Can a full-size Leatherman really be priced significantly under $100? The Leatherman Wingman purports to be just that, and to have a useful tool loadout to boot. Today’s Leatherman Wingman review will cover the tools, build quality, and overall value of the Wingman and let you know if Leatherman’s on to something here.
Leatherman Wingman Overview
The Leatherman Wingman was introduced in 2011 as a value-priced version of Leatherman’s higher end full sized tools. It includes 14 tools and is built around a modified Leatherman fold design. The Wingman is just 3.8 inches closed and comes in at 7 oz. It has the standard assortment of pliers, blades, and tools anyone familiar with multi tools will expect.
The Wingman is designed to be a starting point for those interested in multi tools and EDC, but unwilling to drop a lot of money into it. As far as we can tell Leatherman did a great job meeting that goal. The Wingman isn’t as polished or specialized as some of its larger cousins but it does a great job providing a set of high-quality tools at a price anyone can afford.
Leatherman Wingman Tools
The Leatherman Wingman comes with 14 tools designed to fulfill most everyday needs. Leatherman included their spring action plier set with both needlenose and regular pliers plus a fairly effective set of wire cutters. The knife and scissors are located opposite each other on the exterior of the Wingman’s body. The rest of the tools are located inside the body of the multi tool.
These consist of a file, ruler, large and small flathead drivers, phillips head driver, a combination bottle/can opener with a wire stripper notch on its base, and a small but effective box cutter.
Pliers and Wire Cutters
Pliers are one of the most frequently used tools on a multi tool and the Leatherman Wingman gives you a full-sized and highly functional pair right at hand. Leatherman included their spring action plier mechanism with both a needlenose and regular grip head. The grip on these is excellent, giving you a firm purchase on hard to turn bolts and the control needed to pick up delicate objects. We found the spring action to be as useful as ever. They consistently prevent the Wingman from locking up on you during regular use.
The wire cutters work reasonably well but do have a significant flaw. The geometry of the pliers leaves a slight gap between the wire cutter blades. If you’re just cutting larger copper wires this won’t be a problem. For smaller uses such as speaker cords or stranded wire the gap consistently prevents a clean cut.
The Leatherman Wingman uses a combo blade design made out of 420HC stainless steel. It has a slightly upturned sheepsfoot style blade and is half straight and half serrated. A lot of people dislike combination blades but we feel Leatherman did a good job with this one. The straight blade cuts well through paper and other thinner materials while the serrated base gives you limited sawing ability.
The blade comes from the factory nearly razor sharp and is easy to maintain. One of the things we love most about the knife on the Wingman is its exterior positioning. It allows you to one-handed open the locking blade with ease.
The scissors, like the knife, are located on the exterior of the Wingman and are capable of one-handed opening. They employ Leatherman’s standard metal spring arm and can be operated using one hand.
Unfortunately, we found the shape of the scissors and size of the pressure arm to dig into our thumb when used frequently. The scissors also frequently became stuck when cutting thicker materials. They were easy to pry apart but overall we found them less useful than the other included tools.
Wire Stripper, Bottle Opener & Can Opener
The combination bottle and can opener on the Wingman works as well as any we’ve seen on a multi tool. You can crack a beer without any issue, and the can opener will easily glide through a can lid while camping.
The wire stripper is technically functional but nothing to write home about. Basically just a small notch on the bottle opener attachment, you have to rotate the blade around the cutter several times to get a good cut. We found the knife blade just as effective at stripping wires and with a lot more surface to work with.
Screwdrivers and File
The screwdrivers in the Wingman include both a full-sized and smaller flathead. The full-sized driver works well on standard sized screws and is even up to some light prying. The smaller driver is located on the tip of the file and works well for its size. Sadly the Wingman doesn’t include an exchangeable driver tip, though given its price we can’t fault it.
The phillips head driver is somewhat less useful than the flathead ones. It’s sized to fit a variety of screws but the shape is much wider on one dimension than the other. We found it difficult to get strong purchase and apply torque to larger or stuck screws. For tightening applications and anything up to medium sized screws it works quite well.
Package Opener and Ruler
A dedicated package opener is a fairly rare feature in a multi tool. We found that the one on the Wingman to work well at cutting packaging and slicing through plastic-wrapped pallets. It also doesn’t cut through to the product (or your hand) the way the razor sharp knife can.
The included ruler gets a lower mark. Leatherman placed it on the rear of the file and gave it a total length of under one inch. The only real use we could find for it was measuring screws, and small ones at that. Truth be told, it really looks like Leatherman didn’t want any dead space on the back of the file and added the ruler as an inexpensive filler.
Leatherman Wingman Review
The Leatherman Wingman is designed to be a value priced happy medium between micro multi tools and the full sized tools many of our readers are familiar with. It doesn’t have as comprehensive a tool loadout as something like a Leatherman Wave+ or Gerber MP600 but the tools it does have come in handy for a wide range of situations. You can tell just looking at it where Leatherman cut costs. The body is made from stamped rather than forged steel, and it lacks the multi bit driver fast becoming standard for full sized multi tools.
Despite these limitations, the Wingman still provides a useful set of tools in an easy to carry package. It comes out of the box with both a removable pocket clip and a nylon belt sheath, giving you flexible EDC options. It’s compact, very sturdy, and easy to slip into a pocket or bag. Overall, the Wingman fulfills its role as an easy to carry general tool that won’t break the bank.
Leatherman Wingman Pros – Things We Liked
- Excellent tools
- High quality build
- Great value
- Exterior access knife and scissors
Leatherman Wingman Cons – Things We Didn’t Like
- Ruler too small to be useful
- Wire cutters don’t completely close
- Scissors sometimes stick
Who’s The Leatherman Wingman For?
The Wingman is an excellent tool for its price. It allows you to get a full sized and highly functional multi tool without dropping $100+. That being said, it can’t match up to the specialized tools on some of the other full size tools on the market.
The Wingman also doesn’t offer significant size or weight reductions compared to other full size tools. If you’re searching for a starter multi tool or something to throw in a glove box “just in case” the Wingman isn’t a bad place to look.
Leatherman Wingman accessories and extras
Everyone knows the best way to improve an already great tool is to accessorize it to your personal preferences. The Wingman doesn’t offer a lot of customizable features or parts but it does have some choices available as far as carry options go.
Sheath / Holster / Pouch – The Wingman comes with a standard black nylon Leatherman belt pouch. This gives you a more secure carrying option than slipping it into your pocket. You can also purchase Leatherman’s handsome black or natural leather pouch if you prefer that old school look.
Pocket Clip – The Wingman comes standard with a removable pocket clip. It works fairly well but isn’t the best clip we’ve seen before. We would often find the Wingman dangling from the outside of our pants or buried deep within our pockets. The clip is adequate but if you’re planning to do any significant moving around we’d recommend using the belt pouch. If you should lose your clip, it’s easy to purchase a replacement from Leatherman.
Replacement Parts – Leatherman backs all their products with an industry leading 25 year warranty. If any part of your Wingman should fail contact Leatherman and expect a speedy response. We can speak from experience here, Leatherman will take care of you.
Just as an FYI, this doesn’t cover abuse or regular wear and tear. If you chip your flathead trying to lever open a stuck piece of metal don’t expect Leatherman to foot the bill.
Leatherman Wingman Vs Comparable tools
The Wingman is an excellent tool on its own, but how does it compare to other similar multi tools? We sought to answer this question by comparing the Wingman to multi tools at similar price points.
Wingman Vs Sidekick
The Leatherman Sidekick and Wingman are basically twins. They’re identical in appearance with just a few minor changes in tool loadout. The Sidekick replaced the scissors with a serrated saw and the package opener with a small serrated blade. The main blade on the sidekick is completely straight instead of the combination blade on the wingman.
The Sidekick also comes with a small tool carabiner and round loop on the tool to attach it to. This one basically just comes down to how you see yourself using your multi tool. Both have the same build quality and almost identical weight.
Wingman Vs Wave+
The Wave and its updated replacement, the Wave+, are Leatherman’s best selling multi tools to date. It’s well built, has lots of useful tools, and includes the new exchangeable bit and replaceable wire cutters Leatherman designed. In just about every regard the Wave+ is a step up from the Wingman. It also costs well over twice as much as the Wingman.
If you’re looking for one of the best multi tools available, go with the Wave+. If you’re just looking for something functional and affordable the Wingman is the way to go.
Read our full Wave+ review
Wingman Vs Rev
The Leatherman Rev is basically just a stripped down version of the Wingman. It has the same tool loadout except that the scissors are removed. The pliers also lack the spring action of the Wingman.
The Rev is slightly less expensive than the Wingman, but we feel you get more for your money with the Wingman.
Wingman Vs Gerber Suspension
The Suspension is Gerber’s response to the Leatherman Wingman. It fulfills the same niche and has a very similar tool loadout. The Suspension gets points for the full locking system and exterior access for all its tools. Overall though we found the Wingman’s tools to be of slightly better quality and utility. The exterior tools on the Suspension are a nice touch but the scissors and knife blades are both smaller than those on the Wingman.
If you value locking tools the Suspension isn’t a bad choice. We found for most applications the Wingman’s larger knife and scissors came much more in handy.
Read our Gerber Suspension review
Wingman Vs Rebar
The Leatherman Rebar is basically a value priced Wave+. It’s one of the strongest Wingman competitors. Its tool loadout is very similar to the Wave+, just of slightly older design or lower quality. Don’t get us wrong, the Rebar is a great multi tool that will serve you well on any camping trip or jobsite, it just doesn’t have the premium touches of the Wave+.
Overall, the Rebar is an excellent tool that will fulfill the needs of just about any user. It comes in standard or knifeless versions and makes a very strong showing against the Wingman. Unless you really value the exterior opening features of the Wingman, the Rebar is probably a better choice.
Conclusion – Final Thoughts On the Leatherman Wingman
No one would try to claim that the Leatherman Wingman is the best multi tool out there. What it is though is an inexpensive, full sized tool that gives you a lot of bang for your buck. It’s well made, has a good loadout of tools, and is easy to keep with you wherever you find yourself.
Rating: 4.8 Stars Out of 5.0