Sturdy Slicers: 20 Best Frame Lock EDC Knives

There was a time, seemingly not that long ago, when choosing a pocket knife was little more than picking from a handful of available options. Thankfully, with the increase in popularity of outdoor activities and everyday carry, that time has long since passed. Now, the choices are nigh-unlimited. And while that means there’s never been a better time to buy a pocket knife, it also makes it a lot harder to find what you want.

One of the most important things to consider when picking your next knife is the locking mechanism. There are knives that have none of which to speak (like slipjoints), there are ones that are brand-specific (like Benchmade’s AXIS), and then there are a few old standards – some of which are still very desirable. One of the most sought-after is the frame lock. Sturdy and reliable, frame lock folding knives are as dependable as they come, and the following 20 are our favorites that are available for purchase now.

Buck Knives Nobleman Folding Knife

A longtime favorite, Buck’s Nobleman folding knife is a classic gentleman’s blade – with a blade that measures up at less than 3 inches in length. Made from 420 HC steel, this knife comes with multiple handle material options, our favorite of which being carbon fiber. Whatever the case, this cutting tool is sleek, slim, and an easy pick for solid everyday carry on a budget.

Blade: 420HC
Handle: Varying

Purchase: $25+

Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife

Designed by Rick Hinderer – a master knife builder in his own right – this budget-friendly frame lock folder might just be Kershaw’s all-time best knife. From it’s compact size (6.5 inches total) to the combination of a 8Cr13MoV steel blade with a 410 steel handle, this knife is simple, stylish, and as reliable as they come for such a low price.

Blade: 8Cr13MoV
Handle: 410

Purchase: $31

Gerber Flatiron Folding Cleaver

Gerber is pretty well known for making some excellent tactical gear, so when they announced they were making a cleaver, we were pretty sure it was going to be over-the-top aggressive. Shockingly, however, they came out with this subdued-yet-sleek folder that wouldn’t look out of place in the pocket of a dapper gentleman. And while the initial release featured a lightweight G10 handle, this one has an anodized aluminum one to match the 7Cr17MoV stainless steel cleaver blade.

Blade: 7Cr17MoV
Handle: G10

Purchase: $37

CRKT M16 Tactical Folding Knife

Designed by none other than the famous and fabled Kit Carson, CRKT’s M16 is arguably their best tactical blade. Featuring a Sandvik steel blade mated to a skeletonized stainless steel handle, this thing is both lightweight and incredibly tough – as well as easy to clean. If you’re looking for a tactical utility folding knife that can take a beating, this frame lock knife should definitely be near the top of your list.

Blade: Sandvik
Handle: Stainless Steel

Purchase: $38

Pocket Samurai Titanium Keychain Knife

While most EDC keychain knives are little more than a novelty, this one from StatGear has a lot more clout, thanks in part to the fact that it features a sturdy all-titanium handle. Its combination of high strength and low weight make it the perfect addition to this minuscule folder. In fact, this 4.73″ knife actually weighs under an ounce. And it’s still built to last, what with its 440C stainless steel blade and sturdy frame lock.

Blade: 440C
Handle: 6AL4V Titanium

Purchase: $40

Deejo 37g Folding Knife

Deejo makes some of the most stylish knives we’ve ever seen. And a big part of that comes from the combination of a skeletonized handle alongside a scale that’s more of an accent than anything else. And while we wouldn’t suggest using this as a hardcore utility cutter, it definitely can stand up to everyday use, so long as you take care of it. If you want a frame lock folder with an abundance of style, this one definitely makes the cut.

Blade: 420
Handle: Varying

Purchase: $40+

ESEE Knives Expat Medellin

Known best, perhaps, for their outdoor-focused fixed blades, ESEE Knives is far from a one-trick-pony, as evidenced by their Expat Medellin frame lock folding knife. This badass knife features an AUS8 steel blade perfect for heavy use, which is mated to a fiberglass reinforced nylon handle for superb durability and lightness of weight. It also comes with a stainless steel deep carry clip that’s reversible for ether tip-up or tip-down carry.

Blade: AUS-8
Handle: FRN

Purchase: $51

Boker Plus Kwaiken Flipper Knife

Designed by Lucas Burnley, Boker’s Kwaiken flipper is one of our favorite folding knives, both for its unique Japanese-inspired design, its sleekness, and the overall quality of the build. It helps to that it features a sturdy frame lock to keep it deployed when in use. This particular version is also equipped with a Micarta handle, AUS-8 steel blade, and a removable pocket clip.

Blade: AUS-8
Handle: Micarta

Purchase: $98

Quiet Carry The Strand Folding Knife

There are a lot of frame lock folding knives out there that are big, burly, tactical-inspired things. But not everyone wants something hefty and intimidating – rather, many prefer something with a bit of style and panache. In that case, Quiet Carry’s The Strand folding knife is an excellent option. But don’t let the looks fool you, this is still a workhorse everyday carry knife with its D2 tool steel blade and titanium handle. It just also happens to look sleek and minimalist.

Blade: D2
Handle: 6AL4V Titanium

Purchase: $129

Civilware Clipper Folding Knife

You might not think that a professional skateboarder like Geoff Rowley would know anything about everyday carry. Of course, you’d be wrong. Just take a look at his brand, Civilware, and their superb offerings. The Clipper, for instance, features a 154CM PVD-coated blade mated to a titanium handle – complete with a frame lock. It also boasts a slimline design, a low-profile pocket clip, and an overall length of 6.75 inches. And if you think this knife is an outlier, think again. Everything this brand makes is superb.

Blade: PVD-Coated 154CM
Handle: 6AL4V Titanium

Purchase: $175

DPx Gear Hest/F Folding Knife

Author, journalist, and documentarian Robert Young Pelton is one of the most badass dudes on this planet. And when he needed an equally badass pocket knife, he built one himself. And that’s how DPx Gear got started. While all of the brand’s offerings are superb, we’re a bit partial to their Hest/F folder, with its Niolox steel blade, sturdy lightweight handle, and integrated bottle opener.

Blade: Niolox
Handle: Varying

Purchase: $200

Kizer Sheepdog Titanium Folding Cleaver

You might recognize this knife as one of our picks on the best pocket cleavers post – and there’s good reason for it to appear here, as well. It boasts a beefy CPM-S35VN steel blade mated to a sturdy titanium handle. And while it’s not a knife that we might call compact, it’s still stylish and sleek. If you’re not afraid of carrying around a hefty folder as a part of your EDC, you could do far worse than this one.

Blade: CPM-S35VN
Handle: 6AL4V Titanium

Purchase: $204

Zero Tolerance 0095BW Titanium Flipper Knife

A near perfect balance of ergonomics, aggressiveness, and high quality materials, the Zero Tolerance 0095BW titanium flipper knife is everything you could want in a full-sized frame lock folding blade and more. From its unique harpoon-style DLC-coated S35VN steel blade, to the KVT ball bearing deployment system, to its titanium handle with hardened lock bar, this knife is purely badass. It’s also made in the USA, measures up at an impressive 8.4″ in length, and weighs 5.3 ounces.

Blade: DLC-coated S35VN
Handle: 6AL4V Titanium

Purchase: $225

Spyderco Lil Lion Folding Knife

While it’s certainly a departure from Spyderco’s signature style, this frame lock folder still boasts enough hints to clearly be one of the brand’s offerings. This particular knife boasts a super high end Elmax steel blade mated to a black G10 handle. And while it features a Reeve Integral Lock, it also comes with a secondary Roto Lock device for extra security when its deployed – making this a great folding knife for hard daily use.

Blade: Elmax
Handle: G10

Purchase: $259

The James Brand Chapter Folding Knife

The James Brand seemingly came out of nowhere and took the everyday carry world by storm – a fact which we are thankful for constantly, as their stylish minimalist designs were a welcome change from the overwhelmingly tactical options that were commonplace before the brand emerged. Our favorite offering of their is the Chapter – a frame lock folder with a titanium frame lock, stainless steel handle, and D2 tool steel blade.

Blade: D2
Handle: Stainless Steel

Purchase: $275

Strider Model PT Folding Knife

Headquartered out of Escondido, California, Strider knives is a major favorite of knife enthusiasts everywhere for both the quality of their builds and the uniqueness of their style. Their blades are as intimidating as they are effective and nowhere is that more evident than in their signature PT. The blade is built from CPM-S30V steel, which is mated to a combination titanium and G10 handle – making this knife gorgeous from any angle. And while they tend to be a bit pricey, it’s worth it for what you get in exchange.

Blade: CPM-S30V
Handle: Titanium & G10

Purchase: $320

Emerson HD-7 Folding Knife

Ernest Emerson is a longtime expert in the knife world that is looked up to by just about anyone that knows the first thing about folding EDC knives. And while a good portion of his company’s offerings don’t come with a frame lock, this one does. It also boasts a combination titanium and G10 handle, as well as a super high quality 154 CM steel blade. This blade was built to take a beating and keep performing, and it does so beautifully.

Blade: 154 CM
Handle: G10

Purchase: $375

Reate Knives Wave Folding Knife

Chinese builders get a bad rap for an old association with shoddy workmanship. But let us be the first to tell you, our experience with Reate Knives folding blades has been nothing but positive. Made with premium materials (this, particular one has a Bohler M390 steel blade and 6AL-4V titanium handle scales), these knives are handsome, sturdy, and a pleasure to carry.

Blade: M390
Handle: 6AL4V Titanium

Purchase: $375

Chris Reeve Sebenza 21 Folding Knife

Chris Reeve Knives have actually created their own in-house version of a frame lock called the Integral Lock – which is heralded as being one of the strongest takes on a frame lock ever built, with some folks going so far as to say it never wears out. We can’t confirm nor deny that, but we can tell you this: it’s sturdy as hell and makes any knife better for having it. One knife that does include it is the famous Sebenza 21. And while we could drool about it for days, we’ll keep it simple: it’s one of the best knives ever made.

Blade: CPM-S35VN
Handle: 6AL4V Titanium

Purchase: $375+

Shinola x Benchmade Titanium 765 Pocket Knife

Most of Benchmade’s best knives actually do not feature a frame lock, as they have their own proprietary AXIS locking system (which is also an excellent performer). But when they paired up with Shinola to make this titanium 765 pocket knife, they opted for a classic frame lock, cementing this squarely amongst the best frame lock folders out there. Equal parts timeless and savage when it comes to styling, this knife looks handsome as hell. But it’s also built to perform, what with its DLC coating, M390 steel blade, and (of course) titanium handle.

Blade: M390
Handle: 6AL4V Titanium

Purchase: $400

12 Best Slipjoint Pocket Knives

If you live somewhere that restricts knives based on locking mechanisms or you just want to add a classic style folder to your collection, you’ll find a worthwhile option on our list of the best slipjoint pocket knives.

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