Trying to settle on the best pocket knife is a challenge most of us love to take on. If you’re a knife enthusiast, picking out a new model is an exciting experience.
However, with so much variety on offer, it’s tough to settle on a final choice. Most of us end up walking away with a few knives instead of the one we originally intended on buying.
If you’re prone to overspending on your budget, then this review is for you. We looked at the top pocket knives, selecting the best from specific categories. You’ll find a knife in this review that meets your budget and requirements.
We decided to make things easier for you in your quest for a new pocketknife. We looked at the top models online and scoured reviews to find the best models. Our choices in this review represent the best pocket knives available.
Our Top Picks
- 1 Our Top Picks
- 2 Pocket Knife Reviews
- 3 Other Best Selling Options
- 4 Pocket Knife Buyer’s Guide
- 5 Pocket Knife FAQs
- 6 Conclusion
If you want to skip the rest of the review and save time on your purchase, here are our top three picks. We have a model in the best overall, premium, and budget categories., You’re sure to find a pocket knife with the right features and price tag.
- The Best Pick: Cold Steel American Lawman
If you’re looking for the best overall pocket knife in this review, we recommend the American Lawman by Cold Steel. This knife features a rugged S35VN blade with a DLC coating for a friction-free cutting surface. The 8-1/8-inch total length and reversible pocket clip make it ideal for EDC and survivalist/camping use. You get G-10 handles with an ergonomic grip and finger choil for superior control. This knife features finger ridges on the spine and a body lock for a secure extension.
- The Premium Pick: Zero Tolerance 0223
If you have the budget and looking for the best premium pocket knife, you can’t beat the 0223 model from Zero Tolerance. This pocket knife features an 8.5-inch total length unfolded, with a 5-inch handle. You get G10 handles with an ergonomic grip and finger choil, along with a striker tip on the butt for breaking glass or self-defense use. The frame locks secure the CPM 20CV, DLC coated blade, with a manual opening system that relies on high-quality KVT ball-bearings.
- The Budget Pick: Leatherman Free K4
While this model might not be the most affordable model in this review, it offers the best utility. Speak to any prepper, and they’ll tell you a multi-tool is the most versatile choice in any SHTF situation. This Free K4 model from Leatherman gives you all the tools you need for camping and survivalist use.With nine tools available, featuring high-quality design, the Free K4 is a top choice, with a remarkably affordable price tag. You get an ergonomic handle design with an attractive stainless steel finish and updated tools from Leatherman.
Pocket Knife Reviews
After reading through the top picks in this review, you should have a good idea of which model suits your preference. However, let us introduce you to our other top contenders in this review if you want more choice.
Cold Steel American Lawman
If you’re an EDC enthusiast looking for the best pocket knife, we recommend the Cold Steel American Lawman. The Lawman comes with an S35VN stainless steel blade, featuring a DLC coated finish. The coating provides excellent corrosion resistance while giving a friction-free cut through any material.
- Available in two sizes, these rugged knives are designed to perform in the most extreme environments while still remaining comfortable to use and easy to carry
- Their drop point blades are big and sharp enough for almost any task while remaining "Civilian Friendly" in appearance
- The Lawman’s handles are also designed to be as versatile and user friendly as possible
- Made from G-10, they are contoured for grip security in even the worst conditions
- Specifications - Blade Length: 3 1/2 inches; Handle Length: 4 5/8 inches; Weight: 4.5 ounces
The Cold Steel American Lawman features an ergonomic handle design, with a double deep finger choil for superior control over the blade while cutting. You get G-10 handles with a lightly textured grip for use in all weather conditions, and a stealth black look to the knife.
The American Lawman features a 3.5-inch blade length, with an 8.125-inch total length. You get a trusty pocket knife with modern design and top-quality materials.
- S35VN blade with DLC Coating
- G-10 handles
- Ergonomic grip
- Finger choil
- Ridged back
- 8.125-inch total length
- 3.5-inch blade
- Suitable for EDC
Zero Tolerance 0223
The Zero Tolerance 0223 is the best premium choice in this review. This model is suitable for bot survivalist and EDC use, with durable, rugged design and construction. The CPM 20CV blade features a DLC coating for corrosion-resistance and drop-point design with a razor-sharp grind that lasts.
- Blade steel: CPM 20CV, DLC coating
- Handle: Titanium, DLC coating, earth Brown G10
- Frame lock, with steel lock bar insert
- Manual open, KVT ball-bearing system
- Made in the USA
This model features a striker tip in the butt of the knife for use in emergencies. Break glass or use it as a self-defense weapon. The 0223 from ZT comes with G-10 handles, featuring grooves for better grip. You get an 8-inch frame, with a 3.5-inch blade for the perfect pocket size.
The ZT 0223 comes with a reversible pocket clip. It features a titanium frame lock with a steel bar insert and KVT ball-bearing system for smooth manual opening.
- Excellent EDC choice
- Premium design and construction
- CPM 20CV blade with DLC coating
- G-10 handles with grooves for grip
- Striker tip in the butt of the frame
- 3.5-inch blade
- 8-inch frame
- Titanium frame lock
- Suitable for survivalist use
Leatherman Free K4
Leatherman is the inventor of the original pocket and handheld multi-tool. This Free K4 model represents a new era in Leatherman utility tools. We like where the design is going with this model, with multi-functional design and a clean stainless steel finish.
- REVOLUTIONARY ARCHITECTURE: A powerful, elegant multipurpose knife with spring-action scissors, made with revolutionary magnetic architecture that eliminates friction and wear
- 9 TOOLS IN 1: Includes a 420HC knife with a straight and serrated blade and a handful of essential tools, from spring-action scissors to a bottle opener to a variety of screwdrivers
- OUR GUARANTEE: We’re proud to stand behind every product that leaves our factory in Portland, Oregon; That’s why we offer our 25-year warranty, so you can be confident your Leatherman lasts a lifetime
- ENHANCED ERGONOMICS: Feels at home in the palm of your hand; Tools pop open with a simple push of your thumb - no more broken fingernails; All locking features so you can cut confidently
- ONE HAND ACCESS: Every implement is on the outside of the tool; Quickly open and close every tool with a single hand; Newly designed cam locks secure open tools in place
You get 9-tools-in-1, with newly redesigned spring-action scissors, a variety of handy screwdrivers, and a reversible pocket clip. Most preppers and military operators recommend a multi-tool, such as the Leatherman Free K4, as the ideal choice for a field knife.
You get a fantastic, functionality and high-quality multi-tool with this model. Sure, it might not have a rock-bottom price tag, but it has plenty of value. This model wins the best budget award in this review.
- Multi-tool design with 9-in-1 functionality
- Redesigned scissors
- 25-year warranty
- Enhanced handle ergonomics
- Individually-locking blades
- One-hand access to tools
- Excellent value for money
- Attractive stainless steel design
- Suitable for EDC and survivalist use
Zero Tolerance Sinkevich
Zero Tolerance gets another honorable mention in this review for the Sinkevich model. This pocket knife features a 3.7-inch 20CV crucible steel blade for a hardened, durable edge. The blade features a swept design, with a razor-sharp grind.
- KVT ball-bearing system enables blade to deploy smoothly as user pulls back on ambidextrous flipper; KVT assist causes a traditional manual open to release both quickly and easily
- Reversible pocketclip allows left- or right-side carry in tip-up position; holes to accommodate reverse pocketclip have tiny stainless steel collars, another fine detail not seen in most knives
- Titanium frame lock and hardened steel lockbar insert guarantee knife stays during use; they protect against unintentional foldback and prevent wiggle no matter how rigorous the task at hand
- ZT’s 0462 makes impressive gift for celebrating life’s most special moments, including birthdays, holidays, graduations, anniversaries, promotions, weddings, military enlistments or career changes
- Blade length is 3.7 inches; blade thickness is 0.156 inches; closed length is 5.25 inches; overall length is 8.9 inches; despite extra length and thickness, 0462 is fine-tuned to weigh only 3.7 ounces
The front scales feature construction with carbon fiber, and you get titanium handles. This lightweight knife is strong, durable, and attractive. The bent handle design looks attractive, with a reversible pocket clip and KVT ball-bearing manual opening.
- KVT ball-bearing system for easy opening
- 20CV Crucible steel blade
- Upswept blade
- Curved ergonomic handle
- Front scales featuring woven carbon fiber
- Stonewashed titanium handle
- Minimalist design
- 3.7-inch blade with a 5.5-inch handle
Cold Steel Bush Ranger
This Cold Steel model is another classic that will suit both EDC and survivalist needs. You get an ergonomic handle design with G-10 plates and a dial-assisted opening system. The handles have a deep finger choil for superior control over the blade in use and a lanyard hole along with a reversible pocket clip.
- Overall Length 8 3/8"
- Blade Length 3 1/2"
- Blade Thickness 4mm
- Steel / Material S35VN
The Cold Steel Bush Ranger is another top choice featuring premium design and materials. The 3.5-inch S35VN blade is robust, with a swept design and a back-locking safety mechanism. You get an 8.375-inch total length for convenient pocket storage.
- Ergonomic handle design with finger choil
- 3.5-inch blade length
- 4mm blade thickness
- CNC machined G-10 handles
- Assisted open design
- Tri-Ad lock for secure use
- Lanyard holes in the handle
- Reversible pocket clip
- Suitable for EDC and survivalist use
This Gerber model is a great choice for an EDC pocket knife. This model features an assisted opening design with a flipper paddle by your forefinger. The KVT ball-bearings provide a smooth and fast, one-handed opening operation for easy access.
- Gerber Knife: This pocket knife is made from high carbon S30V steel with machined aluminum handles
- EDC Knife: The manual finger flipper deployment and reliable detent make this knife safe and secure
- Pocket Knife: The Gerber Fastball is designed as a slim, lightweight knife with a single liner for an off-centered 3-inch blade
- Folding Knife: This knife features Wharncliffe/drop point blade with a shallow flat grind and needle tip point
- Gerber Guarantee: As a testament to our unrelenting commitment to quality and service, Gerber is proud to offer a limited lifetime warranty on all products
You get a durable S30V Wharncliffe blade with a precision detent providing a “lightswitching” opening. The easy-off liner makes for simple folding, and the 3-position pocket clip lets you choose your carry position. The handle also features a lanyard hole for convenient carry.
- S30V Wharncliffe blade
- Precision assisted-opening
- Easy-off liner lock for one-handed operation
- 3-position pocket clip
- Leveraged ball-bearing system for easy opening
- Suitable for EDC
- Available in three color options
Spyderco Para 3
This Spyderco model features a paramilitary design and a full-flat-ground CTS BD1N stainless steel blade.
- The New EDC: The Para 3 distills all the features of that best-in-class folding knife into a more compact, carry-friendly package. It proudly features all the key qualities of the Para Military 2 with a full-flat-ground CTS BD1N Steel Blade.
- Superior Quality: Machined from premium CTS BD1N, a nitrogen-enriched high-carbon chromium steel, the Para 3 offers superior balance, edge retention, and low-friction cutting performance.
- Pocket-Friendly: It features a lightweight, open-backed construction style and its Stainless Steel liners are nested into the FRN Handle. This reduces handle thickness and provides excellent support for the knife's Compression Lock.
- Reliable High Performance: The Para 3 traces its history all the way back 2004 to the introduction of the Para Military design. It offers the same proven reliability and cutting performance, but in a more compact, easy-to-carry design.
- Easy-to-Use Lock: Located in the spine of the handle, the Compression Lock's high-strength mechanism locks the blade securely open during use, yet allows it to be closed easily and safely with only one hand.
You get a 2.58-inch blade length with ergonomic, textured handles. The 4.29-inch handle features a deep pocket clip for convenient storage. The blade features the trademark Spyderco hole for easy assisted opening.
The finger compression lock design makes for a secure fixture and a lightweight carry. This model is ideal for both survivalist and EDC use.
- 2.58-inch CTS BD1N stainless steel blade
- Paramilitary design
- Ergonomic handle with finger choil
- Reversible pocket clip
- Lanyard hole in the handle
- User-friendly locking
- Two choices CPM S30V steel or CTS BD1N blade
Civivi Little Fiend
The Civivi Little Fiend is another example of a good EDC pocket knife. This model comes with a satin-finished D2 tool steel blade for extra durability. The flat grind provides years of use with the blade’s eye, providing a thumb-lever for easy opening.
- ✅【Durable Blade】Durable D2 steel blade can handle hard use tasks as well as providing choil for better gripping control when you may need to cut small or tiny things.
- ✅【Classic Textured Handle】G10 textured lightweight handle enhances the grip and blade control of this compact folder, fit in the hand comfortably.
- ✅【Easy One-hand Opening】With ball bearings in the pivot,cool knife is easy to one hand open, solid liner lock secures the blade,work pocket knives for indoor and outdoor.
- ✅【Knife as Perfect Gift】Well designed everyday carry folder is the kind of special gifts for husband from wife, nice as dad gifts,anniversary or Birthday,whether or not they're into knives.
- ✅【CIVIVI Care】Civivi knives and tools provide a lifetime guarantee against defects in material and workmanship, CIVIVI USA LOCAL CENTER provides faster response to take care of you
You get an ergonomic, layered G-10 handle, 3.7-inch blade, and reversible pocket clip included. This knife comes with a lifetime guarantee on the workmanship and a stainless steel ball-bearing opening system for smooth movement of the lade with finger compression locking.
- Satin-finished D2 tool steel blade
- G-10 handles with ergonomic grip
- One-handed assisted open with a flipper tag
- Suitable for EDC use
- 3.7-inch blade
- Reversible pocket clip
- Lifetime guarantee
CRKT CEO EDC
The CRKT CEO EDC pocket knife is a great choice for a discreet carry. This model features design and construction with a stainless steel blade for a sharp and durable cutting edge. You get a fast-open thumb stud, with a slimline profile design.
- Low Profile: Slim clip fits comfortably in pocket-
- Fast Opening: Thumbstud with IKBS ball bearing pivot deploys the blade fast
- Strong And Lightweight: Glass-reinforced nylon handle is durable and lightweight
- Designed by Richard Rogers in Magdalena, New Mexico
- Limited Lifetime Warranty covers any defects in materials or workmanship, see company site for details
This model features design by Richard Rogers in Magdalena, New Mexico, a legendary knifemaker in the CRKT stable. This CEO knife comes with a limited lifetime guarantee.
- Slimline look
- Good choice for EDC
- Low profile pocket clip
- Fast opening with thumb stud design
- Limited lifetime warranty
We wrap up our review with this Kershaw model. Kershaw makes some of the best EDC knives available, and this pocket knife model is no exception.
- FOLDING POCKET KNIFE: Contemporary and compact, the Kershaw Fraxion pocket knife is the perfect everyday carry. Designed by Danish knife and toolmaker, Jens Anso, the Fraxion shows what a modern EDC knife can do.
- STAINLESS STEEL 2.75" BLADE: Made from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel, the Fraxion blade takes a sharp edge and is easy to resharpen when needed. BlackWash coating provides extra blade protection.
- TAN G10 TANDLE: Featuring epoxy-filled woven glass fiber, the tan G10 handle is extremely stable and unaffected by temperature changes. Carbon fiber overlay is ready for action.
- MANUAL OPENING mechanism and convenient flipper offers quick and easy access with simple, one-handed opening. Liner lock secures blade in place for increased safety.
- ATTRACTIVE, INDUSTRIAL DESIGN: Tan features and black-oxide finish gives the EDC pocket knife a unique weathered look. BlackWash coating helps hide scratches, making the knife look cleaner longer.
You get a durable, corrosion-resistant 8Cr13MoV steel blade for use in demanding environmental conditions, and a 4-position carry clip for versatility. The G-10 handles feature a blackwash finish, and you get top swedge, and slight recurve to the blade for enhanced slicing capabilities.
- Toughened blade with corrosion-resistant 8Cr13MoV steel
- Suitable for EDC
- G-10 handles
- 4-position reversible carry-clip
- Scratch-resistant blade
Other Best Selling Options
- Dimensions: 7.1 Inch (18 Cm) Overall Length With A Blade Length Of 3.1 Inches (7.9 Cm) And A Weight Of 3.5 Ounces
- Durable: Blade Is Made Of Reliable 7Cr17Mov Black Oxide High Carbon Stainless Steel With A Black, Aluminum Handle
- Dependable: Quick And Easy Access With The Convenient Pocket Clip, Finger Flipper And Ambidextrous Thumb Knobs Making It Ideal For Everyday Carry
- Secure: Have Confidence That The Blade Will Not Slip With The Security Of The Liner Lock
- Be Prepared: Knife Features Jimping And Serrations
- 𝑯𝑰𝑮𝑯 𝑸𝑼𝑨𝑳𝑰𝑻𝒀 𝑪𝑶𝑵𝑺𝑻𝑹𝑼𝑪𝑻𝑰𝑶𝑵: Folding knife made of 440C stainless steel - an excellent balance of hardness. Equipped with the thumb studs for right and left hand use. This tactical knife features a sharp blade, glass breaker, and a hole for a lanyard. Handle material - aluminum. Lock type - liner lock. Blade length - 3.15”. Total length - 8.07”. Weight - 4.94 oz.
- 𝑨𝑳𝑳 𝑷𝑼𝑹𝑷𝑶𝑺𝑬 𝑭𝑶𝑳𝑫𝑰𝑵𝑮 𝑲𝑵𝑰𝑭𝑬: Tactical pocket knife for every day carry with clip and glass breaker. Great tool for Camping, EDC, Hiking, Urban, Work, Self Defense, Bushcrafting, Hunting, Fishing, Military & Army needs, DIY Activities, Survival, Combat, Emergencies. Multifunctional knife for outdoor and indoor use.
- 𝑷𝑶𝑪𝑲𝑬𝑻 𝑲𝑵𝑰𝑭𝑬 𝑾𝑰𝑻𝑯 𝑪𝑳𝑰𝑷: The folding knife offers the flexibility to be used with or without a pocket clip, allowing you to choose your preferred style. Additionally, the knife comes equipped with a detachable pocket clip for added convenience. The set includes a pocket clip, 3 screws (2 for installation and one extra), and a screwdriver, providing everything you need for attachment and adjustment.
- 𝑪𝑶𝑶𝑳 𝑫𝑬𝑺𝑰𝑮𝑵: Compact & lightweight knife suitable for both men and women. This exquisitely crafted knife showcases where stunning aesthetics meet exceptional functionality. Whether it's for everyday carry or outdoor adventures, this multi purpose knife is designed to be your ultimate tool. Enhance your knife collection with our military tactical knife, making it an excellent choice for various applications.
- 𝑷𝑬𝑹𝑭𝑬𝑪𝑻 𝑮𝑰𝑭𝑻 𝑰𝑫𝑬𝑨: Great gift for dad, husband, grandfather. Perfect gift idea for boys, boyfriend, father, brother, and any man in your life. College gifts for guys. Stocking stuffers for men. Gift Idea for Birthday, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Anniversary, Graduation, Thanksgiving. Mens knife gift. Father's day gift idea. Fathers day gifts. Mens gifts ideas.
- Versatile Tool for Multiple Applications – are you looking for a superior tactical folding knife for men daily outdoors use? This AOSILEY folding knife is robust tool for diverse applications like camping, fishing, hiking, cycling, survival, and home improvements.
- Lightweight Aluminum Handle – the AOSILEY multipurpose tactical knife features a sturdy aluminum handle of the AOSILEY Folding Knife. Thi ergonomic design ensures a secure grip and allows for precise control and maneuverability.
- Portable and Convenient to Carry – a folding design makes this knife highly portable and convenient to carry. You get a compact size and lightweight construction that easily fits in your pocket, backpack, or toolbox.
- Built for Toughness – this outdoor folding knife is created with premium materials that can withstand the test of time. The high-quality stainless steel blade provides exceptional strength, corrosion resistance, and edge retention to handle the toughest tasks with ease.
- The Gift for Men – are you looking for a really impressive gift for men and outdoor enthusiasts? This AOSILEY folding knife combines functionality, durability, and style. What a thoughtful little gift for birthdays, holidays, or any other occasion?
- Black pocket knife with serrated blade and aluminum ergonomic handle. Pocket knife is made of 440C stainless steel. Lock type - liner lock. Blade length - 2.95”; Handle length - 4.2”; Overall length - 7.17”; Weight - 4.12 oz. Multifunctional pocket knife: seatbelt cutter, glass breaker and pocket clip available.
- Folding knife with glass breaker and strap cutter. A glass breaker is a structural element of a knife intended for breaking glass in various emergencies. Strap cutter suitable for cutting rope, webbing, strap, cord, car belt. It is a great utility tool crafted from high quality and study materials.
- Perfect knife for EDC, urban knife, work knife. Box, letter, envelope opening knife. Compact combat knife to be carried in a purse, backpack, pocket. Good for indoor and outdoor use. Small pocket knife. Hiking, camping. Best for men and women. Pocket knife for retired men, travelers, outdoorsy men, military men, fisherman, country boy, cyclists, hunters, campers, hikers.
- Stylish design. Compact functional and stylish tactical knife. This common pocketknife is legal to carry in all states of the United States. With the handy pocket clip and hole for the lanyard, it is simple to use and excellent for everyday carry.
- Perfect gift for Christmas, Graduation, Anniversary, Birthday, Thanksgiving day, Father's Day gift. Surprise your mother, sister, girlfriend. Gifts for husband from wife, brother, college gifts for guys and even father in law gifts. Gifts for women, gifts for men. Gifts for dad, men’s gifts, gifts for mom. Mens gifts for Christmas. Gifts for her, gifts for him. Secret santa gifts for women and women. Stocking stuffers for men and women.
- 𝑯𝑰𝑮𝑯 𝑸𝑼𝑨𝑳𝑰𝑻𝒀 𝑲𝑵𝑰𝑭𝑬: Durable blade made of 440C stainless steel provides razor-sharp cutting performance and high durability. Handle material - aluminum. Lock type - liner lock. Blade length - 3.5". Handle length - 4.6". Total length - 8.19". Weight - 4.85 oz.
- 𝑷𝑶𝑪𝑲𝑬𝑻 𝑲𝑵𝑰𝑭𝑬 𝑴𝑼𝑳𝑻𝑰-𝑻𝑶𝑶𝑳: Spring Assisted Knife is equipped with a serrated sharp blade, a strap cutter, glass breaker and a pocket clip. The best EDC tool for men and women. Great for travelers, outdoorsy men, military men, fisherman, country boy, gardeners, hunters, campers, marines, working men, hikers.
- 𝑰𝑫𝑬𝑨𝑳 𝑭𝑶𝑹 𝑨 𝑽𝑨𝑹𝑰𝑬𝑻𝒀 𝑶𝑭 𝑷𝑼𝑹𝑷𝑶𝑺𝑬𝑺: Camping, EDC, Hiking, Urban, Work, Self Defense, Bushcrafting, Hunting, Fishing, Military & Army needs, DIY Activities, Climbing, Biking, Survival, Combat, Emergencies. Good for indoor and outdoor use.
- 𝑼𝑵𝑰𝑸𝑼𝑬 𝑫𝑬𝑺𝑰𝑮𝑵: All black pocket knife with stylish ergonomic handle. Elevate your everyday carry with our perfect pocket knife. Sleek design, durable construction, and versatile functionality make it a must-have for outdoor enthusiasts and everyday use. Discover the perfect blend of style and utility.
- 𝑷𝑬𝑹𝑭𝑬𝑪𝑻 𝑮𝑰𝑭𝑻 𝑰𝑫𝑬𝑨: Perfect gift for Christmas, Graduation, Anniversary, Birthday, Thanksgiving day, Father's Day gift. Surprise your mother, sister, girlfriend. Gifts for husband from wife, brother, college gifts for guys and even father in law gifts. Gifts for women, gifts for men. Gifts for dad, men’s gifts, gifts for mom. Mens gifts for Christmas. Gifts for her, gifts for him. Secret santa gifts for women and women. Stocking stuffers.
Pocket Knife Buyer’s Guide
Whether you’re an EDC or outdoors enthusiast, a camper, or a contractor, a trusty pocket knife is an indispensable piece of kit. Clipping it onto your pocket gives you a sense of security and comfort. With your pocket knife at your side, you know you’ll find yourself prepared for any situation where you need a blade.
Pocket knives come in handy in a variety of situations. From striking a fire-steel at camp to opening packaging at home, a pocket knife is a versatile and handy tool to have around. There are thousands of models available from dozens of brands, with talented knife makers creating an arsenal of choices.
After reading through the reviews on your choices for the best pocket knife, it’s time to settle on a model. There’s a model in this review whether you need a pocket knife for EDC or survivalist use. However, we realize that only ten models can present a challenging choice for your new knife.
In this section, we’ll unpack what you need to look for in the best pocket knife. Some models have different applications and designs to others, with various levels of quality and functionality. Let’s review everything you need to know about choosing the right knife for you.
Choosing the Blade for your Pocket Knife
The first step in choosing your knife is examining the blade. The blade is the most attractive part of the knife, and it’s what draws our attention to the tool at first glance. It would help if you had a blade that offers you peak performance, with a drop-point being a popular EDC design.
After selecting the design, look at the specs of the steel in the blade. Most pocket knives feature design with stainless or carbon steels for rugged reliability. These steels hold an edge well, and you won’t wear them down easily.
When choosing the steel for your blade, ask yourself how you intend to use the knife. Stainless steel is a good choice for the best general-purpose wear-and-tear. Models feature stainless designs like S35VN provide a toughened, reliable edge that’s razor-sharp and corrosion-resistant.
Tool steels like D2 provide you with an even harder edge than stainless steel, with plenty of use between sharpening. However, it doesn’t have the same corrosion resistance as stainless. Tool steels typically feature coated blades for corrosion resistance and friction-free cutting.
Alloys like 8Cr13MoV Steel provide good corrosion-resistance, but they don’t hold an edge and tool steels or stainless. However, if you’re using the knife in coastal conditions or wet weather, this steel is a good choice. Match the composition of your blade materials with your requirements for EDC or survivalist use.
What Blade Geometry Does the Knife Have?
The blade geometry plays a significant role in selecting the right pocket knife design to match your needs. Thinner blades are lighter, but they lack strength. If you’re going to need a knife for heavy-duty use, it’s better to go with a tool steel version and a thicker blade.
Thicker blades provide better rigidity to the knife and a harder surface for demanding cutting jobs. Thinner blades suit EDC tasks like opening packaging and other general cutting tasks that rely on blade sharpness over strength. Thinner blades create less friction when cutting, giving you a clean, accurate cut.
The best post knife blades feature a “V” or “chisel” grind. This grind makes for a sharp, reliable blade that holds an edge in demanding working conditions. The grind is the angle that the knifemaker uses when sharpening the knife.
Most pocketknives have grinds ranging from 22-degrees to angles of 36-degrees. The correct grind angle depends on the manufacturer and specific style of the knifemaker. Corrosion
Blade Opening Mechanisms
After reviewing the blade types and settling on your preferred style, it’s time to start thinking about its operation and utility. Check the opening mechanism of the knife. There are different styles of opening mechanisms, but the most common types you’ll find on pocket knives include the following
- Assisted-open with dial or bolt action – Assisted open blades will rely on mechanical parts like bearings to allow you one-handed control over the knife. A bolt-action or dial-action assisted open knife features a dial or volt on the top of the knife blade, close the handle. This feature gives your thumb a surface to leverage when opening the knife.
- Assisted open with springs – Some models feature spring-loaded design in the handle that opens the blade in a fraction of a second.
- Assisted open with flipper paddles – Some models feature flipper paddles at the blade’s base, allowing thumb-control over opening the knife.
- Manual-Opening Blade – Manually-opening knives typically require a two-handed operation. There is no assistance from any mechanism.
However, both assisted-open knives and manual versions rely on ball-bearings for the smooth opening and closing. Both models also feature a locking system holding the blade securely in place when open.
What are the Types of Locking Mechanisms for Pocket Knives?
Many aspiring knife owners get sidetracked by the blade and the handle on their new knife. However, you need to think about the safety aspects of the knife as well. How you lock your knife make s a difference, and you need a model with a secure locking system for safe and secure use.
Here are the different types of locking mechanisms you’ll find on pocket knives.
- Liner Lock – This mechanism is the most common design in pocket knives. With this locking system, one side of the liner angles to the frame’s inside—you pivot it away to release the blade.
- Slip Joint Lock – Slip joints are for traditional pocket knives. These locks are not the most secure, and they never lock the blade into position, similar to a Swiss Army Knife design. To close the blade, you apply pressure, and it moves to the closed position.
- Back Lock – A basic and simplistic design featuring some of the oldest pocket knives. A locking arm sits on the spine, molded into a hook fitting inside a notch on the blade’s rear. Tension from the blade opening drives the spring into the gap, locking the blade in place with a snapping sound.
- Mid Lock – As one of the strongest locking mechanisms, a mid-lock is a preferred choice for top-quality knifemaking brands. This design is similar to the back lock, but the release sits in the middle on the spine.
- Frame Lock – A frame lock is a popular choice for modern pocket knives. This locking system positions the lock-liner inward, with the tip engaged in the bottom of the knife blade. You release the lock by applying pressure to the frame, and it makes a snapping sound when opening.
What is the Best Pocket Knife Handle Materials?
The handle is another important consideration when choosing your pocket knife. There are various handle designs, and you need to select the right one for your EDC or survivalist use. The handle determines how the knife feels and performs in your hands.
If you have an uncomfortable or unstable grip on the knife when cutting, it could lead to a slip and a nasty accident. There are several materials manufacturers use in handles, and each of them has different characteristics and properties.
Here are the top choices for handles when shopping for the best pocket knife.
- Aluminum – An aluminum handle is lightweight and tough. This alloy is somewhat corrosion-resistant and a good choice for a light, attractive finish. Aluminum suits EDC more than survivalist use.
- Wood – Wood is the classic choice, and it’s still available as a material in modern pocket knives. However, we don’t recommend using wooden handles. Wood tends to get slippery with rain and sweat, and that could result in accidents.
- G-10 – The G-10 handle is the most popular choice for use in modern pocket knife design. G-10 is a composite handle design featuring a fiberglass frame soaked in resin and baked at high temperatures. The result is a tough, durable, and weatherproof handle. G-10 is the most popular choice for handle materials in tactical knives as well.
- Micarta – This material is not as hard as G-10, but it still offers plenty of durability and protection for your knife. This composite material features a design with a paper or cloth frame soaked in phenolic resin.
- Stainless Steel – Stainless steel is tough, durable, and corrosion-resistant. However, it’s also a somewhat heavy material.
- Titanium – Titanium offers you the strength and corrosion resistance of stainless steel, but with a fraction of the weight. However, titanium is expensive, driving up the price tag of your knife.
- Rubber – A rubber handle is a great choice for cold weather use. Rubber doesn’t conduct the cold, ensuring your fingers don’t freeze to the knife. If you live in colder regions, rubber handles are the best option.
What Kind of Handle Design Do I Need?
The design of the handle plays a significant role in the utility of the knife. We recommend looking for models that offer the following features in the handle and frame.
- Slimline or Sturdy Frame – Do you want a slimline or robust frame with your knife? Some models have a streamlined, slender look for easy concealment or EDC use for minor cutting tasks. Other models come with bulky frames and thick blades. This handle design is suitable for thicker blades with more cutting power.
- Textured Grip – If you’re using your knife outdoors in wet weather, you need a textured handle. A textured grip ensures that your hands don’t slip when working with your new knife.
- Lanyard Holes – Lanyard holes are an alternative attachment system over your pocket clip.
- Reversible Pocket Clips – Some models feature reversible pocket clips or clips with a 4-way design. If this versatility is important to you, make sure you include it in your pocket knife design.
Pocket Knife FAQs
Is carrying a knife in your pocket with a clip considered open carry?
Most states require a concealed carry license for firearms and deadly weapons. However, since your pocket knife has a clip that attaches to the outside of your pocket, it’s technically an open-carry weapon. Therefore, you won’t have any problems with your EDC pocket knife’s legality in any state throughout the US. Most pocket knives feature blades under 4-inches in length. Therefore, law enforcement officials view them as utility tools rather than self-defense weapons.
Is it legal to carry a pocketknife in the UK?
If you’re traveling to the UK, it’s fine to take your pocket knife in your stow-away luggage. UK police will not stop you from carrying any blade under 3-inches. Considering most pocket knives are around this size, they make the perfect choice for EDC use in the UK.
How do I sharpen a pocket knife?
We recommend getting professional sharpeni8ng for all your knives. A professional uses specialized grinding equipment to restore the edge on the blade. A good knifemaker has knowledge of different grinds, and which ones suit your knife.
If you’re out in the wilderness, and your knife blade dulls, you can attempt a self-sharpening. Self-sharpening requires an Emory board and whetstone. According to the manufacturer’s instructions, you’ll need to sharpen the blade at a specific angle, between 22 and 30 degrees. Therefore, we recommend avoiding sharpening your knife yourself, unless you have the know-how.
Where should I buy my pocket knife?
We recommend purchasing your pocket knife from Amazon. Amazon is the world’s biggest online retailer, and they have a solid reputation. Amazon Prime members get fast, free shipping to their doorstep, and buyer protection. If you’re looking for the best value deal, you will find it on this retail platform.
By now, you should have a good idea of the best pocket knife to suit your needs. Whether you like getting out to the campsite or looking for an EDC model, there’s a pocket knife to serve you in this review.
If you’re having some trouble settling on the best model, we understand. We want to walk away with all of them as well! However, if you’re still on the fence with your purchase decision, why not rely on one of our top picks?
- The Cold Steel American Lawman is our top choice for the best overall model in this review. You get a tough, rugged frame design with an ergonomic handle and finger choil for superior control. This knife features an 8.125-inch total length, with G-10 handles and a spine lock for safe use. The blade features design and construction with sturdy S35VN, featuring a DLC Coating for a friction-free cut.
- The Zero Tolerance 0223 is the best choice for survivalists and EDC’ers that want nothing but the best equipment. This model features design and construction with a DLC coated CPM 20CV blade and a compact design. The frame features a locking system with a steel locking bar and G-10 handles for total control when cutting.
- The Leatherman Free K4 is the most versatile pocket knife in this review. Your get 9-tools-in-1, with an attractive stainless steel finish. This model is compact and discreet, giving you a choice of tools to meet any EDC or camping task.