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Leatherman Skeletool CX

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Leatherman Skeletool CX multi-tool
  • Price: ~$65
  • Weight: 5/5
  • Size: 4/5
  • Durability: 3/5
  • Utility: 4/5
  • Overall Rating: 4/5

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Leatherman Skeletool CX – Less is More

The Leatherman Skeletool CX is a full size multitool that keeps the weight down to only 5 ounces with the use of carbon fiber, tungsten alloys and cut-outs (hence the Skeletool name). With its light weight, the small size – 4 inches when folded – means that most people will find it comfortable to carry in their pocket with the pocket clip. There have been different models of Skeletool in the market in the past. However, the latest Leatherman Skeletool CX Multitool is the most advanced – yet also one of the simplest offerings from Leatherman. While other multitools have as many as 27 different tools on one product, Leatherman chose to separate from the crowd with the Skeletool CX. After extensive research to determine the most important and frequently used tools, Leatherman settled on just seven for the Skeletool CX.

Our Hands On Review

Pliers & Wirecutters

The needle nose pliers on the Skeletool are made with precision and we enjoyed using them in our testing. Out of the box they are smooth with the tips precisely aligned so we could pluck hairs with them. The jaws are 7/32 inches wide and have 1 3/4 inches of clearance before the handles interfere so you can really work in narrow spaces. clearance from the tip of the jaws before the handles interfere.

Leatherman Skeletool CX pliers front

The middle section of the jaw opens to regular pliers for gripping round objects. A person with regular-size hands can put a solid squeeze on a 5/8 inch bolt.

The wire cutters on the Skeletool CX use a bevel edge section made of 420 HC stainless steel for use on soft wires. This bypass configuration exposes any play or misalignment within the pliers – instead of cutting, thin wires will simply bend around jaws and not cut. Even after torquing and twisting the pliers during our testing, the jaws still cut cleanly on 24 gauge stranded copper wire.

Knife Blade

Leatherman Skeletool CX multitool knife blade

The blade on the Skeletool CX is made of 154 CM stainless steel which is a high-end allow that is corrosion resistant and Leatherman claims will remain sharp more than three-times longer that their standard 420 HC steel. We didn’t have any problems in our testing, but there are reports of broken blades on the Skeletool, usually at the base of the blade near the thumb hole and when twisting the blade with force. If this happens to you, Leatherman’s legendary 25 year warranty should make it right.

Bit Drivers

When Leatherman first introduced the Skeletool, the bit drivers were a new innovation and provide much more capability than the fixed screwdriver tips on many multitools. Leatherman includes two double-ended bit drivers on the Skeletool. One is housed in the handle opposite the knife blade, and the second stays in the bit driver ready to use.

Leatherman Skeletool CX bit drivers
Leatherman Skeletool CX bit driver retention

Unfortunately, the Skeletool uses proprietary flat bits instead of standard 1/4 inch hex bits so you will need to buy any specialty bits from Leatherman – their bit kit has 21 double-ended bits and includes the most commonly used hex, torx, square, flat and Phillips heads. We didn’t have any trouble with lost bits however, the extra bit is held securely in the handle and Skeletool has a retention clip on the driver end.

Carabiner & Bottle Opener

The carabiner/bottle opener works fine if you want to carry the Skeletool CX from a belt loop and the bottle opener will quickly open your favorite refreshment. However, we found the Skeletool most comfortable with the pocket clip. The carabiner makes the tool significantly larger without adding enough functionality – we would like it even more if Leatherman cut down the length and made it more compact.

Overall, we recomment the Leatherman Skeletool CX multitool as a great everyday-carry (EDC) multitool that replaces your pocketknife with a much more capable package. It comes with Leatherman’s 25 year warranty.

Specifications & Official Tool List from Leatherman

  • Blade length: 2.6 in
  • Closed length: 4 in
  • Weight: 5 oz
  • Pocket clip: yes
  • One-handed: yes
  1. needlenose pliers
  2. regular pliers
  3. hard wire cutters
  4. wire cutters
  5. 154CM knife
  6. carabiner/bottle opener
  7. large bit driver

Maintenance & Modifications

With the high quality materials and initial build quality from Leatherman, there isn’t much you will need to do with your Skeletool other than keep it clean and sharp. Clean it with WD40 and use a PTFE/Teflon based lubricant on the pivots for smooth operation. To bring your Skeletool CX back to factory-fresh use a 32° blade sharpening angle. If you need to take your Skeletool apart or tighten the pivots use two T8 torx bits (buy here).

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