Gear: Leatherman Style PS Multi-Tool Review

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Gear: Leatherman Style PS Multi-Tool Review

A multi-tool that fits on your key chain and doesn’t include a blade, meaning you can take it with you on airplanes? There are bigger and sexier multi-tools out there, and ones which include many more tools, but this is the one I end up using most often. Read why in this Leatherman Style PS Multi-Tool review.

The Gear

Take Leatherman’s latest key chain tool chassis, remove the blade, replace the big scissors with a decent set of pliers and you have the Style PS.

The big deal here is the absence of that blade and the diminutive size of the scissors. That means the tool meets TSA regulations for airplane carry on. Combine that with the diminutive size — just 2.9 inches long — and its convenient carabineer-style clip and that means you can carry this multi-tool with you absolutely anywhere.

I’ve tested that ability, too. This particular PS has lived on my key chain for the last two years. It’s been to three different continents and on dozens of flights. I’ve carried it past security in airports, federal buildings and into courtrooms. Not by sneaking it in, but with full approval of security officers both in this country and abroad.

Leatherman Style PS Multi-Tool
Leatherman Style PS Multi-Tool

To get it past often fickle, poorly trained security guards, I open it up displaying the tools, then place it in a bin, clearly visible alongside other suspicious items like my laptop and toothpaste. I also try to alert a security officer to its presence before they “discover” it going through the x-ray machine.

In those two years, I’ve only had it questioned once, by a TSA agent at LAX who was convinced I was trying to conceal some tiny blade somewhere inside it. Asking for her supervisor was enough to get the tool back in my pocket and me on the way to my flight. Most security personnel just give it a cursory glance and a few have even complimented me on my regulation-compliant preparedness.

Honestly, I didn’t expect the tool to hold up this long, either to my frequent abuse or to confiscation-prone air travel. But, at just $20, it didn’t really need to last longer than a month or two to justify its cost. That’s because, despite its size and lack of a blade, the Style PS is incredibly useful.

Tools include those “needle nose” (they’re not quite as small as you’d like) pliers, a wire cutter, a little pair of scissors, a bottle opener, a pair of tweezers and a little flat-head driver tapered so it fits Phillips head screws and bolts too.

Because I travel so much for work and am constantly on the move across a multitude of different vehicles, carrying a little toolkit on my key chain is a convenient and often necessary solution to make small tweaks and repairs. While I try to always carry real tools with me, sometimes that socket set, the foot-long channel locks, the bit driver, the foot pump and everything else just doesn’t make it along.

I’ve used the Style PS to adjust rebound and compression settings on motorcycle suspension, to tighten those impossibly tiny little screws that Apple uses to hold its laptops together (LocTite works wonders for keeping them from backing out again), for pulling shards of broken glass out of my hands, for tightening wayward mirrors, removing a fairing and even for fixing a tire. The little pliers are so handy that I even find myself using them after visiting my garage and grabbing other, larger, more specialized tools for other components of the job at hand.

In those two years of frequent use on tasks much larger than it was built to handle, the Style PS has held up admirably. The only part to break has been the scissor spring, a common weak point on any pocket tool.

Leatherman Style PS Multi-Tool
Leatherman Style PS Multi-Tool

The Good

Usefulness far surpasses price or form.

TSA compliant.

Quality construction has held up to incredible abuse.

Flat head/Phillips driver is much more useful than it sounds.

The Bad

Scissor spring failed just weeks into ownership.

Tool set is limited.

Tweezers will get the job done in a pinch, but lack traction and purchase.

The Verdict

Whether you’re a frequent flier or not, you need this tiny little multi-tool on your key chain. There, it is poised to deliver a surprising amount of capability whenever you may need it.

  • SteveNextDoor

    I agree that despite their size, these mini multi-tools are very useful. If you find you need/want a multi-tool this size with a blade, I recommend the Leatherman Squirt PS4; I have one on my keychain and use it quite often, it’s been a great tool.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I love the PS4 and actually prefer it to this tool, but man, being able to take tools with you on a plane is nice. Now, my keychain wears a powerful flashlight, a Gerber Shard that I put on a grinder so it actually works as a screw driver and pry bar and this multitool. Well, and a dog whistle. That gives me a pretty solid capability anywhere I am, even on a plane or after flying carry on only.

    • Daniel

      The Squirt PS4 is my daily carry as well…I don’t fly _that_ often and the Squirt PS4 is more versatile. I also carry a Fenix LD01 on my keychain…gotta love 72 lumens off of a AAA battery in your pocket.

      That Gerber Shard looks cool Wes…might have to look into that.

      • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

        The LD01 is a tank, but I carry the newest Maratac AAA. I love the knurling and you can’t beat its output.

        On the shard, you just have to get it on a belt sander or grinding wheel before it’s actually going to fit into screw heads or be useful as a pry tool. Once you do that, it’s great though. Saves my knives.

        • Daniel

          Whoa, looks cool Wes!…amazing output from that little guy! Good pricing too…damn you for showing me this!

  • HammSammich

    Sweet. I’ll have to grab one of these. I love my SOG, but it usually stays in the tank bag because it’s way too bulky to carry in a pocket (and I refuse to wear crap on my belt)…It’ll be nice to have something a bit more handy.

    • runnermatt

      Not sure one would want to wear one on their belt while riding. I would imagine it would hurt a lot in a crash. That said I have work Swiss Army knives and Leatherman’s on my belt before. Depending on where only your belt they are worn the can be un-noticeable, comfortable, or extremely uncomfortable. The heavier tools can pull down on your belt, which also pulls down one’s pants.

      Just making points, not criticizing.

  • Justin McClintock

    Maybe things have changed in the past year (I know some airline rules have). But at least previously, tools were not allowed on a plane. Not that they’ll necessarily stop you, but unless they’ve changed the rules, they can. And then you might be out a nice Leatherman. I’d double check the written regulations before trying to haul one of these in your carry-on or pocket.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Right. So, I fly like twice a month and this thing is 100% allowed on a plane. Both on paper and in my experience.

      • Justin McClintock

        I just checked. They have changed the rules. Tools under 7″ in length with nothing sharp are allowed now.

        http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/prohibited-items

        Glad to see that. Didn’t use to be that way. I had an adjustable wrench confiscated a few years back. Was NOT pleased.

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          Which has been the case for about a decade.

          • Justin McClintock

            A decade? No. Try 2008. That’s when my wrench was taken. Not exactly yesterday, but not a decade ago by any means.

            You know, for somebody representing the “brand”, you can be awfully snarky at times.

            • gabbar singh

              What’s snarky about Wes trying to make a point? He wasn’t being rude.

              • Justin McClintock

                There are far better ways to conduct one’s self when representing the brand than the way in which he chooses to at times. He could have simply posted a link to the TSA site (like I ended up doing myself) instead of insinuating that anybody who didn’t know right off the top of their heads that the rules had changed was an idiot. Perhaps it’s simply in the way it comes across because it’s simply the typed word, but it comes across that way to more than just myself nonetheless.

                • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

                  It mostly comes across like that to you. And it’s annoying.

                  We make an entire site dedicated to helping consumers cut through the bullshit and get greater value out of motorcycling and, for a handful of people including you, that’s never considered good enough. An entire staff produces content, fact checks it, edits it etc, yet here you are “You’re wrong!!!!1!!!” in about half the articles. Thing is, we’re not.

                • Justin McClintock

                  Look, for the most part I really appreciate the site. I disagree with you guys on a few points. You’ve taken offense to the idea that anybody could not fall in with your opinions lock-step. That’s your issue, not mine. I’m simply pointing out how and where I disagree. It’s up to you whether that’s something that offends you or not.

                  That said, your responses don’t come across that way just to me. Hence people liking them. Go check the other article if you disagree. More people seemed to agree with my original comment than anything else written there, and there’s even two likes to my comment about you coming across snarky. So somebody else thinks you do.

                  That said, you might as well delete this after you read it. It’s for you, not the whole world. Not that it offends me if it’s left.

                • Justin McClintock

                  Let me know next time you’re in Atlanta. I’ll buy you a beer.

  • ThinkingInImages

    I’d like to see a motorcycle specific Leatherman tool, complete with a tiny tire gauge., something small enough to go under the seat.

  • AWidebrant

    Shame about the scissors, I love the spring-loaded ones on my Micra. Wish Leatherman made a blunt-nose version, without the blade.