LEATHERMAN Skeletool

Last updated date: September 11, 2019

DWYM Score

8.7

LEATHERMAN Skeletool

Why Trust DWYM?

DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand review. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in the category.
Show Contents

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.

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

Overall Take


In our analysis of 124 expert reviews, the LEATHERMAN LEATHERMAN Skeletool placed 9th when we looked at the top 11 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

At a mere five ounces, the Skeletool has a stainless steel combo blade, pliers, bit driver, removable pocket clip and carabiner/bottle opener. The Skeletool is just what you need in one good lookin' package.

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

8.6
8 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

9.0
1,748 user reviews

What experts liked

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
The Skeletool knife blade opens easily, closes easily, and locks up securely. It could use a quick honing or sharpening right now, but other than that it’s in great condition. Keep in mind that this is a ~7-year old knife that’s seen a good amount of use.
- Tool Guyd
May 17, 2015 | 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
We particularly loved the 420HC stainless steel used on this tool as it’s the same super quality steel used in surgical instruments and hunting knives.
- EDC Ninja
Bought this for my husband. He had the same tool for several years and really liked it, but lost it. Am filling this out for him.
- Leatherman
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
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 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
It’s worth pointing out that the handles are directional. When the handles are opened for pliers use, one side is rounded outwards, the other is rounded inwards. This means that one side is more comfortable pressed against your palm, and the other held against your fingers. This isn’t a complaint, just an observation.
- Tool Guyd
May 17, 2015 | 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
There isn’t really much to complain about the Leatherman Skeletool, but we did notice a few things that we think could use some improvements. First, we felt like the functionality was a little limited. The Skeletool is basically pliers with a bit driver and a blade. You will need to get a little creative to extend the functionality of this little piece. We feel they could have added another primary tool or two to enhance its functionality.
- EDC Ninja
Blade back digs in when using bottle opener.
- Multitool.org
January 20, 2008 | 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

Our Expert Consultant

Vicki Liston 
Home Improvement Expert

Vicki Liston writes, produces, and narrates “On The Fly…DIY,” an award-winning home improvement and DIY show of unique project tutorials for the casual DIY’er.

Home improvement and all things DIY have been Liston’s passion since she bought her first house in 2007 and she started making video blogs in 2014. She’s performed hundreds of DIY projects, from small ones to major, wall-smashing renovations and can teach you how to make a trendy DIY barn door for cheap. The proceeds earned from “On The Fly…DIY” are donated to no-kill animal shelters and rescue organizations. You can find her show on Prime Video.

Overall Product Rankings

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.

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.