Review of the Wingman/Sidekick
« on: July 10, 2013, 07:15:30 AM »
Ok so I am very hesitant to add my review as Grant did such a great job with his Wingman/Sidekick review. I also really like the reviews by Lynn LeFey, but these tools are why I am here. That being said I offer my review for consideration.
These tools are a bit like fraternal twins, at first glance they look nearly identical however they are very capable individuals. Both tools are lower cost options in the full size category from Leatherman but don’t be misled by cost alone as they are no Ed McMahon to Johnny Carson or Ethel to Lucy. The Wingman is a trusted friend and companion and the Sidekick a competent multitool ready for a task. I feel Leatherman nailed these offerings, though not just for the budget minded consumer but for anyone looking for a tool to do exactly what it was designed to do, which is perform.
It’s not until you access the main blades on these tools that their differences become apparent. The Wingman’s main blade is partially serrated while the Sidekick’s is non-serrated. Leatherman positioned them on the outside along with scissors for the Wingman and a saw for the Sidekick. These implements can be opened one handed and they lock up securely using liner locks. At this point the tool selection shows their individualism. The Wingman would make a great every day tool by having a serrated blade and scissors for urban tasks while the Sidekick could be used for outdoor type activities. The saw performed well easily cutting through a small tree limb in no time. The scissors needed a push to fully engage the spring action but once opened they handled everyday cutting chores well.
Next up are the interior tools which are all non-locking but so were the implements on the original Leatherman and folks got along just fine. A package opener is offered on the Wingman and a small serrated blade for the Sidekick. The package opener functions well in its stated purpose but is has split personality for example; a box cutter or light deburring tool. The small serrated blade on the Sidekick is undeniably small but the value of having a serrated blade for cutting rope, twine or cloth while outdoors is nice. The final difference in these tools is the Sidekick has a lanyard ring while the Wingman does not. These differences are what make me believe the Sidekick would make a good outdoor tool while the Wingman would do great in an urban environment.
This brings me to what both tools share which are; file/ruler/small flat driver, can/bottle opener/wire stripper which are stowed on one side and the Philips driver, medium flat driver on the other. The file is small however I have used it with great success. The ruler unfortunately is pretty useless and seemed like an afterthought. The drivers work well however the Philips was just ok as it didn’t seat as deep as I would have liked. I haven’t used the can/bottle opener/wire stripper on either of these tools. They both have pocket clips which hide away unnoticed in my jeans pocket or can be packed in an organizer.
Last but not least these tools are plier based and spring action at that. Yes, I love the spring action of these as they reduce hand fatigue when using them repetitively, though I may just be that lazy ( oh well ). The needle nose tips on both of mine were aligned perfectly and the “hand feel” was much better than on my Wave before I smoothed down all the edges ( my wave had very sharp edges ). The anvil wire cutter worked great but I haven’t given them a go on anything harder than small gauge wire. I use my pliers daily and they haven’t let me down one bit.
Bottom line; these offerings from Leatherman are the real deal despite their lower cost. They come with Leatherman’s 25 year warranty and decades of experience making simple effective tools that work. The Sidekick is a tool that was meant to be there when you need it and to perform. The Wingman is just that, a tool by your side ready to perform whatever task you throw its way and to perform like any good Wingman; successfully. I don’t feel these were meant to compete with the Wave or the Charge series, they were meant to stand on their own. I recommend either of these to anyone looking to buy a full sized Leatherman. Mine are well used and though I now have a Wave and a Charge TTi they both proudly earn their keep. The Wingman and Sidekick are true performers in my book.
Spring assisted pliers ( love )
Tool selection ( nice basic tool selection )
Ruler ( why )