If you are are looking for a lightweight multi-tool without any extra stuff then the Leatherman Skeletool CX is going to be in the running. Having had one of these for some time now, here are our thoughts.
Skeletool CX Basics
The Skeletool CX is the carbon fiber handle version of the standard Leatherman Skeletool multi-tool. It has a street price of $80 where the normal, all-metal Skeletool sells for $65.
The Skeletool is primarily a knife and plier tool, but also has pliers (with wire cutters), a screwdriver tool, and a carabiner. The knife is sold in both straight blade and semi-serrated models, but the CX almost always has the straight blade in 154CM steel.
The cool is 4.0 inches across when closed and 6.0 inches when open. It’s 0.5 inches thick. It weighs 5 oz, or about 138 grams. This all means this is a lightweight, pocket-friendly multi-tool, where you are trading off weight for having fewer tools available.
Skeletool CX Video Review
Want to skip the reading and watch out video review? Here goes…
Skeletool CX Thoughts
Having used and owned many Leatherman tools over the years, the Skeletool CX is one of my absolute favorites. For me, the most important tools in my multi-tool are the pliers, knife, and bit driver (like a multi-tool for screwdrivers). All the other stuff is handy now and then, but I don’t really need it that often.
This means the Skeletool and Skeletool CX are perfect for me, because they drop the stuff I don’t need day-to-day, like the saw, file, awl, can opener, ruler, etc. and in return I get some nice weight savings. This isn’t a trade-off for everyone, especially if you are camping or working outdoors and need a more robust set of tools found in something like the Leatherman Rebar.
That said, I understand people who think the Skeletool and CX are under-outfitted because it has 7 tools (as per Leatherman’s crazy count) for 5 ounces vs. the Rebar’s 17 tools for 6.7 ounces. The Skeletool has all-locking parts so it’s up to Leatherman standards.
The Skeletool CX blade opens from the outside and can open without opening the tool itself, meaning it can act like a pocket knife with no problems. This is a major selling point for people looking to replace a pocket knife.
The Skeletool is a pick for a tool minimalist. It’s going to be ideal for some people and not the right pick for most people.
Skeletool vs Skeletool CX
There is a fair bit of confusion among buyers between the Skeletool and the Skeletool CX. Here is what is different:
- CX has a little bit of carbon fiber in the handle. It look cool but doesn’t do anything
- CX has an upgraded blade. It’s the 154CM steel with a straight blade. The Skeletool uses a semi-serrated blade and a lower quality 420HC steel blade
Generally speaking most people think the Skeletool CX is worth the extra $15 for the better blade, but if you prefer the serrated knife then you can save the cash.
Skeletool CX vs Skeletool RX
The RX is a newer model aimed at EMT (emergency medical technician) staff. It’s the price as the CX but has a number of differences:
- Skeletool RX has a red, all-metal handle with no carbon fiber
- The RX uses a half-serrated 154CM blade, which is able to cut through a seat belt and similar materials better than the straight blade
- RX has a carbide glass breaker bit in the bit holder as opposed to the standard screwdriver bit set found in the CX (you lose one of the flat head bit and instead get the carbide tip breaker)
All told, the Skeletool CX is not a universally loved Leatherman, but it turns out to be just right for me and it’s become a daily carry tool.