Wal Mart has quietly released a Wave knockoff of surprisingly high quality. This tool retails for $37.74
, which is 4x-10x times the price of the usual Ozark Trail piece of junk. The tool takes definite inspiration from the wave. In some ways, I think the design is an improvement. The fit and finish of course can't compete with the mighty USA made Leatherman, but this costs 63% less than a Wave!TL;DR:
Well worth $40. Bit driver+bit extender that accepts standard bits and blades on pivot opposite to Wave are welcome changes. No eyeglass screwdriver to make room for full-size bits. Blades are sharp with no play. All tools have good fit and finish, but below that of the Wave. Most suspect tool is the file (good files are expensive), but I haven't really tested it. Will be buying another!
Wal-Mart posts the following diagram on their website:
In this review, I will post side by side comparison pics of the Multiforce and the LM Wave, since it is impossible to discuss one without the other. It is about the same length and width as the Wave, but it definitely chunkier. Notice that the sheet metal of the chassis is a bit thicker than the wave.
The pliers are very similar, notice that Wal Mart included a cap crimper at the base of the plier head! Notably, I feel zero flex when pressing down hard on the handles. My OG waves flex like crazy, my "new" Waves still flex a bit. The head is nicely formed, with excellently shaped teeth. The wire cutters do not touch (much less cut paper) like on a fresh Wave, but they do cut paper clips. Haven't tried anything thicker. The plier pivot is completely smooth, with no play. When closing the pliers into the handle, you don't have the friction against the handle like on the Wave. (Pros: no scratches on plier head out of the box. Cons: looser retention when closed.)
The blades are sharp, have zero play. They are a tad shorter than the Wave. Serrated blade is definitely less sharp. They do lock with the same "click" as a Wave, but the locks seems totally secure. The thumb holes are very rounded, so deployment is not as effortless one-handed a Wave, but the blade pivots are smooth. My PE blade sliced paper out of the box, no idea how well it will hold up though.
The blades have a liner-lock that looks stout. My thumb is on the rocker bar lock for the internal tools.
One thing that I love (
) is that the blades are attached on the "tool" side, not the "plier" side. While the Wave looks cool, I find that having the blades and pliers on the same pivot makes it almost impossible to tune. When pliers get a little loose, I like having the simple option of just tightening the screws. With a Wave, you can't do that, as the blades will become way too tight. For me, this is a definite design improvement!
The saw looks very similar to the Wave, although the Wave tapers much more towards the spine for easier cutting. The Wave's spine is also hella sharp (I cut my thumb on it once!), while the Multiforce is a bit rounded.
The file has a diamond coating (!) on one side, and cross-cut on the other. Have not tried either. The cross-cut file is definitely better than a SOG (shame on you SOG!!), but nowhere near as good as a Victorinox, Gerber file or some
Leatherman files. (I actually find the Wave file to be weak. ST300 is better, Rebar and Juice are excellent!) . I forgot to take a picture, but there are teeth on the bottom, but weak teeth.
The scissors are fine, less sharp but thicker than the Wave. Work fine on paper, cardboard.
We also have a can/bottle opener and wire stripper and large flathead. Unremarkable, fine.
No stupid eyeglass screwdriver! (Despise that space waster.) That space is used for something much better....
A bit driver that takes standard bits!!!!
There is no magnet, so retention depends on a ball bearing spring in the supplied Ph/Flathead double headed bit they give you. The driver accepts LM proprietary bits, but there would be no retention. Impressively, the tool comes with a handy bit-extender. This does have a magnet, but a weak one.
LM bits are nice because they are slim and light, full size bits are a lot to carry. But this tool is more flexible, and the bit extender is awesome!
There is also a ruler, but lasered not stamped:
Notice that the tool has "scales", the chassis is not one piece of rolled sheet metal. Much easier to manufacture I'm sure, but also allows for some weight rebalancing. Thicker steel on core frame, thinner steel on scales. Improvement, honestly.