Pocket knives are a cornerstone of an everyday carry kit. A good pocket knife covers all the bases, from mundane tasks like opening a letter to campfire tale-worthy acts like breaking windows or cutting seatbelts. We put together the top ten best pocket knife brands to bolster your EDC knife knowledge. We are covering everything from classics that have lasted centuries to high-speed pocket folders.
How we selected the top 10 best pocket knife brands
Understandably, as the discerning reader, you will want to know how we came to our decisions. We looked at four key factors and, using these metrics, made choices based on more than the cool packaging.
We didn't just pick names out of a hat. While some of the knife companies on our list may not be household names, they are established knife brands within the EDC sphere. Reputation matters, and being a knife brand known to produce quality blades, especially those favored by professionals, went a long way in the ranking process.
The adage "you get what you pay for" is undoubtedly true with steel. However, modern machining techniques and high-quality steels have made great knives significantly more affordable than a decade ago. As we continue, you will see that the knife brands we selected range from the lower end of $30 to several hundred. No dollar-store pocket knives will be featured here. Price ranges are MSRP for knives we have listed. Some custom options listed on the company websites naturally go for more money.
Everyone’s EDC needs are different. As such, we selected brands that offered a variety of pocket knives. Some states and cities may have laws restricting anything from locking mechanisms to overall length. Rather than selecting a single knife, we looked at their entire line to find options for multiple users.
No one wants their knife to fail. However, there are situations when blades fail. A company that stands by the workmanship of its products and offers solid warranties ensures customers remain brand loyal and confident in the knives they carry. For the record, most companies’ warranties don’t cover misuse. Using a knife as a pry bar isn't covered.
10 Best Pocket Knife Brands
1) Benchmade Knives
Since 1987 Benchmade has been turning out cutting-edge knives in its Oregon plant. Benchmade knives was a pioneer in automatic and spring assist knives. Their skill in producing fast-open knives has made them a staple of the US armed forces and police departments.
Price Range: $160-$230
- Bugout - Slip-proof handles with a Cerakoted blade make this lightweight knife an excellent carry option for anyone.
- Osborne - The slim reverse tanto style blade paired with the anodized aluminum handle gives this popular blade an almost straight razor feel.
- Griptilian - A robust manual open knife with an ergonomic handle.
2) Spyderco Knives
Spyderco has become a household name in everyday carry knives. Since 1981 the reversible carry clip of a Spyderco and the "Spydie hole" has become synonymous with their user-friendly blades. With various steels and factories, Spyderco can market a range of knives to customers looking for a reliable carry option.
Price Range: $230-$250
- Paramilitary 2 - The iconic blade design of the Para2 paired with the four clip positions lets carriers feel like they have a knife custom-tailored to their carry style.
- Para 3 - With a blade size of under three inches and a compression lock system, Para 3 is an excellent option for those living in restrictive carry states.
- Manix - The large 3.8” blade may be too big for some states as a daily carry, but the silky ball-bearing lock makes it feel like a smaller knife.
3) Chris Reeve Knives
Chris Reeve and his knife company have been "pushing the envelope" for over 30 years. The humble beginnings of a garage workshop in South Africa to a large-scale plant in Idaho have allowed CRK to produce high-quality slick knives in all configurations. Buyers can choose from handle material to blade design, making each knife nearly bespoke in craftsmanship.
Price Range: $425-$575
- Sebenza - Available in tanto, drop point, or insingo blade styles, the Sebenza "flicks" into place quietly and with resolve.
- Inkosi - Available in three blade styles and two sizes, the lockable knife is ergonomically designed to feel like an extension of your hand.
- Mnandi - With hand-polished wood scales, the sleek knife feels as good in the hand as it looks.
4) Boker Knives
Boker has been building knives for more than 150 years. Their blade expertise extends from kitchen knives to barbers’ razors. Their knowledge of industrial blade making has allowed Boker to pioneer new materials creating lighter, sharper, and more cost-efficient blades.
Price Range: $60-$75
- Strike - Assembled with lightweight aluminum scales, the deep thumb grove of the Strike gives excellent grip even when wet.
- Kalashnikov - The aluminum handle paired with the sleek AU-8 steel blade gives this knife a rugged feel fit for its name.
5) WE / Civivi Knives
Civivi Knives is a subsidiary of the Chinese knife manufacturer WE. Civivi's goal was to produce a line of dedicated value-priced knives for the EDC market. Rather than relying on their research and development team, Civivi recruited designer blade smiths from the US and Europe to create the company lineup.
Price Range: $50-$80
- Banter -The stubby drop point blade handles beautifully and opens without a hitch from the thumb stud.
- Elementum - While not available everywhere, the flipper-style knife features fast deployment and outstanding balance.
- Praxis - The G10 handles of the Praxis give a no-nonsense look while providing an excellent grip.
6) Victorinox (Swiss Army Knives)
There is no pocket knife brand more well-known than Victorinox. The Swiss Army Knife of your grandfather or your boy scout days is still a viable option for everyday carry. With choices that include tools unique to specific occupations or hobbies, a swiss army knife is perfect for your niche.
Price Range: $45-$110
- Swiss Champ - Available in several sizes, the Champ will have the tools you need for just about anything.
- Huntsman - The Huntsman has just enough to prepare you when heading out in the field. After owning one for years, that saw is still sharp.
- Cadet - A diminutive Cadet is an excellent option for a minimalist EDC or a backup knife. We only wish it still had the tweezers.
7) Zero Tolerance Knives
Zero Tolerance Knives is a blade company focused on producing reliable built-in the US knives for first responders and military personnel. Their EDC line still features the same stress-tested and "Proudly Overbuilt" features that their original knives displayed.
Price Range: $188-$312
- 0450 Model - The 3.25-inch flipper blade fold neatly into the slim titanium handle, making the 450 a slim and attractive knife.
- 0562 Model - CPM 20CV blade material and stonewashed titanium frame provide a high level of corrosion resistance while being lightweight.
- 0350 Model - With a deep drop point recurve blade, the 350 model is a large carry knife. It may be too large for smaller hands at half an inch wide.
8) Protech Knives
Protech Knives is a small enterprise creating high-quality hand-assembled knives. While wait times for these knives are longer than more mass-produced models, knife enthusiasts who crave hand-assembled knives will love Protech. From sheets of steel to finished pocketknives, master craftsmen are involved in every step. Their custom shop allows carriers to select combinations of handle materials and blade designs that range from everyday duty use to heirloom quality.
Price Range: $220-$350
- Godson - the automatic open stiletto may not be the choice for every carrier, but for those requiring a fast deploying slim pocket knife, it's hard to beat.
- BR-1 - Unlike push-button automatic knives, the BR-1 features a unique bolster release to spring the knife open.
- TR-5 - The TR-5 features a spring assist blade for fast deployment and a glass breaker on the pommel should the need arise.
9) Kershaw Knives
Kershaw Knives have been focused on providing high-quality knives for budget-minded carriers since 1974. Their commitment to high-tolerance machining and innovative manufacturing has allowed Kershaw knives to be marketed and sold everywhere, from big box stores to dedicated knife shops. Kershaw will sharpen your blade at no charge and replace it for a small fee should it become damaged, even through misuse.
Price Range: $80-200
- Leek - The sleek stainless steel Leek is large enough for most tasks yet still falls under the 3” blade requirement. Kershaw assisted opening makes the knife quick to open one-handed.
- Lucha - The only “butterfly” knife on our list, the Lucha combines rugged construction with quality bearings, creating an effortlessly easy blade to spin.
- Launch 4 - With a 1.9" CPM154 blade, this little automatic knife is legal in more places than its larger counterparts. This pint-size knife makes an excellent addition to an EDC set where permitted.
10) CRKT Knives
Columbia River Knife and Tool, or CRKT for short, is an Oregon-based knife company that's been producing quality pocket knives since 1994. The company’s continued innovation comes from partnering with blade smiths worldwide to develop unique and rugged knives at a price point many can afford.
Price Range: $30-$125
- Pilar - The hefty blade design of this knife isn’t ideal for “poking”; however, it is ideal for slicing. The flat ground high carbon blade takes and holds an edge well.
- M16 - The flipper features the robust "deadbolt" locking system to give extra piece of mind when putting in some hard use with the knife. The weight-saving handle cutouts provide grip while maintaining the iconic look.
- Squid -The rounded knife with an overall length of 5.7" fits well in hand and carries effortlessly. The rear lanyard hole makes it a great choice to go on a backpack clip.
Choosing a pocket knife for everyday carry can be a challenge. To cycle through the hundreds of companies and thousands of blades to find the best would be daunting, not to mention expensive. We've saved you time, and rather than ending up with a drawer full of unused knives like we have, you can select the best pocket knife company for your EDC. What blade style you choose is entirely up to you, but picking from any of these companies will ensure you have a great knife in your pocket.
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