When looking for an EDC multi-tool, the two most trusted, loved brand names are Gerber and Leatherman. Some preppers swear by Leatherman, while others will tell you anything but Gerber is useless. To make a real decision, you have to have a fair comparison of Gerber vs. Leatherman.
Finding unbiased information can be tricky. Everyone has a brand name that they love, whether it’s a favorite knife, tool, or soda. When it comes down to it, you have to look at the nitty-gritty details and specs to make an accurate comparison.
Both Gerber and Leatherman had small starts years ago and have grown to be two of the most recognized and trusted brands of multi-tools. Interestingly enough, both brands began in Oregon, but that’s where the similarities stop.
Leatherman began in Portland, Oregon in 1983, and they focus on providing quality, efficient tools for their consumers. We appreciate that their multi-tools are crafted in Oregon, a proud made in the USA company, and come with a 25-year guarantee.
Gerber, on the other hand, started in Oregon as well, in 1939. So, Gerber has been around for several more decades than Leatherman, which has allowed them to perfect their brand for years.
They focus on innovative outdoor gear and offer a lifetime warranty. However, while they are Oregon based, their tools are manufactured globally, which many consider being a negative for the company.
Many of Gerber and Leatherman’s products directly compete with each other. To make a real comparison, you need to look at what they offer to consumers. Let’s go head to head with some of the most favorite models.
|Leatherman Wave||Gerber Center-Drive|
|Closed Length: 4 inches
Primary Blade Length: 2.9 inches
Weight: 8.5 ounces
|Closed Length: 4.7 inches
Primary Blade Length: 3.25 inches
Weight: 9.5 ounces
|The Wave is a favorite multi-tool that features outside-accessible blades, 420HC stainless steel construction, black oxide coating, and a variety of tools. The length and weight make it less desirable for those who need a heavy-duty multi-tool. If portability matters to you, the Wave weighs less, making it easier to carry.||The Center-Drive is a powerful tool with added length and weight, which does decrease its portability, but makes it a versatile tool.
With 16 different tools, users like that the tools are much larger than in most multi-tools you find on the market. It feels sturdy and durable in your hand.
|Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Multi-Tool|
|Closed Length: 4.5 inches
Primary Blade Length: 3.2 inches
Weight: 9.6 ounces
|Closed Length: 3.9 inches
Primary Blade Length: 2.5 inches
Weight: 8.8 ounces
|The Leatherman Super Tool 300 is equipped with a convenient locking system that allows every tool and knife (except the pliers head) to automatically lock in place when fully opened. This helps keep you safe and prevents the tool from moving while in use.With a total of 19 tools in all, the Leatherman Super Tool 300 is the ultimate survival multi-tool. Leatherman claims these are the strongest pliers they have ever produced and the quality shows. The heavy-duty multi-tool is portable in size and features a lanyard ring and sloped-top handle design that allows the user to easily squeeze it into tight spaces.
The large cutouts make it easy to grab and use the multi-tool while wearing gloves, making it a powerful and versatile tool for all working men and women.
The Leatherman Super Tool 300 contains the following tools:
|The Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Multi-Tool is a rugged and reliable option for all of your tactical, hunting, military, industrial, survival, and outdoor needs. This versatile tool has been field-tested and features an easy-to-use design.
The multi-tool contains 12 weather-resistant stainless steel components, including spring-loaded pliers. Each of the tools contains external locking mechanisms for safety and the multi-tool has a grippy handle that makes it easy to grasp.
The Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Multi-Tool contains the following tools:
The tool also comes with a military-grade sheath that helps keep the multi-tool in optimal condition while resisting mildew growth. In addition to the sheath and tool itself, you’ll also receive land-to-air rescue instructions, as well as a Bear Grylls’ informative Priorities of Survival pocket guide.
|Leatherman Wingman||Gerber Suspension|
|Closed Length: 3.8 inches
Primary Blade Length: 2.6 inches
Weight: 7 ounces
|Closed Length: 3.5 inches
Overall Length: 6 inches
Weight: 9 ounces
If you like the outside-accessible blades that Leatherman used for the Wave, you’ll also appreciate this feature on the Wingman. The Wingman features tools such as three screwdrivers and spring-action pliers.
The Leatherman Wingman features a lightweight design and removable pocket clip, making it easy to access it when you need just the right tool for a job. The blade automatically locks in place when opened, ensuring it does not close prematurely causing injury.
With 14 tools, the Wingman is an excellent choice for home repair or maintenance.
|Gerber used a unique butterfly design which makes the Suspension ideal for portability and folding. The Suspension features 12 different tools, so you’ll surely find a way to use this.
Strong, yet lightweight, the affordable tool features a butterfly-opening handle, a patented Saf.T.Plus component locking system, and a safe, user-friendly design that makes it easy to access the tool you need in a pinch.
The Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier contains the following tools:
Having so many tools makes the Suspension an ideal choice for an EDC bag. It’s not expensive, and you can get a lot done with this tool.
|Leatherman Skeletool||Gerber MP400 Compact Sport|
|Blade Length: 2.6 inches
Overall Length: 4 inches
Weight: 5 ounces
|Closed Length: 4.37 inches
Overall Length: 4.63 inches
Weight: 6.8 ounces
|Small doesn’t have to mean weak; little is mighty, and the Skeletool proves that. It packs quite a punch for its size. If you need something simple that works for a variety of tasks, this multi-tool is portable and comprehensive.
Useful is the word for the Skeletool. You’ll find a combo knife, pliers, cutters, and even a bottle opener on this knife. At only 5 ounces, you can toss it in your pocket and forget its there!
|Are you looking for a useful but small multi-tool? The Compact Sport might be the pick for you. The small, overall length makes the Compact perfect for portability, but it still offers the functions you want.
This multi-tool has over 12 functions, such as needle-nose pliers. It might not be the best choice for heavy-duty tasks, but it’s great for those who don’t want to carry around a full-sized multi-tool.
When you use a tool as much as you will a multi-tool, understanding the warranties offered by companies matter. Let’s compare the two policies.
If you live in the USA, then Gerber offers a limited lifetime warranty. For those customers outside of the USA, the warranty is 25 years. You do have to mail the tool back with proof of purchase to their Oregon location to take advantage of the guarantee.
Note that this warranty is limited. If the damage is due to misuse or abuse, your tool won’t be replaced or fixed. However, if your tool breaks during regular use, expect the replacement or fixed tool in about two weeks.
Leatherman offers a 25-year warranty on their products. While that doesn’t seem as great, it’s way more flexible. They’ll fix your multi-tool or replace it with no questions asked. You do need to send in proof of purchase, but many have said that Leatherman never asked for their evidence. Expect the process to take 7-21 days.
Price matters, even if we pretend that it doesn’t. For most products, Leatherman is pricier than Gerber tools, but most people say that it’s because their tools are of better quality. You can find Gerber tools for under $30 at Wal-Mart.
Remember that a lot of tools from Gerber aren’t made in the USA, so that decreases their cost. Plus, Gerber has lines that tend to be a bit “gimmicky” such as their Bear Grylls line. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful, but their products may not be as durable as they advertise.
The Bottom Line
When push comes to shove, the Gerber vs. Leatherman argument comes down to what features mean the most to you and how you plan to use your multi-tool. If you want a durable multi-tool that will survive through any situation, a Leatherman may be more your speed. If you want a tool that can perform simple tasks around the house, don’t hesitate to order a Gerber.
Either way, Gerber and Leatherman are trusted brands you’ll be pleased to own in your every day carry arsenal.