Leatherman Free T2 Review – EDC Pocket Knife Multi Tool

By | Last Updated July 5, 2020

The Leatherman Free T2 is what you get when the premier multi tool company in the world tries to combine a pocket knife with a multi tool. It’s compact, it’s lightweight, and it offers a whole lot of value in a very small package. Today we’re going to take a deep dive into the Free T2 to figure out if Leatherman really can do it all.

Leatherman Free T2 Review

Leatherman Free T2 Overview

The Free T2 is one of several new tools released alongside their groundbreaking Free P2 and P4 butterfly fold multi tools. It uses the same magnetic closure system that makes it so delightfully easy and smooth to access the tools on those impressive multi tools.

It’s 3.6 inches long when closed and has a really cool looking ultra-modern design ethos. Despite packing in eight different tools it weighs just 3.3 oz and is barely more than half an inch thick.

Keep reading to find out more about the individual tools on the Free T2.

Leatherman Free T2 Tools

The Free T2 offers eight different tools on four different tool arms. It looks a lot like a traditional Swiss Army Knife, just without all the extra bells and whistles.

The individual tools on the T2 are identical to those found on the larger T4 and the Free P2 folding multi tool. The T2 can be thought of as the smallest and lightest of the new Free line.

All of the tools are contained on one side of the handle and open easily with the same thumb fan maneuver you use on the Leatherman P2 or P4. They also use the intuitive thumb lock system that gives you tools held securely open but easy to unlock and put away with one hand.

Knife

The knife on the T2 is a 2.2 inch long 420HC straight edge drop point blade. It’s a bit on the small side for a multi tool blade, more comparable to those found on Swiss Army Knives.

Even so, it provides a lot of value for basic tasks like peeling an apple, cutting string, or whittling. It comes razor sharp from the factory and is easy to sharpen and maintain.

Screwdrivers

There are three screwdrivers on the T2, one Phillip’s head and two flatheads. The flatheads are an extra-small and medium size that give you a reasonable range of methods to unscrew things.

We had no problems at all screwing and unscrewing several different types of screws in our testing, from both metal and wood sources.

Pry Bar & Package Opener

The pry bar and package opener are both found on the same tool arm as the medium flathead screwdriver. The pry bar and screwdriver are one and the same, with only light to moderate prying of softer materials recommended to avoid chipping.

We really liked the package opener. It’s got just the right edge to easily slice through tape, cardboard, and other packaging materials without being an active threat to your fingers.

Awl & Bottle Opener

We’re big fans of awls on multi tools and were excited to see that every tool in the Free line included one. Actually getting our hands on them made us slightly less so, as Leatherman chose to go with a chisel style tip rather than a sharpened point.

It’s not a bad tool by any means, and we had no trouble at all punching a clean hole through a leather belt, but it does reduce its usefulness for making field stitch repairs. We wouldn’t be surprised if Leatherman makes a modification to the awl design in the next generation of Free tools.

The bottle opener is honestly a joy to use. It has excellent angles that make it easy to pop open bottles in an instant without fuss or hassle.

Leatherman Free T2 Multi Tool

Leatherman Free T2 Review

Despite our excitement, we had some serious doubts about the Leatherman Free T2 when we first picked it up. The shape of it was kind of odd, the size of it felt a little weird, and the very idea that a pocket knife could function as a full size multi tool really threw us for a loop.

Thankfully, all of our misgivings were put to rest after playing around with it for a while. Simply put, the Leatherman Free T2 is one of the most capable mini multi tools around. It weighs less than four ounces yet gives you tools to pry, screw, open, and cut that really work.

The first Leatherman Pocket Survival Tool was a major change to the classic Swiss Army Knife dynamic, the Free T2 and its bigger brother the Free T4 are the tools that have finally supplanted them in their own category.

They provide all the portability and value of a classic Swiss Army Knife combined with the tool quality and durability of a full size Leatherman multi tool. Given that it’s priced at roughly the same point as standard size Swiss Army Knives, there’s really no reason not to choose the Leatherman Free T2 or the larger Leatherman Free T4.

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Leatherman Free T2 Pros – Things We Liked

  • Includes full size multi tool functionality
  • A fraction of the price of full-scale butterfly fold multi tools like the P2 or P4
  • Cutting edge magnetic locking system makes it easy to open every tool with one hand
  • Modern stainless steel design is great to look at and rugged
  • Thumb release locking system holds tools securely yet releases in an instant

Leatherman Free T2 Cons – Things We Didn’t Like

  • No tweezers
  • The angle of the handle can be awkward to hold for smaller hands
  • Doesn’t come with a pocket clip

Who’s The Leatherman Free T2 For?

The Leatherman Free T2 is a multi tool stripped down to the absolute minimum. It honestly has more in common with classic Swiss Army Knives than it does with full size butterfly fold tools.

That being said, it packs in eight different really nice tools that are easy to access and well designed. It does everything it says it can do, and it does it at a size and weight that’s hard to believe.

This is the multi tool for the ultralight EDC enthusiast. It’s the multi tool for people who don’t want to pack half a pound of steel into a belt pouch and would prefer a tool that can be pocket knife, screwdriver, and basic gear set all in one.

Leatherman Free T2 Multi-tool accessories and extras

As the smallest member of Leatherman’s Free series, the T2 doesn’t have a ton of available accessories or even parts. We touch on all those available below to help you make your decision.

Sheath / Holster / Pouch – As it stands now there is no specific Leatherman sheath or pouch for the Free T2. That’s not to say you can’t get one, even one from Leatherman.

To start with there are plenty of aftermarket sheaths from third parties that will do the job. If you really want to go Leatherman, there are plenty of heritage leather and newer nylon sheaths that the small T2 will fit into without issue.

Pocket Clip – One of the only real downsides we found to the T2 is its lack of an included pocket clip. We know, we know, Swiss Army Knives don’t have a pocket clip, but for a multi tool designed to replace a pocket knife we really fee it should include one.

You can pick one up for a very reasonable cost from Leatherman. One thing to keep in mind though is that adding the pocket clip puts the T2 within $5 to $10 of the T4, with several additional tools and not a lot of added bulk.

Bit Driver – The Free T2 doesn’t come with a bit driver, but there is a way to add one onto it. Leatherman offers a removable bit driver kit that allows you to slip an adapter over the Phillip’s Head portion of your multi tool and add as many standard ¼ inch bits as you need.

Replacement Parts – Currently, the pocket clip is the only user-replaceable part Leatherman offers for retail sale. The Free T2 is covered by Leatherman’s excellent 25-year warranty though. If you have any problems with your multi tool we highly recommend you get in touch with them.

Trust us, Leatherman will do everything they can to make it right.

Different Colors – At the moment the Free T2 only comes in the original stainless steel color option. It looks really sharp to be sure, but we would like to see some of the colors that are available for the T4 also made available for the T2.

Leatherman Free T2 Vs Comparable tools

The Leatherman Free T2 is an innovative tool, but there are some comparable products out there that offer similar performance. Let’s see how it stacks up against other excellent compact multi tools.

Leatherman Free T2 vs T4

The Free T4 can best be described as the bigger brother to the T2. It has the same basic shape and design, but packs in 12 tools instead of the T2’s eight. These include tweezers, scissors, a wood/metal file, and a small flathead screwdriver.

For those extra tools, the T4 weighs an extra ounce and is about a tenth of an inch thicker. It’s also a bit more expensive than the T2 and comes standard with a pocket clip.

Overall they fulfill very similar roles and have very similar usefulness. The file on the T4 is one of our least favorite on a multi tool and is too small to be really useful for most people.

It basically comes down to whether or not you want to have a pair of screwdrivers on your miniature multi tool. If yes, go with the T4. If no, or if you prize the reduced weight, stick with the T2.

Leatherman Free T2 vs Free K2

The Free K2 is pretty much a fraternal twin to the Free T2. It offers all the same tools, with all the same benefits, just paired with a larger knife blade. Instead of the T2’s 2.2 inch long 420HC blade it gives you a 3.3 inch long reverse tanto blade.

The body of the tool itself is larger, more comparable to a standard folding pocket knife than a Swiss Army Knife, and it can actually be flipped out with your wrist fairly easily. The K2 is also substantially more expensive than the T2.

If you want a multi tool that can fully replace your pocket folder and provide excellent basic tools, the Free K2 is it. If you prefer a smaller multi tool that’s easier to keep in a pocket or bag, the Free T2 provides a great value.

Leatherman Free T2 vs Victorinox Huntsman

The Victorinox Huntsman is a direct descendent of the original Swiss Officer’s Knife. It’s been a favorite among outdoorsmen, scouts, and many others for decades. Putting it next to the T2, you can see that many of the design imperatives for the T2 were based on the winning combination of the Huntsman.

It’s slightly larger and slightly heavier than the T2, but offers 15 different tools to the T2’s 8. It adds on scissors, a corkscrew, a can opener, and the ever popular toothpick/tweezer combo.

They’re almost identical in price and provide roughly the same types of tools, but overall we prefer the T2. It has the buttery smooth one-handed opening mechanism, offers locking tools, and is generally more robust.

If you really like Swiss Army Knives you’ll probably love the T2.

Leatherman Free T2 vs Skeletool

The Skeletool has been one of Leatherman’s most popular tools for years. It’s a stripped-down multi tool designed for the EDC audience yet still packs in a ton of value. One of the first things we realized when looking at it next to the T2 is that they’re truly the same idea just from opposite directions.

The Skeletool is a pair of multi tool pliers stripped of the extra tools and the T2 is the multi tool tools stripped of the pliers. The Skeletool has wire cutters, needlenose and regular pliers, plus a knife and bit driver. The T2 has all the extra tools included in the handle of most multi tools that the Skeletool strips out.

Choosing between them comes down to which toolset you use more. If you want stripped-down EDC pliers with a quality knife blade the Skeletool is the multi tool for you. If you rarely find yourself reaching for pliers but love having extra tools, the T2 is pretty much perfect.

Conclusion – Final Thoughts On the Leatherman Free T2

The Leatherman Free T2 was designed to be the absolute minimum of what a multi tool could be. It’s smaller than most pocket knives yet gives you eight full size tools that cover most of the everyday needs of most people.

It shows all the hallmarks of Leatherman’s attention to detail and experience while still giving you something new, exciting, and genuinely valuable.

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