We’d all like to be able to carry around the beefiest folding EDC knife everywhere we go. But we also realize the impracticality of such a prospect. Thankfully, however, large-form knives aren’t the only worthwhile option on the market. In fact, there are some shockingly small pocket knives that offer better value even than some of their bigger counterparts. we’re talking, of course, about keychain knives.
Yes, we live in a world where technology has advanced far enough that you can carry around a fully-functional folding blade on your keychain. There are, however, plenty of imposters out there that’ll just as soon clip off the tip of your finger as help you out through normal use. So, how does one differentiate the good and sound keychain knives with those that might get someone hurt or, at the very least, incredibly frustrated. We’re glad you asked, because we’ve curated this list of the 15 best keychain knives available right now. Have a look for yourself below.
Discreet and multi-functional, the Kershaw Cinder is all that most people need from a blade in their day-to-day lives. It is crafted from a combination of 3Cr13 stonewashed steel and glass-filled nylon that make it both durable and very lightweight. it also features a liner lock to keep the blade in place when deployed and it comes with an added bonus: a small bottle opener attachment.
SOG Key Folding Knife
Designed to look just like another in your set of keys, this folding knife from SOG features a tiny hidden blade made from 5Cr13MoV steel mated to a stainless steel handle. It also comes equipped with a handy lockback, so you don’t have to worry about the blade swinging around while you’re trying to use it. The “teeth” on the key portion of this discreet pocket folder also function as a miniature saw, in case you need to cut up some unruly twine, cloth, or whatever else.
Gerber GDC Zip Blade
One of the smallest functional folding knives we’ve ever come across, the Gerber GDC Zip Blade measures up at an astonishing 1.7 inches when closed, but the blade only extends another 0.68 inches further when deployed. Yet it still has a sturdy and reliable frame lock to keep it secure during use. And that’s more than we can say for many full-sized pocket knives. Our favorite part, however, has to be the quick-release that allows you to easily and expediently detach the blade from your keys (or jacket or everyday backpack), use it, and reattach it in a snap.
SOG Centi II
Though its a bit on the larger side, measuring up at a full 5 inches when unfolded, the Centi II is still very much a keychain-friendly pocket knife thanks to its slim profile and light weight. At just 1.3 ounces, this stainless steel mini-knife has a large lanyard hole at the base of the handle for easy keychain attachment, comes with a 2.1-inch stainless steel blade (with a weight-cutting shackle-key style cutout), and has a handy and secure back lock.
Buck Knives MiniBuck
Buck Knives has been making quality American-made blades for over a hundred years; so it’s no surprise that one of their offerings is a stellar keychain knife. Dubbed the MiniBuck, this lockback folder has a 420C stainless steel blade, a lightweight textured black Valox handle that offers superb grip and durability, and weighs just one ounce overall. And, as is the case with all of their knives, this one comes with Buck’s famous Forever Warranty that guarantees the quality of their products against material and manufacturing defects.
Opinel Keychain Knife
Though the silhouette, materials, and format are much the same as its larger counterparts, this offering from legendary knife brand Opinel is smaller than most normal keychain tools, but still offers superb functionality. Unfolded, it is just over 3.25 inches in length, it has a natural beechwood handle, and the blade is made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel. Oh, and it weighs in at a grand total of 7 grams.
Victorinox Classic SD Swiss Army Knife
We would be remiss in our duties if we didn’t include Victorinox – one of the pioneers of folding knives – on this list. Specializing in compact multi-functional folding multi-tools, their line of Swiss Army Knives are some of the best everyday carry tools of all time. This one is still built just as well, has a knife blade alongside 6 other tools, but – at 2.3 inches and 0.8 ounces – is more than small enough to fit on your carabiner keychain.
Cold Steel Micro Recon 1
The full-sized Recon 1 from Cold Steel is one of the best tactical EDC knives ever made. This one takes that same winning formula and pares it down into a keychain-friendly format. With an overall length of just 4.38 inches, this AUS 8A stainless steel and G10 micro folder is tough as nails and totally functional but in a format that you can carry with the rest of your keys. Alternatively, it also comes with a pocket clip, in case you’d rather carry it in a more traditional manner.
Porter Key Knife
Sometimes, if a keychain knife still looks very much like a knife, it isn’t going to work as a part of your carry. And that’s why there’s the Porter Key Knife. This incredibly small and slim blade is designed to look just like a standard key, but it also unfolds to reveal a very useful miniature 3CR13 stainless steel knife blade. But, because sometimes a little extra uses can make the difference between something that you might like to have and something you must always carry with you, it also comes with bottle opener functionality.
Gerber Ridge Knife
Gerber managed to take a tactical style folding knife with a partially serrated blade and minimize it into a format that can easily attach to your keyring without taking up too much space. And that is partially due to their clever skeletonized mid-frame handle. Interestingly enough, the handle of this intimidating mini-folder also doubles as a money clip, in case you don’t want to carry a wallet around with you on any given day. It also weighs just 2.4 ounces and measures up at only 4.87 inches in length overall.
CRKT K.I.S.S. In The Dark
Thought they look remarkably similar at first glance and feature common traits, this offering from CRKT and the Gerber knife above are actually quite different. For starters, rather than a combination blade, this one is a plain edge tanto made from 420J2 stainless steel. And while the handle is quite minimalistic and has an integrated money clip, it has an integrated frame lock to keep the blade in the deployed position. Lastly, this one is a little bit larger, measuring up at 5.75 inches when open and 3.5 inches closed. Still, it only weighs 2.3 ounces and can easily attach to your keychain.
Bomber & Co. B2 Nano Blade
In the creation of the B2 Nano Blade, Bomber & Co. sought to create the smallest tactical folder ever made. And they may have succeeded, as it weighs less than an ounce and is only 3.15 inches total when open. It also features a 440C partially serrated stainless steel blade that is mated to a handle with a tiny liner lock. And, while it comes with a keyring or can be attached to your own, it also comes with a miniature carabiner clip with which you can attach it to your belt loops or even a hiking pack.
Spyderco Lady Bug 3
Spyderco’s knives are both incredibly unique in their format and are some of the most well-made folding knives ever made. The Lady Bug 3 is no exception. The blade is crafted from superb VG-10 stainless steel and is attached to a fiberglass-reinforced nylon knife handle with a secure lockback. It unfolds to a total length of 4.375 inches but folds down to just 2.438 inches. And it still features Spyderco’s signature thumb hole in the blade for deployment.
Bandit Titanium Keychain Knife
Quiet Carry makes some masterful small-form folding knives that incorporate parts of keychain functionality. This one is small enough that it can actually fit on a keychain itself. But it is still made from some of the toughest materials in the world – including a grade 5 titanium handle and AUS8 stainless steel blade. Best of all, this clip point blade measures up at a total of 3 inches when opened and folds down to an astonishing 1.8 inches when closed.
StatGear Pocket Samurai
If you’re looking for a micro folding knife, but you also want to incorporate some unmistakable style into your carry, then there is no better knife than the StatGear Pocket Samurai. With a titanium frame lock handle and 440C stainless steel blade, this 4.73-inch folding knife is kind of like having a samurai sword that fits in your pocket – only better, because it folds down for discreet carry. If you want a keychain knife and only the best will do, this is it.
Best EDC Knives Over $100
If you’ve already got your small-form folder covered and you’re ready to step into the big leagues, then check out our list of the best EDC knives over $100.