I’ve carried a Leatherman multitool, in one form or another, for the last 20 years or so. It’s the one thing I use every single day. There are plenty of multitools on the market and each person will appreciate different aspects of each. There are a number of features I like about the Leatherman Charge:

  1. Externally-accessible blades. The 154CM clip-point straight knife, 420HC serrated knife, wood saw, and file are all accessible without opening the multitool at all. Considering how often I use the blades (usually several times a day) this is a winning feature for me.
  2. Interchangeable screwdriver bits. The Charge comes with a basic flat/Philips reversible bit but there is an additional kit with another 20 bits of various sizes. The bits are unique in that they are flat so they fit into a holder that slots into its own pocket in the belt holster. This allows me to carry a variety of bits right along with my Charge.
  3. A bit-extender option available which fits into the holster as well, that serves 2 purposes: a) it gives about a 3″ extension to fit these bits into tight quarters and B) it has a standard hex socket for standard screwdriver bits. So if you need a bit not available from Leatherman or a specialty bit such as a “security Torx” the extender will accept those and many more. This makes the Charge extremely flexible for many different tasks.
  4. There is a second bit holder for miniature screwdriver bits, including is a reversible flat/Philips bit, which is great for tiny screws such as for eyeglasses, portable electronics and such. The fact that these bits are replaceable is fantastic because I don’t have to worry about damaging a bit that can only be replaced at the factory.
  5. Scissors. The Charge’s fold-out scissors are sharp and precise, capable of cutting many soft materials. The scissor blades are about 1″ long — not suitable for extended cutting sessions, but great for small jobs.

The rest of the tools included in the Charge are typical across the Leatherman line: a bottle/can opener; two types of wire cutters; pliers that taper from a standard size suitable for bolt heads etc. to a needle-nose size; an 8″ ruler stamped into the handles; a file with an aggressive side suitable for wood or metals and a diamond-coated side for fine surfaces or even sharpening a blade. The saw has very sharp teeth in an aggressive pattern which make short work of even sizable branches.

The Charge is a mid-size multitool approximately 4″ long; it fits comfortably in the hand with rounded edges to keep from digging into your palm and fingers. There are 3 different versions of the Charge available, labelled the AL, the ALX and the TTi. The AL and ALX are almost identical, the difference being a ripping hook on the tip of the rope knife for cutting seat belts, linoleum and leather. The TTi has titanium handle scales instead of the black plastic of the AL and ALX. Also, both the TTi and ALX models add a crimper section in the pliers. In addition there are options for stainless steel or black anodized components to suit your tastes.

Overall I find the Charge to be a great mix of durable, useful tools; it’s comfortable in the hand and sized appropriately for many tasks without being too large or heavy to carry easily. The adaptability of the interchangeable bits and convenience of carrying a selection of bits in the holster make it a winner in my book.

Submitted to Cool Tools by Victor Reiner