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Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave 29991

Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,169 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« on: June 07, 2009, 04:08:29 AM »
Well, I finally succumbed and got a SURGE!!

It is a solidly built tool, but I have to say, FOR ME, it's sort of a let down.  I am excited about the T adaptor for saw and file, but honestly, I like having both the saw and file on the tool at the same time.   I was expecting more of what the Charge/Wave are with exchangeable blades.  Here's what I found:

First off, the Surge is a bigger tool.  



The Surge is thicker than the Wave, but not so much compared to the Charge:


Surge                  Charge               Wave


And although the Surge pliers head looks bigger, as has been previously mentioned, the Charge and Wave open wider:





Surge and Charge



Surge and Wave



Charge and Wave


The next picture shows the outside tools.  While the Charge and Wave sport both the file and saw with 2 blades, the Surge gives the option of Saw OR File and Scissors  ::) with 2 blades.  Neither the Surge or Wave have the guthook which is so useful.  This to me is a big plus for the Charge and a big negative for the Surge (less so for the Wave since it has saw and file but no gut hook).



Finally, the inside tools.  The Surge does have a nice awl.  The Charge ALX shows its weakness, with a bunch of bit drivers but no scissors.  The Wave has the best compromise with an inside scissors and the large bit driver, but no tiny useless driver.



In summary:

Surge:

Pros:  Replaceable saw and file blades.
         Large scissors
         Awl

Cons:  Extra bulk with little extra function
          Saw and File cannot be on the tool at the same time
          Pliers jaws don't open as wide
          No gut hook

Charge ALX:

Pros:  Saw and File on the tool simulatneously
         Wide opening pliers jaws
         GUT HOOK!
         Second large bit holder means no bit card needed in most cases. (IME, subjective)

Cons:  Wider than Wave
          No scissors
          Worthless small bit driver

Wave:

Pros:  Smallest of the the three (narrower than Charge)
         Scissors
         Wide opening jaws
        

Cons:  No gut hook
         Not as comfortable in the hand of the user (subjective and JMO)
« Last Edit: June 07, 2009, 04:17:03 AM by Mr. Whippy »

Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,169 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2009, 04:09:24 AM »
Here's my situation:

When I'm out ice climbing, weight is at a premium, but so is simplicity.  If the tool I have doesn't have a saw, I have to bring one.  If it doesn't have a file, I have to bring one.  Fiddly little bits like driver bits and tiny files are tough to keep track of and easy to lose.

On the farm, it's less of an issue, but honestly, if I have to bring a bunch of accessories with me, I might as well bring dedicated tools in a bucket or toolbox.  The more streamlined my EDC, the happier I am.

Will I use the Surge?  Probably, but I suspect the Charge will get primary duty.  If Leatherman dumped the dumb little bit driver and put scissors on the Charge ALX in its place, I'd be thrilled.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2009, 04:14:12 AM by Mr. Whippy »

No Life Club Posts: 3,785 Why is it doing that?
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2009, 04:13:53 AM »
Nice comparison/review mate! :tu: I don't own a Surge and it struck me as odd that it is about the same width as the Charge; I've always imagined it a tad wider.

BTW I can see a "useless small bit driver" on the Wave as well... ::) :D
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,169 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2009, 04:18:28 AM »
Nice comparison/review mate! :tu: I don't own a Surge and it struck me as odd that it is about the same width as the Charge; I've always imagined it a tad wider.

BTW I can see a "useless small bit driver" on the Wave as well... ::) :D

Heh!  Fixed.  It's so worthless, I've never used it on the Wave.  Because it has scissors, I've sorta blocked it from my conciousness, like a traumatic event.  ;)

No Life Club Posts: 1,757
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2009, 04:26:55 AM »
Nice comparison.     looks like you need a TTI.  It has the gut hook  and scissors.  Also it is thinner than your alx.  Roughly the same size as the wave but more comfortable in the hand due to the rounded adges of the titanium.

Dennis
Global Moderator Just Bananas Posts: 65,531
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2009, 04:33:31 AM »
Great comparison Mr. W :D I don't have a Charge at all but I really like the Wave and I just got a Surge as well so time will tell if I like it or not ;) :D
No Life Club Posts: 1,093
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2009, 04:47:33 AM »
Just here to give my usual "I love the tiny bit driver" line. Ok, on ward.

Fan of the Leatherman mini-bit driver and the Vic backspring philips.
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,169 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2009, 04:51:47 AM »
Well, I could see how it would be good for cleaning underneath fingernails and such...  ::)

 :D

No Life Club Posts: 1,093
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2009, 04:53:51 AM »
Eyeglasses, battery cases, small electrical connectors, microphone gains,  :multi:

Fan of the Leatherman mini-bit driver and the Vic backspring philips.
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 20,054 Armed with camera and not afraid to use it.
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2009, 05:07:29 AM »
Great review. I was wondering about the difference between the three. Very informative. Looks like I might need a Charge soon. :(

A little Leatherman information.

Leatherman series articles
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,169 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2009, 05:23:13 AM »
Nice comparison.     looks like you need a TTI.  It has the gut hook  and scissors.  Also it is thinner than your alx.  Roughly the same size as the wave but more comfortable in the hand due to the rounded adges of the titanium.

Re: TTi

I just looked at it on the Leatherman site.  In all honesty, I'd rather have the 2 large bit drivers than 1 and scissors.  I wish they'd have an option to drop out the small bit driver and standard driver and put in a second large bit driver next to the scissors.

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,378
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2009, 05:25:10 AM »
wonder if you could slap a guthook in place of the seratted blade in an old wave..that way you could have the longer phillips.

:like:    :MTO:
Chief of the Absolutely No Life Club! Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here... Posts: 42,975 Why haven't you got a Farmer yet!
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2009, 10:04:52 AM »
Great review mate :tu:

I'm going to move this to the review section :)

Give in, buy several Farmer's!!!!!!
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,375 Sing, Michael, sing. On the route of the 19 Bus!
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2009, 09:03:03 PM »
Pretty much sums up my thoughts on those tools Mr. W.

I EDC a Charge TTi, and very occasionally a Ti, as they both have the same tool configuration as the Wave. Scissors are useful things!

The small bit driver is a natty thing, but I rarely use it. I have once or twice, and it makes a decent awl at a push.


Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,213
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2009, 01:40:26 AM »
I've never used the tiny screwdriver either, but it is one of those things that if I did need it, no other blade or tool is going to do what it can do. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. :-\

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
No Life Club Posts: 4,594 no nacimos con miedo...
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2009, 06:43:11 AM »
great review mate :tu:

A
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,375 Sing, Michael, sing. On the route of the 19 Bus!
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2009, 12:20:59 AM »
Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. :-\

That should be multitool.org's new motto :D

No Life Club Posts: 3,785 Why is it doing that?
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2009, 12:37:02 AM »
Now where's sardauker? :D
No Life Club Posts: 2,277
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2009, 03:26:34 AM »
Yeah I can see your point on most of those things. I do EDC a SURGE, and it is the best comprimise I've found in a tool (I too own an ALX and Wave), but at first I did agree with you. After carrying it for a while though, I just can't go back to either the Charge or Wave. Like, ever.

Oh and BTW, that "stupid useless tiny driver" is my favorite part of the tool. That thing saved my ass I don't know how many times when my glasses have decided to come apart at really bad times. I don't think I could ever EDC a tool that DIDN'T have the mini driver.
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,169 North American Meetup: May13-15 2011
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2009, 03:42:11 AM »
Yeah I can see your point on most of those things. I do EDC a SURGE, and it is the best comprimise I've found in a tool (I too own an ALX and Wave), but at first I did agree with you. After carrying it for a while though, I just can't go back to either the Charge or Wave. Like, ever.

Oh and BTW, that "stupid useless tiny driver" is my favorite part of the tool. That thing saved my ass I don't know how many times when my glasses have decided to come apart at really bad times. I don't think I could ever EDC a tool that DIDN'T have the mini driver.

Duct Tape Hero...

Paging Duct Tape Hero.

Broken glasses in need of silver goodness...

 :D




(Point taken though)

No Life Club Posts: 2,277
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2009, 01:57:43 AM »
Yeah, been down that road too....
No Life Club Posts: 3,785 Why is it doing that?
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2010, 08:58:25 PM »
Committing some thread necromancy, but I couldn't find this info anywhere else. So, according to Mr. Whippy:

The Surge is thicker than the Wave, but not so much compared to the Charge:

(Image removed from quote.)
Surge                  Charge               Wave

How much thicker are the various Charge models (TTi and AL at least) compared to the Wave? The increased thickness is the main reason my TTi usually stays at home in favor of a Spirit. Would a Wave or an AL be anywhere near the Spirit's thickness?
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,375 Sing, Michael, sing. On the route of the 19 Bus!
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2010, 10:46:01 PM »
To be honest I'd never noticed they were different!

I'll have a look in a bit :tu:

Full Member Posts: 147
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2010, 05:19:45 PM »
As a Surge user, I have to agree with your assessment Mr. Whippy.  I carried my Surge here on the ranch for at least 5 months and the thing is an incredibly tough and versatile tool.  I've recently gotten tired of its complexity though.  It drives me bananas that the saw and file aren't both attached to the tool, not to mention they're quite short.  Rather than drag around a sheath full of saws, files, and screw driver bits, I've been EDCing a Blast.  I'd rather have simplicity over durability I guess. 

I also detest the mini bit driver.  I even use the thing from time to time, but I'd much rather have an awl or something else.
No Life Club Posts: 1,594 4x4 since '74
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2010, 07:52:12 PM »
The Surge is too heavy and large for me to belt carry so it never leaves home.  It sits on a lamp table, awaiting assignment when I don't feel like getting out of the easy chair to fetch a single purpose tool.

The pliers handles are too far apart to hold comfortably.  The Surge frame has sharp edges and corners which were uncomfortable in my palm until I filed them down slightly.

I can open the serrated blade with one hand, but the main blade requires too much force to open in the same way. Perhaps it would ease up after repeated use.

I bought it during a clearance sale so it was a fair value, but I wouldn't purchase another Surge.

Never owned a Wave or Charge and I'd like to try one someday.

Retired engineer, author.

A man with one multitool always knows exactly which to use. A man with many multitools is never quite sure. - parnass
No Life Club Posts: 3,785 Why is it doing that?
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2010, 06:05:38 AM »
To be honest I'd never noticed they were different!

I'll have a look in a bit :tu:

Well? :pok: :D



PS: Thanks mate.
No Life Club Posts: 1,092 Gone Climbing.
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2010, 06:52:23 AM »
I love my SURGE! :D

Also, I just wanted to say I found a new use for the "useless little driver". My new Ortovox D3 has a swappable wrist strap instead of the harness (for recovery I assume). And to swap them, you need to pry out a little wedge that holds it together. Well, the only thing I have that works turned out to be the SURGE! mini driver.  :tu:

"I would rather live 40 years of excitement and fun and exhilarating and just WOOOO, full volume, then 80 years of la di di di da... you know... boring. Why not get out there and live it?!"
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,375 Sing, Michael, sing. On the route of the 19 Bus!
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2010, 04:33:06 PM »
To be honest I'd never noticed they were different!

I'll have a look in a bit :tu:

Well? :pok: :D



PS: Thanks mate.

Ooh sorry - totally forgot!

OK - The widest point on the Wave is the top torx fasteners, and I get that to be 18mm.

The Charge TTi is 20.5mm, and the AL is 22mm (again, including the torx fasteners / knurled screw heads).

Not a huge difference, but a difference none the less.

No Life Club Posts: 3,785 Why is it doing that?
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2010, 01:35:15 PM »
That's interesting. So the Wave is slimmer than the Charges but still a bit wider than a Spirit (around 16mm-16.5mm iirc). The difference is very small so perhaps I should give a Wave a try someday. Thanks mate. :tu:
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,375 Sing, Michael, sing. On the route of the 19 Bus!
Re: Review: Surge vs Charge ALX vs New Wave
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2010, 01:47:48 PM »
No problem Nikos :tu:

As I said before, I've never noticed the differences until this thread, but they are definitely there!

The TTi is 5 grams lighter than the Wave though!


 

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