Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: Leatherman Squirt PS4 [Mutli-tool]

Squirt PS4

Price: about $24

The squirt model has evolved over time, with the PS4 being the latest in the Squirt evolution by adding scissors to the popular spring-loaded pliers. The Squirt line is much smaller than some of Leatherman's larger models such as the Wave, Charge and even the Juice. There are a few smaller tools such as the Micra and Style, but the Squirt line is as small as you can go and still have anything approaching the functionality of larger multi-tools.

My review sample was purchased from Amazon.com.

Update 10/19/2013: I'm going through some of these older reviews and updating the photos since I have a better camera now, and my photography skills have improved a little.


Official Specs

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Product Image
Leatherman Squirt PS4 Product Link

From the Leatherman site:

Tools:
Spring-action Needlenose Pliers
Spring-action Regular Pliers
Spring-action Wire Cutters
420HC Knife
Scissors
Medium Screwdriver
Flat/Phillips Screwdriver
Wood/Metal File
Bottle Opener

Features:
Key Ring Attachment
100% Stainless Steel Body
Anodized Aluminum Handle Scales
Available Colors: Red, Black, Blue
25-year Warranty

Measurements:
2.25 in | 5.72 cm (Closed)
2 oz | 56.4 g (Weight)
1.6 in | 4.06 cm (Blade Length)

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Top Split View

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Side Split View
Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Rivets
Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Side View

First Impressions


The Squirt PS4 comes in a small, nondescript box. Taking it out the box, it's clear this is a real tool that means business. It looks well put together, and has a great feel in my hand. Both the pliers and scissors have a good feel to the springs. The only thing I have resembling a negative first impression is that is has rivets instead of screws holding it together.

Tools

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Scissors

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Philips Screwdriver

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Blade 1

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Blade 2

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Pliers Spring

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Pliers Teeth

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Pliers Closed

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Coarse File
Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Closeup Of Fine File



Design


I really did my homework, and chose the PS4 for it's compact design and full-featured set of tools. Leatherman finally gave the people what they want: pliers and scissors in the smallest package possible. I really like the design of the springs on the pliers and scissors. The pliers have a little spring lever (?) on each side, which I haven't seen on another multi-tool.

The blade has a chiseled edge, meaning it's only beveled on one side. I have no idea why they made it like that, but in practice it's fine as long as you don't try to sharpen it on both sides. Some people like to take the stock edge off and give it a more traditional edge. For me, it's not that big of a deal.

As I've said, my main gripe with the design is that the tool is held together by rivets instead of screws. You can't have everything I guess, but it's interesting to note that most of my low end multi-tools like the Gerber Vise all can be disassembled. Oh well, it's got a 25 year warranty.

Fit and Finish


The fit and finish on my unit is good overall. The blade has a decent edge and the tolerances are tight overall. The scissors have a bit of play, which is a little disappointing. The blade has a tiny bit of play, but it's barely noticeable, and I don't think it will be an issue.

The pliers meet together nicely and the aluminum scales are tight. There are no noticeable defects in the machining or anodizing, which is surprising given its price. 

Usability


This is a very usable multi-tool. The pliers are so good that the PS4 is usually my first choice around the house when I need small pliers, which for me is saying something. Not only to I have a collection of multi-tools at my disposal, but I also have a big tool box full of real pliers.

Conclusions


This is my EDC multi-tool. I like to EDC small, so this is perfect for me. Obviously for larger jobs and trips to the outdoors, I will carry a larger multi-tool, but for around the house the PS4 is great. And out of all my multi-tools and nerdy gadgets, the missus likes this one the best. I've promised to get her one.

I'm not sure I like the riveted construction or the chisel blade, but these are minor annoyances and don't take anything away from the usability.

Comparison to Gerber Vise


I wanted to make a quick comparison since these tools are so similar. The Vise is made in China and costs about half the price as the Squirt PS4. It's a decent tool as well.

Design: Both have a good design, though the Leatherman has a better implementation. Too bad though, because the Vise competes well design-wise. You get a second, serrated blade on the Vise instead of scissors, and you get torx head screws instead of rivets.

Leatherman Squirt PS4 and Vise, side-by-side
Leatherman Squirt PS4 and Vise, side-by-side
Fit and Finish: No comparison. The Leatherman is superior. The Vise looks sloppy by comparison, and has a bunch of machine marks, nicks in the anodizing, and even nicks in the screw heads holding it together.

Usability: They are actually pretty close overall. Obviously I'm a big fan of the scissors, but the Vise definitely holds its own. It's a little heavier and bulkier, though.

Conclusions: Both tools have similar functionality, but I'd give the edge to the Leatherman due to its smaller size and superior fit and finish. I use the Vise as a beater/loaner. And I can really see where the extra $12 went - money well spent.


Gallery

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool: Next To Box
Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool With Leatherman Juice Xe6
With Leatherman Juice XE6


Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool With Pelican 1910 AAA Flashlight
With Pelican 1910 1xAAA flashight

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool Shown with a small Case lockback and a Spyderco Ladybug
Shown with a small Case lockback and a Spyderco Ladybug
Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool Shown With A Couple Case Lockback Pocket Knives
Shown with a couple Case lockbacks
Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool Shown With All Tools Open

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool Next To Ruler

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-Tool On Scale



3 comments:

  1. From what I've read elsewhere, the Squirt is now fastened with screws instead of rivets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice, thanks. If that's the case, I'll probably buy one of the new version.

      Delete
  2. bought one yesterday in Canada from Mountain Equipment Co-op and it is still rivets

    ReplyDelete