The Leatherman Free P2 is new for 2019. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Leatherman Free P2 is new for 2019. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Price: £164.95
Weight: 250g
Country of manufacture: USA

This Leatherman multitool is part of the Free range the USA brand unveiled this year.

The tools have been re-engineered to include new opening mechanisms and locking systems, plus an elastomer spring that Leatherman says will increase durability of the tool.

The P2 designation indicates it has a pair of combination pliers; the T2 series is a multitool; and K2 series for knives. Each model also comes in two styles. The P series is the daddy of the collection, with the P4 having 21 tools and the P2, which we tested, two fewer.

The K and T models have between eight and 12 tools.

The Leatherman P2 is very solid feeling and tips the scales at 250g, so it’s not the kind of thing you keep in your pocket on the off-chance you might want to make use of one of its tools.

It feels well engineered too. Manufactured in the Portland, Oregon, Leatherman factory, the multitool uses stainless steel. There’s no wobble or unwarranted movement in the tools when they are deployed. The Free P2 comes with a 25-year warranty.

But with all that quality and American manufacture comes a pretty eyewatering price. The Free P2 comes with a recommended retail tag of more than £160, though we’ve seen it for sale online for about £145 – still a lot of cash.

So you’re going to want to get lots of use out of your Free P2. It has 19 tools built in to its 11cm x 3.4cm body: standard pliers; needlenose pliers; standard wire cutter; hard wire cutter; electrical crimper; wire stripper; combination knife blade; spring-action scissors, pack opener; awl; can opener; bottle opener; wood and metal file; phillips screwdriver; medium flat screwdriver; small flat screwdriver; extra-small screwdriver; a pry tool; and a 25mm rule.

All the tools except the pliers open from the outside of the casing, so there’s no need to open up the tool to use them. Rather than the traditional nail nick to unfold them from the case, there’s a series of cam-like lugs at the top of the main recess that, when pressed upwards with the thumb, pushes the tools out of the case for you to then open fully.

This is a neat and less fussy way to unfold the individual tools, which can be done with one hand if necessary and avoids breaking your thumbnail trying to get the desired tool out of the casing. Once fully opened, each tool locks into place. To close the tool, a small lever on the casing needs to be slid sideways to free the cam and allow closure.

The Leatherman multitool folds up into a neat package. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Leatherman multitool folds up into a neat package. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The P2 has a number of magnets in its case that keep the tools closed when not in use, which is why it’s possible to push the tools open with only a little pressure on the lugs. But be warned: keep it away from your compass.

The spring-loaded scissors and the main knife blade, which has a 6.5cm-long (2½-inch) blade with straight and serrated sections, are both pulled out in conventional style, though the recess in the main body is generous and presented no problem in deploying them.

Both of these lock in place in the same way as the other tools. Because of this, although the blade is under the UK’s three-inch limit for carrying a knife in public, it will be classed as a lock knife and, if stopped in possession of the tool in a public place, you may be expected to justify your reason for carrying it.

So the Free P2 will probably be best kept in your home tool box or with the camping gear store if you’re heading out with your tent or caravan. The Leatherman tool is quite beefy and not lightweight, in any case, so is not the kind of thing you would be likely to have in your pocket ‘just in case’.

The pliers are accessed by opening up the two main casing handles and folding them back. The fairly long handles of the P2 give good purchase when using either the long-nose or standard pliers. This unit also contains the two-type cutters for wire, the blades of which are replaceable if they become blunt. The crimping tool for electrical connectors also sits just below the pivot for the pliers’ jaws.

The jaws don’t lock in their deployed position fully, like the other tools, but there’s a semi-friction position that stops them over-opening but allows folding back to close if apply a little pressure.

The magnetised elements worked well in keeping the tools closed yet enable the pliers to be flicked open with one hand if, for instance, you need to keep hold of what you’re working on.

There’s a removable pocket or belt clip on the outside of the casing and the Leatherman Free P2 also comes with a tough nylon sheath with a belt loop.

The P2 has most of the tools you’re likely to need in normal circumstance at home or on the campsite. The pliers worked very well and were as easy to use as a stand-alone tool.

The other tools worked well too, though the screwdriver blades are slightly more awkward than a standard one because the blades are slightly offset from the centre of the tool so need a bit of practice to get a smooth motion.

The P2 has most of the tools you're likely to need on camp or even at home. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The P2 has most of the tools you're likely to need on camp or even at home. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The pry tool was very useful for levering off lids and we found the blade next useful for cutting into the tough plastic packaging everything seems to be sealed into these days. The awl actually doubles as the very small screwdriver so, rather than a spike at its end, it has a 2mm-wide blade to produce a hole.

We find having a pair of scissors on camp really useful too, so the addition of the spring-loaded ones in the P2 were welcome and, with the fairly long casing, quite easy to use.

The main knife blade was very sharp and easily big enough for all our needs, particularly on camp.

The novel design of the tool openings makes it very easy to use and saves potentially broken nails when deploying them from the casing.

The Free P2 was the best manufactured multitool we’ve used and its quality was top-notch, which is reflected in the price of the Leatherman tool.

Performance: 25/30
Features: 26/30
Ease of use: 18/20
Quality: 9/10
Value for money: 5/10
Total: 83/100

More details are on the Leatherman website.

Leatherman is distributed in the UK by Whitby & Co, who supplied the Free P2 to grough.

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