I always look for the best value when making purchases – spending a little more to get a tool that lasts is always the best decision for tools that get used frequently. I outfitted my tool kit by using the money a garage would charge to purchase the right tools for the job. Instead of paying a shop to replace my brakes, I bought a floor jack, jack stands, a caliper piston tool, and a brake bleeder kit plus the rotors and pads. I only saved a couple bucks that first time but then I had the tools to make future jobs faster and easier.
Leatherman makes great quality tools and stands behind them with the best warranty in the business, but they are also expensive. Rather than buying a cheaper version from Gerber or SOG (or even worse a knockoff made from Chinesium) why not find a real Leatherman for less money. Here are 11 awesome ways to get your next Leatherman multi tool for 50% off or sometimes even less!
1. Leatherman Sales
This one is not as obvious as it seems at first glance. Leatherman will run infrequent sales for 10% but they don’t happen often and you can usually find new Leatherman for about the same price at other retailers. The real bargains are when Leatherman decides to retire one of their product lines, then you can find tools at 50% or even 75% regular price and you are buying them directly from Leatherman.com!
Before Leatherman retired the FreeStyle in early 2020 they had it for 25% off during the final sale. Currently Leatherman has some great models on sale but we don’t know how long they will last:
- 75% off: By The Numbers series (Leatherman 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
- 50% off: Pump, Croc, Cam, Shooter, Jam, Rail, Thruster, Rime, 4.5” Realtree Camo Sheath
- 30% off: Crater 33T, Crater 33L, Crater 33LX
- 25% off: Juice S2, Juice B2, Juice CS3, Juice CS4 and Leatherman Leap
- 10% off: Micra in Pink, Style CS, Squirt ES4
Standard shipping is only $5.95 and shipping is free on orders over $75.
2. Pawn Shops
Pawn shops definitely have a stigma attached to them and most people have never set foot in one even if they do watch Pawn Stars on History. The reality is that pawn shops can be a great place to find tools at excellent prices. Pawn shop owners know that tools hold their value and there is always a market of buyers. I would advise you to stay away from electronics and only buy power tools if you know your stuff, but you can usually find a wide selection of hand tools.
One great thing about buying a Leatherman at a pawn shop is that you can spend some time examining it before you make a decision. Check out the size and weight to make sure it will work for what you need. Open every tool and inspect each one to make sure it has a smooth action, locks properly, and doesn’t have any hidden damage.
Be aware that you are purchasing a used tool and it won’t come with any warranty from the pawn shop and they won’t accept returns. Don’t rush into any decision and be willing to walk away. Many of the large chain pawn shops have stopped negotiating prices almost completely but smaller local shops are much more likely to haggle.
Walk in knowing what the eBay prices are for the same model and offer them 10-15% less – if the tool has been sitting around awhile the shop will want to move it. Once you get a good deal, ask if they have any other tools because they don’t always have all their inventory on display.
3. Garage Sales, Yard Sales, and Estate Sales
This one is hit or miss but you will be surprised by the multi tools you can find at garage sales and yard sales. Middle age people put stuff together for the sale and they realize they have a drawer full of stuff they never use so it goes out for sale. If you have friends that go to garage and estate sales, let them know to keep an eye out as well and you can video chat if they find something or just pick it up for a couple bucks.
You can’t go wrong with any of the tools from Leatherman or Victorinox and even the SOG, Gerber and CRKT tools are easy to spot, but steer clear of the many cheap knockoffs. Always bundle items if you are interested in multiple things and negotiate the price lower, most of the time people are just happy to be rid of the stuff.
Garage sales are another location that it never hurts to ask if they have any multi tools they want to sell, sometimes they go running back into the house to bring one or two out even if they weren’t planning on selling them.
Look for neighborhood events where they coordinate one weekend for the community yard sale. With more people participating in the local area you are much more efficient and spend less time driving between the sales. Some communities will arrange for people to sell out of their vehicles at a common location, we find a lot of tools this way because Leatherman multi tools are so portable they seem to show up more frequently at these type of events.
4. Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and apps like Letgo, OfferUp, Oodle, and others
Any of the apps and marketplaces can be a hassle to communicate with the seller and then making arrangements for the exchange, but it may be worth it to get a great price or for a hard to find multi tool. One big advantage these sites have over eBay is that you are not competing with all the buyers in the country, listing default to local neighborhoods when displaying results.
Always follow safety precautions when using these and similar methods:
- Don’t give out your email or phone number. Communicate through the app and their proxy service. Use Google Voice so you can keep your own number private and give out a different number but still receive phone calls and text messages.
- Pay cash and get a bill of sale for documentation. Never go to an ATM with the other party.
- Open up and inspect the item. One of the most common scams is for the seller to say the package is still sealed, then when you open it at home you find it is simply a shrink wrapped box weighted to feel correct.
- Meet at a police station using http://www.safetradestations.com/ for the actual exchange.
eBay is the obvious place to look for used Leatherman and everyone else knows it too. You are unlikely to find a great bargain but it is one of the best places to look for discontinued multi tools that are no longer in stock in stores. We’ve found new condition multi tools on eBay that have been out of production for years.
Here’s a great way to find multi tools that other people miss in online listings. In addition to searching your make and model, also search using just the make and just the model in the search box by themselves. For example if I want to buy a Leatherman Skeletool I’ll search just Leatherman and scan the listings to see if there are any with misspellings of Skeletool, then I’ll search using just Skeletool because sometimes people will list them without the brand or even have it listed incorrectly as “Gerber Skeletool” or similar. Search eBay now.
Of course there are scammers out there and the most common issue are tools sold with hidden damage or condition issues. Since you rely on photos and can’t touch or inspect the tools before paying make sure you get the information you need. Ask the seller directly about any damage to the tool and request additional photos.
Do all your communication through the eBay portal so there is no question what was communicated if there is a problem down the line. If you find something that looks too good to be true it probably is – pay attention to user ratings as well as where the product is shipping from.
6. Thrift Stores
Just like pawn shops, second hand shops also do good business with tools but usually have less selection and you have to wade through more junk to find them. We’ve had success calling up the shop and simply asking if they have any Leatherman in stock before heading to the physical store.
What about Goodwill and Salvation Army? Neither one accepts donations of sharp or dangerous items so you are very unlikely to find any multi tools for sale and none with a knife blade. If you do find one it will probably be a small scissors-based personal care multi tool or a knifeless version. These are so rare that its not worth your time going to a store just for a multi tool but keep your eyes open if you are in one of their shops for another reason because you never know what you might come across.
7. Social Media Groups and Forums
Facebook, Reddit, Pinterest are the big ones and there are active communities of Leatherman users and collectors on each platform. The nice thing about these groups is that members are always trading multi tools so if you have one that you don’t use much you can always post it up and try to swap for one you want more. Members also regularly offer new multi tools for sale and frequently prices are below retail.
Social media groups are also a good source of ideas and parts for modifying your Leatherman with custom tools, attachments and other changes. Leatherman Wave+ and Skeletool are two favorites for mods but you would be surprised at how creative the community can be. I’ve seen heavy duty pliers put into full-size multi tools, Skeletools with the carabiner amputated, bling-ed out tools using colored washers and spacers, and custom sheaths and pouches. The craftsmanship on some of the work is really amazing.
8. Membership and Airline Miles Reward Programs
I always make sure to sign up for airline miles whenever I fly to get the benefit, but I don’t book my trip around airline miles rewards so sometimes the miles will expire. Some programs have the option to use your points for merchandise and if your miles are expiring this can be like getting stuff for free.
I was able to pick up my Victorinox SwissTool this way, instead of forfeiting the value of my miles when they expired I was able to get one of the best engineered heavy duty multi tools for zero out of pocket cost. If you are serious about collecting points and/or miles pay close attention to the conversion rate to get the best value. Some products are great bargains while others are listed for very high redemption amounts.
All of the major outdoor stores also have loyalty rewards programs that you should utilize. Don’t get blinded by the reward points, that is what the retailer is hoping for. They want people to come back to them instead of shopping around for the best value. However many will price match advertised prices so if you comparison shop you can get both the lower price offered by a competitor and the reward program benefits.
- Cabela’s CLUB loyalty program link
- Bass Pro Shops CLUB loyalty program link
- REI Co-op Membership link
- Gander RV & Outdoors GoodSam membership link
- Sportsman’s Guide Buyer’s Club link
9. Look for Combination Sets
Leatherman commonly puts together combination packages with two complementary tools, usually a keychain size tool with a pocket or full size tool as well as knife and multi tool sets. They are good deals as long as you were going to purchase everything anyway. If you can exercise self control you can save more money. Buy the set and then sell one of the tools to offset the cost, but this only works if you actually sell it and don’t keep both.
10. Amazon Warehouse
This one is my favorite because it really flies under the radar. Everything on the Amazon Warehouse page made it appear like I was buying used items until they actually arrived. Then I noticed the package was damaged but the item itself was brand new. Now I can’t make any guarantees for your experience but after ordering more than 20 items that were listed as ‘Used’ I have yet to receive one that showed any signs of actual use.
My guess is that these were returns that Amazon determined they couldn’t sell as new items and so they downgraded them to used. I’ve scored some great deals this way, including a brand new Gerber Center-Drive for half off MSRP. The Amazon website defaults to searching their entire inventory, you can narrow down and search just the Amazon Warehouse listings by starting here.
11. TSA Auctions & Surplus Resale
This one gets the final spot on our list due to the sheer volume and size of it. Have you ever seen someone forget the Leatherman they had in their pocket as they went through airport security? It happens every day and all of the knives and tools surrendered to TSA or confiscated at checkpoints end up getting resold by the state government.
If you want to buy in bulk, this can be a great way to do it. Sometimes they will list batches of 5-10 tools, sometimes boxes full of knives and tools, and sometimes you will find them in lots of 500-1000 pounds and sold by the pallet.
Seized and confiscated items are routed through the surplus property department for each state but like most things handled by the government it is overly complicated. Most states separate their federal surplus from state surplus and each can use one or more channels for the sale. You will find a lot more than just multi tools and knives here though, because these sites handle all government surplus they have vehicles, land, office equipment and just about everything else you can think of.
We did the research so you can easily find the information for your state in the table below. Be sure to understand the terms before purchasing, some require you to physically pick up the items at their location within a set timeframe or they are forfeit, others may have shipping options available.
- The National Association of State Agencies for Surplus Property (NASASP) has links to the surplus property sites for each state here, but we found many of the links were broken.
- Here is the official site for U.S. Government property but there is also information about surplus sales on USA.gov.
- Another good website to try is AllSurplus.com, they consolidate many of the individual auctions into one searchable location.