Best Pocket Knife With Reviews
Pocket knives are an essential part of a survival kit. They are also great everyday carry tools. If you’re going to buy a pocket knife, it’s important that you select the best pocket knife possible. That way your new purchase won’t fail you when you need it most.
There are many things to consider when buying a pocket knife: price, use, and reliability are important when choosing which pocket knife to buy. Luckily, I’ve already done the research and I’ve picked out some of best pocket knives you can buy.
These are my top 10 picks for the best pocket knives.
Gerber Paraframe Mini
Gerber Legendary Blades was born out of a holiday gift tradition. The Gerber family owned an advertising business that sent a cutlery set to clients each holiday season. Demand grew and in 1939, Gerber Legendary Blades was founded.
The Gerber Paraframe Mini Knife provides a simple, reliable tool in a small package. It features a 2.22-inch blade and a 3.07-inch handle. The blade is made of high carbon stainless steel and comes in either a combination serrated/fine edge or simply a fine edge.
The Paraframe Mini Knife’s open air-handle is designed to cut weight, making for a light, minimalistic knife. The knife’s pocket clip lets you clip it to an easily-accessible location so you know where it is and can reach it quickly.
- Open-air handle
- Fine or serrated blade option
- Pocket clip
Ontario RAT II Folder
The Ontario Knife Company began in Ontario County, New York in 1889. During the late 1800s, the company grew, and a second location was opened. The company merged with the Empire State Cutlery Company in 1904, and expanded into a new building, which is still used by the company today, between 1912 and 1914.
The RAT II Folder features a 4-inch nylon handle and a 3-inch Aus-8 stainless steel blade. The handle is outfitted with a lanyard hole, which allows the knife to be clipped to a keyring.
This knife is also equipped with thumb studs on each side of the blade, so it can be easily used by both right- and left-handed people. The RAT II Folder’s pocket clip is reversible, which allows for a variety of configurations so that it can always be easily-accessible.
- Aus-8 stainless steel blade
- Right & left thumb stud
- Reversible pocket clip
Kershaw was started in 1974 by Pete Kershaw. Pete was actually a salesman for Gerber before he founded his own company. Kershaw is a division of Kai USA Ltd. who also produce Zero Tolerance and Shun Cutlery knives.
The Kershaw Cryo is a slick looking knife that is coated with titanium carbo-nitride on both the blade and the handle. Its handle is 3.75 inches long and its blade is 2.75 inches long. The knife is equipped with a frame lock feature that keeps the blade from closing once you have it open.
This knife utilizes the SpeedSafe opening system, which means that you can open it with one hand using either the thumb stud or the flipper on the back of the handle.
- Stainless steel construction
- SpeedSafe opening system
- Frame lock
Smith & Wesson M&P SWMP4LS M&P Linerlock
Smith & Wesson was founded in 1852 and is largely known as a gun manufacturer. The company has produced a variety of well-known guns including the Model 10, the .357 Magnum, and the Model 60.
The Smith & Wesson M&P SWMP4LS M&P Linerlock Knife is a hefty one, with a 5-inch aluminum handle and 3.6-inch stainless steel blade. The blade features a serrated edge near its base and a fine edge towards the tip.
The knife is equipped with the Magic Assisted Opening System, which makes opening the blade with one hand an easy process. The handle features a built-in glass breaker that could easily come in handy in an emergency situation.
- Combination serrated and fine edge
- Magic Assisted Opening System
- Built-in glass breaker
Schrade IMP16S Imperial
The Schrade Imperial Stainless Steel 3 Blade Pocket Knife is the result of the combination of two separate companies: Schrade, which was founded in 1892, and Imperial Knife Company, founded in 1916. The companies were consolidated in the 1940s. Imperial Schrade Corp technically shut down in 2004, and Taylor Brands LLC now owns the rights to the Imperial Schrade name.
This knife features three stainless steel blades and a 3.4-inch handle. Its small size and 1.9oz weight means that it can fit easily in your pocket without hardly being noticeable.
This 3 blade pocket knife comes in at just under $9, which means that, while it won’t be the fanciest knife you’ve ever owned, it’s a great one to test the waters with.
- Small, compact size
- 3 stainless steel handles
- Affordable price
Kershaw Ken Onion Leek
Kershaw was founded in 1974 and is a division of Kai USA Ltd., whose companies, including Kershaw, consistently win awards in the knife industry.
The Kershaw Ken Onion Leek Folding Knife features a 4-inch stainless steel handle and a 3-inch stainless steel blade. The knife is also equipped with a pocket clip, allowing for easy access whenever necessary.
This knife also utilizes the SpeedSafe opening system, so it can be opened easily with one hand. This makes it an ideal knife to carry when you know you will need quick access to a blade.
- Stainless steel construction
- SpeedSafe Opening System
- Pocket clip
Opinel No8 Carbon
Joseph Opinel first started making knives in 1890. His knives were originally numbered from 1-12. The #1 knife was the smallest and the #12 knife was the largest. Today, numbers 2-10 and 12-13 are currently manufactured, with #13 being so large that it is more of a novelty item than anything.
The Opinel #8 is equipped with a 3.25-inch carbon steel blade and a 4.25-inch wooden handle. The knife features a locking collar so that, once opened, it doesn’t close unless you want it to.
This knife has few working parts and is very simply designed, which means that there are less potential complications from an ill-functioning part.
- Simple construction
- Affordable price
- Locking collar
Buck Knives 110
Hoyt Buck, the founder of Buck Knives, made his first knife for the company in 1902. Buck Knives was incorporated and 1961. In 1964, the company produced the first 110 Famous Folding Hunter Knife, which greatly increased Buck’s popularity within the industry.
The 110 Famous Folding Hunter Knife features a 4.75-inch dymondwood handle with brass bolsters and a 3.75-inch crescent tip blade.
The Buck 110 was the first knife to feature the lockback safety feature, which keeps the blade locked in the open position. This knife, while small enough to fit in your pocket, comes with a leather holster for ease of access.
- Lockback safety mechanism
- Leather holster
- Lifetime warranty
The first product that Sal Glesser, founder of Spyderco, produced was called the “Portable Hand;” it helped people work with small parts. The company began producing knives in 1981 and since then, has made a solid impression on the market.
The Spyderco Endura 4 Wave Plain Edge Folding Knife’s handle is 5 inches long and is made of textured fiberglass reinforced nylon. The blade is made of steel and is 3-13/16 inches long. The blade features a 13 mm hole near its base to allow for quick, easy opening of the knife.
The blade’s design also utilizes an Emerson opening feature (the hook at the base of the blade). When you pull the knife out of your pocket, the hook catches on it and allows the knife to open quickly and easily, which could be helpful in a self-defense situation.
- Emerson opening feature
- Pocket clip
- 13 mm opening hole
BlizeTec is a small company and is a subsidiary of IM Quest Publishing Group. BlizeTec specializes in producing sports equipment and well as home and gardening products.
The BlizeTec Survival Knife is a 5-in-1 knife that aims to provide all that you may need from a knife in a survival situation. It features a 5-inch handle and a 3.5-inch combination serrated and fine edge blade.
The knife is made of stainless steel and incorporates a seatbelt cutter, an LED light, a magnesium fire starter, and a glass breaker. The knife features a belt clip and comes with a nylon case, so it can be accessed quickly regardless of how you carry it.
- Combination serrated and fine edge blade
- Glass breaker
- Magnesium fire starter
Pocket knives are great tools for both self-defense and general use. Whether you’re looking for an item to add to your bug-out bag or a knife you can confidently carry every day, I hope you found something helpful in this list.
Do you carry a pocket knife? Do you have a favorite pocket knife? Are there any knives that I missed? Comment below and let me know what you think!
How to Select the Best Pocket Knife?
With the variety of options out there, selecting a pocket knife can be a stressful task. But if you know what to look for, then you can make that task a lot easier on yourself. Three things to consider when selecting a pocket knife are price, use, and reliability.
This is a no-brainer. Think about how much you are really willing to spend on a pocket knife. For some people, this is $70 and for other people it is $20. If you have never carried a pocket knife before, it may be wise to start with a cheaper option as a “test run” before you shell out big bucks on a premium knife. Regardless of your price range, it is possible to get a good knife if you do your research and are realistic in your expectations.
What are you going to be using your knife for? A knife with multiple blades and functions will probably over-complicate things if all you need is quick, one-handed access to a blade. But if you are trying to get the most “bang for your buck,” then a knife with multiple features might be just what you need.
How versatile do you need your knife to be? Is having a glass breaker on your knife important to you? Or do you simply want a single blade to accomplish household tasks? There are no right or wrong answers here. Be honest with yourself about the features of a pocket knife that you will actually use.
Very generally speaking, a more expensive knife from a well-known company is likely to be more reliable than a cheap knife from a no-name company. However, cost is a big trade-off. If you are just beginning to carry a pocket knife, then maybe spending only $10-$12 on a cheaper knife would be a good way to test the waters.
Read reviews on the knife you are interested in purchasing. Pay close attention to how long the person has had the knife. If you’re looking for reliability, you want to prioritize reviewers who have had the knife for a period of months or even years. If reviews from users who have just bought the knife are good, but reviews from users who have had the knife for a while are bad, then that knife probably isn’t going to be very reliable.
At first, pocket knives seem like a pretty simple concept, but once you start doing the research, you realize that the world of pocket knives can be a little more complicated than it initially seems.
What’s the deal with the different locking mechanisms?
There are a variety of different locking mechanisms for pocket knives. Some of the most common locking mechanisms are the liner lock, lockback, frame lock, slipjoints, and ring locks.
The liner lock system uses a liner on the inside of the handle to hold the blade in an open position. Check out the Ontario RAT II Folder for an example of this.
The lockback system, made popular by the Buck 110, uses a “button” on the handle of the knife to allow the knife to open. After the knife opens completely, the system inserts a lock into a notched opening at the base of the blade to keep the knife open.
The frame lock is much like the liner lock. However, instead of using a liner on the inside of the handle, the knife’s frame itself is used to hold the blade open. See the Kershaw Cryo for an example of this.
Slipjoints aren’t necessarily locks, they use a spring bar to require a certain amount of pressure to both open and close the knife. The Schrade Imperial 3 Blade Pocket Knife is an example of this.
Ring locks use a ring that must be turned to lock the blade open. Check out the Opinel #8 to see this one in action.
What’s the difference between a fine and serrated edge?
A fine edge is smooth. It makes cleaner cuts and is easier to sharpen. A serrated edge is jagged. It’s better for sawing and cutting tough materials, but is generally much harder to sharpen than a fine edge.
Types of Pocket Knives
There are a variety of different types of pocket knives. Hell, I could probably write a whole article on that, but that’s not what we’re doing here. Three very common types of pocket knives are the multi-tool and the multi-blade and single blade knives.
Multi-tool pocket knives feature not only a knife, but a variety of tools as well. These can range from glass breakers to corkscrews to bottle openers to flashlights. Multi-tools can be very helpful in survival and camping situations, as you never know exactly which tool you might need.
Multi-blade pocket knives are equipped with multiple blades that generally are generally of different sizes and serve different purposes. They can be beneficial if you want some versatility but you’re not looking for the plethora of tools provided by a multi-tool.
Single blade knives are pretty simple. They feature a handle and a blade. The locking mechanisms are often different as are the construction materials. These are generally much stronger than the other types of pocket knives.
Tips for Carrying / Using a Pocket Knife
You could just buy a pocket knife, put it in your pocket, and move on with your life. But if you want to be a truly effective knife owner, it wouldn’t hurt to follow these tips.
Research the laws regarding pocket knives in your area. Here’s the deal: when you carry a pocket knife, you are carrying a potentially deadly weapon in your pocket. Even if you just plan on using it to cut boxes, other people and the police don’t know that. So do the research regarding the legality of carrying a pocket knife where you live. Save yourself some trouble and make sure you know the laws before you make a purchase.
Sharpen your knife periodically. Some knives hold their edge better than others, but all of them will need to be sharpened eventually. This means that, in addition to purchasing a pocket knife, you will also have to purchase some sort of sharpening tool.
When you notice that your knife is having trouble cutting things it used to breeze through, it’s time to sharpen it. Find a YouTube tutorial that incorporates a sharpening tool like the one you have and get to work!
Practice drawing your knife. If you’d like to have the option of using your knife for self-defense, then you need to practice drawing it. No not with a pencil. Practice pulling the knife out of your pocket and opening the blade quickly, efficiently, and safely. Because, if you ever are in a self-defense situation where you need to use your knife, an attacker is not going to give you time to pull it out and properly open it.