I’m a Leatherman guy through and through. I’ve had several of their multi-tools, and have carried one on me every day for at least 10 years now. A while back, my mom got me a Leatherman Skeletool CX for Christmas. I was excited because prior to that I was carrying a Leatherman Rev – a budget model from Leatherman that I got for super cheap on sale at Home Depot. The Skeletool CX was going to be a step up for me, or so I thought.
I use my multi-tools often. Pliers are the main reason I carry one. To me, pliers are an essential tool and the one I use most often after a knife. That’s why I was extremely disappointed when the pliers on my Skeletool CX broke. It wasn’t but a year after I got them for Christmas that the metal snapped one of the plier jaws right off. (Before you scream “don’t pry with your pliers!” in the comments – I didn’t. I was using them exactly how pliers are meant to be used).
Not a big deal, I thought. Manufacturing defects happen, and Leatherman has a great warranty. I sucked it up, paid the shipping to send the tool back into Leatherman, and got a new (or repaired, unsure which) Skeletool CX to keep me going… for a while.
About 2 years later, one of the metal bars that makes up the spine on the Skeletool CX broke in half and came loose. I again decided to suck it up and pay shipping to get my Leatherman fixed, which they did. Kudos to Leatherman for honoring their warranty each and every time.
But I lost faith in the Skeletool CX. Though I found my Rev annoying for its own reasons (I’ll save those for another review), it’s pliers, tools, and construction were always rock solid and never broke. So after I got back my Skeletool CX for the second time, I decided to stop carrying it. I went back to carrying the Rev for a while until I landed on the Rebar as my current everyday carry (EDC) multi-tool. I still have the Skeletool CX, but it is now relegated as a backup multi-tool in one of my vehicles (yes, I have a multi-tool in every vehicle don’t judge me).
This is not to suggest that every part of the Skeletool CX sucks or anything. Quite the contrary – it definitely has its perks. First, it’s light and slim so it’s easy to carry in a pocket. The knife is made of high quality 154CM steel, and it deploys without having to open the tool. And the bit driver is pretty neat, especially if paired with Leatherman’s bit kit set.
But it’s not a hard use tool. And if you plan to put it through hard use, expect to end up paying its value in shipping for the warranty over time. It’s just not worth it to keep repairing. I can also say anecdotally that I have seen on more than one occasion someone post a photo of their broken Skeletool CX pliers on r/EDC. So I know I’m not the only one with this issue.
- High quality steel knife
- Cool bit driver
- Lightweight and slim
- Fragile, not built for hard use
- Expensive to repair if more than one repair needed
- Not dependable
Rating: 2 / 5
I think the Skeletool CX only deserves two stars, and even that’s being generous. While obviously some parts of it are well built (knife and bit driver), thus the two stars, it’s fragile nature and propensity to break make it something you cannot depend on. It will break if you’re the type to use tools how they’re meant to be used, and use them often. I wanted to like it, but I have come to loathe it. I can’t recommend the Skeletool CX, and if you’re looking for a new multi-tool you should look elsewhere. I currently carry a Leatherman Rebar and am extremely happy with it.
Do you have a Skeletool CX? I’d love to hear your experience. Have a multi-tool that you like better than the Skeletool CX? Let our readers know about it in the comments! Thanks for reading!