Leatherman Skeletool CX Review

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I’ve used many different types of pocketknives and multi-tools over the years. I’ve been exceptionally thrilled with the Leatherman Skeletool CX. So happy, in fact, that when I lost it I decided the best way to replace it was to just buy another!

The Skeletool is a medium sized multi-tool with a number of useful tools: knife, pliers, wire cutters, flat-head screwdriver, philips head screwdriver, and a bottle opener. Leatherman claims the Skeletool has seven tools by classifying the pliers as both needlenose and regular, but the truth is that they’re a little short and fat to be needlenose. While not exactly tools, two other useful features are the carabiner clip and a pocket clip.

The Skeletool CX size is noteworthy: folded, it’s a little thinner than other multi-tools. It’s also not quite as wide as many other multi-tools, however it is longer than many others. Translation: the body easily fits in my hand and because it runs the full width of my palm I have a very secure grip.

The knife blade is great. It’s a drop-point style blade, which I like very much. The outside-accessible blade also differentiates it from other multi-tools: I can open the blade one-handed, and the multi-tool doesn’t need to be opened to get access to the blade (or other tools). Because the blade is by far my most-used tool, quick access to the blade is very important to me. It’s worth noting that the Skeletool CX is designed for right-handed people: right-handers can easily use their thumb to swing the blade out into its locked position. Left-handers, like myself, need to start the swing with a finger then lock the blade open with my thumb. It’s not at all difficult, but a left-handed version would be perfect for me.

The pliers have proven effective. Not just useful, but actually effective. I think this is an important difference that many other mid-size multi-tools miss. Other multi-tools are a little shorter and/or the pliers feel less strong, making them difficult hold and work with. The screwdriver tips are functional, but like any multi-tool, they are a bit difficult to use.

Leatherman actually makes two models of this tool: Skeletool and Skeletool CX. They share a design and both have the same tools. The CX model uses a harder steel for the blade and has a special “DLC” coating on the body (whatever that stands for). The DLC coating offers scratch and corrosion resistance. I take good care of my knives’ blades, but the body is another story: they rub against keys in my pocket, get tossed into backpacks, and slide around in toolboxes. Typically, the knife body gets pretty scuffed and scratched, and sometimes even a gouge taken out of plastic bodies (like the Victorinox swiss army knives). But not the CX: the DLC coating has proven to keep the Skeletool in great shape and looking new.

A few weeks ago I realized the Skeletool CX wasn’t in my pocket. I just used it the night before and hadn’t gone outside since, so I know it has to be somewhere in our house. However, after searching several times in all the likely places, I couldn’t locate it. As I wrote in the beginning, I decided that buying another Skeletool was the perfect solution: highly recommended.

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