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Leatherman Skeletool CX

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo: Leatherman Skeletool CX multi-tool

A great multitool for everyday use, but lacking a few features that would really make it shine in the backcountry. The high quality steel holds an edge very well, but the finish on the (strictly decorative) carbon-fiber leaves something to be desired.


  • Ergonomic
  • Minimalistic
  • Locking blade


  • Difficult to clean
  • Heavy

I've had this tool for almost a year now, and have been very happy with it. It's proven durable and useful. The 154CM steel blade has held its edge very well, and the black coating on the body has resisted scratches.

Overall design is well thought out, with the curved plier handles helping with a strong grip. Also, gone are the days of having to open and close the tool to use the knife, as it opens from the outside. The carabiner doubles as a bottle opener, and the removable belt clip makes for 3 different ways to attach the tool to your person.  I love the bottle opener; it gets almost as much use as the knife it seems.

While this is a great tool for the everyday, it has a few weakness in the back country. All of the stylish weight saving holes drilled through the body and blade are difficult to clean, so I dislike using the knife for any food prep.

The pliers are still a bit stiff, and tend to stiffen up after hard use. Working the tool open and closed a few times tends to loosen them up again, but it's a bit irritating. The lack of tweezers was also disappointing. The rough finish on the carbon-fiber was unexpected, but doesn't effect anything in the end.

The listed weight of 5 oz / 142 g is only marginally better than Leatherman's more capable Juice CS4, and more than double Gerber's Dime. Weight weenies beware.

Source: received it as a personal gift

This is the fourth multitool I have owned. Two of the previous three were Leatherman products. The Skeletool is by far the best looking tool I have ever had. As for its performance, I regret to say that I am somewhat disappointed.

Let me start off by saying why I got this tool. I wanted a main blade that could perform tasks from the every day to the extra-ordinary. I also wanted pliers that could manage the simpler tasks. The Skeletool, for the most part, has stood up to my expectations.

Here is where it came short: spreading peanut butter, cutting summer sausage, and other cooking related tasks (goo often gets caught in all of the holes and cracks making cleanup very unfortunate).

Pliers often flex even when manipulating or cutting thin hangar wire (no damage but I sometimes feel limited with what I am willing to try to bend or ply). I often worry about losing the driver bit that is stowed in the handle.

These shortcomings have never resulted in longterm damage in the tool, they just cause me to think twice about using the tool for a specific task (something that I do not want to have to do).

I'm sure you can read all about the good things in the descriptions above so I will leave you with my top two favorite features: For its size, it fits in a pocket really well and finally, any time someone asks "does anybody have a Leatherman on them?" I am proud to hand them this awesome piece of engineering.

A reliable multitool with almost everything you need, and nothing you don't.


  • Efficient
  • Good materials
  • Useful


  • Grip is somewhat uncomfortable for left handers

I use the Skeletool CX everyday, in conjunction with my Benchmade 581 barrage. The Skeletool is nice, compact and has enough tools to get through most jobs you will encounter.

The two biggest complaints I hear about the Skeletool CX are the lack of scissors and that the pliers will sometimes break if you torque and twist them sideways. Honestly there are very few jobs that the knife (154cm) couldn't handle that scissors could. Actually the only one I can think of is trimming the wick on my zippo.

As far as the breaking goes, I've abused mine and nothing is broken. If you use pliers the way they're meant to be used, you'll never have to worry about the Skeletool breaking on you. My only real complaints are that the Skeletool CX is a little harder for a left hander to use due to the ergonomics.

Overall the Skeletool CX is an excellent tool for edc, and would be fine for hiking and camping as long as you also have a heavier duty tool such as the Leatherman Wave, Surge, Charge, Super Tool 300, Rebar, MUT or OHT ( I like the OHT, personally.)

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $90 US

Excellent multitool, nice contemporary design, the pliers are very strong. Not as light as I'd expected.


  • Excellent pliers
  • Sharp blade
  • Clip-on a very handy feature
  • Nice design


  • Blade could be a little bigger
  • No scissors or tweezers

A nice contemporary design, the clip-on feature is very handy. I use this knife when I go hiking in trout fishing season, the needle pliers are just perfect for carefully extracting lures. The blade is very sharp, but could be a little larger.

The only features I miss, that are on my Swiss Army multitool, are a small pair of scissors, and a pair of tweezers — very useful for extracting those tiny splinters and thorns from fingertips. It's also a bit heavier than it appears at first glance. The cut-outs don't actually save much weight.

The driver bits are tucked away cleverly, although they can be a bit fiddly to extract with cold hands.

This is a very well designed multitool. It packs all the features you really need, is full size, comes with a real knife and weighs only 5 oz.


  • light weight
  • full size
  • real knife


  • not as many tools—only 7

I had a Leatherman Wave I lost a few years ago. I replaced it with a SOG but it was way too heavy a 10oz for backpacking. The CX at 5 oz is lightweight and the knife is large enough to negate the need to carry a "real knife".

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $57

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Price MSRP: $79.95
Current Retail: $89.95-$89.99
Historic Range: $78.74-$106.95
Reviewers Paid: $57.00-$90.00
Closed Length 4 in / 10 cm
Open Length 6.0 in / 15.24 cm
Blade Length 2.6 in / 6.60 cm
Weight 5 oz / 142 g
Width 1.24 in / 3.15 cm
Overall Thickness .52 in / 1.32 cm
Materials 154CM Stainless Steel, DLC Coating
Tools Included 7—Needlenose Pliers / Regular Pliers / Hard-wire Cutters / Wire Cutters / 154CM Knife / Carabiner/Bottle Opener / Large Bit Driver
Included Bits Phillips #1 & #2, Screwdriver 1/4" & 3/16"
Product Details from Leatherman »

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