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Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor

ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
on: February 15, 2018, 04:20:00 PM
It’s not often you get the opportunity to pit a multitool directly against a competitor as the variety of functions makes almost every model different from every other one.  Occasionally though, we manage to find a couple that are close enough that we can match them against eachother in a very fair fight- last year it was the Leatherman OHT vs the Gerber Center-Drive and it resulted in a draw.  You can see last year’s match up here:

https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,71214.0.html

This year we are going compact as the SOG Reactor takes on the Leatherman Skeletool.



Both tools are compact, lightweight EDC tools with a basic tool loadout featuring blades, pliers, bottle openers and screwdrivers- just the necessities.  And, both tools are meant to be pocket carried, with no sheaths, bit sets or other addons.

As with last year’s battle my feelings on this fight are well documented, and again I am not in Leatherman’s corner, but I will look at each and every aspect of this bottle objectively and award points on each tool’s merits.  I have even made my preference on this one known on video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p36GdLT0Okc

But, enough of that- let’s get this show on the road!

Part 1- Tale of the Tape





Skeletool   
Length   105mm   
Width   34mm   
Thickness   18.5mm   
Weight   145g   
MSRP   $59.95-79.95   





Reactor
Length   97mm
Width   30mm
Thickness   22mm
Weight   114g
MSRP   $67.00



Overall the Reactor is significantly more compact than the Skeletool and because of that, the Reactor draws first blood by taking the first point.  When it comes to a compact EDC tool you just can’t help but award the prize to the most compact tool, and with over an ounce less weight (31g = 1.1oz) but the same number of functions it’s a significant difference.



Price wise I would like to score it a tie- some iterations of the Skeletool are more expensive than the Reactor while others are cheaper.  The bottom line is though, the Skeletool is available for less money, but with all of the functions, or even cheaper if you want to start whittling away functions, such as the KB or Freestyle series, but those are a bit of an offshoot and not really relevant to this discussion. 





SCORE- SOG 1, Leatherman 1

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow.   :tu:

Def
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 04:52:29 PM by Grant Lamontagne »
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id Offline jaya_man

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #1 on: February 15, 2018, 04:22:57 PM
:popcorn:


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us Offline Poncho65

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #2 on: February 15, 2018, 06:14:47 PM
Good stuff to know so far :salute: I am surprised that there is that much of a weight difference :o WTG SOG :cheers: :like:


us Offline mcb

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #3 on: February 15, 2018, 06:51:08 PM
I own both tools and I have to say I will be interested to see how your score falls out.

Personally I like and use the Skeletool a whole lot more than the Reactor.  The Reactor may be lighter but you feel it in the quality of the tool when you use it hard.  I also don't mind the longer length of the Skeletool since it is thinner than the Reactor and in my experience  being thinner is far more important to its carry comfort than length.


us Offline Alan K.

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #4 on: February 16, 2018, 04:28:04 AM
I have a Skele and was thinking about getting the SOG. I'm looking forward to your results.
anticipation.jpg
* anticipation.jpg (Filesize: 100.5 KB)


es Offline ThePeacent

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #5 on: February 16, 2018, 01:58:16 PM
Skele seems to win over Reactor every time, in every review and discussion I've seen   :P

absolutely not dismissing your comparison, boss, but I found this VS. video from Gideonstactical (a YouTube reviewer with similar thoughts to mine, and opinions I trust and agree with) almost two years ago and that took the decision for me   :tu:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=140kSvBhWzI

afterwards 90% of reviewers agreed in one or another way with it,
and I bet your views won't be much different  :salute:
My toys:

MTs: Surge (2x), Skeletool CX, Rebar, Blast, Fuse, Micra, Squirt (3x), Wave, Crunch, Mini, Spirit (2x), Pro Scout, MP700 (2x), Diesel, Powerlock, PowerPlier (2x), PocketPowerPlier, Blacktip , ST6 (2x), 5WR, A100

SAKs: Bantam, Executive, Ambassador, Minichamp, Classic Alox, Champion, Farmer, Explorer, Swisschamp, Golf Tool, Wenger Champ, EVO 52, Pocket Tool Chest


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #6 on: February 16, 2018, 03:30:29 PM
Skele seems to win over Reactor every time, in every review and discussion I've seen   :P

absolutely not dismissing your comparison, boss, but I found this VS. video from Gideonstactical (a YouTube reviewer with similar thoughts to mine, and opinions I trust and agree with) almost two years ago and that took the decision for me   :tu:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=140kSvBhWzI

afterwards 90% of reviewers agreed in one or another way with it,
and I bet your views won't be much different  :salute:

Well then I guess we can just pack up the whole site and be on our way then, as that YouTube guy has it covered!  Thanks for being a part of the place everyone, don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out, and last one out, please turn off the lights!

But, since I already wrote all of this, I might as well post it anyway..... you know, like as if we had our own site with our own way of doing things and our own minds, independent of an internet full of bandwagon-jumpers and fanboys....   :pok:

Part 2- Blade



The blades on each tool are roughly the same size, and both feature liner locks and one handed opening accessibility.  The blade on the SOG is a plain edge, while the Skeletool is available either partially serrated or as a plain edge, depending on the model. 



As tested, and at the cheaper end of the range is the partially serrated blade- if you want the plain edge blade you need to spend more money or try to find a first generation Skeletool, in which the cheaper ones had plain edge blades and the more expensive CX had the serrated edge. 



Either way, moving up to the more expensive CX model will also get you 154cm steel in the blade, versus the black coated 420 stainless found in the Reactor.  The cheaper standard Skeletool does not list a blade steel but appears to be some derivative of either a 440 or 420 type steel.  As someone who doesn’t worry myself much about steel snobs, I have used both Skeletools and Reactors quite extensively and I don’t find a significant difference between the steels themselves.



Where these is a difference is in accessibility- while both blades are easy to access, the Reactor blade is assisted opening, and allows for lightning quick opening.  There are some folks that like this feature and some that don’t, but it provides at least a slight advantage over the Skeletool blade.



Further, there is a well documented complaint about the Skeletool blade- it’s too short.  If you look in the blade slot there is ample room for additional blade, and in fact a larger blade mod was done by MTO member Evil10 some time ago.  Given that this blade could have been longer, one has to wonder why Leatherman opted not to give the user as much blade as they could.

SOG gets this point, but only marginally.

SCORE- SOG 2, Leatherman 1

Def
Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


au Offline ReamerPunch

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #7 on: February 16, 2018, 04:19:40 PM
Assisted blade = prohibited to import it down under.  :-\
Sorry SOG, but being blacklisted and having my tool confiscated is not my priority at the moment.


gb Offline Wspeed

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #8 on: February 16, 2018, 07:05:52 PM
Very interesting
Can't wait to read more :popcorn:
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us Offline Old Boy

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #9 on: February 16, 2018, 07:27:25 PM
Rooting for the Skeletool.


us Offline Nix

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #10 on: February 16, 2018, 07:59:30 PM
I've got a plain-edge Skeletool. At first I was a bit underwhelmed by it's simplicity, it seems heavy for it's limited tool set. A Juice S2 has more tools and weighs less. But the Skeletool has grown on me over time. It's my only multitool with a pocket clip. And I like being able to tailor the 2-D drivers for a specific (anticipated) task. Overall a nice bit of kit.

Never handled a Reactor, so I'm curious about the shootout results. I'm one of those who don't prefer assisted opening, but I'm keeping an open mind here.

 :popcorn:


ie Offline McStitchy

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #11 on: February 17, 2018, 03:10:11 PM
Oh, that's interesting. Can't wait for part 3 Def  :like:


es Offline ThePeacent

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #12 on: February 17, 2018, 04:00:03 PM
good thoughts.
I also don't care for A/O blades, and SOG in particular seems to be very bad doing those (compared to Kershaw, BM, Gerber...), also most non knife people think they are automatics so they are a in a grey area in legal aspects and lawful use.
here in EU most police would put it under the automatic category, thus making it illegal   :P

you also have the durability issue (spring breaking or wearing out) and the fact that most assisted blades don't work well (they have no detent to hold them closed) once the spring is removed. I don't know if it is the case with the Reactor. Also I remember that the linerlock was rather flimsy and weak looking?  :pok:

as for the Skele, just a wild guess here but maybe they made it with a 2.6 inch blade to make it legal almost everywhere?  :think:
many cities, states and places in the US prohibit 3 inch blades that you can open with one hand, such as Chicago.

that is also 6.6cm, and many places on Europe limit blade length to 7cm, for instance the UK limit 7.5 cm (3 inches) but only for two handed opening blades. In other countries limit is only 7cm, not considering the opening method)   :salute:
My toys:

MTs: Surge (2x), Skeletool CX, Rebar, Blast, Fuse, Micra, Squirt (3x), Wave, Crunch, Mini, Spirit (2x), Pro Scout, MP700 (2x), Diesel, Powerlock, PowerPlier (2x), PocketPowerPlier, Blacktip , ST6 (2x), 5WR, A100

SAKs: Bantam, Executive, Ambassador, Minichamp, Classic Alox, Champion, Farmer, Explorer, Swisschamp, Golf Tool, Wenger Champ, EVO 52, Pocket Tool Chest


us Offline Nix

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #13 on: February 17, 2018, 04:18:40 PM
And it strikes me as being a fairly useful blade size/shape. Not going to dress out an Elk with it, but for EDC-type tasks, it seems a reasonable length. About the same size as a 91mm Victorinox.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 04:20:03 PM by Nix »


br Offline MaverickMCS

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #14 on: February 18, 2018, 01:05:52 AM
Rooting for the Skeletool.

I'm also rooting for the Skele. I'm pretty sure it would make my ideal EDC, but its damn hard to find a seller with decent shipping when I have the money for it (never found)...


scotland Online Gareth

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #15 on: February 18, 2018, 01:38:18 AM
:popcorn:
Be excellent to each other and always know where your towel is.


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #16 on: February 18, 2018, 02:30:14 PM
Part 3- Pliers



After the blade the most prominent function is the pliers, and let’s face it, this one seems like an open and shut case (pun sadly intended) given SOG’s compound leverage.  Just for the fun of it though, let’s break it down and see what we really have.



The heads themselves are very similar, with the Reactor’s being slightly stouter than the slender Skeletool’s more pointed needlenose.  In fact, the Skeletool has slightly more reach than the Reactor. 



As you can see from the photos, it’s pretty minor and I don’t see it being point-worthy so let’s dig a little deeper and notice that the SOG head has more surface area on the cutters.  Good cutters are important when you have SOG’s Compound Leverage driving those teeth together, so again it seems like SOG has this one.

But, there’s a twist- SOG’s Compound Leverage isn’t without it’s drawbacks too.  For example, while the SOG plier head may open further than the Skeletool’s, the handles have to be much farther apart to allow it, and they are basically nonfunctional in that configuration.

Compact tools such as these are also favored by people with smaller hands and having handles that open too wide limits their usefulness significantly.
 

 
This having been said, the Compound Leverage does allow you to use it with the plier handles folded over the head as well as opposite the head in a normal plier position, and that has come in handy on some jobs where clearance was an issue. 

Additionally, my father is somewhat past his prime and he loves his SOG pliers because the compound leverage offsets the arthritis in his hands very well, and that alone deserves a point.  I could keep poking at this, but in the end we all know this point is going to the Reactor, so let’s just cut to the chase.

SCORE- SOG 3, Leatherman 1

Def
Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


gb Offline Wspeed

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #17 on: February 18, 2018, 02:39:12 PM
Very interesting  :like:
To me they are both very handy looking pliers
But I do like the SOG compound leverage idea :tu:
« Last Edit: February 18, 2018, 02:40:53 PM by Wspeed »
fail to prepare prepare to fail


ie Offline McStitchy

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #18 on: February 18, 2018, 07:33:23 PM
I never handled a SOG, but this looks great to me.
 :tu:


us Offline Nix

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #19 on: February 18, 2018, 08:10:06 PM
How durable are the SOG pliers?

Those little gears are ingenious....but they seem....frail?

Maybe I'm just too rough on my stuff.  :-[


es Offline alexTOOL

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #20 on: February 18, 2018, 08:11:53 PM
Great review!  :like:

I like the compound leverage of Reactor but the assisted opening is a con very big to me.

Could it be possible to disassist the SOG Reactor??

Thanks Mr Lamontagne ;)


gb Offline Wspeed

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #21 on: February 18, 2018, 08:14:28 PM
How durable are the SOG pliers?

Those little gears are ingenious....but they seem....frail?

Maybe I'm just too rough on my stuff.  :-[
I agree those gears do look frail  :think: :tu:
fail to prepare prepare to fail


nz Offline Syncop8r

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #22 on: February 19, 2018, 02:12:00 AM
How far can the Reactor jaws open one-handed?  :pok:


gb Offline AimlessWanderer

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #23 on: February 19, 2018, 03:00:14 PM
How durable are the SOG pliers?

Those little gears are ingenious....but they seem....frail?

Maybe I'm just too rough on my stuff.  :-[

The gears do less than you might think. The mechanical advantage, or multiplication of the gripping force, is created by having the handle pivot forwards of the plier pivots. All the gears do, is keep the centreline of the plier head in line with the centre line of the handles. If you were gripping something to pull along the tool axis, or using the cutters for example, the gears aren't subject to much force at all. They do come into play however, when turning a nut, or doing anything which may twist the pliers centreline away from the handle centreline. Even then, I do not believe the gears are taking the full torsional load. This is a different torsional load from the twisting of the screwdriver bit in the back of the plier head - different axis of rotation...

It's not a particularly easy concept to put across in words only, but I hope this helps to get a clearer understanding of what those gears are for. I do not believe they are quite the weak link that they might initially appear to be.

How far can the Reactor jaws open one-handed?  :pok:

Good question.


The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad


us Offline Nix

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #24 on: February 19, 2018, 03:13:12 PM
Thanks, 50ft. Good explanation of an abstract concept.

I've pre-ordered the SOG PowerAccess Deluxe through the MTo store. I guess I'll get a chance to see!   :cheers:
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 03:16:58 PM by Nix »


us Offline mcb

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #25 on: February 19, 2018, 03:39:38 PM
The compound pliers for the SOG tool is one of the few things I really like about SOG multi-tools.  I just wish they did not feel so flimsy in the handles compared to Leatherman.

Does SOG have IP on their geared compound pliers?  Seems compound pliers in general have been around long before SOG.  It would be cool to see Leatherman make a compound pliers tool.  A Surge with a compound pliers would be a beast!


es Offline alexTOOL

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #26 on: February 19, 2018, 03:47:43 PM
Great review!  :like:

I like the compound leverage of Reactor but the assisted opening is a con very big to me.

Could it be possible to disassist the SOG Reactor??

Thanks Mr Lamontagne ;)

Helloooooooo!


us Offline Aloha

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #27 on: February 19, 2018, 03:49:23 PM
I'm liking the shootout.  I wasn't the biggest fan of the Skeletool till just recently.  I tried to carry it in the past but we didn't quite hit it off.  Having made an effort I have had a change a mind.  While it has a basic set of tools its a functional set.  I've not handled the Reactor so this is really a good read.   
Esse Quam Videri


gb Offline Wspeed

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #28 on: February 19, 2018, 04:28:09 PM
So far I am liking the SOG  :tu:
Never had one yet so i will be
Interested to see how it performs  :like:
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us Offline ThundahBeagle

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Re: Shootout- Leatherman Skeletool vs SOG Reactor
Reply #29 on: February 19, 2018, 06:26:20 PM
While I really like the idea of these "shootouts" between two similar tools of different brands, I have to say - and maybe this is just me here - the price to feature ratio on  both of these tools is abysmal.

I may follow this thread for the heck of it and for Grant' s sense of humor, but $60-$70 MSRP for a device with so few tool components drives me up a friggin' wall.

A new Wingman or a used 1st gen Wave cost less and does so much more. Hell, a new Rebar does WAY more at the lower price. I'm not as well versed in SOG' s line-up, but I bet they have a new something or other that's cheaper but has a more dense tool load out as well.

If they are going to give me half the tool load of a Rebar, it ought to cost about half as much. Not some overwrought, gussied-up, fancy schmancy designed scales just to puff up the price of a (maybe) $40 tool. My PS4 has more features.

**end rant. Thanks for your patience.



 

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