Best EDC Pocket Knives

Best EDC Pocket Knives of 2017

Choosing the Best Knife for Your EDC

Many different knives have lived in my pockets. Many more will find their way there eventually.

I have been carrying a knife every day since I left school. They did not like the idea of students carrying blades. Even then, I often had a hobby knife in my backpack. For art class, obviously.

Quite often, those knives have proven themselves to me. Having a blade at the ready has saved me heartache and increased my reputation amongst my friends. Need something cut? I’m prepared.

Some of those knives have been, quite frankly, more worthwhile as a missile than as a cutting tool.

Always carry a knife with you

If you are considering a knife which has a town name engraved in the scales but no brand anywhere to be seen? Forget it.

Others were bought on a whim and then proved dutiful for many years.

One or two decided to play the part of coward and escaped from my pocket, never to be seen again. Traitors.

Do You Carry a Pocket Knife?

You should. They’re such a small item, but can be oh so useful.

Are you unsure on whether or not you should carry a knife every day? Read on for why.

If you are already interested but are not sure on what knife to carry, we have you covered as well.

What is an EDC Knife & Why Should You Care?

The goal of an EDC knife is held within its name. EDC is short for Everyday Carry. Simple. Such a knife is one you carry on your person day in and out.

EDC knives are very often pocket knives, but they do not have to be. Some are worn on the belt, or clipped to your trousers. Some may hide inside your boot.

But the point is that the knife is with you every day, and is used for tasks, not necessarily self defense. Though it could be, in an emergency.

There are many very good knives out there. But not every knife is the best for EDC purposes.

That big hunting knife? Walk through a shopping mall with it on your hip, and I bet you will be asked to leave.

A flashy balisong, perfect for spinning and flipping? Probably a bit large for your pocket and a bit unwieldy for lots of tasks.

A box cutter? Those things may be good for a lot more than just ripping open boxes, but they are still not super versatile.

A two hundred year old dagger used by the Tuareg people of Africa? What, you want to bring an artifact with you everywhere and risk it getting damaged? Keep that somewhere safe, man.

A butter knife? Now you’re just getting silly.

All of the knives above are great, but they are specialized. They are for a purpose, and while they may do a great job at fulfilling that purpose, they are not always intended to be used for other things as well.swiss army pocket knife

An EDC knife, on the other hand, is by its nature a jack-of-all-trades. It will not be as good at skinning a deer or showing off to your friends, but it does not need to be.

Instead, what it is, is there when you need it.

By all means, when you go hunting, take your hunting knife. But if you find yourself in the woods without that hunting knife, your EDC may just suffice.

Because that is the point of an EDC knife. If a problem arises which requires a blade, that knife—your constant companion—will be there to help.

Many situations can arise which demand the use of a knife, when you least expect it. Some are mundane, such as opening plastic packaging and cutting down uppity cardboard boxes.

Perhaps you went to an impromptu fire on the beach with friends. Someone brought hot dogs, but nobody brought skewers. Whip out your EDC knife, turn a branch into a hot dog holder, and you will be the hero of the night.

The best EDC knives can solve more important problems, as well.

If you are stuck in the wilderness, you can use your knife to create shelter. Someone is losing blood? You have a way to create a tourniquet out of your clothes.

Would EMT shears be a better choice? Yes, but when is the EMT wielding those shears going to arrive?

By carrying a capable and generalist knife, you will be prepared to solve many problems you cannot foresee.

Most of those problems will be minor annoyances, but it only takes one serious event, and your EDC knife can help you save a life.

EDC Knife Features to Pay Attention to

There are many factors which can go into determining what makes a knife good or not. However, the best EDC knife is one which you will carry with you, every day.

Other people can call it the best knife in the world, but if it does not fit your hands or pockets so you leave it in your nightstand, in your case it makes a horrible EDC knife.

Therefore, one of the most important considerations is comfort. Does the knife feel good in your hand? Does it sit well in your pocket?

Folding pocket knives

Beyond that, you want the most reliable knife for your budget. As it will be with you more than other knives, your EDC knife will see more wear and tear. Does the blade hold its edge? Is the folding mechanism easy to use and durable?

Speaking of folding, most EDC knifes will be folding knives. Fixed blades are good as well, but when it comes to a knife you keep with you all the time, compactness tends to take precedence over a stronger tang.

The grind and blade shape are extremely important considerations for specialized knives. A whittling knife and a skinning knife will have vastly different blades.

For a pocket knife though, these are less important factors. Don’t get me wrong, some very silly pocket knives have been made, but generally so long as there is an edge and a tip it will be an okay knife.

So the blade shape is pretty much up to personal preference. How big the blade is though, well, that is a little more important.

How big are your pockets? A huge knife will not be comfortable to carry nor very stealthy. On the other side, very small knives have difficulties performing many tasks.

Not that tiny knives are not worth it. I keep a two inch Kershaw on my keychain. But it is not my first choice for most tasks.

I would recommend that your EDC knife be somewhere between 2″ and 4″ in length. Most will have blades somewhere in the 3″ range. You may prefer slightly longer or shorter, and that’s fine.

After all, what matters so much is not how big the blade is, but how well you use it.

Another consideration is price. Good EDC knives range from under $50 to almost $200. Quality, as expected, will typically rise with price.
Best EDC Knives Under $50

Knife ModelLengthWeightBlade MaterialRating
Victorinox Swiss Army Classic reviewVictorinox Swiss Army Classic SD2 1/4″ overall / 1 1/4″ blade0.8 ozStainless Steel4.7

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Schrade Old Timer Senior Pocket Knife reviewSchrade 80T Old Timer Senior Pocket Knife6.9″ overall  / 3" blade2.8 oz7Cr17 Stainless Steel4.4

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Opinel No. 8 pocket knife reviewOpinel No. 87 5/8″ overall / 3 3/16″ blade1.6 ozXC90 Carbon Steel or 12C27N Stainless Steel4.6

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Ontario RAT 1 folding knife reviewOntario RAT 18 5/8″ overall / 3 5/8″ blade5 ozD2 Steel4.5

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Buck Knives Nano Bantam 283 Knife reviewBuck Knives Nano Bantam 283 Folding Knife4 7/8″ overall , 1 7/8″ blade0.6 oz420HC Steel4.6

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Best EDC Knives Under $50

There are many quite adequate knives under $50 which are suitable for everyday carry. You will not get as good of a knife as a more expensive one, though.

These budget blades are typically cheaper for a reason, and that reason is rarely “we found a way to make a high quality knife for super cheap.”

The steel will likely not be the highest quality material. Reliability may be questionable. Less money going into the designing may result in worse ergonomics.

Do not take this to mean you should automatically discount any of these knives, however. They are still all good knives. After all, there are thousands of cheap knives out there, and we are showing you five of the best.

Expect a good knife, and you will not be disappointed. Expect an excellent knife and you may be.

As an additional bonus, if you lose a $20 knife, that is a lot less of a loss than if you lose a $100 knife.

Plus, you can buy several to figure out what features you like before spending a lot of money on a more expensive knife.

Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD

Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD review

Tech Specs

  • Blade Length: 1-1/4″
  • Overall Length: 2-1/4″
  • Weight: .8 oz
  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Blade Shape: Drop point
  • Handle Material: ABS
  • Lock: Not locking
  • Tools: Scissors, nail file, 2.5mm screwdriver, key ring, toothpick, tweezers, and key chain ring.
  • Available in many different colors and prints.

Overview

Made by Victorinox, the Swiss Army knife is the stereotypical EDC knife, and for good reason. Heck, this knife predates the usage of that term!

Compact, light, and with a sane number of tools, the Swiss Army Classic SD is one of the latest in a lineage of blades first developed over a century ago. This knife has a long history, and Victorinox has a strong reputation.

With a blade and six tools inside such a small and light package, the Swiss Army Classic SD provides a surprising amount of capability for tool so small it might as well not even exist.

Things I Liked

This knife is small, so you can add it to your key chain with no worries. Or you can put it in your pocket and forget that it’s there until you need it.

It has seven tools including the blade, providing additional utility without adding bulk.Swiss army EDC knife

Plus you can sometimes find these knives as cheap as $5, making them very valuable for the price.

Things I Did Not Like

The stainless steel used in the blade is not as good of a blade steel as some other stainless steels are, so it is harder to sharpen and will not maintain as good of an edge as other knives in this category.

The blade is small and light, and cannot be locked. It will not handle strong tasks.

Some of the tools, such as the toothpick and tweezers, are kept in only by friction and so are prone to getting lost. None of my family has been able to maintain a complete Swiss Army Classic SD set for long.

Those tiny scissors are hard to use and not very strong, much like the blade.

Summary

The grandfather of EDC knives, Victorinox’s Swiss Army Classic SD is a useful and inexpensive little knife, but does not have the strength necessary to handle heavy tasks.

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Schrade 80T Old Timer Senior Pocket Knife

Schrade 80T Old Timer Senior Pocket Knife review

Tech Specs

  • Blade Length: 3″
  • Overall Length: 6.9″
  • Weight: 2.8 oz
  • Blade Material: 7Cr17 Stainless steel
  • Blade Shape: Clip point, sheepsfoot, and spey
  • Handle Material: Delrin
  • Lock: Not locking
  • Tools/Misc: Three blades

Overview

Schrade has a large lineup of pocket knives under the Old Timer name. My favorite of the lot is the 80T Senior, which has three blades and is of a useful size.

Other varieties are available, such as the 180T Mighty Mite with one blade, 1040T Minuteman with two, and the 440T Workmate with four.

All of them are styled similar to knives from yesteryear, ones your grandfather might have carried. Just like those old knives, the Schrade Old Timer will survive to be passed on down to your grandchildren.

The three folding blade style is a classic for a reason. You can find similar style knives made by a large number of manufacturers, but take it from me, not all will be as good as the Schrade Old Timer.

While they use a stainless steel, it is a high carbon steel as well, and so holds an edge better than most stainless steels. Unlike other, similar knives I’ve used.

The delrin handle, while not the fanciest option on the market, holds up well to time and the environment.

You can even purchase these knives with customized etchings on the blade, if you so desire.

Things I Liked

I find the three blade style to serve me well. The knife remains small enough to hide in your pocket without drawing attention to itself, but then you have a variety of options.

For example, I use each of mine for a different purpose. One blade is for general cutting tasks, one is for whittling, and the other is used for food.

Things I Did Not Like

My least favorite thing about this style of knife is their proclivity towards slipping out of my pockets. EDC? To me, these are ECD knifes—Escaping Capture Daily.

Other than that, I do not have much to complain about, except maybe that you have to keep your eye open for cheap pocket knives in a similar style. Those do not hold an edge worth a darn.

Summary

The three blades of the Schrade 80T Old Timer Pocket Knife give you many options in a compact package.

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Opinel No. 8 Folding Knife

Opinel No. 8 Folding Knife review

Tech Specs

  • Blade Length: 3-3/16″
  • Overall Length: 7-5/8″
  • Weight: 1.6 oz
  • Blade Material: XC90 Carbon Steel or 12C27N Stainless Steel
  • Blade Shape: Clip point, full flat grind
  • Handle Material: Wood or plastic
  • Lock: Virobloc collar
  • Tools/Misc: Whistle (on select models)

Overview

The Opinel No. 8 is as simple as its name, which is the length of the blade in centimeters.

You can choose whether you want the better edge of a carbon steel blade, or the rust resistance of stainless steel. You can also get either a wood or plastic handle.

The handle itself is shaped to have a neutral grip, so it is comfortable no matter which way you hold the knife. Being round, though, it is more bulky in the pocket than other similar knives.

You can get the handle in a variety of materials, such as beechwood or bubinga. If you prefer plastic handles, those are available as well. The wood and plastic options are available in a variety of colors.

A premium version is available which adds a lanyard and survival whistle to the handle.

Unlike most locking folding knives, the lock on the Opinel No. 8 is manual. It is called the Virobloc and takes two hands to use, but works very well.

Speaking of two hands, there is no opening assist to this blade. You can pinch the blade to open it or use the nail mark. Once you get your grip it swings open very easily though.

The shape of the blade works very well for most applications. It has a clip point and a full flat grind. Serrated versions are available.

Opinel No. 8 knives are often available for $15-$25 dollars, depending on the variant. Other sizes are available as well.

Things I Liked

I am a fan of simple things that work well. The Opinel no. 8 is designed to work well and does so simply.

The blade shape and size is good for most applications, whether you’re cutting boxes, whittling wood, or slicing through rope.

The handle is comfortably shaped and does not have any finger grooves. Some people like those, but too often I find that they do not work for my hands.

Things I Did Not Like

You cannot open this knife with one hand, and you need to use both hands to lock the blade as well. While generally not a problem, it is possible that you may find yourself with one hand trapped. This knife would fail you then.

Also, being round instead of flat, the Opinel no. 8’s handles takes up more room and is more noticeable in your pocket. There is no clip, so you cannot attach it to your belt or the outside of your pants.

Summary

Another inexpensive and highly reputable choice, the Opinel no. 8 is a simple knife that works very well, so long as you have both hands available.

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Ontario RAT 1 Folding Knife

Ontario RAT 1 review

Tech Specs

  • Blade Length: 3-5/8″
  • Overall Length: 8-5/8″
  • Weight: 5 oz
  • Blade Material: D2 Steel
  • Blade Shape: Drop point, full flat grind
  • Handle Material: Glass Filled Nylon
  • Lock: Liner lock
  • Tools/Misc: Movable pocket clip

Overview

The Ontario Knife Company has been around for a long time, and have produced knives for every branch of the US military, so they know their stuff.

If you are wary of anything Canadian, do not fear, they are not from Ontario, Canada. In fact, they are from Ontario County, New York.

RAT stands for Randall’s Adventure and Training, a well known survivalist training outfit.

The D2 steel holds a good edge, but is not as rust resistant as some blades. It is well shaped for slicing.

A liner lock holds the knife in place, and is easily unlocked with the thumb of the hand holding the knife. The ambidextrous thumb studs allow you to open the knife rather easily with one hand.concealable pocket knife

Those plus the fact that you can move the pocket clip to four different locations means that this is a very ambidextrous knife.

You can get the Ontario RAT 1 knife with either a satin finish or black coating on the blade, but the black coating is rather weak. The satin is also not very satin, it is more reflective than matte.

The glass filled nylon scales are textured and ergonomically designed, so you can grip the knife in comfort.

In case you get something nasty in the action, this knife is easy to take apart and put back together.

Things I Liked

With some heft and a strong blade, the Ontario RAT 1 can handle meatier tasks than a lot of other knives in this category. The grip is comfortable, and the ambidexterity is appreciated.

Things I Did Not Like

At almost a third of a pound, this is a hefty knife. It is also larger than some of the other offerings. While I could carry it every day, it would be more noticeable than other EDC knives.

Summary

The Ontario RAT 1 is a heavy duty knife, very capable but not very urban.

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Buck Knives Nano Bantam 283 Folding Pocket Knife

Buck Knives Nano Bantam 283 Folding Knife review

Tech Specs

  • Blade Length: 1-7/8″
  • Overall Length: 4-7/8″
  • Blade Material: 420HC Steel
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Handle Material: Injection Molded Polymer
  • Weight: .6 oz
  • Lock: Lockback
  • Tools/Misc: Lanyard hole

Overview

Buck Knives is a well known competitor in the budget knife category. They have a strong warranty, but their quality has bounced around in recent years.

The Nano Bantam 283 Folding Knife is made in USA, but it is uncertain whether all of the parts were made in the USA or if it was just assembled in the USA from parts made elsewhere.

Still, they make good knives, and the Nano Bantam 283 is no different.

The 420HC steel maintains a good edge while being somewhat resistant to corrosion. The handles are injection molded polymer and are partially textured, giving a comfortable grip.

The blade locks when unfolded, and rather than the standard lining lock, the locking mechanism is near the butt of the handle. This lockback mechanism keeps your fingers clear of the edge when you close the blade.

The Bantam Nano 283 holds up to its name; at 3″ closed, and with a 1-7/8″ blade, this thing is small. For an EDC knife, this can be a good thing.Good folding buck knife

Things I Liked

This knife is a very capable blade in a miniscule package, so it will hide anywhere you put it.

I also prefer the lockback mechanism over liner locks. Liner locks require you to put your finger in the path of the blade to close such knives, while the Nano Bantam 283 allows you to close the knife from the other side.

Things I Did Not Like

The small size is also a weakness, as sometimes you need a larger knife.

The only assistance to opening the blade is a nail mark, so it can be awkward to open. Also, I have never been successful at closing a lockback knife with one hand.

Summary

The Nano Bantam 283 Folding Knife by Buck Knives is a tiny knife with surprising capabilities.

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Best EDC Knives Under $100

Knife ModelLengthWeightBlade MaterialRating
Spyderco Tenacious reviewSpyderco Tenacious Folding Knife7 3/4″ overall / 3 3/8″ blade4 oz8Cr13MoV Stainless Steel4.7

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SOG Flash II Assisted Knife reviewSOG Flash II Assisted Folding Knife8″ overall  / 3 1/2″ blade3.1 ozAUS-8 Steel4.5

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Kershaw Blur folding knife reviewKershaw Blur7 7/8″ overall / 3 3/8″ blade4 oz14NC28, S30V, CPM154CM, 440A, 420HC, S30V, or 14NC28 with a ZDP189 edge4.7

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Gerber 06 Auto Knife reviewGerber 06 Auto Knife8.6″ overall / 3.7″ blade7 ozCPM-S30V steel4.0

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Boker Plus Anti-Grav ceramic Knife reviewBoker Plus Anti-Grav Knife7 1/4″ overall , 3 1/4″ blade2 ozZrO2 Ceramic4.1

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Best EDC Knives Under $100

We are now leaving the budget category. While all of the cheaper knives we have looked at will be quality knives, below you will find ones with better workmanship and better features.

Notably, more of the knives below will either be ambidextrous or have some sort of assisted opening feature, which can make the difference between life or death in an emergency situation.

Or it could just let you complete your tasks more quickly when out on the town.

Spyderco Tenacious

Spyderco Tenacious folding knife review

Tech Specs

  • Blade Length: 3-3/8″
  • Overall Length: 7-3/4″
  • Blade Material: 8Cr13MoV Stainless Steel
  • Blade Shape: Leaf shaped, full flat grind
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Weight: 4 oz
  • Lock: Liner lock
  • Tools/Misc: Movable pocket clip

Overview

Spyderco makes a wide variety of knives. This particular one is imported from China, but do not let that scare you away. It is still a very capable and reliable knife.

The blade may be a stainless steel, but the 8Cr13MoV steel has been properly heat treated and so will hold an edge surprisingly well. Not quite as well as a high carbon steel, though.

The G-10 handles are textured and give a good grip, but may be a little bit cheaper feeling in the hand compared to even more expensive knives.

The pocket clip can be screwed in to four different places in the handle, depending on how you would like to carry the knife.

Instead of a small nail mark, the blade sports a large hole near the spine, which makes this knife easier to open than some other knives.

The liner lock locks the blade open well.

At almost eight inches long when unfurled, the knife has some size to it.

best spyderco knives
Spyderco Tenacious with black coating

You can purchase the Spyderco Tenacious with either a plain blade or with a black coating, which is surprisingly tough and holds up to wear.

Things I Liked

The blade is well shaped for both stabbing and slicing, and holds up well to those tasks.

The handle fits the hand well, so the blade is pretty easy to control. Aiding in that control is a ridged portion on the back of the blade for your thumb, allowing you to apply pressure safely.

Things I Did Not Like

This may be nitpicking, but I am not a fan of pocket knife blade which stick out from the handle when closed, and a large portion of the Tenacious’ blade does just that.

Summary

The Spyderco Tenacious may be made in China, but you would not be able to tell that by its ergonomics, strength, and reliability.

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SOG Flash II Assisted Folding Knife

SOG Flash II Assisted Folding Knife review

Tech Specs

  • Blade Length: 3-1/2″
  • Overall Length: 8″
  • Blade Material: AUS-8 Steel
  • Blade Shape: Drop point or Tanto, straight or serrated
  • Handle Material: Glass Filled Nylon
  • Weight: 3.1 oz
  • Lock: Slide safety
  • Tools/Misc: Pocket clip

Overview

SOG Specialty Knives was established by Spencer Frazer, named after the special ops Studies and Observation Group from the Vietnam conflict.

He designed knives based on what the SOG used in Vietnam, and eventually found enough success that the Navy SEALS adopted his blades.

The SOG Flash II is an assisted folding knife designed as a very capable EDC knife.

There are ambidextrous thumb studs, and once you start the opening flick, a spring pushes the knife open even further. A button on the slide functions as a safety; slide it in place, and the blade stays locked.

The pocket clip is at the very end of the handle and so hides the knife very deeply within your pocket. It can be swapped to either side, but cannot position the blade anywhere but tip-up.

The glass filled nylon handles work well and provide adequate grip.Good assisted opening knives

AUS-8 is a Japanese steel that holds its edge well, but still not quite as well as higher carbon steels.

You can get the blade with either a satin finish or with a Titanium Nitride coating, either straight edged or serrated.

Things I Liked

This knife fits the hand well and has a good ratio of weight-to-blade, especially compared to other knives with similar length blades.

Things I Did Not Like

The safety can take some time getting used to, and is obnoxious if you forget you activated it. Also, the nature of the spring assistance and safety means that the blade has some play when unfolded, and is not perfectly rigid.

Summary

The SOG Flash II is a fine blade, strong and light, but does have some blade play.

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Kershaw Ken Onion Blur with Speedsafe

 

Tech Specs

  • Blade Length: 3-3/8″Kershaw Ken Onion Blur with Speedsafe review
  • Overall Length: 7-7/8″
  • Blade Material: 14NC28, S30V, CPM154CM, 440A, 420HC, S30V, or 14NC28 with a ZDP189 edge
  • Blade Shape: Hollow ground Drop Point, Tanto, or Blunt with recurve; straight or serrated
  • Handle Material: Rubberized “Trac-Tec” and anodizez 6061 aluminum
  • Weight: 4 oz
  • Lock: Liner lock
  • Tools/Misc: Speedsafe assisted opening, pocket clip.

Overview

Ken Onion, a prolific knife designer, teamed up with Kershaw to design this knife. It has his Speedsafe assisted opening feature.

That feature is why this knife is called the Blur, as when you flick the ambidextrous thumb studs, the blade moves so quickly into position it looks like a blur.

A pretty standard liner lock holds the knife in place. To hold it to your pocket there is a pocket clip. The clip can be moved to change the orientation of the tip in your pocket, but can only be installed on one side of the knife.

The blade shape has a slight recurve to it, which can help with its ability to slice but can also make it more difficult to sharpen.

The blade is available in a large variety of steels, so if you have a strong preference on what type of steel goes into your blade, the Blur may very well be for you.

It also comes in a variety of blade styles, available with either a drop point or a Tanto tip, both hollow ground. For EMT and rescue work a blunt tip is available as well.

You can also find the knife with either a straight or partially serrated edge.

Kershaw pocket knife
Also comes in Olive Drab

The handle is mostly anodized aluminum but also has a rubberized texture Kershaw calls “Trac-tec” on parts of the scales. You can get the handles in a variety of colors as well.

Things I Liked

This knife opens quickly and very easily. It does not take much pressure to go from folded to unfolded.

It also fits the hands well, and though some people may have different preferences, I like the mixture of rubber and anodized aluminum for the handle.

I am a fan of the slight recurve to the blade; any more, and it would be too difficult to sharpen. It is in a good place.

Things I Did Not Like

Though it does not take much pressure to use the thumb studs, but they have a stepped design which digs into your thumbs and makes them uncomfortable to use.

Also, the pocket clip is very tight. It can be difficult to extract the knife from whatever you have clipped it onto.

Summary

The Kershaw Blur is a capable knife that earns its name when opening the blade, but does not like to leave the pocket and may have a vendetta against thumbs.

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Gerber 06 F.A.S.T. Auto Knife

Tech Specs

  • Blade Length: 3.7″Gerber 06 F.A.S.T. Auto Knife review
  • Overall Length: 8.6″
  • Blade Material: CPM-S30V steel
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point or Tanto, straight or serrated
  • Handle Material: Aluminum or G-10
  • Weight: 7 oz
  • Lock: Slide safety
  • Tools/Misc: Push button automatic action, pocket clip

Overview

The Gerber 06 Auto Knife is not just an assisted opening folder, it is a full on automatic knife. When you press the button, the blade swishes into action.

It sports a slide safety which can be used to lock the blade in both the locked and unlocked positions, and has a red indicator when the safety is off.

The blade is S30V steel, which has a good blend of edge retention and corrosion resistance. It comes in both drop point and Tanto forms, and can be serrated or have a straight edge.

The handle is anodized aluminum, though G-10 scales are also available as an option with the Tanto models if you would like additional grip.

Instead of putting your thumb on the blade, the handle itself flares out and provides a thumb rest. The other end of the handle sports a stainless steel egress tool with a lanyard hole, letting you break glass easily.

The pocket clip can be positioned on either side of the handle, but always puts the blade in the tip-up orientation. It is a larger clip than normal, which makes sense as the knife is almost half a pound in weight.Gerber automatic knife

Things I Liked

While most fast knives have an assisted opening mechanism, this knife is fully automatic. Press the button and it is open!

Things I Did Not Like

There’s not much I do not like about this knife other than its weight. Sure, you CAN carry it every day, but it may be overkill if you do not need such a heavy-duty fast knife.

This is not a knock against the knife, but it is fully automatic. Be wary of violating local laws, as some locations criminalize the possession of such useful knives.

Summary

The Gerber 06 Auto Knife is heavy and fast, very high quality but also demands a high price.

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Boker Plus Anti-Grav Knife

Boker Plus Anti-Grav Knife review

Tech Specs

  • Blade Length: 3-1/4″
  • Overall Length: 7-3/4″
  • Blade Material: ZrO2 Ceramic
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Handle Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Weight: 2 oz
  • Lock: Liner lock
  • Tools/Misc: Pocket clip

Overview

The Boker Plus Anti-Grav Knife is not so named because if you let it go it will fly up into the sky. Close, though. The whole thing weighs only two ounces!

Boker accomplished this by making the blade out of ceramic, the handles out of carbon fiber, and the metal hardware out of titanium. There is nothing magnetic in the knife, and everything is ultra-light.

The ceramic blade holds a sharp edge very well. Do note that the ceramic is harder than most sharpening stones, so unless you already know how to and have the tools to sharpen ceramic knives, you will have to send it back to Boker for sharpening.

While it is not a good idea to use any knife to pry anything, it is an even worse idea with a ceramic blade. This knife is only for cutting, not for odd tasks.

The pocket clip is stuck in one place. There is also a lanyard hole.

Ambidextrous thumb studs allow you to open the blade easily, and a liner lock holds it in place well.Great ceramic blade knife

Things I Liked

The Boker Plus Anti-Grav Knife is so very light you almost forget that you are holding it in your hand. It is slim and elegant, and slices very well.

Things I Did Not Like

Because it has a ceramic blade, this knife will not hold up to abuse. If you frequently need to put force behind your cuts, this may not be the knife for you.

Summary

A stunningly light knife, the Boker Plus Anti-Grav has nothing magnetic in its construction, but the ceramic blade is too brittle for heavy duty tasks.

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Best EDC Knives Under $200

Knife ModelLengthWeightBlade MaterialRating
Zero Tolerance Hinderer Knife reviewZero Tolerance Hinderer Flipper Knife7 3/4″ to 8 3/4″ overall / 3 1/4″ to 3 3/4″ blade5.4 to 6 ozElmax or CPM-S35VN Stainless Steel4.2

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Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 EDC knife reviewSpyderco ParaMilitary 28.28″ overall  / 3.44″ blade3.75 ozCPM-S30V or CPM-S110V Steel4.7

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Cold Steel Recon 1 knife reviewCold Steel Recon 1
9 3/4″ overall / 4″ blade5.3 ozAUS-8 Steel4.4

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Boker Plus Kwaiken Flipper knife reviewBoker Plus Kwaiken Flipper8 3/8″ overall / 3 1/2″ blade5.4 ozAUS-8 or VG104.3

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Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556 Knife reviewBenchmade Mini Griptilian 556 AXIS Knife6.78″ overall , 2.91″ blade2.56 oz154CM Stainless Steel4.8

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Best EDC Knives Under $200

The knives are getting even more expensive, but with a higher cost comes more value. Greater workmanship and even more advanced features hold the following knives above the pack.

Zero Tolerance Hinderer Flipper Knife

Tech Specs

  • Blade Length: 3-1/4″ to 3-3/4″Zero Tolerance Hinderer Flipper Knife review
  • Overall Length: 7-3/4″ to 8-3/4″
  • Blade Material: Elmax or CPM-S35VN Stainless Steel
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Handle Material: G-10 and Titanium
  • Weight: 5.4 oz to 6 oz
  • Lock: Frame lock
  • Tools/Misc: Pocket clip

Overview

Designed by Rick Hinderer, the Zero Tolerance Hinderer Flipper Knife is a beautifully designed knife available in a variety of patterns.

Both longer (3-3/4″) and shorter (3-1/4″) blades are available, and the steel is either S35VN or Elmax. Those are both powdered steels, and are products of advanced metallurgy. The Elmax is even more advanced.

Wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and edge retention will be good with either choice, though slightly better with the Elmax.

The handle does not look like an advanced piece of engineering, but underneath the G-10 scales hide a stainless steel liner and titanium frame lock which have been 3D machined for strength and milled to reduce weight.

The ergonomics are aggressive and hold your hand and thumb in place, providing the traction to work under any condition.

The clip can be mounted on either side of the handle, pointing the tip up or down. The clip holds well without making it too difficult to extract the knife.fast opening one handed knife

The folding mechanism of the knife uses Kershaw Velocity Technology. KVT uses a series of ball bearings to reduce friction as much as possible. They are also captive in nylon so the bearings do not make a break for freedom if you open up the knife.

For opening the knife you have the option of using the ambidextrous thumb studs or the flipper tab on the blade, which doubles as a way to keep your index finger from sliding onto the blade during use.

Things I Liked

The Zero Tolerance Hinderer Flipper is a rather large knife, but its advanced construction techniques keep it light for its size. It also opens quickly and confidently, and the frame lock works very well.

Things I Did Not Like

If you, like me, are right handed, it is possible to foil your attempts to open the blade. Applying lateral pressure into the thumb stud will cause the blade to push against the frame lock and keep it from opening.

Summary

The Zero Tolerance Hinderer Flipper is a very well designed knife that is lightweight for its large size.

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Spyderco ParaMilitary 2

Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 review

Tech Specs

  • Blade Length: 3.44″
  • Overall Length: 8.28″
  • Blade Material: CPM-S30V or CPM-S110V Steel
  • Blade Shape: Leaf shaped, full flat grind
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Weight: 3.75 oz
  • Lock: Compression lock
  • Tools/Misc: Pocket clip, lanyard hole

Overview

Remember the Spyderco Tenacious review above? Take everything from that knife, and make it a bit better. Lighter, better steel, better lock, etc.

The blade is leaf shaped, with a flat spine and curved edge. A large hole is near the spine to make it easy to open and the curvature around it makes for a comfortable thumb rest.

CPM-S30V steel holds a strong edge and resists wear well. It can be a bit tough to sharpen compared to some steels, but this steel is worth it.

You can also get the ParaMilitary 2 with CPM-S110V steel, which has even better edge retention properties. You can get the blade either straight or completely serrated.

The G-10 scales are very well designed, and every edge you are expected to hold have been rounded.

A new bushing pivot system reduces the friction and allows the knife to open as if it were an assisted opening knife.

The lock on this folder is a compression lock, unique to Spyderco. It is similar to a liner lock, except located along the spine of the blade instead so you can disengage it without sticking your fingers in front of the edge.Spyderco folding pocket knife

If you like digital camouflage, you can get handles dressed in it. You can also get the blade with either a normal finish or a black finish.

The pocket clip can be placed in four different locations depending on your preference, and there is a larger-than-normal lanyard hole.

In fact, with the big lanyard hole and the big hole in the blade to assist opening, this is a rather hole-y knife.

Things I Liked

While on the larger size, the Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 is surprisingly nimble. The blade is good for both precision use and for stronger cuts.

Things I Did Not Like

Like the Tenacious, I do not like it when the metal of the blade extends too far out of the handles when closed.

Summary

The Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 is a nimble and comfortable knife.

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Cold Steel Recon 1

Cold Steel Recon 1 pocket knife review

Tech Specs

  • Blade Length: 4″
  • Overall Length: 9-3/4″
  • Blade Material: AUS-8
  • Blade Shape: Clip Point or Tanto, straight or serrated
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Weight: 5.3 oz
  • Lock: Tri-ad Lock
  • Tools/Misc: Two pocket clips

Overview

Cold Steel is rather infamously known both for its knives and its promotional videos. Despite the silliness of carving up a pig carcass or slaying zombies, the Recon 1 is a well made and up-to-date knife.

The AUS-8 blade is available in either clip point or Tanto styles and has good characteristics.

The blade coating is black teflon, which works well enough but does not handle wear as well as some other coatings.

The G-10 scales are scalloped, making the finger indentions more comfortable to use. It is also textured. Just try losing your grip with this pocket knife.

It comes with two pocket clips, as each one is curved and so specific to a side. I suppose if you want you can put both on, just in case you have trouble decided whether you are right handed or left handed today.

Unfortunately that ambidextrous friendliness does not completely apply to the thumb stud. There is just one, and while it can be switched from side to side, two would be better.Top EDC knife brand

The lock is a Cold Steel specific Tri-ad Lock. It disengages from the middle of the back of the handle, keeping your fingers out of the path of the blade, and is so strong you could almost climb with this knife.

Things I Liked

Though very large for an EDC knife, the Cold Steel Recon 1 is not all that heavy. It is a beast, but a tamed beast.

Things I Did Not Like

It’s big. This is more of a self defense or survivalist knife than an EDC knife. Though it is not a heavy for its size as it could be.

Also, I do not like the finger cutouts myself. They do not work well with my hands.

Summary

The Cold Steel Recon 1 is large, not heavy, and very capable, but may not fit all hands.

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Boker Plus Kwaiken Flipper

Boker Plus Kwaiken Flipper review

Tech Specs

  • Blade Length: 3-1/2″
  • Overall Length: 8-3/8″
  • Blade Material: AUS-8 or VG10
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point, hollow grind
  • Handle Material: Titanium
  • Weight: 5.4 oz
  • Lock: Liner lock
  • Tools/Misc: Pocket clip

Overview

The original Boker Kwaiken was not that good of a knife unless it was customized. Clumsy and even a little bit dangerous, most people left it behind.

Boker updated the model and has turned it into a much better EDC knife, the Boker Plus Kwaiken Flipper. Though compared to the other knives on the list, it is a bit of an oddity. People seem to either love or hate this knife. It sure is unique.

The blade can be found in both AUS-8 or VG10. Both are quite serviceable steels but are not the top of the line by any respect.

The shape of the blade is a modified drop point, sleek and sweeping. It has a very nice stonewash finish, and a flipper tab provides the method of opening the blade. There are not thumb tabs.

The handles are straight and svelte titanium, with a sort of minimalist style. Aesthetics seem to play a larger role than ergonomics.

As the scales are simple, there is still plenty of room for customization. Despite the straight design, it still feels comfortable in the hand.Small concealable pocket knife

You would think that having titanium scales would lighten the knife, but under them is a stainless steel liner, so the Boker Plus Kwaiken Flipper is heaver than it looks.

Unlike most other blades in this category, the clip is relegated to one position.

Things I Liked

This knife looks quite different from other EDC knives. I like it. The blade shape also seems to work very well.

Things I Did Not Like

Form supersedes function in this everyday carry knife, and the flipper tab is a little hard to grip. The knife is also heavy for its size.

Summary

The Boker Plus Kwaiken Flipper is an improvement over the previous model, but it will still be more a choice of aesthetics over function.

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Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556 AXIS Knife

Tech Specs

  • Benchmade Mini Griptilian auto knife ReviewBlade Length: 2.91″
  • Overall Length: 6.78″
  • Blade Material: 154CM Stainless Steel
  • Blade Shape: Drop point, straight or serrated
  • Handle Material: Glass Filled Nylon
  • Weight: 2.56 oz
  • Lock: AXIS
  • Tools/Misc: Pocket clip

Overview

Made by Benchmade, probably on a bench, the Mini Griptilian 556 is one of the most popular EDC knives on the market, and for good reason.

The 154CM stainless steel holds an edge very well; however, it is intrinsically a bit rough, and so will not be able to achieve surgical sharpness. It is a very strong steel, though.

The blade is a modified drop point, with an extended and gentle curve, strengthening the tip of the blade and giving it good slicing power.

Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556 AXIS Auto Knife review
The full size Griptilian is also a good choice

Holding the blade open is the Benchmade-specific AXIS lock, which is a very strong and capable locking mechanism.

The AXIS lock is ambidextrous, and so are the thumb studs.

The handle is glass filled nylon, textured to provide grip. The pocket clip can be swapped from side to side but always keeps the tip-up configuration.

The handle is available in several colors. The blade is available with either a satin finish or a black coated finish.

Plus, Benchmade has one of the best warranties in the business. They will keep your knife sharp and repaired, pretty much forever.

Things I Liked

Benchmade makes excellent products, and this one is no different. It is all around well sized for EDC, comfortable to use, and has a well designed blade made with great steel.

Things I Did Not Like

Honestly, the only thing I do not like about the Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556 is the price. It is a rather expensive knife, though it will be worth it.

Summary

The Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556 Knife with AXIS lock is one of the best options for EDC available.

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Best EDC Knives

Our Top Picks for EDC Knives

Fifteen different knives you can carry every day. Each one will serve you well, but some may work better for you than others.

Only you can decide which intersection of price, value, and features works best for you.

For the $50 and under category, it is hard to go wrong with the good ol’ Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD. That knife is small and inexpensive enough that you can attach it to your key chain and add a more heavy duty knife, such as the Opinel no. 8, without hurting your wallet.

If you want to spend a little more, you will get a lot more capable of knife. Of the under $100 category, I would recommend the SOG Flash II.

If you expand your budget a little bit further, there are many very fine knives, but my favorite would probably be the Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556. It may look unassuming, but is nearly perfect for every day use and is one of the best EDC knives you can buy.

If you have trouble deciding, perhaps you should save up for the Benchmade. Or choose any product from the list, really. They are all excellent knives!

Even the Boker Plus Anti-Grav and Kwaiken. Choose one of those if you like slightly odd knives.

After all, sometimes the point of an EDC knife is to show off…

But remember, the best EDC knife is the one you have with you.

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