Here, we take a look at the best folding knives for the space and weight conscious carrier. Whether you need a knife to open a package of skin moisturizer or finish off that grizzly you just beat into submission, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for any situation with a folding pocket knife on hip or near at hand. There are countless options when it comes to this category of knives, so if we miss your favorite brand we apologize in advance. We selected a group of knives that are up to the task of executing a wide range of applications.
One term that gets thrown around often when talking about knives is EDC. EDC stands for Everyday Carry which refers to items that are carried consistently. These are items that are kept on one’s person often and are used to assist in dealing with normal everyday tasks. Having the right EDC gear prepares an individual to successfully tackle and solve most problems encountered on a day-to-day basis.
There are a couple broad categories to keep in mind when searching for your next knife. The main ones to consider are pocket knives (which are on the smaller end of the spectrum) to survival knives (which are on the larger end). The key distinction is that a survival knife is made to be a heavy-duty tool while a pocket knife is for daily tasks around the house. In this article, we look at some of the best options in the folding pocket knife category.
If you’re in a hurry, get our favorite everyday foldable knife that will serve you well for most applications.
- 1 10 Best Folding Knives of 2018
- 2 Folding Knife Guide Part I: What a Folding Pocket Knife is not Good for
- 3 Folding Knife Guide Part II: What a Folding Pocket Knife is Good For
- 4 Folding Knife Guide Part III: What Qualities to Look for in a Folding Pocket Knife
- 5 Folding Knife Guide Part IV: The 10 Types of Outdoor Knives
- 6 Folding Knife Guide Part V: General Thoughts on Folding Knives
- 7 Folding Knife Guide Part VI: Top 3 Most Important Considerations
- 8 Folding Knife Guide Part VII: Folding Knife Materials
10 Best Folding Knives of 2018
Here are the best folding knives currently available. These foldable knives are from some of the most respected brands in the knife forging business. You’ll find folding knives for the outdoorsman or woman, including some of the best pocket knife brands:
Kershaw is a US based company located in Oregon. The all silver stainless steel Ken Onion Leek from Kershaw is an elegant looking knife. Better yet, it is easy and safe to use. It features an ambidextrous assisted opening system, so you can actuate the blade in either hand. A pocket clip can be configured to let the user carry it tip-down or tip-up. The blade itself measures about 3 inches, for a total of 7 inches when unfolded. The slim, sharp tip gives the knife excellent piercing capability. It weighs 3.1 ounces making it a great go to for an everyday carry knife. The Leek is one of Kershaw’s best-selling knives.
This is another great option from Kershaw. It is a slightly bigger knife, weighing about an ounce more than the Leek (a notch over 4 ounces). As expected, it is also slightly more expensive than its little brother. Like its brother, it comes with SpeedSafe tech for quick opening and the blade locks firmly with a liner-lock mechanism. The blade is a higher-end S30V steel variant. This is a beautiful American made knife. You can also customize it to your liking. Kershaw offers partial serration, a tactical model, and black blade option.
The Trident is a great knife for the hiker or outdoorsman. This is a badass looking knife. All black, a heavily textured contoured grip, and a nearly 4inch, partially serrated blade give it a wicked appearance. This is a versatile, multi-purpose knife that has a groove in the handle for cutting cables and cords. Open assist technology allows the user to quickly open the blade with one hand. The fitted large clip prevents it from slipping around even during strenuous physical activity. This superb Trident is up to mastering any task you throw at it with ease.
No best pocket knife list would be complete without a Swiss Army Knife featured on it. If you’re looking for a multi-purpose tool, the Swiss made SwissChamp is one of the best options. It has 32 tools, which as you can imagine is enough to take a bit of time to get handy with and memorize all the locations. When you do master the knife, you’ll be prepared for just about anything on fishing, camping, and hiking trips. The case is branded with the standard white and red Swiss logo; and it comes in three color options beside the standard red, and also a hardwood option for another 20 bucks. The tools are all stainless steel and are built to last.
We are particularly fond of Spyderco’s large eyelets built into their blades. This is a plain knife that is not offered is partial serrated edge option. The handle material is G-10 laminate and a black color. The blade is leaf-shaped and slightly over 3 inches. The 4-way pocket clip lets the user personalize to their own carry and draw preference. The weight is 4oz and when taking the size into consideration, is the ideal composition for a pocket knife. This is arguably the best Spyderco knife in their lineup. Rugged and hard wearing, but also has a real classy look. Our pick for the best small pocket knife on the market.
This is a great go-to for yard and house work. The large eyelet that is a common feature of many Spyderco knives makes the knife a breeze to open with either hand even with thick gloves. The lock is a frame lock, which was modified from a lining lock that was found in the SAGE 1 (an excellent everyday carry pocket knife option). In practice, this actually makes it easier to actuate with gloves on. The titanium handle is very comfortable for extended yard work, and the spear-point blade allows the user to accomplish most tasks including precision ones.
Benchmade is another high end knife manufacturer located in Oregon. They have a patent on AXIS lock technology, which makes their foldable knives feel just as sturdy as fixed blade knives. If you’ve got a hole to burn in your pocket, the 940 Osborne is just the designer knife to assist you in your mission. Arguable perfect, the 940 is lightweight package featuring a S30V stainless steel blade. For it’s size, we don’t know how it manages to stay under 3 ounces. It’s given the Benchmade special treatment which contributes to why their blades hold their edge for such a long time. It is a premium everyday knife on the larger side, measuring 7.9 inches when open. Classy and deadly, the 940 Osborne is a finely crafted knife.
The Griptilian also implements the AXIS lock and has been a favorite of knife enthusiasts ever since its release a few years back. The impeccable thumb-studded, 154CM stainless steel blade is complemented well by the textured Noryl GTX handle. This is one of the best EDC knives for under $100, simple, lightweight, yet still big enough to accomplish everyday tasks. It is a pragmatic balance of quality and price. Additional features include the rib covered spine of the handle and a reversible carry-clip. If you are looking for the best pocket knife under 100 dollars, look no further. This is a top quality blade, and the best pocket knife for the money you will find anywhere.
This also comes in a mini option model 556.
A really high quality knife from a great manufacturer. This is the best kershaw knife and probably the best pocket knife in the world.
A really sturdy knife and possibly the best EDC pocket knife out there. The handle has a great feel, and the solid black blade looks really cool. One of the most compact blades on our list.
Folding Knife Guide Part I: What a Folding Pocket Knife is not Good for
With a little logic, you’ll be able to find a suitable knife to match your purposes. Obviously, you’re not going to buy a samurai sword to chop up fruits and veggies in the kitchen—there’s an app for that. By the same token, you’re not going to try and saw through thick branches and complete other heavy-duty tasks with a pocket knife. If you’re planning an extended hunting trip into the wilderness, for example, a survival knife will probably best suit this task. Fileting, kitchen tasks, sawing through branches, self-defense, and cutting thick material such as heavy rope are some of the obvious examples of what pocket knives are not used for.
Folding Knife Guide Part II: What a Folding Pocket Knife is Good For
The only limiting factor of pocket knives is their size which also happens to be their best benefit. Their mobility and folding mechanism mean you can take them just about anywhere and always be prepared. Some are extremely sturdy and sharp, but some tasks are outside the scope of their abilities. However, the fact of the matter is that this scope is very large, and there is a wide range of situations in which a pocket knife comes in handy. A good knife has a nearly endless amount of uses including:
- Setting up and maintaining a campground
- Help prepare food
- Open packages, boxes, envelopes
- Aid in fishing
- Cut rope, wire, or cords
- Assisting someone who has been the victim of an auto accident by cutting their seatbelt
- Help farmers complete a variety of tasks
Folding Knife Guide Part III: What Qualities to Look for in a Folding Pocket Knife
The best folding knives will all have these characteristics worth weighing.
Design: This quality pretty much encompasses all the other ones together. The blade, handle, and locking mechanisms are all intrinsic parts of the knife. Additionally, you want something that satisfies your preference for how the blade looks and the handle feels. The best knives in this category as a rule of thumb uphold a high grade of simplicity and durability to avoid malfunctions when performing everyday duties.
Features: If you desire a knife for tackling a variety of tasks and has multiple tools built-in there’s a compromise. The bulk and weight will make it feel like a brick in your pocket. But the functionality may serve every need you could possibly come across. In general, a simple blade with a partial serrated edge will serve you well and cover about three-quarters of the common problems you run into.
Blade: The most important quality of a knife is the blade. Good blade steel is not only going to cut better and more efficiently, it is also going to last longer. Less frequent sharpening means a lot of saved maintenance time in the long run. Stainless steel is one of the most popular blade materials for its anti-corrosive properties.
Locking Mechanism: A locking mechanism is an essential part of any good knife. To keep it from unfolding when you’re not using it, and to keep it from folding when you are is a critical component of a well-designed knife. There are large drilled opening mechanisms that make it easier to use when wearing gloves than say a thumb stud. Also, liner locking mechanisms require minimal force to actuate, unlike frame locks.
Handle: You want something that provides you with a good grip to prevent any slippage. Other than the locking mechanism, this is the second most important part of a knife in preventing injuries. Some handles, for example, use a textured material so even when used by sweaty hands risk is minimal.
Clip: Some knives will include a clip to attach to the entry of your pocket. This makes for quick access and prevents the knife from bouncing around in your pocket.
Size: Like a phone, your knife is only useful when it is with you. Keeping that in mind, you want something that fits comfortably in your pocket or on your hip. If it is annoyingly bulky, you’re not going to want to keep it on your person at all times. Most of the best pocket knives have a blade length between 3 and 4 inches.
Price: Expensive is not always better. While a decent indicator of quality, there are definitely some rip-offs out there. Usually, you’re paying a premium for a name brand, but hopefully most of your extra dollar is going towards getting good steel. High-quality steel requires less sharpening and provides better performance. A good rule of thumb is that knives $30 or more will generally hold up a lot better than the sub 30 offerings.
Folding Knife Guide Part IV: The 10 Types of Outdoor Knives
- Pocketknife. Back in the old days known (and still by a select few) as a jackknife. Generally features one to three blades that fold into the handle.
- Clip Folder. A close relative to the pocketknife. However with one main distinction, it features a clip for the user to attach to belt or pocket.
- Swiss Army. Multiple implements fold into the handle. Perhaps the most well-known and authentic Swiss Army brand is Victorinox. Originally commissioned by the Swiss Army in the late 1800s.
- Multi-tool. What comes to most people’s mind are Leatherman multi-tools. There are specially implemented designs for nearly every outdoor activity.
- Assist Opening. A lot of people like to call these switchblades but there are many knives that use assist-opening tech. The idea is the blade flicks open using spring action. Some of the knives that made our list include this feature.
- Concealed weapons. This is a category of knives that are intended for self-defense. Generally they come with a sheath that helps hide the knife or are foldable to take up minimal space.
- Survival. Usually a fixed blade and are made for a number of survival scenarios in the backcountry wilderness but are also good for dedicated backpackers and campers. Many of the blades found in these knives are thick enough for fashioning shelter and cutting wood.
- Bowie. These are larger knives that typically rest on the hip in a sheath. They are named after the 19th century American pioneer Jim Bowie.
- Machete. The pocket knife of the tropics. Everyone’s got one because you never know when you’re going to run into some thick vegetation that needs to be wacked into submission. Long and not effective for detail work.
- Dagger. Daggers aren’t purposed for purposes outside of self-defense and combat. These are double-edged with a central spine and extremely sharp edges.
- Throwing. Throwing knives are their own niche category. They are weighted and finely tuned with blunt-end handles. Many of these knives come as a set for a sequence of throws.
In this article, we are going to be looking at knives that mostly fall under the first three categories.
Folding Knife Guide Part V: General Thoughts on Folding Knives
A folding knife is a good tool to have on hand. Not only are they used for everyday cutting and prying tasks, earning you the title of handiest man, but can come in clutch during emergencies like cutting a rope or a seatbelt, hunting and fishing purposes, and even survival. A well crafted knife is a thing of beauty, but quality costs. So please choose a knife wisely. In this article, we will provide our readers with information about selecting a folding knife and a list of the 5 best folding pocket knife options.
Many people enjoy setting aside the business of daily life and getting out of town and into the wilderness for a bit. Some go to the outdoors to camp and relax, while others have their sights set on doing some hunting or fishing. No matter what the purpose of the journey, having a good knife that folds, and can be put in your pocket or stowed in your gear, is always a good idea. Folding knives are popular for such purposes because they are easy to carry or pack and because the blade is safely tucked away into the handle of the knife where it is protected until you need to use it.
A folding knife has a number of advantages over a regular, fixed blade model. To start with, they will be more convenient to carry than fixed blades. Once folded, they can be tucked away into a pocket, backpack, fanny pack as well as a purse quite easily. Therefore a knife can always be close by any time it is required. This makes it the best camping knife, as you can easily fit it in with the rest of your gear.
Another reason why folding knives are a good choice is that the blade always has protection, as long as it is folded, without having to also carry a knife sheath. As a result, the blade of a pocket knife is a lot less likely to be damaged, bumped and nicked, and they typically don’t need to be sharpened as often either.
Also, with folding knives there is far less danger of the user, or another person like a child, being nicked by the blade. A folding pocket knife is a great tool to have available and gives you a sense of security, since the blade isn’t exposed at all times.
As a general rule, you will find two main types of folding knives on the market. The first is the traditional pocket variety of knife, which is folded closed with simply a bit of pressure on the blunt edge of the blade. It is always important that you ensure that your fingers are clear of of the blade recess when you’re shutting it in order to prevent injury.
There is one main drawback to folding knives; they can be hard to clean thoroughly. When used for skinning game or cleaning fish, the tissue and blood can easily get into the grooves and the mechanisms in the handle of a folding hunting knife, so removing all of these elements can be challenging. But, since they are so convenient to carry, most people still opt to carry pocket knives on their ventures into the wild.
Once a decision is made to buy a new folding knife the individual must examine all the different options. Consider it like purchasing any other important piece of equipment except this time its dealing with knives. Blade material, handle, and shape must all be judged by the buyer and taken under advisement before one should lay down any of their hard earned cash. If budget is an issue, look for the best pocket knife under 50 dollars. While you can spend a lot on these knives, you can also find the best cheap pocket knife around pretty easily.
If you are searching for the best folding knife then this article will help you in choosing the apt one. It explains several important ideas and tips that will certainly make your job comfort and result-oriented. All you need to do is to go through the provided information before proceeding to purchase such knives. It is often said that getting the best possible knives is a quite a clumsy job as you will get number of styles and brands to choose from. But, if you are clear about your needs and looking to find the right product in accordance with your needs, then you will certainly get the right option without facing much difficulty.
The best hunter folding knife is not necessarily the best option for you. These are also not ideal for backpacking and camping. Moreover, a best pocket knife is also not ideally suited as a survival or tactical knife. So, in order to make your decision effective and easier, you can break down the assorted activities where you might use such kind of knives.
Camping and Hiking:
Pocket knife or Swiss army knife is something that known to be a perfect option for this type of activity. We’d suggest checking out the best edc folders as a good first stop. There are a number of designs of such knives available, also blessed with an array of instruments for the camper.
Many hunters prefer to go with a drop point knife. This certainly has a thick curved blade that is known to be perfect for shipping game in the field. Besides, it has also an ability to use the total edge of the blade rather than only the point makes this a popular option.
If you are seeking for a knife built to last, then you are advised to get a multi-purpose blade that clearly indicates that the blade is a part straight edge.
The tactical folding knives include only single purpose blades and are certainly not able to perform multi tasks and are not the right choice for all. But, those who are looking for a perfect knife for defense purposes, can find this one as a right choice. If you are going to purchase such knives then you should choose one that can deploy quickly.
You can easily find varieties of combination-folding knives available in the market, which, provide attributes of all of those mentioned earlier. These knives also include various important instruments that include sockets, screwdrivers, chisels, and sprit levels.
Folding Knife Guide Part VI: Top 3 Most Important Considerations
Great, you decided to get that new folding knife. Now what is it for? Fishing, hunting, or even self protection is now what you should start thinking about. Usually knives are used in tough and precise circumstances and your success will depend on the knife you are about to choose. An incorrect purchasing decision will only make your job tougher in the end. That being the case there are three characteristics to judge when hunting for that new knife.
1. Blade Material
The blade’s makeup is very important. Today’s blades have the ability to be made of lots of different materials. Each one has its own positive and negatives and needs to be judged. That being said, the steel blades still offer the most bang for the buck. It tends to wear much longer than other materials and does not need the care that other blades do. Sharpening can become an issue as it is made to really last compared to its rivals.
2. Handle & Folding Mechanism
Another important thing to look at is the housing unit or the storage compartment that the folding knife actually folds into. This can also greatly vary depending on the knife. Materials such as plastics, composites, and metal are often used. Now what is best depends on the user. There is not right or wrong answer as long as the buyer addresses concerns such as weight, water resistance, and slip proof features.
3. Blade Style
Finally one must look at how the blade is shaped and its length. Different styles and configurations have to be looked at. Remember that the pretty or cool blade might not be the best blade for the job that you are asking it to do. As all these new, fancy knives hit the market, I suggest that is it best to pick the tried and true configuration as it is time tested. Also make sure your blade is the right size for the job you need.
In conclusion, if one were to take all the above into consideration and do their homework then they will come away with the right folding knife for the right job. It might cost a little more than you hoped for, but you get what you pay for in the world of knives. It is best to get a quality product that will be there for you for many years to come than scrimp and have to just replace it.
Folding Knife Guide Part VII: Folding Knife Materials
Folding knives are perfect for any man or women. They are practical and can function as a tool and for security. A folding knife can be easily stored in a pocket or backpack. The blade folds perfectly into the handle of the knife for safety. When using this invaluable tool you will find it practical to carry at all times no matter what you are doing. A folding knife is good for inside functions such as opening boxes and cutting off tags and outdoors for cutting rope and fishing line. This is the only type of knife that is practical for all people from laborers to politicians.
When it comes to choosing the right folding knife there are several characteristics that are important to note. Take some time to learn and research different brands and components available in a quality knife. The more you know about exactly what you are looking for in a pocket knife the easier it will be to narrow down your choices. Below are some key characteristics to consider before making a folding blade knife.
There are many blade materials, for a comprehensive list check out this Wikipedia page.
- Steel: A steel knife blade is one of the sharpest blades available. Steel is simple to sharpen and holds an edge well. The major disadvantage to a steel blade is the wear and tear; steel blades tend to rust, stain and corrode over time and use. View steel types here.
- Laminate: Laminate folding knife blades are popular because they use a combination of metals layered together to create your blade. The use of multiple metals layered together gives you the benefits of each type while alleviating the major pitfalls.
- Titanium: Folding knife blades created out of titanium are the most expensive available. Although they are expensive you will find that titanium is incredibly resilient, wears well and tends to give more than steel does.
- Ceramic: If you are looking for a lightweight knife to carry in your purse or pocket one with a ceramic blade will be desirable. Ceramic is highly fragile but can be easily maintained for years with proper care.
Forged vs. Stock Removal
- Forged: A knife blade that is forged is made with one piece of metal. It is shaped using a press or hammer while the metal is very hot.
- Stock Removal: This method creates a knife blade by shaping the blade by grinding away the metal. Stock removal is a simpler method of making knife blades and therefore knives made from this method tend to be less expensive than forged knife blades.
Knife Handle Material
- Wood: A wooden knife handle provides a stable grip that stays warm in the user’s hand. The one disadvantage of wooden handles is that they tend to wear quickly when not properly maintained.
- Plastic: Plastic handled knives tend to be slippery but offer the benefits of being easy to care for and inexpensive.
- Rubber: If you are looking for highly durable knife that offers a cushion a rubber handle may be right for you.
- Stainless Steel: For durability, reliability and low maintenance a stainless steel knife handle is your choice. The one thing to be careful about though is when using the knife around heat. A metal handle will conduct heat and become too handle if exposed to heat for a fair amount of time.
Opening & Locking Mechanisms
The mechanics of the knife are one of the most important points involved in folding knives. You must determine how easy or difficult you want the knife to be to open and close. Do you want the knife to lock in place when open or be held in place by a spring mechanism? When closing the knife do you want to press a button or slide the blade into position? Carefully examine the different option mechanisms available for opening, locking and closing your folding knife blade.