Leatherman vs. Gerber Mega Multi-Tool Showdown

When it comes to EDC multi-tools, two of the most trusted brand names are Leatherman and Gerber.

Many enthusiasts will swear allegiance to one brand or the other. In this Leatherman versus Gerber showdown, I want to go beyond the brand name loyalty and get into the nitty-gritty details of which makes one better than the other.

My Personal Preference

In some cases, Gerber models are better than comparable Leatherman models.  However, in general, I prefer Leatherman multi-tools.

Compared to Gerber, Leatherman excels in design and craftsmanship.  The no-questions-asked warranty is another reason to choose Leatherman.


Most of the complaints people have against Leatherman or Gerber is that “the tool broke doing X, Y, or Z.”

Multi-tools must be used responsibly!  Even the toughest multi-tool can’t be used as a crowbar!

You also need to take care of the tools so they don’t get rusty.

The bottom line?  Don’t blame the manufacturer for breakage caused by improper use.

Leatherman vs. Gerber Comparisons

Both Leatherman and Gerber make many different multi-tools. Here are some similar models and how they compare.

Leatherman Wave vs. Gerber Legend

  • 18
  • 4"
  • 11.2oz
  • 11
  • 4.29"
  • 9.8 oz
Imported - Assembled in USA

Leatherman Wingman vs. Gerber Diesel

  • 14
  • 2.62
  • 7oz
  • 15
  • 4.92"
  • 8.6 oz
8.6 oz
Imported; Assembled in USA

Leatherman Super Tool 300 vs. Gerber Pro Scout

  • 19
  • 9.6 oz
  • 4.5"
  • 13
  • 9.6 oz
  • 4.5"
9.6 oz
Imported; Assembled in USA

Leatherman Sidekick vs. Gerber Suspension

Also see:

Origins and Location

Gerber was founded in 1930 in Portland, Oregon. However, it is no longer American-owned. In 1987, the Finnish company Fiskars bought it.

Also from Oregon, Leatherman was founded in 1983. Although it hasn’t been around as long as Gerber, it has a solid reputation and is credited with creating a new niche market for multi-tools.

Where Are The Tools Made?

Gerber: Many Gerber products are still made in Oregon.  However, a lot of their cheaper models are made in China.

Leatherman: The older Leatherman products were all made in the USA.  Today, all Leatherman tools are assembled in the USA – but not all parts are necessarily made in the USA.

Approximately 5 out of an average of 30 parts per tool are imported and assembled in Oregon. Thus, many newer Leatherman tools do not state “Made in the USA” on them.


Gerber: Offers a limited lifetime warranty within the USA. Outside the USA, the warranty is for 25 years.  You’ll have to ship the tool along with proof of purchase to their shop in Oregon.

Because it is a limited warranty, they won’t replace or fix damaged tools due to misuse or abuse. Most people are pleased with the Gerber warranty services, though, and get their replacement or fixed tool back within about 2 weeks.

Leatherman: Offers a 25-year warranty on its products. This might not seem as good as Gerber’s limited lifetime warranty, but Leatherman is much more flexible.

They will either fix your multi-tool or replace it – no questions asked!  You are supposed to submit proof of purchase when you send in your tool.  However, they are very relaxed about this too.

According to owners who’ve taken up on the warranty, the company never asked to see the receipt (though it would probably still be a good idea to keep it).

The customer service from Leatherman is excellent.   You can expect to have your tool fixed or replaced within 7-21 days.


gerber suspension

This will vary depending on the specific tool in question. Both Leatherman and Gerber have had some products with design flaws.  However, in general, Leatherman beats Gerber for design.

Compared to Gerber, Leatherman products are much sleeker.  They are easier to hold in the hands, and the tools are more accessible.

Take, for example, the Gerber Suspension.  It has a great pair of spring-loaded pliers – but the plier handles are really far apart when open.  It makes it hard to get a good grip.  Lots of Gerber products have slight design flaws like this.

Another design issue I have with Gerber is that, with many models, you have to open up the pliers to access the knife.  If you don’t use the knife much, then this isn’t an issue.  But if you want quick access to the blade, you’ll find the Gerber design annoying.

Build Quality

leatherman wave multi tool

Once again, I’d have to go with Leatherman for this. While Gerber does have some very good-quality products, many of their cheaper tools are made in China. The knife edge gets dull quickly, and the finish can rub off on your hands.  Some of the pliers even have a bit of wobble in them.

Some Gerber products are gimmicky (their Bear Grylls line, in particular, comes to mind).  The dinky scissors and flimsy saw are practically useless in a survival situation.

By contrast, Leatherman is much more consistent with its quality.  Even the cheaper multi-tools will hold up well.  They don’t try to add gimmicky tools like Gerber does, so the included tools work for their intended purpose.


In general, Leatherman is pricier than Gerber.  You can get a cheap Gerber multi-tool from Walmart for under $30.  But you get what you pay for!

If we compare Leatherman and Gerber multi-tools by price range, you’ll find that Gerber charges similar prices for lower-quality products.

The Winner?

Remember, a multitool is only as good as its utility. Make a list of the tools and features you actually need. Then, look for the tool that fits these specs.

In general, I would choose a Leatherman multi-tool because of its consistent build quality, sleek design, and great warranty.

However, I would recommend a Gerber multi-tool (especially if one-handed opening is important for you)- but only if it is a model made in the USA.

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  1. I have had a Gerber Legend for 20 years and finally broke the hinge on the pliers After 10 years using them every day. I have had the tool replaced 2 times in 20 years and have not had to send in the receipt. I love Gerber and stand by them. Zero complaints so far. And I have recently purchased the Gerber center drive just waiting for it to come in

  2. One of your strengths for a Leatherman is a weakness to me. When using the pliers and the other blades are on the outside of the handles, the pressure points can be painful if using a lot of grip. My Gerber is smooth on that side.

  3. The hinges on My Gerber MP600 broke after 27 years sent it in and the replaced it no questions no P.O.P even sent it with a new sheath which I no longer had.

  4. You didn’t cover the military Gerber mt I have the MP400 and the MP600 both are durable and strong. Versatile with the multi bit kit. They are as slim as the leatherman.

    • Impossible to cover every model, thats why we love it when our readers pitch in with their own reviews! Sounds like you are a happy customer thanks for the heads up.

  5. I have a Gerber suspension, broke the pliers. Sent it in and they sent me a new one. No charge no questions and no proof of purchase required.

  6. I’ve always used and bought Leatherman tools since getting their original one way back when. Funny thing happened recently. I bought a new Wingman tool for my BOB. When I tried to get the scissors to work I thought they were broke. I had to e mail Leatherman to figure out they were spring loaded a certain way to work. Dummy me, but I love the tool. My only Leatherman complaint is the tools are getting bigger, heavier, and more expensive.

  7. I had a leatherman for years but lost it. I will try & save to buy another one. But it will be hard. Still i dont feel right not having one on my side !!

  8. After 20 years with my Leatherman wave, I tweaked the hinge on the blade by hammering on it with a log to split another log. I called Leatherman and they said send it in. They were very sorry that they didn’t have the parts to repaur my knife as it was an old model, so they sent me a new one. Always had Leatherman, always will with that kind of policy.

  9. The only things that keeps me with my Gerber Suspension as opposed to going Leatherman, is the fact that the Gerber body is made of machined aluminium and not pressed metal like the Leatherman. In my opinion, a MASSIVE design flaw. Pressed metal is inherently weak and I wouldn’t want to rely on it in a dire situation.
    Also, the Gerber when stowed is a much more comfortable size. Weightier, yes. But more compact than the Leatherman equivalent.


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