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Many multi-tools seem to be a flimsy sampling of little knick-knacks. We’ve seen different versions for ages, but they rely on a simple straight-edged pocket knife to do most of the real work. However, Leatherman’s interesting Charge ALX model is a little different. It does away with many of the old issues multi-tools faced, like those Phillips drivers which always seemed to be less than helpful.

They have been replaced by a clever interchangeable bit system, much like what you’d find on an electric screwdriver. There are two of these sockets on the Charge, allowing you to keep multiple common bits ready for immediate use. Extensive kits with drivers for many different head styles are available and store nicely inside the same sheath as the tool itself.

Another interesting touch is one of the tool’s two blades. Serrated on one edge, it has a nasty-looking hook on the other, designed for slicing seat belts in emergencies. I can see it getting hung up during everyday use of the serrated edge, and I can’t imagine that sharpening both sides of a tool designed to be used in close-quarters life-threatening situations is a wise move. However, under exactly the wrong circumstances this little beauty might be exactly what you want on your belt.

Running $130 at full retail, the charge is available for much lower prices from many on-line sources, including Amazon, who has them for around $80 plus shipping.

ALX Multi-Tool [Leatherman]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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4 Responses to Leatherman Charge ALX

  1. Jim Nutt says:

    I’ve had the Charge XTi for a few years now and absolutely love it. I bought the extra bit set for it and use it all the time. The XTi (which I think is discontinued) has titanium handles instead of the anodized aluminum, but is otherwise identical. I actually find the hook on the serrated blade handy for all sorts of things, not least of which is opening packages. The blades open and close quite nicely one handed and they lock securely open, as do the bit drivers (one thing I disliked about my original Leatherman was that the screw drivers and blades didn’t lock open).

  2. BG says:

    I will never part with my Wave. If they would have just traded the bottle opener, which I can use just about anything for opening bottles, with scissors I would have considered it. The Wave is prefect mix for me, but I wouldn’t mind the varied jaws of these on a Wave.

  3. David Bryan says:

    I’ve got the Leatherman bit kits. I can stick the bit-holder on the Phillips screwdriver on my Swiss Army knife, or on a regular screwdriver on the Xcelite multi-tool I usually carry, or just on a plain regular screwdriver. Mighty handy.

  4. Alex says:

    I switched from an original Wave to a New Wave a few years ago.

    The locking blades are great, and the construction is a bit sturdier, but there were a few things I preferred about the older wave-

    Previously there was a decent bottle opener, now there’s a decent can opener (sharper and pointier for cutting can lids off) but it’s a crappy bottle opener. I preferred the decent bottle opener.

    I also preferred the older individual phillips and several flat head style screwdrivers. I don’t care to carry the extra (and non-standard) bit set. On the old model the several fixed sizes got a lot of use prying, poking, twisting, scraping, etc., but the interchangeable bits aren’t handy for anything other than actually turning fasteners.

    But I’ll still take the New Wave (or the slightly different and pricier siblings, the Charges) over any other company’s multi-tool that I’ve found yet.

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