In the grand scheme of gear, there are legions of factors that can help set any given piece apart. For everyday carry knives (and knives in general), this includes their size, format, silhouette, functionality, deployment, and (of course) materials. That latter metric also often has an impact on another important factor for a given knife: its appearance. For instance, a carbon fiber handle — especially one displaying the material’s signature checkerboard weave — can make a knife lighter and stronger but also makes it look more distinct, typically in a desirable fashion.
Blade steel usually doesn’t have a tremendous impact on the appearance of a knife, as most steels are uniform in their silver color. Sure, some have coatings on them that can make them a different color — usually black, but they can be any hue on the rainbow. But they still trend toward uniformness. That’s not the case, however, with Damascus steel. This unique material is renowned, in part, for its wavy, flowing patterns. And, since appearances aren’t everything, its striking good looks also serve to illuminate its painstaking construction process and the resulting strength and durability (when properly manufactured, of course). If you were hoping to add a blade to your collection crafted from this impressive, mysterious metal, you’re in luck. Below, we’ve collected what we believe are the 15 best Damascus EDC knives you can buy right now.
What's So Special About Damascus Steel?
More Than A Metal
If you look back into the annals of history, you’ll discover references to Damascus steel that date back to roughly biblical times — as early as 800 AD by some estimates. Named after the Syrian capital, most likely because this ancient city was a hub for expert blacksmiths that traded in the manufacturing of the sought-after material, Damascus steel was legendary and known around the world. In part, this was undoubtedly due to its unique appearance — its distinct patterns mimicking the flowing curvature of topography and/or ocean waves. But this gorgeous steel was much more than just beautiful; it was also extremely strong, resilient, and maintainable — a product of its painstaking manufacturing process, which saw blacksmiths folding layers upon layers of steel together. And that made it a superb metal for the construction of bladed weapons, namely knives and swords.
Sadly, the actual process for the manufacturing of this type of steel was lost to history. But that hasn’t stopped craftsmen throughout the ages from trying to replicate it in appearance and quality. While we’ll never know for certain if this was actually achieved, much of the Damascus steel (also known as Damas or Damasteel) offered today is exceptional in its own right. Especially on the higher end of the budgetary scale, Damascus steel knives are known for being eye-catching, as well as durable, tough, easy to sharpen, and maintain an edge rather well.
Unfortunately, it’s also possible to make a metal that looks like Damascus steel (and it might even be called Damascus) without actually having the other properties that make it great. And there’s not a good way to tell one from the other. As such, we’d caution anyone interested in picking up a knife utilizing Damascus as its blade material to ensure that the brand you’re buying from is trustworthy/reputable and we’d even suggest avoiding anything with a suspiciously low price point. You can also depend on reputable knife reviews (both customer-written and those from reputable blogs/publications) and some forms of Damascus also have their base metal listed along with their other specs on purchase pages. There’s no hard and fast answer, but this can help you separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.
The Ultimate Guide To Damascus Steel
The above blurb is only a fraction of all there is to know about this spectacular knife material. Found out everything else you need to know on our ultimate guide to Damascus steel.
While we’d never be so bold as to call a $90 knife “budget-friendly,” CIVIVI’s Elementum proves that you can get a good-quality Damascus EDC knife without a super-premium price tag. And while its 2.96″ drop point blade is an obvious highlight, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also point out its combination G10-carbon-fiber handle scales, its sleek urban-friendly silhouette, and its reliable liner lock. This knife proves you don’t need to give up an arm and a leg to get a solid Damascus everyday carry knife.
Handle Material: G10 & Carbon Fiber
Blade Length: 2.9″
Total Length: 6.99″
Mcusta Small Nami
Not only does Mcusta’s Small Nami folding knife have a gorgeous and intimidating VG-10-based Damascus steel blade, but all of its components were actually laser-cut for unrivaled precision and fit. That includes its wavy stainless steel handle with its sturdy, integrated frame lock, as well as its reversible pocket clip and more. That’s not half bad for a knife that’s just over the $100 price barrier.
Handle Material: Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 2.875″
Total Length: 6.5″
The James Brand Carter
It’s no big secret that we admire The James Brand and their entire catalog of offerings. But this version of TJB’s Carter knife — the model they’ve said themselves is their “most advanced everyday-carry knife” — is extra special. It still comes with a grippy and handsome Micarta handle, an ambidextrous slide lock, an ambidextrous thumb stud, a deep-carry reversible pocket clip, and more. But it has a major upgrade in its VG-10 Damascus steel blade, which is as beautiful as it is strong and durable.
Handle Material: Micarta
Blade Length: 2.75”
Total Length: 6.5”
Spyderco Delica 4
You might look at the Spyderco Delica 4 specs and scratch your head, wondering if a 7.15″ knife is really a great EDC option when there are so many others that are a touch more compact. Well, we’d suggest tossing that thought out the window for a few reasons. For starters, the blade — which is made from stunning Damascus steel — is only 2.95″ in length, making it legal to carry in states with a 3″ restriction and giving users more handle for better grip and increased torque. It also weighs just 3oz, courtesy of its titanium backlock handle, making it plenty light for your EDC loadout. And that’s just the start of what makes this knife so great.
Handle Material: Titanium
Blade Length: 2.95″
Total Length: 7.15″
Kansept Knives Convict
Though a bit unusual, even in the everyday carry world, sheepsfoot blades — called such for their resemblance to the shape of the ruminant mammal’s hoof — are actually great workman’s knives perfect for most EDC cutting tasks. In fact, the only thing they don’t do particularly well is stab, which is not something an EDC knife is intended for anyhow. This one also happens to have a Damascus steel blade construction, a titanium handle, an integrated frame lock, and a tip-up pocket clip.
Handle Material: Titanium
Blade Length: 3.3″
Total Length: 7.5″
Nagao Higonokami Damascus
One of the most iconic knives of all time, the Japanese Nagao Higonokami is a legendary friction folder that should make its way into every serious EDC enthusiast’s knife collection at some point. And while most are relatively low-budget, there are some ultra-premium options out there, as well. This particular one falls into the latter category, as it boasts a Damascus blue paper steel blade with a magnificently subtle pattern, superb durability, and excellent edge retention. Pair that with its handsome all-brass handle and this is one of the most exceptional non-locking friction folders currently available for purchase.
Handle Material: Brass
Blade Length: 3″
Total Length: 6.75″
Boker Plus Urban Trapper
Originally designed by Brad Zinker, Boker’s Urban Trapper is one of our longstanding favorite everyday carry knives. And while it has seen numerous permutations over the years, it’s hard not to be the most excited about this one with its integrated frame lock, skeletonized titanium handle, deep carry pocket clip, and — the star of the show — a VG-10-based 3.5″ Damascus steel clip point blade. If you’re partial to sleek EDC knives that save on weight and space, but you were hoping for something a bit more upscale, go no further than the Boker Plus Urban Trapper here.
Handle Material: Titanium
Blade Length: 3.5″
Total Length: 7.75″
Bestech Knives Ball
Not everyone has the luxury of space for a full-sized EDC knife as a part of their loadout. But that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on construction, quality, and style — especially when it comes to an upscale Damascus steel knife. If that sounds like you, you’ll probably want to take a closer look at this offering from Bestech. It measures up at just 4.5″ in total with 2.75 of those inches coming from the handle and 1.75 for the Damascus steel blade. It also boasts a sturdy titanium handle, an easy-to-operate button lock, and an integrated hybrid hex wrench bottle opener. This is a tiny titan of an EDC knife and anyone would be lucky to carry it.
Handle Material: Titanium
Blade Length: 1.75″
Total Length: 4.5″
The James Brand Duval
One of the things that The James Brand does best is melding the traditional and the novel. And perhaps nowhere is that more apparent than in their Duval folding knife. This knife’s silhouette harkens back to traditional American barlow knives, but its material makeup is entirely modern. That includes a Damasteel Rose DS93X sheepsfoot blade, titanium handle scales, and a cleverly hidden sub-frame lock. Furthermore, at 6.375″ in total, it’s ideal for discreet carry and should be integrated into your EDC every single day.
Handle Material: Titanium
Blade Length: 2.65″
Total Length: 6.375″
Benchmade Oeser Tengu
Benchmade crafts some of the best everyday carry knives around, bar none. But if you really want to kick things into the stratosphere, the brand also offers a series of Gold Class knives that takes familiar silhouettes and upgrades them significantly with ultra-premium materials and details. This take on the Benchmade Oester Tengu is one such knife, boasting a marvelous Damasteel tanto blade, a marbled carbon fiber handle, and blue-anodized hardware. And, as if that wasn’t enough to get your stamp of approval, it actually comes with its own sharkskin leather sheath.
Handle Material: Marbled Carbon Fiber
Blade Length: 2.8″
Total Length: 6.61″
Microtech Signature Series Ultratech OTF
If you’re in the market for an automatic OTF knife and Microtech isn’t one of the brands on your list, it’s time to rewrite that list. That goes double if the OTF in question boasts a Damascus steel blade, like the Signature Series Ultratech you see here. This ultra-premium knife features a slider button deployment, a sturdy and lightweight carbon fiber handle, a glass breaker tip, and (of course) that gorgeous 3.375″ dagger blade. Truly, Microtech sets the standard for OTF knives and this one is at the top of the pile.
Handle Material: Carbon Fiber
Blade Length: 3.375″
Total Length: 8.375″
The Complete Guide To EDC Knife Steel
While Damascus is certainly one of the more flashy knifemaking materials, it’s far from being the only one of significance, even when it comes to blades. For a deeper dive into the subject, check out our complete guide to EDC knife steel.