Like a flashlight or personal safety alarm, always carrying a folding knife on your person can feel like overkill, especially if you aren’t the outdoorsy type. But, like any good insurance policy, it’s in those moments when you truly need it that you realize what a good idea it was to have it. Many people associate carrying knives with survival situations, but a good blade will come in handy in your everyday life, too. Whether you’re opening a package or prying something loose, you’ll be surprised by how often you end up reaching for your knife in your everyday life. Plus, many top knife brands, like Leatherman and Victorinox, specialize in knives with multi-tools like bottle openers and screwdrivers attached.
So rather than not carrying one at all, why not minimize the inconvenience of carrying a knife with you by investing in one of the best folding knives.
Like any knife worth its weight, the best folding knives are versatile tools that can be handy in a range of different situations, ranging from camping in the woods to opening your over-zealously taped Postmates order.
Folding Knives vs. Fixed Blade Knives
Let’s get this out of the way. For the most part, fixed-blade knives always win in terms of blade strength. This is because their design allows them to incorporate a one-piece blade that extends from the tip of the blade all the way into the handle, without a break. Folding knives require a shorter blade length due to the need for the hinge.
From here onwards, however, the best folding knives win out for the average knife user. Thanks to the included hinge, the blade of a folding knife can fold back and rest inside the handle. This offers users a number of handy benefits including:
- Size – It’s pretty obvious that being able to fold the blade into the handle and almost half the size of the knife when it’s not in use is especially handy when storing it. This means, unlike most fixed-blade options, a folding knife can easily fit in pockets, backpacks and other limited spaces.
- Safety – Another major benefit is not being able to accidentally cut yourself. When a folding knife’s blade is folded in, it’s not possible to accidentally poke or cut yourself. This isn’t true with a fixed-blade knife, which requires a sheath or case to prevent access to the blade.
- Portability – Combining both of the above points, folding knives are easier to carry on your person or in your hand compared to their fixed-blade counterparts. Whether housed on a belt, in your hand or on a tabletop in your home, the fact they take up minimal space and have no exposed blade when not in use make them the ideal travel companion or everyday carry option for around the house, too.
Here are 20 of the best folding knives. Each one is well-reviewed and sports a sharp blade for a clean-cutting experience. Differences between the knives include weight, blade length and overall size, meaning it’s worth checking out each option to find the one best matched to your individual needs.
1. Leatherman FREE T4 Knife
Leatherman’s knives have earned the reputation for something you pass down to your kids and they pass down to theirs; this, despite the fact that Leatherman has only been around since the 1980s. The Free T4 knife is a great everyday tool with a sturdy build. The Free T4 is easier to open than a Swiss Army Knife because you can use the skin of your fingers to push them open, rather than your fingernails.
2. Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife
The Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife is a classy addition to any kit bag. It’s constructed from high-quality steel which, along with the titanium carbo-nitride coating, adds to the knife’s appealing and stylish look. When opening the folding knife, you’ll be able to choose between the thumb stud or the flipper. This makes it a great option for users who prefer knives that are easy to use with one hand only. Additionally, once open, the design includes a lock bar which prevents the blade from folding back until you choose to do so by pushing the frame to the side.
3. Opinel No.08 Carbon Steel Folding Pocket Knife
There are a lot of knife brands, but few have the pedigree of Opinel, a French brand that was established in 1890. Their product is virtually unchanged, mostly because you don’t need to mess with perfection. The unique knife has a rotating collar that holds the blade in place when deployed and locks it when sheathed. Plus, the wood handle makes it a gift-worthy knife, despite the fact that it’s a mere 20 bucks.
4. CRKT Pilar EDC Folding Pocket Knife
For something a little different from the norm, give the CRKT Pilar EDC Folding Pocket Knife a try. Unlike your average folding knife, you’ll find a cleaver-style, 2.4-inch blade that offers users greater precision when cutting as well as a more compact tool in hand. The knife’s design can also accommodate both right and left users and boasts a classy appearance with its modern feel and satin finish. In addition, the knife is available in a range of different sizes, styles and colors.
5. Victorinox Swiss Army Spartan Pocket Knife
If you say a product is “The Swiss Army Knife of X,” that means that it’s the most versatile in its category. That’s because the Swiss Army Knife is the Swiss Army Knife of, well, knives. The Spartan is the kind of tool you’ll be glad to have around; it has two blades, a bottle opener, a can opener, a corkscrew, plus a few other handy tools. The blades take some force to open, but it’ll become easier the more you use this tool. And once you have it, you will use it.
6. The James Brand The Carter
In terms of blade brands, it doesn’t get much better-looking than the James Brand. Of course, they don’t skimp on quality, and these folding knives are made using VG-10 stainless steel with an easy, one-handed opening. The knife has a handy pocket loop for easy carrying, and it has a loop if you want to add a lanyard.
7. Gerber Mini Paraframe Serrated Knife
If a lightweight folding knife is your priority, then pick up this option from Gerber. At 1.4 ounces, it won’t weigh you down, making it the ideal option for everyday use. The blade is constructed from surgical-grade stainless steel, and it features a partially serrated design. There’s also a pocket clip for easy storage.
8. Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife
BEST KEYCHAIN KNIFE
The Classic Swiss Army Knife from Victorinox won’t, say, help you fend off a bear. But given that it’s smaller than the average car key, it’s a tool you won’t leave home without. It has a small blade, a screwdriver with a nail file and a pair of scissors. There’s also a toothpick and tweezers that come out of the body of the knife.
9. Benchmade 535-3 Carbon Fiber Bugout Knife
Benchmade’s blades are an investment, but this Bugout blade will see you through any situation. It’s a drop point blade that’s made from high-quality steel and a handle made with carbon fiber. It has a pocket clip and a loop for a lanyard.
10. Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops S.S. Folding Knife
The Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops S.S. Folding Knife is an impressive piece of kit that comes backed by over 22,000 five-star ratings (yes, you read that right) from Amazon users. It is constructed from aluminum and carbon steel to give it a lightweight yet durable feel. The blade measures 3.1 inches and includes both straight and serrated edges for greater versatility during use. The design also incorporates a pocket clip, a finger flipper and ambidextrous thumb knobs for a better user experience.
11. Vickay Folding Utility Knife Heavy Duty Box Cutter
BEST BOX CUTTER
While the Vickay Folding Utility Knife Heavy Duty Box Cutter certainly isn’t as cool as some other options on our list, at under $10 and with a five-star rating from users, this knife is still worth checking out. It’s made from aluminum and stainless steel which deliver a lightweight yet impressively durable cutting tool. Add in the heavy-duty, ultra-sharp SK5 blades, anti-skid handle, blade protector and folding design and it’s easy to see why this is such a popular knife. Additionally, the box cutter comes in four color options, including red, blue and yellow.
12. TAC ForceTactical Rescue Folding Knife
The TAC ForceTactical Rescue Folding Knife is a sleek and stylish knife with a spring-assisted opening. The compact tool measures just under five inches when closed and includes dual thumb studs and an extended tang for greater control in hand. This well-reviewed pocket knife also sports a handy glass breaker and integrated seat belt cutter to ensure you’re ready for almost every eventuality. Furthermore, the knife has a stainless steel pocket clip for easy carrying and comes supplied in a gift-worthy box.
13. Mossy Oak Folding Pocket Knife
The Mossy Oak Folding Pocket Knife is a versatile and reliable knife choice when it comes to a range of situations, including camping, survival situations, fishing and unforeseen emergencies. The all-black design features an ergonomic handle with cut-out grooves to provide a better grip. At the pointy end, there’s a three-inch, stainless steel blade. In addition, you’ll find a tungsten steel glass breaker, a belt clip and a built-in bottle opener for greater convenience.
Read More: Best Throwing Knives
14. ALBATROSS Tactical Folding Pocket Knife
BEST TACTICAL KNIFE
If you’re looking for a knife to cover almost every kind of task, the ALBATROSS Tactical Folding Pocket Knife could be the answer. It comes backed by over 4,500 five-star reviews and incorporates a number of handy features including a glass breaker, a rope cutter, a bottle opener, a magnesium fire starter and a mini-LED flashlight. The tough, stainless steel blade also features both a serrated and straight edge. Furthermore, the knife is supplied with a handy carry case and comes in four color options.
Read More: The Best Boot Knives
15. Grand Way Pocket Folding Knife
BEST SPRING ASSISTED
When it comes to ease of opening, it’s hard to beat the Grand Way Pocket Folding Knife. This stylishly designed knife includes a range of handy features including a ribbed handle for better in-hand grip, a pocket clip for easy carrying and a safety latch to help prevent accidents. It’s constructed from stainless steel in the blade and aluminum in the handle and great for camping, hiking, first aid, survival and self-defense. Furthermore, the knife is available in three attractive designs, an all-black option, a green camo and an eye-catching USA flag-adorned design.
Read More: The Best Neck Knife
16. Steinbrucke Tactical Knife Pocket Knife
By incorporating a smartly designed reversible grip, the Steinbrucke Tactical Knife Pocket Knife can accommodate both left and right-handed users. The handle also sports an anti-slip finish and includes a glass breaker and seatbelt cutter for greater versatility. The blade is constructed from stainless steel and the handle is made from aluminum. This well-tested knife comes with a reliability guarantee and is well suited to hunting, camping and everyday carry use.
17. Excel Blades Revo Pocket Utility Knife
BEST UTILITY KNIFE
The Excel Blades Revo Pocket Utility Knife is a heavy-duty yet compact tool able to fulfill the majority of cutting needs. The folding design provides three different locked positions and sports a handy finger loop that assists with one-handed operation. It’s compatible with most standard utility blades, including Stanley, and offers quick blade changes for a better user experience. It’s also constructed from lightweight aluminum and available in four different colors.
18. Kershaw Clash Multi-FunctionSteel Blade
If you go on reviews alone, the Kershaw Clash Multi-FunctionSteel Blade is a standout choice. The knife has received positive reviews from over 95% of Amazon users and features an award-winning opening system that allows users to manage the knife with one hand. The handle is made from a durable yet comfortable polyamide while the blade is constructed from stainless steel. And, perhaps best of all is the folding knife’s eye-catching design, which combines an all-black handle with a stylish gray matte on the pocket clip and blade.
19. Best.Buy.Damascus1 Handmade knife
BEST GIFT IDEA
With color and material choices including redwood, staghorn and buffalo horn, there’s a Best.Buy.Damascus1 Handmade knife for every preference. Whichever style you choose, you’ll receive a high-quality, handcrafted folding knife with an eye-catching blade that is made from a mix of high-carbon steel and nickel. The knife is also supplied with a sharpening rod and handy leather sheath which is made from prime-quality, thick cow skin. Overall, this knife is beautifully crafted and definitely worthy of gifting to friends or family members who love the outdoors.
20. Off-Grid KnivesPocket Tank Folding Knife
It may be compact, but the Off-Grid KnivesPocket Tank Folding Knife still delivers cutting capabilities to rival its larger competitors. When extended, the knife measures 5.4 inches. The ergonomic grip incorporates a one-hand, lock-release button for comfortable one-handed use. You’ll also find multiple holes in the handle for lanyard attachment along with a deep pocket clip for easy attachment. Additionally, the Japanese AUS8 blade and stainless steel handle are coated with TiNi for improved rust resistance.