Multitool Confrontation: Leatherman Wave Vs. SOG PowerLock

If you love outdoor adventures, do it yourself, build a PC, or just want to be ready for anything, you need a good multitool . Leatherman Wave and SOG PowerLock are reliable, durable, well-designed and popular options, but if you only had one, let’s decide which one deserves to live in your bag.


Leatherman and SOG are big names in specialty knives and tools, and have both been making them since the 80s. The original Leatherman tool, designed by Timothy S. Leatherman, was inspired by his desire to build a ” scout knife with pliers .” The founder of SOG, Spencer Fraser, drew inspiration from the unique combat knife used by the US Special Forces during the Vietnam War, and SOG is still the Navy Seal knife to this day. The Leatherman Wave and SOG PowerLock are consumer-oriented mid-range models for every company’s multi-tool, so let’s see how they stack up:

  • Leatherman Wave : The Leatherman Wave multitool includes 17 different tools including (1) pliers, (2) regular pliers, (3) wire cutters, (4) wire cutters, (5) wire strippers, (6) 2.9 – inch 420HC stainless steel knife (high carbon) , (7) 420HC stainless steel serrated knife, (8) saw, (9) spring scissors, (10) eight-inch ruler, (11) can opener, (12) bottle opener, (13) wood / metal file, (14) diamond coated file, (15) ¼ “screwdriver, screwdriver (16) ⅛” and medium screwdriver (17). It is made of stainless steel, weighs 8.5 ounces, and is 4 inches long when closed. It costs about $ 100 , depending on where you buy it.
  • SOG PowerLock : SOG PowerLock includes 18 tools including (1) 420 stainless steel half serrated combo knife, (2) ” screwdriver , (3) 3-sided file, (4) awl , (5) detonator. pliers, (6) bolt channel, (7) bottle opener, (8) can opener, (9) rigid cutter, (10) large flathead screwdriver, (11) medium flathead screwdriver, (12) pliers, (13 ) Philips screwdriver, (14) 9 ¼ ”rule, (15) scissors, (16) small flathead screwdriver, (17) wire crimping tool and (18) 420 stainless steel wood saw. It is also made of stainless steel, but weighs 9.6 ounces and is 4.6 inches long when closed. It costs between $ 70 and $ 100, depending on where you buy it. SOG PowerLock tools will usually cost less than Leatherman Wave at most stores.

At the most basic level, both of these tools perform many of the same tasks. However, there are a few differences. The SOG PowerLock has wire and capsule crimpers and an awl that Leatherman doesn’t have, while Leatherman Wave has a smaller bit, a wire stripper (more on that later) and an extra blade that SOG doesn’t have. (PowerLock combines a regular blade and a serrated blade into one combo blade.)

Functionality and access to tools

Wave and PowerLock may have many of the same tools, but the way you access these tools is different. Wave lets you access a standard knife, serrated knife blade, file and wood saw without opening the multi-tool. You can grab your wave and instantly access these tools like you would a pocket knife. However, PowerLock requires you to open the tool to “plier mode”, lift the metal side handle on the side, and then pick up the tool. These two additional steps are not critical, but they do limit PowerLock’s ability to be a pocket knife replacement – and this is usually one of the benefits of a multi-tool.

Fortunately, PowerLock makes up for this with its patented, gear-driven Compound Leverage system, which allows the tool to be opened with a single movement of the hand. You can access the blades on the Wave with one hand, but it will definitely take two hands to open the multitool to use the pliers or access other tools. In fact, I found the Wave to open quite stubbornly, especially when I want to use the pliers. Of course I use the brand new Wave and my Powerlock, while barely in use, is a little older. There may be a “breakout” phase with a Wave that I am not aware of.

Both Wave and PowerLock have locking mechanisms at the base of the handles that hold the tools securely in place during use. To fold the instrument back into its compartment, simply press the locking mechanism on the handle and fold it. In all fairness, the locking mechanisms on both of these instruments are so similar that it’s amazing that there is no legal action whatsoever. patent.

Personal tests

The fact that both of these multitools have many of the same techniques does not mean that each tool does its job well. Here’s a rundown of how some of the more commonly used tools compare to each other:

  • Knives: As we mentioned, the Wave has a dedicated standard knife, while the PowerLock has a two-in-one knife with a half serrated blade. When I tested the standard knife blades for each multi-tool, both handled paper, cardboard, and food quickly, but the Wave felt sharper and its cuts were slightly cleaner. However, with jagged edges, PowerLock cuts more efficiently. In fact, when using the entire PowerLock combo blade, it cuts fantastic. Wave may receive points for having special blades that are longer, wider, and easier to access, but PowerLock combo blades receive points for efficiency.
  • Wood Saw: None of the multitool wood saws work particularly well, but the Waves saw sucks the least. They both have alternating teeth, but the PowerLock saw teeth seem too wide. It takes some serious elbow grease to get it to work, and sawdust builds up pretty quickly in the teeth of the PowerLock saw.This YouTube video from CutleryNovice features a demo that seems to overlap with my experience.
  • Pliers: The PowerLock combination reigns supreme in this section. The grips are more comfortable (thanks to those somewhat annoying metal wings), the pivot points of the pliers move with ease, and the Compound Leverage system makes the pliers access very quick and gives them serious grip strength. The Wave has a similar combo plier system, but it doesn’t feel as resilient, and the Wave’s smaller form factor actually interferes with the pliers in both strength and grip.
  • Nippers: Again, PowerLock nippers seem to work a little better here. When I tested both multitools on an old iPod cable, PowerLock swallowed it. The wave cut through the rubber sheath, but was unable to pass through the wiring and insulation inside.
  • Scissors: Access to Wave’s scissors is not ideal. Every time I unrolled the spring blade, I caught one of the sharp ends. This is technically avoidable, but the handle you should use to unfold the scissors is tiny and doesn’t have enough leverage to pull them out. So I instinctively felt that enough was better, and poked my finger. However, the Wave scissors really work well even on thick cardboard. My version of the SOG Powerlock has a V-Cut tool instead of spring-loaded scissors , which serves the same cutting purpose, but you use it by pulling a V-blade along the material instead of scissor action. It’s much safer because there is no open blade, but it also doesn’t work as well as regular scissors.
  • Wire strippers: PowerLock doesn’t have a dedicated wire stripper, but honestly, the Wave “wire stripper” is just a sharp notch at the bottom of the combo can opener / bottle opener and doesn’t work like most wires. strippers. To use it, you make a small notch around the wire with a knife blade, then insert it into the wire stripper slot and rotate the wire until the rubber has cut enough to be pulled out. You can do the same with a V-Cutter or PowerLock scissors and it will be just as effective. SOG also offers a dedicatedwire stripper for PowerLock that canstrip 12 to 24 gauge wires.

As for the rest of the tools like files, screwdrivers, bottle openers, and cans, they all work as advertised. None of the multitool does anything revolutionary with these tried and true tools.

Guarantees and benefits

Leatherman Wave is backed by a limited 25-year no questions asked warranty . Usually, if something breaks and the reason is not misuse or abuse, Leatherman will fix it or replace it at no cost to you. The SOG PowerLock, on the other hand,comes with a lifetime warranty with similar no-abuse clauses, but it doesn’t feel as bland as Leatherman’s. You are protected against manufacturer defects, but SOG’s warranty does not cover rusty or stained blades, broken or bent knife tips, chipped knife blades, or worn tool components. SOG offers a blade sharpening service, but it will cost you if your multitool does not come with blunt blades out of the box.

Both Wave and PowerLock come with leather belt holsters. The PowerLock holster is completely leather, made in the USA and has a more “durable” look. The Wave holster is made in China from leather and nylon for a more tactical look.

Verdict: Wave is for people who need a pocket knife and tools, PowerLock is for professionals, electricians and handymen

There is no completely wrong choice here – both tools basically put the Inspector Gadget in your pocket – but the Leatherman Wave is definitely the best all-around option for the layman ( and already one of your favorites ). Ultimately, the solution came down to functionality. The ability to access the knife blades without opening the multitool is killer and makes the Wave a more sophisticated version of the classic Swiss army knife. This comes from someone who personally prefers SOG in general. So, for most of you, I recommend Wave.

However, PowerLock does a few things better than waves. If you’re doing electrical work, pliers, wire cutters, and clamps make PowerLock a breeze compared to Wave, especially if you have a wire stripper add-on. Did I mention pliers are better? I know, but seriously, guys are pliers. For those of you who need a multitool for real work, I recommend PowerLock. Plus, PowerLocks are usually slightly cheaper than Waves. So, depending on what you need, you can actually get more tools for less money.


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