It’s easy to feel like some of the best everyday carry knives on the market are out of the average person’s price range. After all, some of the most exclusive, top tier options can have price tags sometimes in the thousands, or at least several hundred. The fact of the matter, however, is that you can actually find a superb folding blade that will suit all your daily needs for a good deal less than that.
In fact, some of our favorite knives of all time cost the equivalent of pocket change by comparison. Whether you’re just looking for a simple cutting tool you won’t feel guilty using to cut open packages or you want to try out some new brands with which you are otherwise unfamiliar, that’s a manageable prospect for very little cash. To prove that, we’ve rounded up the fifteen best EDC knives you can get on a budget of $40 or less.
Boker Magnum Jewel Pocket Knife
With classic, iconic styling that mimics old-school hunting folders, Boker Magnum’s Jewel is a shocking value. That’s all the truer when you consider that it’s actually well-made from 440 stainless steel and rosewood. Better still, this ultra-inexpensive folder still has a sturdy back lock to ensure it will stay safely and securely deployed during use. To put a cherry on top of the cake, it even comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Blade Length: 2.125″
Svord Mini Peasant Friction Folder
Peasant knives date back as far as hundreds of years and, while the Svord Mini Peasant mimics those throwback blades, this one is actually made with modern materials and craftsmanship. It’s a friction folder, meaning it doesn’t have a locking mechanism, but that has allowed Svord to pay more attention to the rest of the knife. It has a tough carbon steel blade mated to a durable polypropylene handle and it’s both compact and handsome enough that you might find yourself carrying it in your loadout every single day.
Steel: High Carbon
Blade Length: 2.5″
Opinel No. 8 Trekking Knife
The French family behind Opinel has been making knives for more than a century at this point — and that should be a huge vote of confidence for you. But even if you didn’t know that, the No. 8 Trekking knife would still be a superb budget-friendly folder. It boasts a durable and reliable Sandvik steel blade, which is mated to a beautiful beechwood handle and finished off with the brand’s signature Virobloc locking mechanism. To round it all out, the knife comes with a simple leather lanyard for easy attachment to a belt loop or backpack and can be used to extract the knife from your pocket more easily.
Blade Length: 3.25″
CRKT Pilar Folding Knife
Named after Ernest Hemingway’s fishing boat — the same one he used during WWII to hunt for German U-Boats — this stout folder is just as beautiful and reliable, albeit in very different ways. Designed by Jesper Voxnaes, this frame lock knife has a full-metal handle with a robust-yet-tiny modified Wharncliffe blade that’s perfect for hard-use cutting tasks. Of course, if you like the cleaver-like design but not this format, it’s also available with a G10 handle or there’s a larger version (which also comes in all-black).
Handle: G10 & Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 2.75″
Kershaw Cryo G10 Pocket Knife
The Kershaw Cryo is one of the greatest folding pocket knives of all time — bar none. And while it’s most popular version is the all-metal one, it also comes with a G10 handle scale that’s a bit more unique and even arguably more grippy in all conditions. Of course, it still has everything else we loved about the original Hinderer design, like a drop point blade, frame lock, flipper deployment, and tip-down pocket clip.
Blade Length: 2.625″
Buck Knives 382 Trapper
Buck Knives is a true American knifemaking company that’s been in operation for generations. And everything they make is worth your time and hard-earned cash — including their take on the classic cowboy-style Trapper knife. Boasting two blades instead of one, this knife is plenty versatile. And it’s also endowed with top-notch styling, thanks to its handsome wood handle. Obviously, this heritage-style blade isn’t for everyone, but if you appreciate timeless designs, this one will rank high.
Handle: Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 2.4″
Leatherman Skeletool KBX Pocket Knife
Leatherman is known extremely well for their absolutely spectacular folding multi-tools. But, as it turns out, they also know how to make a solid everyday carry folding knife — as evidenced by their Skeletool KBX. Streamlined down to just a single folding blade, this lightweight knife hinges on a 420HC steel blade mated to a skeletonized handle with an integrated lock. This is one of the more unique blades on our list, both in regards to appearance and availability, as this particular one is actually a limited edition.
Handle: Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 2.6″
Douk-Douk Friction Folding Knife
When it comes to friction folding, non-locking knives, few have quite as long a history or as much beauty as the French Douk-Douk. Originally issued to French legionnaires, this knife has remained largely unchanged for the better part of a century. Named for the Melanesian spirits of destruction, it boasts a carbon steel blade mated to a Ferro-blackened folded steel handle — both adorned with beautiful etched artwork. Elegant and simplistic, this is the kind of knife that could be in your family for generations.
Handle: Ferro-Blackened Folded Steel
Blade Length: 3″
OKC Rat II Folding Knife
Like Kershaw’s Cryo, OKC’s Rat family of folders are widely considered to be some of the best in the industry, regardless of their low price. And that spells good news for anyone with a tight budget. The Rat II you see here boasts a sturdy and reliable AUS-8 steel blade mated to a lightweight and durable nylon handle. And it benefits from a liner lock, as well, for security in operation. It’s not flashy, but it will get the job done.
Blade Length: 3″
Victorinox Cadet Swiss Army Knife
Victorinox’s Cadet is about as close as you can get to the original Swiss Army Knife — which dates back to the late 1800s. As it turns out, that design is still plenty relevant today because this is still one of the best folding tools on the market. Alongside its Alox textured scales and a simple cutting blade, it also features eight other tools ranging from a bottle opener to a screwdriver and a whole lot more. And all that comes in a package that’s small enough to fit on your keychain carabiner.
Blade Length: 2.5″
Gerber Quadrant Flipper Knife
One of the newer knives on our list, Gerber’s Quadrant made a big splash in the everyday carry world for a number of reasons. For one, it marks a large stylistic departure for Gerber — who usually specializes in more tactical-style tools. But it also has some pretty unique features, including a straight razor-style blade and bamboo handle inlays. It also has a frame lock and a flipper deployment for even more usefulness and convenience. And if you don’t like the wood handle, it comes with a G10 inlay option.
Handle: Bamboo & Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 2.7″
KA-BAR KA7505-BRK Jarosz Folder
If you recognize the name KA-BAR, it’s probably because they have a long history of making hardcore fixed blade knives for the military. Lucky for us, that’s not all they have to offer. In fact, they’ve teamed up with legendary knife designer Jesse Jarosz on this capable budget-friendly folder. It has a versatile drop point blade, a sturdy glass-filled nylon handle, and a liner lock. And it’s definitely less aggressive than the brand’s combat blades, which is a positive in this case.
Handle: Glass-Filled Nylon
Blade Length: 3.5″
SOG Escape Tactical Folding Knife
Like KA-BAR, SOG got their start making military-ready fixed blades. But they’ve also been making exceptional folders for a long time — which explains their presence on this list with their Escape tactical folder. This knife, while clearly more aggressive than some of its counterparts, it also has some excellent emergency bonuses — like a seatbelt cutter and glass-breaker tip. Of course, even without those, this would still be a great budget folding knife.
Blade Length: 3.4″
Case Peanut Pocket Knife
Another take on a classic folding knife style, Case’s Peanut is very compact and also quite versatile — thanks largely to its dual folding blades. This knife might also have the most available options of any other on this list by a long shot — with at least 30 different styles available (and likely more). We’re particularly fond of this one, however, with its black synthetic handle, Tru-Sharp surgical steel blades, and limited lifetime warranty.
Handle: Jigged Synthetic
Blade Length: 2.1″
Deejo 37G Folding Knife
When it comes to gentleman’s knives, Deejo’s offerings are some of the most unique out there — thanks to their pared-down skeletonized design and wide-ranging number of finish options and handle materials. They’re not all under $40 (especially if you go through their online customizer) but this one with its juniper wood handle scale and 440 blade certainly are. Mating a lightweight, skeletonized design with real-world functionality is quite a balancing act — and it is one Deejo has mastered.
Handle: Stainless Steel & Wood
Blade Length: 3.75″
How To Clean Your Pocket Knife
One of the keys to keeping a budget folder in working order is making sure you care for it properly. And one of the best ways you can do that is by learning how to clean your pocket knife.
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