Hand Tool Reviews

Leatherman Free Collection Adds K Series


“Leatherman” has become synonymous with multitools over its 35-year history. But recently, the company has launched into some new territory. The Leatherman Free Collection is a new series of multitools designed for easier accessibility and a sleeker feel. The Leatherman Free Collection features a first-of-its-kind magnetic architecture that makes it easier to open, use, and close these tools. The Free Collection has even done away with those nail nicks. The new Leatherman K Series completes the Free Collection with a multitool for the folding knife user who wants to add a little multifunctionality to their EDC.

10-Second Summary

  • All of the tools in the Leathermen Free Collection include:
    • access to all implements from the outside of the tool
    • the elimination of nail nicks
    • a new locking system that reduces friction coupled with elastomer springs for better durability
    • haptics that allow each tool to open and close seamlessly with a distinct noise that lets you know that the tool is open and ready to go
    • textured design for better grip
  • The new K Series features a 3.35″ 420 steel blade as well as a collection of multipurpose blades

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What Leatherman Says

“There have long been conversations around creating Leatherman knives. With that in mind, when we were designing the Free architecture, we made sure that this type of design was possible. We wanted to create a knife architecture that we would be able to create many different variations with. It is was to build one knife and offer different colors and blade types. We wanted the freedom to create very different things, and that is challenging. If you appreciate a multi-tool but don’t need the pliers, this is all the tool you need.”

-Adam Lazenby, Design Engineer at Leatherman

Just What Is The Leatherman Free Collection?

A Rich History

To fully appreciate what the Leatherman K Series brings to the Free Collection, it might help to know what the Free Collection is doing differently than the rest of the Leatherman lineup.

We’ve always appreciated the multi-functionality of a Leatherman tool, but they’ve never been known for their easy access. They require that you have fingernails, for one thing (sorry, nailbiters). The nail nicks make the tool a challenge to open for those of us who keep our nails trimmed up…or bitten off at the quick…whatever the case is.

I’ve also met Leatherman implements that could benefit from a shot of WD-40. For whatever reason, even when you can get a tool to cooperate with your fingernail, it can take a bit of elbow grease to fully open.

Improving on a Legacy

Leatherman has done some engineering to get the Free Series to a more accessible place. The first marked improvement revolves around the decision to design a multi-tool that allows access to all the various implements from outside the tool. They’ve done away with those unholy nail nicks, too.

They’ve also addressed the difficulty you can have with opening your tools. With the Leatherman Free Collection, the brand has introduced a proprietary magnetic architecture that ensures smooth, frictionless deployment of the tools. Speaking of frictionlessness, Leatherman has also come up with a new locking system and elastomer springs that reduce any friction even further, which also provides the Free Collection with durability that we hadn’t seen prior to this release.

The new line even has a feature that, upon opening the tool, provides an audible click to let you know that you’re good to go without having the blade fold back over on your fingers. A new textured outer design provides an enhanced grip as well.

The K Series Joins the Free Collection

One of the hallmarks of the Leatherman multi-tool, and indeed the Free Collection, is the inclusion of a pair of pliers. They can be super helpful, but for some of us, they’ll only see really limited use. And, considering that limited use, they take up a fair amount of real estate in the pocket. Are they really necessary?

Not for everyone, and so Leatherman has released the K Series. This new edition is still a collection of multipurpose knives and tools, but without pliers as the primary tool. Instead, a 3.35″ blade serves as the main attraction here. You’ve still got your pry bar and Phillips head, but they come in a slimmer and less obtrusive package.

You have a few options as far as the Leatherman Free K Series goes. Standard and partially serrated blades are both available in both the K2 and K4 models. With the K4 Series, you also get spring-action scissors for $10 more.

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Leatherman Free K Series Specs

  • Leatherman Free K2
    • Blade Length: 3.3″
    • Closed Length: 4.5″
    • Weight: 4.9 oz
    • Thickness: 0.61″
    • Height: 1.3″
    • Materials: 420HC Stainless Steel
    • Tools: 420HC knife, pry tool, package opener, awl, bottle opener, Phillips screwdriver, medium screwdriver, extra-small screwdriver
    • Price: $79.95
  • Leatherman Free K4
    • Blade Length: 3.3″
    • Closed Length: 4.5″
    • Weight: 5.5 oz
    • Thickness: 0.72″
    • Height: 1.3″
    • Materials: 420HC Stainless Steel
    • Tools: 420HC knife, spring-action scissors, pry tool, package opener, awl, bottle opener, Phillips screwdriver, medium screwdriver, extra-small screwdriver
    • Price: $89.95

For more information about the Leatherman Free Series, click here.

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