There are a lot of really stellar folding knives worth adding to your collection and, obviously, your everyday carry loadout. With so many great options out there, it can be hard to pin down which blade is right for you. And while you don’t have to settle on one, it certainly makes sense to pare down the list a bit. One of the best ways to manage that can, in fact, be by picking out construction materials you find enticing.
When considering the materials that have gone into the construction of a given pocket knife, there are a few desirable ones that come to mind. Amongst those at the top of the list is carbon fiber. Renowned for its unique appearance, versatility, strength, and weight-saving properties, it’s not as cutting-edge as it once was, but it continues getting used fairly widely — and there have even been some novel applications therein. If you’re thinking about picking up your own carbon fiber EDC knife, we’ve put together a list of the 15 best that you can buy right now.
What's The Deal With Carbon Fiber?
Aerospace, Automotive, & EDC
Originally created in Ohio back in 1958 and further refined and perfected at a British research facility in 1963, carbon fiber is a pretty magnificent material. Made out of one of the most abundant elements in the universe — the one responsible for the creation of life — CF (for short) is non-metallic but, when manufactured properly, exhibits properties similar to some of the best metals around. In fact, in some cases, it’s actually better than, say, stainless steel.
Two of carbon fiber’s most impressive qualities are, without a doubt, its tensile strength and how remarkably lightweight it is when compared to similarly-strong metals. Used widely in the aerospace and automotive industries, this woven wonder material can be made up to five times stronger than steel of a similar format/weight and twice as stiff. Furthermore, it’s also significantly lighter than steel and more malleable/versatile — making it ideal for use in the body panels and chassis of some of the world’s most impressive performance vehicles — like F1 race cars and production hypercars.
There is one fairly large downside to this material’s impressiveness: it can be quite expensive. While carbon itself is hugely abundant, it has to be refined and put through some pretty complicated manufacturing processes in order to turn it into usable carbon fiber — which makes the material much rarer than its unrefined precursor and, therefore, a good deal pricier. This also trickles down into the world of everyday carry, which means that a good carbon fiber EDC knife will inherently be more expensive than many of its more commonplace counterparts.
OKC RAT 2
One of the best budget-friendly folding knives of all time, the Ontario Knife Company RAT 2 has an iconic silhouette, a reliable construction, and comes in a wide variety of options. This particular version still has the same sturdy liner lock, overall length, and appearance but benefits from a sleek black-finished AUS-8 steel blade and handsome carbon fiber handle scales. If you want a tried-and-true, good-looking, ergonomic carbon fiber everyday carry knife, but you’re a bit tight on cash, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option out there than this one. Truly, this isn’t just a great budget pick, it’s one of the best EDC knives of all time — period.
Blade Length: 3″
Total Length: 7″
Deejo 37G Carbon Fiber Composite
If you’re a die-hard minimalist or you’re just tired of your everyday carry weighing you down, picking out gear with a carbon fiber construction is a good first step — but it’s not necessarily the end of the road. If you really want those ounces to drop to the lowest weight possible, you might be in the market for something like the Deejo 37G Carbon Fiber Composite pocket knife. Ultra-skeletonized, this folder weighs just over 1.3 ounces in total, yet it still measures up at 8″ in length when opened, has a tough titanium-coated 440C blade, and still boasts a secure liner lock for safety in use. The carbon fiber adorning the handle is about as minimal as it comes, but it’s definitely still there and gives this blade a bit of a sinister edge, so to speak.
Blade: Titanium-Coated 420
Blade Length: 3.75″
Total Length: 8″
One of master knifemaker and top-tier designer Ken Onion, the Leek is an exceptional and memorable everyday carry pocket knife — the kind you proudly keep in your collection and consistently have in rotation amongst the rest of your loadout. It’s also one of Kershaw’s offerings with the most variety regarding available materials. In this case, this version comes with carbon fiber handle scales that perfectly complement the included CPM-154 modified Wharncliffe blade. It also boasts SpeedSafe technology — Kershaw’s proprietary assisted opening — for quick deployment in a pinch, as well as a reliable liner lock for safety during use. Whether you use the thumb stud or flipper, this one-handed knife is more than deserving of a spot in your pocket.
Blade Length: 3″
Total Length: 7″
SOG Ultra XR
There is certainly something to be said for compactness, which is one of the prevailing reasons the SOG Ultra has been such a significant offering for the longtime brand. After all, we’re talking about a knife that’s so thin, it can even fit in some wallets. That makes it remarkably discreet — yet it’s still formidable enough to be considered an everyday carry knife, especially if you get it with a carbon fiber handle, as in the SOG Ultra XR you see here. Of course, a super-thin profile is hardly the only thing this carbon fiber EDC knife has to offer. It also comes equipped with a CPM-S35VN steel blade, SOG’s signature one-handed ambidextrous XR lock, and it looks great from just about any angle. This is the kind of knife you may never want to take out of your pocket again — unless you need to cut something, that is.
Blade Length: 2.75″
Total Length: 6.125″
Kizer Nick Swan Microlith
If Kizer hasn’t yet made your radar, it’s time to change that. This brand has proven time and time again that they’re capable of crafting interesting, high-quality everyday cutting tools in a variety of styles. This particular offering, which was designed by Nick Swan, offers a more unique take on carbon fiber handle scales. Rather than having the signature checkered weave, this one boasts a wilder tiger-stripe pattern — yet it’s still just as lightweight and strong. To pair with these handsome scales, it also features a CPM-S35VN steel blade with a flipper deployment, an offset pocket clip, and a liner lock. If you’re willing to go off the beaten path a bit and try out an EDC knife that isn’t on everyone’s wishlist, you’re definitely not going to be disappointed with this Kizer.
Blade Length: 2.375″
Total Length: 6″
Buck Knives Sprint Pro
Most folks with a background and/or some baseline knowledge of the everyday carry space are familiar with Buck Knives. After all, their Hunter 101 is one of the most iconic folding knives of all time. However, while they tend to play a bit in the more traditional space, they definitely don’t shy away from more modern, avant-garde offerings. Such is the case with their fairly aggressive and tactical Sprint Pro you see here. The handle is crafted from marbled carbon fiber, which is both grippy and looks beautiful in a kind of intimidating way. The handle is also equipped with a bright red pivot and a matching Cerakote spacer and pocket clip. Finally, the clip point blade with its sawtooth back is built from S30V stainless steel. Best of all, the knife is made in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Blade Length: 3.125″
Total Length: 7.5″
Spyderco Sage 5
If Spyderco’s inclusion on this list comes as a surprise, you probably haven’t been paying close enough attention to the worlds of tactical and everyday carry folding knives. After all, Spyderco is one of the most prolific brands active in the world today — and their offerings are unmistakable. One such offing is the Sage 5 carbon fiber knife you see here. The classic CF handle scales are mated to a CPF-S30V steel blade — done up in the brand’s signature leaf style and including the iconic oversized thumb hole for easy one-handed deployment. This knife also has a reliable liner lock, a wire pocket clip, and it weighs a grand total of just 3.2 ounces. If the PM2 is just a bit too aggressive for your tastes, this more-refined option will suit your purposes brilliantly.
Blade Length: 3″
Total Length: 7.17″
Boker Kwaiken Carbon Fiber Flipper
Designed by Lucas Burnley, a masterful knifemaker and living legend in the EDC space, Boker’s Kwaiken is one of the absolute best urban EDC knives around. In fact, some versions might even slot into the gentleman’s folder category. That might not be the case with this particular edition, due in part to the tactical reputation of carbon fiber, but it’s no less formidable and beautiful. Inspired by Japanese design — most obviously, katana swords — this sleek EDC flipper boasts a slender profile, a total length of 8.4″, a reliable liner lock, and a razor-sharp VG-10 steel blade. Of course, if you’re not super fond of the carbon fiber handle scales, it’s also offered in a number of other formats and materials — including G-10, Micarta, and even steel.
Blade Length: 3.5″
Total Length: 8.4″
Zero Tolerance Sinkevich 0452CF Flipper
Dmitry Sinkevich’s flipper you see here has been a longtime staple of Zero Tolerance’s superior lineup of USA-made pocket knives. However, despite its age, it is still one of the absolute best EDC folders around — especially if you’re interested in something with sturdy, lightweight carbon fiber handle scales. This super-slender flipper actually only has a carbon fiber scale on one side of the handle, with the other — the frame lock side — crafted from tough and durable steel. The award-winning blade is built from S35VN stainless steel and the two parts are mated via a buttery-smooth KVT ball-bearing pivot for slick reliable deployment at a moment’s notice. Undoubtedly, it’s a bit of an investment; but it’s without a doubt an investment worth making for those who understand just how stellar this blade is.
Blade Length: 4.1″
Total Length: 9.27″
Benchmade 940 Osborne
Another spectacular knife designed by a legendary maker — Warren Osborne — Benchmade’s 940 is widely regarded as one of the best EDC knives ever made. That was only proven to be more true when the brand recently equipped it with an automatic deployment mechanism. This particular version isn’t an auto knife, but that’s actually to its benefit, as it means it’s legal to carry in more places. What it does have is sturdy carbon fiber handle scales, a slender CPM-S90V steel reverse tanto blade, the brand’s signature AXIS locking mechanism, and more. As a pair of added bonuses, this majestic cutting tool was also made in the USA and comes with a lifetime guarantee. If it’s within your budget, this is a knife that belongs in your collection.
Blade Length: 3.4″
Total Length: 7.87″
As mentioned previously, Ken Onion is one of the greatest knifemakers — living or otherwise. And while plenty of his spectacular designs can be found within the “budget-friendly” category of EDC knives, he also has proven his prowess in the high-end space. In fact, one of his pricier designs can be found in the CRKT Panache you see here. This limited-edition offering — which has only 550 examples built, ever — boasts a premium CTS-XHP modified tanto blade mated to a titanium handle, both with grippy carbon fiber inlays. It’s also equipped with Flavio Ikoma’s legendary IKBS ball bearing pivot system, so it can open quickly and smoothly at the drop of a hat. And it has a sturdy frame lock for unmatched security in use. If you’re fond of rare acquisitions, this one isn’t likely to stay on the shelves for long.
Blade Length: 3.68″
Total Length: 8.75″
Terrain 365 Otter Slipjoint
Typically, carbon fiber is more reserved for tactical knives. Perhaps that’s just the nature of the material and its appearance. But, the truth is, it’s not impossible to pare CF into a gentleman’s knife. In fact, it can be managed masterfully, as can be seen in the Terrain 365 Otter slipjoint knife you see here. For those not in the know, Terrain 365 hasn’t been around long, but they’ve made big waves with their absurdly tough, corrosion-resistant offerings. The Otter proves that legendary toughness can function fantastically in a more traditional format, as it boasts a classic silhouette, a non-locking slipjoint mechanism, and even a lanyard bail that can serve to keep the knife closed when stored in your pocket. This 2.7oz cutting tool also comes with a Terravantium blade — the brand’s signature — and has titanium liners. This is not your grandpa’s slipjoint; that’s for sure.
Blade Length: 3″
Total Length: 6.9375″
Microtech UTX-70 OTF Automatic Knife
Truly, this list wouldn’t be complete without at least one automatic knife. In this case, the perfect one for the job is the Microtech UTX-70 OTF. Quite compact compared to its non-OTF brethren, this impressive auto blade measures up at just 5.63″ in total and its tanto blade is 2.41″ itself. That makes this an excellent discreet EDC for those that live in places where auto OTF knives are legal to carry. Furthermore, the CTS-204P blade collapses into a tough and lightweight carbon fiber handle with a glass-breaker tip on the butt. And the whole thing is operable via a simple slider mechanism mounted on the spine of the handle — ensuring easy, ergonomic deployment whenever you need it.
Blade Length: 2.41″
Total Length: 5.63″
DPx HEST/F Urban
We can’t figure out why DPx gear isn’t more widely known, as they make some of the best-looking, tactical-inspired, ultra-tough folding blades around. Take, for instance, their HEST/F Urban knife you see here. This magnificent and intimidating tactical EDC knife comes equipped with a marbled carbon fiber handle — complete with its own glass-breaker tip at the base — mated to a black-finished PVD-coated CPM-S35VN steel drop point blade with its own integrated bottle opener. Furthermore, it comes with a super-sturdy frame lock, has a lanyard hole that does double duty as a hex bit driver, and so much more. Truly, you’re better off wondering what this knife can’t do rather than musing on what it can. We wouldn’t necessarily call it unstoppable, but it’s pretty damn close.
Blade Length: 2.9″
Total Length: 6.7″
Chris Reeve Knives Small Inkosi
Since its recent redesign, the Chris Reeve Sebenza 31 does not yet have a carbon fiber configuration — which, unfortunately, nixes it off our list. However, just because the obvious pick can’t be included, that doesn’t mean the master knifemaker doesn’t offer other options. That includes the Small Inkosi with carbon fiber inlays that you see here. Just as worthy as being called a “Holy Grail” EDC knife as its more widely-popular sibling, the Inkosi you see here measures up at 6.5″ in total, has a CPM-S35VN drop point blade, and boasts the brand’s award-winning Reeve Integral Lock. Furthermore, the blade is actually 8% thicker and, therefore, sturdier than the Sebenza 21, while actually being a bit more compact. Its name is actually the Zulu word for Chief, which is plenty appropriate when you consider just how formidable and powerful this cutting tool actually is.
Blade Length: 2.75″
Total Length: 6.50″
The Complete Guide To Knife Handle Materials
Carbon fiber is just one of the many possible construction materials used in the creation of knives. Learn all you know about some of the most popular, impactful, and groundbreaking on our complete guide to knife handle materials.
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