Multitool.org Forum
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
+-

Hello Lurker! Remove this ad and much more by logging in.


Leatherman Sidekick Review 2803

Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 32,163
Leatherman Sidekick Review
« on: August 21, 2015, 07:46:03 PM »
Today I'm going to be looking at the Leathreman Sidekick.  Originally brought out along side the Wingman in 2011 to great fanfare it was intended to break Leatherman into the more budget end of the multitool market.  At a mere $39.99 MRSP it seemed too good to be true.  It should be noted that at the time of writing this the guide price seems to have crept up to $49.99.  So the big question really is; is it worth it?

Before I look at the Sidekick itself I should also have a look at what else you are paying for.  Namely a cabinier style bottle opener and 1/4" hex.  I've actually not got much to say about it as I find it to be totally superfluous and have almost never used it.  Quite why Leatherman feel the need to bundle this up with the Sideick I really don't know.  You don't have a choice as far as I can tell, you have to buy it.  So the Sidekick's sibling, the Wingman, sells for $10 less as it doesn't come with any extras.  If you've got a use for the carabiner then great, but I'd much rather just get a multitool and save some money.



OK, enough whining.  On to the tool itself.  Even before you open it up there are some things to look at.  First up I'll talk about the plain edged blade.  It's one handed opening, made from 420HC steel and has a liner style lock.  Not too much to add to that, it's sharp (very sharp in fact), holds an edge well enough and is reasonably easy to open.  The lock-up on mine feels secure and is easy to release.  So far so good for the Sidekick.



We also find the saw.  As with other Leatherman saws this is designed to work on the 'pull' of the stroke rather than the 'push' that you'd find on most full sized saws.  Not really a criticism as the saw is aggressively cut and works well on green wood.  One thing I don't understand about the saw is the fact they felt the need to make it one handed opening.  Especially as it is orientated to suit the left handed.  It's not the longest multitool saw I've ever used, but within the confines of the Sidekick design it's as long as it can practically be.  As with other Leatherman saws it's thin, sharp and goes through wood with ease.



Turning the tool over for a second we can see the pocket clip.  While I'm not a big user of pocket clips this seems to just about pass muster.  My only gripe is that it's not exactly low riding and a good 12mm (1/2") of the tool is left sticking out your pocket.

 

OK, now we get to open it up.  Front and centre we find the pliers.  In a departure from many of their other designs the pliers are sprung.  While I don't dislike sprung pliers per se, I'm not a fan of these.  It's purely a feel thing, the spring is too 'light' in my opinion.  If you're going to have sprung pliers then I feel they should be much stiffer.  Also worth noting is the fact the wire cutters differ from Leatherman's standard bypass cutters and are 'V'  cutters.  The upshot of this is that they're much less effective at cutting small core and stranded wire.  The rest of the features are very standard fare, semi-needle nosed with curved sections for grasping larger object.  The teeth are aggressive and well defined.  My only other comment is that I'm not a huge fan of the ergonomics of the handles when using the pliers.  The edges are rounded and comfortable enough, but the spacing is just too wide for me and so grabbing anything large means the the handles are just spread too far apart to get a solid grip on.



Turning to the internal tools and we'll start with two of the screwdrivers.  Accessible by either hooking a fingernail inside, or buy pushing them out from the 'back' of the handle.  If that's not clear then don't worry, it'll make sense once you try it.  Long and short is that fact they are easy to get too.  Sadly though there is basically no way to get the screwdrivers out one at a time, it's both or nothing.  The screwdrivers are a touch over polished for my taste, all the crisp edges have been knocked off and as a result they don't 'bite' on a screw head as well as they could.  The semi 3D Phillips works OK and will fit most commonly found Phillips and Pozidriv screws.  The medium flat driver is more of a let down though due to being too large for the majority of slotted screws you'll likely come across.  It really need to be brought down in size as far as I'm concerned.  It should be noted that none of the internal tools lock and so care should be taken when using the screwdrivers that they don't fold back on themselves.



Moving to the other handle, we have a good selection of other tools.  There is a slim lanyard ring for those who use them.  Bonus points to Leatherman for adding this without taking up any significant space.  Next we have a short serrated edged knife.  Again I'd say it's well executed.  As some folks know I'm not a fan of combo blades and I don't feel the need for serrated knives all that often, so having a small one that isn't the focus of the multitool feels right to me.


  The next tool we have is a combination of file, screwdriver and ruler.  The ruler is, frankly, a waste of time.  Far too short, doesn't have any numbers, and isn't even straight.  The file is equally short and is single cut.  Actually quite aggressively cut it removes material well, but the short length limits how effective it is in practice.  Unlike the ruler though I'm glad they included it.  The small screwdriver is somewhat compromised by being on the end of a very wide tool so it cannot be used on a recessed screw.  Other than that it actually fits small screw well.   Lastly we have the can/bottle opener.  It's OK in both these roles, but I've used better.  With it though you'll not die of thirst or hunger.  Also included is a wire stripper that I have never used and I'm not sure anyone else has either.  However it seems to be standard issue with multiools and as it doesn't compromise any other features then I'm OK with it being there.





Reading back on this I realise that it might sound like I'm not a fan of the Sidekick.  However that's not entirely true.  It packs a lot of useful features in a small package, can still be had at a good price, the build quality is fine and is comfortable in use.  For me it is however somewhat compromised by some odd design choices that I've already pointed out, the overly large flat screwdriver for example.  So do I recommend it?  Well, if you are wanting a multitool that only sees occasional use and you can find it on sale, then yes I do.  However I don't feel that this is a great multitool for someone who is going to be using it every day, especially if what they need are screwdrivers.

Pros:
good plain edged knife
compact size
good selection of tools

Cons:
forced to pay for near useless extras
weakly sprung pliers
poor screwdrivers

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...
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 9,733 You're amongst friends.
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2015, 09:20:28 PM »
I'm a Wingman fan but just like the Sidekick, its drivers are a turnoff to me as well. I recently started carrying my Wingman again but due to the limitation of the drivers, went back to the Skeletool.

I agree with your review and am still  :think: as to why the Sidekick is so much more costly than the Wingman. Is it really because of the carabiner?

SAW
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 32,163
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2015, 09:51:25 PM »
I'm a Wingman fan but just like the Sidekick, its drivers are a turnoff to me as well. I recently started carrying my Wingman again but due to the limitation of the drivers, went back to the Skeletool.

I agree with your review and am still  :think: as to why the Sidekick is so much more costly than the Wingman. Is it really because of the carabiner?

I'd certainly like them to sell it without the carabiner and find out.

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 Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 20,269 I may get older but I refuse to grow up.
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2015, 10:05:20 PM »
What? No video review for the tl:dr crew? :P

Good write up but I'm still hesitant to even try out any tools out of this whole family. :shrug:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,262 Tactical Desk Jockey
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2015, 10:17:03 PM »
I seen SAK (didn't find them being too special) and other Leathermans (out of my price range) before, but Wingman was the ONE that drew me into this MT madness.

Low price, OHO blade, pocket clip, well polished stainless steel, hit all the marks for me.
In fact I been carrying Kickman (Wingman mod) as a blast from the past.

EDC: Black Talon, Black Cat, Spirit, LD02
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 17,517 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2015, 10:58:12 PM »
Nice write up mate  :tu:

I share most of your views on this tool, though I also find the corners of the handles can press into your hands as well as the handles being too splayed. There's certainly a right way and a wrong way to hold this in pliers mode, but depending on the job you're doing, you can't be dictated to by the tool and need more flexibility. I'm certainly not a fan, and I think they put a lot of effort into making something that's no better than a Suspension, and more limited in function.

If I had to sum up this tool and it's sibling Wingman in a single sentence, it would probably be "perfectly fine for anyone who doesn't know any better". If they intentionally made this as a gateway tool, I think they certainly nailed the "and now I want something better" factor .....

The Suspension was actually my first branded multitool, and led me to seek something better FROM A DIFFERENT BRAND! It took me quite a while to actually start to trust Gerber tools again. If the Sidekick had been my first branded multitool, I think I'd have reacted in much the same way. As it happens my first two LM tools (Juice and Dime) were so badly made, it took me a long time to put any trust in LM anyway.

Long story short, I don't think the tool puts the company in a good light, most people who tried another multitool (before or after) is likely to want something better, but not all will be sold on sticking to the same brand



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 32,163
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2015, 11:04:11 PM »
I take your point about "for folks who don't know better", but I'll stand by my "for folks who don't need better". :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...
Admin Team Zombie Apprentice Posts: 14,974
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2015, 11:08:12 PM »
So,basically,it's like the curate's egg ;)

There is no beginning,or ending,and for this we are thankful,cos now is hard enough to understand!
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 32,163
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2015, 11:17:39 PM »
So,basically,it's like the curate's egg ;)

That actually sums it up nicely. :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...
Admin Team Zombie Apprentice Posts: 14,974
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2015, 11:25:00 PM »
So,basically,it's like the curate's egg ;)

That actually sums it up nicely. :D

It's a good review G,but I think your meant to finish it by saying...

'So,here's the Top Gear Top Tip,if you want a cheap,usable Leatherman,buy a Gerber! And on that bombshell...'

There is no beginning,or ending,and for this we are thankful,cos now is hard enough to understand!
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 17,517 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2015, 11:30:29 PM »
So,basically,it's like the curate's egg ;)

That actually sums it up nicely. :D

It's a good review G,but I think your meant to finish it by saying...

'So,here's the Top Gear Top Tip,if you want a cheap,usable Leatherman,buy a Gerber! And on that bombshell...'


 :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
No Life Club Posts: 1,976 Without POL, pilots are pedestrians
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2015, 05:55:35 AM »
Great review! I am a Wingman user, and have been since they released (I scored mine for $25). Tremendous value for that price. I mostly agree with your overall assessment, but I actually like the soft-sprung nature of the pliers. I will also say that I LOVE the Philips driver on my Wingman and think it bites really well for a 2.5D driver. The large-ish/medium-ish driver is frustrating as it is just too fat for most screws. Their are definitely some things they could have done better, but it's close enough.

Anytime I talk to a "normal person" about what MT they should get, I recommend the Wingman to them unless they have specific needs outside of it's capabilities.

"I wanna introduce you to a very personal friend of mine. This is an M41A pulse rifle. Ten millimeter with over-and-under thirty millimeter pump action grenade launcher." - Cpl Hicks
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 32,163
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2015, 10:00:59 AM »
Cheers mate. :tu:  I agree that the Phillips is actually pretty good, but I think most semi 3D screwdrivers work well for the vast majority of jobs.

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 Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here... Posts: 48,649
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2015, 03:31:43 PM »
Great review Gareth   :tu:
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 32,163
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2015, 07:57:01 PM »
Thanks Steve. :)

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...
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 19,555

Zed gb

******** *
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2015, 08:03:50 PM »
Good review Gareth  :salute: i feel the same way about this model,i had one but moved it on,ive done this with many mt's but i miss some of them but not this one,saying that i would have another one  :facepalm:
No Life Club Posts: 1,637 Desk Jockey
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2015, 06:02:18 AM »
'seems like the Wingman is a better bet, with its scissors.

It has the same file. It's OK to have it, but making it double-cut would have made it loads better.

The drivers are perfect for screws in the US.

With the pliers, did you try holding it both ways? One way feels better than the other.

Agree too on the high-ride pocket clip. But, it is a good thing to include a good pocket clip (even a high-ride one) instead of a crappy sheath, right?

I like the anvil-style cutters. Except on the very highest grade shear cutters, when they loosen up over time, they won't cut stranded OR solid wire well. The anvil style work pretty well on both, unless the strands are really fine. I think they chose this style because they needed some play in the pliers head, to allow it to be loose enough to be sprung.

Great review, G. I appreciated your perfect grammar and spelling, believe it or not.  :tu:

-Jeremy
**********
"Well begun is half done."
-Aristotle
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 32,163
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2015, 09:40:45 AM »
Cheers Smaug. :tu:

Of the two I'm actually still happy with my choice of the Sidekick over the Wingman.  I'm not a fan of CE blades, I find package openers a bit of a waste of space when you've already got a sharp knife and carrying an extra pair of scissors is a lot easier than carrying an extra saw. ;)

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...
Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 32,163
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2017, 06:11:16 PM »
I've just re-read my review here to see if I still think the same way.  The reason is that the Sidekick has taken up residence in my grab tool bag as a MT that I don't want to carry on purpose but works well enough that I don't mind using it if I need.  Make sense?  Good. ;)  Long and short is that this has become a MT that I carry quite often, due to the fact I like it less than many others I own. :doh: 

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...
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 17,517 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2017, 06:20:53 PM »
I've just re-read my review here to see if I still think the same way.  The reason is that the Sidekick has taken up residence in my grab tool bag as a MT that I don't want to carry on purpose but works well enough that I don't mind using it if I need.  Make sense?  Good. ;)  Long and short is that this has become a MT that I carry quite often, due to the fact I like it less than many others I own. :doh:

I understand all too well. Some of my favourite tools are stashed in kits that rarely get used, so they miss out on regular carry to less favoured tools. One of my favourite Swiss knives is the Compact. It's permanent residence is a small first aid kit, and since it got put in there, it hasn't been used. :shrug:



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
Newbie Posts: 6
Re: Leatherman Sidekick Review
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2017, 06:02:13 AM »
I have a Sidekick, Wingman, and modified combo of the two.

The tools feel a little loose (cheep) compared to other Leatherman products.  Also I do not like the single cut on the file as it tends to want to slide off of the object being filed, which is not something I have found with double cut files.

Overall these are good tools.

-rube

 

Donations

Operational Funds

Help us keep the Unworkable working!
Donate with PayPal!
October Goal: $300.00
Due Date: Oct 31
Total Receipts: $109.46
PayPal Fees: $6.30
Net Balance: $103.16
Below Goal: $196.84
Site Currency: USD
34% 
October Donations

Community Links


Powered by EzPortal
SMF 2.0.17 | SMF © 2020, Simple Machines
Page created in 0.059 seconds with 32 queries.
© 2018 Defender Web & Tool