Leatherman Wave and Surge Leatherman Wave and Surge

wave plus vs. surge
the g.o.a.t. vs. the king

wave plus vs. surge
the g.o.a.t. vs. the king

wave plus vs. surge: A complete Guide

Many people think of the Surge® as the king of multi-tools while the Wave® is widely considered the greatest multi-tool of all time. But which one is right for you?

Overall, they’re pretty similar. Both can be used with one hand, have all-locking tools, and have implements you can access and use while the tools are open or closed. Both have replaceable wire cutters and are made of premium steel. Both are also customizable, so you can add artwork, names, or words to the handles and knife blade. The biggest differences are more about preferences like how you use it, size, and carry method.

No matter which one you pick, you can’t go wrong with either of these powerful multi-tools. But if you’re not sure which one really is the best for you, check out the comparisons below to decide for yourself.

Surge in use and wave in the drawer


Let’s talk about the G.O.A.T. first: the Leatherman Wave. The headline is that it’s easy to carry. The Wave’s compact size fits comfortably in your pocket or in a stylish sheath. It features 18 implements including pliers, knives, wire cutters, and screwdrivers. It’s a great everyday carry tool to prepare you for any situation.


The Wave includes an extra small bit driver which is great for eyeglasses, small electronic screws or as a SIM card pick. 

PRO TIP: Jeremy Rodriguez, our Senior Product Manager featured in the video below, carries his Wave with the replaceable pocket clip because it uses less pocket space, and it’s the tool he likes to keep in the house for quick DIY fixes.

Wave on a tool box and Surge screw driver in use


Now, let’s take a look at the King: the Leatherman Surge. This tool is roughly 30% larger than the Wave. It’s also stronger and more durable. The Surge features 21 implements including a saw, an awl, and even an electrical crimper. It’s built to handle tough jobs and can be a lifesaver when you need a little extra power.


The Surge features some of the largest scissors available on a multi-tool and they’re outside accessible. The plier heads are very robust and among the strongest in the market. Surge also features a Blade Exchanger which is similar to a replaceable bit driver, but instead you can swap out a saw or file depending on your needs. All these features make the Surge an ideal tool for heavy duty work and tough projects.

PRO TIP: Jeremy Rodriguez keeps his Surge paired up with a bit kit in each of his vehicles.

the bottom line

To sum up, both tools are designed for multi-purpose. There are a million use cases for both tools and a ton of overlap between the two. The Surge can handle more force and more intense tasks. When you pair it with a bit kit, it’s pretty much a portable toolbox. The Wave can handle pretty much anything you can throw at it, and it’s a bit more friendly for everyday carry.

Whether you go for the King or the G.O.A.T., both the Surge and Wave Plus are considered to be some of the best multi-tools out there and both are covered by our 25 year warranty. So, no matter which you choose, you can’t go wrong. And if you really can’t decide…why not both?

we asked the fans

In a recent Instagram poll, the Wave was the clear favorite but the Surge still has plenty of support.

Wave vs Surge Poll

we asked the expert

Still torn between the Wave Plus and Surge? Watch as Leatherman’s Senior Project Manager Jeremy Rodriguez breaks down the main difference between the best multi-tool of all time and the king of multi-tools.