When it comes to deciding what kind of pocket knife you want, learning about different brands is important. Most people tend to ask "What is the best pocket knife brand?' and it is a difficult question to answer. Mostly because the industry has many great brands that cater to different needs. At the end of the day, it will come down to what you prefer and a few other factors.
Searching for the best pocket knife brand requires you to answer five important questions:
1. What sort of tasks do you need the knife to accomplish?
2. Is the knife for you or someone else?
3. What kind of knife do you need?
4. Do you have any construction inclinations?
5. How much are you willing to spend?
Before we continue, one thing I want you to know is that each brand will have a pocket knife for all budgets. So, if you already have a brand favorite, there is a good chance they will have a knife that already fits your means.
Chefs are willing to pay as much as it takes to buy the best knives and don't like low priced knives. This does not ring true for all budget knives however because I have seen solid ones for under $100. When determining the worth of a knife, you have to take into consideration its materials and the processes that are accomplished to make them.
Benchmade and Spyderco are two great pocket knives that consumers love. Most of their models are affordable and earn notoriety in the knife lover community. The materials they use are top notch. For example, the steel in their blades is durable, and the parts of the knife that can accomplish tasks such as locking is hard to emulate.
When it comes to small budget pocket knives, brands like Buck, CRKT, and Kershaw take the cake. You will not believe how easy they make it to find a durable knife that performs well without breaking the bank.
The most expensive part of the pocket knife is the blade because of the steel that is needed to make it. Most brands tend to use 8Cr13MoV and AUS-8. It makes the knife affordable without sacrificing quality. S3OV and 154CM are more expensive types of steel, but you get a lot more durability.
There are tougher steels available if you can spend more but the above will do just fine. The only thing you need to know is that they do lose their edges faster. Other than that, they will complete whatever task you need to get done.
I have tried sharpening pocket knives in the past, and the task can be daunting. The problem is that they have a smaller blade than your average chefs knife. You have to be very careful because you have less blade surface to work with. The best type of knife sharpener to use is a commercial knife sharpener. Although, most Professionals tend to gravitate towards a whetstone.
If you decide to go the whetstone route, you can purchase one easily online. What I love about whetstones is that some of them are designed to both sharpen and hone. A proper whetstone will have a course grit on one side of stone and grit that is much finer on the other. Keep in mind that it should always be wet and you should never change the angle of the blade.
Benchmade is located in Oregon City, Oregon. It is my favorite brand because they are both respected and reliable in the community. Started in 1988, they originally focused on balisong knives before they developed further. All of their knives are made in house, and none of the work is outsourced to other parties. This guarantees that they can control quality standards and that customers are getting the best quality pocket knives possible.
A lot of knife makers make at least part of their knives in countries such as China. Benchmade is an outlier because they don't follow the crowd. Instead, their knives are American-made which means that they can create more jobs. They also only hire the best designers in the world such as Seiichi Nakamura, Greg Thompson, and Bob Lum. If you have ever wondered why their knives are so attractive, these guys are the reason why.
Benchmade has three different tiers when it comes to the knives they make in house. Depending on what you are looking for, knowing what each level offers will be important for you to know.
Gold class is for the individual with no budget who wants the best. This level offers knives that the best craftsman in the world work on. They use rare steels such as Damascus and M390 to titanium which is the steel that the best knives in the world are made from. Very few dealers sell these, and there is usually a waiting list that could have you waiting for six months to a year.
Blue class is for people who use their knives on occasion. It is more of a hobby to them but they still require a well-made knife. Usually, the steel used most often to make knives in this class are S30V, 154CM and D2. Prices range anywhere from $50 to $100
Black Class knives are not available for civilians to purchase. They are used by the military or law enforcement. If you don't have a permit allowing you to buy one, it will be almost impossible to get a hold of one. Don't hold your breath on getting one of these.
Tactical Folding Knife enthusiasts love the Emerson brand. The founder Ernest Emerson, worked with Benchmade to make the CQC 7. This project inspired him to start Emerson Knives with his wife which is the second best knife brand on our list.
All of their knives are also made in house in Los Angeles California. Each knife is made of 154CM stainless steel, and their handles are made of G10. If you are not familiar with G10, it is a fiberglass laminate used on many of their knives that provide a firm grip.
Since it was started, Emerson knives have gone on to collaborate with some of the best knife companies in the industry. Toegther they have made knives that are stunning and straightforward to use. Eventually, the Navy Seals went on to hire them to design a knife specifically designed for their soldiers. They can handle the most grueling of environments and are considered to be only for military use so are not sold to the public.
Emerson does offer to make custom knives for its customers, but it doesn't come cheap. I have heard of customers paying up to $10,000 for special knife orders which I think most people are unable to pay. Luckily for you, sites like Amazon sell their general knives which are almost just as good.
Golden Colorado has the honor of hosting the infamous Spyderco brand. Their knives are easily identified because they were the mavericks who introduced the one-handed opening and combo blades for their folding knife line. The trademark of the company is 'Spyderhole' close to the ridge of all of their folding knives. Outdoorsmen who like to wear gloves should buy these types of knives because they are easy to use even with thick gloves.
I think what makes Spyderco unique is its ability to sell all of their knives at the most affordable prices possible. They do this without having to sacrifice quality and some designs such as the Endura, have been on the market since the company's inception. I own one myself and have owned it for 4 years without any problems.
The kind of steel that Spyderco likes to use the most is the S35V. If they want to save on the price of construction, they use 8Cr13MoV. What I like about the is that they have their line of customizable knives that allow you to choose certain features such as scale and what is etched on your knives blade. You will not have to pay the premium prices that Emerson charges for them either.
Customers feel the same way about knife brands the way they do about the brands of food they eat. I believe it is important and should not be ignored when considering to invest in your pocket knife. Each knife brand has their band of loyal followers who only buy from them for various reasons. At the end of the day, it is more of an emotional decision because most of the knives are similar.
If you don't know much about knives, your best bet is to find which is the best pocket knife brand and look at some of our in-depth guides. That should help steer you in the right direction.