Leatherman is a true pioneer in the field of multitools.

Tim Leatherman wanted to make a knife with pliers because his regular tools were lacking. The result was the Pocket Survival Tool (PST), which would become one of the very first multitool pliers.

Leatherman dominated the market and although many companies have copied the overall aesthetics of the multitool, the Portland-based brand remains the top choice for plier multitools.

The company never stopped innovating, but finding new bents on a tool that has worked so well is quite difficult. In 2008, Leatherman released the Skeletool, which made an EDC version of the plier tool. It even won the 2008 Most Innovative American-Made Design at Blade Show.

They’ve had some other cool designs like the Tread Multi-Tool Bracelet, which is something you’d find around MacGyver’s wrist. But it looks like the brand may be onto a new technology that could change the Leatherman game — magnets.

So magnets aren’t anything new, but it looks like Leatherman has managed to use magnets in a way that allows a user to fully operate a Leatherman multitool with only one hand. You can access any of the individual tools with some pressure on a lever and close it securely. You also get an almost balisong-like opening and closing once the lock is disengaged.

It looks like Leatherman is betting big on this new technology as the brand decided to unveil a new logo to accompany the release of the Free series. Gone is the yellow swirling multitool and greetings to a gray multitool that forms an L.

You can tell Leatherman is going all in because it’s not just introducing one multitool with magnets but is releasing at least six different designs this year with the magnets.

The Free series is divided into three categories: K for knife, P for pliers, and T for multitool. (The K and T share many similarities though).

Instead of meticulously going through each product, here is an excellent video breakdown from Ontario Out of Doors at SHOT Show:

The knife and tool are the most different than what Leatherman usually offers and they could make for interesting new everyday carry tools.

Of all the new technologies to come out of SHOT Show so far, this seems like it could have the biggest impact. I’m a bit worried about the durability and ease of use of the magnets. Right now, getting tools out can be hard in certain Leatherman products, but they’re very reliable.

Although magnets can lose their strength over time, the amount is often negligible and unnoticeable. However, I can see someone saying “I don’t want some limp magnet knife dangling out when I’m trying to fix a water heater.”

Still, I am pumped to give these a try and hope they will forever do away with the dreaded nail nick.

The P, T, and K models will be available in April, June, and July respectively. The two P models will be around $120 and $140, the T models will be around $40 and $60 (both very competitive), the K models will be around $80 and $90.


Tim

Timothy Martinez Jr. is the community director for Knife Depot and the editor of The Cutting Edge. If you have any questions or ideas for The Cutting Edge, you can contact him at Tim@knife-depot.com.
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