Cutting edge safety – Leatherman Z-Rex tested

Good design, well made, ultimate escape tool

Needs a bright colour option

Leatherman z-rex rescue tool review

Driving home on a cold winters night, your tyres hit black ice on a sharp bend. Control is lost instantly. Next time you open your eyes vision is blurred, and you quickly realise your vehicle is upside down. Smoke slowly starts drifting inside your car, and panic sets in. You try to release the safety belt but it’s holding your entire weight and won’t undo. Grabbing at the door handle, you try to push it open but it’s truly jammed in place. There is little chance of escape.

This is truly a nightmarish situation, and one which no doubt occurs regularly around the world – probably to many who thought ‘it’ll never happen to me’. What we all need to be carrying then, is a tool that’ll get us out of there fast, should it ever happen. The Leatherman Z-Rex it is then!

Leatherman z-rex rescue tool review

Carrying safety gear in your car such as a small fire extinguisher, a multi-tool, a torch etc is always a good idea, and now there’s another bit of equipment that should be among the basics. The Leatherman Z-Rex. This is a purpose-made tool for an emergency situation, such as if your car rolled over and caught fire.

Leatherman make some awesome multi-tools and knives, and the The Z-Rex is just as well designed and built. Made from aluminium, the Z-Rex is ultra-light at just 44 grams (1.56 oz), slimmer than an average pen and not much longer than one either at 6.75 inches (17 cm). No problem keeping it in your glove box then.

Leatherman z-rex rescue tool reversible cutting head

Pronounced like the American ‘Z’, not ‘Zed’, it makes sense that the name sounds like the beasty dinosaur-chewer that is the T-Rex. The ‘teeth’ end is a ‘V-notch’ blade designed to cut through a seatbelt quickly and without jamming. We tried the V-Cutter on a piece of nylon webbing twice as thick as a seatbelt and it still cut through with zero difficulty. A great feature of the Z-Rex is that the blade is reversible so if you use this professionally you can just turn it round and you’ve got a new blade. Wear that one out and you can get a replacement from Leatherman.

At the other end is a tip made of Tungsten Carbide, which is three times stiffer than steel and much denser than steel or titanium. The tip is made for smashing the glass window out of your vehicle, and works highly effectively.

Leatherman z-rex rescue tool review tungsten carbide window smashing point

I first got to test a Tungsten Carbide-tipped glass breaker a few years ago when the back windscreen of a car needed replacing. The tool I used wasn’t as ergonomic as the Z-Rex, which has deep, smooth finger grooves for maximum grip grip and comfort (it won’t dig into your hand as you use it), and yet still smashed the entire rear window with one easy blow.

Video’s of the Z-Rex action show just how effective both the V-Cutter and Tungsten Carbide tip really are. Check out the one included in this review from Leatherman themselves.

Handle/Body Poweder coated Aluminium
Cutter 440C Replaceable Cutter
Glass Breaker Tungsten carbide tip
Extra features Nylon Sheath
Oxygen Tank Wrench &
1/4in Hex Bit Driver
Warranty 25 Years
Website Leatherman
Shop Buy one now
Price £25

A couple of other features on the Leatherman Z-Rex are mainly for use by emergency workers such as firefighters, and are the two wrenches for oxygen connectors (rectangle and Hex).

For carrying it around you get a durable looking holster made from webbing with loops for attaching it to belts and straps. Two things we wish the Z-rex had is a bright paint finish so it’s easy to find in an emergency and some way to mount it securely within the car.

Overall, a simplistic and brilliant piece of kit. I’ll be keeping the Leatherman Z-Rex in my car from now on too, you never know what’s around the corner…

Design & Build 9.0
Features & Use 8.5
Price 8
Overall 8.5 / 10

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies

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