Let me say before starting this review I have been a big fan of SOG multi tools since the late 1990s. I once tried a Leatherman in the early 1990s and it just did not hold up to the abuse I threw at it.
So I picked me up a SOG POWERLOCK and have been using the same multi tool for 18 years until about two years ago when it got lost and I just bought another one that had the new safety covering the gears and missing the made in USA on it.
When I heard Leatherman came out with a improved version of the Surge my curiosity got the best of me and picked one up at Bass Pro Shop. So this review will be from a intense one week out on the job doing many tasks in many different homes for my business.
I took all the photos on the jobsite with my cell phone stopping to snap a photo when I was using the Surge on a new kind of task.
First up is the pliers for the SURGE. My first thought before having the SURGE is the pliers would be a down grade compared to the POWERLOCK. I hardly find that the case now after a weeks use and in some way have found myself preferring the pliers on the Surge.
The nicely cut teeth give a really good grip for pretty much anything it can grab.
The one thing I use my POWERLOCK multi tool on a daily basis for is getting these pins off the locks for homes so I can pull out the cylinders for re-keying. The SURGE gives a slight blunt nose on the tips which makes it perfect for sliding off these pins. Its never been easier with this tool.
From bolts on mailbox locks to aerators on faucets the grip is excellent with it's comfortable rounded handle you can put some serious pressure on the handle with no discomfort on the hands.
I can easily say I just see no significant difference between the SURGES pliers and SOGS gear driven
Cutting nails and wire is a snap with these attachable wire cutters. It really is a fantastic edition for the SURGE. You can cut things with it where in the past you would think twice about damaging the cutters on the pliers and then you have sticky pliers because you damaged the cutters.
One thing you will notice between the Surge and the Powerlocks pliers is when the Surge is opened all the way and the Powerlocks handles are spread open to the same distance the pliers just do not spread open to the same distance.
When the Powerlock is finally opened all the way the handles are spread out to a ridiculous distance. You may get a slightly wider opening but in many cases it is impossible to use the pliers when the handles are opened this far.
In a pinch you can get a pretty decent grip by putting the pliers handles on a screwed on cap that is stuck to get it open.
This tool I really have no use for but have found it to be a handy box cutter opener. Maybe in the future I will find more uses for it on a daily basis.
Now before getting the Surge I thought all multi tool scissors were the same. But bar none these scissors are far superior then Powerlocks scissors. It is not even close in it's cutting capability.
From spline to cutting right through vertical slats in a nice and easy straight line is a snap. Truly impressive!
Picture of me giving a nice fine and straight cut right through a vertical slat.
At first I thought this reversible bit with a phillips and flat head would be useless being so short.
But have found myself liking it and really putting some serious torque on the bit not having to worry about breaking it when you can simply order more. The grip on the bigger size phillips like above is above average. And still does a fine job with the very small phillips heads shown below grabbing the head without any slippage.
Another nice feature is how you can fold in the pliers and extend out the handles for using the screwdriver in tight spots. Don't know of any other make that can do this. It is a handy feature that comes in handy many times a day in those spots where having the pliers sticking out or the handles folded together might get in the way.
I am no expert on blades and what steels are the best but the blades that provided are a really good size you would see on a pocket knife all by its self and do the job exceptionally well for my needs.
The serrated blade is perfect for ripping through layers and years of caulking applied to get a sink out.
Using the provided and easily changeable saw blade by Leatherman gives a truly diverse blade that
can rip through wood or a plastic towel bar that needs to be fitted for ceramic ends. My SOG blade had no problem with wood but in a pinch cutting those plastic towel bars was nowhere as easy using this blade.
Again another fine blade with substantial size.
Here being used as a scraper to remove the old caulking from the formica countertop.
The smaller screwdriver I did not use much since I found myself levitating towards the one with the reversible bit. But it made for a fine scraper in tight places with its extra length.
The big flat head I only had a chance to use one time and
that was for popping a top on a paint can. When the time arises once again I am glad there is a thicker flat head on the Surge.
I have weeks where the awl was being used constantly for punching holes in drywall on my Powerlock but not once did I have a use for it during the week. Looking at it I can't see where when I do use it I will have a issue with it.
During the week its been wet constantly and when you are busy you usually do not wipe down your tools every single time they get wet. No exception with the Surge. It would get wet and I would just put it back in the pouch and move on to the next job until I needed it once again. No signs of rust have appeared so far during the week.
Now I always hear about complaints of clumping when it comes to the SOG multi tools and pulling out the tool you want. It never bothered me and actually liked it so I could just easily pick the tool I want and put the others back in place. The Surge is no different it also clumps but there is just fewer tools for that to happen with. Again it does not bother me in the least but I know for some it is a big issue.
Both sides clump when choosing your tool.
My only real complaint is that the pouch after only one week it looks like I have had it for a year. It just may hold up a year but it didn't take long to get that beat up and worn look. Not sure if this is standard with all leather pouches since I have been carrying my SOG with me in my pocket since the 1990s.
So I decided to pick up one of these pocket clips. It showed up on the last day of my one week review so can't give it a real evaluation yet if I like it or not. If it is a no go I just may go back to just simply pocket carrying again.
Overall I am shocked at just how much I like this tool over my long time companion the SOG Powerlock. I truly do not see me ever using it again except for a back up if I need to send in my Surge to Leatherman for repair. Which by the way is very annoying you just can't order the parts and do it yourself. But as handy as this tool is I can look past it.