April 12, 2023
Overview of Leatherman and Swiss Army Knife tools

Pocket knives are a collections of very important handy tools, which have been found very useful and helpful in our everyday activities, owing to their multipurpose build up.

Many people almost on a daily basis find themselves in activities and situations that a multi-functional tool like the Leatherman or Swiss Army knife comes in quite helpful.

The Leatherman and Swiss Army Knife are quite similar in lots of ways, ranging from their sizes, shapes and tools they’re made up off, however they are uniquely different brands of pocket knives. People over time evaluate and compare these unique tool brands when shopping for a suitable pocket knife.

We shall be taking a close look into these knives. We hope you find our reviews helpful as you shop for suitable pocket knife.


The Leatherman

The Leatherman Pocket knife dates back to 1975 when founder of Leatherman, Tim Leatherman and his dear wife Chau regularly encountered plumbing leakages in the hotel and roadside fixes of their fiat car. Tim had a scout knife, which he used for about every activity, but always wished he had a pair of pliers too. This was the genesis of Tim deciding to come up with a multi-tool and some sketches he had made while on the trip and began working on his ideas. 

Leatherman multipurpose knives comes with a combination of straight blade, combo blade and one or more additional tool(s) features. In the compact frictionless series, there are whopping 8-9 tools, which includes a knife. Leatherman series does not take quality lightly, as Leatherman Knives last for several years because of the durable high quality steel used in its manufacturing. 

Swiss Army Knife

The Swiss Army Knife Originates from Ibach, Switzerland. It’s a multipurpose tool manufactured by Victorinox as far back as 1891 by the Karl Elsener Company, now known as Victorinox secured the contract to produce the Swiss Army Knife previously produced by a German company.

The SAK is a cultural icon of Switzerland. The design and versatility of the SAK has earned it a worldwide recognition today. In the 1880s, the Swiss Army leadership saw the need to provide foldable pocket knife for its soldiers that would also serve as a multipurpose tool, which would help the soldiers maintain their rifle and also for opening of canned foods, so the decision to purchase the SAK was made and the new pocket knives, SAK was distributed to the soldiers. 

If you want to be prepared for any eventuality, the SAK is a tool to always take along as you go about daily activities, camping or adventurous exercises. The SAK has been a trusted tool since 1897 for adventurers around the world. Wherever your interest of adventure lies, be it in the mountains, space, the ocean or exploring your city, the Swiss Army Knife is a companion that comes in very handy and useful.

One fascinating thing about the Leatherman and Swiss Army Knife is that the creation of both pocket multi-tools have something in common: challenges and an accompanying desire to rise up to the tasks and provide solutions. These situations eventually lead to the production of these multipurpose tools that have become a daily companion for most people, especially those into crafts, adventures and skilled enterprises.

swiss army knife multi tool

Differences between the two multi-tools

Differentiating both tools can be likened to as a Battle of the Titans; both tools have lots of differences and individual advantages. Leatherman started as a multi-tool and Swiss Army Knife as a pocket knife. This is the reason why Leatherman’s are mainly based of foldable sets of pliers, having tools folding from each handle, while SAK sticks more to single block of blades, springs and tools. Their originating ideas run through the various models produced.

The Leatherman Pliers are genuine proper tools, designed for extreme tolerance, with wire cutters. This makes the Leatherman a formidable tool and yet very compact in size, whereas the SAK ha an outright number of tools that can be used with relative ease. Looking at the Victorinox Work Champ XL with an impressive 31 function the Champ XXL delivering a whopping 73 features.

On the counter-side, the improved leverage of the Leatherman’s pliers makes them more reliable for more serious tasks, especially in situations requiring the use of gloves. We can state that the Leatherman’s collection is more like a mini toolbox that comes in very handy for repairs. The SAK can be seen to be more of home tool and basic outdoor tools for small tasks not requiring a full toolbox to be sorted out.

Leatherman’s has a 25-year warranty, covering tools that fail because of material defect and or workmanship. In cases of this nature, Leatherman replaces such tool with same model or a current model, if the exact tool model is unavailable. On the other hand, Swiss Army Knife gives a lifetime guarantee against defect in material and workmanship, owing to the claim that all SAK and associated tools are made with first class stainless steel.

LEATHERMAN multi tools

The price range of both brands are another important aspect to consider.

The Leatherman’s brand, entry level full-size Leatherman Bond costs $73.95 and the Leatherman Charge is available at $284.95, with the charge having just 19 tools to choose from, they also have needle nose pliers and hard wire cutters with jaws that can be replaced. The Leatherman’s can be adjudged as premium, professional grade handy tools.

The Swiss Army Knife, in contract we find the SAK Spartan come in at $28, which is a classy camp knife and pocket tool, having a range of features that answers to a couple of basic every day needs. Some SAKs can be purchased for pocket friendly sums at $25. However, the Swiss Champ XXL featuring 71 functions are priced energetically at $408.

swiss army knives

Both are well thought out brands and are also well established in the outdoor community. 

When it comes to overall Aesthetics – how each tool looks and feels in the hand, the much preferred is the Leatherman brand. The Leatherman comes with rock-solid, boxy all metal design that feels just right to handle. The gives the feeling of a strong proof and ability to survive adverse conditions. This isn’t something we can say about the Swiss Army Knife design, aesthetics of the SAK are more opinion and subjective based, some people prefer the rounded and sleek design of the SAK to the seemingly industrial design of the Leatherman. 

Pros and cons for each type of tool
Leatherman’s Pros and Cons:


An ideal gift for a skillful and active person

High quality material assembly

Multi-functional tool

A long warranty of 25-years


Wide range options to choose from.


Convenient to carry about.


Very expensive, not everyone can afford a Leatherman brand

Limited mechanical strength

Hinged joints do not correspond to permissible load

The multi-tool doesn’t replace conventional tools.

Swiss Army Knife Pros and Cons


Ease of carrying, versatility, quality, social acceptability, and price

Multiple tool combination options

Martensitic steel

Two blades, large & small

Camping and outdoor tools

Fisherman’s tools

First aid and rescue tools

An attractive gift item

Can be used for whittling

SAK as a weapon


Blade is too small and thin

Blade does not lock

Blade is not strong enough

Steel hardness is not up to the mark

No pocket clip

No one-handed opening 

Hard to open the tools

Extra tools are often redundant

Cannot replace dedicated tools

Not a survival knife

Best uses for a Leatherman vs Swiss Army Knife

These are two unique are two unique brands of pocket multi-tools that provides an appreciable degree of ease to daily activities, for the want of time and space we won’t be exhausting the many functions of each tool, but listing just a couple.

leatherman multi tool

Leatherman’s best uses includes, but not limited to:

  • Pulling splinters or porcupine quills, from humans, animals or any other objects
  • Serves as a first aid tool, it can cut bandages and strips for wound cleaning
  • Auto repairs
  • Blade works
  • Can opener
  • Quick measurement tool, Leatherman has a ruler
  • Making of splints
  • Hanging a bare rope
  • Removing of AAA size batteries
  • Ice scrapper
  • Zip fixing

swiss army knife uses

Swiss Army Knives best uses includes:   

  • Opening of boxes or clamshell packaging
  • Removal of staples
  • Fixing of screws
  • Add a hole in your belt, using the reamer/awl
  • Haul a heavy load with ease by using the hook
  • The large blade can be used for fine finishes.
  • Fine cuttings
  • Can opener
  • Rip a guitar with the toothpick
  • Key holder, using the key ring
  • Cutting and scaling of fishes.
  • The SAK is capable of doing so much more.  

victorinox edc

Tips for selecting the right tool for your needs

Buying a Pocket can be a strenuous task due to the infinite range of options available. The challenge could range from the style of the blade, number of blades, material used, affordability and aesthetics, so it can be a tough task.

Both tools are survival multi-tools with many survival related features such as first-aid, cutting/slicing, self-defense, splitting, digging, signaling, prying and hunting.

The following tips will guide you to make the right choice for the right tool to sooth your everyday need:

Type of Blade Edge

  • Plain: They provide particular advantages. They normally have longer and flatter edge, which makes for easy control when cutting and chopping.
  • Serrated: Comes in a saw-blade form and good for slicing bread.

Blade Design 

Attention to design is important based on you need, which would be for plain cutting, sawing, self-defense and combat purposes. A strategy blade has to have a wide range of assortment, able to perform different everyday functions

Number of Blades

  • Single Blade: A single blade is a classic option for basic indoor and outdoor works. A pocket knife with one blade lacks versatility.
  • Multiple Blades:  Some knives have as many as four blades. Such knives with multiple blades gives a few more working options, but are not as durable as single blade knives.


Multi-tools such as Leatherman and Swiss Army knives are a popular option for a jack-of-all-trade kind of individual and for people who travel a lot. They come with multiple knives, serrated edges and include a host of other tools like a screwdriver and scissors. If you are a handy or crafts person, a multi-tool would be ideal for you.


The materials used in making your pocket knife is another thing that brings a connection between you and your blade. 

  • Aluminum is economical and enduring stainless steel, durable, stylish but not very strong.
  • Stag handles, which are carved from antlers, are a classic option.
  • Luxury handles options include mother of pearl and other gemstones of assorted kinds.

Opening and Locking Mechanisms

The opening and locking mechanisms for pocket knives are another important aspect to consider.

  • Opening

There are knives that can be opened with one hand, two hand or by simply pushing a button. Standard manual knives are usually opened with one hand.

An automatic blade (also called a switchblade). These knives can be opened automatically by pushing a switch, but there’s a legality with respect to use of this tool, so be sure of the permission in the area you reside if this is your preferred option.

An assisted-opening knife. The false in between the manual and switchblades. Opening requires more force, but the pros side is that it’s very unlikely to suddenly pop open mistakenly.

  • Locking

Locking mechanism keeps the blades from inadvertently closing on the users fingers.

Most common locking mechanisms are the liner lock and frame lock. This mechanism allows the user to fold the blade by pressing the lock.

Midlock and Lockback provides a little more security mechanism, requiring more powerful braces to keep the blade open. They often require the use of both hands to close, so a little more convenience is traded for this safety feature. 

Where to buy or find a Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife

Its common practice in today’s world for people to buy about any item online. When it comes to a pocket knife, it’s important to consider a physical evaluation of the knife size, weight and general feel when handling the knife. Online buying is a bit risky, it’s advisable to read the reviews from the intended online store before buying online.


As we wrap up today’s presentation, we face the task of a call to action for which set of multi-tool is the best buy between the Leatherman and the Swiss Army Knives.

The Victorinox Swiss Army Knife range has the widest range of knives and prices that meets the budget of different classes of people, meaning any knife enthusiast can find a knife that suits his/her budget from the SAK range unlike the Leatherman, which has a smaller but more expensive range. There’s however no lack of quality from both brands.

If your needs are more plier and wire cutting inclined, and plumbing fixing, then the Leatherman makes it happen for you.

If your needs tilt more to basic indoor, outdoor and camping activities, and slicing, then Swiss Army Knife it is then.

Ultimately, your preferred brand would have to be tailored down to your needs and budget.

In any case, our advice will be to get both a Leatherman and Swiss Army Knife if you can afford both.

Dr. Braide Honest,

author, knife enthusiast

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