Whether it’s performing an emergency tracheotomy, opening a stubborn envelope or protecting yourself, you can never predict exactly when having one of the best pocket knives is going to come in handy.
Sure, if you’re planning on going camping for six weeks, you’ll probably want a proper survival knife, but for the rest of life’s challenges, you’re going to want a great pocket knife for its convenience, size and foldability.
Whatever you do get up to, the only thing you can be sure of is you’d much rather be in a situation where you don’t need a knife and have one than to need a knife and not have one.
Before you go sinking your money, here are a few things to keep in mind about pocket knives:
- Check the weight and blade length so you get something that’s right for you. Also, cities and states regulate the lengths and kinds of blades you’re allowed to own. So if you live in New York City and Amazon won’t ship you a particular knife, there’s a very good chance it’s because of knife regulations. And once you have the knife, you’ll of course want to keep abreast of relevant laws.
- Blades are generally made from one of two metals: carbon steel or stainless steel. Carbon steel knives are generally harder, stronger and more easily sharpened, but they can corrode more easily. Stainless steel knives, typically with the addition of an anti-corroding metal like chromium, corrode less easily and are frequently cheaper.
- Every pocket knife will come with some kind of blade-locking mechanism. You don’t need to know the different kinds to get a solid pocket knife (though can find more information here if you want). What you do need to know is that each kind of lock comes with different pros and cons. Some make the knife more expensive, some are more secure, some enable the knife to be opened with either hand and some break down faster than others, affecting the integrity of the knife.
With all that in mind, take a look through our collection of the best pocket knives to carry with you every day.
1. Kershaw Blur Tanto Black Serrated Pocket Knife
For an overall excellent pocket knife, the Kershaw Blur Tanto Black Serrated Pocket Knife belongs in every pocket. There’s no “wow” factor, but for the best pocket knife, you don’t need irrelevant features.
Thumb studs allow for quick one-handed opening, a pocket clip keeps the knife securely attached, the grip ensures the knife won’t slip and the blade itself is 3.4 inches, partially serrated, made from high-quality stainless steel, with a ceramic coating for durability, and sharp as hell.
That’s it, but it’s all your need for the best pocket knife.
Kershaw Blur Tanto Black Serrated Pocket Knife
2. CRKT M16-01KS EDC Folding Pocket Knife
CRKT makes some of the top EDC knives, and this durable, compact and lightweight pocket knife is easy to clip to your pocket or keep in a camping bag. The flipper design quickly deploys the blade for quick use, and a pin locks it in place. The sliding pin makes it easy to close. The holes in the handle help keep the knife lightweight, and the black powder coating makes the knife more resistant to corrosion.
Read More: Best Folding Knives
CRKT Pocket Knife
3. Gerber STL 2.0 Pocket Knife
Stylish and sleek, the Gerber STL 2.0 Pocket Knife sports an all-black design. The STL in the name stands for “strong, thin and light,” and weighing only one ounce, you already know part of that’s true. Additionally, the ultra-thin blade is ideal for precise and detailed work. Plus, there’s a cut-out in the blade to make opening and closing this pocket knife a single-handed job.
Gerber STL 2.0 Pocket Knife
4. Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight Signature Knife
Spyderco pioneered now common pocket knife features such as pocket clips and a round hole in the blade for easy opening. You’ll get both of those features and more in the Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight Signature Knife.
The knife is compact and well-balanced, with a low-friction nitrogen-enriched high-carbon chromium steel blade and a fiberglass-reinforced nylon handle. The size of the blade, nylon handle and overall design also make it one of the most lightweight options out there at a mere 2.6 ounces without compromising on utility.
It can open safely and easily with one hand and the clip slides onto any pocket with ease while remaining secure, so it’ll always be just a second away from your hand.
If you’re really picking up what Spyderco is putting down, you can also get the same knife with a serrated edge for improved sawing capabilities.
Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight Signature Knife
5. Opinel Carbon Steel No. 8 Folding Pocket Knife
BEST FOR BASIC TASKS
When you buy Opinel, you’re buying a piece of knife history. Seriously. The French company runs a museum for its knives, which it started producing in 1890. The Opinel Carbon Steel No. 8 Folding Pocket Knife uses the same basic design the company’s been using for over 100 years because if ain’t broke …
The blade uses Swiss carbon steel for extreme hardness, so it’ll cut easily and sharpen easily once the blade inevitably dulls. In keeping with its French and traditional knife-making roots, Opinel uses hard, durable French beechwood for its handles.
But the most notable quality is the price. It’s rare to find any of the best pocket knives for under $50, let alone $20. So for the price, you just can’t find many more quality knives.
Overall, the knife is simple, sturdy and a great bargain for its high quality.
Opinel Carbon Steel No. 8 Folding Pocket Knife
6. Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife
CLASSIC POCKET KNIFE
There are actually multiple versions of the Swiss Army knife from Victorinox, which vary widely by price, size and functionality. The Classic version is Victorinox’s most basic pocket knife, and it has a blade, screwdriver/nail file, scissors, tweezers and toothpick. Its compact size makes it easy to attach to your keychain without it taking up too much space — it’s not much longer than a door key. It may not be what a survivalist would choose for 72 hours in the wilderness, but for the purposes of cutting open packages and adjusting small screws, it’s the perfect option.
Victorinox Pocket Knife
7. Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool, Evolution Pocket Knife
UPGRADE SWISS ARMY KNIFE
It may not be a traditional pocket knife, but the Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool Evolution Pocket Knife is much, much more. Of course, it contains a blade for your basic cutting needs, but this 3.3-inch package also packs in 14 other functions in one easy-to-carry tool. It has a key ring, a toothpick, tweezers, a nail file, a nail cleaner, a Phillips screwdriver, a bottle opener, a 3-millimeter and 5-mm screwdriver, a wire stripper, a can opener, a reamer/punch, a sewing awl, a wood saw and finally, a pair of scissors.
If you’re going on a short camping trip or just headed out for an adventure, this is one of the best pocket knives to throw in your pack.
Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool Evolution Pocket Knife
8. Leatherman FREE T4 Knife
This Leatherman knife is something of an upgraded version of Victorinox’s ever-popular Swiss Army knife. It has premium features like locking components that prevent the blade from loosening over time and accidentally opening. The handle is made from glass-filled nylon for added durability, and tools include scissors, a pry tool, package opener, awl, bottle opener and file, in addition to the 2.2″ blade.
Leatherman Pocket Knife
9. Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S Folding Knife
Whether a firearm or knife, you can’t go wrong with Smith & Wesson, in particular, the Extreme Ops SWA24S Folding Knife. With a high carbon stainless steel partially serrated 3.1-inch blade, thumb studs for fast, easy opening, an aluminum handle and pocket clip, this knife is perfect for everyday carry in the city or in the great outdoors. But don’t take our word for it: This is Amazon’s best-selling “tactical knife” for a reason and boasts over 24,000 five-star reviews.
Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S Folding Knife
10. Gerber Gear 22-48485N Paraframe Pocket Knife
Budget doesn’t just mean cheap; it means bang for your buck, and that’s what you get with the Gerber Gear 22-48485N Paraframe Pocket Knife.
Minimal in all the right ways, this knife works great, with a sharp clip point for cutting, cleans easily thanks to its stripped-down design, won’t weigh you down and won’t break the bank to boot. Even if you want a pricier knife, the best pocket knife is the one you have on you and at this price point and quality, it’s easy to justify having the Gerber Gear Paraframe Pocket Knife on you.
Read More: Best Boot Knives
Gerber Gear 22-48485N Paraframe Pocket Knife
11. Zero Tolerance 0770CF Folding Knife
Zero Tolerance simply makes professional-quality pocket knives for consumers who want only the best. The Zero Tolerance 0770CF Folding Knife exemplifies that mission.
The stainless steel blade incorporates carbon and vanadium for corrosion resistance and makes use of a diamond-like carbon coating that improves hardness, adds even more corrosion and wear resistance and makes the blade less frictional so whatever you cut doesn’t remain on the blade.
The handle is made from a woven glass fiber that’s as lightweight as it is strong and durable.
Opening the knife is also a breeze thanks to the SpeedSafe opener. You just press the flipper or thumb stud and the blade will open and lock into place.
Zero Tolerance 0770CF Folding Knife
12. Spyderco Tenacious Folding Utility Pocket Knife
The 3.39-inch partially serrated stainless steel blade features a full flat grind for extreme sharpness, an ergonomic G-10 laminate handle for durability and easy handling and a four-way pocket clip so you can secure this knife wherever is most convenient for a quick draw.
Considering all that, it’s no surprise 85% of reviewers gave it five stars, with an overall 4.8/5 rating on Amazon. This is a hardy, high-quality knife, and we bet you’ll consider giving it five stars too.
Spyderco Tenacious Folding Utility Pocket Knife
13. Barton Blades Bartech Pro Knife
This Barton Blade Bartech Pro Knife features high-quality stainless steel and a half-serrated blade. It also includes a small thumb stud on the blade’s face for quick opening and closing. When the knife is closed, it has an all-over black appearance with a hint of silver. And, using the attached key chain, the knife can be carried by hand, on a keychain or in a pocket with ease.
Read More: Best Neck Knives
Barton Blade Bartech Pro Knife
14. L.L. Bean Double L Pocket Knife
L.L. Bean is one of the most iconic outdoor clothing brands, known for its practical yet preppy take on camping and outdoor gear. Similarly, the brand’s Double L Pocket knife brings a classic sense of style to a utilitarian accessory. The rich rosewood handle features polished brass accents and the sturdy stainless steel blade is outdoor-ready. It’s not a locking blade, so it’s easier to use if you’d rather not fidget with locking mechanisms.
L.L. Bean Double L Pocket Knife
15. Case Stockman Pocket Knife
The Case Stockman Pocket Knife features three flip-out blades, giving you a range of options to complete the task at hand. You’ll find a clip, sheepsfoot and pen blade within the brown Delrin plastic handle, which is perfect for things like pocket knives that require low friction and long wear life.
The knife’s outwardly tough appearance and high-quality build make it great for deep-in-the-forest situations as well as at-the-desk emergencies. Plus, this Case product also comes with a limited lifetime guarantee.
Case Stockman Pocket Knife
16. The James Brand The Carter
BEST FOLDING KNIFE
The Carter knife from The James Brand is a top-notch knife for everyday carry. It looks both modern and outdoorsy at the same time and will take care of just about all your cutting needs.
It opens up quickly and easily courtesy of a thumb disc near the top of the blade on both sides. It also features a removable and reversible pocket clip so you can pocket the blade however you see fit. The blade is made from anti-corroding stainless steel and the handle is made from micarta, a common material for knife handles due to its durability and resistance to damaging solvents.
The James Brand The Carter
17. Smith & Wesson OTF Knife
BEST OTF KNIFE
Returning to Smith & Wesson for what may be the most fun knife on this list, we like the Smith & Wesson OTF Knife.
OTF knives, or out-the-front knives, are simply knives where the blade goes out the front of the handle instead of the side. This knife is a spring-assisted OTF knife, meaning you push the switch on the topside, causing the blade to pop out the front. Thankfully, the switch takes a decent amount of force, so you don’t have to worry about accidental releases.
Now that we know what we’re dealing with, the rest of the specs are straightforward. You get a 3.5-inch high-chromium stainless steel spear point blade great for piercing, a serrated edge for cutting, a grippy handle and an altogether friendly price for such a fun and useful knife.
Smith & Wesson OTF Knife
18. CRKT CEO Folding Pocket Knife
BEST LETTER OPENER
The CRKT CEO Folding Pocket Knife is the epitome of a minimalist pocket knife. It looks like a mini sword when you open it up and its discreet appearance makes it perfect for occasions where you don’t expect to need a knife but want one anyway. Seriously, at first glance, you might not even know it was a knife when folded up.
Its closed length is about 4.5 inches, with a 3.2-inch blade, so it’ll easily hide in any shirt or jacket pocket or clip to your pocket. The thumb stud makes opening the knife as easy a quick flick of the wrist and the glass-nylon handle is lightweight and will last long.
If you’re looking for a sleek, modern pocket knife, the CRFT CEO is one of the best pocket knives for you.
CRKT CEO Folding Pocket Knife
19. Morpilot Multitool Knife & Flashlight Set
BEST FLASHLIGHT COMBO
Another sleek offering, this two-in-one set includes a Morpilot Multitool Knife and the Morpilot Flashlight. The multitool features five individual functions: a bottle opener, seat belt cutter, saw, glass breaker and a self-defense knife. This is especially ideal for any of those unexpected “does anyone have a …?” moments.
In addition, the included handheld flashlight boasts five different lighting options, high/medium/low as well as strobe and S.O.S. It’s rated to IPX4 and has an anti-drop rating of up to one meter.
Morpilot Multitool Knife & Flashlight Set
How to Maintain a Pocket Knife
Pocket knives can take care of you in a variety of settings, but you also have to take care of them. If you’re cutting open packages, it’s a good idea to ensure the blade is clean — you don’t want any sticky residue gumming up the works. You’ll also need to sharpen the blades as needed. A tool like the Work Sharp Field Sharpener is an easy and affordable way to help you keep your tools sharp. There are different guides, including coarse diamond, fine diamond, ceramic hone and leather strop that let you work in stages for better results.