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Choosing the Best Pocket Knife – The Ultimate Guide

A knife is an important tool you should always have. It can be used in the kitchen, around the house and in the wilderness. Knives too can be used for skinning animals and for protection when you find yourself in a dangerous situation. They come in different shapes and sizes, depending on your budget and preference. A pocket knife is one whose blade can easily be folded to allow you to keep it in your pocket. The best pocket knife should measure about 2 to 6 inches. This guide intends to keep you informed about knives so that it can help you decide which knife is the best for you.

best pocket knife

Different types of pocket Knives

Pocket knives come in different names. They are at times referred to as jacket knives, survival knives, hunting knives and camping knives. Pocket knives include both the fixed and folding pocket knives. As such, it is important that you do your research about the description and the specifications when looking for the best pocket knife for your personal use.

Best Pocket Knife Candidates​

Buck Knives 110 Folding knife

Buck Knives 110 Famous Folding Hunter Knife

This knife is also referred to as hunting knife. It is one of the knives with a rich history. By 1962, the knife was already in use. Campers have found the knife ideal for a number of camping needs.

Its blade is 3.75 inch long and the handle is made from a natural wood grain. The knife comes with a sheath made from genuine leather and can easily be kept on your belt

Victorinox Swiss army Classic SD

 Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife

Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife

The Swiss army pocket knife is referred to as a multi-tool because it includes a corkscrew, scissors, and a nail file. This is what makes it the most popular and greatest tool you should own. It is a versatile knife and can be used to handle light duties.

The knife is light and you can easily carry it in your pocket. It is made of high quality materials and is a good option if you are interested in everyday carry. This is possible one of the best pocket knives on the market

Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife

Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife

The knife is manufactured by Spyderco. It is a sharp knife but a great choice for anyone looking for a multipurpose knife. The knife has a black G-10 laminate handle and it is easy to use and control.

The blade is 3.39 inches long but the whole knife is 4.45 inches when closed and 7.76 inches when open. It is designed for heavier jobs and offers better services compared to the Swiss knife.

BlizeTec Titanium Folding Knife

It is considered the best pocket knife because it measures 4.88”long when folded. The knife is strong and is coated with titanium. It is an ideal knife for heavy duty tasks and will fit well in your pocket.

Kershaw Onion Folding Knife

This knife is extremely sharp and is made from Sandvik 14C28 N stainless steel. It is good for anyone looking for a simple knife for day to day activities.

Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS

It is a bit larger than any of the pocket knives we have featured on this list. The blade is 3.6 inches and the handle is 5 inches long. The blade is made of 4034 stainless steel and is partially serrated.

Is It Legal To Own The Knife?

The legal aspect is an important consideration. Buying a knife that will get you into hot water should be avoided. Check the existing regulations and bylaws on knives and weapons. In some states, there are restrictions on what you can own and what you can carry around. The laws are applied at a state level and vary from one state to another. To be on the safe side, it is recommended that you take some time and research on whether the state restricts concealing knives of particular type or certain length.

What you should know

• The best pocket knife should be capable of being used to perform simple tasks such as trimming and stripping cables, opening boxes and cutting ropes.

• Everyday carry knives should be light and not too long when folded.

• Carrying a knife in public may be an offense in some states or countries. Check the blade size before you spend your hard earned money, otherwise it will be useless to buy a pocket knife and keep it in the house.

Other than using it as a tool, pocket knives are great tools that can be used in performing minor tasks but should not be used as a weapon.​

Kershaw 155G10 Cryo G10

Kershaw Cryo G-10 Folding Knife

This is a simple but no frill knife, which is ideal as everyday carry. The blade is 2.75”long and is quite reliable for opening purposes. The handle has a pocket clip which can be positioned tip down or up. This makes it easier to carry it around. The handle is made of steel and contains a tarnish- resistant coating that protects it from tear and wear. The blade is small and is ideal for regular use. The knife is easy to sharpen and safer to handle. It is easy to open and closes with ease. It’s light, even though it looks heavy. Known as the best pocket knife brand on our list.

Gerber Ripstop I Knife Fine Edge

Gerber Ripstop I Knife

It is a heavy duty pocket knife, light and budget friendly. It comes in many varieties and has both the fine and serrated edges. The knife has a solid body made of stainless steel. It is light weight and its folding mechanism is flawless. The model has a dual sided thumb studs that opens with ease. When using it, the blade is kept open by the frame lock. It is affordable and you will get one at a very good price on Amazon. Many consider it to be the best pocket knife in the world.

The knife is amazing and outperforms other models. It has a thicker blade and costs a few dollars. If you need a knife to use to open boxes and other packages in your office or around a home, this is the knife to think about. It is small and is considered inoffensive. Since it is cheap, you can easily buy a new one when you lose it or when a friend borrows it.

Kershaw Leek Knife

 Kershaw Leek Knife

Kershaw Leek Knife

This knife is popularly referred to as leek. It is an ideal knife especially if you are looking for a knife with a long blade, which can be used in our everyday tasks such as cutting out patterns, cutting ropes, and trimming plants. The knife is not so long and is considered less dangerous. It is an ideal knife for cutting because the blade is a drop point. Also, the knife is used in slicing and carving patterns on tracing paper or pieces of wood. Known to be the best folding pocket knife in the industry.

The knife has predrilled holes that can be opened by both lefties and righties. You can also change the tip position by adjusting the predrilled holes. When the knife is opened, the frame lock keeps the blade in position. The leek comes in both partially serrated and full bladed models meaning that you have a wide range of options to choose from. The blade is made of stainless steel with a bead blasted finish on its exterior. The knife can be put to a number of uses and can be a good companion if you going out to camping or a fishing trip. It is a versatile knife and can be used at home or on outdoor activities. Users have noted that leak is a perfect balance of shape, size and price.

Spyderco Endura 4 Emerson

Spyderco Endura 4

Spyderco Endura 4

This knife comes in two varieties: the wave opener and the standard opener. The wave opener is easily opened by one hand by simply catching the notch at the top of the object or at any other object you can leverage it against. The traditional model is difficult to open with one hand. The blade is made of stainless steel and the handle is made of a fiberglass reinforced with nylon. The steel is reinforced at the tip to avoid breakage. The knife is available at Amazon for a very decent price.

The Features a Pocket Knife Should Have

Not all pocket knives are the same. To choose the best one, you have to pay attention to the features that each one has and then make the best choice based on what you see. The information below highlights the features that your pocket knife should have.

Basic Features

The Blade – The first thing most people look at when they look at a pocket knife is the blade. After all, this is the main feature of the knife which does the cutting. You certainly don’t want a knife that doesn’t cut well, right? That is why you need to find a pocket knife that has a sharp blade so you don’t have problem cutting things with it. Not only that, the knife should also be made of the best steel so that it is durable and not susceptible to corrosion. The steel is everything when it comes to the blade’s strength, durability, edge retention, and resistance to corrosion and wear. If you can find a pocket knife with a blade that has all these qualities, then you may have a good knife to consider purchasing.

The Handle – The pocket knife should have a tough handle that is made of material which makes it resilient and unable to absorb moisture. There should also be grips on the handle so that it is easier for you to hold onto securely with your hand. One popular material that meets these qualifications is a laminate based from fiberglass named G-10. This material is particularly good at minimizing the amount of water that is absorbed by the handle. Some other good materials that a handle could be made out of include Zytel, FRN, and Titanium. Just remember that good handles don’t always mean you have a good knife. Make sure the pocket knife you choose also has the other qualities mentioned in this article in addition to a good handle.

The Design – If you have a pocket knife that is not designed adequately and has terrible ergonomics, then a good handle and blade won’t always make it a good knife. You might be wondering, what is ergonomics? Basically, a knife with good ergonomics is one that is comfortable to hold and use. In fact, the best pocket knife is one that feels like it is actually a part of your hand when you hold it. As for the mechanical side of it, the locking and deployment of the knife needs to be designed just right. You’ll want to be able to deploy a pocket knife automatically, or with flippers or thumb studs. Then, to lock the knife, it should have a liner lock, Axis lock, compression, or frame lock to make this happen. Take all of this into consideration as you examine possible pocket knives to purchase for yourself.

The Value – It might be obvious to think that the most expensive pocket knives are probably the best ones on the market. But if you’re like most people, money is something that is not expendable. You’ll want to get the best knife for whatever amount you can afford. However, the truth is that expensive knives are not always the best ones anyway. There are some affordable pocket knives available that offer a great value for the money they cost. You may even end up finding a pocket knife that has all the features we just described and is still within your budget.

Additional Features

Thickness of Blade – Pocket knife manufacturers tend to get carried away when it comes to making their blades thick. They must think that a thicker blade will look more durable and tougher to consumers. Although a thick blade may work well on a knife that is hard to use, most of the time you will only need an average sized blade. Besides, a thick blade will actually make it more difficult to cut things with it. The edge of the blade should not be too thick either. If you want an example of a knife with a good-sized blade, try the Spyderco Paramilitary 2. At its spine, the knife is kind of thick but then it gets thinner as it gets closer to the edge. This allows the knife to cut just fine. As long as the knife is not too thick at the edge, then it can be thicker in other places without affecting the performance too much.

Washers & Bearings – There are various mechanisms that pocket knife manufacturers use to allow their blades to work strongly and smoothly. How well the action works in a pocket knife heavily depends on the mechanisms that were used for it. Obviously, you’ll want your knife to be very strong so that the blade doesn’t wiggle around or feel loose, which is referred to as blade play. At the same time, you’ll want to have the friction reduced as much as possible. Below are the various mechanisms (washers & bearings) that you may expect to find or not find in a pocket knife.

· Teflon Washers – Friction is often reduced with washers made of Teflon material, but don’t expect the Teflon to last forever becomes it will deform eventually. It doesn’t have the best action either. But, although Teflon is not the best material for washers, it certainly beats having no washers at all.

· Bronze Washers – Bronze washers are metal which already makes them better washers than the Teflon washers. Bronze gives the washer a surface that is smooth and stable while still remaining durable at the same time. You may also want to try a modification to the typical bronze washer called the phosphor bronze washer which also works great too. Overall, you will notice an improved action of the blade with much less friction.

· Bearings – Washers are not always used to reduce friction. Bearings can also serve this purpose as well. A bearing is basically a tiny disc with little metal balls in it. Since the contact surface is smaller on a bearing than it is on a washer, this allows friction to be greatly reduced. However, bearings have to be maintained more often because a lot of residue tends to get caught in them overtime. If you don’t clean them periodically, then the life of your knife will be reduced. Some knives have a one row of bearings while others have multiple rows. Make sure they all stay clean.

· Washers w/ Pivot Bushings – Some bronze washers contain special bushings which lie all around the perimeter of the pivot hole. This enhances the smoothness and reduces the friction more than just the washers without the bushings.

· No Washers – Some pocket knives just have no washers or bearings at all. Although the knife can still be functional, you can expect a great deal of friction. The blade will also be more susceptible to scratches.

Handles & Blades That Are Coated

Any coating on a blade or handle is just for show. There is no importance to having your blade or handle coated on a knife other than to make it look better. Besides, most coatings tend to gradually come off over time so there is no sense in basing your decision to purchase a knife on the aesthetics.

Positioning the Pocket Clip

There are a lot of pocket knives out there now which have clip positioning to 4 different ways. This gives you the option to move the clip to virtually any position you want. However, some pocket knives don’t give you this much freedom. You may come across some which have one fixed position for the clip, which may be a position that you don’t like. Therefore, take note of your pocket clip’s options.

Proprietary Hardware

A lot of people like to take apart their pocket knives because it makes it easier to clean and lubricate them. Once these actions are taken, the life of any pocket knife will be increased. However, if you have a pocket knife that doesn’t let you take it apart then avoid it at all costs. On the other hand, you may come across a pocket knife that lets you take it apart but still annoys you with its proprietary hardware. This will require you to use a special tool that is issued by the manufacturer just so you can disassemble your knife. Therefore, you’ll want to find the knives which can be opened by just taking off the regular screws, or torx screws.

Important Considerations

The follow are some things you need to think about and consider prior to deciding on a pocket knife to purchase.

Intentions with the Knife

Why do you want a pocket knife? You obviously don’t need it to cut up produce in the kitchen. So, what for then? You probably need a knife to take with you when you’re skinning deer in the woods or cutting boxes that you get in the mail. You may even want to use it for self-defense or survival purposes. Since pocket knives serve different purposes, make a decision as to what you want your pocket knife to be used for. Then, go out and fine the knife which caters to those needs.

Single Blade & Multiple Blades

You can find pocket knives that have either multiple blades or just one blade. Some even have tools in addition to the blade such as screw drivers. The more expensive pocket knives have up to 87 various additions to them. However, you don’t need anything that extensive. If you just find a pocket knife with a single blade then you should be fine for most purposes. But if you plan on cutting different things with your pocket knife, then you might want multiple blades to cut each type of material just right. Some of the best brands include Old Timer, Buck, and Case.

Many pocket knives with 2 or 3 blades will have a drop-point blade or standardized clip included with them. They may even have a sheepsfoot blade or spey blade as well, which are great to have if you’re a fisherman or hunter because you could perform numerous actions at once. As for multitool knives, the most popular ones are the Swiss Army knives that you’ve likely seen before. However, they tend to have a lot of tools that you’ll never need to use. Just remember the more tools and blades you have in your pocket knife, the heavier and bulkier it will be. That is why newbies should just start out with a single blade and opt out of getting any additional features in the knife.

The Knife Size

Pocket knives come in large, medium, and small sizes. The most convenient size to carry around is the small sized pocket knife because it has a blade that is less than 2.5 inches in length. Not only can you slip these knives into the smallest and tightest pockets, but they serve great as utility knives as well. Just don’t expect to be doing an extensive cutting with them. They are more suitable for small handy work around your home.

A pocket knife with a medium size has a blade length that is anywhere from 2.5 inches to 3.75 inches. These knives are great for everyday use and can handle the average task you would need a knife for. However, if you commonly have to cut big objects, then you need a large pocket knife with a blade length of more than 3.75 inches. Just make sure you are legally allowed to carry around a knife of that size in your jurisdiction because some locations may forbid it.

Blade Type

There are various blade types available for pocket knives but generally, you should look for either a clip point blade or a drop point blade. Also, pay attention to the edge of the blade and choose between a serrated, partially serrated, or plain edge. Serrated is the best for performing sawing cuts while the plain blade is not. However, the plain blade does precision cutting very well so if that’s something you want, then go for the plain blade. The partially serrated is probably the best choice as it gives you the best qualities of both edge types. The fully serrated is only necessary if you do a lot of big time cutting work.

What is the Reputation of the Knife Brand?

The United States has some of the most reputable knife brands in the world. These include Kershaw, Benchmade, Spyderco, Gerber, Victorinox, Schrade, and CRKT. Each of these brands are competing against each other to create the best pocket knives imaginable. It is up to you to decide which brand produces a pocket knife that is to your liking.

Knife Style

Tactical folding knives are the most popular right now. Young newbies who are purchasing their first knives will typically choose tactical folding knives. However, those who appreciate the designs of classic knives will want an Older Timer or Uncle Henry knife. Those who want a multitool knife will likely choose the famous Swiss Army pocket knife design which contains a blade and essential tools. The most important thing is to think about what you’ll be using the knife for before you purchase it.


Conclusion

Owning a pocket knife is important because it is an amazing tool you will need every day. There are plenty of knives out there with varying features that include but not limited to type, the material used to make the blade, the mechanism, and many more. Depending on your day to day activities and schedule, you can choose to invest in a knife that costs $10 or more subject to the quality and the make of the knife. Thus, the type of job you plan to undertake should be a major consideration when planning to invest in a pocket knife.