My grandfather taught me many things, but one of his most important lessons concerned what a man should carry. In his estimation no man should ever leave home without at least three things: his watch, his wallet, and his pocket knife. I can’t count the number of times I saw him use that beat up old jackknife to cut fishing line, peel an apple, or while away an afternoon whittling.

Pocket knives are by far the most popular EDC item out there for this very reason. You can do a lot with a good quality folding knife. Today we’ve put together the ultimate guide to the best pocket knives on the market. We’ll cover what you should look for in a high quality folding knife, how to pick out great knives from duds, and review some of the most popular knives on the market today.

Best Pocket Knives

Best Pocket Knives

Pocket knives are honestly one of the most useful tools you can carry. Even if you aren’t big into EDC and all the gadgets and gizmos we carry with us you should carry a knife.

You can cut fruit, open a package, strip a wire, cut up boxes, and that’s just the day to day stuff. In a survival situation having a high quality knife is absolutely invaluable. You can whittle branches into spears and primitive arrow points, baton wood for a fire, feather tinder to get catch sparks started or filet a fish you’ve caught.

An important point many people forget is that the best pocket knife is the one you carry. Pocket knives are almost synonymous with folding knives. They’re strong, reasonably sturdy, and give you a good amount of blade to work with.

We’ve gathered up some of the best folding pocket knives, swiss army knives, and multi tools to compare and review for you. Check them out.

Kershaw Blur Pocket Knife

Kershaw Blur Folding Pocket Knife

The Blur is one of Kershaw’s premium line of folding pocket knives. It includes most of the top of the line features the company offers and is one of the better pocket knives available at its price range.

It has a 3.4 inch long blade in a total closed body length of 4.5 inches. You can choose from several different blade styles and steel types as well as multiple finish options.

Kershaw included their SpeedSafe assisted opening system in its design. This allows you to quickly open the knife with the flipper bar or ambidextrous thumb stud. It uses a liner lock for safety when in use and has a handle made from durable anodized aluminum.

If you’re looking for a high quality pocket knife at a very reasonable price the Kershaw Blur should definitely get some consideration.

Spyderco Pacific Salt

Spyderco Pacific Salt Folding Pocket Knife

If you spend a lot of time in the sun and surf you no doubt know how rough the water can be on tool steel. The Spyderco Pacific Salt gets around this using high quality PH hardened H1 steel. It’s designed to resist rust and corrosion in even the most challenging environments.

The Pacific Salt has a 3.812 inch long blade in a total closed length of 4.875 inches. It uses a mid lock system for a securely opened blade and has both Spyderco’s trademark Round Hole opening design and a lanyard hole for extra carry options.

If you’re looking for a high quality folder that can stand up to the toughest and most corrosive conditions the Spyderco Pacific Salt should be pretty high on your list.

Benchmade 940 EDC Manual Open Folding Knife

Benchmade 940 Manual Open Folding Knife

One of the original EDC pocket knives, the Benchmade 940 is the quintessential lightweight low profile folder. It combines high quality materials with a slimline design for a stylish yet durable pocket knife.

It has a 3.4 inch blade in a 4.47 inch long closed body. The blade itself is made from CPM-S30V stainless steel and is available in several different styles. Benchmade used their trademarked AXIS locking system on the 940, allowing you to easily and safely open and close it one handed.

If you’re looking for a rugged yet devilishly handsome EDC pocket knife the Benchmade 940 is a great place to start.

Spyderco Endura 4 Lightweight

Spyderco Endura4 Lightweight Pocket Knife

The Spyderco Endura line was one of the first lightweight clip carry pocket knives to hit the market. It helped revolutionize the pocket knife world as we know it today and has been shamelessly copied by other brands for decades.

The Endura 4 gives you a 3.75 inch long blade in a total body length of 5 inches. That makes for a pretty big folder but does give you a lot of blade to work with. It’s made from Japanese VG10 blade steel and is available in several blade styles.

Spyderco went with a mid lock system for the Endura, allowing for easy locking and unlocking of the blade with just your thumb. They also put a bi directional grip pattern on the handle to provide you with a firm yet comfortable grip for continuous use.

The Endura 4 is a great place to start if you’ve never bought a higher end folding pocket knife.

Benchmade Barrage 580 Drop-Point

Benchmade Barrage 580 Pocket Knife

The Benchmade Barrage 580 is a full size pocket folder that includes the company’s AXIS assisted opening system. It comes with a 3.6 inch long blade and a total closed length of 4.75 inches.

The blade is available in straight or serrated versions and is made from 154CM blade steel. The AXIS system allows you to quickly and easily deploy and close the blade one handed. It’s one of the better lock systems available for folding knives today.

If you’re looking for a full size knife from a top notch manufacturer the Benchmade Barrage series is a great option.

SOG Flash II Spring Assisted Knife

SOG Flash II Folding Pocket Knife

If a spring assisted opening blade is more your thing the SOG Flash II is an excellent choice. It uses the SOG Assisted Technology system to instantly open the blade as you move it while still complying with most state laws.

The blade on the Flash II is 3.5 inches long in a total body length of 4.5 inches. This puts it firmly in the full size folder category. It’s available in a number of different blade options and is made from AUS-8 steel.

The Flash II comes with a reversible two point clip and is honestly one of the better knives available at its price range.

Spyderco Para Military 2 Black G-10

Spyderco Para Military 2 Pocket Knife

The Para Military 2 from Spyderco is one of the best folding pocket knives on the market today. It combines high quality CPM S30V steel with G10 laminate handles to create an excellent knife that can take a licking and keep on ticking.

The blade itself is 3.438 inches long in a total body size of 4.812 inches. It’s available in a number of colors and several different blade types. It uses a compression style locking mechanism and prominently features Spyderco’s trademark Round Hole opening system.

The Para Military 2 is an excellent size for everyday tasks and honestly looks gorgeous. Every detail about it is perfect, making it a great choice for EDC.

Ontario RAT Folding Knife

Ortario Rat Folding Pocket Knife

The Ontario RAT series of pocket knives are some of the best and most popular entry level knives available. They skip many of the high end touches found on other manufacturers’ knives and give you a quality blade that won’t let you down when it counts.

There are several different blade, steel, and finish options available in the RAT line. All are decently well made, take an edge easily, and provide you with tons of value for their affordable price.

If you’ve never carried an EDC folder before the Ontario RAT is a great starter knife.

Kershaw Leek Assisted Opening Knife

Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife

The Leek is part of Kershaw’s Onion line of folding pocket knives and gives you a mid sized blade in a beautifully durable stainless steel body. You can choose from several different blade styles and blade steel types to match your needs.

The Leek gives you a 3 inch blade in a 4 inch long total body. It has assisted opening capabilities due to the flipper bar on its back and the thumb stud on the blade. It uses a liner lock system that securely holds the blade in place during use.

If you’re looking for a mid size all steel knife from a highly respected manufacturer the Kershaw Leek is a great option.

Spyderco Tenacious G10 Combination Edge Blade

Spyderco Tenacious G-10 Combination Edge Blade

The Spyderco Tenacious G10 is a mid size pocket folder that combines high quality G10 laminate handles with an excellent 8Cr13Mov blade. It comes in right in the middle of the pack price wise as well and gives you a 3.39 inch long blade in a total closed body size of 4.45 inches.

Spyderco went with a liner lock system instead of the mid lock common on many of their other products. They also includes their innovative four way clip system that allows you to adjust your pocket clip with just a few screws.

Overall a great mid range folding pocket knife that provides you with a lot of high end features for a reasonable price.

Benchmade Griptilian 551-1

Benchmade Griptilian Folding Pocket Knife

The Benchmade Griptilian line is the most popular series of folding knives the company has released to date. The 551-1 model has all the features of this iconic line with the added benefit of premium blade steel and G10 handles.

It comes with a 3.45 inch long main blade made from CPM-20CV blade steel. This is a high carbon steel alloy that gives you excellent performance under harsh conditions. The overall length of the closed knife is 4.62 inches, making it just right for comfortable pocket carry.

Benchmade’s proprietary AXIS locking mechanism locks the blade open securely and allows you to safely open and close the knife with one hand.

The Benchmade Griptilian is one of the best pocket knives on the market today. As long as you’re willing to pay for its premium touches you’ll be enjoying it for years to come.

Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556 Knife

Benchmade Mini Griptilian Pocket Knife

The Mini Griptilian 556 from Benchmade is a smaller version of the company’s wildly popular Griptilian line. It has a slightly smaller blade, coming in at just 2.91 inches for a total body length of 3.87 inches, but provides a lot of customizability options.

You can get the Griptilian 556 in a variety of blade styles, serrated, straight, or combo and you can even choose from several premium blade steels.

It uses Benchmade’s proprietary AXIS lock system, one of the best on the market. This is one of the only blades you can safely open and close with a single hand.

The Mini Griptilian starts at just above mid range pricing but can rapidly get much more expensive depending on the options and customization you choose.

Spyderco Delica 4 Folding Knife

Spyderco Delica 4 Plain Edge Knife

The Delica line was one of a new generation of lightweight pocket folders introduced by Spyderco in the early 90’s. It made a lasting impression on the knife world and has been emulated and copied ever since.

The fourth generation successor of that knife, the Delica 4, gives you a 2.875 inch blade in a 4.25 inch total package. This is on the lower edge of usability for a full sized folder but still gives you a lot of value, especially for its compact size and portability.

The blade is made from high quality Japanese VG-10 stainless steel and is available in either straight, serrated, or Spyderedge versions. Like all Spyderco folders it has their trademark Round Hole opening system and uses a mid lock that is very secure.

The Delica 4 is a great little pocket knife from a well respected company. It’s right in the middle as far as pricing goes but has a lot of high end features.

Spyderco Byrd Cara Cara 2

Spyderco Cara 2 Pocket Knife

The Cara Cara line of knives are some of the most popular blades Spyderco offers. The Cara Cara 2 is the latest advancement in this line, giving you 3.75 inch blade in a 4.75 inch closed body.

The blade itself is made from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. This is an entry level high carbon steel that provides pretty good performance for its price. Spyderco’s signature Round Hole is actually comet shaped on the Cara Cara 2, making it stand out from their other products.

It comes with a mid lock and incorporates a four way clip design that lets you adjust the position of the pocket clip for multiple carry options.

It’s a very affordable blade from Spyderco and is frequently available for well under $50. If you’ve been thinking about getting an entry level EDC pocket folder the Spyderco Cara Cara 2 is a great value choice.

Gerber Gator Premium Folding Knife

Gerber Gator Premium Folding Knife

The Gerber Gator is a high quality entry level knife that combines a lot of useful features into one affordable product. It has a 3.76 inch long blade and a total closed length of 4.96 inches. This puts it on the large side for a folding pocket knife but does give you a lot of blade to work with.

It uses a mid lock design and locks securely open without much wiggle at all. One thing that sets it apart is the gator scale style grip pattern. It’s modeled after actual alligator scales to give the Gator a little something different.

The blade is made using 154CM stainless steel. This is a relatively high carbon steel that holds an edge well but is still easier to sharpen than some truly high end varieties.

If you’re looking a large folder with pretty good specs that won’t break the bank the Gerber Gator is an excellent choice.

Best Swiss Army Knife Style Pocket Knives

Folding knives aren’t the only game in town when it comes to pocket knives. Swiss army style knives combine a few basic tools with an excellent folding blade knife.

Most swiss army knives have smaller blade lengths than a dedicated folder but they’re still one of the most popular types of pocket knife in the world.

Huntsman Swiss Army Knife

Huntsman Swiss Army Pocket Knife

The Huntsman is the classic full size Victorinox swiss army knife. It has everything you need for a basic camping trip and the same beautiful styling that’s been delighting Boy Scouts for decades. It provides you with 15 different tools, including:

  • Large Straight Blade
  • Small Straight Blade
  • Wood Saw
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Tweezers
  • Toothpick
  • 3 mm Flathead Screwdriver
  • 6 mm Flathead Screwdriver
  • Wire Stripper
  • Awl with Thread Loop
  • Multipurpose Hook
  • Corkscrew
  • Scissors
  • Key Ring

This is honestly one of the most iconic pocket knives of all time. It provides you with a ton of useful features jammed into a very compact package.

The main knife blade doesn’t lock open but does provide you with a quality blade of good length. It’s great for whittling out in the woods with friends or getting a can of chili ready for a campout.

The Huntsman’s longevity really speaks to its quality and usefulness. It’s been around for decades and still provides just as much value today as when it was first released.

SwissChamp Swiss Army Knife

Swiss Army Knife Pocket Tool

The SwissChamp swiss army knife is a true jack of all trades tool. It combines Victorinox’s classic styling with more tools than you can reasonably remember. There are 33 different tools and functions on the SwissChamp, including:

  • Large Straight Blade
  • Small Straight Blade
  • Awl with Thread Loop
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • 2.5 mm Flathead Screwdriver
  • 3 mm Flathead Screwdriver
  • 6 mm Flathead Screwdriver
  • ½ Phillips Head Screwdriver
  • Wire Stripper
  • Wire Cutter
  • Wire Crimping Tool
  • Scissors
  • Pliers
  • Fish Scaler
  • Hook Disgorger
  • Ruler
  • Wood Saw
  • Metal Saw
  • Metal File
  • Magnifying Glass
  • 4 mm Chisel
  • Multipurpose Hook
  • Toothpick
  • Tweezers
  • Ballpoint Pen
  • Stainless Steel Pin
  • Corkscrew
  • Mini Screwdriver
  • Key Ring

That’s a huge list of tools. What’s even more surprising is how well they all work. Most multi tools with that many functions packed in have marginal usefulness at best.

The SwissChamp exemplifies Victorinox’s dedication to quality and value. The two knife blades are smaller than you’d find on a dedicated folder but do provide a lot of value overall.

If you’re looking for a small tool box to carry around in your pocket the Victorinox SwissChamp is a great option.

Victorinox Swiss Army Knife RangerGrip 178

SAK Ranger Grip Pocket Knife

The RangerGrip 178 is a modernization of Victorinox’s classic swiss army knife concept. It uses more modern materials and and updated design while still providing that Victorinox flair. It provides you with 12 tools, including:

  • Combo Knife Blade
  • Saw
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Tweezers
  • Toothpick
  • 3 mm Flathead Screwdriver
  • 5 mm Flathead Screwdriver
  • Wire Stripper
  • Awl with Thread Loop
  • ½ Phillips Head Screwdriver
  • Key Ring

The body of the RangerGrip is more curved and modern looking than many of Victorinox’s other products. It has a series of grippy patches that make it much easier to hang onto during use.

The main blade has a generous thumb hole that makes it easy to flip open one handed. It locks open securely and is large enough to complete most tasks easily.

If you’d like an updated classic for your EDC pocket knife look no further than the Victorinox RangerGrip 178.

Best Classic Multi Tool Pocket Knives

Swiss army knives and folding pocket knives aren’t the only game in town of course. Many multi tools provide excellent quality main knives as well as backup and serrated blades. We’ve put together a list of the top tools from several different manufacturers to help you with your choice.

Leatherman Charge+ TTi

Leatherman Charge+ TTi multi tool pocket knife

The Leatherman Charge+ TTi is the company’s current top of the line full size multi tool. It combines high end materials with expert craftsmanship to give you quite possibly the best multi tool available. It packs 19 different tools in, including:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Hard Wire Cutters
  • Wire Crimper
  • Wire Stripper
  • S30V Straight Blade Knife
  • 420HC Serrated Edge Knife
  • Saw
  • Cutting Hook
  • Spring-Action Scissors
  • Eight Inch Ruler
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wood/Metal File
  • Diamond File
  • Large Bit Driver
  • Small Bit Driver
  • Medium Flathead Screwdriver

One of the best things about the Charge+ TTi is its high end straight blade knife. It uses S30V steel, an extremely hard yet corrosion resistant variety that provides a long lasting razor edge.

It also packs in another serrated knife for cutting through rougher materials. With its 2.9 inch primary blade it’s one of the few multi tools that can legitimately replace a dedicated folder.

When you add in the titanium handles, masterfully designed tools, and Leatherman’s attention to detail you end up with an excellent multi tool with an extremely good set of knives.

Gerber MP600

Gerber MP600 Multi Tool Pocket Knife

The MP600 is Gerber’s flagship multi tool offering. It’s also the official issue multi tool of the US military. It’s a big, sturdy tool that uses Gerber’s signature one handed open slide out plier design. It provides you with a lot of tools across more than 20 different versions of the multi tool. Some of the most common include:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Replaceable Carbide Wire Cutters
  • Wire Crimper
  • Straight Edge Knife
  • Serrated Knife
  • File
  • Bottle Opener
  • Can Opener
  • Ruler
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver
  • Large Flathead Screwdriver
  • Medium Flathead Screwdriver
  • Small Flathead Screwdriver
  • Blasting Cap Crimper
  • Lanyard Ring

The MP600 comes in so many versions it can be hard to keep track of them all. You can get one with a straight blade, serrated blade, combo blade, or even a bladeless version for entering secure buildings.

Most versions come with a sheepsfoot blade profile for the main blade but you can get a different style if you like. The tools on the MP600 do everything they’re supposed to but the design itself is uninspired.

The Gerber MP600 is a well built tool that provides a lot of value, but many other multi tools and pocket knives overshadow it.

Victorinox Swisstool Spirit X

Swiss Army Knife Spirit X Multi Tool

The Spirit X is one of the few multi tool products from Victorinox that isn’t a swiss army knife. It uses a classic butterfly fold design and gives you 24 different tools and functions. These include:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Hard Wire Cutters
  • Straight Edge Knife
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver
  • Awl Punch
  • Multipurpose Hook
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • 2.5 mm Flathead Screwdriver
  • 4 mm Flathead Screwdriver
  • 6 mm Flathead Screwdriver
  • Crate Opener
  • Wire Bender
  • Scissors
  • Wood Saw
  • Metal Saw
  • Metal File
  • 7 mm Chisel
  • Scraper
  • Wire Stripper
  • Wire Scraper
  • Cable Cover Longitudinal Cutter
  • Cable Cover Crossways Cutter

The Spirit X is a beautiful tool. It has a smooth stainless steel body and a really nice curving geometry. The main knife has a standard swiss army style drop point blade profile and comes quite sharp from the factory.

The screwdrivers and other assorted tools all work well and are clearly quite well made. Every part of the Spirit X moved easily and without resistance.

If you like multi tool style knives but have always carried a Victorinox this is great option to go with.

SOG Power Assist

SOG Power Assist Multi Tool Pocket Knife

SOG is well known for their fixed and folding blade knives but also makes some pretty good multi tools. The PowerAssist is their flagship product and combines their expertise into one jam packed tool. It gives you 16 different tools, including:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Channel Gripper
  • Hard Wire Cutters
  • Electrical Crimper
  • Blasting Cap Crimper
  • V-Cutter
  • Straight Edge Knife
  • Serrated Knife
  • Ruler
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Three-Sided File
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver
  • Large Flathead Screwdriver
  • Medium Flathead Screwdriver
  • Small Flathead Screwdriver

The PowerAssist uses a butterfly fold design and includes two different knife blades. One is a drop point straight edge and the other is a serrated blade.

They’re both just under 3 inches long and lock securely in place while you’re using them. They aren’t quite enough to replace a dedicated folding knife but when combined with the other useful tools on the PowerAssist provide you with a lot of value.

Special Mention – Leatherman Skeletool

Leatherman Skeletool Multi Tool Pocket Knife

On any list of pocket knives and multi tools the wildly popular Leatherman Skeletool has to make an appearance. At first glance it can be hard to figure out what category the Skeletool really fits into. It’s basically a full size folding knife stuck on a pair of multi tool pliers, plus a single bit driver. It comes with seven different tools, including:

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Hard Wire Cutters
  • 420HC Combo Knife
  • Carabiner and Bottle Opener
  • Large Bit Driver

The Skeletool is honestly a great product. It combines many of the best features of pocket knives with the fundamentals of a multi tool.

If you’re only interested in carrying a single pocket knife and tool the Skeletool isn’t a bad choice at all.

Best Pocket Knife Brands

One of the best ways to find high quality products is to look for premium brands. I don’t mean that in the modern sense of expensive and hyped, but old school premium.

Look for brands that use quality materials and care about their customers. They should take pride in what they make and be excited to improve their products. Made in the USA is a great place to start but there are definitely some overseas companies making incredible knives.

Here’s a list of some of the best and brightest names in the pocket knife and multi tool market today.

Benchmade

Benchmade has been a major player in the folding knife game for the last 30 odd years. The name Benchmade actually refers to the quality of their manufacturing process. All their knives are made at a bench and hand ground in Oregon.

Benchmade makes some of the best pocket folders and tactical knives on the market today. Their proprietary blade lock system, called AXIS, uses an innovative locking bar that is both extremely secure and easy to use. Benchmade knives are one of the few that can safely be opened and closed with one hand.

They back all their products with a lifetime warranty on parts and craftsmanship. Benchmade makes premium knives out of the best possible materials. A great maker of high quality knives.

Spyderco

Spyderco is a Colorado based knifemaker that’s been producing innovative products for more than 40 years. They pioneered many of the features we now take for granted in pocket and folding knives.

All of their products are made in the USA and have their trademarked Round Hole design. They back their knives with a lifetime limited warranty for the original owner.

Spyderco products are extremely well made and backed up by the full weight of the company. If you’re looking for a great high end knife Spyderco is always a contender.

Kershaw

Kershaw is a prolific maker of knives from entry level up to very high end. They’ve been in the business for years and offer hundreds of different products.

They offer a lifetime limited warranty on all their products. This covers parts and craftsmanship as long as it’s in the possession of the first owner.

With their massive catalog there’s a very good chance Kershaw will have something that you like.

Zero Tolerance

Zero Tolerance knives was founded to produce excellent military and law enforcement knives. It’s since expanded its business to include recreational and other premium quality knives.

They use premium materials and do all manufacturing in their Tualatin, Oregon plant. They also offer a lifetime limited warranty that includes free sharpening and free replacement of a list of parts.

If you’re looking for a great knife that’s made in the USA Zero Tolerance has a lot of great products.

CRKT

Columbia River Knife & Tool, commonly known as CRKT, is an Oregon based knife and tool maker that produces a wide line of knives and other EDC tools. They’ve been in business for more than 20 years and produce everything from entry level products to some really nice pieces.

They offer a lifetime limited warranty on all their products. You can also order replacement parts like clips that aren’t covered under the warranty directly from them.

With their wide catalog of tools and knives there’s a good chance CRKT will have something you’re looking for.

Kizer

Kizer is a relative newcomer to the pocket knife game but has been making waves with their dedication to quality and interesting aesthetic choices. It’s a Chinese company but has consistently put out high quality knives with well thought out designs.

Kizer is known for knives with a minimalist aesthetic. Many of their products use an all metal design and strive to provide the best knife in the slimmest and most clean cut package.

If you’re looking for a high quality pocket knife that has a different look to it, Kizer knives may be the brand for you.

Ontario Knife Company

Ontario is a well respected knife maker with a history stretching back more than a century. They’re the makers of the extremely popular RAT series of tactical folding knives as well as a variety of fixed blade knives and tools.

Some of their products are made in the USA while others are produced for the international market. They offer a lifetime limited warranty on all USA made products while their international lines come with a one year limited warranty.

The Ontario Knife Company prices their models on the lower end of the spectrum but provides a lot of bang for your buck. Their knives are consistently well ranked, especially given their generally low cost.

Boker

Boker is a very well known knife and cutlery company founded in 1869 in Solingen, Germany. Based in the famed ‘City of Swords’ Boker has a long history of producing excellent pocket knives, kitchen knives, and other products.

They offer everything from classic jackknives all the way up to high end tactical folders. All their products embody the qualities of German engineering and design principles. They offer a lifetime limited warranty on every product they sell and they stand by that warranty.

There’s a good chance Boker has a style of knife you’ll like.

SOG

SOG was founded in 1986 by Spencer Frazer with a single goal: To recreate the famed MACV-SOG special operations knife carried by American operators during the Vietnam War.

Since then they’ve expanded into folding knives, multi tools, and other useful tactical and EDC gear. Their products are proudly carried by US soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines all over the world today. Many of SOG’s folding knives use their proprietary ARC lock system. It allows for easy locking and unlocking of the blade with a single hand.

SOG offers a lifetime limited warranty on every product they sell. If you have any problems with a SOG knife get in touch with them, they’ll make it right.

If you’re looking for a high end pocket folder that a Navy SEAL would be happy to carry, SOG is the company for you.

Gerber

Gerber is one of the most well known names in the knife and outdoor tool world. They manufacture a huge catalog of fixed and folding knives as well as multi tools, axes, pocket tools, and other useful gadgets.

They offer a lifetime limited warranty for all products sold in North America and a 25 year limited warranty everywhere else. We’ve dealt with Gerber personally on a warranty issue and had no problems whatsoever with them.

If you’re looking for a high quality knife or multi tool Gerber is a great company to go with.

Buck

Buck can trace its history all the way back to 1902 when Hoyt Buck was crafting quality pocket knives in a small smithy. In 1964 they revolutionized the market with the introduction of their Model 110 Hunting Folder. If you’re picturing an old school pocket knife right now, there’s a pretty good chance it’s a Buck knife.

They’ve since diversified into EDC, tactical, survival, and recreational folding and fixed blade knives. The Buck name is synonymous with quality at a good price. They offer an industry leading forever warranty.

All of their products are covered against defects for the life of the product. Even better, they offer a 50% discount on new knife purchases if your Buck knife has just worn out from regular use.

All in all a great company that’s been producing great knives for over a century.

Reate

Reate is a high end knife manufacturer that believes in combining the best materials with the finest craftsmanship. They produce a range of different folding knife designs of excellent quality.

If you’re interested in a Reate product you have to be ready to pay a premium. Their entry level blades start well above $100 and you can find higher end models for as much as $500.

All in all a great company making high quality knives, if you’re willing to pay a similarly high price.

Chris Reeve Knives

If you know anything about the modern knife landscape you’ve heard of Chris Reeve. They make extremely high end pocket folders that honestly qualify as works of art.

They have a number of standard products made from the finest materials that are always available. Where they really shine is in their limited issue products.

Many of them commemorate major events and milestones in US history. Every blade is hand made and assembled in the USA.

If you’re looking for a really high end knife, Chris Reeve Knives has the blades for you.

Victorinox

Victorinox is possibly the most famous knife maker in the world. They pioneered the swiss army knife as we know it today and have been producing high quality products for well over a century.

They have hundreds of different knives ranging from standard folders to incredible multi tools packing in dozens of tools. If you were ever a Boy Scout there’s a good chance you’ve used a Victorinox product before. They guarantee the materials and workmanship of all their products with a lifetime warranty.

They tend to use lower quality steel but for their target market this isn’t usually a problem.

All in all a great company that stands by their products.

Leatherman

Leatherman has been making some of the best multi tools on the market ever since Tim Leatherman created the modern butterfly fold design. They use the best materials available to make great general purpose and specialized tools that are designed to last.

They have a wide range of products available at a variety of price points. You can almost certainly find a tool you like in the Leatherman catalog. Even better, they back all their tools with a 25 year warranty. We’ve used it ourselves in the past, Leatherman will take care of you.

Their knives are some of the best you can find on multi tools. They generally use 420HC blade steel but have a small selection of knives with harder steels.

If you’re looking for a high-quality multi tool knife Leatherman is a great option.

Pocket Knife Buyers Guide

Choosing a pocket knife seems like an easy choice. Does it look cool? Does it cut well? Can I carry it easily? For many people that’s enough, but we always prefer to do some research before making a purchase.

Here is everything you should consider before choosing a pocket knife and our recommendations on several points.

Price

Price is a touchy subject when you’re talking about pocket knives. There are some who absolutely refuse to carry anything but the very best. For most people though a quality mid-range knife will be just fine.

You should expect to spend at least $20-$30 on a pocket knife. Anything cheaper than that will basically be junk, and dangerous junk at that.

From the lower end you can spend a truly obscene amount of money on knives. Popular knives from highly regarded bladesmiths can go for several hundred dollars no problem.

For most people around $100 will buy you a very good folding knife that will last decades with proper care.

Blade Length and Steel Quality

Blade length is one of the most important things to look at when choosing an EDC pocket knife. It comes down to how much knife you actually need for day to day tasks and what you’re legally allowed to carry.

For most tasks 2.75 to about 3.5 inches is all the knife you’re ever going to need. A 3.5 inch blade means the closed knife will be approaching 4 to 4.5 inches in length. Any more than that and it becomes a lot more difficult to carry comfortably.

In many US states there is a blade threshold that separates a tool knife from a knife as a weapon. Make sure you know your state and local laws before making a purchase.

Steel quality is a bit trickier. There are literally hundreds of different blade steel types in use today. Going through all of them would be an article in itself.

More expensive steels have a higher carbon content and slightly different alloy makeup. This makes the steel itself harder and potentially more corrosion resistant. They can be sharpened to a true razor edge and will hold that edge longer than cheaper steel.

For casual EDCer’s thought there are downsides to this. Caring for high end steel requires a lot more work. It’s also more difficult to sharpen properly if you lack experience or proper tools

Ease of use and intended use

The best possible pocket knife is going to vary from person to person. Knives are like any tool, there are general use versions and highly specialized ones.

If you’re just looking for something to cut string or open packages with you’ll have very different needs than a Marine or a park ranger. Basic pocket knives generally don’t have a locking mechanism and require two hands to open.

They have very few moving parts and have basically stayed the same since folding knives were invented. Something like an old school jackknife or penknife comes to mind.

More modern blades are designed to higher tolerances, using newer materials. Most will have either assisted opening or an easy open design. Almost all will have some sort of blade lock.

Handle Comfort and Material

When we start talking about knife handles opinion and preference makes a big difference. You can get a knife handle made from a huge variety of materials, including:

  • Wood
  • Bone
  • Antler
  • Plastic
  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Micarta
  • Fiberglass Laminate

There are pros and cons to each material but for most people it comes down to what type of knife you’re looking for and how you intend to use it. A classic elkhorn handled knife is going to look pretty weird on a tactical vest.

Comfort though is a big issue. A lot of cheap knife makers don’t properly plan out their handle geometry. To make it worse their quality control is usually less than perfect.

What you end up with is knives with over aggressive angles and a hard, biting grip.

You want to look for a knife handle that grips your hand well but is comfortable to hold.

Appearance/Blade Shape

To many people knives are weapons, plain and simple. It’s important as knife owners that we consider where and how we plan to use our knife before taking it out.

Some knives just look more aggressive than others. A tactical folder with a blacked out blade, military style tanto point, and a composite handle sends a very different message than a small swiss army knife.

The drop point blade is one of the most popular blade styles today. It has a convex spine that curves downwards from the handle to the point of the knife. It gives you a large amount of working space, is easy to sharpen and maintain, and looks less aggressive than other blade styles.

Make sure that the appearance of your knife fits the image you want to present to the world.

Locking Types

There are too many types of knife blade locks to cover here. We’ll go through a few of the most commonly used varieties and explain their pros and cons.

It’s important to note that there are several proprietary locking systems that aren’t discussed here. Some of them are really great, so we’ll cover them in the manufacturer section.

Liner Lock

Also known as a Walker lock, a liner lock is one of the most basic types of blade locks. It’s a small piece of flat metal called a lockbar or leaf spring that flips out when you open the blade on your knife. It presses up against the tang of the blade and prevents it from moving.

In order to close it all you have to do is reach into the handle and push it out of the way of the blade. The downside to this easy to use design is that you have to put your finger in the path of the closing blade.

Lockback

The lockback has been commonly used on small pocket knives for decades. It has a metal spine that goes all the way up the back of the knife. When you deploy your knife a small hook catches on the end of the blade tang.

To release it all you have to do is push on the base of the metal spine and it releases the pressure on the blade.

Lever Lock

A lever lock is commonly used on automatic or switchblade knives. It’s a small level located at the end of the handle that holds the blade in place when closed and when deployed.

This one isn’t as commonly seen these days because of the stigma attached to switchblade knives.

Mid Lock

A mid lock is almost identical to the lockback except for where the release is located. As the name suggests it’s in the middle of the back of the knife handle.

This design allows more pressure to be exerted on the release, making it easy to use for some people.

Knife Deployment Mechanism

Deploying a knife can be as easy as folding out the blade manually or as involved as a Spetsnaz gas powered ballistic system. Kidding, but there are a lot of ways you can get your knife ready to go.

Automatic knives are what you think of when you picture a classic switchblade. At the press of a button a razor sharp blade shoots out. They’re really cool but are unfortunately illegal in many states and cities.

Assisted opening knives provide all the benefits of an automatic knife while skirting those pesky knife laws. Some use a spring assist system to help get the blade moving and then rely on the motion of your hand to push them the rest of the way out.

Others can be as simple as a spine flipper on the back of the handle. This lets you give your blade a push with one hand to get it moving.

Some knives have a simple thumb stud that lets you move them open manually with a single hand. The most basic have only a small nail nick and require two hands to pull the blade all the way out.

Knife Pivot

For most people the only time they think about the pivot on their knife is when it stops working. Suffice it to say that if you choose a high quality blade from a respected manufacturer you shouldn’t have to worry too much about your knife’s pivot point.

Sheath / Holster / Pouch / Pocket Clip and Lanyard Ring

There are almost as many ways to carry a knife as there are knives. Depending on the size and type of knife you get you can choose from options like:

  • Sheathes
  • Holsters
  • Pouches
  • Pocket Clips
  • Neck Holsters

For most people either a pocket clip or just loose in a pocket is the most convenient. As long as you’ve properly sized your knife to your needs it should fit comfortably clipped to your pocket.

Sheathes and other carry methods are great if you want to attach your knife to your belt or a bag. They generally have some kind of secure closure like a buckle or velcro. This prevents you from losing your knife during highly active times.

Other methods are generally only for very specialized cases. Neck knives are a neat novelty but generally have far less utility than a good old folder clipped to your pocket.

Warranty

One very important thing to look at before buying any knife is the support offered by its manufacturer. All the best companies offer a 20 to 25 year or lifetime warranty on parts and craftsmanship.

This doesn’t cover damage from misuse but will take care of any faulty manufacturing or poor quality materials. Even the best knife makers sometimes make mistakes, make certain they’re willing to make it right before you buy.

Conclusion

As you can see from the reviews and information above a lot of things go into making a great pocket knife. Picking just a single best pocket knife is honestly impossible.

Just make sure you consider how you want to use your knife, where you’re carrying it, and what you’re looking to spend.

As long as you focus on high quality manufacturers and look at the features we described above you’re sure to find the best pocket knife for your needs.