Leatherman makes two version of the Skeletool. The standard and the CX. The difference is the carbon fiber scales on the CX. I decided to pick up a Skeletool CX for just shy of $60.00. it was to be a utility tool for light every day use that takes up little pocket real estate and was lightweight. It has been my daily carry for the past three years.

Leatherman advertises the Skeletool as having 7 tools:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Hard-wire Cutters
  • 154CM Knife
  • Carabiner/Bottle Opener
  • Large Bit Driver with two reversible bits: Phillips #1 and #2, Screwdriver 1.4in and 3/16in

At only 5 ounces and 4″ long, it is the lightweight little brother of the medium duty Leatherman Wave and Charge and the heavy duty MUT, and Surge.

THE KNIFE

The knife blade opens without having to manipulate the tool itself. It has a thumb hole for one handed opening. The blade locks in place with a simple liner lock and there is a nice finger cutout for your index finger when utilizing it.. The blade itself itself is a 2.6″ straight edge made from 154CM. I like the 154CM stainless on mid range blades because I feel it is superior to the 440C stainless and will hold an edge longer. As a side note, if you are interested in blade steel comparison, there is an excellent post on BladeForums here: Stainless Steel Chart Comparison EDC Knife Blades v5.3.

THE PLIERS

The pliers have multiple functions, needle nose, regular, wire cutters, and hard wire cutters. Opening is easy and it clicks into place. The cutters work well and I have cut a coat hangar with them. They do not pinch your hand when using them due to the beveled design and the tool offers a good grip. The pliers themselves are only good for light duty tasks. The other issue is that they really aren’t needle nose in the true sense and are a little rounded. I do not feel they can handle medium to heavy duty tasks. There have been reports of the pliers breaking when performing tasks such as heavy twisting or bending. The good news is Leatherman’s warranty is top notch and they will replace them for you. If you need to do work with the pliers other than simple cutting, grabbing, or holding tasks then this may not be the tool for you.

THE BOTTLE OPENER

Probably the most used tool on it besides the blade itself. It is a one piece solid design that doubles as a carabiner. It is solid, sturdy, and does the job well. The only issue I encountered is using it as a carabiner. The metal clip is bent in place and sits in two holes that retain it. Sometimes it bends out and one of the ends pops out and needs to be re-bent into the holes. Otherwise this is a great addition.

THE BIT DRIVER

One of the biggest reasons I chose the Leatherman Skeletool over the Gerber and Victorinox models was due to the fact that it accepted removable and replaceable bits. This is a great thing because if you break or strip out the fixed screwdriver blades on other tools, the tool needs to be replaced. The driver is meant to be used with the tool opened length wise. I have used it both fully open and partially open with a 90 degree grip. The bits lock firmly into place and a spare bit storage is located on the tool and holds it in place very well. I have not lost one to date. The grip offers good leverage for light to medium duty screw manipulation.

Here are the two reversible bits the tool came standard with, Phillips #1 and #2, Screwdriver 1.4in and 3/16in. Although worn, they have held up well to years of use.

I picked up a Leatherman 40 Bit Assortment and a Leatherman Bit Driver Extension to add to the versatility of this tool. The Leatherman Wave, Charge, Surge, and MUT also offer the same bit driver.

THE POCKET CLIP

The pocket clip is removable and works well. I have had mine clipped into my pocket since I have owned it. The only issue with it is two fold. It bends out after use and it requires a T8 torx that is not included, to remove it for re-straightening. Two simple remedies, but a trip to the hardware store is required if you do not already have a T8 in your tool kit.

I tend to lose knives clipped in my pocket so I added a braid of para cord that I stuff in my pocket first. This way, if it falls out it still stays in my pocket and bangs against my leg letting me know it’s about to eject. It has worked well over the years and saved me from losing it on multiple occasions.

In conclusion, I feel the Skeletool is a good lightweight every day carry tool. Any smaller and you lose functionality. Any bigger and it becomes too heavy for a pocket. It offers a good balance of weight and tools but I think it can be improved upon with simple design changes to the pliers.

Skeletool Pros:

  • Light
  • Small
  • One handed open blade
  • Bit driver configuration
  • The warranty
  • The price

Skeletool Cons:

  • The pliers in both design and strength
  • The carabiner clip pops out
  • Pocket clip bends with use
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