Knives were a big no-no when we were kids. But as adults, purchasing your first steel knife serves as a rite of passage to help you prepare for what is to come. A knife is a basic yet versatile tool, as you can use it in the kitchen, outdoors, and generally in your daily life.
Knives for everyday use, such as multi-tools and the best flipper knives, are usually compact and ergonomic, making you feel as if you’re a member of the Boy Scouts again. Although there a variety of knives available in the market, we decided to narrow down our search to the most essential knives that every man should own this 2021.
Every-Day Carry (EDC) Knife
In the old days, it was known as a jackknife. In the old old days, it was called a pocket knife. Today, it’s best known as the “every-day carry” or EDC knife. Whatever you want to call it, the specifics haven’t changed: One folding blade, about 3.5 inches long, ideally with a locking mechanism so you don’t have to apply pressure to the tang while using it. Some also have spring-loaded opening mechanisms, making them extra efficient to use, not to mention adding a little “wow” factor when you whip it out for a task.
The virtues of the EDC knife are simplicity, sturdiness, and size. But with the focus solely on the design of one blade, you can’t expect your EDC to do it all. So it’s important to choose an EDC knife with a blade suited to the tasks that most frequently confront you. If you’re scouting for some high-quality EDC knives, here are the best pocket knives we’ve found.
This type of knife includes such legendary models as the Barlow knife, the canoe knife, and the congress knife. Most multi-blade knives feature two blades with different shapes and lengths for different tasks, though it’s possible to find models with three or four blades included. With a variety of tips and serration patterns, this knife offers the advantage of always having the right blade for the job at hand. These perks make multi-blade knives the best camping knives.
Multi-Tool or Swiss Army Knife
A must-have in every Boy Scout’s backpack, the Swiss Army Knife is the name-brand version of the “camper” or multi-tool category of knives. These knives include a slew of additional tools like saws, toothpicks, tweezers, can openers, nail files, scissors, corkscrews, magnifying glasses, and much more. Personally, I’ve used them for everything from rearview mirror grooming right before a date, to cutting kindling for a campfire, to breaking out of a locked bathroom in a New Jersey train station. The only downside to the multi-tool knife is how bulky they can get. Sitting down with one of these bad boys in your back pocket is a mistake you won’t make twice.
Small, unassuming, with a diminutive blade that isn’t meant to be kept overly sharp — don’t underestimate the penknife. Its low profile makes it easy to carry in situations where an EDC knife might be frowned upon, and it’s handy for delicate tasks like opening letters, removing a splinter, or tightening the screw on your glasses. It’s important to know that small knives like this don’t usually include a locking mechanism, so even though it’s little, you’ll want to exercise care in learning to use it.
Hunting Knife or Tactical Folding Knife
The big boys of the knife world feature blades of 5 inches or more; a fixed, ergonomically designed handle; and a carrying sheath meant to be worn on your leg or hip. Meant for big jobs like skinning a fresh kill, chopping your way through the underbrush, defending yourself against predators, and other survival maneuvers, these knives are the opposite of discreet, so save this model for an extended sojourn into the backcountry. To help you prepare for the unexpected, your best fixed-blade knives should be sharpened and kept clean before and during your journey.
A small yet functional pocket knife is a must-have for every man. Despite its smaller blade and handle, a pocket knife can come in handy in various situations. This essential knife has extremely hard carbon steel, which gives you precise cutting. It’s also low maintenance because you can simply clean it by handwashing after every use. It’s also portable enough that you can bring it anywhere your feet take you. If you’re looking for a great pocket knife, you can check out the featured product below.
Knife Blade Types to Consider
- Clip Point Blade: Perhaps the most common blade to find on an EDC knife, the clip point has a sharp, controllable tip that’s good for piercing and plenty of “belly,” or cutting edge. A variation is the drop point blade, which has a straight spine with a slight downward slope to meet the edge, resulting in a broader, stronger tip. Although ideal for performing precision tasks, clip point blades tend to be more brittle than other types of knife blades.
- Sheepsfoot Blade: Designed for its namesake — helping shepherds trim the hooves of sheep —this blade features a hard downward curve from the back of the knife to the tip, providing a large cutting surface. The blade’s form prevents accidental piercing, especially during rescue or emergency situations.
- Spey Blade: On this type of blade, a single sharp straight edge curves upwards to meet a short, dull point. Spey blades can either be long or short, depending on the particular style of the EDC knife you select. Spey blades are strong clip points and are not prone to breakage or chipping. You can use a spey blade knife to skin animals or fruits.
- Tanto Blade: Popularized by Japanese brands, this type of blade is common on tactical-style knives. The blade is on the thick side and features an exaggerated angle on the tip, useful for stabbing and piercing hard objects. They’re easy to sharpen, too. However, a tanto knife may not be a great tool for slicing ingredients.
- The 6 Best Flipper Knives to Add to Your Everyday Carry
- The 10 Best Japanese Chef Knives Your Kitchen Needs In 2021
- Last-Minute Deal: Why You Should Buy a Chef Knife This Cyber Monday
- 5 Survival Knives That Could Save Your Life
- The Complete Guide to Types of Kitchen Knives and Their Uses