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Original and New Wave Review and thoughts. 4825

Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,256 Armed with camera and not afraid to use it.
Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« on: August 05, 2009, 04:01:47 PM »
Review time once again…

This time around, I would like to discuss and compare two very beloved models in the Leatherman Lineup…the old and new Wave.

Leatherman claims that their new Wave (Which came out in 2004) is their most popular model ever. I do not doubt it, as it has many of the features that most people are looking for in a perfect sized tool for every day carry. Its larger brother, the Surge is a bit too large for many to carry comfortably for long periods of time. However, there was an older model upon which the new Wave was based upon, and that one was a very popular model indeed. In fact, many people still claim the older /original model to be superior to the newer one. Myself included. Be that as it may, both models are fantastic, and I can easily recommend both. I just like the older model better, but more on that later.

Well I am going to attempt to dissect both models and give my personal thoughts upon the interesting dichotomy between the old and new Wave.

For size comparison:

Left to right: Leatherman Old Wave, Leatherman New Wave, Leatherman Surge

Leatherman Original  Wave
4” / 10 cm closed.
8 oz / 224 grams mass.




The Original Wave was first introduced by Leatherman back in 1998 and was eventually discontinued in 2004 when they upgraded the model to the newer version that we now have today. When the Wave first hit retail markets, it was a very popular model because it brought a few advances to the multi-tool market that many people wanted.  One of the biggest complaints of Leatherman’s older models was the lack of easily accessible folding tools The Original Wave addressed this issue by having 4 main blades accessible when the tool was closed. All previous models required that the pliers be deployed first to access them.  Likewise, Leatherman used liner locks for each of the 4 main folding tools. This feature was an instant hit with the public who bought Leatherman multi-tools. The Original Wave had many things going for it.

1.   Perfect size for most people.
2.   Advanced ease of use features such as outside opening tools.
3.   Liner locks that are a bit easier to use then the older locking method that required two hands.
4.   The two knife blades can be one hand opened.

The Original wave featured 17 tools in one compact package.
-   A stainless steel clip-point knife.
-   A stainless steel sheepsfoot serrated knife.
-   Needlenose pliers.
-   Regular pliers.
-   Wire cutters.
-   Hare-wire cutters.
-   Wire stripper.
-   Extra-small flat driver.
-   Small flat driver.
-   Medium flat driver.
-   Large flat driver.
-   Phillips driver.
-   Scissors.
-   Diamond-coated file.
-   Wood saw.
-   Bottle opener.
-   Can opener.
-   8” / 20 cm ruler.
-   Lanyard ring.


New Wave
4” / 10 cm closed.
8.5 oz / 241 grams mass.




The New Wave was introduced as a replacement of the older model.  The new version came out in 2004 and is still being produced today with no sign of a replacement anytime soon. Leatherman is a company that never rested on its most popular models, and are constantly trying to improve their models. The New Wave is a good example of this ethos. They saw a need and possibly heard complaints from their customer base on what needed to change on the Original model, and rolled out a model that addressed a few shortcomings of the older model. However, there is no such thing as a perfect multi-tool, and in so doing, also made a few gaffs in my opinion but more on that latter.

The New Wave kept what was working on the older model, and improved quite a few other things about it. This model was more a focus on tool functionality rather than ground breaking design. You will find refinements throughout the newer model.  Gone are the excessive flat drivers, and instead, we now have 2 multifunctional replaceable bit drivers.

The New Wave also has 17 tools in one.
-   A stainless steel clip-point knife.
-    A stainless steel sheepsfoot serrated knife.
-   Needlenose pliers.
-   Regular pliers.
-   Wire cutters.
-   Hard-wire cutters.
-   Wire stripper.
-   Large Flat driver.
-   Large bit driver.
-   Small bit driver.
-   Scissors.
-   Wood/metal file.
-   Diamond-coated file.
-   Saw.
-   Bottle opener.
-   Can opener.
-   8” / 19 cm ruler.
-   Included bits: Phillips and flat tip eyeglasses screwdriver bit and Phillips #1-2 and 3/16” bit.


{b] Comparison [/b]


Left to right: Leatherman Original Wave, Leatherman New Wave.



Left to right: Leatherman Original Wave, Leatherman New Wave.



Top to bottom: Leatherman Original Wave, Leatherman New Wave.



Left to right: Leatherman Original Wave, Leatherman New Wave.



Left to right: Leatherman Original Wave, Leatherman New Wave.


From the above photos, you can see that the older Wave is smaller than the newer one. Note also that the one handed  blades (those with the cutout) do not jut out as much as the newer model. I personally feel that the original feels a lot better in the hand then the newer model.  The one handed blades tend to poke the palm on the newer model. Worse yet, they are on opposite sides of each other, meaning I have a hard time to get comfortable whenever I need to use one of the outside folding tools, especially if it isn’t one of the blades that are the culprit of this ergonomic faux pas. The original model does not suffer from this, as the blades don’t extend very far from the handles. Now I know why Leatherman improved this feature which I am not particularly fond of. It is true, the newer Wave does make it easier to one hand the blades out, but it comes at an unacceptable price for me, and that is how the tool feels in my hand. I just do not find the newer model very comfortable to use. To me this is a very important function. When I go buy a camera, it isn’t the features that I look for, it is how it feels in my hands. The same goes for a laptop. If the keyboard is uncomfortable, then I won’t enjoy using the laptop much, and it may even hinder my use of it. The same goes for the newer Wave. Compared to the original, the newer version fails in this department.

Another issue for me is the newer scissors design. The older version was larger and in my opinion, better. I find the scissors on the new Wave just too small.

Not all is bad for the new Wave however. A giant improvement is the tool layout. The older Wave squandered too many precious folding tool slots with flathead drivers. The newer model goes far in redressing this issue. I much prefer the addition of two removable bit drivers. Including a smaller dual function eyeglass driver is pure genius. 

Another improvement that the new Was has compared to the older model, locking secondary tools. The old version only had the 4 outside opening main tools lock with liner locks. That left the smaller secondary tools tucked inside the handle with no locking powers at all. The new Wave addresses this with two locking levers found on the outside of the handles. I am a big fan of locking tools. However, and maybe I am nit picking here, but I find the levers a bit spongy. Now don’t get me wrong. I love this feature, but once again, I feel it detracts a bit from the ergonomics of the tool. You see, I have rather big paws, and when I go to use one of the main outside folding tools, my palm bounces on these spring boards, making the tool jostle a bit. I may be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but ergonomics is of primary importance to me, and I just don’t like how the tool gives me a not very solid feeling due the feedback these levers give me (worse yet, I can move my pinky further down but then, the tool is dictating  where I can hold it, and it’s in a more uncomfortable position). I know the new Wave is solid as a rock, but it just doesn’t feel right to me. It is hard to put into terms. I do suggest that if you plan on buying the new wave, that you hold it first. Your millage will vary, and we all place importance on different things. I am definitely not saying that the new Wave is junk. It just pales ergonomically to the Original. Go figure.

Another issue with the new wave, and I am a bit puzzled about this feature. Possibly someone somewhere complained, or someone in R&D thought this would be a great feature…the new Wave has  a very annoying one handed main blade locking feature that prevents you from opening the blades with the pliers opened.

Her e is what I am talking about:


You see that small pin? Well it moves out and engages the hole in the two main blades when you open the tool up to use the pliers. It closes when you fold the tool into its closed position. I am very puzzled over this feature. I am sure it is a safety feature to prevent people who don’t know how to use pliers, from accidentally opening the blade and somehow cutting themselves in the process. I find this a bit annoying as I like to open the tool somewhat at times to access the blade, and if I go past a certain point, I can’t open the freaking blade. Major annoyance on this one, especially if you’re doing this and not looking at the tool. I have found myself a few times, struggling to open the blade in this position.

You may think that I do not much like the new Wave after reading about all my minor issues with it. I am just not a big fan of its ergonomics. This would be my dream Wave. I  would have loved to see:

1.   Keep the old scissors. The newer ones are just too small.
2.   Replace all those fixed flat drivers with the removable bit drivers of the new version.
3.   Keep the Original ergonomics.
4.   Toss that safety feature found in the new Wave out the door. I don’t need someone to protect me from my tool. Worse yet, I abhor a feature that prevents me from using the tool like I want to. If I cut myself, I have nobody else to blame but myself (Yeah I know, litigation happy US and all).
5.   I never thought I would say this, but toss the locking secondary tools feature.  Either that, or use a different method 

Oh well, as everyone says, there is no perfect tool. There is much to like about the new Wave. My main complaint is the feel of the tool.

So, why do people like the original over the new? For me, it’s a better ergonomics and a pair of scissors to die for. I can ignore the copious flat head drivers. To me, it’s a lesser evil. I dream of the perfect wave like many of you, and who knows, maybe Wave Mark III will improve on its predecessors.


Conclusion
Original Wave:
Pros:
-   Nice ergonomics.
-   Large pair of scissors.
-   Outside opening main tools with liner locks.
-   Diamond coated file.
Cons:
-   Too many flat head screwdrivers.
-   Secondary tools do not lock.
-   Main one handed blades with cutouts not as easy to open as with newer model.

New Wave:
Pros:
-   Outside opening main tools with liner locks.
-   Diamond coated file.
-   Better folding tool layout with removable bits.
-   Secondary tools lock.
Cons:
-   Not as ergonomic as the older version.
-   Scissors got smaller.
-   Safety secondary one handed blade lock a pain for one hand deployment if the handles are parted past a certain point.

Well there you have it. I like the Original better for its ergonomics, but the new Wave got most of the folding tools right. I do like the secondary tools to have a lock, but find the implementation on the new Wave detracts from the general ergonomics for me. Like I have said, you may not have these issues with it.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 04:11:47 PM by Chako »

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Global Tuffy Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 28,078 Just Awesome! And a Slayer of Polar Bear!
Re: Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2009, 06:17:40 PM »
Sorry Chako, but you simply can't write a review on the Original Wave without using the word "bendy"  :D

Nice comparison.  :tu:  Can't say I agree, but that's all part of the fun.  :)

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Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,256 Armed with camera and not afraid to use it.
Re: Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2009, 06:31:44 PM »
Bendy in which way?

Do you mean when the handles flex slightly when you put some force on the pliers?
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 06:33:42 PM by Chako »

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Global Tuffy Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 28,078 Just Awesome! And a Slayer of Polar Bear!
Re: Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2009, 06:34:55 PM »
Bendy in which way?

Every way possible.  :D

Do a search for "Original Wave rant" and you'll see how many times I have moaned about the original Wave.  My most disappointing tool that was.  :'(

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Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,168 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2009, 06:39:04 PM »
Bendy in which way?

Every way possible.  :D

Do a search for "Original Wave rant" and you'll see how many times I have moaned about the original Wave.  My most disappointing tool that was.  :'(

'Twas not bendy.

It's called "Wavy"  It's a value added feature.

Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,256 Armed with camera and not afraid to use it.
Re: Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2009, 06:40:08 PM »
Oh hehe. :D

Yeah, I knew about that already. I don't find it all that bad honestly. Maybe because I have worked with worst and got used to them.  :think:

You are right; the new Wave is built sturdier with little to no flex in it. I just can't get past the ergonomic issues myself.


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Global Tuffy Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 28,078 Just Awesome! And a Slayer of Polar Bear!
Re: Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2009, 06:45:18 PM »
Oh hehe. :D

Yeah, I knew about that already. I don't find it all that bad honestly. Maybe because I have worked with worst and got used to them.  :think:

You are right; the new Wave is built sturdier with little to no flex in it. I just can't get past the ergonomic issues myself.



I was used to the rugged build of the PST and the Supertool and probably expected too much, but it just felt nowhere near as solid to me.  Plus, despite having new handles fitted I found the locks to be awful (may have just been unlucky).

Stick the old scissors and a proper phillips in a new Wave and it would be awesome.  :tu:

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Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,168 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2009, 06:48:35 PM »
Oh hehe. :D

Yeah, I knew about that already. I don't find it all that bad honestly. Maybe because I have worked with worst and got used to them.  :think:

You are right; the new Wave is built sturdier with little to no flex in it. I just can't get past the ergonomic issues myself.




I was used to the rugged build of the PST and the Supertool and probably expected too much, but it just felt nowhere near as solid to me.  Plus, despite having new handles fitted I found the locks to be awful (may have just been unlucky).

Stick the old scissors and a proper phillips in a new Wave and it would be awesome.  :tu:

I wonder if the bendiness is related to the plier heads.   On the new style, there is a wedge shaped ridge at the base, on each side, which I have to believe adds stiffness to the handle feel.

Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 32,156
Re: Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2009, 06:54:12 PM »
Good read mate, I don't have either tool so you won't hear me disagree with a word you said. :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...
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: Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2009, 09:24:31 PM »
I bought my Dad a new Wave and he loves it :)

More than his Charge infact.

Give in, buy several Farmer's!!!!!!
Ambidangerous Mistress of Mod Admin Team Zombie Apprentice Posts: 15,038 I'm not all bad, I'm just drawn that way.
Re: Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2009, 09:45:44 PM »
I think I agree with most things you have pointed out mate, and I have just bought an old Wave due to some of the things. I have a Charge with the bit drivers etc and I can't be bothered to carry it all about! I think they are a really good idea but I prefer a tool with the drivers on board as standard.

I like that it's smaller and slimmer too, which is something my girl hands appreciate  :D

I'm also fussy about scissors and never understood why they shrunk them  :think:

A dyslexic man walks in to a bra...

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No Life Club Posts: 2,278 Ruler of the E01 society!
Re: Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2009, 10:09:26 PM »
Thanks for another thought provoking review Chako  :tu: I had an old Wave which I actually regret selling. I also had a Charge TTi which I don't miss at all. The reason is that bloomin' replaceable bit driver which is almost a good idea that for me fails due to the short reach of the drivers. Then there's the smaller scissors, same on the Charge as the new Wave, another step backwards. I prefer the Blast due to it's longer drivers even if bit versatility is sacrificed. I have discovered I prefer my MT's simple and fiddle free  :)

Gabba gabba hey!
No Life Club Posts: 3,994 Improvise.
Re: Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2009, 11:16:29 PM »
Great comparison; I've got a new Wave in the mail now on it's way to me so this review was timed perfectly 8)

I owned a Surge a while back and noticed that bogus blade safety feature...if I like my new Wave enough to keep it, I'll find a way around that safety...it was very unnatural feeling when trying to get a blade out when the handles aren't "just right" to release that pin :P

And I hate safety features in general :P :P

Chako, have you carried the Wave with the pocket clip at all?

[
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,256 Armed with camera and not afraid to use it.
Re: Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2009, 12:09:14 AM »
No not yet. I prefer a belt holster over a clip. I just like to have my pockets free for other things.

I hope most people who read these know that my reviews aren't meant to be authoritative. I like to compare and give my own personal opinions on the items I have at hand. Feel free to disagree. In fact I encourage it.  :tu:

I just got a brace of Charges and noticed the same safety pin set up.

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Global Moderator Just Bananas Posts: 61,234
Re: Original and New Wave Review and thoughts.
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2009, 04:04:18 AM »
Great writeup and pics :tu: I like and dislike both Waves for some of the same reason you do and some different reasons :D I like the sturdier built of the new model but the old 1 does feel better in hand when using :) I haven't ever actually saw the safety feature as a minus though :think: I guess I just got use to it and forgot about it :D All in all I wouldn't mind carrying either anywhere I go and feel prepared :tu:

 

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