LEATHERMAN Squirt E4
If you’ve never handled any of the Squirt tools by Leatherman, think of them as a cross between a Juice and a Micra. The handles have brightly colored aluminum scales, with outside opening blades, like the Juice family of tools. But the Squirt is small, like a Micra, and uses the same type of “spring-loaded” jaws as a Micra.
Most common are the S4 version, with scissor jaws, and the P4, with regular plier jaws. The third member of the family is the E4. Originally only available through Radio Shack retail outlets, the E4 is now a regular Leatherman “catalog” item. In addition to its introductory “Inferno Red” color, it is now also available with Glacier Blue or Storm Grey handle scales.
The “E” in the name E4 must stand for Electrical, because the most obvious feature on the tool is a set of plier jaws designed specifically for wire stripping. They work good too! The contoured cutting surfaces on the jaws themselves are razor sharp, and they slice through plastic insulation like butter.
There are five different size cutouts for stripping wire, and they are all clearly labeled, with sizes ranging from #20 on up to #12 gauge wire. Unfortunately, I have no idea what gauge a given size wire is. I just start with the biggest cutout, then keep trying smaller ones until I find the right size.
Out at the tip of the plier jaws, the Squirt E4 has about 1/4” of serrated gripping surface, for regular pliering duties. Down near the pivot, it has an equal amount of sharp wire-cutter area. No provision is made for cutting hard steel wire, like fish hooks and such. Soft copper or aluminum wire only.
For blade selection, the E4 packs a pretty good selection into a small package. The drop-point knife blade is 1-3/4” long, with a single edge grind. On the opposite handle, there is a three edged file, double-cut on one face, single-cut on the other. The double-cut teeth are too aggressive for such a small blade, and kept getting “stuck” on everything I tried using it on. (Even wood and plastic.) I think a better choice for this tool would have been a small diamond file.
But then again, I think EVERY multi tool should have a diamond file……
Rounding out the blade selection, we also find a couple of flat head screwdrivers, a Phillips screwdriver, a cap lifter, and a removable set of tweezers. All are accessible from the outside, without opening up the pliers.
Check out that fancy Phillips screwdriver. Only on the E4, Leatherman molded it and contoured it to fit the finger notches in the handles. On the Squirt S4 and P4, Phillips screwdriving duties are handled by a flat blade with a pointy end.
To be honest, the 3-D Phillips screwdriver (bottom) looks nice, but it will not work at all on smaller screws that the flat-blade type (top) handles easily.
It’s not a gripe really, more of an observation; after handling this tool a bit, you can’t help but wish it were bigger. The entire thing is much too small for regular serious work. It’s more of a “just in case you don’t have any real tools around” sort of a tool. Which is okay, as long as you think of it that way.
But I really like this little guy! The complex jaws are a masterpiece, and I doubt they could be made any better. I very much like the fact that it is spring-loaded, like a Micra. I think Leatherman should consider scaling up the entire tool, spring-loaded electrical jaws and all, and base the whole thing on a Juice-series multi tool.
I know they would sell at least one!Good:
Jaw design is great
Jaw workmanship quality is outstanding
Spring loaded mechanism
Nice selection of blades in such a compact toolNot so good:
File blade isn’t as useful as it could beDimensions:
Length closed 2-1/4”
Width Closed 7/8”
Length open 4”
Weight 1.9 oz