Whilst most would agree that the Surge is a competent large multitool, it does seem to divide opinion somewhat.
Myself, I find the Surge a little too bulky and cumbersome for the extra strength and size it offers, and consequently have always preferred the Leatherman Core and more recently the Supertool 300. Although each component stands up to close examination, this is a great example of a tool not being equal to the sum of it’s parts.
It’s pretty clear what was in the Leatherman design team’s minds when they conceived the Surge, take the biggest selling standard sized multitool (the Wave) and make it bigger! It might be quite telling that for their next big tool release, they had reverted back to the classic design of the Supertool, Supertool 200 and Core.
By introducing the T-shank adapter in place of the Wave’s diamond file, the Surge offers an extra slot for a pair of massive, excellent scissors. In turn, this creates space in the handles for a large awl with sewing eye. Other than that, the Surge is pretty much identical to the Wave – but bigger!
So, all of the components are equal or better than the Wave, and you even get an awl extra. The onboard and detachable lanyard ring and pocket clip are still present, and the pliers are monstrous, yet I still can’t warm to the Surge that well, although it’s hard to find specific faults with it.
There’s something about the Surge format that doesn’t sit right with me. Perhaps it’s the Surge’s uneasy attempt to bridge the gap between the highly innovative Wave or Charge and the might of the Supertools or Core. Maybe it’s the sheer bulk and weight that combining these ideals creates. Or maybe, it’s just the famous “rattle”, I can’t be sure.
One thing that I can be sure of though, is that I will continue to reach for the Core or Supertool 300 for those big jobs!