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Leatherman’s Wingman tool is an out-of-the-park swing at their competitors that are offering “budget” multi-tools. Leatherman brought their long lineage of success to a less expensive offering. We’ve tested it over a few years now and can say that our impressions hold up. In many ways, we continue to be impressed by the value and function. Our original is still in use “in the family” while a newly purchased tester is exactly the same; quality control at this price point can be credited to the high-end approach of Leatherman.
This is an excellent tool for every day carry or for storing around the house for occasional light-duty repairs and improvements. Similarly, it could be stored in one’s car for occasional work there. In many ways, the affordability and relatively compact stature optimize the tool for the majority of users. Only those users with extensive construction and handiwork tasks will need more sophisticated or burlier tools.
All but one of our award winners has scissors built-in. Now, all of these award-winning tools are great in many ways, but it is the presence of scissors that seems to differentiate the tools. Wingman’s scissors are the largest in our test, and they are precise and sharp. In the pocket knife world, Victorinox sets the standard for compact scissors on folding tools. Their scissors are indeed excellent. Further, the main hinge on Victorinox pocket knife scissors is a screw. With usage and wear, the tension on the scissors can be adjusted. We wish multi-tool manufacturers would follow suit. All of our tested tools with scissors, including the Wingman, have riveted hinges, so the user cannot adjust the scissors at all. Even the tested Victorinox SwissTool Spirit X has riveted scissors, unlike the screwed scissors of their pocket knives.
In another relatively minor complaint, especially at this price point, the Wingman comes with a single blade equipped with a hybrid straight/serrated edge. The steel is good enough and the edge arrives sharp, but we wish it were just straight. Or, better yet, omit something else and include two blades. Even some otherwise underwhelming options include two blades. While we’re discussing the Wingman’s blades, it must be noted that the blade is considerably shorter than other options and is shorter than what would fit in the handle. There is more than 1/4 inch of space in the Wingman handle that the blade is not using. In many ways, these few small gripes merely explain the lesser cost. We couldn’t gush on and on about the low price of the Wingman without pointing out what it’ll cost you.
Perhaps the most unique feature on the Wingman is the package opener. This small, unassuming sharpened hook is purpose-built to tear into those plastic “blister-packs” that so many small electronic devices come in. One can cut into the package without worry about damaging the contents. The package opener can also safely cut the packing tape on cardboard boxes. For many, this feature alone will seal the deal.
The Wingman has a modern, asymmetrical, and contoured shape. The scissors and main blade can be engaged without folding out the pliers. These outer tools lock into place with a “liner-lock” style tab. The inner tools engage with positive and clear fingernail slots. Our testers like that the Wingman comes equipped with a secure pocket clip. It would have been even better if the clip were turned 180 degrees. As it is, pulling the knife out to use the main blade requires flipping the tool in the user’s hand first. The spring-loaded pliers make extended usage far less tiring on the hands.
To save money, the Wingman originally shipped without a belt sheath. There might be options like this still on the market. Our latest tester, at the same price, included a belt sheath. Added value! As mentioned above, the pocket clip is a welcome addition. Anyone on our test team accustomed to carrying a pocket knife in a pants pocket easily transitioned to carrying the Wingman the same way.
The Wingman is also equipped with holes in the frame, either of which can take a lanyard cord. All edges of the Wingman are rounded to save wear and tear on whatever pocket or bag you carry it in. We can’t emphasize enough the value of pocket carrying your multi-tool. When it fits in your pocket and stays clipped up out of the lint and quarters, your multi-tool will never be handier than it is when clipped to a pocket edge.
The full steel construction of this Leatherman model inspires confidence and will last you a long time. The blade will need to be sharpened, just like any other knife. Sharpening the straight portion is relatively straightforward. However, resurfacing the serrated portion requires more skill, special equipment, or professional assistance. If you anticipate significant and extended cutting, consider this additional complication in your purchase decision. In short, we had no issues with the construction quality and durability of the Wingman. And that is the best endorsement we can give.
We don’t make many generalizations, but we are finding that budget products from manufacturers of high-end consumer goods are generally well-made. Leatherman cut costs with materials and functions for the Wingman. But they didn’t make any compromises with the construction quality and thoughtfulness of the design.
The value of the Wingman should speak for itself. It hits a price point with plenty of competition. However, none of the competitors stack up. Leatherman is head-and-shoulders above the rest when it comes to well-thought-out tools, and the Wingman is no exception. If the selection of tools works for you, and you anticipate light to medium usage, the Wingman will serve you well.
Leatherman’s Wingman hits the nail on the head in delivering reliable functionality at a bargain price. We recommend the Wingman, without hesitation, to a whole host of users. The casual user will appreciate the solid function at a reasonable price, while the dedicated user might own a Wingman as a second tool for the car or toolbox as a great back-up tool.