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Leatherman Wave Plus vs Gerber Center-Drive

The Leatherman Wave Plus and Gerber Center-Drive are two popular multi-tools. But what are the differences and similarities? What are the advantages of both tools? And why would you choose one over the other? We will explain.

Gerber Center-Drive vs Leatherman Wave Plus

For both brands these are best-selling multi-tools. And not surprisingly so: both have qualities that make them stand out in their own way. To answer one of the most fundamental questions: is one of the tools better in terms of quality? No. When we look at the amount of returns and warranty cases, there is not one tool that stands out when compared to the number of tools sold. At best we can say that the Gerber Center-Drive isn't affected by rust as quickly because of the different finish on the surface. That is something that does occasionally occur with the Leatherman Wave Plus. Especially in coastal areas with their salty sea air, but that is something you can, of course, prevent with proper maintenance.

Which tools do these multi-tools have?

A comparison between two multi-tools is not complete without an overview of the different tools. That is why we made a list of all tools.

Multi-toolGerber Center-DriveLeatherman Wave+
Needle nose pliersXX
Replaceable (hard)wire cuttersXX
Knife made from 420HCXX
Serrated knife made from 420HCXX
Spring-loaded scissors-X
Can opener-X
Bottle openerX-
Wood file/Metal fileXX
Diamond-coated file-X
Large bit holderXX
Small bit holder (screwdriver for glasses)-X
Medium screwdriver-X
Integrated holder for spare bitX-

Here we would like to emphasize that in this case we used the basic version of the Center-Drive. There are also other models on the market with an additional bit set, or with other tools.

One-handed opening pliers

Practical about the Gerber Center Drive is the fact that it has pliers you can easily open with one hand. By pressing a button on the side of the tool you can easily make the pliers appear from the handle. Great when you need one hand to hold onto a ladder, for instance. You can also easily use this mechanism to close the tool with one hand.

Center-Drive screwdriver vs Leatherman bits

As the name might already suggest the special Center-Drive screwdriver is the highlight of the Gerber multi-tool. Until the Center-Drive was introduced using a bit holder was always a little awkward. The holder is namely not located in the middle of the axis of the tool, like with the Wave. Gerber came up with a solution: a long bit holder with a kink in it to make sure it will sit exactly on the axis of the multi-tool. As such tightening screws is a lot easier. The bit holder is also long and narrow to make sure you can also reach hard-to-reach places. This bit holder is made from standard 6 mm bits as you might have seen before on regular screwdrivers.

When we look at the Leatherman bit holder, we can see that it has room for Leatherman's flat head bits. To get that same range as the Center-Drive you need the individual Leatherman Bit Driver Extender. On the other hand, the Leatherman Wave Plus also has a mini bit holder in addition to the standard bit holder for a spectacle screwdriver, and a fixed medium screwdriver next to the bit holder

Interchangeable wire cutters

Both multi-tools are enhanced with interchangeable wire cutters. And yet there are differences between the two. The wire cutters on the Leatherman are made from steel, those on the Gerber are made from tungsten carbide. Harder than steel, which means they retain their sharpness longer.

If the wire cutters of the Leatherman are blunt you can easily take them out and replace them. You could even try to sharpen them. The Gerber has cutters with three cutting edges. This means you can turn them twice and immediately have a new cutting surface. If all sides are worn out you can also easily replace these cutters.

Distinctive tools

This basic version of the Gerber Center-Drive is enhanced with a pry-bar and bottle opener.

The Leatherman Wave Plus, however, is enhanced with scissors. Incredibly practical! There are, however, also versions of the Center-Drive with scissors.

Tools that are accessible from the outside

For a multi-tool it is practical to not always have to open it completely to reach the tools. That is why we made a list of all the tools you can immediately access from the outside.

Leatherman Wave Plus

  • Pocket knife (blade length: 7.7 cm)
  • Wood saw
  • Serrated pocket knife
  • File

Gerber Center-Drive

  • Pocket knife (blade length: 8.4 cm)
  • Bit driver
  • Pliers with wire cutters


We have to conclude by saying that Leatherman is no longer the main ruler on the multi-tool market. They remain the largest, but Gerber does come really close to Leatherman's showpiece with the Center-Drive. The question which you should choose is one you need to answer yourself by looking at the differences mentioned above, and the difference in price. Below you will find all Leatherman Wave Plus models, and the different versions of the Gerber Center-Drive