Having originated in the Philippines, there are many names for the butterfly knife – balisong, Batangas knife, fan knife, Manila folder – but, in the end, they all basically refer to the same thing: a folding pocket knife that features two handles that counter-rotate around the blade tang. They’re beautiful and can be mesmerizing to watch when flipped in the hands of an experienced user – but they can also be very dangerous.
Unfortunately, due to their novelty and prevailing reputation (often portrayed in the media and on film as the tool of gangsters, grifters, and criminals), they’re often produced to lesser standards by brands trying to make a quick buck. However, when made by a worthwhile knife designer or pocket knife brand, they can be excellently-made tools and are definitely worth consideration by well-informed everyday carry enthusiasts. If you happen to fall into that category, then today is your lucky day, as we have rounded up the 8 best balisong butterfly knives for EDC that are available right now.
It is worth noting, however, that there are some legal issues to consider before looking into purchasing a balisong knife. In some countries and regions, they have been outlawed outright. In others, there are severe restrictions. Just make sure, if you hope to own a butterfly knife, that you check whether or not they are acceptable to use and carry in your place of residence or to wherever you choose to travel, as there are potentially serious consequences if you are found carrying one in a place where they are considered illegal.
Schrade Manilla Balisong Knife
Named for the type of butterfly knife this is (one on which the safety latch is on the handle opposite the cutting edge), Schrade’s Manilla butterfly knife is as pure in its design as they get. Made in the USA, it features a D2 tool steel blade mated to sturdy stainless steel handles. It’s also just shy of 9″ in length and weighs a grand total of 8 ounces – meaning it’s not too heavy to carry around with you daily. If simple and straightforward is what you want, but you don’t want to compromise on quality, this is your best bet.
Handle: Stainless Steel
Bear & Son 517D Butterfly Knife
For something with a little more timeless stylishness, you can’t go wrong with Bear & Son’s 517D butterfly knife. This balisong features a unique combination of Damascus steel for the blade and genuine stag bone inlayed on the handles. This knife will hold an edge well, looks great, and won’t break the bank. If the top of your list of priorities includes iconic looks, then this might be the butterfly knife for you. It helps, too, that this one is made right here in the USA.
Handle: India Stag Bone
Bear OPS Bear Song IV Butterfly Knife
If tactical styling and unique material choices are more your speed, then the Bear OPS Bear Song IV balisong is definitely going to be a top contender. Still featuring skeletonized handles – as is common amongst classic butterfly knives – this unique folder also features the use of sturdy and lightweight carbon fiber in its construction. And the handsome handle mates well with the black-finished carbon steel blade, making for a sleek and stealthy offering that looks great amongst other all-black gear.
Handle: Carbon Fiber
Brous Blades B3 Butterfly Knife
Built to pay homage to the classic balisong style while still adding some of the brand’s own flair, the B3 is Brous Blades’ first ever butterfly knife to go to market. And while it still features the iconic swinging action found in traditional balisongs, it also has its own recognizable silhouette and some interesting build materials – including black-finished D2 tool steel for the blade and “Burnt Bronze” cerakote-finished stainless steel handle scales. Limited to just 100 examples, this butterfly knife is a great balance of contemporary style and classic butterfly action.
Blade: Black-Finished D2
Handle: Burnt Bronze Cerakote-Finished Stainless Steel
Microtech Special Batman Tachyon III Balisong
Presumably named for its black and yellow color scheme – same as some versions of the iconic vigilante superhero – this is the third edition of Microtech’s Tachyon balisong butterfly knife. This particular version features black DLC-finished aluminum handles, making it both lightweight and plenty sturdy, as well as an incredibly tough Elmax steel blade – a super high quality powdered steel known for its edge retention and corrosion resistance. As far as unique and well-made butterfly knives go, this one is one of the best.
Blade: Black DLC-Coated Elmax
Handle: Black DLC-Finished 6061-T6 Aluminum
Microtech 173-1DLCTA Tachyon III Balisong
Another version of Microtech’s 3rd-generation Tachyon balisong butterfly knife, this one has a few unique features of its own that make it stand out from the rest of the crowd. For instance, the blade is a unique bowie knife-style shape, offering up a bit of American flair to this blade. It also features billet aluminum handles, with a mil-spec hard coat anodization – making them super durable and very lightweight. This is also one of the larger offerings on our list, clocking in at a whopping 10″ in length.
Blade: Black DLC-Coated Varying Steel
Handle: Mil-Spec Hard Coat Anodized 6061-T6 Aluminum
Benchmade 62 Balisong Butterfly Knife
Like Schrade’s Manilla balisong, Benchmade’s 62 is a butterfly knife that is predominantly traditional in its design – with a classic blade shape mated to skeletonized metal handles. But its construction is where this knife sets itself apart. Made from a combination of D2 and stainless steel, this USA-made balisong is as sturdy and reliable as they come – and we’d expect no less from the top-tier knife-making brand. One of the most impressive facts about this knife, however, is that while it is 9.2″ in length, it weighs only 6.33 ounces.
Handle: Stainless Steel
Benchmade 87 Balisong Butterfly Knife
You’ll pay a pretty penny if you want to get your hands on Benchmade’s 87 balisong butterfly knife – but it’s hard to think that the high price isn’t worth it for what you’re getting. Not only does this particular blade have one of the most unique appearances out there – thanks in large to its reverse-tanto blade shape – but it’s also built out of some of the most premium materials available, including CPM-S30V for the blade and a billet titanium handle. If you’re looking for the best of the best, this is most certainly the top contender.
Handle: Billet Titanium
15 Best Tactical Folding Knives
If functionality is higher on your list of priorities than flair, you might better find what you’re looking for on our list of the best tactical folding knives.