In order to make the decision easier for YOU, I purchased a few common Leatherman tools and a few popular Gerbers and then spent a week with them all while backpacking with my brother in Jackson Hole.
The biggest differences come down to these three areas:
A multi-tool can last a decade or more depending on use and without properly understanding how to compare them, you’re likely to waste over $100 bucks without considering some of these factors.
Without further adieu….
Comparing Leatherman with Gerber
This section will look at the top-selling products from both companies, helping consumers narrow down their choices between Leatherman and Gerber. Let’s first start off with basic brand comparisons.
Build Quality: 9/10
User Reviews: 8.5/10
With roots in Portland, Oregon, Leatherman was established in 1983, putting quality and efficiency at the forefront. Their multi-tools are made in Oregon and come with a 25-year guarantee.
Build Quality: 8/10
User Reviews: 8.5/10
Gerber has origins in Oregon. Created in 1939, Gerber has long been a trusted name for innovative outdoor gear. Gerber tools come with a lifetime warranty. Gerber tools are manufactured globally.
Flagship Model Face-off
Leatherman Wave vs Gerber Center Drive
Ok! Let’s get into it. Each brand has a few select tools which stand out both in terms of quality, build and user reviews. Lets start off by comparing the flagship model for each brand, the Wave and the Center Drive
Closed length: 4 inches
Weight: 8.5 ounces
Primary blade length: 2.9 inches
Warranty: 25 Years
Gerber Center Drive
Closed length: 4.7 inches
Weight: 9.5 ounces
Primary blade length: 3.25 inches
X-Factor: Awesome Screwdriver
As the most popular Leatherman product, the Wave is one you will find in many packs, toolkits, and pockets around the world. With this choice, you’d be in good company.
The benefits of the Wave when compared to the Center-Drive, is in the position the blades are mounted. With the Wave they are unusable without opening the tool. Making it clumsy to use. With the Center-Drive, you can just slide a knife out and start chopping like a life long pro.
Not only does the offer outside access to the blades but it’s 30% longer blade, has bigger magnetic bits, and two-way opening pliers. Where it really shines is in the center drive screwdriver. If you’ve ever used a mutlitool screwdriver you know how cumbersome those can be to use. With the Center-Drive it feels just like a regular full-sized screwdriver.
For those who are stuck on the Leatherman Wave vs. the Gerber Center-Drive , the Center-Drive was my pick and it should be yours too!
- The Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool, includes a 12 piece standard bit set and Black sheath
- The innovative 3.2” center-axis driver opens to align like a real screw driver, yielding maximum torque and rotation, with magnetic replacable bit head
- Full-size, 3.25” 420HC outboard knife that is 30% longer than the competition.Closed Length: 4.7 inches. Open Length: 6.6 inches
Pocket Model Face-off
Leatherman Wingman vs Gerber Suspension
Now lets take a look at the more portable offerings from each of the brands, the Leatherman Wingman and the Gerber Suspension. Both are great tools to rely on in your pocket. Let’s go!
Closed length: 3.8 inches
Weight: 7 ounces
Primary blade length: 2.6 inches
Warranty: 25 Years
Overall Length: 6 inches
Weight: 9 ounces
Closed length: 3.5 inches
X-Factor: Super Lightweight
The Wingman is similar to the Leatherman flagship model and is more like a little brother to the Wave than the Suspension is to the Center Drive. Its lighter and has fewer tools than the Wave. It still feels perfectly at home in your pocket while you’re in the field.
The Suspension has a unique butterfly design that gives the it maximum portability and foldability despite its size. This multi-tool features a total of 12 different functions, making it ideal for a variety of applications. The best part of the suspension is how light it is and how high quality the tools inside are.
Personally, Gerber wins again here. The Suspension is a super reasonably priced tool with a lifetime warranty. You won’t regret this purchase.
One thing I’ve noticed is that Gerber tends to build its tools around a singular specific function. Leatherman seems to take the jack of all trades approach, and doesn’t necessarily excel at in any one part over the other
- Suspension Multi-Plier multitool with 12 integrated components
- Saf.T.Plus component locking system guarantees safety
- Lightweight open-frame stainless steel handle
Utility Model Face-off
Leatherman Skeletool vs Gerber Diesel
Length: 4 inches
Weight: 5 ounces
Blade length: 2.6 inches
Warranty: 25 Years
X-Factor: Hanging Clip
Overall length: 6.61 inches
Closed length: 4.92 inches
Weight: 8.6 ounces
The Leatherman Skeletool® is a tiny multi-tool that packs a big punch. I personally LOVE this thing and its clipped to my pants every day.
For those who only need a simple list of functions, this multi-tool is a beast when you need it. It’s got a knife, pliers, cutters, bottle opener and more all jammed into that little package.
The Gerber Diesel is a beast of a tool in its own right and feels rock solid in the hand. This multi-tool is one of the toughest and most versatile multi-tools on the market,. With larger, industrial-strength components, the Gerber Diesel has been built to tackle the most rugged of tasks.
However, I really like the Leatherman Skeletool because of its weight. It comes it at only 5 ounces, and does not feel like a snickers bar jammed in your pocket.
- EVERYTHING YOU NEED: A compact 5-ounce multitool with a combo knife, bit driver, pliers and more; Light enough to use as your everyday carry, strong enough to tackle tough jobs
- 7 TOOLS IN 1: Includes a knife, pliers, a large exchangeable bit driver, wire-cutters and a carabiner/bottle opener; Includes an extra bit stored right in the handle
- OUR GUARANTEE: We’re proud to stand behind every product that leaves our factory in Portland, Oregon; That’s why we offer our 25-year warranty, so you can be confident your Leatherman lasts a lifetime
It’s not always easy to figure out what to buy but hopefully, my experiences with the tools helped you make a better decision. Both companies occupy huge spaces within the industry of multi-tools, offering a ton of top-quality products.
Make sure you don’t overpay by using the links in this review to figure out the cheapest prices in your area. Let me know what you think in the comments below!