The folding pocket knife has long been a staple in the outdoorsman’s arsenal of survival tools, but today, we see them used by men in every station of life. Maybe you enjoy taking out your pocket knife to slice an apple. Maybe you keep it as a self-defense option. Maybe you’re a first responder or officer who requires a set of portable tools on hand. Whatever it may be, the best pocket knives thrive on being the practical partner-in-crime you can rely on.
When you’re considering options for a serviceable pocket knife, there are a few key specifications you should prioritize. Since practicality is the name of the game, blade size, blade design, and steel type are all essential components to keep in mind.
We’ve compiled the best pocket knives broken down by budget, function, and value. Before we detail our favorites, here’s a simple breakdown of the two main pocket knife styles you’ll come across.
What to Consider
To reflect man’s ascension to modern careers and lifestyles, pocket knives have certainly evolved with us over the years. However, they’re still easy to tell apart mainly because they’re marketed by usage:
- Traditional pocket knives, and even more modern adaptations of the classic design, tend to be more practical. They vary in size to suit different uses, but with that comes increased versatility and function as its extended blade offers more cutting power.
- On the other hand, modern pocket knives tend to lean more toward tactility. This is in part due to a slimmer build appealing to the everyday carry (EDC) crowd, but also because a tactical-inspired knife integrates seamlessly into the EDC lifestyle. Modern knives typically run smaller in size and tend to feature either a drop point blade or clip point for a sharper point and easier piercing.
Benchmade 940 EDC Manual Open Folding Knife
Benchmade has been a premiere pocket knife producer for over 30 years and its lightweight, manual 940 design flaunts every second of the brand’s tenure. It provides the versatile function you need whether you’re on the job or in the wild, donning an outdoor-ready reverse Tanto blade, reliable edge retention, and a secure AXIS locking system. If you’re looking for a lasting, high-quality everyday carry option, the Benchmade 940 is worth every penny.
- Optimal weight and blade size (2.90 oz.; 3.4 in.)
- CPM-S30V steel for unmatched edge retention and corrosion protection
- Supplies all-around versatility and function
- Features an EDC-friendly pocket clip
Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife
Kershaw’s Leek pocket knife is one of our favorites simply because of its construction, reliability, and bold demeanor. The Leek boasts all the optimal specs you’re looking for: Optimal size, a smooth and secure SpeedSafe Assisted Opening, and of course, a sturdy, high-performing, corrosion-resistant drop point steel blade. Top that off with well-grounded blade edge retention and a slim everyday carry design, and you’ve got one of the best options on the market at a great value.
- Sandvik 14C28N steel (top quality)
- SpeedSafe system allows for safe and fast deployment
- Best suited for smaller, inoffensive tasks
- Equipped with pocket clip for easy everyday carry
Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Folding Knife
You wouldn’t guess it from its appearance, but the Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops knife lands as our budget-friendly option in our collection of best pocket knives. This tactical folder is as serviceable as it looks, boasting the portability desired from an everyday pocket knife, crafted out of a sturdy and stout-hearted black high carbon stainless steel. It features a center balanced weight and a partially serrated point blade for added versatility as well as a liner lock and textured grip material to ensure your blade will never slip during use.
- Great balance between performance and value
- 7Cr17MoV Stainless Steel contains Vanadium for added strength and wear resistance
- Ideal weight and blade length (3.5 oz.; 3.1 in.)
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