LEATHERMAN Sidekick

Last updated date: September 12, 2019

DWYM Score
9.1

LEATHERMAN Sidekick

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We looked at the top Multitools and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Multitool you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 136 expert reviews, the LEATHERMAN LEATHERMAN Sidekick placed 6th when we looked at the top 11 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note April 8, 2020:
Checkout The Best Multitool for a detailed review of all the top multitools.

Expert Summarized Score
9.2
12 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.2
1,463 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Sturdy construction in quality.
- Gear We Are
The combination pliers have a spring-action, and are quite nice to use. Both the regular and needlenose gripping zones are grooved well with no visible burs or defects. The edges of the tool’s handles are rounded and provide a comfortable grip even when squeezing them tightly.
- Tool Guyd
September 16, 2011 | Full review
One of the key features we loved was the inner tool latching mechanism which allows the inner tools to snap right in place. No manual movement of any lever is required to unlock the tools. In order to close it, simply apply a tiny bit of pressure to overcome the pressure of the spring tension.
- EDC Ninja
The knife blade and saw blade both lock firmly in place, and you need to press on metal spring tabs to close them. Safety-wise, this is an excellent feature.
- Outdoor with J
January 12, 2018 | Full review
Leatherman are the best tools I’ve ever owned very dependable and well made
- Leatherman
With a full-length straight blade, a full-length wood saw, and a half-length serrated blade, the Leatherman Sidekick is specialized for cutting.
- Inside First Aid
June 20, 2019 | Full review
I really appreciated the inclusion of a serrated knife blade. I’ve found that a serrated blade makes all the difference when you’re cutting rope or zipties of a decent thickness. While it’s not accessible from the outside like on the Leatherman Surge, it was nice to have on there regardless.
- Zookeeper Gear
September 22, 2018 | Full review
It has the same design as the CX, so it’s lightweight, easy to carry, and contains only the most important tools.
- New York Times Wirecutter
May 6, 2019 | Full review
It opens fairly smoothly & then clicks into place in a very secure way. It also closes and clicks solidly into place, taking a page from the SwissTool book.
- Multitool.org
January 20, 2008 | Full review
This is a strikingly attractive tool, at least in my eyes. The skeletal frame is defined by gentle curving lines and many holes. A triangular hole in the blade allows it to be opened single-handedly. The pocket clip curves to match the frame, and even the back of the blade has a gentle humped curve that makes it pleasing to the eye.
- The Gadgeteer
January 30, 2012 | Full review
The pliers, cutters, and carabiner all function perfectly. Leatherman did a great job putting the Skeletool together.
- Outdoorsman Toolkit
The 420HC stainless steel knife blade is a winner in my book. With a smooth action, single-handed operation, the open and close design locks in and out of place with total control.
- Gear Assistant
What experts didn't like
The wire-cutter is comprised of two triangular cutting edges that meet at the center (forming an X shape). They’re not very sharpened (nor should they be given the design), so they tend to crush smaller wires before cutting them, and require more effort to cut through thicker wires and nylon cable ties.
- Tool Guyd
September 16, 2011 | Full review
We didn’t quite understand why Leatherman chose to include a ruler with the Sidekick. It’s not long enough to measure a full-grown fish to see if it’s legal. The only thing we can think of is that it’s there to be used in a pinch – if you need to measure off a few inches of something or other (wires?) then the ruler will perform as advertised.
- EDC Ninja
The saw is short and cannot cut anything larger than 2”
- Outdoor with J
January 12, 2018 | Full review
The Sidekick does not have overlapping, shear wire cutters, so it can only be used on small wires.
- Inside First Aid
June 20, 2019 | Full review
Much like the Leatherman Rev, the locking system on the screwdrivers is subpar. More than a couple of times, I struggled with the driver tools folding up on me when turning a tight screw. I had to really consider the angle I was holding the tool when turning screws to avoid it.
- Zookeeper Gear
September 22, 2018 | Full review
The downside is that the blade steel is lower quality and the edge is partially serrated, making it more difficult to sharpen. We also found that the pivot points are tighter, so it’s harder to open and close.
- New York Times Wirecutter
May 6, 2019 | Full review
Blade back digs in when using bottle opener.
- Multitool.org
January 20, 2008 | Full review
Speaking of the carabiner, I rarely find myself using it. Clipping it to a belt loop makes for an awkward carry since the tool is too short to ‘tuck’ into a pocket that way and it sort of pokes out a bit for me. I prefer using the spring clip in a back pocket… until I noticed that the protruding head was catching on things like my car seat. This is not really a design flaw, but it bothers me enough that I stopped carrying it for now (I will re-evaluate when I get the case, which I still have not ordered.)
- The Gadgeteer
January 30, 2012 | Full review
The only real complaint we had was Leatherman’s use of a proprietary bit size. The ¼ in bit is incredibly common, their decision not to go with it honestly has us scratching our heads.
- Outdoorsman Toolkit
I prefer to leave the Large Phillips head on when the screwdriver is not in use as it has the least sharp tip, unlike the flat head which is so precisely molded it can be slightly sharp on the corners. This is only ever an issue when you are using the pliers in an upside down position or if you have very large hands.
- Gear Assistant

From The Manufacturer

A great choice for first-time users, the Sidekick is a handy pocket-sized tool that has all the features you need to get your project done. The outside-accessible blades mean you can open the knife with just one hand and rounded handles make getting a grip around their all-new, spring-action jaws easy and very comfortable.

Overall Product Rankings

LEATHERMAN Wingman Multitool
1. LEATHERMAN Wingman Multitool
Overall Score: 9.4
Expert Reviews: 17
LEATHERMAN Super Tool 300 Multitool
2. LEATHERMAN Super Tool 300 Multitool
Overall Score: 9.4
Expert Reviews: 14
ProMaster Pocket Multifunctional Multitool, 15-in-1
3. ProMaster Pocket Multifunctional Multitool, 15-in-1
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 1
LEATHERMAN Rebar Multitool
4. LEATHERMAN Rebar Multitool
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 15
SOG PowerLock EOD Heavy Duty Multitool, 18-in-1
5. SOG PowerLock EOD Heavy Duty Multitool, 18-in-1
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 0
LEATHERMAN Sidekick
6. LEATHERMAN Sidekick
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 12
Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool
7. Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 10
Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier
8. Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 17
LEATHERMAN Skeletool
9. LEATHERMAN Skeletool
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 8
Gerber MP600 Multi-Plier
10. Gerber MP600 Multi-Plier
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 14
Gerber Dime Multi-Tool
11. Gerber Dime Multi-Tool
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 16

An Overview On Multitools

If you’re not much of a handyman, you could be forgiven for thinking of the once-ubiquitous Swiss Army Knife when you hear the word “multitool.” And while that trusty red pocketknife is still around, the design of the multitool has come a long way since they were standard issue for your Boy Scout troop.

Simplemost Media

These days, the term multitool can encompass anything from a weighty gadget that requires a holster and incorporates 30 tools or more to a stealthy metal card that doubles as a wrench and bottle opener. But though the design may differ, you’re essentially talking about something roughly the size of a pocketknife that instead flips out an assortment of screwdrivers and other useful tools (and possibly a knife or three as well).

The pocketknife configuration may have worked fine for the Swiss Army, and it’s still the standard for some multitools. But more recently, if you go shopping for multitools, you’ll find most are modeled in the design of the balisong or butterfly knife.

Simplemost Media

This setup has a lot of advantages. For one thing, you can open it with a simple flick of the wrist. With certain adjustments, the twin handles can be used as grips for pliers, scissors or any number of tools where a little extra torque is needed. To get the various gadgets loose from their folded-in position, some multitools may have a release catch or just require you to pry them loose with a tab that protrudes from the central cavity. Once they’re in use, most will have a mechanism that locks them in place for ease of use (and your safety).

What tools can you expect to find on a standard multitool? The list can vary widely, but it should include a screwdriver (with a Phillips and flat-head driver, at least), pliers, scissors and possibly a knife or two. Most will also have a bottle opener or something you can use as one. It’s a good bet that this tool is the one that will see the most actual use among weekend warriors.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

“If you’re involved in a specialty activity, there are multitools on the market that cater to those needs,” says our home improvement expert Vicki Liston. Her award-winning show “On The Fly…DIY” has plenty of home tutorials for testing out your multitool. “Don’t assume that the manufacturer knows exactly what you need, though. Read through the list of included tools before assuming it’s the whole enchilada.”

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

The total number of tools incorporated can be as few as two or three to 40 or more. Just remember the main asset of a multitool is portability. If you can’t use a tool, it’s just dead weight. Heed that Boy Scout motto and “be prepared” … just remember, it’s possible to be overprepared.

DWYM Fun Fact

When it comes to functionality, too much wasn’t nearly enough for the F.W. Holler company of Solingen, Germany. In the 1880s, they created the mother of all multitools, a lethal piece of equipment that incorporates 100 blades. If you were patient (and careful) enough to unsheathe all the weapons in this Old West relic, you’d find daggers, shears, scissors, saws, button hooks, mechanical pens, a straight razor and even a functional .22 caliber pin-shot revolver. Strangely enough by modern standards, there was no bottle opener — but then, bottle caps weren’t quite on the market at the time.

The Multitool Buying Guide

  • The selling point on a lot of multitools is quantity. It might indeed be impressive to see 30 tools or more packed into a somewhat compact package, but keep your lifestyle in mind. Do you really need a hex driver in 12 different sizes while you’re on the go? Unless you’re a professional handyman, probably not — and even then, you’ve probably got a full-sized tool that will do the job far more effectively. If you’re planning to carry your multitool around the house, a few screwdrivers and wrenches might be all you need. On hikes, look for a gadget with a focus on knives, scissors and saws. If it’s going to be kept in the glove compartment, a strap cutter and window breaker might be life-saving tools to have. Match the multitool to your situation.
  • While we’re on the subject of tool selection, a word about knives: They’re fairly common on most multitools and can be handy on everything from whittling primitive tools to opening stubborn packages. They’re so small on many tools that you may not even consider them as weapons — but the TSA will. “In some places, blades over 2.5″ are not allowed, and you may get your tool taken away altogether,” says our home improvement expert Vicki Liston. When traveling by air, take that multitool off the belt and stow it in checked baggage, or leave it at home entirely.
  • Size matters. The whole point of a multitool is that you can carry it easily. An arsenal of gadgetry is no good if you can’t fit it into your pocket. It’s up to you to find that sweet spot between portability and functionality. Be advised that while credit card-sized multitools can be cute, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to use it for anything strenuous. No matter what the size, look for stainless steel construction or something just as sturdy.
  • Most decent multitools can fit in a pocket, but just barely. And depending on the design, you might not be able to easily retrieve it there anyway, especially if it shares space with a wallet or keys. Look for tools with at least a belt clip or sheath if you’re dealing with anything larger than five inches or so.