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.
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.
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.
Usefulness far surpasses price or form.
Quality construction has held up to incredible abuse.
Flat head/Phillips driver is much more useful than it sounds.
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.
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.