to flex a bit and gets stuck till I work it open and closed a few times. This tool feel like there is much less flex and it has never felt particularly stiff to open and close.
- It is very easy to access the limited number of tools including the knife. The reason I carry the wave now is because the knife can be easily accessed while closed. Some other multi-tools I've owned in the past require opening the tool to access the blade. The blade on this can be accessed without opening and will open with one hand
- The pocket clip is stiff enough to hold the tool securely.
- The carabiner clip fits onto my bag ring making it convenient to carry on my bag, which I almost always have with me.
- The knife came sharp and seems to be holding the edge well. It is also pretty heavy duty, which is good because I tend to use blades for tasks they aren't usually intended for. I've broken more than a few knife blades by prying, chiseling, and scraping. I know that is off label use, but it's nice to see the blade will probably hold up under my abuse.
- The handle is reasonably comfortable when using the knife. The shape feels more like a pocket knife and there is a slight curved recess where my index finger grips the handle.
- The carbon fiber strip and blade case are pretty comfortable in my grip
- The bottle opener works ok (see cons for details)
- The driver bit works well and the bit is secured by a clip and strong spring

Cons
- The cutout to make it easier to open the blade with one hand is not super comfortable. I assume it is laser cut but it would be nice if somehow it could be slightly rounded or something to make a softer edge. Under "normal" usage it probably wouldn't be a problem but since I just got it I've been playing by opening and closing the various parts quite a bit. It didn't take long before my thumb felt a bit sore.
- The edges that are not rounded like the carbon fiber strip and blade cover cut into your hand a bit when using the pliers or driver
- The pocket clip digs into my hand a bit when using the knife or other tools. I often remove the pocket clip from pocket knives and multi-tools because of this annoyance, but I'm going to give this tool a chance for a while. The clip is smaller than most and the position/curve actually makes it slightly less obtrusive than most so I may get use to this.
- The bottle opener works but the angle is a bit awkward when trying to align and pop. I didn't slip or otherwise have trouble opening the bottle but I can imagine that it would be difficult to do after opening a few bottles in a row or in poor lighting. Most of the time I think I'd use a dedicated bottle opener.
- Additionally the bottle opener is awkward for my little finger when using the pliers and my palm when using the knife. Granted, I have huge hands so this may not affect many users.
- The knife blade is a bit short I feel a slight redesign could have given another half and inch to an inch of knife length but the blade is very nice overall so I'm not going to whine too much about it.

There are several things I've listed for cons here, but to be fair this is all pretty knit picky stuff. Compared to the other multi-tools I've used it is a very good tool. My favorite was probably a victorianox tool I had. That was by far the most comfortable to use but it had some major drawbacks. All the tools were accessible while the tool was closed, but you couldn't open or close with one hand. The blade metal was so soft that it would dull half way through the day and most importantly, the tool pouch tore and fell off my belt one day. My second favorite was the Leatherman Wave I've been carrying until today. It also had several drawbacks. Mostly the overall size and weight. It also drove me nuts trying to open the right blade. Inevitably I would open the seated blade instead of the straight blade and the plier issue I mentioned before. The other half dozen tools I've used had a variety of issues ranging from uncomfortable, cheep material, or just awkward to use.

This is the first tool in the last few years I've had that I'm thinking may become a new daily carry.
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on June 20, 2016
The Leatherman Skeletool CX goes with me everywhere. It was quite humorous as my friend and I both shared the same story the first week we owned this multi-tool. We both searched for excuses to use our tools, such as cutting up fruit or putting a table together from IKEA. After the hype wore off, I surprisingly found myself using this tool quite often. The blade does get worn and requires maintenance along with sharpening. The pliers have given me no issues thus far but I've only been using them with light-duty work. There is a bit set that compliments the Skeletool CX quite well. All of the bits can fit and be replaced onto the head of the tool. Lovely tool. Best I've owned.
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on May 22, 2015
I carry a Leatherman tool every day without fail, and have done so for the last 15 years. I can't even count how many times my Leatherman has saved my butt or saved the day! I've carried a Wave for about the past 10 years and it's been the best tool I've ever had. I honestly don't understand why every man doesn't carry a Leatherman. I received a SOG EOD tool as a Christmas gift a couple years ago. It looked cool, but snapped the screwdriver bit and cut my hand badly the first time I tried to use it. After carrying the Wave for so many years I thought I'd try a lighter, slimmer tool that I could pocket clip carry. So far, I love this Skeletool CX. I doesn't have the "toolbox" selection of tools that the Wave has, but it has the most important and commonly used ones. The blade is great quality steel and came sharp enough to shave with. If you're looking for a tool that has the basics, is easy to carry, and is typical Leatherman high quality, you found it.
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on September 4, 2014
Bare minimum essential every day carry tool.

The blade is sharp and eats cardboard boxes and packing tape without batting an eyelash. The blade either stays fully sheathed in the handle or locked open; this means you can't whip the leatherman around and cause the blade to lock open. You will need a decent purchase on the leatherman to open the blade. The push lock to keep the blade from closing is sturdy. The blade does not come out inadvertently when opening the leatherman to use the pliers. I would prefer a partial serrated blade, but a straight edge does the job.

The black coating is very durable. I throw the leatherman in my pocket with my keys (which there are many all attached to a carabiner) for all day out and about and on the job. No scuffs or scratches so far.

The pliers do not auto open when you close them (no spring), rather you need to use your hand to function the pliers open or close. This isn't a real issue for me. The pliers have a very good grip and are very sturdy.

The extra screw head stays fixed in the handle until you push it out. I have not had it pop out inadvertently. Same goes for the screw head at the end of the handle. Seem very durable, but have not put the screw heads through their paces yet.

The only draw back is when closing the leatherman, the screw head on the end of the handle pokes the palm of my hand. This is the only reason I gave it 4 stars, instead of 5. I have adjusted the way I open and close the leatherman now, so it's less of an issue, except for those times I forget and try to close it like my leatherman sideclip.
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on September 23, 2017
Great for EDC but don't expect much out of wire cutters/plyers; the wire cutter material integrity is easily damaged by even thin gauge wire and bows easily allowing wire to jam the pliers, requiring yet a separate tool to unjam them again. But other than that, knife stays sharp, easily deployed, screw set is handy, super light and NOT bulky.
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