Leatherman ARC multi-tool review – Leatherman’s newest multi-tool is out!

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REVIEW – When it comes to multi-tools, it’s hard to dispute that Leatherman is the leader in this category of EDC gear. The all-new Leatherman ARC multi-tool has officially launched and here is our unboxing of the Leatherman Arc and a first look!

What is it?

The Leatherman ARC multi-tool is a multi-tool built using their FREE magnetic technology with 20 built-in functions which is made in the USA and developed based on customer feedback.


Closed length – 4.25 inch (10.78 cm)
Open length – 6.45 inch (16.39 cm)
Blade length – 2.76 inch (7.02 cm)
Overall thickness – .68 inch (1.7 cm)
Weight – 8.6 oz (244 g)

What’s in the box?

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  • Leatherman ARC multi-tool
  • Belt case
  • Bit set (9 double-sided bits) with holder includes: Torx #10 & #15Torx #20 & #25Pozi #2 & #1Hex 1.5mm & 2mmHex 2.5mm & 3mmHex 4mm & 5mmScrewdriver 3/32” & 1/8” Robertson #1 & #2Robertson #2 & #3

Design and features

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First of all, the black and stainless steel satin handles give a cool new style to the Leatherman ARC multi-tool. You would think that the stain finish on the handles would mean no fingerprints or smudges, but yeah, they still attract prints and smudges. That said, I don’t think most people who use multi-tools really care about that kind of thing.

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For the tools, on one side, you get a modified drop point CPM MagnaCut steel knife blade with a black DLC coating. If you haven’t heard of MagnaCut steel, it’s a new premium alloy that is designed to maximize edge retention, toughness, and corrosion resistance.

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The blade has a black finish that looks sharp and it really is sharp too! The knife also features a thumb stud which makes opening and closing the knife blade super easy with one hand.

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Also on the same side is a saw blade, a can opener, and a bit driver. This is one of the tools that many Leatherman fans have been asking for, and Leatherman delivered by adding one to the ARC multi-tool.

The bit driver holds the bits with friction so it’s not difficult to insert and remove the double-sided bits. By default, there’s a flat screwdriver/Phillips screwdriver bit installed in the driver.

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In the other handle of the Leatherman ARC multi-tool, you have a large file that is diamond coated and can be used to smooth wood or metal. The file surface is even on the bottom edge of the file blade. A thumb slot allows for a one-handed opening.

You also get a strong pry tool that has a built-in bottle opener, a sharp awl that has a built-in wire stripper at the base, a pair of small spring-loaded scissors, and there’s a tiny bit driver.

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The small bit driver holds a dual-sided bit with flat and Phillips screwdriver tips. This little tool is perfect for those tiny screws in glasses and electronics.

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A spring clip holds the bit in place and allows it to easily be removed and reinserted. I would have liked to have seen an extra bit included for this slot for those just-in-case-I-lose-it instances.

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The Leatherman ARC multi-tool has a heavy pocket clip that can be removed if desired.

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The ARC uses Leatherman’s FREE tech which is designed to give you one-handed access to every feature of the tool even if you’re wearing gloves. I personally have a little trouble deploying the tools in the handles that require you to roll the pad of your thumb over the little tabs at the base of the tools to lift and fan them out. I am able to do this easily with the large bit driver, but I have a problem deploying the can opener tool beside it.

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On the opposite side, I find it takes more pressure from my thumb to lift up the pry bar, small bit driver, awl, and scissors. I’m sure it’s just a dexterity and hand strength weakness in my hands.

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Opening the pliers is easy and fun due to the magnetic handles.

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When you split the two handles apart to break the magnetic bond, you can flip the handles around to open the pliers like opening a butterfly knife. It takes a bit of practice, but once you get the action down, it can become a fun fidget toy.

Watch my unboxing of the Leatherman ARC multi-tool

What I like

  • MagnaCut blade
  • Easy deploy blade and tools
  • Bit drivers
  • 25 year warranty

What I’d change

  • Expensive

Final thoughts

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I’ve only had the new Leatherman ARC multi-tool for a few days, so I can’t really speak to the longevity of this tool, but I can say that it feels extremely well-made and sturdy. I know people who have been using the same Leatherman multi-tools for over a decade and they are still going strong after heavy use. I don’t worry that the new Leatherman ARC multi-tool will be any different. I anticipate some people may complain about the price, but a quick search for MagnaCut knives showed came up with single-blade knives well over the price of the ARC which has a lot more functionality. I think any EDC gear head would enjoy owning and using the Leatherman ARC.

Price: $229.95
Where to buy: Leatherman
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Leatherman.

27 thoughts on “Leatherman ARC multi-tool review – Leatherman’s newest multi-tool is out!”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
      1. This too is a one blade knife with a very small magna cut steel blade as compared to dedicated folders and fixed blades crafted out of magna cut.
        Way out of my budget sadly but thanks for another great , straightforward, honest review.
        I own many Leathermans dating back to first original model in its well worn heavy leather sheath from early 90s and all are going strong with little signs of weariness. I am not one who pampers my gear so that’s saying a lot. A few have gone AWOL. Perhaps Santa might be generous this year!
        Thanks Julie!

        1. I have a first generation (circa 1998) Leatherman Wave with a leather pouch that I found in my Dad’s things when he passed away. It’s in perfect never used condition. Leatherman makes awesome multi-tools.

      2. Mine is being delivered tomorrow. I’m glad that they’ve added an awl as I like poking holes in stuff. I don’t know why they didn’t make the saw and file replaceable like on the Surge as I find saws distort after a few uses

    1. The file edge is know as a metal saw. In 15 years of carrying a Leatherman with a eyeglass driver I’ve only bent one never lost any. I wish the can opener and bottle opener were combined as they have been on other Leatherman tools and an additional tool would have been added.

    2. I find it strange that they are hailing this as something NEW…when Gerber came out with this same tool two years ago..at least. Takes some huge testicles to declare this as a first of its kind. Just a rip-off of Gerber!!!!! Not to mention the price is Stupidly Exoensive. What a Joke!!!!

  2. I have the Free P2 and it is a very nice multitool. Sometimes I have trouble “rolling” out the tools. I find putting a drop of oil in the parts helps.

  3. Wow, I have carried my Leatherman Super Tool 300 for years, dealing with the features I did not care for. This truly looks like a stellar replacement, worth saving $ for. Thank you for your review!

  4. I got my hands on a Wave when they came out. Leatherman has replaced it 3 times and the one I have now is missing all bits, both blades have there tips snapped off and both the leather & normal pouches have broken. Yes I abuse my tools! This may very well be “very expensive” but I don’t think it’s over priced.

  5. Unfortunately the can opener is next to useless. Not enough room to use the push type can opener.

    Victorinox Spirit’s can opener is far superior as it is longer, and easier to engage the cane without losing the bite. Leatherman’s can opener is too short, is more to the center, and loses bite on a can multiple times. One would of figured the Arc’s can opener would have improved over the Garage #5. Only ting that was changed was adding a wire stripper that the designers forgot about.

  6. I prefer the wave style can opener. Spring tension pliers would have been nice. The awl/scraper looks like a better tool than on the other free tools. The magnacut blade is a welcome addition.

    As a side note, I prefer the added serrated blade for cutting cardboard. I never minded the smaller scissors on the wave and charge tti designs

  7. It looks cool, but those flat bits are a deal breaker for me. My EDC should save me time by saving me a trip to the toolbox. Rounding off fasteners has the opposite effect!

  8. I have had my letherman since my 21st birthday which makes it 32 years old and you would think its no older than 1 year old, even the lether case is pisteen i have never had to sharpen either of the knifes it is still a little hard to extract the blades out and they take 2 hands to collapse. I have also not been gentle on the tool either from using it landscaping my homes, working on my cars and using it while camping plus the occasional use around the house, there is not a single segment of the tool that hasnt been well used and still amazes me every time i use it, now the question i have for myself is do i buy one for my son or do i give him mine when i pass away as it will need to be pried away from my cold dead hands for it to change ownership. I would like to know if $229 is Australian currency because if its US currency $360 is way too much

  9. Yes there is definitely some sticker shock with this one! Leatherman quality is the best (for multi-tools). I’ve bought other brands, and they don’t have the same fit and finish. You have to get a Leatherman in hand to feel the quality.

    The ARC is a very nice looking tool! I always liked the free P2, but my Wave+ gets the job done! So I never felt the need to upgrade.

    I feel like the ARC is for the people who love the Wave/ Wave+ and would like a premium/ modern upgrade! 😁

  10. Too bad they didn’t attempt another t-shank adapter instead of the mini screw driver a removable saw and file are indispensable tools and the file can be used to sharpen blades. The normal bit driver is suitable for any task that mini driver can do, it’s just a matter of making the small bits.

  11. Hi, thank you for such a good review. I am thinking to get one arc though have already a wave+ and a free t4 among others (I am big fun of multi tools and folding knives). I always attach a little lantern to the tool I carry and I have not seen any hole/ring for this purpose, has the arc the ring/hole o possibility to add?

  12. I own several Leatherman tools. The Wave gets the most use as it’s truly the first multi-tool that I’ve owned that provided 95% of the functionality needed to get jobs completed. After seeing the price on this Arc Multitool I went back to my Amazon account to see what I had paid for my Wave; $55 in 2012. So is this new Arc Multitool worth 4x more in 11 yrs later?Absolutely not. Given inflation this should be $74 today and then accounting for additional updated (new steel), MIGHT be selling for $100+. But for $229+, I’m gonna give this a hard pass. What were you thinking Leatherman?

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