Leatherman Free P4: A Well-Made Multi-Tool For Everyday Carry And Outdoor Adventures
A few decades ago, multi-tools were associated with soldiers and outdoorsmen. These days, there are lots of pocket-sized multi-tools that many people can use. Manufacturers have provided customers with a wide variety of highly functional models in different shapes and sizes.
This product diversity may sometimes confuse many shoppers, so it is always a good idea to go with a well-known brand like Leatherman. This market leader makes the most reliable tools, and the Leatherman P4 is one of those. This Leatherman Free P4 review will take you through its specifications, cover its pros and cons, and help you decide whether it is the right tool for you.
Leatherman - The king of multi-tools
As the name suggests, a multi-tool combines different tools into one. They help tackle emergency repairs when you are on the road, fix small chores around the house, and a variety of unexpected problems life might throw at you. Multi-tools are handy substitutes when large sets of tools are not convenient to carry with you. However, not all multi-tools are built equally.
Since the founder, Tim Leatherman, built his very first multi-tool in 1983, he has been committed to bring users the best multi-purpose products to help them solve their daily problems in the house as well as to be the perfect companion when they are on the road.
Leatherman Free P4 is made in the US Via: Amazon
In this 37 year journey, the company has always innovated their tools to meet their customers' needs. Though all Leatherman products are built in Portland, Oregon, Leatherman engineers always test them on many long-day fishing trips and steepest hiking trails all over the country. In doing so, they ensure that their tools are reliable for any tasks that an outdoor enthusiast usually will face, big or small.
Leatherman P4 - Specifications, pros and cons
Leatherman P4 is a popular model in the Free-P series. It perfectly combines the utility of a traditional Leatherman tool and the convenience of an EDC folding knife. Let's take a look at its specifications, and the features we like and do not like.
- Made in the US
- Dimensions: 5.38'' x 7'' x 1.25''
- Weight: 12 ounces
- Material: stainless steel
- Includes 21 tools
- Blade length: 2.75 inches (7.02 cm)
- Warranty: 25 years
- Rugged design
- Magnetic locking is secure and easy to open
- Contains large and capable knives
- All tools can be easily accessed outside
- One-hand opening with a simple push of the thumb
- Removable pocket clip
- The wire cutter blade is replaceable
- The flip-open design is easy to use
- The magnetic locking can easily attract small pieces of metallic debris
- The ruler is not useful
Leatherman Free P4 review
The top rated multi tool should be one built with high-quality materials and that will perform well in different everyday situations. It should be useful when you're in the wild, too.
The P4 is an ideal choice for anyone who wants to carry a multi-tool, whether you are handymen, EDC enthusiasts, adventure lovers or contractors. It is a well-built tool packed with all of the latest features of modern multi-tool technology. Different factors contribute to the outstanding performance of the P4, and I will go through them all, one by one.
The Leatherman P4 is a high-end tool. It is made in the USA with Kraftform stainless steel. This choice of material allows the P4 to demonstrate its outstanding performance even under tough conditions like extraneous rust stains or pitting corrosion.
The Free P4 is made from high-quality stainless steel Via: Amazon
The P4 also includes a well-made nylon sheath, allowing you to store it away or to attach it to a belt. Also, it is weighty enough to reassure users that they are using a proper tool. In this respect, it can be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your personal needs. I occasionally photograph wildlife and nature, and I find the tool’s average weight and dimension a perfect fit for my use.
Most multi-tools are made from stainless steel, and they all look good and modern. Additionally, thanks to stainless steel’s natural ability to prevent rust, this material is used by many multi-tools manufacturers.
However, if you have to deal with conventional carbon steel tools in your screw-driving jobs, steel particles from these tools can remain as residues in the screw heads and eventually become rust when exposed to oxygen. This is called extraneous rust - a commonly seen problem in many types of tools.
Kraftform stainless steel is a perfect solution to build premium multi-tools like the Leatherman P4. This outstanding material protects the P4 against extraneous rust, which is usually transferred when using stainless steel items to fix or fasten non-stainless steel items.
Kraftform stainless steel's excellent robustness and durability effectively reduces wear and tear, facilitates high torque transfer, allowing you to use it in all conventional areas of application, especially with high levels of humidity.
Ergonomics is where the Free P4 shines. If I were asked what is the best Leatherman multi tool? I would say Leatherman P4 because of its excellent ergonomics and usability.
Thanks to its classic butterfly fold design, the tool is comfortable to hold, when closed or opened. More importantly, the pliers, which is the tools that we used quite frequently, do not pinch your fingers, allowing you to apply it with full leverage.
The magnetic locking features are a real design overhaul. Its system holds the tool together perfectly, so you can open and close your P4 with just one hand. These little spinning hinges do not open when you do not need them to, and stay closed when you want them to remain closed. Ergonomically, this upgraded feature is a significant improvement to enhance users convenience.
The P4’s magnetic locking system enhances users’ convenience Via: Amazon
Additionally, every tool of the P4 is easily accessible from the outside for swift use. If your left hand is occupied by other tasks, you can simply whip it out of your pocket or your belt and do what is needed in a split of a second.
The primary knife also sticks out slightly, which is another added feature as users can quickly feel where the blade is without looking at the tool. Even though this is just a minor detail, it significantly adds to users' convenience, especially if you are an outdoor adventurer.
Performance of the tools
There are 21 individual tools on the P4, making it the largest multi-tool in the Free series. In this Leatherman Free P4 review, I will provide an analysis of their functions right below.
The P4 has 21 tools that folds and opens in a butterfly design Via: Amazon
There is a straight blade and a serrated blade on the P4. Both are incredibly sharp, and made from 420HC stainless steel. The HC stands for high carbon, indicating it has better hardness than the regular 420. Their measurement is 2.76 inches long and can be opened on opposite handles.
The P4 has easily accessible blade Via: Amazon
These two knives are incredibly convenient and safe to use. They do not immediately pop out, as there is a large thumbhole located on either blade, which helps you swing them out quickly.
The Leatherman P4 comes with four screwdrivers. Three of them are flatheads of multiple sizes, and one is a large-sized Phillips head.
All four of them work well for their intended purpose. Each of the flathead screwdrivers has a straight linear intrusion across the head, giving users lots of flexibility to handle multiple tasks with ease. The Phillip's head has a flattened profile, which is invented to make more torque.
The extra-small screwdriver fits perfectly in tiny screws found in watches, eyeglasses, cameras or some small electronics. Since it is designed for many types of delicate work, you would be surprised at how much money you can save if your eyeglass frames need repairs or your watch batteries need replacing.
Pliers, wire cutters and wire crimper
These three tools are the carryover from the previous series of Leatherman, so there are both soft and hard wire cutters in the P4 like those of the older models.
Another improvement in the P4 plier assembly is the use of elastomer springs that remarkably enhances its longevity. Leatherman claimed that this plier opens and closes more than a million times before you need to replace them.
The P4’s pliers is extremely well-made Via: Amazon
Saw and scissors
The saw blade is easily accessed, and it is designed to saw through wood for DIY projects, thick branches or pieces of plastic tubes. The scissors in P4 do not disappoint and you will have a smooth cutting experience using them.
Multi-tools are designed for both the expected and unexpected tasks, and this proves true in my personal experience. Last week, when my partner and I had a walk on the beach, we came across two birds that were trapped in a fishing line. Luckily, my partner had this Leatherman P4 tool with him, which allowed us to use the scissors to free both birds safely. We were glad to see them make it to the water and swim away.
Pry bar, bottle opener and package opener
These three tools are cleverly built into a single piece on the P4. Though the pry bar is smaller than my expectations, I find it large enough for light prying. Because of its modest size, I would not recommend you to use it on significant tasks that require lots of pressure.
The bottle opener serves its primary function when you need to open up a soda can or a cold beer at family parties or picnics in the parks. The package opener does what it is designed for. It cuts through cardboard and packing tape with ease, so it is an alternative to the pry bar.
Awl, wire strippers and ruler
The P4's awl helps you make holes in leather or wood with little effort. My daughter has recently gained a bit of weight, and I have just used this awl to notch over one more hole on her leather belt yesterday. It worked excellently as the new hole looks perfectly in line with the others.
The ruler of this P4, however, is the only tool that I found disappointing as it is shorter than I expected.
The wire stripper, on the contrary, is pretty well-made. It can quickly strip lots of different sizes of wire. I reckon that Leatherman engineers must have taken customers' feedback from previous models into consideration when redesigning this wire stripper of the P4.
Leatherman P4 performance comparison
As with any other home appliances, shoppers looking for multi-tools usually set some criteria such as budget and function and then begin their online search with Google. Once they have shortlisted a few preferred models, they start to compare them feature by feature to eventually pick the most reasonable option.
I went through this same process, so I thought it would be helpful to provide the readers with some comparisons.
Leatherman Free P4 vs P2
Leatherman launched its P4 multi-tool in early 2019. It is one model in the P series, which belongs to the company's Free collection (hence the name Leatherman Free P4). P2 is P4's predecessor, so it is worth seeing how they are different from each other.
The P2 has similar look with the P4 Via: Amazon
Since they are under the same product line, they are made from similar materials with a similar build. Also, they have the identical measurement of 4.25 inches, but the P2 is slightly thinner than the P4. The P4 is only one ounce heavier than the P2, but it comes with 21 tools whereas the P2 only has 19. The P2 does not have a saw and only has one knife.
Given this difference, if you insist on having two blades, and asaw; and you also do not mind 1.oz difference in terms of weight, then the P4 is a better choice. Otherwise, the P2 is good enough.
Leatherman Free P4 vs Charge TTi
Leatherman Free P4 and Charge TTi have competitive features, and they are both rated as the best Leatherman multi-tool. But which one fits you better? Let's take a look at a quick comparison right below.
There is not a big difference in their dimensions. While the P4's measurement is 5.38'' x 7'' x 1.25'', the Charge TTi is slightly smaller. It comes at 5'' x 2'' x 0.8''. The P4 weighs 12 ounces, whereas the Charge TTi is 12.8 ounces.
The Leatherman Charge TTi is slightly bigger than the P4 Via: Amazon
Both P4 and Charge TTi have the butterfly opening design, providing users optimal comfort holding them. Additionally, they are both made from 420HC stainless steel, giving them the hardness to cope with corrosion and extraneous rust.
The P4 comes with 21 tools, whereas its sibling - Charge TTi - is equipped with 19 tools. The Charge TTi does not have an awl and a package opener. I do not use the package opener regularly in my P4. As for the awl, it is most commonly used to notch a belt. Now, if you do not mind the lack of these two tools in the Charge TTi, it is a perfect multifunctional tool for you.
1. Leatherman Free T4
If you find the Free T4’s magnetic locking system appealing but it’s too expensive, the T4 could be an alternative. This short Leatherman Free T4 review will help you decide whether it could be your multi-tool.
Leatherman Free T4 Via: Amazon
The T4's closed length is 3.6'' whereas its blade's length is 2.2''. It weighs only 4.3 oz, which means you can easily keep it in your pocket as an everyday carry tool.
Similar to the P4, the T4 also has the magnetic locking system that allows smooth and quick access to the tools. Users can work with speed and confidence in their daily tasks as well as in more demanding jobs when they are on the road.
When it comes to usability, the T4 is a strong competitor compared to its older siblings. All features in this tool can be accessed and operated with one hand. This one-hand opening feature allows users to keep the other hand free for multi-tasking jobs. Additionally, the T4 is designed with the mimic of a pocket knife; its tools are accessible from the outside while the device is in a closed position.
The T4 comes with 12 tools, and they are all well-made with users' convenience in mind: 420HC knife, spring-action scissors, pry tool, package opener, awl, bottle opener, wood/metal file, Philips screwdriver, medium/small screwdriver, extra-small screwdriver, and the tweezers.
2. Leatherman Skeletool CX
If you are a fan of Leatherman, but you do not think that you will use all 21 tools of the P4, then consider the Leatherman Skeletool CX. It comes with only seven tools, allowing you to handle almost everyday tasks with little effort. More importantly, it is super lightweight. What is better than holding a decent yet compact multi-tool that only weighs 5 oz in your hand?
But, is this tool the right choice? Read on as I explore a bit more in this short Leatherman Skeletool CX review.
Leatherman Skeletool CX Via: Amazon
Similar to the T4 and P4, all tools of the Skeletool CX are accessible from outside. Also, these tools can be operated by one hand only, which means you can tackle your tasks quickly.
Users safety is what makes this ultra-light multi-tool stand out. Its blade is designed to lock into place when it is in use, so you will need to unlock it manually to fold it away. Additionally, this compact tool is equipped with a replaceable pocket clip that lets users attach it to their belt or their pocket. Therefore, you do not need a sheath to carry it with you.
The Skeletool CX comes with seven tools: needle nose pliers, regular pliers, hard-wire cutters, wire cutters, 154CM knife, bottle opener, and a large bit driver. So you have all the necessary tools for your daily tasks.
I hope that the Leatherman Free P4 review has provided you with ample information to decide whether it is the right tool for you. P4 comes with 21 high-performing tools that let you work on multiple everyday tasks and demanding outdoor tasks effortlessly. Its magnetic locking system ensures that all tools are properly locked when they are not in use.
If you're interested in more basic options, the Free T4 and the Skeletool CX are excellent alternatives. Head over to the short reviews above for more details. Regardless of which model you choose, it is best to identify your specific needs first before clicking the purchase button.
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