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[UPDATED] My Reactor Overview 2453

No Life Club Posts: 1,913 I know you are, but what am I?
[UPDATED] My Reactor Overview
« on: April 27, 2016, 09:10:33 PM »
Hi folks!

I've been wanting to post some pictures comparing the Reactor to some other similar purpose/sized multitools. These pocket sized tools are my favorite genre of mutitools because I carry them more than my heavier-duty, full featured options. They are perfect for days off, when I am not expecting to need a multitool, and thus don't want to be burdened by a huge PowerLock or MP600. These tools are designed to ride in a pocket and cover the basic functions a person may be most likely to need - pliers and a knife first and foremost, but also a flat and Phillips driver, and a bottle opener. Functionally, the Reactor accomplishes the same tasks as the Leatherman Skeletool. But overall size-wise it is a lot closer to the Freestyle (Grant beat me to the punch with this comparison) but I don't have a Skeletool anymore. No biggie - others have covered the comparison between Reactor and Skeletool. Additionally, I think the Gerber Octane is a good point of comparison even if it is quite a bit bigger. Also, the Juice is comparably sized to the Reactor, even if it packs more utility (my Wife's is a CS4).

All wadded up, you can see that these tools are very compact, dimensionally. The Octane is bulky in this plane, but like a smart-phone, it is slim from front to back and lays pretty flat in pocket. The Freestyle and Reactor are really close size-wise, but the Reactor is a bit lighter.



Plier-mode: engage! You get a good idea of the differences in handle-splay and the similar plier-head size. The Reactor has bigger cutters than the LM, bot overall, the pliers on it are the smallest of the four pictured. They are a little beefier than the Juice's pliers, though.



Close up of plier-heads.



A little tip-comparison.



Time to show off the blades. The Octane dominates here. 2.75" with nice thickness, a lot of belly. The Freestyle is next in length, and boasts the thickest blade and the most secure feeling lock-up. The Reactor and Juice both have 2.5" blades and are really thin. They flex a lot, but the Reactor feels solid enough in lockup to inspire confidence (at least on my example).



Reverse angle.



I tried to simulate what these would look like in the preferred carry method. It should be noted that the Juice is compact enough to disappear in the watch-pocket of my Levi's, but some pants have much less room in these pockets. Without a pocket-clip, the Juice rides in the bottom of your pocket. The Freestyle leaves a lot of tool exposed out of pocket while clipped in. The Octane has nice deep carry, as does the Reactor - top marks to both of these tools for the pocket clip :tu:



I've got more to add, later. But I need to hit the road to the DMV and then off to the gym. This may end up being like a running overview/review.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2016, 01:06:57 PM by Grant Lamontagne »

Without POL, pilots are pedestrians.
No Life Club Posts: 2,298
Re: My Reactor Overview
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2016, 10:22:54 PM »
Nice review and very helpful pics.

"Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful." -John Wooden
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 10,526 Join us! Embrace the Flicky Faith!
Re: My Reactor Overview
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2016, 10:28:00 PM »
Nice. :tu: You have a personal favorite there with the Octane.

There's no such thing as "Too pretty to carry".  There's only "Too pretty NOT to carry"...... >:D
Wielder of the Bow of Banishment. Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 31,284 El Presidente del Fan Club Micky D
Re: My Reactor Overview
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2016, 11:37:57 PM »
Great comparison shots mate.  Very helpful. :hatsoff:

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: 41,757
Re: My Reactor Overview
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2016, 12:27:31 AM »
Great review   :tu:
No Life Club Posts: 1,913 I know you are, but what am I?
Re: My Reactor Overview
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2016, 02:46:59 AM »
Now for a truly cap-lifting experience  :facepalm:

The cap-lifter on the Reactor is tucked into the end of the handle that also houses the spring-assist. Easy enough to access one handedly. Just press down on the lanyard loop, kind of rotating it back and down. When I first bought the tool, this feature was pretty tight, but after some use it has eased up a bit.

I find that the Reactor works very well as a cap-lifter. It hooks under the edge of the cap easily enough (could be better, but it's fine) and once it has a grip, it doesn't let go unless you want it to. And, yes Virginia, I know that is a twist-off cap. It's what I had.



Reverse angle showing positive hook-up. The Reactor makes a lot of contact with the cap, so it distributes force across a bigger area than tools that use a typical fold-out implement to pop the top off your favorite beverage.



In action, it works in the same fashion as the cap-lifter on the Skeletool or Style CS/PS, where you generate torque by pressing down on the tool. As opposed to using the fold-out style cap-lifters on most MTs where you pull up on the tool to generate torque.



Success! It gets the job done. I have tested this feature of the Reactor out extensively in the month I've had the tool, and it has never had a problem opening anything. Good job SOG


Without POL, pilots are pedestrians.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 18,843 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over.
Re: My Reactor Overview
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2016, 02:51:19 AM »
Nice comparisons and info. Good pics also. Thanks man.

That's us mobile


Nate

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Global Moderator Point Of No Return Posts: 37,857
Re: My Reactor Overview
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2016, 04:47:18 PM »
Nice comparisons and info. Good pics also. Thanks man.

That's us mobile

+1   :cheers:
No Life Club Posts: 1,913 I know you are, but what am I?
Re: My Reactor Overview
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2016, 04:50:23 AM »
Turning attention to the Reactor's blade, now. SOG specifications have the blade at 2.5 inches long. Which is not very big, but it is proportionate to the size of the tool. It has a nice shape to it. since I view this as a direct competitor to the Skeletool/Freestyle lines from Leatherman, that is what I mostly compare it to. The Freestyle has a very sexy blade. It looks mean. The Reactor's blade has some attitude to it, as well, but not like the Freestyle. The Reactor blade is not very thick either, similar to the Wingman/Sidekick blades. It does have some side to side wiggle, but it doesn't rattle around in there without some encouragement, so it's fine. Up and down it is pretty solid unless you really press on the spine, and then you find some spongy give. So, it does have some play, but it is not enough to be alarming, IMHO. The thumbstud is effective at getting the blade launched. Easy to get purchase on it with your thumb. The spring assist is a cool feature and is executed well. The blade flips out with good force and solidly clicks into place. The locking-liner gets the job done of holding the blade open until you want it closed. When you do, you have easy access to it for quickly folding the blade back away. The spine features some pretty nice jimping, but not overly aggressive.

Ergonomics - in knife mode, the Reactor feels good in hand. You can almost convince yourself that you are holding a folder and not a multitool when you hold the Reactor with the knife deployed. The handle is designed to give your fingers some places to hang out while cutting and it does not have any really noticeable edges or corners digging into your hand. It should be noted that have smallish hands - I wear size medium gloves (mostly). Since knife-mode does not require a death-grip, the Reactor works well ergonomically. My pointer and middle finger rest in the first hollow, ring finger in the next, and finally Mr. Pinky resides down by the gears. Pretty comfy for a MT. The Freestyle/Skeletool are the reigning champs when it comes to MT-in-knife-mode comfort, but the Reactor gets pretty high marks here, too.



As for cutting, it's a SOG, and they now a little bit about blades. Every SOG I own has been crazy sharp straight out of the box and the Reactor is no exception to this. I have used the knife quite a bit and it has excelled on a variety of tasks. I've tried it on paper which it easily handles. It passed the arm hair test. It cut asparagus stalks with no problem. I set out to really test it, however. First up: the Reactor cut this plastic discharge hose pretty easily.



This strap (nylon?) was easy to slice, so I doubled it over. More of a challenge but it was still defeated by the Reactor.



Now, the reinforced garden hose was a challenge. I really had to use some force, but the blade on the Reactor handled it.



It is definitely not a Freestyle, but it is a beast in knife-mode :tu: especially for how diminutive it is. As fas as edge retention, it has been good. After cutting the garden hose earlier I touched it up with a fine stone and it is razor-sharp again.

Without POL, pilots are pedestrians.
Full Member Posts: 232
Wielder of the Bow of Banishment. Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 31,284 El Presidente del Fan Club Micky D
Re: My Reactor Overview
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2016, 09:25:40 PM »
Turning attention to the Reactor's blade, now. SOG specifications have the blade at 2.5 inches long. Which is not very big, but it is proportionate to the size of the tool. It has a nice shape to it. since I view this as a direct competitor to the Skeletool/Freestyle lines from Leatherman, that is what I mostly compare it to. The Freestyle has a very sexy blade. It looks mean. The Reactor's blade has some attitude to it, as well, but not like the Freestyle. The Reactor blade is not very thick either, similar to the Wingman/Sidekick blades. It does have some side to side wiggle, but it doesn't rattle around in there without some encouragement, so it's fine. Up and down it is pretty solid unless you really press on the spine, and then you find some spongy give. So, it does have some play, but it is not enough to be alarming, IMHO. The thumbstud is effective at getting the blade launched. Easy to get purchase on it with your thumb. The spring assist is a cool feature and is executed well. The blade flips out with good force and solidly clicks into place. The locking-liner gets the job done of holding the blade open until you want it closed. When you do, you have easy access to it for quickly folding the blade back away. The spine features some pretty nice jimping, but not overly aggressive.

Ergonomics - in knife mode, the Reactor feels good in hand. You can almost convince yourself that you are holding a folder and not a multitool when you hold the Reactor with the knife deployed. The handle is designed to give your fingers some places to hang out while cutting and it does not have any really noticeable edges or corners digging into your hand. It should be noted that have smallish hands - I wear size medium gloves (mostly). Since knife-mode does not require a death-grip, the Reactor works well ergonomically. My pointer and middle finger rest in the first hollow, ring finger in the next, and finally Mr. Pinky resides down by the gears. Pretty comfy for a MT. The Freestyle/Skeletool are the reigning champs when it comes to MT-in-knife-mode comfort, but the Reactor gets pretty high marks here, too.



As for cutting, it's a SOG, and they now a little bit about blades. Every SOG I own has been crazy sharp straight out of the box and the Reactor is no exception to this. I have used the knife quite a bit and it has excelled on a variety of tasks. I've tried it on paper which it easily handles. It passed the arm hair test. It cut asparagus stalks with no problem. I set out to really test it, however. First up: the Reactor cut this plastic discharge hose pretty easily.



This strap (nylon?) was easy to slice, so I doubled it over. More of a challenge but it was still defeated by the Reactor.



Now, the reinforced garden hose was a challenge. I really had to use some force, but the blade on the Reactor handled it.



It is definitely not a Freestyle, but it is a beast in knife-mode :tu: especially for how diminutive it is. As fas as edge retention, it has been good. After cutting the garden hose earlier I touched it up with a fine stone and it is razor-sharp again.

Sorry I'm very late in saying this mate; great pics and cutting review. :cheers:

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...
No Life Club Posts: 1,913 I know you are, but what am I?
Re: My Reactor Overview
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2016, 11:07:20 PM »
Thanks, Gareth :tu: I still intend to break down the pliers/wire cutters and the driver some, as well.

Without POL, pilots are pedestrians.
No Life Club Posts: 1,913 I know you are, but what am I?
Re: My Reactor Overview
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2016, 03:07:21 AM »
Moving on to the Reactor's pliers. These are pretty small plier-jaws. SOG typically employs a small bolt gripper area, and this holds true on the Reactor. The needle-nose section isn't very big, either. However, it stays pretty wide/thick, especially for how diminutive the Reactor is overall. The teeth in the jaws are moderately aggressive, and even if they might not meet up perfectly, it's close enough. All that combined with SOG's famous compound leverage and I find that it is a great gripper :tu:

Ergonomics - It's pretty good. Not great, but not bad. You can feel a few areas when you are really bearing down that may cause a bit of discomfort. But it's not off-putting IMHO. The problem, which has been alluded to by LBS, is the location and orientation of the blade-safety switch. When you are bearing down on the handles, the safety will disengage. I have done this many times. In this state, you can now inadvertently fire the blade, quite easily. I have only done this once, and recently. It is usually easy to feel when you hit it and you can then adjust to make sure you stay away from the blade. But the other day, during heavy pressure, I didn't notice anything until I felt the blade touching my inner forearm :o It hadn't fully deployed, so it was not locked. If it had been, it may have caused injury.

I have used the pliers a lot and put some serious muscle onto them (well, for me :rofl:) I have pulled heavy-duty staples out of wood, bent chain-link fence ties, and of course the obligatory tightening and loosening of various nuts and bolts. I also called on the Reactor to help me drain the gas from my riding lawn mower, as the fuel line had a clip that needed to be squeezed together in order to loosen. Shouldn't have been a problem, except the tabs that you are supposed to squeeze were really short, skinny, and sharp-edged. In other words, a nightmare for fingers. That beefy needle-nose tip was just the thing for it. I also had to disconnect the battery from said lawn-mower, and the nuts were really tight on the bolts that clamp the wires to the posts. As my socket-set had already been packed, all I had were multitools. The Reactor and PowerLock teamed up for the task. The PL was too big to do any twisting, so she just held on while the smaller Reactor was perfectly suited to tight confines - allowing me to apply enough torque to break the nuts loose. (Also, strangely, the plier-head is now magnetized after working on this task (I may never understand electricity))

It hasn't been totally without fault, however. Inside the body of the tool, in the handle with the knife, their is a small rivet. It looks like it is basically flush. After really, really bearing down on the pliers, the plier head will contact this rivet to the point that I cannot close the tool. It is an easy condition to fix as I just sort of press on it a bit, and it goes back to normal. It just goes to show how tight the clearances are on the Reactor. You can see a rub on the plier-head in the following picture - this is from the offending rivet.





Without POL, pilots are pedestrians.
No Life Club Posts: 3,436 Nothing's typical around here
Re: My Reactor Overview
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2016, 04:13:16 AM »
Interesting write up rdub, im glad the Reactor is working for you, although the accidentally blade deploying is a bit "disarming"

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No Life Club Posts: 1,913 I know you are, but what am I?
Re: My Reactor Overview
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2016, 05:44:43 AM »
Interesting write up rdub, im glad the Reactor is working for you, although the accidentally blade deploying is a bit "disarming"

It definitely is a bit worrisome. At this point, it has only happened so scarcely that I am not too concerned. But I will be cautious whenever I am using the pliers hard.

Without POL, pilots are pedestrians.
Wielder of the Bow of Banishment. Admin Team Point Of No Return Posts: 31,284 El Presidente del Fan Club Micky D
Re: [UPDATED] My Reactor Overview
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2016, 01:15:49 PM »
The blade release is definitely good to know about!  As with may things; a bit of forewarning goes a long way to keeping safe. 

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...
No Life Club Posts: 3,436 Nothing's typical around here
Re: My Reactor Overview
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2016, 04:14:02 PM »
Interesting write up rdub, im glad the Reactor is working for you, although the accidentally blade deploying is a bit "disarming"

It definitely is a bit worrisome. At this point, it has only happened so scarcely that I am not too concerned. But I will be cautious whenever I am using the pliers hard.
Yeah, it is a manageable problem, but it is a fairly easily resolved issue, (as is the accidental unlocking of the blade in use), and its a shame SOG put the tool out to market with that problem.

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Slaughter is just Laughter with an "S"

We are looking for Multitool Encyclopedia Editors! If you are interested, please give me a PM!

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Sr. Member Posts: 472
Re: [UPDATED] My Reactor Overview
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2016, 07:41:37 PM »
    I just picked up one of these from Academy Sports for $29.99. They were closing them out! Not sure what to make of it. It looks like SOG could not make up their mind whether they wanted to make a small key chain tool, or a full sized tool, so they compromised. It looks like a good replacement for a pocket knife, with pliers in case you needed to do some lightweight jobs, like maybe work on a computer. It took me a while to find the bottle opener also! I never read the instructions that come with these things!  :P  If it was up to me, I would have made it larger using thicker steel. It would have been more comfortable in the hand, and probably would have fixed a lot of complaints I have read about this tool. For what I may use it for, it should do OK!
Sr. Member Posts: 472
Re: [UPDATED] My Reactor Overview
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2017, 02:32:48 AM »
   The more I play with this, the more unimpressed I am with it. The knife does not lock if you manually open it. I have a cut on my thumb, and it makes flipping the blade open a bit hard. The liner lock is also too thin and bends. 
Global Moderator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 56,811
Re: [UPDATED] My Reactor Overview
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2017, 03:42:46 AM »
Sorry to hear you are not getting on with it mike :-\ at least it wasn't very expensive and you didn't waste a lot of money on it to find out you don't like it though :)
Hero Member Posts: 666
Re: [UPDATED] My Reactor Overview
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2017, 09:34:30 PM »
Love these reviews, they make me like this tool more as Im not a fan. Reactor just feels flimsy with the pliers and the blade lock seems weak too.

I know it isnt tool for heavy use but more of an urban backup, but it feels flimsier that pliers or knife should for me.

Leatherman:
Charge TTi, AL, Squirt PS4, Surge, Juice XE6, CS4, S2, ST300, Crunch, OHT, MUT, Rebar, Brewzer, Signal, Raptor, Tool Adapter, Croc, Wave, Style CS, Freestyle, Skeletool RX, Micra, Wingman
SOG:
PPP, PowerLock, SwitchPlier 2.0, Paratool, PowerAssist, Reactor, CrossCut, PowerPlay
Gerber:
FliK, MP600 ProScout, MP600 blunt, Dime, MP-1, Diesel, MP400
Bahco:
MTT151, MTT051, MTT121
Knives:
Spyderco PM2, Tatanka, Bug, ZT 0452CF, CS Recon1XL, Benchmade 940-1 and 482
SAKs:
Too many to list here...
Sr. Member Posts: 472
Re: [UPDATED] My Reactor Overview
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2017, 04:23:23 AM »
Love these reviews, they make me like this tool more as Im not a fan. Reactor just feels flimsy with the pliers and the blade lock seems weak too.

I know it isnt tool for heavy use but more of an urban backup, but it feels flimsier that pliers or knife should for me.

     It is probably because of this apparent need of manufactures to make everything "lightweight." If this is overdone, the tool will become more flimsy. I have never understood the need to make a multi tool or knife really lightweight. I carry a Leatherman Surge when my wife and I go to the mountains and is sits happily on my waist in its sheath. I do not even know it is there. Maybe if I stuck it in my pocket I would feel different, but the tool was not really made for pocket carry.  I also sometimes use a Gerber Freehand, which is very tank like! I would be happier with mine if I could get the blade to lock when manually opening it. It is a little too short for me to flip it open with my thumb.

 

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