Part of the fun of putting together the perfect collection of everyday carry gear is getting to explore all the different options out there regarding functionality, materials, and styling. That rings true especially for what we’d consider the centerpiece of most EDC loadouts: a knife. Widely varying in size, shape, silhouettes, features, etc, there are more everyday carry knives available for purchase than you can shake your fist at. However, if you know what you’re looking for (or you at least have a pretty good idea), it’s a lot easier to whittle down the options to help find that perfect one.
In the case of today’s guide, we’re focusing on a recently-popularized blade shape known as the cleaver. Each of the knives in this collection boasts a blade shape reminiscent of a butcher’s blade, but they’re crafted with folding and discreet pocket carry in mind. Obviously, there’s a stylistic edge to these somewhat aggressive knives — which resemble cutthroat razors in many ways — but they also make great work-friendly daily folders thanks to their sturdy blades and long, gently-curved edges. These are the 10 best pocket cleaver EDC knives you can get right now.
Buck Knives 252 Trunk Cleaver
As far as American knifemaking brands are concerned, Buck Knives is an institution. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend an arm and a leg to get one of their blades worth carrying, as evidenced by the 252 Trunk Cleaver you see here. This budget-friendly folder features a serviceable 7Cr steel blade, measuring in just shy of 3″, alongside grippy G10 handle scales, a flipper deployment, and a liner lock. Bottom line: you won’t find a cleaver of this quality for a cheaper price.
Blade Length: 2.875″
Kershaw Static Cleaver Pocket Knife
If you prefer your everyday carry with a little more sci-fi-inspired styling, you might be drawn to Kershaw’s Static Cleaver. Of course, its spaceship-esque handle isn’t its only point worth noting; it also features a reliable 8Cr13MoV steel blade, a sturdy liner lock, a deep carry pocket clip, a KVT ball-bearing flipper deployment, and more. That’s not half bad for something at this price point.
Blade Length: 2.8″
Handle: Stainless Steel
Gerber Asada Folding Cleaver
As far as folding cleavers go, Gerber is definitely a name to know, as this EDC staple brand has crafted numerous options, all of which are probably worth a spot amongst the rest of the brands on our list. However, special credit is owed to the Asada with its ultra-smooth B.O.S.S. Tech flipper deployment, D2 tool steel blade, G10 and steel frame lock handle scales, etc. It doesn’t hurt, either, that this knife has one of the most unique silhouettes out there, even amongst other cleavers.
Blade Length: 3.2″
Handle: Micarta & Stainless Steel
CIVIVI Mini Mastodon Pocket Knife
Thanks to their aggressive styling, you might expect most pocket cleavers to be hefty and perhaps even a bit unwieldy. Well, in the case of CIVIVI’s Mini Mastodon, you’d be dead wrong. Yes, it definitely has an intimidating silhouette, but the 9Cr18MoV steel blade actually clocks in at a more-than-pocketable 2.97″ total. Pair that with its ergonomic G10 handle scales, liner lock, and deep carry clip, and you’ve got one of the more discreet and pocketable folding cleavers out there.
Blade Length: 2.97″
CRKT Pilar Large Knife
Named after Ernest Hemingway’s famed fishing boat — the same one he used to hunt for Nazi submarines during WWII — the CRKT Pilar is one of our favorite knife designs of the past few years. And it keeps getting better with every new iteration, as evidenced by the Large version you see here with its blacked-out D2 tool steel blade and frame lock handle scale, OD green handle scale, and ergonomic grip. But don’t let the “Large” designation fool you, this 6.625″ knife is still perfectly sized for daily carry and clearly has the materials to back that up.
Blade Length: 2.625″
Handle: G10 & Stainless Steel
CRKT Ripsnort Pocket Cleaver
CRKT’s Ripsnort has been around for a few years at this point, but it is still amongst the best cleaver-style knives out there both stylistically (thanks largely to its unique synthetic-metal two-tone handle scales) and in regards to its materials. The two-toned Ripsnort boasts a reliable and easy-to-maintain 8Cr13MoV blade, Polyoxymethylene synthetic scales, a flipper deployment, a tip-down pocket clip, and a simple liner lock. It might not be a showboat, but it looks great and performs even better.
Blade Length: 3.25″
Handle: Polyoxymethylene & 2Cr13
KIZER Mini Sheepdog Folding Cleaver
Our one big gripe with Kizer’s standard Sheepdog knife is that it’s just too damn big to be a reasonable everyday carry knife. Thankfully, they’ve rectified that issue with the Mini version you see here. This version of the brand’s signature folding cleaver is only 5.77″ in total with a 3.17oz weight, making it the perfect size for pocket carry without being what we might call diminutive. It also has G10 handle scales, a high-end 154CM steel blade, a liner lock, and a hefty pocket clip to ensure it stays put when you need it to.
Blade Length: 2.63″
Boker Kalashnikov Auto Knife
This list wouldn’t be complete without at least one automatic knife, which we have here in the form of the Boker Kalashnikov — named for the same company that makes the AK-47 and built in collaboration with said company. This blacked-out auto knife has a grippy textured aluminum handle that’s also very durable and surprisingly lightweight, mated to an AUS-8 steel blade with an all-black finish (which also adds a little durability). If you live in a place where auto knives are legal, we’d certainly suggest taking a closer look at this offering.
Blade Length: 3.375″
Gerber Fastball EDC Cleaver
Gerber’s Fastball was already one of our favorite USA-made folders, and that was before it was equipped with a cleaver blade. This version has all the same spectacular features as its modified wharncliffe brethren, but with a heftier blade. For reference, that includes a 20CV steel cleaver blade, a flipper deployment with a buttery-smooth action, a sturdy liner lock, and a size and weight ideal for EDC. It’s hard not to say that this is the best of the best when it comes to pocket cleavers.
Blade Length: ~3″
Spyderco Roc Folding Cleaver
Followers of HiConsumption will not be surprised to find Spyderco on our list, as they’re definitely a favorite brand of ours. Of course, they’ve earned the accolades through a combination of spectacular designs and top-notch materials. And there’s no difference here with the Roc folding cleaver with its unique, ergonomic silhouette and stand-out makeup — which includes a VG-10 saber-ground blade and G10 handle scales. When it comes to folding cleavers, this is the elite option that, if you can afford it, should absolutely be at the top of your must-have list.
Blade Length: 3.1″
The 12 Best Wharncliffe Knives For EDC
A close sibling to the cleaver, the wharncliffe is another workman-friendly blade shape with some noteworthy offerings available on the market. If you want to learn more about this traditional blade shape and see a few pocket-worthy options, check out our guide to the best wharncliffe EDC knives.
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