Leatherman Wave VS Wave Plus: What The Difference Between New and Old?

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A new wave has come from Leatherman!

But will this be better compared to the old version?

If you’re wondering…

…you’ve come to the right place, ’cause we’ve got it covered for you.

Who wouldn’t want a multi tool, right? – A Leatherman per se.

A multi tool is an essential device for any handyman (or woman) who wants the on-the-go convenience of a tool that takes the place of nearly every other. 

It’s equipped with a plethora of convenient miniaturized tools all in one kit. A Leatherman multi tool is a solid option for everyday use.

Just to let you know…

The Leatherman Wave Plus is our pick for the best option in this product comparison, as it features an additional tool and more premium materials and design. 

On the other hand, the Leatherman Wave is a classic device that withstood the test of time and will undoubtedly serve you well. The Wave is also the more lightweight, compact device between the two.

This is an ultimate review on the Leatherman Wave vs Wave Plus – and we’ll be talking about:

  • The comparison between these beastly multi tools;
  • The features, advantages, and disadvantages of these two multi tools, and
  • Lots more!

Who knows, one of these beasts is the right fit for you.

Leatherman: The Company

Did you know that…

Leatherman is based out of Portland, Oregon, committed to making life easier by designing and creating ergonomic, versatile, long-lasting devices that combine the usefulness of, for instance, a tiny screw driver with a pair of scissors.

Not only that…

Leatherman is credited with creating the first-ever multi tool prototype, the Pocket Survival Tool, in 1983. Since then, the company has expanded and grown in its design of folding knives and multi tools.

Ain’t that inspiring?

Leatherman Wave

Leatherman Wave
1,742 Reviews
Leatherman Wave
  • READY FOR ANYTHING: The Wave is hands down our most popular multitool. With larger knives, longer wire cutters, and all-locking blades, the redesigned Wave is perfect for any job, adventure, or everyday task.
  • FIT MORE FUNCTIONALITY: The Wave is equipped with 17 tools, including knives, pliers, screwdrivers, a small bit driver for eyeglasses, wire cutters, a wire stripper, scissors, bottle and can openers, files, a saw, and a ruler.
  • LET'S BE PRACTICAL: Sometimes you only have one hand to spare. The Wave only requires one hand to open and use all the tools, even the ones that aren't accessible from the outside. And with all-locking blades, you can cut with confidence.
  • ALWAYS ON HAND: With its compact size and lightweight design, you can stash your Wave in your pocket and always have it when you need it.
  • GUARANTEED: Our 25-year limited warranty ensures that your Leatherman will give you many years of dependable service. Just send it in and we'll fix it up. All Leatherman multitools are made and repaired right here in the USA.

What makes the Leatherman Wave a classic, high-performing multi tool is its sleek design, compact size, and versatility. It has been known for its durability and longevity since its release in 2003. It is also known to be one of the most popular multi tools on the market.

Measuring only 3.94 x 1.38 x 0.59 inches, the Wave is a compact option that can easily fit into nearly any pocket. Overall, the Wave is slightly smaller and more lightweight (at only 0.53 pounds) than the Wave Plus, increasing the pocketability factor that makes this popular multi tool so intriguing in the first place.

The Leatherman Wave comes equipped with 17 built-in tools, which we’ll review in detail below. While it does not have the Wave Plus replaceable wire cutters, you can actually swap the head on the old Wave out for one that includes replaceable wire cutter blades. That way, you can have nearly the Wave Plus functionality without having to purchase the upgraded version.

Pros

  • Smaller overall size than the new Wave
  • Lighter in weight than the new Wave
  • All tools lock when folded and unfolded.
  • Can swap out the head to include the replaceable wire cutters
  • Has been out for several years and is known to be fully reliable

Cons

  • Doesn’t have an electrical crimper or replaceable wire cutter
  • It doesn’t come with a pocket clip (but with a tactical belt holder)
  • The black oxide may easily rub off on your hands

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Leatherman Wave Plus

Leatherman Wave Plus
1,326 Reviews
Leatherman Wave Plus
  • READY FOR ANYTHING: A fresh upgrade to our most popular multitool; Now includes premium replaceable wire cutters for tackling jobs tough, big and small for years to come
  • INSTANT TOOLKIT: Packs a quiver of 18 tools, including pliers, replaceable wire cutters, wire stripper, knives, saw, spring-action scissors, ruler, can & bottle openers, files and screwdrivers
  • OUR GUARANTEE: We’re proud to stand behind every product that leaves our factory in Portland, Oregon; That’s why we offer our 25-year warranty, so you can be confident your Leatherman lasts a lifetime
  • ONE-HAND OPENING: You only need one hand to open and use the compact Wave Plus, even the ones that aren't accessible from the outside
  • CUT WITH CONFIDENCE: This pocket-sized classic features all-locking blades that you can trust around the home, outdoors or on the job site

The Wave Plus includes all the tools featured in the old wave, plus an electrical crimper, discussed below. Furthermore, the wire cutters built into the Wave Plus are replaceable. This ensures that the blade will stay sharp for many years of usefulness.

The Wave Plus is slightly larger and heavier, making it a little less pocketable and ergonomic. Dimensions are 5 x 3.8 x 1.9 inches, and it weighs 0.66 pounds.

Pros

  • Includes an electrical crimper (18 tools in total)
  • Includes replaceable wire cutters
  • The locking tools are secured for safety and ease of use.
  • More premium materials and construction (black oxide doesn’t rub off as much)
  • Despite the addition of the above features, the new Wave is the same price as the old Wave.

Cons

  • The heavier body design makes portability more difficult.
  • It doesn’t come with a pocket clip (but with a leather sheath)
  • Larger overall 

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Features Face to Face

Weight and Size

Weight and Size

The Leatherman Plus is the larger version between these two, weighing in at 0.66 pounds and measuring 4 x 1.5 x 0.75 inches. While this is not overly large or cumbersome, the old Wave is more pocketable. It weighs only 0.53 pounds and measures 3.94 x 1.38 x 0.59 inches.

Because of its smaller stature and more lightweight body design that makes it easier to carry in your pocket, which is the whole purpose of these tools, the Leatherman Wave is the winner of this category.

More: Cold Steel Recon 1 Review: Is It a Good Pocket Knife

Number and Type of Tools

Number and Type of Tools

The Leatherman Wave features an impressive arsenal of 17 included tools all in one device. These tools include regular pliers and needle-nose pliers that are useful for tightly gripping tiny pieces or objects that ordinary pliers are too bulky for.

The Wave also has a hard-wire cutter (for thicker electrical wires) and regular wire cutters. The included wire stripper is perfect for removing the insulation from electrical wires. Also, the old Wave features a 2.9-inch long 420HC knife with a serrated blade, in addition to a saw. Spring-action scissors are easy to open and use on the fly.

The Wave also boasts a nifty 8-inch ruler, a can opener, and a bottle opener for extra usefulness in everyday life. There is also a wood and metal file, as well as a diamond-coated file for shaving down harder surfaces. Also included are a large bit driver and a small bit driver, as well as a medium-sized screwdriver.

If the Wave is impressive, the Wave Plus is even more so. 

The Wave Plus features all of the above tools, plus an additional tool (the electrical crimper) for a total of eighteen tools. An electrical crimper is a useful tool for crimping stranded wire for electronic purposes, such as ending the transmission line and preventing distorted signals through the cables. This effectively secures the connection.

It’s also worth noting that the new Wave wire cutters are a more premium product, as the blades are replaceable. This ensures that the Wave Plus will be a longer-lasting tool.

Note that it’s possible to modify the standard Wave to have the replaceable wire cutters by swapping out the head with another, including the replaceable blade. However, of course, this requires you to have the replaceable head readily available.

The Wave Plus is the clear winner of this category because of its addition of the electrical crimper and its inclusion of a replaceable blade in its wire cutters.

More: Leatherman Signal Review: Worth Buying?

Design and Quality of Materials 

Design and Quality of Materials

Both the Leatherman Wave and Wave Plus are designed similarly, with a folding design that can be easily used one-handed.

Both of these multitools are constructed with 420HC stainless steel with a black oxide coating. 420HC is a type of stainless steel that is built to last and resist corrosion and rusting. With this type of material, it is easy to sharpen the knife blade, so you can ensure that either of these multitools will last for several years.

The black oxide coating on the stainless steel, although it adds resistance to rust and improves the multitool’s appearance, has been known to rub off over time with use, causing unsightliness.

For this reason, the new version utilizes the black oxide less around the highly gripped areas of the multitool, making it less likely that the black oxide will rub off on your hands. Because of this, the Leatherman Wave Plus has a slight advantage in this category.

More: Leatherman Sidekick Review: Full Features, Specs

Standout Features of the Leatherman Wave

Features of the Leatherman Wave

Smaller size for pocketability: While the new one measures 4 x 1.5 x 0.75 inches, which isn’t huge, the original Wave is even more compact and ergonomic, measuring 3.94 x 1.38 x 0.59 inches. Despite its smaller size, the Wave still includes a 2.9-inch blade, just like the new style.

Lighter weight: Not only is it smaller in size, but also in weight. The old style Leatherman weighs only 0.53 pounds, compared to the Wave Plus at 0.66 pounds. In comparison, this is not a large difference – the lighter, the better when it comes to carrying a multitool around in your pocket all day.

Can swap out the head to include the replaceable wire cutters: If you already own Leatherman’s older version – don’t wish to purchase an entirely new device just to have replaceable wire cutters, you can modify the old one to include them. Simply swap out the head from another tool that will fit, such as the Leatherman Rebar, which already includes the replaceable wire cutters.

“Tried and True” device: Since the original Leatherman Wave has been out since 2003, the Wave is sincerely the trusty, old reliable product that many people stand behind and know well. There is no question of its longevity or trustworthiness. you can check our detailed guide to Leatherman Wave here

Check Price Today

Standout Features of the Leatherman Wave Plus

Features of the Leatherman Wave Plus

Inclusion of an electrical crimper: An electrical crimper is used to make the ends of an electrical connection gas-tight (keeping out moisture and oxygen), holding the wire in place, and keeping the connection stable. This is a useful tool that is not included in the old model.

Replaceable blades in the wire cutters: Unlike the original Leatherman Wave, the new one includes replaceable cutter blades in the built-in wire cutters. This enables you to replace the blades as they become dull over time instead of rendering the wire cutters useless or replacing the entire product.

The same price as the Leatherman Wave: Despite its additional tool and being a more premium, longer-lasting product, the two versions of leatherman has the same price point.

More thoughtful design: The design of the Leatherman Plus attempts to prevent the black oxide from rubbing off over time by using uncoated stainless steel on the highly gripped areas of the multitool. This both improves the aesthetics of the tools and keeps the black oxide off of your hands.

Check Price Today

Conclusion

If you’re on the fence – consider the following deets to help you decide what’s fit for you.

Use the Leatherman Wave if:

  • You are looking for the most “tried and true” option that has been on the market for a long time.
  • You want the ultimate in pocketability.

Check out the Leatherman Wave for the smaller, more lightweight option that has withstood the test of time.

Check Price Today

Use the Leatherman Wave Plus if:

  • You need a multitool with an electrical crimper.
  • You are looking for a slightly better material design.
  • You want to easily replaceable wire cutters.

If you’re looking for a multitool with a built-in replaceable wire cutter, an included electrical crimper, and a slightly improved black oxide design – the Wave Plus is an excellent option.

Check Price Today

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Tim Fox

Tim Fox

Since the age of 10, Tim, a writer at Outdoor With J, has enjoyed camping in the great outdoors. Although he loves the peace and quiet of the outdoors, he also likes his creature comforts. Tim’s mission is to make camping a fun and comfortable experience for all. You can find more about him here

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