Warning: Being prepared at all times with a multi-purpose pocket knife is confidence-inducing and addictive.
Best Folding Knife: Nothing feels quite like having a handy tool at hand at all times for the smallest tasks, such as opening letters and packages to the complex ones, such as making fire and building a camp shelter.
And that’s the big satisfaction a good EDC pocket knife can provide.
But because pocket knives are folding knives, there are some features that you’d want to look into first before getting one.
We’ve scoured the market for the best pocket knives today and narrowed the list down to ten of them.
In this best folding knives review, we’ll be looking at:
- The best pocket knife for every need and preference;
- All their pros and cons;
- Knives for every budget;
- How they worked out for us;
- Tips for buying your own pocket knife;
- Lots more!
SECTION 2: Best Folding Knife
Best Well balanced Folding Knife – Editor’s Choice Award
Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter Lock-back Knife
- Good edge retention
- Its clip point blade is good for jobs that need detailing and precision
- Features a very solid locking mechanism
- It comes with a leather sheath with a snap fastener
- Attractive design
- Backed by unconditional lifetime warranty
- It comes with a bit of a weight
- The knife itself doesn’t have a pocket clip
The first foldable knife on our list is like that one friend who is loved by everyone and is never hated. It’s actually the standard of pocket knives since it was first launched more than half a century ago.
Yes, I’m talking about the Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter Lockback Knife, this review’s Editor’s Choice.
First made in the 1960s, this classic pocket knife still carries the same toughness and durability it’s been famed for years ago.
As a matter of fact…
…its blade steel is still made from 420HC stainless steel, which isn’t as strong as other stainless steel types. But the brand’s special heath treatment further fortified the blade, making it one force to be reckoned with.
If you’re all for strength in your pocket knife, let me tell you that this knife never chipped during all the years we’ve used it. Even the clip point of the blade isn’t very fragile, making it great for many outdoor activities such as camping and bushcraft.
Moreover, its tip also makes it one of the best pocket knives for carving and other jobs that need precision and detailing.
And it doesn’t end there.
This stunner looks good thanks to its ebony wood handle.
Yes, it’s a wooden handle, but it’s also designed to be tough and indestructible. What’s more, it’s also ethically sourced Crelicam ebony, which in turn, supports the replanting efforts in Congo.
How great is that?
The ebony-wood handle is also designed with polished brass bolsters, adding a more polished look to this tank of a knife.
Moreover, we also love its length, which, at 3 ¾ inches, is just right for a pocket knife. It’s not dauntingly long, and it’s also not annoyingly short.
Aside from being a rock hard knife, its locking mechanism is also just as impressive. Once locked into place, the knife never moved, and the handle never shook in all the times we’ve used it.
It felt like holding a fixed knife, actually!
With all these excellent features and impressive quality, it’s just a bit of a shame that the knife doesn’t have a belt clip. But it does come with a leather sheath or case. And the leather is also very thick and stiff.
The knife has a bit of weight in it, just so you know in case you’re looking for a very lightweight knife. But honestly, it just made it feel like I was holding a piece of a relic or an antique accessory.
Best Budget Folding Knife – Best Value Award
Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife
- A handy multi-tool pocket knife
- Very compact design
- Includes seven functions, including a small knife
- The blade is corrosion-resistant
- Very easy to sharpen
- It needs more care than the usual pocket knife
- The blade is one of the smallest on the market
Looking for a pocket knife that doesn’t take too much space but gives more than its size can?
Well, here’s the perfect Best Value pocket knife for you, because this Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD pocket knife doesn’t only have a knife but six other tools as well.
Victorinox is not just your typical brand. They actually made the first Swiss Army knives. In case you haven’t had one yet, it’s a tool that contains numerous small tools. In this case, it has a small blade, scissors, a 2.5 mm screwdriver, tweezers, a toothpick, a nail file, and a key ring.
Now, let me focus on the blade.
Its blade is pretty small, at one and a half inches. So if you’re looking specifically for a blade that’s bigger than that, then this might not be the one for you.
But if you want a pocket knife that you can bring as an EDC at all times and aid you with many small tasks instantly, you’ll love the utter convenience this Swiss knife brings.
It was very sharp right out of the box, but it wasn’t hard to sharpen, too. It took me a couple of minutes to improve its blade with my whetstone.
So far, I have been able to do a lot of this with the blade alone. Things such as opening a package, cutting a rope, building a shelter, making tinders, cutting bread and pizza, and even cutting a steak when the knife the restaurant provided wasn’t sharp enough suddenly didn’t seem so bothersome.
I was actually glad every time I had a chance to whip this little guy out!
But that’s not all.
The other tools were as excellently made as the blade, too. The scissors were surprisingly sharp enough that I even used them to cut my nail on one occasion.
I also like that I can put it on my keychain, so it’s easier to access.
It’s very compact and not bulky at all. I can’t even tell if it’s in my pocket, and I had to search for it many times because I forgot what pocket I put this in!
On the flip side…
…it’s so small that dirt usually tends to seep into its crevices, making it a challenge to clean, especially after using it in places like forests or muddy fields.
Best Folding Knife With Slim Clip – Top Pick Award
CRKT CEO EDC Folding Pocket Knife
- Slim and seamless design that takes very little space
- Easy to deploy with one hand
- It has a good texturing on the handle
- The clip lets you conceal your knife deep in your pocket
- Excellent edge retention
- The thumb stud is a bit short
- It could be hard to close with just one hand because of the liner lock
If you’re a firm believer that less is more, then this CEO pocket knife is for you.
Ye,you’ve heard the name right. Very aptly named, CRKT’s CEO folding knife is the gentleman’s knife with its elegant and minimalistic design and incomparable durability, making it this review’s Top Pick.
I admit- perhaps, just like most of its users, I was initially drawn to its looks and not the features.
How can you blame me…
…it definitely looks very unique with its very straight and slim profile that’s unlike other pocket knives. It’s so slim that, whether folded or unfolded, it goes really straight from top to bottom.
Because of that, it really did look like a pen when it was in my pocket. Heck, I can even attach it to the collar of my shirt if I want to, and it would still look like a pen.
That is until I decide to deploy the knife.
As for the blade…
…it’s just as slim as its overall design. At just a little over three inches, it’s just right for some table tasks and minor jobs if you’re at camp (though I won’t be using this pretty little guy at camp!).
It came sharp right out of the box. It was able to cut hair on my arms, as well as paper, without any jagged and torn lines.
It’s not as razor-sharp as other knives, though, so I still needed to sharpen it before using it.
Just take note that the blade is really slim, so it’s not ideal for rugged and heavy-duty tasks such as woodwork for camping shelters and the like.
However, I was able to use it for my letters and packages, carve wood, slice meat that wasn’t too thick, cut fruits and bread, and clean fish.
Bottomline: it’s a lightweight pocket knife that’s suitable for lighter tasks. As its manufacturer’s description said, it’s best paired with a cup of dark roast and a to-do list.
In addition to that, it’s also designed with a thumb stud, so you can deploy it with just one hand.
But the irony of it?
I wasn’t able to deploy it that easily with one hand on my first try. This is because the thumb stud felt tight, especially when it was new.
I was dismayed for a while but just like with my other knives, I practiced using it and deploying it until it became second nature to me. Soon, I was able to deploy the blade instantly with the stud and a flick of my wrist.
Just like the stud, its liner lock is also as well made and tight. It’s actually so tight that it was also a challenge to close the knife with one hand.
…this stunner has a well-textured grip, so you can confidently use it while it’s wet or while your hand is wet.
My only concern is it doesn’t have anything to stop my hand from going to the blade for the handle but thank goodness because its texturing is that obvious and deep that I was able to feel if I’m still holding the handle and my hand is still safe.
Best Slim Design Folding Knife
Benchmade – Bugout 535 Knife
- Lightweight and slim design
- Thin blade for easy and delicate tasks
- Deep carry pocket clip
- Strong blade material
- Good edge retention
- Backed by lifetime warranty
- It doesn’t have liners
- A bit pricey
If what you’re looking for is not a heavy-duty bugout knife but, instead, a lightweight and slim one to be used as EDC, then this is the perfect knife for you.
This Benchmade Bugout 535 knife is actually quite tricky with its name. Because it’s certainly not ideal for bugout. It’s lightweight and small. It can be used for small tasks such as tinder-making, but you wouldn’t want to use it to chop branches.
On the other hand…
…its blade is alloy steel, which is much tougher than stainless steel. So this will allow you to use this Benchmark knife for many other things. Its blade is relatively thin, but surprisingly, it performed strongly and toughly.
I was able to cut a very tough (and poorly cooked) steak like butter one time. Moreover, it’s also still strong enough to cut a thick rope.
Because its blade shape is a drop point, it can also be used to chop meat without destroying the shape. The point is also very good for piercing.
But what’s cooler…
…is how the point is very perfectly centered when the knife is closed. It won’t protrude dangerously.
Unlike the CEO knife, this one isn’t flush with the case, but it’s still very secure when close.
Opening it up is not very instant, unlike the other knives. It was actually a bit stiff on my first use of it. So I tweaked and turned just the littlest bit, and soon, it’s opening up very easily with a flick of my wrist.
It doesn’t have a lock, which is quite a shame. But again, to our surprise, the blade and the handle didn’t wobble at all, and it still felt like it was locked in place thanks to the spring mechanism.
It’s also very light overall, and it has a deep carry clip so you can conceal it in your pocket without much bulge.
Best Secure Grip Folding Knife
Spyderco Para Military 2 Signature Knife
- Straight edge and elongated tip for smooth and uncomplicated use
- There’s a jimping on the spine and finger coil to keep your fingers safe
- Good ergonomics on the handle
- Features a 4-way pocket clip
- Very easy to deploy and closes securely
- The lanyard hole is a bit too small
- A little pricey
If you’re a knife person or are just starting to be one, you must have at least one Spyderco knife.
Or so the knife buffs say.
For pocket knives, this Spyderco Para Military 2 Signature Knife is one of our favorites from the company.
One of its highlights is the excellently curved ergonomic handle, which gives the user relief and comfort however big the hands are.
Aside from that…
…it also has a pocket clip that you can use to mount it in four different ways. To add to its ultimate comfort, not only any hand size can use it comfortably but orientations too. This is because it’s designed to be ambidextrous!
The blade has Spyderco’s signature finger hole so you can open it very easily. It’s actually become a habit for me to open and close it, like a fidget toy, because it’s that easy to deploy. No tightness at all.
But despite that…
…once it’s close, it’s very firm, tight, and secured. It will never unravel in your pocket.
The handle is a tough G10 material, so even if it’s durable, it’s still lightweight. I actually forgot most of the time that I had a knife in my pocket.
As for the blade…
…it’s a stainless steel blade, so expect it to be more corrosion resistant than other pocket knives. That’s great because it means that you can use this for camping, hiking, or fishing. But of course, even if it’s stainless steel, I still choose to wipe it dry after every use.
The blade was so sharp right out of the box that it could easily cut my leg hair like a razor. I didn’t need to sharpen it at all, even after two days of use in camp.
Moreover, its elongated tip also makes it a good pocket knife for self-defense as well.
In addition to that, it has jimping on the spine and the finger coil, so your fingers won’t ever slip to the sharp edge while using it.
And as a cherry on top…
…it simply looks so good with its curvy design. Quite the looker!
Best Compact Carry Folding Knife
Victorinox Swiss Army Evolution
- A slimmer version of the Victorinox Swiss Army knife
- Features 14 functions in one tool
- Good ergonomics
- It’s still lightweight
- Backed by lifetime guarantee
- The blade doesn’t lock
- Could be a bit stiff to open sometimes
Loved Victorinox’s Swiss Army knives? Well, here’s the evolved design for you.
One of the best compact folding knives on the market today, this multi-function design didn’t compromise it’s nice ergonomics, and we’re here for it!
This Victorinox Evolution is just like your other Victorinox Swiss Army knives, except for the fact that it has a much-improved case or handle.
It sure looks very attractive, with graceful curves and all. But it also serves as the ergonomics of the handle so you can hold it securely and easily without hurting your hand while you work.
And that’s not all.
Opening it up, you’ll see 14 functions. It has a toothpick, tweezers, nail file, nail cleaner, bottle opener, corkscrew, 5 MM screwdriver, wire stripper, 3 MM screwdriver, wire stripper, reamer or punch, sewing awl, scissors, and key ring.
And of course, you have the blade. It measures just two inches but is just about perfect if what you’re looking for is a compact and lightweight knife for everyday use.
But surprisingly, we weren’t only able to benefit from everyday tasks such as opening parcels and fixing things, but I was also able to use it while camping.
It’s made from stainless steel so that you can use it on moist objects without inhibitions. It’s sharp enough to smoothly clean a fish or filet it.
On the other hand…
…you must also remember that it’s a multi-tool, so there are lots of crevices, especially inside the case. These crevices could be challenging to clean, especially when used in food preparation.
But aside from that, the knife had proved itself very durable and long-lasting, just like your typical Victorinox.
Best Durable Folding Knife
CJRB Folding Knife Feldspar Pocket Folding Knife
- High wear resistance and anti-wear properties
- Hard and durable blade
- Deep carry clip
- Thin handle profile
- Very sharp right out of the box
- Easy to open and close with one hand
- Available in numerous colors to choose from
- The clip is a bit thin
- Not much ergonomics on the handle
At over three inches blade length, this knife may look like your typical everyday carry knife.
But the truth is it carries the strength of tough survival knives.
Hardened between 50 to 61 HRC, this small pocket knife boasts a very strong drop point blade. The surprising thing is that the blade isn’t even thick at all. The cutting edge is actually thin.
But after taking it through much use and abuse and throwing tests, among other tests, the blade didn’t chip at all. It wasn’t what I expected, to be honest.
That being said…
…I can now confidently say that this can also be a good survival folding knife. It can take on small pieces of wood, a thick rope, or tough meat without any instability or shaking.
And without breaking, too!
The blade features an angle that tapers to a fine tip of the drop point blade. So it’s not only good for chopping and slicing but also for carving and other tasks that need precision.
Aside from its strength and toughness…
…it’s also very attractive to boot. It’s not fancy at all but minimalistic and clean-looking with the handle’s design.
It comes in several colors, all tactical-looking ones but still attractive. The one I used is the grayish-green one, which makes the knife look more expensive than it is.
But more than that, it’s made from fiberglass, so it’s not weighty at all. It has good texturing but not much ergonomics, though. So if you have big hands, you may find this to be a bit uncomfortable, especially after hours of use.
The tip is almost perfectly centered when it’s closed, but it’s very, very easy to open and close with just one hand. That’s all thanks to its smooth mechanism and pivot.
Like most folding knives, it also has a pocket clip in the deep-carry style, so it just disappears into your pocket. You‘d just want to remember that the pocket clip is thinner than other knives but is still durable anyway.
That said, it was quite a challenge to push it into my jean pocket, but it was well worth it.
Best Folding Knife With Axis Locking Mechanism
Benchmade – Mini Griptilian 556 EDC Manual Open Folding Knife
- Great for rugged use
- Ambidextrous handle orientation
- Excellent textures on the handle
- The pocket clip is reversible
- Its axis locking mechanism gives it a smooth action when opening and closing
- Excellent edge retention
- Also available in pink
- The thumb stud feels a bit tight
- The clip is not deep-carry
Looking for a folding knife that can accompany you on the roughest of adventures? Then this one’s for you.
As badass as its name, this Benchmade Mini Griptillian can do all sorts of tasks, from rugged to the most delicate ones.
With more than two inches of blade is small but terrible. Made from high carbon stainless steel, one of the most impressive things about this is its strength and edge retention.
It was already razor-sharp right out of the box. I used it for all sorts of tasks, such as chopping small pieces of wood, making very thin tinders, slicing fruits, cleaning a fish, and many more.
And guess what?
I used and abused it, wanting to see how long it would take before the edge wears off. But it didn’t. At least not for a whole three months of use!
Yes, I know. Unbelievable.
That’s154CM stainless steel for you.
And because it’s small, it wasn’t hard to sharpen either. It took me less than ten minutes to make it look and feel brand new again.
In addition to that, it has a drop point tip that continues to the belly of the blade. This shape lets me chop vegetables with a rocking motion, making the task much easier and faster.
And it doesn’t end there.
Its axis locking mechanism is also impressive. Opening and closing it felt like second nature by its second day with me.
Moreover, the grip is also noticeably textured. And it’s deep and rightly sized, which showed me that it indeed is a rugged knife, without any doubt.
It has a pocket clip, and the good news is it’s ambidextrous as it’s reversible!
The bad news?
Well, it’s not so bad, but it’s not a deep carry clip.
Oh, and have I told you that it’s also available in a nice pink color? Yes, that’s right!
Best Everyday Carry Folding Knife
Buck Knives The 55 Folding Pocket Knife
- Stylish design
- Tough high carbon stainless steel blade
- Great edge retention
- Not much ergonomics on the handle
- The blade is much smaller than most pocket knives
- It has a lockback mechanism to keep your fingers safe
You’ve seen our review’s Editor’s Choice, the Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter pocket knife. It’s widely renowned as the standard in pocket knives and has been loved for decades and decades now.
And here is its mini version.
It’s more than an inch smaller than the 110 Hunter, but as we found out, it still carries the same toughness and excellent craftsmanship.
It’s a tank of a knife.
You wouldn’t think about such a small knife that way, would you? But it’s also nearly as indestructible as its bigger version.
Its blade is also 420HC stainless steel. As previously mentioned, 420HC isn’t the hardest steel there is. But thanks to Buck Knives’ meticulous and excellent heat treatment, this blade is made even tougher.
It has a clip point blade, which means it’s very versatile. The sharp edge can slice as thin as you want, while the tip lets you have more control and precision when piercing or probing.
That makes this little guy a great EDC knife.
I was able to use it more times than I had expected in one day. It’s smaller, so it’s also much easier to deploy and conceal.
It has a slightly slim profile, which only adds to the attractiveness it already has, thanks to the metal and wooden combination of the handle.
But there’s a trade-off for that.
This beauty doesn’t have a clip for your pocket, so you might find it just a tad bit tricky to keep.
But don’t worry, because once closed, it felt very secure. It never opened while inside my pocket. It’s also very tiny that it’s just there in the very corner of my pocket. And if you open it, it snaps into place with a sound. That’s also kind of satisfying and tells me that my knife is safe to use.
And speaking of usage…
… There was no blade play at all while I worked. The blade and the handle never shook.
Using it reminded me of my Victorinox knife. It’s also that small, and the interesting thing is, that the blade is also almost as thick as my Victorinox!
So we can safely say that it’s a Swiss knife minus the fluff.
Best Lightweight Folding Knife
Gerber LST Knife, Fine Edge
- One of the most lightweight pocket knives on the market
- Super smooth opening action
- Tactile design and rugged handle
- Very easy to sharpen
- Reasonably priced
- Not suitable for hard work
- It doesn’t have a pocket clip
This knife is so light that you might just forget it’s in your pocket and accidentally put it in the laundry!
If you’re looking for an EDC knife that you can easily carry around the house, office, or while walking, you can’t count on this knife by Gerber to be there for you discreetly.
Although it doesn’t have a pocket clip, it can still be concealed very well in your pocket because it will never show. Aside from being very light, it also has a slim profile.
That being said, it’s also quite small. So instead of standing up in your pocket, it will tend to lay horizontally at the bottom.
On the other hand…
…the blade is made from 420HC stainless steel, which seems to be the favorite blade material of many popular and trusted brands nowadays.
Just so you know, 420HC isn’t the toughest one out there. But surprisingly, this knife didn’t chip or break on us at all.
It’s also thinner than most pocket knives, so it’s certainly not suitable for hard work such as woodwork. But you can definitely use it as a backup knife for camp food preparation, the opening of boxes, cutting ropes, and a ton of other things as well.
Aside from that, it also came very sharp right out of the box that I didn’t even need to sharpen it to be able to use it.
But because it’s thin, its edge retention isn’t very exceptional. It’s not bad, it’s still good, but not as impressive as the others.
…it’s very easy to sharpen. It took me just a few minutes to bring back its sharp edge, so that’s not much of an issue for us.
The texturing on the grip, by the way, is excellent. It lets me grip the handle very securely, even when my hands are wet. Aside from heavy camp tasks, I can safely say that it’s still ideal for utility tasks, among many other things.
Section 4: Buyers Guide: How To Choose The Best Folding Knife…
Things to Consider Before Buying Pocket Knives
Getting a folding knife or pocket knife isn’t like buying a simple knife, may it be for survival or EDC.
Here are some of the things you need to look out for when choosing the best pocket knife for you.
Size matters. However good the ergonomics of your knife is, your hand will still feel uncomfortable if you’re using the wrong size of knife for your hands.
Choose a handle with tough material. If the handle is made of steel, the knife is ideal for bushcraft. But if you want it lightweight for EDC, G10 is the perfect material as it’s both lightweight and durable.
Ergonomics are important, especially if you’re going to use your knife for longer periods of time. The right curves and design will keep your hand comfortable and pain-free, even if you’re using the knife for hours on end.
Locking mechanism is one of the most important things to check when buying a folding knife. This refers to the safety features of the knife that keep the blade in its place. A good locking mechanism can keep the blade and the handle from shaking, even if you’re using it on very hard surfaces.
Mounting attachments are also important, especially if you’re carrying a small knife.
May it be an EDC or a camping knife, you’d want it easy to access and not hard to find deep in your bag. The most ideal mounting component is a deep-carry clip. It allows your pocket knife to disappear into your pocket so it would look like a pen in your pocket.
Some knives also have a reversible pocket clip, so they can be used by both right-handed and left-handed owners.
Section 5: FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Q – Are folding knives good for self-defense?
A – Folding knives are indeed good for self-defense. For one, they can be concealed on your back or in your pocket very easily. A good pocket knife also opens smoothly and easily with just one hand. This will allow you to deploy your tool instantly in emergencies.
Q – What type of knife is best for self-defense?
A – The best type of knife for self-defense is a well-crafted folding knife. It should be easy to deploy, easy to conceal, and stable and tough enough so that the blade stays solid and unshaken even in combat.
Q – Is it okay to carry a pocket knife?
A – In most states, carrying a pocket knife is allowed, but it must be under 3 or 2.5 inches. It’s mostly not allowed in courthouses, schools, and planes.
Section 6: Our Analysis, Comparisons & Test Results
Value for Money
Value for money refers to how much the knives have given us in relation to their prices. To our delight, we’ve found out that not all cheap knives are of cheap quality. Some even performed like a $200 knife, such as this review’s best value pocket knife.
Ease of Use
For folding knives, ease of use is very important. It includes the ease with which we were able to open and close them. Much better if the knife is easily deployed and even closed with just one hand.
Not all small pocket knives are flimsy. And not all thin blades are easily broken. That we found out in our tests and trials. We had knives that were slim but were unbreakable.
Because a pocket knife is susceptible to being dropped and passed around, it’s important to make sure that your knife is durable and can take rugged use. It also includes the toughness and strength of the blade itself.
Of course, we have sharpness, which is usually the first thing we tend to look at when buying knives. Sometimes, a knife could come out of the box dull but becomes wicked sharp after sharpening it, so we also considered the knives’ sharpness after they’ve been sharpened for the first time.
The safety of your fingers mostly depends on the grip. A good grip on a knife includes deep patterns and textures so the knife won’t eventually slip from your hand. It also includes the knife’s ergonomics. With the right curves, the knife won’t only be a breeze to hold but also stable in your hand’s grip.
Our Final Verdict: Best Folding Knife
Section 7: Conclusion: Best Folding Knife
You’ll never know how much you need a handy pocket knife until you own one.
And a well-crafted one at that.
That is why small as they are, buying one shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially when the safety of your fingers is in line too.
Small tools, but with the right quality and design, they can do more than you could ever imagine in your everyday life.
…this review’s Editor’s Choice, the Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter, literally has it all. It’s tough enough for hard work that a small knife can do, and it can also be used for delicate tasks. Not to mention the tough blade and excellent edge retention.
Now, if you’re on a budget, you still shouldn’t sacrifice good quality because Best Value pocket knives also exist, such as the impressive Victorinox Swiss SD Classic knife, with all its functions at a price that won’t leave you regretting.
Aside from these outstanding two, all of the knives we tested and chose as the creams of the crop fit different needs and preferences, so just identify yours and pick the one knife that answers it!