Our Picks for Top EDC Pocket Knives
Always Have a Blade on You
A Boy Scout is always prepared. But you don’t need to be a Boy Scout to carry a pocket knife. We researched and picked some top EDC pocket knives to consider if you are looking to carry everyday.
Having a pocket knife always within reach just makes life a little easier. In fact, it’s a “man-cessory” and one should have an assortment of knives to choose from depending on the needs of the day. There’s a confidence knowing you can tackle any situation that might arise that calls for the use of a blade. From opening Amazon packages to cutting people out of seatbelts, you can never go wrong by having a blade on you.
Pocket knives are an essential tool for everyday. This guide will help you get to know some popular knives and which ones may interest you.
What’s great about pocket knives is there are no background checks needed, cost considerably less than guns, and are widely available. So try more than one, try them all, and enjoy testing which ones fit you.
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TLDR – Quick Look
Check out this quick list of our favorites if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews.
- Overall best pocket knife in quality and portability: Benchmade Mini Bugout or Buck Spirit OPS
- Most ergonomic for pocket carry: – Kershaw Brawler
- Solid knife for box cutting and light work: – Kershaw Leek or Kershaw Chive
- Best automatic pocket knife: – Boker Strike and Gerber Propel Downrange
- Durable fixed blade for hunting and field dressing: – Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter
- Bonus option – Best value for an affordable pocket knife: Gerber Zilch
What to Look for in a EDC Pocket Knife
Price – Knives is one of those things where it is worth paying more for better quality. But you also don’t need to break the bank to get a durable knife that you can use every day. You might want to have one or two really high end knives for special purposes like hunting, and then a few more budget knives that you won’t mind beating up from day to day.
Blade Sharpness – The most important piece of a knife. Stainless steel is the most common type of bad for pocket knives. This is because it is resistant to corrosion resistant and requires virtually no maintenance. Some knives have premium steel blades which are more expensive, but are sharper with longer lasting edges. You want a knife that can withstand some amount of torture.
Ergonomics – Having the best blade isn’t much good if you can’t manipulate it effectively. The handle is a major part of being able to apply leverage, cut, stab, and carry comfortably. No one likes blisters.
Size – The ideal pocket knives for everyday carry are small enough to be comfortably clipped or tucked away in a pants pocket. Running, sitting, or bending should not be uncomfortable with a knife on your person. You should not even feel that it’s there. Knives with a 3 to 4 inch blade will offer a good balance between portability and effective use all around.
Opening Mechanism – How much access to a knife do you need? This part may be less consequential and more of a cool factor. Some knives have spring-assisted opening that requires little effort and can be operated with one hand. More common are manual openings that require two hands. And some are fixed blades that slide into a sheath with no moving parts.
Other Factors to Consider
Purpose – This guide is focused on all around use for everyday tasks. But there is probably a knife best for specific situations. Consider what you intend to use a knife for – field dressing wild game, wood carving, cutting rope, slicing food, and so on. A true litmus test is how useful a knife is when all kinds of scenarios arise.
Blade Shape – Most pocket knives have a classic drop-point blade. The drop-point shape is popular because it suits all manner of cutting and slicing situations. Tanto shapes are cool looking and useful as well. This is a helpful guide to learn about the different blade shapes.
Serrations – Serrations are for sawing through tight materials like wood or rope. The downside is that they are very difficult to sharpen take up almost half of your blade. They can interfere with a cutting job where a plain blade would offer a cleaner cut. However, serrations can come in handy sometimes and make up for an otherwise dull blade.
Lock Type – A pocket must have a solidly locking mechanism to ensure safety. The blade should remain in a fixed position when high force is applied during cutting. Most pocket knives come with strong frame, liner, compression, or collar locks to keep the blade from closing when it should not. This can be a personal preference, but modern pocket knives are generally safe in this regard.
List of EDC Pocket Knives & Specs
1. Benchmade Bugout 535 & Mini Bugout
Best Overall Quality and Portability
MSRP: $150 – $180
Measured weight (oz.): 1.5 oz.
Blade length & Total length: 2.82 in. / 6.5 in.
Pros: Ultra lightweight, premium steel blade, very sharp, lock keeps fingers away from blade, and deep carry clip.
Summary: The Benchmade Bugout is popular pocket knives due to the light weight and incredibly sharp edge out of the box. It is available in two sizes – the standard 535 or Mini versions.The slim profile, high quality steel, and handle shape makes it hard to pass up for everyday carry. Not many other knives can beat this package.
2. Kershaw Brawler
Most Ergonomic for Pocket Carry
MSRP: $40 – $60
Measured weight (oz.): 3.8 oz.
Blade length & Total length: 3.25 in. / 7.125 in.
Pros: spring assisted open with flipper and thumbtack, drilled for four-way reversible pocket clip, and tanto blade.
Cons: blade is noticeably thicker than most.
Summary: The handle of the Kershaw Brawler easily fits a four finger grip in hammer, saber, and reverse grips. It has a stout handle that is felt in the hand and gives the user confidence to tackle tough tasks. The texture on the sides is grippy and the angular lines of the knife are quite comfortable in most hands. Despite their mechanical appearance they fit the organic curves of the human hand quite well. Plus the clip can be positioned on 4 different locations in order to carry how you prefer.
3. Kershaw Leek
Solid Knife for Box Cutting and Light Work
MSRP: $50 – $70
Measured weight (oz.): 3.8 oz.
Blade length & Total length: 3.0 in. / 7.0 in.
Pros: very slim and compact, razor sharp, assisted one-hand open, and versions available with tanto blade.
Cons: thin blade tip is not great for tough jobs.
Summary: The Kershaw Leek can easily disappear in your pocket, but still gives you a decent four finger grip. The blade shape is great for slicing through cardboard, tape, and paper or small detail jobs. The ambidextrous spring assisted open and frame lock make this knife one you can use often and frequently.
4. Boker Strike
Best Automatic Pocket Knife
MSRP: $50 – $70
Measured weight (oz.): 3.12 oz.
Blade length & Total length: 2.625 in. / 6.375 in.
Pros: sturdy and compact, automatic push open button, safety lock switch, and available with many blade shapes.
Cons: the aluminum handle texturing discolors after some wear.
Summary: The Boker Strike is low key a tactical knife and meets those expectations. It is fast to deploy, sharp, and the just enough weight makes the handling feel great. The price for all that in one package is very affordable. It comes in plus and mini sizes, multiple colors, and blade styles.
5. Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter
Durable Fixed Blade for the Backcountry and Field Dressing
MSRP: $160 – $200
Measured weight (oz.): 2.81 oz.
Blade length & Total length: 2.79 in. / 6.42 in.
Pros: fixed blade, holds a sharp edge for long term, looks great, and is highly reviewed.
Cons: the sheath wears out quickly.
Summary: The Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter is praised by many satisfied customers. It is designed to withstand elements of the outdoors and retain a sharp cutting edge for a long time. The handle size makes it easy to manipulate when field dressing an animal and making skillful cuts. It is a must have for spending time in the backcountry.
Bonus option – Gerber Zilch
Best Value in an Affordable Pocket Knife
Measured weight (oz.): 2.2 oz.
Blade length & Total length: 3.125 in. / 7.25 in.
Pros: very affordable from a well known brand, ambidextrous thumb stud openers, can be carried in pocket or with lanyard.
Cons: The blade is not the most premium steel.
Summary: The Gerber Zilch is only $20 and it has everything you can ask for at that price range. The thumb studs, textured handle, and sharp blade is all you need. If you’re looking for a decent knife without all the extra fancy stuff, this is it. It’s a minimalist’s dream pocket knife for everyday carry. Doesn’t it look great too?
Also Great EDC Pocket Knives Worth Mentioning
There are so many knife options to experiment with. The following pocket knives are great too, and might be your next go-to blade. Don’t let us stop you from trying them all.
SOG Twitch II – the size is great for comfortable carry and comes with a quality blade to endure everyday use.
Gerber Paraframe II – has great aesthetics with a skeleton frame design for weight reduction, and is very budget-friendly.
Always know what the laws are in your area. Pocket knives are usually accepted in most public places except venues like sports arenas, zoos, and government offices. Do your homework
Having a pocket knife might not seem so important to some people, but when you suddenly need a tool like this, it can make your life a lot easier. You could always look for some scissors or ask a stranger if they have a pocket knife.
Outdoorsmen should always carry a knife where chances increase of being confronted with a survival situation. And if all else fails, you can defend yourself from threats with a knife and proper training. No matter what kind of knife you carry, be safe and know how to use your equipment.