Leatherman is well known for making high end multi tools, but they also always try to provide a few offerings in the entry level market. The Leatherman Rev is one of these, an inexpensive tool without all the bells and whistles available on many of their other models. In today’s Leatherman Rev review we’ll go over what tools Leatherman included in the Rev, its build quality, and our overall opinion of it.
Leatherman Rev Overview
Leatherman understands that not everyone wants to spend $100+ on a multi tool. For a lot of people it’s just a neat tool to keep in their car, tackle box, or a kitchen drawer. The Leatherman Rev is part of a line of tools built for this market. It comes in well below the price point of Leatherman’s other multi tools but still shows all the hallmarks of their knowledge and craftsmanship.
Coming in at 3.8 in long and weighing 5.9 oz, the Rev is a full size multi tool priced like a keychain tool. It has a good selection of basic tools that will solve many everyday problems. While it lacks a lot of the geewhiz features of higher end multi tools it still provides a lot of value. If you mistook the Rev for a Sidekick or Wingman when you first looked at it you’re forgiven. It’s part of the same line of tools and based on an almost identical design.
Let’s see how the tools on the Rev work out.
Leatherman Rev Tools
Leatherman did their best to pack the Rev full of tools. Despite being on the small side for a full size multi tool, it includes fully 14 different tools/functions. It uses a standard butterfly fold design and has only a single outside access tool, the knife blade. In keeping with its value status none of the tools on the Rev lock open, nor are there any removable/replaceable tools.
If you’ve read our Leatherman Wingman review most of what we’ll describe below will sound familiar. The Rev has an almost identical tool loadout to the Wingman, with just a few modifications.
Pliers and Wire Cutters
A multi tool is only as good as its pliers. They’re the central tool, literally, and set the tone for every other tool included. Thankfully Leatherman took this into account when designing this multi tool and built a very nice set into the Rev. They’re very similar to the needle nose pliers found on the Sidekick and Wingman, with just a few design differences.
The first thing you’ll notice is that Leatherman flattened the sides of the pliers more. The Wingman’s pliers look like an elongated triangle, the ones on the Rev have a much boxier shape to them. The second change is that they aren’t spring action. We prefer the convenience of spring action pliers but understand Leatherman’s decision to cut costs here. The pliers themselves are well made. They grip together very well and have an excellent bite pattern to them.
The wire cutters are another departure from the Wingman design. They use a combination regular and hard wire cutter. One thing we knocked the Wingman for was the way the wire cutters were configured. They didn’t meet together perfectly, leaving a small gap between the blades that prevented a clean cut. Leatherman fixed this on the Rev by using an overlapping blade design. They also included a small cutout to better accommodate hard wire such as fencing material, barbed wire, or steel cable.
The knife on the Rev is a straight edged drop point blade made from 420HC stainless steel. It’s 2.6 in long and comes from the factory nice and sharp. We really like the steel Leatherman uses for its knife blades. 420HC is durable, corrosion resistant, and holds a good edge without being too difficult to sharpen.
The knife blade is the only outside access tool on the Rev. We spent a bit of time fiddling with it but couldn’t get the knife to open with one hand. The way the handles on the Rev are designed holds the knife in place too tightly to open it with just your thumb. This could be seen as a good thing, especially if you’re in a state or country that doesn’t allow one handed opening blades.
There are three screwdrivers on the Leatherman Rev, one phillips head and two flatheads. The phillips head driver is the flattened variety but still well made overall. We found it a bit difficult to get firm purchase in larger screws but found it to work well for most screws.
The flathead drivers come in a small and medium size. They both work well enough though the smaller driver is too large to fit in any truly small screws. The smallest driver is actually located on the tip of the file. We found ourselves using it as a makeshift pry bar more times than we care to admit, though it never gave out on us.
Package Opener, File and Ruler
Here we get to the three tools we found the least use for on the Leatherman Rev, the package opener, file, and ruler. The package opener seems like it could be quite useful. It’s basically a small hook that you can quickly open packages and envelopes with.
The problem is we more often found ourselves just using the knife blade out of habit. To make it worse this won’t pass most workplace safety regulations so you can’t even use it instead of a box cutter. The file is somewhat more useful. It’s a standard metal file and does a reasonable job of smoothing rough edges on wood, plastic, or softer metals.
The problem is that it’s sized closer to a nail file than a traditional multi tool file. The ruler is even worse to be honest. It’s just 1.5 in or 3.8 cm long, too small for any real measuring tasks. On most full size multi tools the ruler goes along the back of both handles. That gives you around 8 in of ruler to work with.
Can Opener, Bottle Opener and Wire Stripper
The last three tools on the Leatherman Rev are all on one attachment. The can opener is your standard swiss army/multi tool can/bottle opener. It does a good job slicing open canned goods for a campout or popping the top on a refreshing beverage. The wire stripper is on the bottom of this tool but we found it to be far less useful.
The wire stripper is basically just a small notch that you can place a wire in and rotate it around to cut the plastic sheathing material. It works like it’s supposed to, but in general we found the knife blade to work just as well and provide more surface area to work with.
Leatherman Rev Review
With the Rev Leatherman set out to build a reasonable quality multi tool at a price attainable by anyone. All in all we think they accomplished this. We’ll be honest, it isn’t the best multi tool out there by a long shot. It doesn’t have any removable/replaceable parts, diamond files, or other high end touches found on tools like the Wave+ or Surge.
If you hold it in your hand and look at it you’ll see some of the compromises Leatherman made in its design. The steel isn’t as smoothly machined or polished. Many of the tools themselves have more wiggle to them than you would find on more expensive tools.
By the same token though the Rev costs a small fraction of what those other tools do. It’s a full size multi tool that provides you with the basic tools you need for everyday life. The only real black mark we give Leatherman was the decision to remove the scissors. We get that they had to cut costs where they could but we find scissors to be one of the tools we most frequently reach for on a multi tool.
If you’ve been considering getting a multi tool but were put off by the high prices, the Leatherman Rev may be the tool for you. It’s well built, has a good mix of basic tools, and is backed by Leatherman’s industry leading 25 year warranty. Not a bad choice at all.
Leatherman Rev Pros – Things We Liked
- Good build quality
- Very inexpensive
- Wire cutters work well
- Mostly full size tools
Leatherman Rev Cons – Things We Didn’t Like
- Feels cheaper than many other Leatherman Products
- No scissors
- Ruler too small to be useful
Who’s The Leatherman Rev For?
The Leatherman Rev is made for anyone who’s been interested in a multi tool but hesitant to spend a lot of money. It has a good mix of basic tools that most people will find useful. The pliers work well and the knife is a good starting length for a multi tool. It’s a fully functional multi tool that won’t break the bank. You can try it out and see if you’ll actually use a multi tool in your life.
If you’ve been looking for an inexpensive present for the handyman, outdoorsman, or EDC enthusiast on your list the Leatherman Rev is a great choice.
Leatherman Rev accessories and extras
It’s widely understood that you can make pretty much anything better by adding a few accessories to it. No Leatherman Rev Review would be complete without covering the basic add ons and extras you can get for it.
Sheath / Holster / Pouch – Currently Leatherman only offers a black nylon belt pouch for the Rev. As a rule we prefer leather belt sheaths but for value priced multi tools nylon makes sense.
Pocket Clip – In a move that we love, Leatherman includes a pocket clip standard when you order a Rev. Pocket carry is one of our favorite ways to carry multi tools. One the size and weight of the Rev fits just perfectly.
Replacement Parts – The Leatherman Rev lacks any of the replaceable parts you find on more expensive Leatherman’s. It is covered by Leatherman’s 25 year limited warranty. It protects you against any defect in materials or workmanship and they stand by their warranty.
Leatherman Rev Vs Comparable tools
The Leatherman Rev is a great value tool but the multi tool market is a crowded one. Here’s a basic comparison of the Rev and some of its closest competitors.
Rev Vs Wingman
The Wingman is another of Leatherman’s value priced multi tools. It’s a bit more expensive than the Rev but based on the same design. The only real differences between the two is the inclusion of scissors and spring actions pliers on the Wingman. As far as quality goes the wire cutters on the Rev work better than those on the Wingman.
Given that the two tools are rarely more than $10-20 different in price this one really comes down to your own preferences. We liked having a pair of scissors on the Wingman more than we did the improved wire cutters on the Rev.
For more information about the Wingman, check out our full review here.
Rev Vs Sidekick
The Leatherman Sidekick is another tool in the value category. It is very similar to both the Rev and Wingman, with just a few small changes. It has the same plier setup as the Wingman but replaces the scissors with a saw and the box cutter with a small serrated knife blade. It has one more tool than the Rev but all in all they’re nearly identical.
We prefer the scissors on the Wingman to the saw on the Sidekick but like the Sidekick’s serrated knife more than the box cutter. This is another one you’ll have to use your own preferences for. The Sidekick is too similar to the Rev, and at too similar a price point, to make a real value comparison.
Read our full Leatherman Sidekick review.
Rev Vs Wave+
The Wave+ is Leatherman’s flagship multi tool and one of the best selling multi tools in history. It’s a full size tool that packs 18 different high end tools into just a 4 in package. It incorporates the latest in multi tool technology, including removable bits, wire cutters, and precision machined parts. It’s honestly one of the best multi tools on the market today.
The Wave+ is an improvement on the Rev in just about every way. It also costs about three times what the Leatherman Rev does. If you’re in the market for one of the best multi tools out there, go with the Wave+. If you want something a little more affordably priced, check out the Rev.
For more information about the Wave+, check out our full review here.
Rev Vs Skeletool
The Leatherman Skeletool is a stripped down little tool that pushes the boundaries of how compact a full size multi tool can get. It’s basically a pair of pliers with a knife blade and a bit driver along for the ride. Despite that it’s very popular multi tool. The pliers work well, the knife is just the right size, and the bit driver gives you a lot of flexibility.
This one pretty much comes down to your price range and what you see yourself using a multi tool for. The Skeletool packs a lot of functionality into a very small package. It’s a bit more expensive than the Rev but only lacks the file and can/bottle opener to have all the same functionality. If the Rev is at your price point you should still consider it, it’s a good tool by any measure.
Rev Vs Rebar
The Leatherman Rebar is a full size multi tool that was made as a deliberate throwback to their earliest tool, the Pocket Survival Tool. It packs 17 tools into a heavy duty and very well made frame. It doesn’t have a bit driver but does include Leatherman’s latest replaceable wire cutter system. All in all it’s an excellent multi tool that was built to last.
We really liked the Rebar when we did our full review on it. You could see the knowledge and experience Leatherman drew upon when creating it. The Rev is beat by the Rebar in just about every category, except for price. The Rebar is cheaper than the Wave+ but still usually at least twice as much as the Rev.
For more information about the Rebar, check out our full review here.
Rev Vs Gerber Suspension
The Gerber Suspension is one of the few butterfly fold multi tools offered by Gerber. It comes with 12 different tools in a lightweight package. Despite being nearly the same price as the Rev the Suspension has all locking tools and includes things like a saw, serrated blade, and scissors. On paper the Suspension provides more utility but if you look a bit deeper it isn’t quite so clear.
Overall the Suspension feels cheaper than the Rev. The tools themselves work reasonably well but they have a lot more play in them than we like for locking tools. The pliers on the Suspension also don’t meet together quite as well as the ones on the Rev do. All in all we’d recommend the Leatherman Rev over the Gerber Suspension.
Read our full Gerber Suspension multi-tool review.
Conclusion – Final Thoughts On the Leatherman Rev
Let’s face it, Leatherman made some considerable compromises when they designed the Rev. It can’t compare to higher end multi tools when it comes to functionality or build quality. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t need to. It’s a basic tool for a basic price, and Leatherman never intended it to be anything else.
The Leatherman Rev is a well made tool that packs a lot of value into a very inexpensive package. It has tools that will help you in most of the situations you’re likely to encounter while still being cheap enough for anyone to afford. In our book, that makes it a successful multi tool.
Rating: 4.7 Stars Out of 5.0