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Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick 6301

Newbie Posts: 23
Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« on: January 20, 2016, 04:43:54 PM »
Hello everyone, this is my first post so I thought since I have been lurking too long it might as well be contributory in some way rather than just a plain hello.

I have been a fan of the verstile multitool for the last few years, choosing it over the also utilitarian SAK or penknife. The reason is (arguably) that a multitool can do roughly what a SAK does whilst bringing pliers and cutters into the equation - something the SAK form could never really do in the form of an impement.

So, after using MTs for a while - and having a soft spot for Leathermans lower scale tools (Blast, Sidekick, Rebar) I realized that while the price premiums we pay for multitools usually reflects the implements more than the actual pliers and cutters.

I decided to do a test to demonstrate this and ask everyone what their opinions are. This is not exactly a review, rather a conversation starter I guess.

So, I got some hard steel fence wire (can't say what gauge I'm afraid but it's the same exact piece through the test) and got the MT's out.

Here are the tools I tested:

Leatherman Sidekick
Leatherman Rebar
Ganzo G201-H (the same as the 201 but with a stainless finish - with Gen2 scissors)
Victorinox Spirit X
Leatherman Blast (off camera though, as an afterthought)


The test:
Well.. er... to cut the wire!
I thought that words and pictures would not suffice so I took to Youtube and uploaded a video.
You may be able to ascertain the pressure I used and the speed at which I could cut.

So, without further ado:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHGw9TF5jq8

The results:

Using the tools individualy over time I never had noticed significant differences in terms of performance. Doing it simultaneously though, wow! I was in for a surprise!

Leatherman Sidekick:
Hmmm.. I was very disappointed. The Sidekick employs a crushing type cutter that worked better than the hard-wire cutting groove. The groove was too big for this gauge, resulting in clamp marks and not cuts. However I doubt that it could handle larger hard wire (perhaps softer wire like copper) since the main cutter could barely get through this smaller gauge. So much for the crushin type cutter. Interestingly Leatherman seemed to do away with this design in the new Rev afaik.

Leatherman Rebar:
Another disappointment. I was so hopeful that the replaceable wire cutters would be that much cleaner in their cutting.... Unfortunately the cuts seemed to be let down by the plier action. It was necessary to put ample pressure on the tool to get a result and sometimes that wasn't great. I would expect that this is not the case with the Supertool 300 though that is much beefier.

Ganzo G201
Ahhh... This was clearly a surprise. I was expecting the steel to be outperformed by the other contenstants but clearly not. The beefy tool's power transfer delivered serious results. The smooth action was unbelievable. The cutting required no effort at all, whereas the previous contenders needed pressure and plenty of elbow grease - or should I say wrist grease....

The tool was extremely effective - so much I could go through wire very fast with clean, easy repetitive cuts. This would be great for any fencing-related projects. Those of you who have held a Ganzo know that they are beefy and great value for money but also know that the implements can be very loose. Unlike Leatherman and Victorinox that is, where each implement has it's own cosy compartment and doesn't succumb to the peer pressure of it's pals. So, keep an eye on them when using repetitively or excerting strong pressures.


Victorinox Swisstool Spirit X

This used to be my least favourite of all before this test believe it or not. It's a beautiful piece of shiny gorgeousness that you can't dare allow to get scratched up. Until you do. Then you stop worrying and start living. The Spirit's performance was fantastic, cutting almost with the same ease as the Ganzo and a quick pace too. It has two grooves that work differently but this means you have to slow down to check you're using the right one each time. I used to shy away from using the Vic because I feared the softish steel could not handle tasks like this and could suffer rolling. Boy, was I wrong.


Conclusion

Never judge a book by it's cover.

I expected that Rebar's replaceable cutters and the Sidekick's crushing cutters would be innovations that would outshine the rest. Perhaps they are suited better for other tasks (not cables either I'm afraid). This doesn't mean Leatherman's tools aren't great - my old Blast did better than these two but worse than the Spirit and Ganzo. I also underestimated the Ganzo and Spirit.

OK, the Spirit is very highly regarded generally so I need not sing it's praises. However, the Ganzo often treated as a second class tool and I feel it's honor needs to be restored. It is a fantastic tool with implements that do the job, an extremely capable standard tech 1/4 inch driver set and an original offering. The value is there, they have been around for ages and Ganzo seems to be incrementally improving their existing tools (i.e. improved scissors) and adding a higher range with locking tools (301) and replacable cutters (302b special edition). I'd like to get my hands on the last one with the replaceable cutters to see if they are equally good, better or perhaps even worse! :think:
 
Hope you guys found this useful. Please let me know your thoughts  :pok: as my test is neither scientific nor all MTs are exactly the same.

Cheers,
Nick
No Life Club Posts: 1,582 4x4 since '74
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2016, 05:23:59 PM »
Thanks for posting this.  Will you be comparing other aspects of the multitools?

I almost never use a multitool to cut hard wire.  I use a Knipex mini bolt cutters instead.

Retired engineer, author.

A man with one multitool always knows exactly which to use. A man with many multitools is never quite sure. - parnass
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 17,517 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2016, 05:30:38 PM »
Excellent first post! Welcome to  :MTO:

 :cheers:

Very interesting results from the Ganzo.



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
Admin Team Zombie Apprentice Posts: 15,037
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2016, 05:31:39 PM »
Hi and welcome! Great first post :salute:

There is no beginning,or ending,and for this we are thankful,cos now is hard enough to understand!
Newbie Posts: 23
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2016, 06:03:43 PM »
Thanks for posting this.  Will you be comparing other aspects of the multitools?

I almost never use a multitool to cut hard wire.  I use a Knipex mini bolt cutters instead.

Thank you Parnass, I thought I'd see how things go with this one first. I'm keeping things open and thought this may become a series of tasks across each tool could compete. I.e. tightenint/loosening bolts, removing nails, precision tasks etc. Time is rather tight so I'll see what opportunity to test comes along! Is there something you'd like to see in particular?

I'd also advocate using the right tool for the right job. Knipex = right tool for this :-)
Newbie Posts: 23
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2016, 06:04:33 PM »
Hi and welcome! Great first post :salute:

Thanks for the warm welcome Kirk! Much appreciated!
Newbie Posts: 23
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2016, 06:08:13 PM »
Excellent first post! Welcome to  :MTO:

 :cheers:

Very interesting results from the Ganzo.

Cheers 50ft-tad

Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I was surprised and I already had it in high regards.
Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,706
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2016, 06:35:36 PM »
Greetings. I've never used a Ganzo MT but what a nice showing in the cut test.  Sad to see the Rebars 154 replaceable cutters not do so well  ::)

 

Esse Quam Videri
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 20,796 Bored

dks cy

********* *
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2016, 06:44:08 PM »
I have said it many times that most multitool users use cheap Ganzo style multitools and are happy with them. People using LM/Gerber/SOG etc. are a a minority, worldwide.

Usually the Chinese designed tools fail on Philips screwdrivers, files and scissors but they tend to be fine with pliers and knives.

Kelly: "Daddy, what makes men cheat on women?
Al : "Women!"

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Newbie Posts: 23
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2016, 06:46:51 PM »
Greetings. I've never used a Ganzo MT but what a nice showing in the cut test.  Sad to see the Rebars 154 replaceable cutters not do so well  ::)

Aloha Aloha! (I bet you get that a lot around here!)

Greetings and thanks for the kind words. I too had very high expectations of the Rebar too. I suspect it isn't the cutter blades rather than the poor pressure exertion from the MT's body. That's why I would think the beefy ST300 would rock. But then again this test shattered all my expectations!

The Ganzo was an absolute joy to use (until perhaps the day the innards rip my hand open) and the spring sped up the process even more.
Newbie Posts: 23
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2016, 06:57:00 PM »
I have said it many times that most multitool users use cheap Ganzo style multitools and are happy with them. People using LM/Gerber/SOG etc. are a a minority, worldwide.

Usually the Chinese designed tools fail on Philips screwdrivers, files and scissors but they tend to be fine with pliers and knives.

Hello DKS, thanks. I personally avoid putting Ganzos and other cheap style MTs in the same group as they are completely different. I've been through my fair share of cheap rubbish and even though they share the same origin the Ganzos are nothing like them.

You're right about the impements. Ganzo has a set of decent implements but they aren't a match for the Vic or the LMs. However, they have changed our their poor scissors for a very decent large pair now and the bit driver (included as standard) offers great flexibility. I have ruined implements on tools before but having them replaceable is very utilitarian. Especially since you can change out the cheap bits for a set of decent cr-vs.

Your point is exactly what Ganzo needs to look at a little more: to focus on the implements a bit more. Also, the 30x series has a better serrated secondary blade which I'd say is pretty rubbish on the 20x series.
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 20,796 Bored

dks cy

********* *
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2016, 07:11:00 PM »
I have some ganzos and i am not sure if they are related or just have the same name. There are also several models sold under different names that are also sold as ganzo.
Have a look at the cima  tools too. The one I tested here was not bad.

Kelly: "Daddy, what makes men cheat on women?
Al : "Women!"

[ Knife threads ]  [ Country shopping guides ]  [ Battery-Charger-Light threads ]  [ Picture threads ]
Newbie Posts: 23
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2016, 07:27:38 PM »
I have some ganzos and i am not sure if they are related or just have the same name. There are also several models sold under different names that are also sold as ganzo.
Have a look at the cima  tools too. The one I tested here was not bad.

Yes, older ganzos were pretty primitive. I hear they also manufacture for winchester, Gerber and other brands but almost always their no-names and white label products are inferior to their own ganzo brand tools. On the older tools the implements were pretty horrible.

I've heard of the cima tools many times but never got my hands on any to see...

They seem well made from the pictures... I think we will see 2-3 Asian suppliers become formidable competitors in the industry over the next few years. Ganzo has improved leaps and bounds and you also see many knife manufacturers also adopting higher quality designs and standards. This doesn't spell disaster for LM/Vic etc rather will hopefully lead to more innovations, higher standards and better prices :-)

PS I think you wanted to add a link for the CIMA but I can't reach it
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 20,796 Bored

dks cy

********* *
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2016, 07:32:16 PM »
I did not link it as it is in this subforum, a few threads below, so there was no need to put unrelated links in this thread.

Kelly: "Daddy, what makes men cheat on women?
Al : "Women!"

[ Knife threads ]  [ Country shopping guides ]  [ Battery-Charger-Light threads ]  [ Picture threads ]
Newbie Posts: 23
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2016, 07:51:30 PM »
Found it, interesting indeed!

Hope they change the colours though!!!
Hero Member Posts: 615
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2016, 07:42:24 PM »
I am not surprised.  I have a few Ganzo's (or at least models made by Ganzo for other brands like Stanley).  The pliers have always been a joy to use.  I also use them anytime I need to do wire-cutting, as they cut nicely and if they break, not a huge monetary loss.

If Ganzo could (a) make stronger backsprings for their handle tools (no tool retention) and (b) cut down on all the wasted space in the handles (the spacers are the same size as the tools!) I think they'd have a competitive product.  For their size/weight they just have very few tools.

Newbie Posts: 23
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2016, 08:20:37 PM »
Hi NetsNJ

Yes, I completely agree. The spacers in particular aren't so great. The tools are a bit bulkier and heavier than needed I think too and some of the implements could really do with a touch up. However, the foundation is there - they just need to build on it. Judging from the recent upgrades to their scissors I think they may be considering such improvements - fingers crossed.

Does anyone own a 201 and a 301 to compare these details? I think the 30x series is more refined but I can't get my hands on any of them yet...
No Life Club Posts: 3,035
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2016, 08:26:33 PM »
I was surprised about the cutting abilities of the Rebar. I was thinking about getting one of those. It looks kinda disappointing..

I knew my wife was a keeper when she transitioned from calling it a knife thingy to a multi-tool.

I might be crazy but it's kept me from going insane- Waylon Jennings
Newbie Posts: 23
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2016, 08:34:56 PM »
Hi toolJoe - I don't know what to tell you. I like the rebar, a lot. It's my edc since it is relatively light and it has great implements. I have the black oxide one with a little rust on it :-( but it's OK for light tasks. Perhaps I got a dud. The cutters though are a disappointment - they can't cut wire and none of my MTs can cut light electronic wire so the pliers are even less useful. I have come to the conclusion that the replaceable cutters on the Rebar are a marketing gimmick because they aren't implemented properly. I think they can be implemented well and are a step in the right direction if so - perhaps in the ST300. Other than that, I prefer the Rebar as an EDC over most my MTs for it's weight and smallish size.
No Life Club Posts: 3,035
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2016, 08:51:26 PM »
Maybe an ST300 is more for me than...

I knew my wife was a keeper when she transitioned from calling it a knife thingy to a multi-tool.

I might be crazy but it's kept me from going insane- Waylon Jennings
Newbie Posts: 23
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2016, 09:36:29 PM »
Dunno ToolJoe, I don't own one. It could be much better, or it could be heavier and equally poor. The ST is however generally very well respected and surely you'll be able to find loads of videos on youtube.

I think the ST is closer to the size and power of the Ganzo than the smaller Rebar.
No Life Club Posts: 3,035
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2016, 09:48:02 PM »
Thanks for the video comparison Dreamer. Its nice to see them actually used and tested instead of buying one and figuring out its not the right mt for someone.

I knew my wife was a keeper when she transitioned from calling it a knife thingy to a multi-tool.

I might be crazy but it's kept me from going insane- Waylon Jennings
Newbie Posts: 23
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2016, 10:08:00 PM »
You're welcome ToolJoe, it was a pleasure making it, thanks!

The Ganzo is my cheapest purchase and has made me re-think most of my previous purchases. It is not as refined but it has put them to shame when it came to this task at least. Now I see past the eye-candy:

There is the right tool for each job  - rarely is that ever a MT unfortunately.
Then there is the right tool "because it is the only tool I have with me" The Rebar is good for this role.
Finally, there is "the one" tool we all think is ideal but rarely is. Each and every one of these tools I bought was "the one" but then wasn't after use.

No regrets for any of them, but I don't think I'll be buying many more unless I try them first.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 10:09:03 PM by Disorganized Dreamer »
Hero Member Posts: 615
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2016, 10:57:32 PM »
Quote
The Ganzo is my cheapest purchase and has made me re-think most of my previous purchases.

They are pretty expensive for what they are though, to be honest.  Some of the off-brand ones they make for say Stanley are reasonably priced, but the actual Ganzos?  $30-$40, come on.

Newbie Posts: 23
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2016, 09:55:15 AM »
They are pretty expensive for what they are though, to be honest.

Not really, I don't think so. They usually go for $20 - half the price of Leatherman's lower end sidekick and include a bit kit.

If you compare it to their 30x series I think you're right. The tools may not be as polished as a LM - but I have not got one in my hands to compare.

Other than that it depends what you mean "for what it is" - from a utility perspective I'd trust this more than my low-range LMs in a pinch. For ultimate splendour I'd prefer the VicX. However: I have to admit that I have not compared it to a Wave, Surge etc.

Their low price doesn't mean low value at all - unless you want something that looks expensive to gift.

No Life Club Posts: 3,035
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2016, 07:31:41 PM »
  I think I will just cheat and use an actual set of lineman pliers with good cutters  :D

I knew my wife was a keeper when she transitioned from calling it a knife thingy to a multi-tool.

I might be crazy but it's kept me from going insane- Waylon Jennings
Newbie Posts: 23
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2016, 09:52:10 PM »
That's true: pliers + SAK = better tools for the job.
A friend carries vise grips and a sak for bettter pliers and blade. Of course this chap in particular lacks decent drivers but hey, EDC is a personal choice!
Hero Member Posts: 615
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2016, 07:34:22 AM »

Not really, I don't think so. They usually go for $20 - half the price of Leatherman's lower end sidekick and include a bit kit.

If you compare it to their 30x series I think you're right. The tools may not be as polished as a LM - but I have not got one in my hands to compare.

Other than that it depends what you mean "for what it is" - from a utility perspective I'd trust this more than my low-range LMs in a pinch. For ultimate splendour I'd prefer the VicX. However: I have to admit that I have not compared it to a Wave, Surge etc.

Their low price doesn't mean low value at all - unless you want something that looks expensive to gift.

I disagree.  Maybe the locking Ganzos work better, but on the non-locking ones the backsprings are so incredibly weak.  It renders the drivers useless, no matter how well formed.  Additionally, it is kind of maddening that they chose to emulate the Gerber Suspension of all things, with all the drawbacks of the original.  Namely, tons of wasted space and short blades.  At least the Gerber had a great lock system and good components despite the design flaws.  Even for $20....I feel like you are way better off buying a Gerber MP400 (you can get these for like $25 on Amazon), or a Leatherman Sidekick or Wingman (which you can also find good deals on).  Heck, you are better off just getting a Gerber Suspension, dollar for dollar -- very similar tool/price, but better in everyway.  I like the plier heads, but the handle tools are really frustrating IMHO.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 07:36:47 AM by NetsNJ »

Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 20,796 Bored

dks cy

********* *
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2016, 07:44:59 AM »
A lot will depend on where you are

In the US I do not see much of a need for Ganzo.

however, I can get a full size Ganzo to my door, new, for under $20. I can also get a LM Micra from a shop for $50, or online for about $30 + taxes = $40

Larger tools are around $100...

So, for someone who just wants a tool for $20, new, Ganzos are an option

Kelly: "Daddy, what makes men cheat on women?
Al : "Women!"

[ Knife threads ]  [ Country shopping guides ]  [ Battery-Charger-Light threads ]  [ Picture threads ]
Hero Member Posts: 615
Re: Multitool Plier Comparison - Ganzo, Spirit X, Rebar and Sidekick
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2016, 03:17:19 PM »
Ah fair enough, I forgot how expensive LMs and Gerbers are outside the USA. 


 

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