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Tool Review

Quite possibly the finest multi-tool you'll ever own, the all new Leatherman Charge Ti

Date: 1/23/05
Tackle type: Tools
Manufacturer: Leatherman
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 9.08 + Editor's Choice!

Introduction: There are those times when you wish you could bring a complete assortment of tools, but just thinking about lugging all that weight is enough to make most anglers cringe. Multi-tools offer a way to combine just about all the necessary tools into one easy to cart gizmo. The problem is that many of the multi-tools in the past have required anglers to make sacrifices, or even worse failed in the field. Leatherman has always been known for quality tools, and their new Charge Ti is designed to be an outdoorsman and angler's dream come true.

Leatherman Chrage Ti Specifications

Materials Stainless steel with titanium handles and bronze bushings
Weight 8.4oz
Overall Length (Closed) 4in
Overall Length (Open) 6.3in
Additional Features

Titanium Handles, Needlenose Pliers, Regular Pliers, Wire Cutters, Hard-Wire Cutters, 154 CM Clip-Point Knife, Serrated Knife, Saw, Scissors, Wood/Metal File, Diamond-Coated File, Large Bit Driver, Small Bit Driver, Large Screwdriver, Ruler (8 inch/19 cm), Bottle/Can Opener, Wire Stripper, Fixed Lanyard Ring, Quick-Release Lanyard Ring, Removable Pocket Clip, Eight Double-Ended Bits

Price $99.90

About Leatherman: The Leatherman company is named after founder Tim Leatherman, who first dreamt up the leatherman multi-tool concept in 1975. While traveling in Europe Tim and his wife bought a 1968 Fiat which turned out to be a nightmare to keep running. Inspired by the car's constant leaking pipes Tim created a prototype pocket survival tool in a hotel room in Tehran, Iran, one of the 20 countries he visited in nine months. Between the period of 1977 and 1979 plenty of tinkering went into designing and refining a tool that combined a full size set of pliers with a pocketknife. It is at this point that Tim realizes that this tool is something that others might use as well and in 1980 Tim introduced the first product under the name "Mr. Crunch." Unfortunately the product wasn't an instant success, as all the knife companies thought it was a tool, and the tool companies thought it was a knife. Finally in 1983 two mail order businesses placed small orders, and Tim and college friend Steve Berliner founded the Leatherman Tool Group. Today the company and Leatherman brand are recognized all over the world, and each year millions of consumers, anglers included, purchase Leatherman multi-tools.


Introducing the exciting new Leatherman Charge Ti


Compact Multi-Purpose Tool Lineup: Leatherman single-handedly revolutionized the multi-purpose tool category, and since the days when Mr. Crunch was first introduced a considerable lineup of new tools has followed. Leatherman produces tools in all sizes, and tools like their multi-purpose Wave and ultralight Micra are leaders in their respective categories. Three years ago the company introduced a series of stylish new tools under the Leatherman "Juice line." These eye-catching tools come in a variety of vivid colors and sizes, but most importantly are still hardy and functional. This year anglers have reason to celebrate as Leatherman introduces the most fishing friendly product to date...the new Charge Ti and XTi. Both are very similar in design but the Ti is geared more for anglers on the go with more precise cutting tools, while the hardcore XTi boasts more large tools like a crimper, enlarged screwdriver, and cutting hook.


This isn't your daddy's Leatherman, the Charge Ti delivers more features while still managing to remain compact

Impressions: I've owned a number of multi-tools from a variety of manufacturers including Leatherman, Gerber, SOG, and Kershaw. I've always been a big proponent of the multi-tool concept, as it is simply the easiest way to be prepared for the widest range of applications without having to actually carry around a complete set of tools in the car or boat. While every multi-tool has limitations, the latest designs from Leatherman require anglers to make less sacrifices than ever before. When we learned that Leatherman had created the new Charge series for 2005 we were eager to get my hands on for a field test. From the pictures we saw the Charge looked quite unlike any Leatherman that we had ever seen. When we finally held the tool in person we were not disappointed one bit. This isn't your dad's Leatherman, heck it isn't like anyone's multi-tool. The Charge's aggressive appearance is made possible with superb construction, use of exciting new materials, and a new take on the popular Leatherman design.

Four full sized tools are available on the outside of the Charge Ti, all of which lock

The Charge represents a new flagship product for Leatherman, and its no surprise that the company makes use of some first-rate material in its construction. Instead of stainless steel, titanium handles are used for the handles to reduce weight and increase durability. Premium 154 CM steel blades cut three times better than conventional stainless steel and remain sharper longer. Bronze bushings are used for increased reliability, and to top it all off the file is actually diamond coated!


Opening and closing the Leatherman Charge Ti deploys and stows the pliers


Real World Tests: How do you test Multi-Tools like the Charge Ti? You punish them. We put the Charge through fishing hell which included drop tests, complete submerging, building wire leaders, tuning lures, sawing, cutting, and sharpening terminal tackle.

The blades have safety locks (left) while every small tool is bound with a convenient push button lock

Take "Charge": There's plenty to like about the Charge Ti, so much in fact its hard to narrow down a single favorite feature. The Charge has over 20 different tools packed into its 4inch frame, and 8.4oz weight. Tools this size usually weigh more than 9 ounces, but use of Titanium has helped bring down the Charge Ti's aggregate weight. If I absolutely had to pick one feature that I liked best about the Charge it would have to be the fact that you can access all the blades without opening the main tool. In the vast majority of multi-tools the blades are inside the handles, so you have to open the tool to swing out the blade. The Charge Ti is more like an easy access pocketknife with each blade flipping out of the outside of the handle. Amazingly each and every blade and tool locks when opened! From the large serrated blade all the way down to the mini bit driver, each tool is bound by a locking mechanism for safety and increased leverage. As we tested each tool one by one we found ourselves increasingly awed with this new-fangled tool.


The Charge Ti's pliers are tough enough to crank bolts and nimble enough to deal with terminal tackle


Pliers: The first thing most people think about when they think Leatherman is pliers, and why not, this is the very core of the tool. Opening and closing the tool takes two hands, but takes mo more than a second. We observed that the Charge Ti opens and closes easier than previous generation Leathermans, and is actually more refined. Each and every time you close the Charge Ti it returns to a perfectly closed position with both sides lining up absolutely equally.


Once deployed you will notice the Charge Ti's pliers are unlike the others in Leatherman's lineup, with enlarged cutters. The tip of the unit still features needle nose pliers which were surprisingly nimble. We were able to position tiny terminal tackle, tune cranks, and clamp splitshot with no difficulty. The center of the pliers are conventional so that you can gain the upper hand on screws and bolts, a very handy feature for anglers with boats. 


Tuning crankbaits with the Charge Ti


Cutters: The new jaw design includes more robust wire cutters with 58% more cutting area than before. The dual layout includes both wire and hard wire cutters makes it painless for anglers to cut through the thickest wire leaders. We cut through coated and uncoated wires with ease, and built saltwater leaders all afternoon. The large handles provide plenty of leverage to push through steel leader, and we were impressed at the end of the day when we inspected the cutters and found them still just as sharp as ever.

The Charge Ti's hard wire cutters make short work of steel leader

Blades: No more opening and closing tools to access diminutive blades, the Charge Ti features a full sized 154 CM lockable steel blade that flicks out with one hand, thanks to a large thumbhole. This newly engineered blade holds an edge about three times as effectively as a 420 series stainless knife. This blade is bigger than 90% of the knives found on other competing multi-tools because the design of the Charge Ti's handle allows a bigger and wider blade to fit in the unit's compact four inch frame. In addition to the 154 CM blade the Charge Ti comes fitted with a quality serrated knife.


The Charge Ti's 154 CM Clip-Point knife is razor sharp, yet much more durable than traditional stainless steel blades


Saw and File: When it comes time to hack through wood the Charge Ti responds with a sturdy saw blade that is also accessible without opening the main tool. On the other side is the diamond tipped file which has two surfaces. The course surface is good for filing metal, wood, and plastic, while the ultra fine surface can actually be used to sharpen hooks. Leatherman did an excellent job making these long enough to do some serious work, and deploying them is effortless.

The complete assortment of tools in the base of the titanium handles. Notice the interchangeable screwdriver bit

Scissors: These aren't your normal pocketknife scissors, they are spring loaded making it easy to cut through thick material like seat belts and straps, and yet very sharp making them good for trimming excess line or even cutting through braided superlines. We tested the scissors on mono up to 50lb, and braided and fused lines, in every case the scissors was able to sever the lines with the first attempt.


Can Opener: Anglers that spend time in the backcountry are going to love the fact that the Charge Ti comes with a excellent can opener. Positioned at the end of the handle, its easy to gain enough leverage to cut through tin lids quickly. Of course the can opener also doubles as a bottle opener if you get the hankering for a beverage when on your boat.


Extra bits are stored inside the nylon sheath


Drivers: Here's where we started to realize that the Charge Ti is really distinctive. The tool comes loaded a heap of screwdriver options including a built in mini Phillips and flat tip eyeglass screwdriver and a interchangeable bit system! These bits snap firmly into a flat bit holder, and all the spare bits are held securely in a double-ended plastic bit holder that stows away conveniently in the included nylon sheath. 

Included bits with the Charge Ti

1x Phillips and flat tip eyeglass screwdriver
1x Phillips #1-2 and screwdriver 3/16"
1x Hex 5/32" and 9/64"
1x Hex 1/16" and .050
1x Hex 1/8" and 7/64"
1x Robertson #2 and #3
1x Hex 3/32" and 5/64"
1x Screwdriver 1/8" and Torx #15

While you can buy more accessory bits, the Charge Ti already comes with more options than what most anglers will ever need to service any reel in the field.


While not a substitute for a handy tape measure the Charge Ti does come outfitted with a convenient ruler


Ruler: While not the ideal substitute for a handy tape measure the Charge Ti does come outfitted with a convenient ruler (8inch/19CM). Simply deploy the pliers halfway and lay the ruler flat to measure your catch. By holding on to the tip of the pliers you can quickly pick up the ruler and move it along the length of your fish to measure fish in 8 inch increments.


Ergonomics: After employing every single tool the Charge Ti had to offer we considered the overall ergonomics of the tool. While the only downside was that it takes two hands to deploy the pliers, we still loved the pliers rock solid jaw construction. The tool is made lighter with use of titanium, and while it isn't considered wispy, it isn't heavy by any means either. Weighing about the same as a conventional sized reel the Charge Ti isn't aggravating at all when mounted on your belt. The engineers at Leatherman did an excellent job on the supplied nylon sheath which holds the Charge Ti securely in place when closed, and is still able to holster the tool when open, so you don't need to be opening and closing it constantly when fishing. Finally, the Charge Ti comes with a removable pocket clip which can be used when pocketing the tool without the holster, and a quick release lanyard ring which can be interchanged with the push of a button. We love the lanyard ring option because you can clip it on to a cord and avoid accidental donations to the bottom of the lake or ocean.


The serrated blade makes cutting through hardy material easier


Durability & Maintenance: The Charge Ti took a beating in our tests and shrugged off the onslaught without even breaking a sweat. This tool is designed to deliver years of service to the owner. Anglers all know that steel is rust resistant, but it isn't rust proof, so its a good idea to wipe down the Charge Ti once in a while, and rinse and dry it completely whenever exposed to saltwater or marine environments. Oil all pivoting areas once in a while with a water displacing product like WD-40. If grit builds up on the surface of the titanium handles you can go in with a non metallic abrasive like scotch-brite or an old toothbrush.


We don't recommend sharpening the blades until absolutely necessary, the blades in the Charge Ti are designed to stay sharp longer than traditional knives, but when it does come time to sharpen the blade make sure to use a quality whetstone. Do not use this for the serrated blade as sharpening one edge will wear down the curvature of the serrations. Use specific equipment or take the Charge Ti to a professional to sharpen the serrated edge properly. Overall anglers will find that the Charge requires very little maintenance if properly wiped down between uses.

The Charge Ti features excellent ergonomics, a good example is the interchangeable pocket clip and lanyard ring, which allow you to stow the Charge Ti several ways

Price: For a hundred dollars the Leatherman Charge isn't cheap, but its absolutely worth the money. The quality and range of uses the Charge Ti offers is exceptional. This is not a me too product, or just another multi-tool dressed to impress. The Charge Ti offers anglers improved construction, superior ergonomics, new tools, and overall added value. Would we pay a bill for all that? You bet. 


Warranty: And what if you do manage to break your Charge Ti? The tool is covered under a 25 year warrantee not to fail due to any defect in workmanship. When you return the defective tool Leatherman will either repair or replace the Charge Ti with a current product of equal or greater value.


Leatherman Charge Ti Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Charge Ti screams quality, and uses the very best materials throughout its construction 9
Performance Performance, performance, and then some. The Charge Ti can handle a wide range of tasks without breaking a sweat 10
Price At 100 dollars the Charge Ti is priced higher than some of the competition, but then again it is capable of a lot more than a lot of the competition. Bottom line would we pay 100 dollars for it? Absolutely. 8.5
Features Mac Guyver's got nothing on the Charge Ti. This fully featured tool's got about everything an angler needs save tweezers for those tiny flies 9
Design (Ergonomics) The design and implementation of the Charge Ti is top notch. Leatherman's Wave was the most comfortable tool I had ever used previous to the Charge Ti, but this tool's comfortable grip takes the cake 9
Application While more geared towards bass, and saltwater anglers than fly fisherman the Charge Ti will ensure that anglers are ready for just about everything from an onsite boat repair to reel maintenance in the field 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Excellent materials and construction L Need two hands to deploy pliers
J Fantastic Ergonomics  
J Tons of tools for anglers  
J Every tool locks  
J Good overall value, very possibly the last multi-tool you will ever buy  

Conclusion: The Charge Ti blends premium materials, innovative engineering, and quality manufacturing to create the best multi-tool we have ever seen and used to date. The Charge Ti is stunning to look at, and our tests proved that this tool isn't just all show and no go. With enough capabilities to make Mac Guyver weep tears of joy, the Charge Ti ensures that anglers will never be unprepared again. Whether you pursue backcountry trout, are a bass fisherman, or offshore angler, the Charge Ti's assortment of tools will not only benefit your daily fishing experience, but also help you get out of potentially dangerous binds when necessary. Leatherman has come a long way, and the Charge Ti takes the original concept of the multi-tool to an exciting new level. Exceptional materials, ultra refined implementation, wealth of capabilities, and improvement on an already winning design make the Charge Ti an easy choice for TackleTour's Editor's Choice Award.









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