Leatherman Wingman vs Leatherman Wave: The Showdown


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Last Updated: January 17, 2021

Some of the most popular multi-tools and considered by many the best in the industry are produced by Leatherman.

In this post, we will compare two of their most popular models, the Wingman and the Wave while revealing which is the best choice for your needs.

Best Overall

Leatherman Wave

If budget is not an issue then most will do better with the more versatile albeit slightly heavier and bulkier Wave.

A great choice for those looking for just a little more out of their multi-tool experience.

It has a total of 18 tools in one neat package while coming with a nylon sheath and two color optionsCheck On Amazon

Best On A Budget

Leatherman Wingman

If basing it solely on your budget then the Wingman is the clear winner for its high quality at an affordable price.

The Wingman makes an excellent wingman!

It is a lightweight option that easily fits into your pocket with 14 tools to suit a variety of needs.Check On Amazon

The Leatherman Story

Leatherman logo

In 1975 Tim Leatherman (Yes! That’s his real name!) took a trip to Europe while on a tight budget.

He has famously said,

I was carrying a scout knife and used it for everything from slicing bread to fixing the car. But I kept wishing I had a pair of pliers!

It was from this need that the idea was born to create a pliers-based multi-tool. The rest is history as Leatherman tools are now considered the gold standard in multi-tools around the globe.

See Leatherman vs Gerber

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key features of our two chosen multi tools.

Leatherman Wave Features

Leatherman Wave

  • Stainless Steel (Steel or Black Color Options)
  • 4 X 1.5 X 0.8 inches
  • 0.7 pounds (11.2 ounces)
  • 18 tools in 1
  • 25-year warranty
  • One-hand Opening (inside and outside tools)
  • Locking Utility Blade
  • Includes Nylon Sheath

Pros

  • Comes with a pouch for easy carry on your belt
  • Sturdy, reliable, and rugged construction
  • Interchangeable screwdriver bits
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars from 1,900 reviews

Cons

  • Expensive $99.95
  • Black finish rubs off onto hands/scratches easily
  • Does not have a pocket clip

Check On Amazon

Leatherman Wingman Features

Leatherman Wingman

  • Stainless Steel (One Color Option)
  • 3.8 x 1 x 2 inches
  • 0.43 pounds (6.88 ounces)
  • 14 tools in 1
  • 25-year Warranty
  • One-hand Opening (inside and outside tools)
  • Locking Utility Blade
  • Built-In Pocket Clip

Pros

  • The somewhat rounded shape makes for a good pocket carry
  • Lightweight
  • Very Affordable at $59.95
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars from 4,700 reviews

Cons

  • The pocket clip is on the same end as the heavier plier jaws making it easy to slip off the pocket or belt
  • Integrated saw edge into utility knife makes it hard to finely cut
  • Screwdriver and some other tools do not lock well

Check On Amazon

Head to Head Challenge

When put head to head some may claim the Wave as the superior product as it has four more tools in its build to handle a few more jobs.

On the other hand, some would say that the Wingman is superior due to its lightweight, slim design, and ability to handle most needs.

Intended Use

This can undoubtedly be boiled down to what the intended use is for. When pitted against each other based on usefulness then the Wave will come out on top. It has the tools necessary to cover a wide variety of expected and unexpected circumstances making it an awesome everyday carry or addition to a survival kit. However, the Wave is a bit bulkier and heavier than the Wingman.

Backpacking or Hiking

If pitted against each other with weight being a consideration then the Wingman wins out.

It can handle a vast variety of the same circumstances but also fits nicely into a pocket or backpack without weighing you down.

Essentially the Wingman makes a better backpacking or hiking option whereas the Wave makes a great tradesmen or car camping option.

Truth be told you cannot go wrong with either of these. Just be sure you are buying what you need for your intended application.

What The Wave Has That The Wingman Doesn’t

Leatherman Wave open
Leatherman Wave (Click to enlarge)
Leatherman Wingman Open
Leatherman Wingman (Click to enlarge)

As previously mentioned the Wave has 4 more tools and some features that the Wingman does not. These include:

  • Needle Nose and Regular Pliers: The Wave’s pliers have a distinct needle nose edge making them work as both needle nose and regular pliers. The wingman, on the other hand has regular pliers.
  • Replaceable Wire Cutters: The Wave’s write cutters are replaceable ensuring that you always have the sharpest cut possible. The Wingman has wire cutters but they are not replaceable.
  • Straight and Serrated Knives: The Wave comes with both a straight and a serrated knife standard. This makes easy work of whatever task you need it for. The Wingman however tries to pack this into one blade with some reviews giving it a thumbs down.
  • Small and Large Bit Drivers: The Wave comes with bit drivers standard in its form for both small and large bits. This of course means that you can draw on your collection of bits for the job at hand. In contrast, the Wingman has a universal flathead and Phillips head screwdriver built-in.

Final Words

Use the Leatherman Wingman if:

  • You are seeking a sleek and lightweight option for backpacking or hiking.
  • You are looking for an awesome multi-tool on a shoestring budget.
  • You want the best in the industry without paying for the “best” prices.
  • You want to step up your game from a single-bladed knife EDC.

Use the Leatherman Wave if:

  • You are seeking a fully featured and reliable option for trade work, car camping, or around the ranch despite the added weight.
  • Price is not an option and looking for a cool looking blacked out multi-tool.
  • You want the best in the industry.
  • You want to step up your multi-tool game with a more fully-featured multi-tool.

No matter what you cannot go wrong with a Leatherman. They have some of the highest quality multi-tools available on the market but don’t take our word for it. Look at the reviews and the love that comes in from thousands of users around the world!

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