Have you ever found yourself in a situation where it would be very useful to have a pocket knife nearby, but you just aren’t used to carrying it?
Well, get used to it, because we are about to explain to you why this should be the main accessory for every man, and introduce you to some of the leading pocket knife brands in the knife industry.
Best Pocket Knife Brands
|Model (link jumps to our review)||Image||Pattern||Blade||Handle||Rating||Price*||Order Online|
|1. Benchmade TI Monolock 761||Modern||Drop-point M390 Steel||Titanium||
(25 Reviews reviews)
|$299.00||Buy on Amazon|
|2. Kershaw Knockout||Modern||Sandvik 14C28N Steel||Aluminum||
(10 Reviews reviews)
|$105.50||Buy on Amazon|
|3. OKC Model I BP||Modern||AUS8 Stainless steel||Nylon 6||( reviews)||$52.40||Buy on Amazon|
|4. Victorinox Swiss Army Cadet||Modern||Krupp 1.4116 Stainless||Aluminum “Alox”||
(645 Reviews reviews)
|$31.95||Buy on Amazon|
|5. Zero Tolerance 0920||Modern||CPM 20CV Steel||Titanium||
(29 Reviews reviews)
|Price not available||Buy on Amazon|
|6. Spyderco Advocate||Modern||AUS8 Stainless steel||Titanium||
(13 Reviews reviews)
|Price not available||Buy on Amazon|
|7. SOG Twitch II||Modern||AUS8 Stainless steel||Anodized Aluminum 061-T6||
(758 Reviews reviews)
|$52.95||Buy on Amazon|
|8. CRKT Homefront||Modern||AUS8 Stainless steel||6061 Aluminum||
(218 Reviews reviews)
|$102.80||Buy on Amazon|
What Are Pocket Knives?
Pocket knives are knives with one or more foldable blades that fit into a handle. As the name implies, they are small enough to fit into your pocket. The most popular are those with two blades on the same end of the handle which are popularly called jack-knives. Foldable pocket knives have many uses, from opening envelopes and boxes to carving wood. Depending on a folding pattern, these knives can be divided into two groups to traditional and modern. It is mostly men’s tool that can be carried around for everyday use, but it is a must for campers, hunters, and farmers.
Modern-day foldable pocket knives usually have more than just knife blade. They can feature openers, scissors, tweezers, and even screwdrivers and those are called multi-purpose or Boy Scout knives.
Two Types of Pocket Knives
Traditional VS. Modern Pocket Knives
Favorite knives among knife collectors are those with traditional folding patterns. When it comes to these knives, their folding patterns were mostly designed to meet the needs of users in different, yet specific professions. There are folding patterns specifically designed for farmers and ranchers who would use their knives for trimming hooves, as well as the patterns for lawyers and bankers who needed knives to sharpen their quill pens.
However, there were also knives with all traditional folding patterns conjoint in one single knife.
There are seven most popular folding patterns when it comes to traditional knives. One of the oldest is Barlow – created to be affordable but solid and versatile. It has a very comfortable handle which makes it very easy to use and two blades – a larger clip point and a little smaller pen blade, both on the same end. Clip point was very useful for most general tasks, while the pen blade was designed to sharpen quill pens, but today is the most useful tool for fine detail work like wood carving.
Trapper knives are a little harder to track through history, but its ability to part flesh and skin animals surely made it one of the most popular knives among hunters. It features two same sized, but differently shaped blades, one is a clip blade and another one is pen blade and they are both on the same end of the knife.
Then we have midsized, comfortable to hold, Stockman knives. These feature three blades, two on one end and one on the other. On one end there are popular clip blade and sheep’s foot blade, which was designed for though cutting tasks, and on the other end is spey blade also known as pen blade.
Moving on to Muskrat knifes, designed for dressing and skinning small furry animals like rabbits and otters. These knives have two same sized clipping blades on each side of the knife. The only difference between those blades is that one of them has the hook on its end.
Another knife type is called Cigar Whittler. The name comes from its shape, equally curved on top and bottom which gives it a cigar figure that doesn’t just look good but gives you a comfortable grip too. It has two pen blades on one end, one bigger and one smaller, and one sheep’s foot blade on the other end of the knife. It is one of the best traditional knifes for whittling and other carving tasks.
Then there are also Congress knifes that can have between two and four blades designed for making precision cuts in wood and similar materials. Two blades Congress knives usually have both blades on the same end, while four blades knives have two blades on each end of the knife.
Lastly, we have Canoe styled pocket knives that usually have two blades on opposite sides. Most of these knives feature one larger Master blade on one side and a smaller drop point or spare point blade on the other side. This combination of blades combined with an excellent grip handle makes this knife perfect for all-around use.
As we said earlier, traditional knives are also called working knifes because they were used for some specific professions. However, today there are not so many jobs that would require that kind of equipment and even if you have an everyday carry knife it has much tactical design than the traditional antique knives.
Modern knives made their first appearance in the ‘90s with a lot more aggressive design which made them very popular and since then they evolved along with the modern day lifestyle. These knives are really great for basic everyday use, but you shouldn’t rely on them as a self-defense tool.
Here’s Our List of 8 Best Pocket Knives:
We’ve compiled a hand-picked list of top 8 pocket knives. The list is based on our author’s objective review and combination of various opinions from users all over the world. Continue reading to see all of our pocket knives reviews:
1. Benchmade TI Monolock 761
This isn’t the smallest among pocket knives, but its thin and sleek design makes it feel comfortable in hand and allows it to fit into any pocket. The blade is 3.73 inches long, thick enough for all cutting tasks and made of premium M390 stainless steel.
The knife body or frame is titanium with machining details and the lock bar that allows you to set the amount of lockup with the perfect locking result every time. There is also the Benchmade’s blade stop patent that allows you to adjust how the blade locks.
All you need for deployment is a single thumb stud which makes it so easy to use, but unfortunately, there is a stud on just one side of the blade which makes it possible to open only right-handed. the lock is solid enough not to allow the accidental blade opening, but when deployed the blade opens too easily and flies out very fast, so you should be very careful. When locked, it is locked solidly, and it looks like there is a lot smaller blade inside than it really is.
While reading customer reviews someone said “Your wife will hate it, your friends will be jealous” or something like that, and that really is true. It is that kind of the knife.
2. Kershaw Knockout
Kershaw Knockout is basically a bold 3.5″ drop-point Sandvik 14C28N blade married to a simple handle. Even though it is surprisingly small the knife cuts really well.
Scandinavian stainless steel that was used for this knife was actually already proven its quality with a lot of other Kershaw knives that were designed and manufactured in the USA. And while quality is unquestionable, there still is one thing that bothers me. Sandvik 14C28N is supposed to be a stainless steel, but I found that it stained easily if you aren’t very, very careful with it and it is really hard to clean.
The handle is aluminum with a simple and thin but sturdy design that lines up very nicely with the blade and feels comfortable in hand.
In order to open the knife, you need to release the blade which can be done very easily. All you have to do is push the flipper. The blade responds quickly but it doesn’t “jump at you” like some other knives do, which moves this knife one step closer to flawlessness.
And while I love Kershaw knives that were made in America, I literally can’t stand those with Chinese counterparts. There is a huge difference between these knives quality wise, but that also comes with differences in prices. If you need a pocket knife for opening boxes and envelopes Chinese Kershaw will perform very good, but if you need a serious knife than I would recommend stretching your budget a little and getting a really well done USA Kershaw.
3. Ontario Knife Company Model I BP
The OKC Rat 1 features an attractive drop point 3.5-inch AUS8 blade with a perfect design for slicing but it performs well in a variety of different tasks. When it comes to the design you can choose whether your blade will have satin finish or a black coating and even though that black coating might sound cool to some of you as it did to me, I wouldn’t recommend going for that one because the coating that Ontario uses isn’t the highest quality and it starts to wear off with the first use. The satin finish, on the other hand, is very sharp and reflective which isn’t the most practical thing for a working knife, I know, but it is a lot better than the black option.
5’’ long Zytel (plastic) handle is very well designed and fits nicely in hand. It is lightweight and it comes in a variety of different colors including even pink which proves that pocket knivesweren’t intended exclusively for men. It has nice size and it is quite thick which makes it comfortable to use but at the expense of carrying comfort.
The steel used for the blade is mid-range Japanese AUS8 which is very easy to sharpen, but it loses its edge really fast. However, the combination of the quality and the price is more than satisfying.
4. Victorinox Swiss Army Cadet
With overall length of 5.75″ and 2.5’’ blade, this pocket knife has a perfectly comfortable size for daily carry. Handle design is very simple but in a good way. Everything is very nice and clean which makes the knife sleek and slimmer than a Zippo lighter, but still big enough to put four hands around it (unless you have extraordinary large hands). All four blades are high polished for resistance and carefully packed into that thin minimalistic handle.
As perfect as this knife is, there is still one flaw most of the users found annoying (not me, though). Due to its small size and combination of several blades, you need to use both hands to get to all of the tools. You can notice the little cluster on the top of each blade that you use to open only by nail knick. I realize why this might be hard for some people, but it really isn’t that complicated.
5. Zero Tolerance 0920
Big, but flawlessly designed folding knife, 0920 perfectly represents what ZT is all about.
It features CPM 20CV supersteel, flipper, bearing pivot and lock bar insert just as any other Zero Tolerance knife, but at a little bit more affordable price. The design is minimal, with the tough-looking blade with a scooped spine and a simple shape rounded handle. It features the KVT (Kershaw Velocity Technology) system that assures smooth blade opening every single time. There is also titanium Framelock that locks the blade tightly into place. These features should really give you a sense of reliance because they ensure that the knife will always open, lock, and perform to its maximum.
The size of this knife is just a little over 5’’ when closed, which assures comfortable carry. Its overall length is 9’’ and yes, it is a little bulky compared to some other folding knives, but it can still perfectly fit into the pocket of your jacket.
6. Spyderco Advocate
Until the appearance of Advocate, every single Spyderco knife had the thumb hole deployment method, however, after the Gayle Bradley’s new collab, thing have changed a little.
The Advocate features a gorgeous orange peel textured handle and M4 blade steel for an extra tough look. The knife is manufactured in Taichung Taiwan, which assures that you will get the knife with exceptional fit and finish. It is also very thin for its size which makes it extra light.
As great as Spyderco Advocate is, in recent months, there has been a discussion in social media about ball bearing washer system used in its pivot mechanism. Shortly after all the drama on the internet erupted, the company explained that steel washers used in its pivot are a little thinner than those used in some other flipper models and that’s why the blade doesn’t open as smoothly as expected and as long as their pivots are left in their factory adjustments there will be no problem and the knives will function properly. So what happened wasn’t a mistake and knives are functioning normally, it is just that Spyderco cheeped out a little.
Besides the pivot mechanism, everything else seems to be as perfect as expected when it comes to this brand.
7. SOG Twitch II
SOG Twitch II is just about perfect size for everyday carry and it is a great option for those who need a good quality knife but don’t want to break the bank.
It features the SAT spring-assisted opening mechanism which is a SOG Assisted Technology that allows you to open the blade effortlessly with just one hand.
The handle is titanium (also comes in wood) and very comfortable to hold because of its design with a little bit of curve on the top. This shape allows the thumb to find the perfect place for its self and to make a nice grip in high-pressure work. Talking about shape, I should also mention the elegant shape of the blade that slices and hacks well, while it doesn’t take up a lot of space.
If I had to name one downside to this knife it would be that it isn’t as lightweight as I would like it to be. That, of course, doesn’t mean that it is overly heavy and uncomfortable to carry.
8. Columbia River Knife & Tool Homefront
One of my favorite things about this knife is how easily you can take it apart to clean it. It features the Ken Onion’s Field-strip Technology that allows you to take the knife apart within seconds without using any tools. All you need to do is to release the top part of the handle and rotate the thumb screw on the back of the knife. Once both parts are lost you can easily take the knife apart. To put it back together all you need to do is reverse the process.
The overall length of the knife is 8.3’’ which is big enough to be comfortable to use, but not too big to be uncomfortable to carry. The blade has a gorgeous drop point design with a hollow grind and a lustrous satin finish. The handle is constructed out of two aluminum slabs and it feels solid in hand.
The blade flips and opens smoothly, especially after it breaks in and it locks tightly.
How to Choose the Best Pocket Knife – Buyer’s Guide
Pocket knives have been used in war, hunting but also for everyday tasks for centuries now and so they evolved into a variety of different styles offered by many different brands that offer millions of different designs and that’s what makes the deciding part really hard. So the logical question would be ‘how does one narrow down all the possible choices to find that perfect one?’ As always, there are some questions you should ask yourself that will shrink the list a bit.
Question number one should definitely be:
Folding pocket knives are also called everyday carry knives and that is a big category. There are so many variations like if you need a knife for opening letters and boxes you definitely won’t buy one that is perfect for carving wood. For some easy tasks, you would probably want something inexpensive or a pocket knife with a lot of useful tools like a Swiss Army model.
If you are a camper and need the survival knife, you will probably want something tough and solid rather than cheap. A lot of the knives from our top 8 list would be a good choice for campers and hunters. Those knives need to be made of durable materials that can handle anything.
This again depends on the idea of how you will use the knife. There are a lot of differences between the blades, but the most important aspect is the thickness. If you compare the same type of steel in thicker and thinner version you will find that thinner blade isn’t as powerful as thicker one. However, that doesn’t mean that you should always go for the thicker blade. Pocket knives or everyday knives are designed for you to carry in your pocket wherever you go, therefore these knives need to be as light as possible, and that’s why the leading knife brands are always using the best quality steals for their products. Thin high-quality steel is a lot more powerful than a low-quality thick blade.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that all thick blades are made of low-quality steal. Hunting, survival and combat knives are usually made of high-quality steel that is as thick as possible, because those suffer the greatest pressure.
Besides the material, you should also think about the type of the blade you would have the most use of. Different types of blades have different shapes and each is intended for different kinds of tasks.
One of the most popular is the clip point blade. The back of its edge has a “cut out” area (that can be either straight or curved) that creates concave shape, making the tip extra sharp. Knives with this kind of blades are the first choice for hunters and campers.
Another popular type is drop point blade which is great for all-purpose knives. The back of the edge is designed to go straight from the handle for the most part, but it eventually slops down towards the tip creating the sharp point. It is another great choice for hunters, but it’s also being used for survival knives.
A very traditional blade shape is called straight back blade, which, as the name implies, has a completely straight back edge while the front of the knife is curved. This design is often found on kitchen knives because this kind of shape is great for cutting and slicing.
Then there is a spear point blade that has the shape of a sword where both edges rise and fall equally creating a perfectly centered and extremely sharp point. If both edges are sharpened this blade becomes the best one for piercing.
Pen blade looks like a tiny version of spear point because of its shape where both edges rise and fall at the same degree, the only difference is that it is slightly more curved (and in a smaller package). This type of the blade is often found in Swiss Army knives and is great for sharpening pencils and small tasks like that.
My, oh my! There are so many different types of materials for the handle that I don’t even know where to begin.
This part of the knife can be made of more than wood and aluminum. You can also find knives with handles made of celluloid, bone, G-10, Micarta, Titanium, Zytel, stainless steel, Delrin, stag, rubber, Kraton, mother of pearl etc.
Now, a high-quality handle is very important because your hand needs to feel comfortable while cutting. It needs to have a solid grip. Each of these materials has its own advantages and disadvantages and, again, what you choose depends on what you are going to be using the knife for.
If the knife is a matter of prestige for you and you won’t be cutting more than envelope with it, but you need it to look stunning, the right choice for you would be the one with the handle made of mother of pearl or bone or maybe nicely carved wood. These knives always look like they were bought on the auction even though you can buy them in almost any store that sells this type of gear and they aren’t always as expensive as they look.
However, if you are a camper or a hunter, you will probably want a knife that won’t slip out of your hand if your hands get sweaty and shaky, therefore some of the best choices for you might be the knife with rubber or Zytel handle.
This is another thing to consider when deciding on a foldable knife. The opening needs to be smooth and easy, but not too easy to open accidentally. There are three general categories:
As the name implies, you need to use your hands in order to open the blade, just like in old times. There are two methods of manual opening that can be found on traditional pocket knives and Swiss Army knives. If the knife has the nail nick, which is a little groove in the blade, what you do is use your nail to grab the blade and open it and that is one method.
If the blade has a little bump on it that means that you should use the other method that involves just your thumb. I believe it is pretty clear how you do it.
Switchblade or Automatic
Knives with this type of opening have a little button or switch that allows you to open the blade with just a touch of a finger. These knives are considered very dangerous and have been forbidden for a long time. Over the time they have been slowly legalized again, but if you decide to buy this kind of knife make sure to research your local knife laws.
This is the youngest, but already very popular mechanism with an internal device that engages the blade when you apply a certain amount of pressure to the knife.
This is also an important thing to consider because it is a matter of safety. These mechanisms keep the blade locked while open, preventing it from accidentally snapping onto your fingers. There are a few general locks used on pocket knives.
These locks work with one section of the liner positioned toward the inside of knife, where from they can only go back by pulling manually. There is nothing particularly great about this mechanism except that it gets the job done.
Usually found on traditional pocket knives, slip joint already sounds like something ancient. What happens here is that the very slip joint doesn’t actually lock the blade into the place, instead, the blade is fixed by the tension from a spring or flat bar. In order to put the blade back to the closed position all you have to do is apply enough pressure against it. As you probably already assumed, knives with these locking mechanisms aren’t intended for any heavy tasks.
These locks work by utilizing the handle in order to hold the knife. This lock is positioned in between two sides of the handle from its end to the tip of the blade. To release it all you need to do is apply pressure to both sides of the handle.
Now that you’ve read the whole article you probably have some idea what kind of knife you would like. Just make sure to consider all the aspects form the Buyer’s Guide and you will get the idea what’s the best type of your needs.
After that, everything is easy. We already listed the leading pocket knife brands and, of course, I would always recommend our top pick – the Benchmade, but no matter which one you’ll choose, you’ll end up satisfied.
I hope this article helped you make the best decision. Happy shopping!
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