Leatherman Free K4 K4x Pocket Knife
Leatherman FREE K4 and K4x Pocket Knives

Leatherman FREE Pocket Knife: Magnetic ‘K-Series’ First Look

Rounding out Leatherman’s revolutionary FREE Series of magnetic multitools, the K-Series offers a new spin on the trusty pocket knife.

Leatherman made waves this year when it unveiled the FREE Series — magnetic waves, that is. By adding magnets into the tool’s architecture, Leatherman engineers introduced one-handed operation into the pliers-based multi.

It proved a hit. In our testing, we found the P2 made a good tool even better. And this month, the brand introduced the last of its inaugural FREE Series tools: the K-Series.

Leatherman Free knife in table
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With a 3.3-inch 420HC steel blade as its centerpiece, the K-Series comprises four different tools: the K2, K2x, K4, and K4x. The K2 sports seven auxiliary tools while the K4 has eight. And the “x” denotes a combo serrated blade.

We unboxed a K4 for this first look. You can also take a look at the video review below to see all the features in action.

In short: While less flashy than the pliers-based P Series, the K4 also seems to benefit from the FREE line’s tech. With practice, users can flip the blade open one-handed. And perhaps more importantly, the magnets make accessing all the K4’s accessory tools easier.

Leatherman FREE K4 Knife Multitool Review

Let’s start with obvious: the blade. The 420HC is pretty standard and helps keeps the K4’s cost under $100. It’s not a terribly hard steel, so it won’t hold an edge as well as higher-end steels. But it’s easier to sharpen and generally pretty tough. So it’s a good choice for the money.

Leatherman Free K4 Pocket Knife

As for the tools, the K4 gives you everything the K2 does — extra-small and medium flathead drivers, Phillips driver, bottle opener, awl, pry tool, and package opener, all packed onto three implements. Plus, the K4 adds a spring-loaded scissors to the mix (which the K2 lacks), bringing the total tool count to eight — not including the knife.

Like the P Series before it, the K-Series uses its built-in magnet to hold the tools closed. This is important because it makes the tools easier to access than Leathermans past.

Instead of trying to pick open the tools with a fingernail — Leatherman has received its share of “busted nail” complaints over the years — the K4 opens itself with a smooth thumb roll. Doing so fans out all of the tools, allowing you to select an implement more easily.

Leatherman Free K4 Pocket Knife

Leatherman FREE K-Series Knife

  • Weight: 5.5 oz. (K4) / 4.9 oz. (K2)
  • Closed length: 4.5″
  • Blade length: 3.3″
  • Price: $90 (K4, K4x) / $80 (K2, K2x)
  • Tools:
    • 420HC knife (w/combo blade — K2x, K4x)
    • Pry tool
    • Package opener
    • Awl
    • Bottle opener
    • Phillips screwdriver
    • Medium flathead screwdriver
    • Extra-small flathead screwdriver
    • Spring-action scissors (K4, K4x only)

Is this the right pocket knife for you? It seems the K-Series will work great for those who either don’t want to shell out the $120-140 for a P Series or who just don’t need that many tools.

There are higher-end pocket knives out there that really require a hard, long-lasting blade. But for the generalist who needs a knife and some occasional daily tools, the K-Series provides an easier-to-use option over Leatherman’s pocket knife predecessors.

Adam Ruggiero
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Adam Ruggiero is the Editor In Chief of GearJunkie.

Adam has been covering daily news and writing about cycling, camping, hiking, and gear of all kinds for 15+ years. Prior to that, Adam lived in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, at which time he realized he’d never have a “normal job.” His pastimes — farming, bike racing, and fitness — provided a gateway to all manner of physical challenges and recreation outdoors.

Based in Kansas City, MO, Adam tests as much gear as he can get his hands, feet (and dog) into each and every day. As editor in chief, he works to maintain GearJunkie’s voice, style, and commitment to accurate and expert reporting across every category.