Leatherman Charge TTi ReviewMay 29, 2013
- Rounded handles make using the pliers or wire-cutters easy on the hands
- All tools lock in place
- S30V stainless steel knife blade
- Titanium handles scales increase overall durability
- Small bit driver bits wear quickly
- Unless you use the sheath, you probably won’t carry the “Bit Kit” along for your adventures
After a weekend of hardcore playtime, I am convinced the Charge TTi is worth every penny. I threw everything I had at it and it didn’t flinch. Be warned, if you’re looking for a multi-tool for a random around-the-house job or quick camping trip, this is not the right tool for you. But, if you’re like me and you need a hardcore multi-tool that you can count on daily, all while treating it horribly, this is the best one out there. (A personal aside: after 3 years with the Leatherman Wave, the Charge TTi will now take its place in my left hip pocket).
Although you can find it at a lower cost online, $160 is a little steep for a multi-tool. But the Charge TTi does feature some of the best metals around—titanium and S30V. The benefit of titanium is that it looks nice and adds a more significant barrier of protection to the tool. S30V steel is top notch, cream of the crop steel that brings the cost of a tool up, but will last twice as long as most other, popular knife steels for multi-tools. The addition of the bit kit also helps justify the overall price, although some people may end up leaving it in the box the Charge TTi came in.
The Charge TTi has the same rugged construction as all of the other full-sized Leatherman. I actually liken it to the ruggedness of the Leatherman Wave (the two are almost identical and both can be taken apart easily). Adding in titanium handle scales improves upon the ruggedness.
Frame Lock (blades, saw, and files): During some cutting and stabbing exercises, this lock performed exceptionally well. Because of the close quarters where the lock itself is, the mechanism can get jammed up with grit or pocket lint. I was able to simply blow on the channel behind the lock and clear the small grit, freeing it easily.
Lock Back Lock (internal tools): The lock for these tools is solid, but its placement allows for your hand to easily slide forward and disengage it. It wasn’t an issue once I became aware of it, but recessing the button more into the frame could really improve it overall.
420HC (serrated blade): It might not be the best for cutting through anything sappy or any type of corrosives, but on the flipside, 420HC has fantastic edge retention. It has a Rockwell of 55-59, making the blade durable and almost maintenance free.
S30V (plain edge blade): As far as the type of steel you might find in a multi-tool, S30V is probably the best. It has a Rockwell of 58-60, and is more durable and more resilient then 420HC. In all honesty, you may never need to sharpen it in the entire time that you own this tool.
Titanium (handle scales): Titanium was designed to take a beating and is very lightweight. Having the handle scales on this tool made from titanium will only extend this tool’s life.
Because of the materials chosen for the Charge TTi, upkeep is going to be minimal. Like any multi-tool, you’ll want to clean the dust and debris off of it from time to time. It is all held together with security torx bolts, allowing it to be taken apart if needed, and has brass bushings which help aid in maintaining the functionality of the pivot points.
Out of all of the tools I have tested and owned I have never used one that was as rugged as the Charge TTi. The frame and tools within it are widely featured on other Leatherman tools, and have proven that they can stand the test of time. The inclusion of the titanium handle scales and the S30V blade steel puts this tool ahead of the competition and makes it stand out in the crowd.
Pliers and Wire Cutter
Leatherman has increased the gripping power of the pliers on the Charge TTi by over 100 percent, but they still haven’t made the wire cutters replaceable. The inclusion of a second, hard wire cutter helps alleviate some of this, but that too cannot be replaced.
You’re not going to find many competitors who use auxiliary bits on their multi-tools, so there isn’t a big basis for comparison here. These bits are very durable, and will last a long time, but will not last the life of the tool. They can, however, easily be replaced.
The “Bit Kit” is a great accessory if you use the sheath, but you’re not likely to throw it in your pocket with the tool if you don’t use the sheath.
Design/Ease of Use
Like most full-sized Leatherman, the Charge TTi is designed for more demanding jobs but can also be used on very simple jobs. The addition of brass bushings on this tool has only improved on its functionality. Besides its durability, the texture on the titanium handle scales actually improves on the grip and provides a little more confidence for the user when they’re really bearing down on the tool.
Both the 420HC and S30V blades will hold an edge for quite some time. If you end up having to sharpen these blades, you’ll probably sharpen the S30V blade half as many times as the 420HC blade. I would rate this at “11” if I could.
420HC Serrated Knife
Large Bit Driver
Small Bit Driver
Ruler (8 inch/19 cm)