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Sequels are, for the most part, unoriginal. If you ask me, they’re often a lame attempt to make a quick buck by cheapening and abusing previous success. But every now and then, when enough care, attention and awareness goes into a sequel, it has the opportunity to become a standout hit. After weeks spent using Leatherman’s latest multi-tool, the Curl, I finally understand the appeal of a sequel that gets it right.
What Is It?
With 15 different tools and an $80 price tag, the Curl is a compact and capable multi-tool based on Leatherman’s best-selling Wave Plus. Much like the Wave series, it features a comfortable grip, an outside-accessible knife and a pair of compact scissors among other standard tools. While most of us have grown accustomed to the lever lock on modern Leatherman multi-tools, the Curl features a liner lock that secures the knife and file in place. To access the innards, simply pull the bottom ends of the Curl apart and rotate them over as far as they go until the pliers and tools emerge.
Unlike so many multi-tools that show up on my desk feeling unfinished, the Curl is thoughtfully built. Movements take place with fluidity and grace, tools operate with impressive precision and the design is so wonderfully ergonomic that I find myself fidgeting with the Curl as much as the FREE P4. For those concerned that Leatherman split its time between the recently-released Bond and the Curl only to leave both undone, fear not. This one is complete.
For all the anticipated publicity and praise, the Curl isn’t what I’d call “new.” Every detail is influenced by Leatherman’s multi-tool legacy, from the original PST to the Wave. But the Oregon brand’s attention to detail is more apparent than ever before, and that’s what makes the Curl a worthy sequel. It stands on its own without relying too heavily on the original. It keeps the story fresh and engages our interests, but it reminds us of what we liked so long ago.
What We Like
- Materials. The Curl abandons exotic steels in favor of reliable, easy-to-sharpen 420HC stainless steel. This keeps the price down and maintans the robust convenience you expect from a multi-tool.
- Accessibility. The 2.9-inch blade is perfect for one-handed use. It’s also capable through a variety of tasks, from slicing veggies to widdling wood.
- Pocket clip. Though it comes with a nylon sheath, we much prefer using the pocket clip to ensure it’s secure and easily accessible.
- Bit driver. The customizable bit driver transitions between a flathead and Phillips screwdriver, and it supports Leatherman’s Bit Kit Set.
- Cost. The Curl packs Leatherman’s most iconic features and scraps the rest to maintain affordability.
What We Don’t
- The Curl lacks a set of replaceable wire cutters, so the ones included might wear down over time.
- The included file is also accessible from the outside, but it can’t be deployed with one hand.
Should You Buy It?
In my opinion, this is one of Leatherman’s best bang-for-your-buck multi-tools in its arsenal. The entire point of the Curl is to provide you with the essentials in a modern design that draws inspiration from the brand’s best-selling tool, the Wave Plus. It’s lightweight profile, versatile utility and time-tested durability establish it among other contenders. Whether it’s your first multi-tool or a backup to existing gear, this sequel is executed to near perfection.
Tools: needlenose pliers, regular pliers, wire cutters, wire stripper, file (2) 420HC blade, awl, spring-action scissors, can opener, bottle opener, screwdrivers (2), ruler
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