With the expiry of the Leatherman Wave and Surge patents, other manufacturers have started to employ the design. Since it has been proven to be effective for over a decade, whether the new tools are of any use is mostly down to execution. How does the K6 fare? Let's have a closer look.Dimensions and other info
Length: 4.2" (10.7cm)
Width: 1.45" (37mm)
Thickness: 0.78" (20mm)
Tool: 8.8oz (250g)
Handles: Torx 8
Wire-cutters: Torx 8
Pliers material: 420 stainless
Wire-cutters: YG12 tungsten alloy
Blade material: 440 stainless
Cutting edge lengths
Blade: 2.95" (75mm)
Saw: 2.75" (70mm)
Scissors: 0.9" (23mm)
Also known as: Splitman GHK6, ATech 13 in 1, Bercol 15 in 1, A-Xintong 13 in 1
Price at time of review: $24
Pliers; spring-loaded (hidden spring), needle-noseFeatures
Scissors; spring-loaded (hidden spring), non adjustable pivot, blunt tips
Blade; locking (liner-lock), oho (thumb-hole), drop-point, plain edge, hollow grind
Saw; wood, bi-directional, locking (liner-lock), oho (thumb-hole)
File; fine and coarse, oho, locking (liner-lock)
Sheath; velcro, vertical carry, elastic sides
Bit set; 1/4" bits x9
Square hole adapter
The tool comes in a simple cardboard box, with a nylon sheath and a bit set.
The nylon sheath fits the tool well. The sides are elastic and it has a velcro closure. It offers vertical carry only and it is single-stitched. No branding is present. It is not bulky at all, hugging the tool nicely.
The sheath only fits the tool. There is no room for the bit set or anything else.
The bit set varies with each model. You will get either nine or eleven bits, and an adapter will be included. The adapter will fit square-shank Phillips drivers of many multi-toos, across many different brands. Depending on the brand this comes under, it may have no bit kit at all.
The blade opens easily with a thumb-hole, that has been placed and ground properly. The liner-lock engages at 90%. Not much room to wear but the lock-up is rock solid. The edge grind is not perfectly consistent, but the blade is sharp.
The blade cut easily through a variety of materials, aided by a nice hollow grind and a decent length.
Ergonomics are mostly good. The long tools do not protrude from the frame. There are some thin edges and pointy corners at the bottom of the handles that may cause some discomfort.
The saw also has a nice thumb-hole. The liner-lock engages solidly at 40%. The teeth are aggressive and worked well on wood. The bottom end of the frame will dig into your palm, due to thin edges. The spine and teeth are the same thickness, so it may bind while cutting wood.
The scissors are very well thought-out.
The integral spring acts as a thumb-catch for one-handed deployment, either left-handed with your thumb, or right-handed, with your index finger. The liner-lock engages at 40%.
The moving handle has a nice and wide thumb-ramp. The action and spring return are flawless, and the edges have been ground expertly. It was not surprising that the scissors cut through paracord, fabric, plastic packaging, and seatbelts with ease, with no crimping, folding, chewing, or pushing material away.
For thicker materials, like cardboard, there may be some resistance, as the cutting edges are not in-line with the scissors. As the material splits, it will push against the step in from of the pivot.
The bottom tip is blunt and will not accidentally puncture items.
The scissors are superior than many others of this design.
The file is not the best. The double-cut side works adequately on wood and plastic; metal may be too tough for it.
The single-cut side is a little too fine and is good for fingernails and very delicate work.
Good thumb-hole; liner-lock engages at 50%.
The flathead drivers are good enough. All tools lock firmly and the driver tips are not rounded. The wider one on the file may be too ambitious. A proper, hardened file will not survive twisting, especially considering how large the screws will be for the 7mm flathead to be required.
The Phillips driver has decent reach, engages properly in #1 and #2 screws, and is quite robust. The grinding is precise and crisp. The lock-up is solid.
The shank is not squared, and the bit adapter will rock left and right. It can still be used, although it may cause some annoyance.
The can opener worked wonderfully. Ergonomics, grind, shape, piercing, tracing, everything is excellent. Opening the can was easy, quick, effortless, intuitive. No shrapnel was created, it never slipped off the lid, it never got stuck.
The bottle opener worked well. It grabbed nicely onto the cap and removed it easily.
The cord cutter works on parachute cord. It will also open plastic shell packages, though since it lacks a piercing point, you will have to start the cut with the blade, then run the cord-cutter along the rest of the way. Thanks to the blunt point, it will not scratch the contents.
It did not perform that well on seatbelts. It took a lot of time turning it from side to side, to get it going and it chewed most of its way through.
The reamerpunch is good. It is well sharpened, the tip is tapered and pointy, it locks firmly, and it even has a sewing eye. Drilling and reaming were easy.
The wire-stripping notch works adequately, but its narrow opening limits it to small diameter cable.
The handles pivot smoothly and we have pliers.
The action and tolerances are excellent. It is not gritty and there is no play.
The handles snap into position very satisfyingly, thanks to the tension springs.
The teeth are well defined and the tips meet precisely.
Grabbing large nuts and bolts is doable, but the larger the size, the fewer points of contact there will be.
The wire-cutters are removable, although replacement parts are not readily available. Still, better than the riveted wire-cutters commonly found on inexpensive tools. Only one cutter has a hard wire-cutting notch.
They cut cables and coat hanger wire with ease, and suffered no ill effects. Cables were a little squashed, but clean cuts all around.
Ergonomics are wonderful. The edges of the handles are rounded and handle splay is average for the tool's size.Construction Quality
Fit and finish is good. There are no unfinished edges or burrs. Surfaces and edges are smooth. The sharps are properly sharpened. The thumb-holes are well ground to deploy the tools. Everything pivots smoothly and locks solidly.
The pliers are great. The tolerances are tight, the handles are butter-smooth, the tips actually meet.
Tool detents are excellent. Nothing opened while using something else.
The scissors are leaps and bounds better than the vast majority of this design, regardless of brand. Spring return, sharpening, action, comfort, blunt tips. Outstanding.
The frame cut-outs do not expose the blade tip or saw teeth.
The Torx screws are crisp, and actually able to be removed and screwed back in with no issues. The long implements do not grind against the frame when opening or closing.
There are a few issues here and there.
There are a couple minor casting imperfections on the pliers but these are only cosmetic.
The blade grind is not perfectly consistent. It cuts well, though, and it is barely noticeable to begin with.
The two handles can flex towards opposite directions when closed, and the thumbnail catch of the reamerpunch can hang up on that of the cord-cutter in the other handle, keeping the handles misaligned.Design
The design may seem familiar to some and rightly so. As the Leatherman Wave and Surge's patents expired, the design became available to other manufacturers. Grand Harvest did an arguably nice job with it, all things considered. The K6 is not a simple copy of the Wave or Surge.
The frame is dull but crisp. With the exception of the blackened locking tabs and frame cut-outs, the design was kept modest. The Grand Harvest logo is tiny and only on one side. Compactness is the most obvious design feature. Space was used efficiently, making the tool comparatively thin and narrow.
The spines of the longer tools barely protrude from the frame, aiding ergonomics. The scissors were actually designed rather than copied or reused from something else.
Perhaps most importantly, it lacks features that are signs of poor design or major compromise on other inexpensive multi-tools. It is not flared out on one end, to artificially create space for long implements. It does not have thick washers between implements that waste space. It does not have excessive handle splay. There are no short blades or woodsaws, due to lack of space. The implements and frame are not highly polished to achieve the illusion of an expensive tool.Performance
The tool performed quite well. The sharps are actually sharpened properly. Ergonomics are great. The long implements open easily and intuitively with one hand. Everything locks up firmly. The drivers fit their respective screws well. The Phillips in particular is nicely shaped and offers a nice reach. It can also fit in the square hole bit adapter, and although there is some wiggle room, it can still be used comfortably enough to do the job. The can opener is exceptional, especially considering how bad quarter-circles can be on inexpensive tools.
Although the ergonomics are wonderful, both in the blade/drivers/etc and when using the pliers, the star of the show would arguably be the scissors.
Scissors are notoriously difficult to get right, especially in inexpensive tools. Even among well-known tools and brands, scissors may be good enough for paper and little else. The K6 is a welcomed entry in the list of inexpensive multi-tools with truly outstanding scissors. Not only are they precise and cut very well, they are also very comfortable to use, and they can even be opened and closed with one hand. Definitely something for the big brands to think about, these scissors.
Sure, the file's rough side is not really aggressive, and the fine side is a little too fine. The blade material is not impressive. The saw could have been thinned out towards the spine to reduce binding. Still, for what it is, the tool did very well, and in some cases, unexpectedly well.Conclusion
For such a familiar design, the K6 was rather surprising. Considering the low price, which has dipped down to $10, expectations were not high with this tool. The execution of the design was not ambitious. No eye-catching changes, no innovations, no amazing new features were added. Still, the tool delivered. The implements on it range from adequate to excellent. The scissors are nothing short of mind-blowing. The can opener works just as well as one could hope. Drivers, openers, the blade, the pliers, the reamer, everything is quite good.
The mechanical aspects are well done. Tolerances are great, locking systems work as intended, detents are good, the screws are real screws that can be turned both ways. Ergonomics are also nice. The tool is comfortable to use with very few hotspots, if any. Space was used efficiently. The tools is quite compact. The wire-cutters are removable and not riveted, although replacements are not easy to come by. It also came with a sheath and a bit set. For the price, that's quite a bonus.
Speaking of the price, that is arguably the most impressive attribute of this multi-tool. For how well it performs, for how comfortable it is, for the accessories it comes with, it is indeed curious that it can be found for as little as $10 when on sale. Sure, the design was heavily inspired by other tools. At the same time, if inexpensive tools are to adopt these proven designs, this is the way to do it. The K6 is a good tool, head and shoulders above pretty much everything in its price range, regardless of manufacturer. It blows away the nameless tools in big box stores. It even gives some rather expensive offerings from the big four manufacturers a run for their money.
Will it replace a multi-tool five times its price? Well, it just might, considering how good it is and that it can be found on sale for only $10. If budget is tight, if people keep "borrowing" your tools, if your tacklebox requires another beater, this will do. It is certainly good enough, better than its peers, it has a good tool-set, with excellent scissors. It is definitely good value for money, especially if found at a discount. Notes
-The wire-cutters are the same as the Roxon Phantom/Flash. Though it would probably be cheaper to buy another K6.
-The pivots are smaller than Leatherman tools, but some modding is still possible.
-The thumbnail catch of the reamer may protrude a little too much, and hang up on the cord-cutter's one. I ground it down with a dremel.Pros
-All implements lock.
-Good and mostly effective tool load-out.
-Compact and ergonomic.
-Excellent price (and it can even be found on sale for as little as $10). Cons
-File, cord cutter and saw are only passable.
-No warranty information provided.
-No readily available wire-cutter replacements.
-Sheath does not accommodate bit set.Grand Harvest K2 Review