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Review: Leatherman ARC multi-tool

Written by Fiona

November 15 2023

The new Leatherman ARC feels reassuringly weighty and robust and boasts lots of useful functions. I have been exploring the multi-tool.

Tools include:

  • 1 MagnaCut Knife Blade
  • 2 Needlenose Pliers
  • 3 Regular Pliers
  • 4 Large Bit Driver
  • 5 Diamond-coated File
  • 6 Small Bit Driver
  • 7 Wood/Metal File
  • 8 Pry Tool
  • 9 Replaceable Wire Cutters
  • 10 Replaceable Hard-wire Cutters
  • 11 Impact Surface
  • 12 Large Screwdriver
  • 13 Bottle Opener
  • 14 Can Opener
  • 15 Awl
  • 16 Spring-action Scissors
  • 17 Saw
  • 18 Wire Stripper
  • 19 Electrical Crimper
  • 20 Edge File

Features include:

  • Bit Kit Compatibility: Add capability and extra drivers.
  • All Locking Features: Every tool and knife on the body of the handle, with the exception of the plier head, will lock into place.
  • All Locking Outside Features: Each outside-accessible tool on this multi-tool safely locks into place when fully deployed. The user must manually unlock a tool to fold it away.
  • Removable Pocket Clip
  • PVD Coating
  • WEIGHT: 8.6 oz. | 243.8 g.
    CLOSED LENGTH: 4.25 in. | 10.78 cm.
    OPEN LENGTH: 6.45 in. | 16.39 cm.
    BLADE LENGTH: 2.76 in. | 7.02 cm.
    WIDTH: 1.3 in. | 3.4 cm.
    OVERALL THICKNESS: .68 in. | 1.7 cm.
  • Price: £260.95 
  • See: www.whitbyandco.co.uk and Leatherman ARC. You can also buy from other retailers.

The new Leatherman ARC includes 20 tools and it’s the first multi-tool to use a MagnaCut steel blade with “superior edge retention and durability”. The diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating on the blade adds another layer of corrosion resistance.

In addition, the Leatherman incorporates Leatherman’s renowned “FREE technology” that enables its features to be used with one hand.

My thoughts: Leatherman ARC

Since my teens, I have always owned a penknife. It started with a lovely wee red Swiss Army knife that had a blade, file and a couple of other tools. A few years later, I was fortunate to be given another Swiss Army knife that seemed to have every type of tool I could ever need. It was actually a bit big and bulky and the tools were a tad fiddly – many I never used – but I was very proud of the multi-tool.

In my 20s and 30s, I was gifted several different Leatherman multi-tools and I even owned a purple Leatherman with an engraving. I have no idea where these gadgets have disappeared to but a few years ago I received a Leatherman Signal to test and review and I became the happy owner, once again, of a really useful tool.

I like to take a multi-tool with me on camping trips, backpacking adventures and when campervanning. I also like to have a multi-tool in the house for general DIY use.

So, you can understand why I might be very happy to test the new Leatherman ARC.

On test: Leatherman ARC

The Leatherman ARC feels satisfyingly solid. It’s quite weighty but I find this reassuring. If you are planning to make use of tools such as a sharp blade, pliers, a file, screwdriver etc, you need the product to be strong and robust. The Leatherman is all of this.

The tools click out for use and need to be released so you can replace them. This means there are no accidental blade cuts or issues with a screwdriver, for example, folding away when in use.

Most of the tools are easy to access as well, although I realised I had to open up the knife to access a couple of smaller tools. This means you need to be careful not to accidentally cut yourself on the knife. I think it has always been this way with multi-tools. Once the smaller tool is opened, I simply folded back the knife to stop any potential issues.

There are some tools I know I’ll use frequently, such as the spring scissors, which work well with only one thumb; the knife, which is extremely sharp and effective, and the small but excellent saw.

I also like the clever tiny double-ended screwdriver – the sort I use to tighten the screws in my specs – and another larger double-ended screwdriver pair. The bottle opener is useful as well, as is the can opener.

I have never used a file on a multi-tool. There is also an “impact surface”, but I confess I have no idea what this is!

In the past I have had use for a wire stripper and, once or twice, an awl.

Overall there are many useful and high quality tools and it is a gadget I will take with me when I go camping, while also using it in the house for DIY projects.

The Leatherman ARC also comes in a durable canvas pouch.

The only improvement I can suggest is that it would be great to have a Leatherman ARC in a brighter or funkier colour. It’s not a cheap gadget, either, but I have rarely seen a good quality multi-tool that I would class as cheap.

If you are looking for a special gift for someone I can see it being well received.

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