Leatherman Freestyle CX Review


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This is our first review of a Leatherman multi-tool.  For this review we reviewed the Leatherman Freestyle CX which is one of their pocket size tools. You want to talk about a practical tool, it’s the Leatherman Freestyle.

In case you have been hiding under a rock and haven’t heard of Leatherman, they make a variety of products such as knives, pruners and lights.  But what they are known for is their Multi-tools.  These are incredibly tough and small multi-tools that a user can carry on their side, like a pocket knife, but with more options.  Not only do these knives save lives (Keanu Reeves used it in the movie Speed to save a bus load of people), it is a very practical tool.  They make a lot of different models and have anywhere from 5 tools in one to 18 tools in one.   As you can see by the picture below the Leatherman Freestyle is a 5 in one tool.


1.  Needlenose Pliers

2. Regular Pliers

3. 154CM Knife

4. Wire Cutters

5. Hard-Wire Cutters

When you first pick up the Freestyle, you can tell right away that this is a quality tool just by the feel.  This is one of those tools that feels solid, but it only weights 4.5 oz. and is 3.45″ long.  This is a perfect tool for someone who wants a multi-tool, but doesn’t want a bulky side arm that has 18 tools in one.  The handles are a DLC -coated Stainless steel with a carbon-fiber handle insert, which explains why these are very light, but can take a good beating.  The carbon-fiber gives it the light weight and the DLC coating is great for scratch and corrosion resistance.    As with their other knives, this features a locking blade.

For the Freestyle, Leatherman uses a 154CM knife blade and is supposed to hold its edge three times as long as traditional steel.  When you first open the knife and lock it into position, the handle of the Freestyle is designed for your hand very nicely.  The user has great control of the knife when using it and seems like it prevents your hand from slipping.  There is a very nice indentation for your index finger to sit and your other fingers can wrap nicely around the handle of the knife.  Opening and closing the knife is very easy to perform with one hand.  As we noted, Leatherman states that this blade holds its edge three times longer.  We have no way to really test this, but we did use the knife a lot for cutting a variety of different items.  We also used the knife to shave some red oak.  We did this for a while and it still had a great blade that was easy to cut a tomato without having to use a lot of pressure.  Compared to some of the knives we have used in the past this seems like it might be true compared to other steel blades we have tested.  Now if you have ever bought a cheap knife at a local store because the price was too awesome to pass up, you can definitely see the difference.

When opening the tool up to utilize the other four tools such as the pliers, this also is designed extremely well for your hand.  The top part of the plier handles fit very nicely in your palm, while the bottom handle has a nice curve where your fingers rest nicely and lets the user apply good pressure.  On the needle nose pliers, they open up 1.5″ but useful surface is about 1-1/4″ which is great for such a small tool.  On the pliers you can work with a 1″ opening.  For the wire cutters, they are designed very nice where both cutters are in contact when pressed down.  When we where cutting wire, it always cut right through the wire with no problems and never had a problem of not cutting all the way through the plastic as we have seen with other tools.

Overall if you are looking for smaller version multi-tool, take a look at the Leatherman Freestyle CX.  Very well built, light weight and very practical.  I am one of those guys who likes to carry a knife on my side, but don’t prefer the larger Leatherman, this tool is perfect.  I can not wait to take it camping and fishing.  This is going to be perfect for the boat for getting hooks out of fish and cutting my line which I tend to do a lot because for some reason my lures always gravitate towards trees and stumps or anything else that is going to annoy me.


  1. These are awesome. Very small and light. I am not a big fan or at least i do not need all the tools in the bigger model, so this one is perfect.

  2. Leather man tools are some of the best examples of quality craftmanship. They cost a little more, but they last forever! They are great to take on hunting or fishing trips. They are even good for simple recreational camping. Nice review!

  3. It is well built and good quality, but to be honest I almost immediately regretted purchasing it. I knew when I bought it that it lacked any screwdrivers or a bottle opener, but figured that the blade and pliers/cutters would be enough. Soon I found they weren’t. Could have been a world beater if they just had a philips head and a bottle-opener/flat-head combo on it too. Instead I found myself carrying a multi-function pocket knife and the Freestyle, which is defeating the purpose. May work for some people, its just not working for me.

  4. @Ahil925
    None are perfect….this one is great for simple garden tasks etc….i use it for cutting weed trimming line, zip ties etc even small branches as I maintain the propert. For best all around EDC I use the Leatherman C2 which has a good selection of tools including an excellent small players in a small package. Look for a used original style (discontinued) on EBay…they are much better than the new ones.


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