The Leatherman Surge Vs Wave Battle (As Recommended By Experts)

As far as sibling rivalry goes, it does not get any better with the Leatherman siblings. The Leatherman Surge and the Wave are some of the most popular multi-tool choices that rarely disappoint users.

For this reason, choosing between either of them (if you don’t want both) is, therefore, a tough prospect for many. In today's, article, I am going to do a Leatherman Surge Vs Wave review so that you can decide on which one works best for your needs.

I will look into their pros, weight, featuring tools, the material of construction and their overall design.

Featuring Tools

The major difference between the Leatherman Surge and Wave is in their featuring tools. As a multi-tool, the number of tools determines how useful it is to you when you cannot conveniently reach your toolbox. You could be hiking or backpacking.

Leatherman Surge

Of the two tools, the Surge is the larger one with a total of 21 tools. Each of these 21 tools serve different purposes. All these tools are contained in a heavy-duty casing that is easy to manipulate and allows for one-handed access.

The 21 tools include:

  • A needlenose pliers
  • Regular pliers
  • 154 CM replaceable wire cutters
  • 154 CM replaceable hard-wire cutters
  • Stranded wire cutters
  • Electrical Crimper
  • Wire stripper
  • 420 HC knife
  • 420 HC serrated knife
  • Saw blade
  • Spring action scissors
  • Can opener
  • Awl with thread loop
  • 19 centimeters/8 inches ruler
  • Bottle opener
  • Metal/wood file
  • Diamond coated file
  • Blade Exchanger
  • Large bit driver
  • Large screwdriver
  • Small screwdriver

This variety offers you great flexibility if you are a heavy user. The tools are also made from high-quality materials meaning that they will not easily bend when in use.

Leatherman Wave

The Wave is slightly smaller than the Surge and has 4 tools less. Therefore, it makes for a great tool for light users who rarely use the missing tools. Here are some of the tools you can expect to find on the Wave.

  • Needlenose pliers
  • Regular pliers
  • Hard wire cutters
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire stripper
  • 420 HC knife
  • 420 HC serrated knife
  • Saw
  • Spring action scissors
  • 19 cm/8 inches ruler
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Metal/wood file
  • Diamond coated file
  • Large bit screwdriver
  • Small bit screwdriver
  • Medium bit screwdriver

I have used both of these tools and just like the Surge, these too are not any flimsy either. They offer you an amazing performance worth any of the money you spend on them. From the list of featured tools, you can notice that the Wave lacks a wire crimper, blade exchanger, awl with thread loop, and the strand wire cutters  

Weight

Weight considerations are essential in cases where you need to keep your gear light such as when going hiking. A bulky tool in your pocket isn’t what you need. Fortunately, the Leatherman Surge and Wave are quite lightweight with a slight weight difference between them. This is expected, as the Surge has more tools than the Wave.

As the heavier of the two, the Surge weighs 1 pound (12.5 ounces) only. It may not be much, but it still feels solid on your hand or pocket. But when using a belt pouch, then you won't even notice its presence.

On the other hand, the Wave is the lighter option. It weighs about 4 ounces lighter than the Surge. It weighs 8.5 ounces with all of its contents. If your preference is weight with a slightly reduced tool count, then the Wave is an ideal choice.

Size and Dimensions

Besides the weight, sizes and the dimensions are other aspects in which the Surge and Wave multi-tools differ in. It is one of the considerations some people make when bringing any of these along on a trip.

At this point, it is evident that the Surge is the larger of the two. It measures about 4 x 2 x 2 inches in dimensions when fully folded. All these are taken from its longest, widest and thickest points. On its part, the Wave measures 4 x 1 x 1 inches at its longest and widest parts.

When opened, the lengths differ depending on the tool(s) being used.

Material

The Leatherman Surge and wave are made from the same material, which is one of the areas where the two are even in this contest. Both are made from 420 High Carbon stainless steel. This middle ground stainless steel imparts strength and longevity to these tools.

Since they lack chromium in their structure, these multi-tools are slightly susceptible to corrosion than a standard 420 with a chromium alloy. Nonetheless, the tools are great for hardcore outdoor uses and DIY projects.

Colour

Unlike in the past when you would be limited in the colour choice of any Leatherman multi-tool, the current designs feature a range of colours. You are no longer just limited to the usual plain stainless steel appearance you had been used to.

However, color-wise, both the Surge and the Wave come in either a sleek black oxide finish or the usual shiny stainless steel. It is a stylish design that is not too loud, keeping a low profile. This colour is great for some purposes such as in your garage since wiping dirt off it is a breeze.

Pros

Both the Surge and the Wave excel in their ways but are almost similar performance wise. To bring the two into perspective, let's look at where each one excels.

Leatherman Surge Pros

  • Has more tools (21)
  • Robust performance
  • Slightly longer for larger tools
  • Highly versatile

Leatherman Wave Pros

  • Cheaper than the Surge
  • Lightweight
  • Easier to use

Verdict

From the above descriptions, you notice that the Surge offers you more capabilities than the Wave, although it is more expensive. With 21 tools compared to the 17 on the wave, the additional cost might be justified.

Both of these tools will provide you with a good range of standard tools options. Screwdrivers, pliers, wire stripper, can/bottle openers, etc. Choosing between the two is dependent on what exactly you intend on using them for.

For common round the clock uses, then I would suggest you go with the cheaper Wave option. It gets the job done. However, for increased capabilities, you should instead choose the Surge. I have it, so my opinion might be biased.

For the additional cost, you get four more high-quality tools. Plus, it can do everything the Wave does and four more additions. This is because when camping, hiking or in your workshop, you never know when you might need the extra tools.

  • Updated 10/01/2018
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