Leatherman Skeletool CX

8.9 score
(Gearweare.net) score (8.9)/10

Our Gearweare.net score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
Editor rating: 9.2 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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Leatherman Skeletool CX Review Facts

If you’re looking for a nifty tool somewhere between a swiss army kit and a pocket knife that you can carry almost anywhere, the Leatherman Skeletool CX is what you need. Multi-tools are an easy to use all-in-one tool that you can take with you on any outdoor excursion or keep on hand for everyday use. They integrate many types of basic tool function all wrapped in a durable and sleek exterior. Thanks to furthered technology by this US-based company, there is a more handy way to carry essential tools. The Skeletool consists of combination pliers, wire cutters, a straight edge 154CM stainless steel blade, as well as a carabiner that is coupled with a bottle opener. This full-size tool is a simplified, compact design compared to other more intricate Leatherman models due to its lighter weight and smaller size. Whether it's opening a can camp side, cutting a wire while on the hunt or securing a nail in your cubicle, the Skeletool CX is a great choice for those “what-if” situations that life likes to throw at you. We go over all of the interesting features and uses of this great EDC tool below in our extensive review.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Compact size
  • Lightweight
  • Durable construction 
  • Convenient carry options
  • Sleek minimal design
  • Easily accessible
  • Smart, effective tools
  • Limited features
  • High price tag
See How
Reviews were analyzed here:
We read, analyze and sort reviews into positive & negative categories to give you the complete picture.
What are buyers saying?

We have spent 2.5 hours analyzing a total of 497 reviews.

These reviews are then categoried into "Positive" and "Negative" feedback.

Below you will read a summary of them:

  • As a slimmed down version of other multitools, this combines the useful basics while saving on weight and space.
  • It is well-made and solidly built.
  • The usefulness, quality, and ease of use live up to the Leatherman name.
  • The blade is razor sharp.
  • Most reviewers consider this a must-have every day carry tool.
  • It is lightweight yet sturdy.
  • The pocket clip and carabiner add to the convenience of carrying this tool.
  • Reviewers say it is a cool looking tool.
  • The knife opens easily and safely.
  • There is a safety lock to keep the knife from folding in on your fingers.
  • Although it has a minimal selection of tools, most buyers say it has everything that they find necessary on a usual basis.
  • The knife blade has a nice, effective shape.
  • The pocket clip does not protrude too far from the body of the tool making it more comfortable to carry.
  • The screwdriver bits can be switched out.
  • Buyers have been impressed by Leatherman customer service.
  • The wirecutters work well.
  • This is a durable tool that can withstand a lot of use.
  • For the limited number of tools it has, buyers consider the price a little too steep.
  • The pocket clip is only on one side limiting how it can be worn.
  • The are mixed reviews on the utility of the carabiner.
  • The phillips screwdriver bit is fixed in place at the end of the handle.
  • The pliers are not spring loaded. They can feel tight when new.
  • The edges of the handle can dig into the palm when a lot of pressure is used.
  • This is a streamlined multi tool that does not have as many features as some other options on the market.
  • Depending on the size of your hands and the angle you need to use the pliers, the screwdriver bit on the end of the handle can cause some uncomfortable pressure.
  • There are a few reports of the extra screwdriver bits falling out.
  • Although great for small, everyday jobs, the pliers are not robust enough to handle big projects.
The Reviewmeter shows you an overall score that you can easily refer to. The highest rating is 10 (100% positive feedback)
Of the 497 reviews we found in total, 13% were negative, and 87% were positive.


Leatherman was founded in the US in 1983 by two men who wanted a proficient, easily compact hand tool with many functions. Originally branded as pocket survival tools (PST), Leatherman is now a large producer of multitools and knives known throughout the world. Intricate and durable many other companies have created their own versions of the all-in-one tool kit but none truly rival them in quality. This company is constantly innovating their designs and have updated their line-up to include over 10 different tool designs. Many are tailored for specific activities such as maintaining military gear, emergency car maintenance, and home improvement. Each piece is customizable on Leatherman’s website and is covered by a 25-year warranty. The Portland, Oregon based company continues to produce new pocket tools and knives each year.


There are seven tools within the Leatherman Skeletool CX, each one constructed with a special purpose and ability. This tool has a unique carbon fiber insert and DLC finish that sets it apart from the competition. Where other Skeletool versions have aluminum inserts, Skeletool CX has a carbon fiber rib and scales that add decoration while contributing to the stiffness of the device that users seem to enjoy. The impressive coating adds sheen and improves wear resistance that extends the life of the tool.

The combination of strong pliers on the interior of this tool feature needle-nose pliers that can be used regularly. Although these pliers are shorter than other Leatherman products they are still durable enough for almost every purpose. They have been tested to withstand immense pressure without bending or twisting which are characteristics of a well-made tool. It can be easily used in less than ideal workspaces because of its smaller size. There is no gap between the two ends while clamped and users online say they were able to easily remove splinters, hold fast onto hot pans and even assemble furniture with this component. It’s important to note some users have had issues with one of jaws breaking off when too much pressure was applied but it is usually due to user error. Leatherman offers a full 25-year warranty on all of their products and no customers have reported issues with having defunct tools replaced. Further down the head of the pliers lie the soft and hard wire cutters, working impeccably well each time. While some customers have remarked on preferring swapping this particular tool out for a file or scissors others are grateful for its ability while cutting fishing line or needing an electrical wire temporarily pinched.

The knife featured on the Skeltetool CX is 2.6 inches long and made of 154CM stainless steel. A fan favorite, this type of carbon steel stays sharper for longer and is corrosion resistant. This factor is known to increase edge strength and reinforce toughness. Leatherman incorporated a full plain edge blade on this version that cuts cleaner than the former partially serrated edge. The knife is easily deployed with one-hand via a thumb hole cut out into the blade and locks in securely thanks to a liner lock. This offers a safer user experience and with practice, it can be closed single-handedly making it a convenient on the go choice. Not exactly considered a weapon but because of the blade size, under TSA regulations the Skeletool CX cannot be brought onto any aircraft. Make sure you drop it in your checked baggage next time you fly.

Another great thing about the Skeletool CX is the fact that it is equipped with a swappable double-sided Philips cross and a double-sided flat screwdriver on the end of one of the handles. One is always housed in the bit driver, while the second is stored securely in the frame recess. These work with the exact same type of removable bit holder as some other Leatherman full-size multi-tools giving you the ability to use the same accessories and bits. The bit holder and storage is equipped with an active spring-loaded mechanism locking them in place and saving users the trouble of losing bits. With the unevenly positioned handles, it can give the screwdriver an awkward hold while in use, but many just take advantage of the tool position and use it as an L-driver.

While some don't consider these last few as tools, but they prove extremely useful in everyday situations and improve portability while adding no weight. The carabiner clip is positioned on the end of the handle and is designed with a wire gate that can bend but not break. Easily attach it to belt loops, climbing gear or a backpack with the option of keeping a tool exposed for immediate use. Many users found it useful to be able to keep the screwdriver open but secured while moving around job sites with this attachment. The black accent on the end of the carabiner is a convenient bottle opener that all adults can utilize. Lastly, a hidden gem of the Skeletool CX is its pocket clip. It’s a small curved spring clip that retains this Leatherman product as comfortably as a pocket knife. While most multi-tools on the market now are heavy and meant to be carried as regular tools, i.e. on a belt or stored in a bag, the CX has kept true to its EDC roots.


The first thing you notice when looking at the Leatherman Skeletool CX is that it is mostly black compared to other all silver counterparts. For a striking contrast, the pocket clip and handles are anodized in matte black and carbon scales are intricately detailed along the outer shell. Whereas the blade, pivots, and back springs are DLC finished steel. Longtime Leatherman fans have said the Skeletool line is completely different from previous multi-tool options and is as if they took all of the comments and complaints from their customers and started fresh. The skeletonized DLC finished steel, and asymmetrical frame help to lower the weight and gives this product its name. This more rugged design appeals to those who’d prefer a more inconspicuous pocket tool.

Ease of Use

The Skeletool CX has been optimized for ergonomics due to its lean feature set. Most notably, with a smooth, one-thumb swipe, the knife blade is large, well-oriented, and easily accessible. The pivot on the knife is an oversized screw with a washer that provides a smooth open and close motion. In the opened pliers mode, handles are rounded carbon fiber fitting comfortably in the palm. When squeezing pliers with added pressure, it’s seemingly more comfortable to do with non-metal rounded edges. At the end of its narrow handle, the bit driver allows for long reach, easy grabbing, and access to tight quarters that other normal sized tools can't reach. Regardless of which tool is used customers online thoroughly enjoy the complete design of the CX.

Size & Weight

In a closed length of 4 inches and weighing in at 5 ounces, the CX is one of the lightest most compact multi-tools on the market, only to be challenged by the Leatherman Squirt. Keep in mind while considering your options, the average multi-tool set features a wider selection and this version is geared toward the minimalist. This downsizing in options saves in carrying weight but adds to its portability. Users online comment on not having to remember to bring it along because it’s already stashed away. With just the right fit inside your pocket or attached to your keyring it’s the perfect tag-a-long you can forget about.


In addition to the CX, there is the original Skeletool, RX, and a slew of pocket knives under the impressive, Leatherman line up of Skeletools. The CX version's major upgrade is the 154CM steel in the knife blade and carbon fiber inlay. Originally equipped with a partially serrated blade, in 2010 they updated the knife to a full plain edge. Customers preferred this option because it leaves a cleaner cut and is easier to sharpen if necessary.


The unique, seemingly customizable bit driver allows unlimited accessorization. Leatherman offers a “bit kit”, bit extenders for more reach, and adapters for normal bits fitting a standard ¼” driver all under its name for virtually an entire toolbox at your fingertips. Third-party upgrade packs are also available online and increase your use of this product to almost limitless proportions.


Customers feel at ease purchasing Leatherman products because of their 25-year limited warranty covering any damage. For example, if the jaw of the plier breaks off, the pocket clip cracks or you chip a drill bit you are ensured that once sent into the company your once-dependable EDC tool will be replaced and sent back brand new. They are made and repaired in the U.S. so conveniently the wait times are not long.

Key Features

-Soft and hard wire cutters
-A durable 154CM knife blade
-Combination of strong regular and needlenose jaw pliers
-Screwdriver bit holder with double-sided bits
-Adaptable to house endless bit accessories
-Carabiner clip
-Pocket clip
-Bottle opener

Bottom Line

Considered one of the biggest names in multi-tools, Leatherman has cemented its place amongst the best within the EDC market. They continue to produce handheld tools known for innovation, durability and most importantly reliability, or your money back. The Skeletool CX holds up to that reputation, offering much of the same functionality as any full-size multi-tool - combination pliers and wire cutters, a 154CM stainless steel knife, interchangeable Philips drivers, and bottle opener. This 5oz, mini-tool is constructed of carbon fiber and comes with a carabiner and pocket clip attachment for a comfortable carry. This is a great choice for someone who likes to carry a multi-tool every day and doesn’t require a lot of intricate pieces to complete tasks. Purchasing the accessory bits only ups the ante and if kept them somewhere accessible, you’ll have a full-service piece of equipment.

As with most handheld gadgets and the people using them, there are faults to any well-made product. With proper care and awareness of your strength, a chipped knife or broken plier is less likely to happen when applied properly.