When it comes to choosing the very best multi-tool, two of the leaders in the market are Leatherman vs Gerber. But which one stands out as superior?
Multi-tools have become an essential item for anyone from a hardware enthusiast to a professional contractor. Whether they are used regularly or kept in an emergency kit, multi-tools provide all of your basic needs and beyond without taking up too much space.
The two most recognizable names in the industry are Leatherman and Gerber, both of which have been around for several decades. From portable pocket tools to full-size ones suitable for professional applications, each company offers a variety of options depending on user needs.
Leatherman pioneered the modern multi-tool and has created exceedingly high-quality tools ever since. On the other hand, Gerber is a multibillion-dollar knife, tool, and equipment company equally well-known as Leatherman.
Let’s jump in and look at the Leatherman vs Gerber controversy and see who we believe makes the better multi tool.
The Battle of the Flagships: Leatherman Wave Plus vs. Gerber MP600
When comparing two tool manufacturers, the best place to start is with their flagship products. For Leatherman, it’s the Wave+, while for Gerber, it’s the MP600. There are many other models like the Gerber suspension, Gerber Dime, Leatherman Mut, and Leatherman Wingman – but for the sake of simplicity, we’re keeping it down to these two.
Both are full-sized machines with several features. Let’s review Leatherman first.
Leatherman Wave Plus
When comparing Leatherman vs Gerber, the Wave+ is a new version of Leatherman’s wildly successful Wave multi tool. It comes with 18 different tools in a 4-inch butterfly open packaging.
The Leatherman Wave Plus multitool is equipped with a wide range of features suitable for any task at hand. It has a knife, pliers, scissors, wire cutters, and two blades that are all lockable except the ply tool, greatly enhancing safety in use.
The wire cutters can be replaced while the Blades hold sharpness over time. Plus, the included Bit Driver set is expandable through Leatherman’s proprietary format (unfortunately, not compatible with any other standard driver bit such as 1/4″). The Wave Plus also includes a saw and can/bottle opener for additional convenience.
On the Wave+, there are two separate bit drivers: a small screwdriver to be used with glasses or electronics and a medium screwdriver. Leatherman included unique replaceable hard and a standard wire cutter in the Wave+.
The pliers are among the best we’ve seen on any multi-tool, and the materials are of the highest quality. One of our favorite multi-tools is the Wave+. It’s sturdy, small, and well-made (stainless steel), and it performs everything a multitool should.
By the way, if you want to see one of the best multi tool classics, click here to read about the Swiss army knife.
The construction quality of Leatherman’s Wave+ is impressive. The tool features a stainless steel body with riveted hinges and threaded fasteners for its parts, giving it strong durability and longevity that will last through heavy use by the user.
In addition to being highly durable, the Wave+ has easy-to-use locks for all tools and blades that stay out of the way when they’re not in active use. The handle frames are packed firmly against each other with just enough friction so you can feel secure while doing your work without it budging too easily.
Finally, this Leatherman tool adds their signature high-end steel blade (with serrated edge) to the mix, making it able to tackle virtually any cutting task you set forth.
The Leatherman Wave Plus offers a balance between size, weight, and portability. Its main ergonomic feature is its smooth external plates that are more comfortable to use than other multi-tools with textured surfaces.
Additionally, it has a one-hand opening design for the pocket knife blades that makes them easy to deploy in a single-thumb flick. This knife blade design is also better ergonomically than knives that open from the interior of closed plier handles, as it places the working edge along with the center handle – for a more comfortable and easier-to-use experience.
Overall, the Wave Plus is an easy-to-use tool with enhanced comfort due to its ergonomic design.
Buy Leatherman Wave Plus here
Without a doubt, the MP600 is one of the most extensively used multi-tools globally. The Gerber multitool is mainly owing to its status as the US military’s standard-issue multi-tool.
It’s a large, heavy-duty tool Gerber tool built to withstand the harshest of situations. For the MP600, Gerber tool went with a completely different design than Leatherman did for the Wave+.
The Gerber Multi-plier 600 is a great multi-tool at an affordable price and boasts numerous features to help you tackle both everyday tasks and unexpected projects. The selection of blades includes a sharp knife, serrated knife, and flathead screwdriver. It also has needlenose pliers (on Amazon) with an adjustable jaw that can accommodate larger tasks such as wire cutting or bending objects made of soft metal materials.
Additionally, it comes equipped with other survival tools can opener, bottle opener, and a file for polishing metal surfaces. The tool is compact enough to fit in your pocket, making it easy to bring anywhere without taking up too much space. While the extra bottle opener may not be necessary, having all these useful functions makes this multi-tool one of the best options on the market today!
The pliers on the MP600 have a sliding-out, one-handed opening feature. The additional tools are only accessible after the pliers you’ve deployed and opened the handles.
We believe Gerber made some significant concessions to make the MP600 a tool that anybody could use. Gerber designed these tools themselves appealingly.
A detachable bit driver is also not included in any of the versions. For that, you’ll need to purchase aftermarket accessories. Don’t get us wrong: the MP600 is a well-made multi-tool with many positive features.
The construction quality of the Gerber Multi-Plier 600 is reassuringly solid. With its stainless steel body and accented with aluminum handles, it’s built to last decades, if not longer.
The tool has a number of hinges that quickly open up for access to several tools and a slider to engage the pliers. While these mechanisms are initially tight for proper operation, they can become increasingly looser with extended usage over time.
The only non-steel piece is the plastic locking component which secures access to tools within this multi-tool device. For normal everyday use, this plastic piece has stayed securely in place and has worked just fine so far.
As such, the Gerber Multi-Plier 600 can be confidently relied upon for many years to come—just not with as great of a response time or lasting tolerances as other similar multi-tool devices from Leatherman and SOG brands.
The Gerber Multi-Plier 600 is designed with ergonomics in mind, allowing comfortable and efficient operation no matter what task you’re performing. The plier handles are made to be smooth for optimal gripping power, while the internal tools have a curved handle design that fits perfectly into your palm to offer maximum control.
The pliers can easily be deployed one-handed, while the butterfly-style multi-tool requires two hands for deployment. They’re ideal if you need quick use of a tool with only one hand available. Each and every included function can also be locked with a smooth and easy-to-engage slider so that you won’t experience any slips during operation.
However, when using the smaller internal tools, they may feel large and unwieldy compared to their size. To use the secondary tools on this multi-tool, one must unfold them from within while deployed pliers are open – then return them by reversing that process upon completion of your task.
The Gerber Multi-Plier 600 is an ideal multi-tool to carry in a belt holster, thanks to its included nylon sheath which has a low profile and durable velcro flap. The velcro can eventually wear out with use, but that is to be expected.
The downside of the Gerber’s pocket carry ability is that even when fully stowed away, it has sharp edges which may pierce through pockets and concentrate stress in one point, quickly wearing a hole into them. It does have an optional fold-away lanyard loop which is a nice addition for certain applications, such as high-angle or running water environments.
When compared to other full-sizer multi-tools, the Gerber Multi-Plier 600 has a smooth and thin sheath and tends to have good middle-of-the-pack weight, so carrying it should give no worries.
Gerber vs Leatherman Winner is…
In this case, we’ll have to opt for the Leatherman Wave+. The MP600 is a capable instrument, but the Wave+ has a more refined appearance. The Wave+’s detachable wire stripper outperformed the MP600’s conventional and removable carbide cutters, making it a more specialized tool.
We’ve discussed the several difficulties with brittleness and durability that we’ve observed with Gerber wire cutters in prior evaluations.
In addition, although the one-handed open pliers are convenient, users commonly utilize knives and saw blades outside access. The MP600’s black oxide coating was also a problem.
There have been several instances of it beginning to rub and chip off after only a few weeks of use. The MP600 is often less expensive than the Wave+, but we feel the price difference is justified. In almost every way, the Wave+ is superior.
FAQs Gerber vs Leatherman
Now, we’ll just outline a few short questions that are often asked.
Do Leatherman and Gerber Multi-tools have Replaceable tools?
Yes, Leatherman and Gerber multi-tools have replaceable tools. These tools are usually either sold separately as replacement parts or come with a Leatherman or Gerber multi-tool kit. You can buy replacement parts on their website or on Amazon most of the time.
Are Leatherman and Gerber TSA-approved?
Leatherman and Gerber tools are allowed on flights. However, they must be checked with baggage and not taken on board.
Are Leatherman and Gerber Warranty-backed?
Yes, Leatherman and Gerber multi-tools are usually backed by a warranty. Each company offers a variety of warranty options depending on the specific product. Leatherman and Gerber generally have a 25-year warranty.
Which is Best for Self-defense?
Neither Leatherman nor Gerber multi-tools are designed for self-defense. They are generally too small and not designed for combat situations. If you are looking for a tool for self-defense, you should consider other types of knives or self-defense tools.
However, if you’re in a pinch, the Wave+ is slightly better.
Both Gerber and Leatherman are great multi-tool companies with high-quality equipment. Either a Gerber or a Leatherman would do for everyday use.
If you’re seeking the most extraordinary multi-tool money you can buy, we recommend going with Leatherman. Leatherman pioneered the multi-tool, while Gerber created excellent tools. It’s what they specialize in, and they excel at it.
They’ve spent the last 30 years inventing and reimagining what a multi-tool is and can be. Do they make errors? Yes, everyone does it. However, Leatherman makes all the tools we regard as the best in their respective categories.
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