Monday, November 30, 2015

The Realist--Mini-Review: Leatherman Rev Multitool

Another guest post from The Realist:

The Leatherman Rev in its package

As a follow-on to my recent Ozark Trails multitool review (http://practicaleschatology.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-realist-mini-review-ozark-trail-12.html), I am going to do a quick review the new-ish Leatherman "Rev" multitool. This year, Home Depot is offering the Rev for less than twenty dollars ($19.88 plus sales tax, MSRP $34.85) as part of their Black Friday sales promotion. (If past marketing holds true, it will remain twenty dollars for the holiday shopping season or until inventory is exhausted.)

The Rev is probably the cheapest full-sized genuine Leatherman multitool you will find for sale new.

The first thing I noticed was the Rev's similarity to the Leatherman Wingman (MSRP $39.85). Besides a similar tool offering, similar tool designs, and asymmetric handles, the Wingman had been sold for twenty dollars at Home Depot during several past Christmas shopping seasons.

The individual tools in the Rev are 1) needle nose pliers, 2) regular pliers, 3) hard-wire cutters, 4) wire cutters, 5) straight edge knife, 6) package opener, 7) 1.5 inch ruler, 8) can/bottle opener, 9) wood/metal file, 10) Phillips screwdriver, 11) medium straight screwdriver, 12) small straight screwdriver, and 13) wire stripper. The two types of pliers and the two types of wire cutters are all part of the same jaw assembly. The file, ruler, and small screwdriver are a single blade. The can/bottle opener and wire stripper are all a single blade. Only the knife blade locks open. The Rev also has a removable pocket clip.

The file is a signal side single-cut file, and is somewhat short (less than 2 inches). The other side of the blade with the file is the ruler. Most other full size Leatherman multitools have a longer (greater than 2.5 inches) double sided file, with one side being double-cut and the other side being single cut.

The package opening tool is fairly useful for opening those evil plastic clamshell packages. However, if you slip while using it, it is sharp enough to cut through clothes and skin (I have a half-inch scar as proof).

The knife on my Rev was not razor sharp, unlike every other Leatherman multitool with a knife I have ever purchased. But, that was remedied with a few seconds of sharpening.

Folded and end-views of the Leatherman Rev (top) and Wingman (bottom).
A side-by-side comparison of the Leatherman Wingman (left) and Rev (right).

Comparison to the Wingman

The Wingman adds scissors, and the knife blade is partially serrated. Further, the Wingman's pliers are spring loaded and one-eighth of an inch longer than the Rev's pliers. (For reference, most other Leatherman multitools, such as the Rebar (MSRP $60.85) or Charge TTi (MSRP $170.85) do not have spring loaded pliers.)

The wire cutters on the Rev have been improved over the Wingman's design. The Rev wire cutters are of a shearing design (opposing blades move past each other, like scissors), rather than the Wingman's pinching design (V-shaped blades meet each other).

The Rev is noticeably lighter (my sample weighted 166 grams, 5.9 ounces) than the Wingman (193 grams, 6.8 ounces).

I would describe the Rev as a cheapened Wingman. Besides the omission of scissors, the Rev evidences several design changes to reduce manufacturing cost. The Rev takes the handle asymmetry to a whole new level, with one handle having a trapezoidal cross section (see the end-view comparison photos). The wide size of the trapezoidal handle is what your hand will press against when using the pliers.

Conclusions

Twenty dollars is hard to beat for a full sized Leatherman multitool. With the low price comes compromises, although the major tools - knife, screwdrivers, pliers, can/bottle opener - are fully capable of performing their intended functions. The Rev is certainly cheap enough to buy several units to strategically place where they are likely to be needed, such as in a desk, or to put in a vehicle emergency kit if you are concerned about theft of the kit and want to limit your financial loss.

Personally, I prefer to have a multitool that also includes a saw and a better file. But, those additions will cost substantially more from Leatherman, or I will have to take my chances with something made in China.

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