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Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison. 37684

Zombie Apprentice Posts: 18,451 Armed with camera and not afraid to use it.
Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« on: June 20, 2009, 12:55:15 AM »
I got a pair of multi tools today from the local shop, and I would like to talk a little about them.

The Leatherman Freestyle and Freestyle CX.

Both of these tools have a very strong familial resemblance to the Skeletool and Skeletool CX. I do not have a Skeletool CX as of yet, but I do have the plainer Skeletool for comparison.
The one thing that surprised me the most when I first got the Freestyles out of their respective packages, was their size. I was expecting something smaller then the Skeletool. A lot smaller then the skeletool. I was wrong. They are almost the same size in regard to their “larger” cousins.


From left to right: Leatherman Freestyle CX, Freestyle, and Skeletool. As you can see, the Freestyle models aren’t that much smaller than the older and slightly larger Skeletool.



Showing the other side of these Leatherman multi-tools.



From left to right: Freestyle CX, Freestyle, and Skeletool.



Showing the belt clip side with pliers open.



From top to bottom: Skeletool, Freestyle, and Freestyle CX, all showing blades open. Note the differences between all 3 multi-tools. The skeletool features a 420HC stainless steel smooth blade. The Freestyle’s 420HC stainless steel blade is serrated for half its length. The Freestyle CX has a smooth blade made from 154CM stainless steel. Of interest, the Skeletool CX has a 154CM blade that is half serrated along its length. I find it interesting that Leatherman has decided to have a smooth and serrated version  for both the Skeletool and Freestyle line.



From left to right: Freestyle CX, Freestyle, and Skeletool.  It is interesting to see the similarities and dissimilarities of construction between the two lines. The Freestyles, due to their lack of features, offer a simpler and more robust construction.


Freestyle v.s. Skeletool
I find it very interesting that the size isn’t that much different between the two models. The Skeletool is a slightly longer multi-tool (Leatherman actually classified it as part of their full size tool family). What that extra real estate give you, is more functionality. You get a pair of pliers, a knife, carabineer/bottle cap opener, and a bit driver with extra storage of one bit in the handle. The Freestyle on the other hand offers a little less than the skeletool. You get the core set of tools, that being the pair of pliers and the knife. That is it. Otherwise, the pliers, and the knives are very similar, along with the general shape and feel during handling. Both also feature a removable pocket clip.
Now I have already talked about the similar size. If you take a good look at both multi-tools, you will note that the main body is also very similar. This translates into a very similar weight. There is a difference of about 14grams. Now that may sound a lot. But in reality it isn’t. Mind you, I am a fairly large guy and that amount of weight difference is sort of negligible.  I can honestly say that they both feel almost the same in weight in the hand. With that said, I guess some will find the weight difference beneficial if you are going to every day carry it. I myself, would rather have more functionality in a slightly larger package that also weights a little more. To each their own.


Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX
Both tools are the same shape and function, but differ a little in their construction. The Freestyle CX is the slightly more expensive of the two. For the extra money spent, you get a Tungsten DLC coating and carbon fiber handle inserts, along with a tougher 154CM steel knife blade. That is about all that separates these two models. Interestingly enough, both models weight the same if I go by the Leatherman statistics off of their own web site. One would assume that the carbon fiber would have saved a few extra grams, but alas, it was not meant to be. That is because these fiber inserts are rather small. They do look pretty though in direct sunlight. Think of the carbon as more of a decorative feature, rather than a weight saving feature.


Conclusion
The Leatherman Freestyle is based upon a cut down Skeletool. The Skeletool has a limited tool set that was sacrificed for light weight and ease of portability. The Freestyle takes that general notion a few notches more. One could think of the Freestyle as a folding knife with a bonus pair of pliers. The pliers are excellent and sturdy.  The Freestyle is perfect for someone who wants to travel very light, and only need a good pair of pliers along with a good knife blade. You could use this like a folder with a hidden pair of pliers at the ready when the need arises. I find the weight and size not that different from the more capable Skeletool, however, the Freestyle does have a good quality feel to them with a reassuring weight that whispers to you that you are not holding a toy, but a real tool.
Like the Skeletool before it, the Freestyle is built rather well. Overall the multi-tool has a very high fit and finish.  Both are well built and nicely thought out multi-tools.

Skeletool
Pros:
-   Longer handles pack more features but also makes the tool a little easier for big hands to use.
-   An included carabiner is a handy way to store the tool for travel.
-   Bottle opener works rather well, as it is a good size.
-   Neat locking feature for the screwdriver bits, plus a storage in the handle means you can tailor the tool to your specific need with the purchase of the Leatherman bit set.
-   High fit and finish. Excellent quality feel.
-   Pocket belt clip.
Cons:
-   Awkward when using the bit driver if you open the tool somewhat.
-   Limited feature set for its size compared to other Leatherman tools.
-   Carabiner can get in the way when using the pliers if you have large hands.

Freestyle, and Freestyle CX
Pros:
-   Smaller size is easier to carry.
-   Does not weight as much as the Skeletool.
-   No carabiner to make the tool slightly awkward in the hand.
-   Built very durable.
Cons:
-   Very limited tool set.
-   Size and weight aren’t that much different than the Skeletool when you really think about it.




« Last Edit: June 20, 2009, 01:33:20 AM by Chako »

A little Leatherman information.

Leatherman series articles
Wielder of the Bow of Banishment. Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 31,596 El Presidente del Fan Club Micky D
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2009, 01:01:09 AM »
Another great read mate.  :tu:

Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...
No Life Club Posts: 4,594 no nacimos con miedo...
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2009, 01:05:23 AM »
very nice review mate, enjoy reading :tu:

A
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,167 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2009, 01:09:20 AM »
Excellemt review.  Do you have a preference between these?

Zombie Apprentice Posts: 18,451 Armed with camera and not afraid to use it.
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2009, 01:22:33 AM »
I still like the Skeletool a little more than both Freestyles.

I think about the Freestyles more along the lines of a folder with a surprise addition built into the handle.

With that said, I think the edge in tough build quality has to go to the Freestyle, along with a better handle ergonomics when using the pliers. I like the carabiner, but it does get in the way at times. With that said, I find a bottle opener to be an absolute necessity on a multi-tool. But that is just me.  :D


A little Leatherman information.

Leatherman series articles
Wielder of the Bow of Banishment. Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 31,596 El Presidente del Fan Club Micky D
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2009, 01:25:23 AM »
I still like the Skeletool a little more than both Freestyles.

I think about the Freestyles more along the lines of a folder with a surprise addition built into the handle.

With that said, I think the edge in tough build quality has to go to the Freestyle, along with a better handle ergonomics when using the pliers. I like the carabiner, but it does get in the way at times. With that said, I find a bottle opener to be an absolute necessity on a multi-tool. But that is just me.  :D



Not just you I think.  :D

Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...
Global Moderator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 59,022
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2009, 03:04:25 AM »
Great comparison/review Chako :tu: I think that the Freestyle is a bit to minimized for me :think: If they had just kept the bit driver and 1 bit in the handle then you would have added all kinds of functionality but what can ya do about it :D I think I just prefer the Skeley over the Freestyle though ;) Of note the Skeletool is gonna make the switch of blade styles to coincide with the Freestyle.  Meaning the reg Skeletool will have the half serrated blade and the CX will have the plain edge :) But I have no idea when they are planning on making the change :think:
Chief of the Absolutely No Life Club! Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here... Posts: 42,959 Why haven't you got a Farmer yet!
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2009, 11:04:11 AM »
Great review and pics mate :tu:

And sorry Bob, I still don't want one :P

Give in, buy several Farmer's!!!!!!
No Life Club Posts: 1,053 Where is all that water coming from?!
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2009, 02:10:10 PM »
Great comparison/review Chako :tu: I think that the Freestyle is a bit to minimized for me :think: If they had just kept the bit driver and 1 bit in the handle then you would have added all kinds of functionality but what can ya do about it :D I think I just prefer the Skeley over the Freestyle though ;) Of note the Skeletool is gonna make the switch of blade styles to coincide with the Freestyle.  Meaning the reg Skeletool will have the half serrated blade and the CX will have the plain edge :) But I have no idea when they are planning on making the change :think:

Get a Skeley and chop of the biner! Works great for me. A bottle opener has no function for me, I can always use a lighter, edge of a table, back of the knife, the pliers, flathead screwdriver, etc., etc. I do not see the need of a dedicated bottle opner.
No Life Club Posts: 1,014 "Live long and ..useful."
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2009, 03:49:58 PM »
Another fine review Chako.

I can see the Freestyle line as having a signicant target demographic,  the locking folder crowd that want a bit extra.  I just don't see most of us being in that demographic, unless we want to go ultra minimal carry.

:)
Global Moderator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 59,022
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2009, 12:29:59 AM »
Great comparison/review Chako :tu: I think that the Freestyle is a bit to minimized for me :think: If they had just kept the bit driver and 1 bit in the handle then you would have added all kinds of functionality but what can ya do about it :D I think I just prefer the Skeley over the Freestyle though ;) Of note the Skeletool is gonna make the switch of blade styles to coincide with the Freestyle.  Meaning the reg Skeletool will have the half serrated blade and the CX will have the plain edge :) But I have no idea when they are planning on making the change :think:

Get a Skeley and chop of the biner! Works great for me. A bottle opener has no function for me, I can always use a lighter, edge of a table, back of the knife, the pliers, flathead screwdriver, etc., etc. I do not see the need of a dedicated bottle opner.

Yep your mod is what I had in mind when typing that :D Just don't understand why they did away with that bit driver :think: I can understand not needing a dedicated bottle opener as well If I wasn't a bit afraid to cut on my nice shiny Skeley it would be like yours ;) :D
No Life Club Posts: 1,798 Spawn of Cthulhu
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2009, 02:20:24 AM »
The Leatherman Freestyle is based upon a cut down Skeletool. The Skeletool has a limited tool set that was sacrificed for light weight and ease of portability. The Freestyle takes that general notion a few notches more. One could think of the Freestyle as a folding knife with a bonus pair of pliers. The pliers are excellent and sturdy.  The Freestyle is perfect for someone who wants to travel very light, and only need a good pair of pliers along with a good knife blade. You could use this like a folder with a hidden pair of pliers at the ready when the need arises. I find the weight and size not that different from the more capable Skeletool, however, the Freestyle does have a good quality feel to them with a reassuring weight that whispers to you that you are not holding a toy, but a real tool.
Like the Skeletool before it, the Freestyle is built rather well. Overall the multi-tool has a very high fit and finish.

Great comparison review and pics Chako!

I was able to handle both versions of Skeletool at Cabelas and decided to pass on getting one.

Skeletool's plier ergonomics were just horrible for me, due to the bit driver digging into my hand.

Couldn't find any way to hold the Skeletool so that I could squeeze down on the pliers without hurting my hand.  Maybe if my hand's were smaller this wouldn't be an issue...

Anyway, that's why I'm interested in Freestyle.  It looks like a Skeletool with improved ergonomics such that the pliers would actually be usable for me.

Freestyle + Vic Tinker might be a really great minimalist EDC combo for me.

.

N
Sr. Member Posts: 253
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2009, 10:32:32 AM »
If you take out the bit of the bit driver it should be much more ergonomic.
I dont understand why LM had to ditch the bitdriver - probably they felt nobody would buy a skeletool anymore if the freestyle had the bitdriver.
 
I really like the shorter lenght. The skeletool biner is quite useless an takes up a lot of space in your pocket.

T - `cause i like tea :)
Newbie Posts: 7
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2012, 04:02:58 AM »
Another great read mate.  :tu:
Hi everyone my Leatherman Skeletool CX has been used for many years compact, good quality I was new with no experience I got a knife sharpener Lansky Deluxe Diamond Knife Sharpening System knife sharpener I do not know how many times Repeat for each side Thanks You.
Wielder of the Bow of Banishment. Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 31,596 El Presidente del Fan Club Micky D
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2012, 08:04:25 PM »
Another great read mate.  :tu:
Hi everyone my Leatherman Skeletool CX has been used for many years compact, good quality I was new with no experience I got a knife sharpener Lansky Deluxe Diamond Knife Sharpening System knife sharpener I do not know how many times Repeat for each side Thanks You.

There are some great tips on using a Lansky in this thread here: http://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,37635.0.html

Using a marker pen to colour the flat you are trying to sharpen will very quickly show where the stone is touching. :)

Try not to be the person who blunders around and causes everyone else to get out the way.  Everyone else thinks you're a utter...
Sr. Member Posts: 434 Turkey National Medical Rescue Team
Re: Freestyle v.s. Freestyle CX v.s. Skeletool Comparison.
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2013, 04:25:53 PM »
i thought that freestyle is useless coz' in almost every situation i need pliers, i need screwdrivers too.

 

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