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Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown! 3403

Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,168 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« on: January 19, 2015, 01:48:41 AM »
As many of you know, I have always been a huge fan of the Leatherman Wave/Charge.  I EDC one regularly on the farm and beat on it like nobody's business. 

Recently I picked up a Wenger Minigrip with the blunt nose pliers and was very keen to try it in the same EDC spot that I normally reserve for the Charge.

The short version:  The Minigrip frequently ends up as the multitool of choice on the farm.

So first: Size.


The Wenger is a little longer, but a little slimmer than the Charge.  In reality, the Charge is carried differently because of the excellent pocket clip.  The Wenger gets tossed in the same pocket, where it sinks to the bottom.  In this respect, the Leatherman has an edge.

Next:  The pliers.

The blunt nose Minigrips are amazing.  They're smaller than the Charge, but due to their shape, the jaws don't deform when twisting stuff, in actual use on the farm, they have functioned better than the Charge pliers despite being smaller.  Anyone who's tried to twist off something with a Leatherman will be familiar with the tips of the jaws distorting in a disturbing way.  Never a problem with the Minigrips.  As a side note, the Minigrips pliers are better than the Rangergrip 90/Mike Horn Ranger pliers too, and for the same reason.  This one goes to the Minigrips



Bit drivers.

The Minigrips wins hands down.  Standard 1/4 bits and storage of 6 bits on board vs. the Leatherman special (and not quite as good) bits, with 4 bit ends on board (with limits as to what is on each side of the specialized Leatherman bits).  In every application I used the Minigrips drivers, it was as good as my Snapon driver (mostly because I'm carrying Snapon bits on board).  Significantly better than the Leatherman bits when working on a less than perfect screw.  The only down side with the Minigrips is this:   The pliers lock isn't robust and it is very easy to accidentally open the pliers when using the driver.  Overall, this goes to the Minigrips.


The saw, and file are basicallly a wash although the Leatherman diamond coat file is extremely nice.  I give a tie to the saws and the Charge wins on the files, but only because of the diamond coat (which is outstanding). As an aside, I give the Wenger the advantage on rulers.  The scales on the Charge are surprisingly hard to use accurately.  Having it on the face of the saw makes it much easier to accurately use.





Blades:

Leatherman wins this one outright.  Excellent PE, good SE with that awesome guthook vis a serrated standard spearpoint SAK. And as a bonus, the Leatherman blades are OHO.  No contest.



Additonal tools.

My modified ALX also has scissors and large flat blade.  The Minigrips has can opener, bottle opener/flat blade and awl.  It's sort of a wash.




So other thoughts:

The Leatherman Charge does have some advantages by having the outside opening tools open in such a way that the handles don't interfere with use.  Actually it's one of the big things I notice between the Wave/Charge lines and the Supertool/Rebar/PST lines.  The pliers handles do somewhat interfere with the saw on the Minigrips, but not horribly.

The biggest drawback on the Minigrips is really the rather weak pliers lock, such that the pliers spring open accidentally when using other tools.  It is a bit annoying.

So:

Wenger Minigrips

Pros:
1.  Excellent, strong pliers
2.  Excellent bit driver and 6 onboard bits
3.  Good ruler
4.  Awl

Cons:
1.  Annoying pliers lock
2.  Serrated SAK blade only (not OHO)

Leatherman Charge

Pros:
1.  Outstanding OHO blades and guthook
2.  Diamond coated file.
3.  Excellent pocket clip

Cons:
1.  Bits are less effective than 1/4 bits
2.  Flexy pliers tips
3.  Ruler is a little hard to use accurately.

No real winner here.  For me, which I choose is a little capricious and has as much to do with weather.  If it's cold and miserable, I'm more likely to get the Charge, since it is easier to deploy with gloves on.  If I know I'm going to need screw drivers or work with wires that need twisting, I go with the Minigrips.

No Life Club Posts: 3,303
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2015, 01:55:17 AM »
Nice write-up man! I'm sure not many people expect that one.

I'm a total legend..... in my own mind- Herley
No Life Club Posts: 1,350
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2015, 02:02:24 AM »
Thank you for that! I've yet to own a sak or wenger, but you Definantly gave me a reason to make the commitment :D
No Life Club Posts: 4,703 Captain's Apprentice
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2015, 02:03:06 AM »
Honestly a surprise to me as well.

Total SAK/Wenger newb....but do the blades lock on the mini grio?
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,168 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2015, 02:27:07 AM »
Honestly a surprise to me as well.

Total SAK/Wenger newb....but do the blades lock on the mini grio?

No locking blade on the Minigrips

No Life Club Posts: 1,350
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2015, 02:33:04 AM »
Honestly a surprise to me as well.

Total SAK/Wenger newb....but do the blades lock on the mini grio?

No locking blade on the Minigrips

I'm guessing the drivers don't lock either right?
Think that may be a con to add? Also, is it true The newer versions had a better plier lock?
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,168 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2015, 02:35:52 AM »
Honestly a surprise to me as well.

Total SAK/Wenger newb....but do the blades lock on the mini grio?

No locking blade on the Minigrips

I'm guessing the drivers don't lock either right?
Think that may be a con to add? Also, is it true The newer versions had a better plier lock?
The bit driver fits in a slot at one end.  Definitely locked.

Dont know about the pliers lock. Good question!

No Life Club Posts: 1,350
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2015, 03:02:49 AM »
Just reading around here, I guess the pocket grip plier lock got better than the mini grip?? Hmmm. Anyway back to reading in the vaults....
No Life Club Posts: 4,703 Captain's Apprentice
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2015, 03:59:51 AM »
I'm guessing that if you had to compare "reaching" (grabbing or pinching something in a small space? The alx would win?
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 17,517 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2015, 08:54:06 AM »
Just reading around here, I guess the pocket grip plier lock got better than the mini grip?? Hmmm. Anyway back to reading in the vaults....

If you mean the larger Swissgrip, there's no pliers lock at all, but also they're not sprung like the Minigrip.

Nate, I'm really surprised but very pleased at the outcome. I don't know of anyone else who carries the Minigrip wih any regularity. Nice to hear on one regularly "working for a living", rather than sitting on a shelf looking pretty  :D

I'm with you completely on the pros and cons of both tools. The thing I never quite got on with with the Wenger was the carry, it never seemed to have a right way and wrong way for sitting anywhere. Being about the same size both ways made it good as a hand tool (particularly as a driver), but less so for carry purposes.

I still have an IronGrip here (plain edged blade), and the pliers lock is about the same. It does get a little more secure if you put the lock on, then try to open the pliers a bit. Almost as if it latches into something. However, when using the tool, you invariably put some pressure on the pliers anyway, so accidental lock release would be about the same in real terms. It loses the T&T from the scales but has a very nice fitted sheath (and a right and wrong way for putting it in  ;)).

Thanks for the comparison and pics  :cheers:



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,168 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2015, 01:32:47 PM »
Just reading around here, I guess the pocket grip plier lock got better than the mini grip?? Hmmm. Anyway back to reading in the vaults....

If you mean the larger Swissgrip, there's no pliers lock at all, but also they're not sprung like the Minigrip.

Nate, I'm really surprised but very pleased at the outcome. I don't know of anyone else who carries the Minigrip wih any regularity. Nice to hear on one regularly "working for a living", rather than sitting on a shelf looking pretty  :D

I'm with you completely on the pros and cons of both tools. The thing I never quite got on with with the Wenger was the carry, it never seemed to have a right way and wrong way for sitting anywhere. Being about the same size both ways made it good as a hand tool (particularly as a driver), but less so for carry purposes.

I still have an IronGrip here (plain edged blade), and the pliers lock is about the same. It does get a little more secure if you put the lock on, then try to open the pliers a bit. Almost as if it latches into something. However, when using the tool, you invariably put some pressure on the pliers anyway, so accidental lock release would be about the same in real terms. It loses the T&T from the scales but has a very nice fitted sheath (and a right and wrong way for putting it in  ;)).

Thanks for the comparison and pics  :cheers:

I've done some reading and apparently Wenger changed the lock to a tilting/rocking affair and about the same time went with a new name "Pocketgrip" .

I've not seen any of the later style ones with blunt nose pliers however (which is the real winner here).  Was there a blunt nosed version with the tilting lock?  Anyone?

Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 20,269 I may get older but I refuse to grow up.
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2015, 07:02:41 PM »
Interesting comparison and some surprising results. :2tu:

I see you rate the wire twisting capabilities highly but did you try cutting any wire with the Minigrip? That one has me a bit worried that I might break it.

I have a needle nose Minigrip but must admit I haven't used it all that much. Mostly for the reasons Al mentioned. No idea how to carry the damn thing. :ahhh
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,168 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2015, 07:37:14 PM »
The minigrip cuts copper wire very well. I have not tried it on hard wire yet.   :ahhh

Admin Team Zombie Apprentice Posts: 14,974
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2015, 08:43:34 PM »
Nice write-up man! I'm sure not many people expect that one.

You got that right!

There is no beginning,or ending,and for this we are thankful,cos now is hard enough to understand!
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,168 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2015, 09:08:48 PM »
Honestly, my biggest concern is what will happen if/when there's a failure with the Minigrip.  What will Victorinox/Wenger do? :ahhh

Zombie Apprentice Posts: 17,517 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2015, 09:14:31 PM »
Honestly, my biggest concern is what will happen if/when there's a failure with the Minigrip.  What will Victorinox/Wenger do? :ahhh

 :think: ... probably blame Kirky ...



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
No Life Club Posts: 1,049

WWW 00

******
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2015, 10:21:08 PM »
Great comparison, and I agree (despite not having any of the tools) that each one of them have their strong and weak spots, and sometimes (to me at least) I pick a certain tool based on my mood rther than how good or bad it is.

I must say though, I always liked Wenger's Minigrip, now I'm just more inclined to get one!!!
Hero Member Posts: 614 Don't send flowers, but marlin spikes!
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2015, 10:56:19 AM »
Great comparison! Thank you!  :tu:

Antonio
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,661 Master LM Squirt Ps4 And Lord of Navitools
Re: Leatherman Charge ALX vs Wenger Minigrip Showdown!
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2015, 12:35:12 AM »
As many of you know, I have always been a huge fan of the Leatherman Wave/Charge.  I EDC one regularly on the farm and beat on it like nobody's business. 

Recently I picked up a Wenger Minigrip with the blunt nose pliers and was very keen to try it in the same EDC spot that I normally reserve for the Charge.

The short version:  The Minigrip frequently ends up as the multitool of choice on the farm.

So first: Size.
(Image removed from quote.)

The Wenger is a little longer, but a little slimmer than the Charge.  In reality, the Charge is carried differently because of the excellent pocket clip.  The Wenger gets tossed in the same pocket, where it sinks to the bottom.  In this respect, the Leatherman has an edge.

Next:  The pliers.

The blunt nose Minigrips are amazing.  They're smaller than the Charge, but due to their shape, the jaws don't deform when twisting stuff, in actual use on the farm, they have functioned better than the Charge pliers despite being smaller.  Anyone who's tried to twist off something with a Leatherman will be familiar with the tips of the jaws distorting in a disturbing way.  Never a problem with the Minigrips.  As a side note, the Minigrips pliers are better than the Rangergrip 90/Mike Horn Ranger pliers too, and for the same reason.  This one goes to the Minigrips

(Image removed from quote.)

Bit drivers.

The Minigrips wins hands down.  Standard 1/4 bits and storage of 6 bits on board vs. the Leatherman special (and not quite as good) bits, with 4 bit ends on board (with limits as to what is on each side of the specialized Leatherman bits).  In every application I used the Minigrips drivers, it was as good as my Snapon driver (mostly because I'm carrying Snapon bits on board).  Significantly better than the Leatherman bits when working on a less than perfect screw.  The only down side with the Minigrips is this:   The pliers lock isn't robust and it is very easy to accidentally open the pliers when using the driver.  Overall, this goes to the Minigrips.
(Image removed from quote.)

The saw, and file are basicallly a wash although the Leatherman diamond coat file is extremely nice.  I give a tie to the saws and the Charge wins on the files, but only because of the diamond coat (which is outstanding). As an aside, I give the Wenger the advantage on rulers.  The scales on the Charge are surprisingly hard to use accurately.  Having it on the face of the saw makes it much easier to accurately use.

(Image removed from quote.)

(Image removed from quote.)

Blades:

Leatherman wins this one outright.  Excellent PE, good SE with that awesome guthook vis a serrated standard spearpoint SAK. And as a bonus, the Leatherman blades are OHO.  No contest.

(Image removed from quote.)

Additonal tools.

My modified ALX also has scissors and large flat blade.  The Minigrips has can opener, bottle opener/flat blade and awl.  It's sort of a wash.

(Image removed from quote.)
(Image removed from quote.)

So other thoughts:

The Leatherman Charge does have some advantages by having the outside opening tools open in such a way that the handles don't interfere with use.  Actually it's one of the big things I notice between the Wave/Charge lines and the Supertool/Rebar/PST lines.  The pliers handles do somewhat interfere with the saw on the Minigrips, but not horribly.

The biggest drawback on the Minigrips is really the rather weak pliers lock, such that the pliers spring open accidentally when using other tools.  It is a bit annoying.

So:

Wenger Minigrips

Pros:
1.  Excellent, strong pliers
2.  Excellent bit driver and 6 onboard bits
3.  Good ruler
4.  Awl

Cons:
1.  Annoying pliers lock
2.  Serrated SAK blade only (not OHO)

Leatherman Charge

Pros:
1.  Outstanding OHO blades and guthook
2.  Diamond coated file.
3.  Excellent pocket clip

Cons:
1.  Bits are less effective than 1/4 bits
2.  Flexy pliers tips
3.  Ruler is a little hard to use accurately.

No real winner here.  For me, which I choose is a little capricious and has as much to do with weather.  If it's cold and miserable, I'm more likely to get the Charge, since it is easier to deploy with gloves on.  If I know I'm going to need screw drivers or work with wires that need twisting, I go with the Minigrips.

Charge winner  :multi:


 

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