The 15 Best Everyday Carry Knives

Aug 6, 2019

Category: Gear

While it has evolved significantly over the years, the knife is still one of mankind’s oldest and most important tools. And we’re so confident in the gear category’s overall value and usefulness that we can say, without hesitation, we believe everyone should carry one with them every single day — so long as it is reasonable to do so. That being said, choosing a blade is a measure of personal preference and needs. Of course, the first step to finding the right one is knowing what the options are.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s important to note there is no such thing as the perfect across-the-board everyday carry knife. Every single person has individual needs, roadblocks, and desires. As such, it’s impossible to say that there is one knife that can get the job done for everyone. That being said, there are a wealth of blades that are a lot more wide-ranging in their appeal, capabilities, etc. As such, we’ve narrowed down a collection of what we believe to be the best all-around everyday carry knives for just about any budget in the following guide. These are the 15 best EDC pocket knives.

Why An EDC Knife Is Important

And What To Look For

The process of picking the perfect everyday carry knife is an incredibly personal experience that changes, sometimes vastly, from person to person. No two people are the same and, similarly, no two blades offer the same exact features, benefits, and drawbacks. That being said, there are some things you can keep an eye out for that will make the process a good deal more manageable and effective, so long as you keep yourself focused on the end goal. We’ve outlined a few of the most important things below:

Price: Regardless of the gear type for which you are searching, you should always set a budget. Knives can range from as little as a few dollars to as much as literal thousands, so it’s best you decide well ahead of time how much you feel comfortable spending. Just remember, the price you set for yourself will also somewhat determine your range of available options. Luckily, there are superb knives for just about any budget.

Functionality: The number one thing you should consider when choosing a knife is what you’ll use it for. Some folks need a rugged blade that can handle the punishments of outdoor living. Other, more urbanite people might only need something that can open packages and cut loose strings off of clothing. Figure out the kinds of hurdles your life throws at you and cater your search to them.

Style: Definitely on a lower tier than functionality, at least when it comes to importance, style is no-less a determining factor in your search. After all, if you’re going to carry and use a knife, it helps to find that blade appealing at which to look. Thankfully, we live in a world where the options for styling are just as wide-ranging as the functionality or more. So you shouldn’t have a problem finding one you like to look at that suits your needs.

Longevity: Ideally, the knife you choose will last for years and years — with some having the potential to be passed down to the next generation or more. Of course, that’s going to largely depend on your willingness to care for your knife — including required maintenance, like sharpening and cleaning your blade. If you’re not willing to do these things, the longevity of your knife will shorten and, therefore, you might be more well-suited to a pocket knife that can be easily replaced. However, we suggest you simply take the time to learn what to do to keep your blade working and you might find you never need to replace it.

How To Find The Perfect EDC Knife

For an all-encompassing and in-depth look at everything you need to know when searching for your first or next everyday carry knife, take a deep dive into our comprehensive guide to finding the perfect EDC blade.

The Best Blades For Your Buck

Our Picks

Now that you’ve got some idea of what your needs, budget, and personal preferences are, it’s time to take a deeper dive into the options out there. Remember, there are literally thousands of everyday carry knives available — meaning, one way or another, there’s the perfect one out there somewhere for you. The following picks, however, are what we believe to be the best all-around pocket-friendly blades you can get your hands on right now.

Opinel No. 8 Folding Knife

If ever there has been an everyday carry knife that proves a low price doesn’t necessarily mean a cheap or useless product, it’s Opinel. Not only are these knives remarkably handy and durable, but they’re iconic, classic, and have the potential to outlast a wide range of competitors despite their low entry fee. Dating back to 1897, these knives are still made by the same French family of expert craftsman — albeit the descendants of the founders — since the brand was first launched. And they all still come with the same instantly-recognizable silhouette as those made a century ago. If, as they say, variety is the spice of life, then Opinel’s offerings are as versatile as salt — available as simple workhorse blades, high-end stylish cutters, and even survival-focused outdoor knives. Truly, if you want a collection of knives to suit your every need, this brand has got you covered. And they’re so inexpensive that, if they do happen to break down after years of hard service, replacing them is hardly an imposition.

Blade Length: 3.25″
Blade Steel: 12C27 Sandvik
Handle Material: Wood or Fiberglass-Reinforced Polyamide

Purchase: $18+

CRKT Pilar Folding Knife

In his later years, famed American author Ernest Hemingway spent a good deal of his time out on the waters of the Carribean aboard his boat, Pilar. If you’re putting two and two together, yes, this knife was lovingly named after that very watercraft. And like the modest-yet-intrepid vessel, this knife is as small as it is reliable and sturdy. Designed by none other than master bladesmith Jesper Voxnaes, Columbia River Knife & Tool’s Pilar boasts a stout silhouette — measuring up at just under 6″ in total (when deployed). And while that might seem small, the clever ergonomic design makes it comfortable to hold and use in even the largest of hands. And use it you should, because that’s for what this 8Cr13MoV stainless steel tool was meant. It’s modified Wharncliffe blade is perfect for slicing tasks, yet still has enough of a tip to make small punctures — making it an excellent tool for things as simple as opening packages or as detail-oriented as whittling wood. But it’s also handsome enough that you’ll likely find yourself carrying it every day. That is, of course, improved immensely by the fact that it’s also equipped with a handy frame lock, to ensure it’s always secure in use.

Blade Length: 2.4″
Blade Steel: 8Cr13MoV
Handle Material: Stainless Steel

Purchase: $29

Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife

If you look around the web at the dozens of different “best EDC knives” articles, you’re very quickly going to notice something interesting: Kershaw’s Cryo knife is on just about all of them. No, that is definitely not a coincidence. You see, since it was first envisioned by Rick Hinderer and produced by Kershaw, it has remained one of the greatest everyday carry tools in the world. This is because of its unique combination of relative affordability, remarkably durable materials, and a timeless silhouette that looks as good to us now as it did the first time we laid eyes upon it. Unencumbered by flashy accouterments, it manages to remain eye-catching thanks to its versatile drop point blade, ergonomic stainless steel handle (with a sturdy frame lock), and all-gray colorway. And it is those same features that will keep this in your everyday carry loadout day-in and day-out. Simple yet beautiful, scrappy yet elegant, the Kershaw Cryo is a knife that should be in every EDC enthusiast’s repertoire.

Blade Length: 2.75″
Blade Steel: 8Cr13MoV
Handle Material: Stainless Steel

Purchase: $30

Ontario Rat II Folding Knife

The Ontario Knife Company is a little more under-the-radar than a lot of the larger, more-recognizable big-box brands — like Kershaw and Gerber. But there’s not actually a good reason for that. In fact, we’re shocked that they’re not more prominent and well-respected because they deserve every bit of the reputation they’re known for in the tight-knit EDC and tactical communities. And while a lot of that can be attributed to their long history of crafting tools for the U.S. military — like their legendary fixed blade fighting knives — it’s also due in part to their Rat folder and all its permutation. Unquestionably iconic, this knife is the perfect example of functional beauty with its AUS-8 steel blade and lightweight-yet-durable nylon handle. And this particular version, the II, doubles down on the tactical inspiration with its coyote brown handle and black-finished blade. For the price, you’ll likely be shocked at just how much quality you get in this everyday carry knife.

Blade Length: 3″
Blade Steel: AUS-8
Handle Material: Nylon

Purchase: $31

Victorinox Cadet Swiss Army Knife

Truly, no “best of everyday carry knives” post would be complete without at least one Swiss Army Knife. Honestly, you could fill an entire collection just with SAKs and it would still be insanely impressive from both versatility and stylistic standpoints. But if we had to pick one of their folding multi-tool knives that trumps the rest, it might just be their Cadet. This isn’t because it’s the most functional, durable, or drop-dead gorgeous. Rather, it’s because this knife is about as close as you can get to the original blade that was first issued to Swiss troops back in the late 1800s. Of course, that alone isn’t enough to rank it on this list. It also happens to have a stupendous construction with reliable stainless steel tools and textured alox scales that are as beautiful to look at as they are enjoyable to hold. Pair that with a stout slipjoint blade and eight other built-in tools and you start to get a clearer picture as to what makes this one of the best inventions of man, bar none. And yes, we mean of all inventions, not just folding knives. If you call yourself an EDC enthusiast and you don’t own a SAK, it’s time to change that.

Blade Length: 2.5″
Blade Steel: Stainless
Handle Material: Textured Alox

Purchase: $32

Deejo 37g Folding Knife

One of the bigger tenets of everyday carry — and one of the things to look for when picking out an everyday carry knife — is cutting down on weight as much as possible. And if you’re looking for a knife that exemplifies that tenet, it absolutely must be Deejo’s 37g. As you might imagine, this skeletonized EDC knife is actually named for its weight — just over 1.3 ounces in total. Yet, despite its featherweight construction, this knife remains one of the absolute best of all time. This is because it also happens to be constructed from reliable and handsome materials — like 420 steel, carbon fiber, and even elegant hardwoods including ebony and rosewood. And it manages all of that while still keeping the weight down to well below that of competing blades. The brand even has their own online customizer, so you can actually build your perfect Deejo knife from the ground-up if you can’t find anything that quite fits your fancy in amongst their stock options. Maybe our favorite part of these knives, however, is the fact that — in spite of their ultralight, skeletonized silhouette — they also still have a liner lock for safety and security in use.

Blade Length: 3.75″
Blade Steel: 420
Handle Material: Stainless Steel, Wood, or Carbon Fiber

Purchase: $40+

Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter Knife

The original Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter knife was introduced way back in 1964. And it speaks to the quality of the knife that it has remained largely the same in its design since that time. There’s a good reason it hasn’t needed changing, as well. You see, back when it was first introduced, it was one of the few lockback folding blades that was built tough enough to survive through the same kinds of rigorous work a fixed blade might — like skinning and dressing game. And it can still stand up to those same types of punishment today. Mate that with the benefits of folding down small enough to fit into your pocket and it’s easy to see why this is one of the best EDC knives ever conceived. It certainly doesn’t hurt, either, that it’s so timelessly beautiful in its design. From tip to tail, this blade is damn near perfect whether you’re an urban dweller or backcountry bushcraft survivalist. It’s likely there won’t come a day that this knife doesn’t rank amongst the greatest cutting tools of any generation.

Blade Length: 3.75″
Blade Steel: 420HC
Handle Material: Crelicam Ebony & Brass

Purchase: $45

SOG Twitch II Folding Knife

At first glance and when compared to the rest of the brand’s offerings, SOG’s Twitch II sticks out like a sore thumb. And that’s not because it’s gaudy or excessive; rather, it’s quite the opposite. When paired against SOG’s catalog, the Twitch II seems rather subdued in its design — opting for subtlety over overtly-tactical styling. But that’s one of it’s biggest benefits. You see, this knife looks fairly sleek and unassuming when matched up next to a beefy combat blade, yet at closer inspection, you’ll find it’s excellently built and can stand up to tons of punishment like its tactical counterparts. This is largely thanks to its reliable AUS-8 steel blade and lightweight-yet-tough anodized aluminum handle. Paired with an assisted-opening flipper for quick and easy opening, an ultra-sturdy lockback, and a beefy pocket clip, this knife will serve you well in a pinch — whether that means simply opening a package or functioning as an ad-hoc survival knife.

Blade Length: 2.65″
Blade Steel: AUS-8
Handle Material: Aluminum

Purchase: $48

Nagao Higonokami Friction Folding Knife

Perhaps no folding knife better exemplifies the Bauhaus tenet of “less, but better” than the Nagao Higonokami out of Seki, Japan. Crafted virtually the same way since as far back as 1896, this absolutely stunning everyday carry knife is, to this day, crafted by the same bladesmiths who served the ancient samurai — or at least their descendants. What’s probably most important to note about this knife is that it features no lock of which to speak — just a blade, a handle, and a pivot. Thankfully, the blade has an integrated handle at the end of the tang so you can use the friction of your grip to keep the knife open when in use. That being said, this isn’t a knife for the uneducated or careless — but, to be honest, that makes it even more desirable from an EDC standpoint. This isn’t a knife for novices; it’s for those who are in the know. And that becomes all the more apparent when you take into account its construction: a simple single-piece handle made from your choice of brass or iron (of which both will age beautifully and uniquely) and a reverse-tanto blade crafted from legendary blue paper steel. Rife with history, beauty, and elegance, the Higonokami is a legendary folder for some extremely good reasons.

Blade Length: 3.5″
Blade Steel: Blue Paper
Handle Material: Brass or Iron

Purchase: $50

The James Brand Folsom Folding Knife

The James Brand was founded only a few years ago, which — when compared to other brands that have been around for over a century — means they’re still in their infancy. Yet that hasn’t stopped them from making an indelible mark on the everyday carry industry with their bladed tools (and other carry gear). In fact, it’s probably fair to credit them for a part of the recent shift in the industry’s design language from excessively-tactical to functional-yet-refined. Their Folsom knife is certainly on the more utilitarian, budget-conscious end of the spectrum when compared to some of their other stuff, but that’s also one of the reasons we love it. You see, this knife was built as a direct reaction to the brand’s inability to find “the perfect EDC knife.” Since they couldn’t find one, they made it themselves — and they crafted it in spectacular fashion. From its ergonomic G10 handle scales to its versatile drop-point blade, this is a folding knife you’ll find yourself pocketing time and time again because it just will not let you down.

Blade Length: 2.75″
Blade Steel: Carpenter CTS-BD1
Handle Material: G10

Purchase: $99

Boker Plus Urban Trapper Folding Knife

Brad Zinker might not be as well-known as, say, Ken Onion — but there’s still no denying just how spectacular his Urban Trapper design from Boker is. One of the brand’s absolute thinnest everyday carry knives that still has a frame lock built into the handle, this is a gentleman’s folder if there ever was one. And while it clearly has style to spare, this folder is a lot more than just good looks — especially in the form you see before you. That’s because it’s constructed with a blade built out of high-quality VG-10 steel and mated to an ultra-tough titanium handle. What’s even better is that, while titanium already has a superb strength-to-weight ratio, Boker still skeletonized the scales to save even more on weight without sacrificing the handle’s rigidity. After all that, the whole thing weighs in at a paltry 1.69 ounces, making this one of the most lightweight full-sized folders on the market. Obviously, this stiletto-like flipper blade isn’t for everyone, but it has more than won us over.

Blade Length: 3.5″
Blade Steel: VG-10
Handle Material: Titanium

Purchase: $104

Benchmade 551 Griptilian Folding Knife

In some circles, Benchmade’s Griptilian is considered the greatest everyday carry knife ever made. While we might not be ready to make such a bold statement, we would definitely agree that it ranks amongst the most impressive of all time. That’s a fact that is certainly helped by its wide-ranging available colors, blade finishes, edge types, and more. You see, one of the Griptilian’s best features is its versatility. If you want one with an orange handle, black blade, and partially-serrated edge, you can get one like that. If you want something more subdued — like a raw, straight edge blade and a simple black handle — you can have that, as well. Of course, regardless of what style you choose, there are a few constants that also help elevate this pocket knife into the realm of the greatest ever — like a sturdy, proprietary AXIS locking system, a signature silhouette, and materials like CPM steel and nylon handle scales. Brilliantly blending practicality with style, this knife (and every permutation therein) is superb.

Blade Length: 3.45″
Blade Steel: 154CM
Handle Material: Nylon

Purchase: $105+

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 Folding Knife

Undoubtedly the most tactical of the everyday carry knives on our list, Spyderco’s Paramilitary 2 is an aggressive powerhouse of a folder. Also known as the PM2, this knife has all the makings of a legendary cutting tool — from its high-quality construction to its iconic silhouette and everything in-between. It’s also definitely a contender, like the Griptilian, for the best EDC knife ever to be built. It’s worth noting, however, that the PM2 is not for those looking to slim down their carry, as it measures up at a whopping 8.3 inches when deployed. That being said, the blade is actually quite stout at just 3.4 inches. What that means to the end-user is that the handle offers plenty of grip and torque for hard-use cutting tasks, but the signature leaf blade shape (with its deadly-sharp point) still allows for plenty of precision. On top of that, this knife also comes with a proprietary compression lock that just might be the toughest and most reliable to ever be equipped on a folding knife. All things considered, this pocket blade is nothing shy of legendary.

Blade Length: 3.438″
Blade Steel: CPM S30V
Handle Material: G10

Purchase: $154

Zero Tolerance 0452CF Folding Knife

Dmitry Sinkevich has been designing and crafting knives for a very long time and his style has become instantly recognizable to those in the know. But this svelte EDC folder might just be his magnum opus — at least when it comes to production blades. Unmistakeable in its styling, the ZT 0452CF is sleek and slim enough to fit into just about any pocket, but it’s also made from insanely high-end materials that make it a good deal tougher than you might expect. And don’t let its slimness fool you, this knife is still plenty hefty, with a blade length of 4.1″ — a bit on the longer side when it comes to pocketable folders. It also has the benefit of a dual-sided handle, with one scale crafted from carbon fiber and the other, the one with the sturdy frame lock, made from solid titanium. Stylish from any angle, built to take a beating, and crafted by a legendary knifemaker, there’s no questioning how stellar this cutting tool is.

Blade Length: 4.1″
Blade Steel: S35VN
Handle Material: Carbon Fiber & Titanium

Purchase: $240

Chris Reeve Sebenza 31 Folding Knife

It took a decade, but the folks at Chris Reeve Knives finally revamped their absolutely legendary Sebenza folding knife. Now called the 31 — the previous edition was 21 — this EDC redux takes everything that was great about its predecessor and makes some subtle improvements. The strange thing is, we didn’t even think the Sebenza needed improving until we saw what they did to it. Now, it features a Ceramic Ball Interface to improve the detent and stabilization of the Reeve Integral Lock, a shifted pocket clip to improve the overall longevity of said lock, and new single-piece onlays as an extra option. Of course, it’s still crafted from gorgeous titanium and S35VN steel as standard options, with additions that include beautiful hardwoods or engraving on the handles and a trio of drop-dead gorgeous Damascus steels that replace the standard blade steel. Obviously, this knife is a bit outside of the price range of most everyday carry enthusiasts, but that’s the price you pay for near-perfection.

Blade Length: 2.99″ or 3.61″
Blade Steel: CPM S35VN or Damascus
Handle Material: Titanium, Titanium and Micarta or Wood

Purchase: $375+

How To Sharpen A Knife

While not the only necessary maintenance, keeping a razor’s edge on your blade is one of the best ways to extract consistent value from your tool. Learn how to do it properly with our guide on how to sharpen your knife.

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