Reviewed by David Savage
Whether you do small DIY jobs at home, someone who does odd jobs or professional tradesperson carrying out repairs, everyone needs a variety of tools to complete the jobs.
Having a multipurpose tool is perfect for solving all those little problems around the house, at work on your car or any other small DIY projects that you may have to do without the need for digging out your full toolkit.
Leatherman are a world-renowned maker of easily portable hand tools. Built around a pair of pliers, that have a variety of functions; first described as a Boy Scout knife with pliers. Formed in 1983, they have been creating excellent quality multi-function tools that have a massive 25 years warranty.
I was therefore delighted to try out my first Leatherman multi-tool, from Whitby & Co, in the form of the Leatherman FREE P2 Multipurpose Pliers with Nylon Sheath.
Whitby & Co, based in Cumbria, are the UK’s leading outdoor accessories distributor, offering the latest and best outdoor accessory products for outdoor pursuits. They supply equipment from outdoor and camping, hunting and fishing, gift, DIY, agricultural and many more from world-renowned names such as Leatherman, Zippo, Klean Kanteen and Opinel.
The very versatile multipurpose, problem solving tool comes with 19 different tools, these are:
- Needlenose pliers
- Regular pliers
- Premium replaceable hard-wire cutters
- Premium replaceable wire-cutters
- 420HC Combo knife
- Spring-action scissors
- Bottle opener
- Pry tool
- Package opener
- Can opener
- Wire stripper
- Ruler (1.41in / 25mm)
- Wood/Metal file
- Electrical crimper
- Phillips screwdriver
- Medium screwdriver
- Small screwdriver
- Extra-small screwdriver
The Leatherman FREE P2 measures 4.25″/10.25cm when closed and gets the name FREE because of the way it opens (not because there is no cost, as it does come with a hefty price tag of £144.95). It has been very well-designed using magnets for one handed operation, leaving your other hand FREE!
The Leatherman FREE P2 not only looks luxurious and real quality, but feels it too. It is made from 100% Stainless Steel, features magnetic opening and closing, has all-locking tools, designed for one-hand opening and comes with a removable pocket clip and nylon sheath that you can attach to your belt. It is fairly lightweight, it weighs approx. 7.06oz/215.46g. With a folded length of just 4.25” it takes up very little room and fits nicely onto a belt or in a pocket, bag or toolkit (although due to UK knife laws it probably isn’t wise to keep on your belt unless actually using it at the time).
A note of warning. While this is a very handy little tool it is not something just to leave in your pocket for any little jobs that might arise. It is equipped with a blade that locks into place and the UK has very strict rules on carrying bladed articles in public places. You should actually only carry this outside if you have a valid reason such as using in your occupation or wild camping etc. You can find more on www.leatherman.co.uk/pages/using-carrying-knives or www.gov.uk/buying-carrying-knives. Although the blade is under 3”, because it locks into place if you are stopped while carrying it you will have to justify why you have it (e.g. if you are a tradesperson on your way to your next job, not popping to the pub for a night out with friends).
The Leatherman FREE P2 has nearly all the tools you would need for those odd jobs around the home or even trying to fix your car after a breakdown. The only thing missing is a small saw. All the tools, bar the pliers, are on the outside edges and are very accessible with one hand, there is no need to open it up to use any of the tools except the pliers. The handles and held closed using magnets. The tools do not have the little fingernail notches to release the tools, that notch used to be a right pain, they release by pushing on the tab at the rear and then lock into place and the tools are freely move without applying too much pressure. There is a knife with a combined flat and serrated blade that also features a wire stripper. There is a pair of small, strong and sturdy scissors. The is a Phillips head screwdriver along with a variety of flathead screwdrivers in different sizes, even a tiny one for fixing small items such as glasses. There is a bottle opener, can opener, file, pry tool, awl, pliers with a fine point that could even pick up a stand of hair and even a tiny 2.5cm straight ruler (not sure how much use this would be). Even the cutter heads can be replaced yourself when the blades are dulled.
The magnetic, open handed opening is excellent. It frees up your other hand for other things like holding on to your ladder. All the tools can be accessed with the push of your thumb or flick of the wrist. It does take a bit of getting used to using one hand to open everything, but once mastered it really is simple. All the tools are secure in the chassis, held by magnets but freely move with the push of a thumb when required.
Whilst it has been engineered to a very high standard, I did find one small issue with it. The tabs on the handle sit proud of the chassis so when you are bearing down on the handle to use the pliers or cutters the tabs dig into the palm of your hand and can be quite painful.
Overall, this is an extremely tough, durable and practical multipurpose tool. It has a plethora of uses with tools that would be handy around the house for DIY, at work for stripping cables, opening paint tins, tightening screws etc. and is even useful for leisure activities such as camping and fishing or just opening packets and cutting paper. It even comes with a strong and durable nylon sheath and a massive 25 year warranty against defects (except for the dulling of blades and cutting edges, these need to sharpened or replaced at a cost). With an eye-watering price tag of £145, it definitely is at the luxury end of the multipurpose tool market, but once you see and feel the quality, how easy it is to use and use and the usefulness of the toolset, you will see that is definitely worth the investment.
For more information or to buy, visit www.leatherman.co.uk.