Leatherman Steel Grades

Ever wondered what goes into a blade? Steel is steel right? Wrong. Steel is made up of different combinations of metal and alloys to produce blades for different purposes and with different characteristics, like edge retention, corrosion resistance and hardness, which are the most common characteristics the end user looks for in a blade.

  • Edge retention is the blade’s ability to hold an edge between bouts of sharpening. In other words, the number of times the blade can cut before it needs to be sharpened again.
  • Corrosion resistance is the blade’s ability to prevent staining from oxidation processes. Stainless steel does not mean it is steel without any stains, rather it is steel that stains less than normal steel from corrosion effects.
  • Hardness is the blade’s ability to endure use without suffering permanent deformation and is measured on the Rockwell scale.
  • Leatherman multitools primarily makes use of three different steels for their blades: S30V, CM154 and 420HC.
  • 420HC STAINLESS STEEL: An improved, high-carbon (HC) form of 420 stainless steel that works well with high production tooling. 420HC’s strength is optimized in Leatherman multitools by heat treatment.
  • S30V: A powder-made stainless steel with exceptional corrosion resistance made especially for knives. S30V blades hold an edge approximately six times longer than 420 stainless steel but may require some expertise when sharpening.
  • 154CM STAINLESS STEEL: A high carbon, high alloy, and corrosion resistant stainless steel that holds its edge three times as long as 420 stainless steel. This steel is used on some premium Leatherman tool features, such as knife blades and wire cutters.


Our tools bear the name of company president Tim Leatherman, who invented the original Pocket Survival Tool, now known as the PST.

The Leatherman Wave multi-tool is hands down our most popular model, made famous by its outside-accessible blades that can be deployed with just one hand. When we redesigned it in 2004, we gave the new Wave larger knives, stronger pliers, longer wire cutters, and all-locking blades. Perfect for any job, adventure, or everyday task, the Wave multi-tool is an international best-seller.

Every multi-tool and knife we ship out the door is crafted by one of the 700 Oregonians who call Leatherman a great place to work, and we stand behind our products with a no-questions-asked 25 year warranty.

Take a quick tour of the factory and see how your favourite multi-tool is made. Just click on the link to our You Tube channel!