21 May, 2014

Leatherman Style PS

My PST II is still away, 45 days after posting it and about 30 days after they received it. I will be traveling soon, and I don't feel comfortable traveling without a multitool. I also thought my PST II (or its replacement) is a bit too big for EveryDay Carry (EDC), so I started looking at their smaller tools. I wanted one with pliers and scissors, maybe tweezers. Not having a knife was ok, since I only used it for opening packages anyway, which could be done with a scissors.

I narrowed it down to their Style PS and Squirt PS4 (didn't really look at other brands), which are very similar. Squirt is a bit bigger (odd because the word "squirt" can be used to mean small), but both have pliers and scissors.
Style PS
  • Smaller and lighter
  • Cheaper
  • Has a built-in carabiner clip
  • Has tweezers!
  • Has a nail file, which people say is more suited for nails than the Squirt's wood/metal file
  • No knife
  • Fewer screwdrivers
  • Has plastic parts, compared to aluminium on the Squirt
Squirt PS4
  • Has a knife
  • Aluminium on the handles, instead of plastic
  • Knife doesn't lock
In the end, I went with the Style PS because of the file and tweezers, which can be used for both plucking hairs and manipulating small objects. Not having a knife might actually be an advantage, since none of the tools lock, and I don't like knives without locks. Leatherman even claims the Style PS is TSA compliant, but people report it's hit-and-miss. Why do people want to bring tools on an airplane anyway? I like carrying my multitool everywhere, but I can deal with checking it in for a flight.

A word on Leatherman's small models: they group the Squirt, Style and Micra (6 models total) together - the instruction sheet is common for all 6 models. Briefly, the Micra is an old model which (whose?) main tool is scissors and has all-steel construction. Style tools all have holes in their handles, like the Skeletool. The Style is the simplest tool with only one handle like Swiss army knives, not the double handles. Style also has PS and CS; the PS has pliers as the main tool and scissors, while the CS has scissors and knife. Squirt has ES4 and PS4, both with pliers as the main tool. The only difference is ES4 has wire-strippers on the pliers.

Now all their tools come in simple black and yellow boxes. The store I bought it from had all the tools on display, and at first I was surprised by how small the Squirt was, especially compared to the regular-sized tools. Then I saw the Style, and was even more surprised. This is a really tiny tool. Its pictures online with no other references for size sure give you the wrong impression about its true size. I tried taking a picture with my hand to give you an idea:
Excluding the clip, it's not even the length of my hand. This could be their smallest tool with pliers. It cost $50 from the shop. It might have been cheaper from Amazon, but I wanted it in a hurry, and I like this shop because they have all their tools on display, and even let you handle them.

The black part of the tool is glass fibre reinforced plastic, which fortunately is only used on the part of the tool you see here (I don't think plastic is very durable). You can see the tweezers sticking out from the black plastic.

Another shot showing how small it is. The spring-loaded pliers are interesting. Besides keeping the pliers open, the spring action also holds the tool open or closed, so you can't really open the tool halfway. The tool also snaps into place when fully open or closed.

These are the tweezers. The ends are sharpened and slanted, showing they paid attention to them.  They work quite well. One thing about tweezers is that they get lost quite easily, since they're removable. I see Leatherman sells replacement tweezers for the Squirt; I hope they fit the Style as well.

The main complaint I see with the Style is that the scissors spring breaks, even when they're closed. I hope they fixed this problem. The spring looks pretty sturdy to me, and I hope the scissors can still be used without the spring.

Here it is in comparison with another of my smaller tools, a Wenger Swiss army knife with nail clipper. A brief review of the Wenger Swiss army knife: it's terrible. I always wanted a multitool with nail clippers, since I want to carry nail clippers everywhere I go. So I was so happy when they sold this on Groupon. These nail clippers are the worst I've ever used. The metal is so thin, they flex more than my nails. The cutting edges are blunt. The corners don't meet properly. It's ridiculous because I know they can make good nail clippers in this size - e.g. search for Henckels' travel nail clippers. Wenger is one of the two Swiss army knife manufacturers and they sell this abysmal product?!

The Style PS is slightly longer and thinner than the Swiss army knife.

After buying this, I found out Gerber has a similar product: the Dime. It costs less and has a few more tools - including a blade and package opener. However, it:
So, I think I made the right purchase.

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