Leatherman has for decades been the undisputed king of the multi tool market. Their products defined what a multi tool was, and the improvements and upgrades they made continually refined what we thought was the final form of multi tool excellence. With the introduction of the Free line, and specifically the Free P2, they managed to surprise us with just how much they can change the game.
Today we’re reviewing the Leatherman Free P2 to help you understand what’s so great about this new multi tool and explain how the truly next level improvements Leatherman has made really are a paradigm shift for future multi tools.
Leatherman Free P2 Overview
The Leatherman Free P2 is without question the biggest change in multi tool technology in at least a decade. Leatherman completely redesigned the inner workings of their hinges, locking systems, and closing mechanisms.
At its core, the Free P2 is a butterfly fold full-size multi tool with similar tool types and capabilities as perennial favorites like the Wave+, Surge, or Charge. It offers all the functionality of Leatherman’s best tools of the past but is designed to open and close with the flick of a wrist much like a balisong butterfly knife.
It uses the latest elastomer springs in the hinges and incorporates magnetic closures to hold it securely shut when in use but swing open instantly when needed.
In short, it’s a complete reimagining of what multi tools are and should be, and in our humble opinion, a really good one.
Leatherman Free P2 Tools
The Free P2 packs 19 different tools into an attractively styled 4.25 inch, 7.6 oz body. The exterior metal has a really nice perforated stainless steel look that gives you a firm grip and looks great while doing it.
Out of the box, it has a pocket/belt clip attached and swings open freely without a break-in period. Even better, the redesigned magnetic closure system holds the tools in place as well. One of the biggest issues we’ve always seen with Leathermans is the ‘break-in’ period after you buy it.
Until you work the hinges on the individual tools for a while they’re quite stiff. A lot of people referred to them as ‘nail breakers’ because of how many fingernails they chip or rip trying to get a specific tool out. With the Free P2, the tools fan out easily with a sweep of your thumb, allowing you to access any tool using a single hand without even having to open up the body of the multi tool.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the various tools it provides you.
Pliers, Wire Cutters and Electrical Crimper
Starting at the center, the Free P2 has regular/needlenose pliers, a replaceable hard/soft wire cutter blade, and an electrical crimper on the back of the hinge. These have become Leatherman standard on all their flagship multi tools and work just as well on the improved hinges of the Free P2.
What might not be apparent at first is that they’ve actually been totally redesigned for the Free P2. The elastomer spring inside the pliers hinge is a massive improvement over the old-school models. Testing by Leatherman’s engineers shows it should reliably function through 1,000,000+ opening/closings.
The tools themselves are excellent and compare favorably against any other multi tool on the market today.
The combo knife on the Free P2 has a 2.76 inch sheepsfoot like blade style and is made from 420HC stainless steel, common among Leatherman’s products. It’s a combo blade with a half serrated and half straight edge.
It resembles many of Leatherman’s newer non-traditional blades such as those found on the Wingman and Charge. Given how effective those are we think that’s definitely a good thing.
The scissors on the Free P2 were a bit stubby looking when we first tried them out but overall we were pleasantly surprised. They move smoothly, spring back quickly and consistently between cuts, and do a good job slicing through all kinds of paper, string, and other small objects.
There are four different screwdrivers on the Free P2, though no bit driver. There’s a single Phillip’s head screwdriver, then a medium, small, and extra-small set of flatheads.
These are comparable to the screwdrivers found on other Leatherman multi tools that lack a bit driver. They do a good job and play double duty as some of the other tools listed.
As with the other tools mentioned above we found the screwdrivers on the Free P2 incredibly easy to access and responsive to the thumb fan opening maneuver.
Pry Bar, Bottle Opener & Package Opener
The pry bar and package opener on the P2 are one and the same, located on their own tool piece. While we wouldn’t recommend trying to pry something with real strength, it’s perfectly adequate for basic prying and for opening up delivery packages and the like.
The bottle opener is located on the Phillips head screwdriver and does a reasonably good job opening bottles. The screwdriver itself has a flattened base so it doesn’t get in the way nearly as much as we thought it might.
Awl, Wire Strippers, Can Opener, Ruler and File
The awl, can opener, and file as all located on their own tool pieces and are generally excellent. The can opener, in particular, is one of the better ones we’ve used, though Leatherman’s offerings in that category have always been stellar.
The file is definitely on the small side but is well ground and offers good performance for smoothing down rough edges and doing other precision filing. We absolutely love the awl. While it does have a thread loop, you’re much more likely to use it to add a belt hole or to punch through another tougher material than you are for backcountry sewing.
Leatherman Free P2 Review
The Leatherman Free P2 is almost as big a change to the multi tool paradigm as the original Leatherman Pocket Multi Tool was. It looks like a traditional multi tool but actually using it quickly reveals that it’s something different and, in our opinion at least, better.
Unless you’ve held one it’s hard to describe how much easier to open, close, and generally use the Free line is compared to older multi tools. It’s not Leatherman’s first multi tool to have all outside-accessible tools, that honor goes to the OHT, but it is the first one we’ve seen that really gets it right.
You can reliably open up any tool in the Free P2 with one hand, gloved or ungloved, in seconds. You can swing out the handle and deploy the pliers in about the same amount of time, then close them up with a flick of your wrist.
The individual tools are just as good or better than those found on past Leatherman titans like the Wave+ or Charge yet far easier to access and use.
Honestly, if you’ve been considering upgrading your current multi tool, the Free P2 or its bigger brother the Free P4 should be at the top of your list of choices.
Leatherman Free P2 Pros – Things We Liked
- The magnetic one-handed opening system is the best we’ve ever seen
- Attractively styled
- Great tools
- All outside-accessible tools (except pliers)
- Easy-open magnetic tools
- Secure locking system for open tools
Leatherman Free P2 Cons – Things We Didn’t Like
- On the expensive side for multi tools
- Lacks a bit driver
Who’s The Leatherman Free P2 For?
If you’ve been thinking about buying a multi tool, or thinking about upgrading, the Leatherman Free P2 is one of the very few you should consider. Its slightly bigger and more robust brother, the Leatherman Free P4, is one of those tools. It provides a bit more ‘oomph’ for a slightly heavier weight.
Unless you just really like the style or specifically want a bit driver, there’s very little reason to buy a Leatherman or other brand’s multi tool that doesn’t include the new developments in the Free.
Leatherman Free P2 Multi-tool accessories and extras
The Leatherman Free P2 is still very new as a multi tool. Because of that, there are fewer accessories, add-ons, and extra options available for it. We covered those available and some of those that people have requested below.
Sheath / Holster / Pouch – Leatherman includes a gray nylon sheath with every Free P2 purchase. Physically it’s clear it took a lot of design inspiration from the old-school natural leather sheaths of yesteryear. Not everyone is a fan of the nylon look, but overall we think Leatherman did a really good job making a basically good sheath that holds the Free P2 securely.
If you’re looking for something different there are tons of aftermarket sheaths and holsters available.
Bit Kit – The Free P2 doesn’t include a bit driver as a standard tool, but Leatherman does offer a solution if you really want one. Their removable bit driver kit allows you to slip an adapter over your Phillip’s head screwdriver and put all standard ¼ inch bits. This lets you use hex bits as well as all sizes and shapes of Phillip’s and flathead bits.
Pocket Clip – One of the first updates Leatherman made to he Free P2 was to add on a pocket clip. The very first ones shipped didn’t have one standard, something a lot of people were frosty about. Now every Free P2 comes with a really nice pocket clip already attached.
Replacement Parts – As it stands now the only removable/replaceable part on the Free P2 is Leatherman’s excellent wire cutter blades. These can easily be removed when needed and replaced for new ones.
For repair or maintenance parts we refer you to Leatherman’s stellar 25-year warranty. It covers any defects in workmanship or materials, but in our experience, Leatherman will almost always take care of you no matter what the issue is. If you’ve got any problems with your Free P2 at all we highly recommend you get in touch with their warranty department.
Different Colors – Currently the Free P2 is available only in Leatherman’s original stainless steel color and pattern. If you really want to pick one up in a different color, there’s a good chance Leatherman will release Free variants in colored models down the line.
Leatherman Free P2 Vs Comparable tools
As a full-sized multi tool the Free P2 has a lot of competition out there. We compared it head to head with some of the best and most popular multi tools on the market to help you decide what tool is best for your needs.
|LEATHERMAN, FREE P2 Multitool with Magnetic Locking, One Size Hand Accessible Tools and Premium Nylon Sheath||Prime||Buy on Amazon|
|LEATHERMAN, Wave Plus Multitool with Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters, Spring-Action Scissors and Nylon Sheath, Built in the USA, Stainless Steel||Prime||Buy on Amazon|
|LEATHERMAN, FREE P4 Multitool with Magnetic Locking, One Size Hand Accessible Tools and Premium Nylon Sheath and Pocket Clip, Built in the USA||Prime||Buy on Amazon|
|LEATHERMAN, Charge Plus TTi Titanium Multitool with Scissors and Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters, Stainless Steel, Built in the USA||Prime||Buy on Amazon|
|LEATHERMAN, Skeletool Lightweight Multitool with Combo Knife and Bottle Opener, Stainless Steel||Prime||Buy on Amazon|
Leatherman Free P2 Vs Wave
The Wave+ has been the flagship multi tool of Leatherman for over a decade. It’s a robust and extremely well-made tool that packs in a ton of value, including what till very recently were the top of the line features for a multi tool.
Now though, the Free line of multi tools is starting to supplant the Wave+ as the most advanced tool. It doesn’t have all the same features, notably lacking a bit driver, but provides the vast majority of the usability of the Wave+ with the added benefits of the one-handed operation.
Pricewise they’re very nearly the same, with the P2 slightly higher, but this one really comes down to whether you really want a bit driver or you prefer the buttery smooth movements and one-handed convenience of the Free P2.
Leatherman Free P2 Vs Free P4
Comparing the Free P2 and the Free P4 is a lot like comparing the Wave+ and the Surge. They’re both built on the same generation of technology and offer pretty much the same range of features, with the P4 packing in a few more tools for a slightly higher weight.
It adds in a saw and splits the combo knife into both a straight edge and a serrated blade. Other than that it’s functionally identical to the Free P2 and only marginally more expensive.
For this one, it depends on whether or not you want a saw and would like a pair of knives instead of a combo blade.
Leatherman Free P2 vs Charge TTi
We’ve long regarded the Leatherman Charge TTI as the best multi tool money could buy. With the introduction of the Free line it’s starting to get a little fuzzy. We still think it’s an excellent multi tool built from the best materials available, with a ton of value. It has basically the same tool loadout as the Wave+, just made from better materials and with slightly more premium touches.
It really comes down again to your own preference. The Free P2 can do most of the things the Charge TTi can do, but the Charge TTi lacks the easy open and close features of the Free P2.
Leatherman Free P2 vs Skeletool
The Leatherman Skeletool is one of the most popular EDC multi tools available. It’s lightweight, compact, fits in a pocket easily, and even comes with a built-in carabiner to dangle from packs or gear.
It offers nearly the same level of performance and functionality as multi tools twice its weight and has one of the coolest and most customizable designs we’ve seen. Choosing between the Free P2 and the Skeletool isn’t easy, but there are a few specific differences to consider.
First and foremost, the Skeletool isn’t a one-handed tool. It doesn’t have the same level of convenience the Free P2 offers, nor does it offer the same level of functionality. It lacks a file, punch, awl, and several other important tools we use frequently. It does however have a full-size bit driver, something a lot of people really prize in a multi tool.
Choosing between them depends on whether you want a lighter EDC tool with the carabiner or a more comprehensive multi tool with the most advanced opening/closing features around.
Conclusion – Final Thoughts On the Leatherman Free P2
With the Free P2, Leatherman has once again shown us why they’re the undisputed number one maker of multi tools. It incorporates features other multi tools didn’t even know they needed, in a way that doesn’t change the usefulness and general feeling of the tool.
It has everything your multi tool user could ask for from a functional standpoint and offers some of the most advanced features possible. Is it as rugged as the Surge or as jam-packed as the Charge TTi? No, but it is a rock-solid multi tool that does things no other multi tool (with the exception of its brother the Free p4) can do.
Rating: 4.8 Stars Out of 5.0