Leatherman Sidekick Review – Great Entry Level Multi Tool

///Leatherman Sidekick Review – Great Entry Level Multi Tool

Leatherman Sidekick Review – Great Entry Level Multi Tool

Leatherman is well known for making some of the finest multi tools on the market today. What many people don’t know is that they also manufacture a line of entry level tools at a value price. We’ve already explored several other tools in this line, today we’ll give you a full breakdown of the Leatherman Sidekick.

This Leatherman Sidekick review will cover the build quality, tool loadout, and overall usefulness of the Leatherman Sidekick as well as our general opinion of it.

Leatherman Sidekick Overview

Like the Leatherman Rev and Wingman the Sidekick was designed to be a Leatherman quality multi tool at a very affordable price. It’s 3.8 in long and weighs 7 oz, putting it firmly in the full size category. At first glance you’ll notice that it has a less symmetrical design than many other Leatherman products. The handles have a distinct rounded shape that stands out from something like the Wave+ or Rebar.

Like the other entry level tools Leatherman makes some compromises were made in its design. The included tools aren’t as large or multi function as those you’d find on Leatherman’s higher priced cousins. What Leatherman doesn’t compromise on is their commitment to making high quality tools out of excellent materials. Let’s explore the inner workings of the Sidekick and see how its tools hold up.

Leatherman Sidekick Tools

The Leatherman Sidekick includes 14 different tools build around a standard butterfly open plier system. It has two outside open main tools that lock open, a knife blade and a saw, but lacks any inside locking tool system or removable/replaceable parts. Given the low price point of the Sidekick we can’t really knock Leatherman for this.

They set out to make the best entry level multi tool possible and chose the tools carefully in pursuit of this goal. The Sidekick looks like it was built as more of a builders tool than the general purpose Wingman. It has a saw blade instead of scissors and adds in a second serrated blade in place of the box cutter. Let’s go over all the tool on the Sidekick.

Pliers, and Wire Cutters

The main pliers on the Leatherman Sidekick are only available in a needlenose point. They’re spring action and have a satisfying pop to them when you open and close them. They join up well, have an excellent bite pattern, and the handles allow you to get a pretty good grip on just about anything. There’s also a regular plier area just below the needlenose tip that works well on small to medium sized bolts.

The wire cutters are our only real complaint with the plier setup. If you look closely when you close the pliers you’ll notice a small gap between the cutter blades. This doesn’t matter if you’re cutting through thick copper or other large wires but for smaller or stranded cabling it can become a real headache.

Knife Blades

There are two knife blades on the Sidekick, a larger straight blade and a smaller serrated one. They’re both made from 420HC blade steel and come from the factory razor sharp. The straight blade is outside accessible, uses Leatherman’s common modified sheepsfoot blade profile, and is 2.6 in long.

The serrated blade is a little more than half the length of the main blade and has a very jagged, swept back profile to it. It does a good job cutting small cords, ropes, and cardboard. We really like having a full serrated blade on a multi tool. Leatherman did a good job designing this one to maximize utility in a small space.

Saw

The second outside accessible tool on the Sidekick is a standard wood saw. It has an aggressive double row tooth pattern and is just about the same length as the straight blade. We found the saw to easily cut through small branches, boards, and even plastic tubing without issue.

Overall the saw on the Sidekick was a quality tool at a reasonable size.

Wire Stripper, Bottle Opener and Can Opener

The Sidekick also includes a fairly standard can and bottle opener attachment with an included wire stripping notch. The can/bottle opener does a good job at cutting open cans or opening up beer or soda, we have no complaints at all with it. The wire stripper is functional, but we’ve generally found the main knife blade to be easier to work with when stripping wires.

Screwdrivers

There are three screwdrivers on the Leatherman Sidekick, one cross driver style phillips head and two flat head drivers. The cross driver does a good job on medium to large screws but does tend to slip more often than a true phillips head.

The two flat head screwdrivers come in medium and small. The smaller one is positioned at the end of the file and is a good size for turning light household screws. The larger one works well and can do some light prying in a pinch.

File and Ruler

Both the file and the ruler on the Sidekick are a little underwhelming. They share space on either side of the smaller screwdriver and can be a bit difficult to get into place properly. The file works fairly well but its small size can make it difficult to really file down a rough surface.

The ruler is one of the biggest issues we found with the Sidekick. It’s only 1.5 in long, extremely short for a tool of the Sidekick’s size. The keychain sized Leatherman Micra, by comparison , has a full 4.7 in ruler along its handles.

Leatherman Sidekick Multi Tool Review

Leatherman Sidekick Review

The Leatherman Sidekick is a full size multi tool that includes a good set of basic tools at an affordable price. It lacks the high end options such as finishes or exchangeable tools that pricier tools have but makes up for it with quality construction and sturdy materials. It’s a tool anyone can afford and gives you real value for your money.

Each of the tools on the Sidekick are either smaller or in some way less useful than those on higher end tools. The ruler specifically is so small as to almost be useless. The wire cutters were another weak point. The gap present between the blades makes it difficult to get a clean cut through thin or threaded wires

At a glance you can see that it’s a bit rougher than something like the Wave+. The workmanship isn’t as precise and the finish isn’t as polished. Honestly though, we don’t see that as a bad thing. The Sidekick was never made to compete with top of the line multi tools. It was built so that anyone who wanted to could afford a useful multi tool.

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Leatherman Sidekick Pros – Things We Liked

  • Very affordably priced
  • Well made
  • Main tools good size
  • Quality pliers

Leatherman Sidekick Cons – Things We Didn’t Like

  • Internal tools very small
  • Wire cutters gap
  • Ruler not large enough to measure much
  • Bit rougher workmanship than other Leatherman’s

Who’s The Leatherman Sidekick For?

The Leatherman Sidekick is an entry level multi tool at a value price. It lacks many of the high end features found on a tool like the Charge or the Wave+ but makes up for this with the utility of the tools it has. It’s not fancy, it’s not top of the line, it’s a basic set of tools that is affordable for anyone.

If you’ve been considering carrying a multi tool but were put off by the high initial investment you should seriously consider the Leatherman Sidekick. You get a lot of bang for your buck.

Leatherman Sidekick accessories and extras

Value priced tools generally don’t have as many accessories as their pricier peers but there are a few good add-ons we recommend for the Leatherman Sidekick.

Sheath / Holster / Pouch – Depending on where you choose to purchase your Sidekick it may or may not come with an included nylon sheath. If it doesn’t and you prefer belt carry to pocket carry Leatherman offers a standard nylon sheath at a very affordable price.

Pocket Clip and Carabiner – One thing we really like about the Sidekick is the wide range of available carry options. It’s a bit on the small side for a full size multi tool so you have plenty of ways to carry it. Leatherman includes a removable pocket clip, detachable lanyard ring, and a neat little carabiner carry tool with the Sidekick.

They carabiner in particular is very well made, includes a bottle opener and hex wrench, and makes it easy to attach your Sidekick to a bag or your belt.

Replacement Parts – There are no replaceable or removable parts on the Sidekick so the only thing you have to worry about is damage. Leatherman backs all their products with a 25 year limited warranty on parts and workmanship. If it gives out at any time due to a bum part or faulty manufacturing don’t be afraid to put in a request. Leatherman will be delighted to make it right.

Finish Options – Currently Leatherman only offers the Sidekick in stainless steel, but they do have an option that allows you to engrave or otherwise customize your multi tool. This can be especially nice if you’re getting this as a gift and want to make it extra memorable.

Leatherman Sidekick Vs Comparable tools

Entry level multi tools have long been one of the most crowded categories of the multi tool market. There are literally dozens of branded and generic tools competing at this price point, our Leatherman Sidekick review gives you a comparison with some of the closest in quality and price.

Sidekick Vs Wingman

The design of the Sidekick and the Leatherman Wingman is almost identical. If you put the two tools next to each other you’d be hard pressed to tell them apart without first opening them up. The only real differences is the substitution of the Sidekicks saw with scissors and its serrated blade with a box cutter. To make up for this the Wingman also substitutes a combo blade instead of a traditional straight one.

This one comes down entirely to how you see yourself using your multi tool. The Sidekick and Wingman are the same size, weight, and configuration. They also both have identically high levels of quality and workmanship. Choosing between them depends on whether you prefer a saw or scissors in your tool.

You can find out more about the Leatherman Wingman by reading our full review here.

Sidekick Vs Wave+

The Leatherman Wave+ is the current flagship multi tool of the company. It’s fully loaded with all the newest and best features in the multi tool world. It has 18 tools including several different removable parts and an exchangeable bit driver. In every way but one the Wave+ is superior to the Sidekick. That one though is its price, coming in at least twice as expensive as the Sidekick.

This one’s pretty easy to decide on. The Wave+ is undeniably better made and more useful than the Sidekick. If you want one of the best multi tools on the market, go with the Wave+. If you’re looking for an affordable tool that provides a lot of value, the Leatherman Sidekick could be for you.

You can find out more about the Leatherman Wave+ by reading our full review here.

Sidekick Vs Rev

The Leatherman Rev is another value priced multi tool similar to the Wingman and the Sidekick. It’s actually even cheaper than these two if you believe it. It includes 14 tools but doesn’t have the second outside access main tool of the Sidekick. The Rev’s pliers also lack the spring action of those on the Sidekick.

In most ways these two multi tools are very similar. You get a little bit more functionality from the Sidekick for just slightly more money. It’s hard to recommend one of these over the other because of this.

You can find out more about the Leatherman Rev by reading our full review here.

Sidekick Vs Rebar

The Leatherman Rebar is the next step between the Wingman/Sidekick and the Wave+. It includes 17 different tools packed into a 4 in frame and is basically a smaller version of the Leatherman Supertool 300. Visually it greatly resembles the original Leatherman PST, the multi tool that started it all. It’s a very well made tool that includes lots of useful features.

Overall we feel that the Rebar gives you more value for your money than the Sidekick. It isn’t significantly more expensive but packs a lot more utility in than the Sidekick.

You can find our more about the Leatherman Rebar by reading our full review here.

Sidekick Vs Skeletool

The Skeletool is one of Leatherman’s best selling pocket tools and it’s easy to see why. It’s a feature packed tool that pushes the limits of how much you can strip down a multi tool. It includes just 7 tools but is actually able to match much of the functionality of the Sidekick. It only has a single knife blade but does include a bit driver. It’s also very similarly priced to the Sidekick, making the choice that much harder.

Overall we think the Sidekick provides a bit more value for your money, but many people prefer the form factor of the Skeletool.

Sidekick Vs Gerber Suspension

The Suspension is Gerber’s answer to Leatherman’s Sidekick/Wingman line. It’s an entry level multi tool that includes 12 different tools at a very low price. It has a few higher end touches that the Sidekick lacks such as all locking tools. On the other hand, despite being smaller than the Sidekick the Suspension weighs several ounces more than it. The overall workmanship also felt flimsier and of lower quality than the Sidekick.

We feel the Leatherman Sidekick is a better tool at only a slightly higher price overall.

You can find our more about the Gerber Suspension by reading our full review here.

Conclusion – Final Thoughts On the Leatherman Sidekick

The Leatherman Sidekick is an entry level tool that’s priced to be accessible to everyone. It’s well made, durable, and includes most of the tools you’ll need in your day to day life. There are many multi tools that are better than the Sidekick, but very few that are in the same price range.

If you want to try out a multi tool EDC or are just looking for a beater tool to throw in your glovebox the Leatherman Sidekick is an excellent low cost choice.

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2019-01-03T18:07:36+00:00

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