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.
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.
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.
- Weight: 5.5 oz. (K4) / 4.9 oz. (K2)
- Closed length: 4.5″
- Blade length: 3.3″
- Price: $90 (K4, K4x) / $80 (K2, K2x)
- 420HC knife (w/combo blade — K2x, K4x)
- Pry tool
- Package opener
- 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.