The 15 Best Swiss Army Knives For Everyday Carry

Apr 22, 2021

Category: Gear

In the world of everyday carry pocket tools, there might not be anything quite as impactful and historically significant as the Swiss Army Knife. In fact, this iconic tool is so ubiquitous in popular culture that it is often used as the benchmark for other pieces of gear — e.g. something being called “the Swiss Army Knife of [insert item type here].” And while the world has changed drastically since this tool was first introduced, it remains a stalwart staple of the pocket gear and multi-tool industries.

The thing is, while SAKs are often thought of as do-anything tools, there are actually quite a number of different varieties — each built with a specific overall application in mind. So, while most of them can perform quite a few different tasks, some are more well-suited to certain circumstances than others. It’s with this in mind that we’ve put together the following list of the 15 best Swiss Army Knives you can buy. Whether you’re an office-going urbanite, bushy-bearded woodsman, salty fisherman, or something else entirely, you’ll find an SAK that suits your needs in the collection below.

A Brief History Of SAKs

Mythical Multi-Tools

While the Swiss Army Knife doesn’t technically hold the distinction of being the world’s first multi-tool — that honor belongs to tools dating back as far as the Roman Empire — it could be argued that it was the world’s first mass-produced multi-tool and even helped define what, exactly, a multi-tool is as we know it today. The first SAK was actually introduced in the late 1800s, after the Swiss Army decided they needed a new standard-issue pocket knife for its soldiers. After contracting with a German company on their first batch of orders, the Swiss Army eventually turned to a man named Karl Elsener to build these folding multi-tools on Swiss soil. While the contract nearly bankrupted Elsener and his company, they eventually persevered and became the brand we know of today as Victorinox — the sole manufacturer of Swiss Army Knives.

However, in the early days, Victorinox didn’t have exclusive manufacturing rights to the SAK. Rather, the Swiss Army — likely in a bid to save money and increase output — also contracted with another company called Wenger. For decades, the brands duked things out on the market, though there was not a clear winner until the mid-aughts — at which point Victorinox purchased Wenger and, eventually, folded the brand into their own company. This left Victorinox as the sole manufacturer of genuine Swiss Army Knives, and it remains this way to this day. Now, the brand offers over 100 different, distinct models of varying shapes, sizes, numbers of built-in tools, purposes, etc. And SAKs remain some of the most beloved pieces of everyday carry gear available — a trend that’s likely to continue into the foreseeable future.

Victorinox Classic SD Swiss Army Knife

Even if all you have room for is something small enough to stash on your keychain, you can still get a useful, multipurpose Swiss Army Knife in the form of the Classic SD you see here. At under 3 inches in length and weighing less than an ounce, this micro-sized tool features seven built-in functions, including (but not limited to) a blade, scissors, tweezers, a nail file, and more. If this isn’t proof of Victorinox’s SAK lineup versatility, we don’t know what is.

No. of Tools: 7
Handle Material: ABS/Cellidor
Length (Closed): 2.28″

Purchase: $17

Victorinox Signature Lite Swiss Army Knife

Roughly the same overall size as the preceding SAK, the Signature Lite Swiss Army Knife differs in some fairly substantial ways — ways that might sway you into picking this one instead. For starters, this one is available in a trio of handsome transparent colorways, as well as a classic solid-red option. More importantly, however, this pocket folding multi-tool comes equipped with seven built-in functions that range from old standards — like a blade and scissors — to some more useful modern additions — like an integrated flashlight and a pressurized ballpoint pen. For anyone that finds themselves frequently in need of a writing utensil, but not desirous of a single-purpose pen, this SAK is a stellar EDC alternative.

No. of Tools: 7
Handle Material: ABS/Cellidor
Length (Closed): 2.3″

Purchase: $33+

Victorinox Nail Clip 580 Swiss Army Knife

For those not in the know, the Red Dot Design Awards offer some of the most lauded product-focused accolades around. So when something wins one, it’s an achievement worth bragging about. Well, the Victorinox Nail Clip 580 Swiss Army Knife won one of these awards back in 2016, and it’s still a noteworthy release to this day. You see, along with being sized small enough to stash in even the most crowded pockets and/or on keychains and boasting seven built-in tools (like a knife, scissors, and a file), this tool also has built-in nail clippers. That makes this SAK particularly well-suited to use by travelers who appreciate good hygiene and the cleanliness of their appearance. Our one request: don’t share this one amongst your friends, family, and colleagues — not at least without sanitizing it first.

No. of Tools: 8
Handle Material: ABS/Cellidor
Length (Closed): 2.6″

Purchase: $33+

Victorinox Swisscard Lite Pocket Tool

Even the ultra-compact keychain version of Swiss Army Knives are sometimes not formatted in a manner that allows for everyone to make room for one. But Victorinox has taken that into consideration in numerous ways, including with the release of its Swisscard Lite Pocket Tool. You see, this handy multi-tool is formatted to be roughly the same size as a credit card, albeit a touch thicker. This allows users to potentially stash it in their wallet — meaning, whenever you have access to your credit cards and cash, you’ll also have access to its 13 built-in functions. For those keeping score, that includes things like an integrated flashlight, multiple drivers, scissors, a magnifying glass, and more. Furthermore, you can get it in Victorinox’s signature red, a vibrant blue, or an always-classic black.

No. of Tools: 13
Handle Material: ABS/Cellidor
Length (Closed): 3.2″

Purchase: $34+

Victorinox Cadet Swiss Army Knife

If you like the idea of owning a Swiss Army Knife that’s as close as possible to the original model issued to actual Swiss soldiers back in the late 1800s, then the Victorinox Cadet might be your best bet. This no-nonsense SAK comes with 9 built-in functions that include a knife blade, can opener, wire stripper, screwdrivers, and more. Better still, it comes in three handsome colorways — each with handle scales crafted from textured Alox (Victorinox’s proprietary stainless steel) for added durability and toughness. This 3.3″ folding, pocketable multi-tool isn’t boastful or fancy, but it’s reliable and true and will serve you for years and years — so long as you care for it properly.

No. of Tools: 9
Handle Material: Alox
Length (Closed): 3.3″

Purchase: $35

Victorinox Jetsetter@work Swiss Army Knife

Though not always the case, some Swiss Army Knives are mostly in line with the functions of their similarly-sized brethren, but stand out thanks to a single unique addition. Such is the case with the Victorinox Jetsetter@work that you see before you now. You see, this device comes with some mostly standard integrated tools — like a pair of spring-loaded scissors and a hybrid driver/bottle opener — but it also has a built-in thumb drive with 16GB of available storage, making this perfect for anyone that finds themselves needing to move files from place to place. Better still, this EDC Swiss Army Knife doesn’t have an actual blade, so it also happens to be completely TSA-compliant and, therefore, perfect for long-distance travelers.

No. of Tools: 6
Handle Material: Alox
Length (Closed): 2.3″

Purchase: $42

Victorinox Cheese Master Swiss Army Knife

As we mentioned earlier, if you can think of an activity in which simple hand tools would be helpful, there’s probably already a Swiss Army Knife made for those circumstances. Take, for instance, the Victorinox Cheese Master Swiss Army Knife. As you might have guessed from its name, this knife was made specifically with cheese and, more broadly, charcuterie in mind — making this perhaps the ideal pocketable multi-tool for picnics, camping, etc. In fact, it has eight built-in food-focused functions ranging from (you guessed it) a cheese knife to a corkscrew and everything in-between. If you’re really intrepid in your culinary adventures, it even has a built-in fondue fork. How’s that for a mobile do-everything kitchen tool?

No. of Tools: 8
Handle Material: Polyamide
Length (Closed): 4.4″

Purchase: $54

Victorinox Swiss Soldier’s Knife 08

The original Swiss Army Knife was, as its name suggests, designed for use by in-the-field soldiers. As it turns out, Victorinox hasn’t lost touch with that original intention — and they’ve even gone so far as to continue to update, iterate, modernize, and upgrade their field-ready options for the world of today. And that’s what we have here in the aptly-named Victorinox Swiss Soldier’s Knife 08. This 10-function multi-tool was made explicitly with field functionality in mind and its integrated suite of tools includes a partially-serrated knife, a saw, bottle and can openers, and numerous others. Whether you’re an actual soldier or just an outdoorsman with a penchant for tough multi-tools, this SAK should serve you beautifully.

No. of Tools: 10
Handle Material: Two-Component Scales
Length (Closed): 4.4″

Purchase: $56

Victorinox Spartan PS Swiss Army Knife

As is the case with all everyday carry gear, your Swiss Army Knife should be considered a tool first and foremost. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t also be handsome and stylish, as is the case with the Victorinox Spartan PS Swiss Army Knife you see here. For starters, the blacked-out finish goes with just about any loadout and/or outfit. But there’s a lot more to it than that. You see, the tools on this SAK have a “polispectral” finish that makes them appear different depending upon the angle and lighting — kind of like those color-change car paint jobs. Of course, it’s also still a useful multi-tool with 12 built-in functions, ranging from knives to corkscrews and everything in-between.

No. of Tools: 12
Handle Material: ABS/Cellidor
Length (Closed): 3.6″

Purchase: $80

Victorinox Hunter Pro Alox Knife

You’d think that the “Knife” portion of “Swiss Army Knife” would get a bit more focus — but it does seem, with some SAKs, that the knife is an afterthought. That’s not even remotely the case, however, with the Victorinox Hunter Pro Alox Knife. Instead, this is a single-purpose dedicated EDC folding blade that can go toe-to-toe with the best of them (within its own price point, at the very least). It measures up at a hefty 9.125″ in length, courtesy of a sturdy textured Alox handle, a stainless steel blade, and a durable and reliable back lock. It even comes with its own paracord lanyard, lending credence to its outdoor-focused name. If you want Swiss ingenuity in a dedicated knife, this is the blade you seek.

No. of Tools: 1
Handle Material: Alox
Length (Closed): 5.375″

Purchase: $100

Victorinox Swisschamp Knife

If you’re seeking the ultimate bang-for-your-buck Swiss Army Knife for your everyday carry loadout, you may feel particularly drawn to the Victorinox Swisschamp SAK you see here — available with your choice of walnut wood or ABS/Cellidor handle scales. And while the styling is certainly spectacular, especially in the wood option, the star of the show is undoubtedly the 33 integrated tools — which, together, make this a remarkably formidable multi-tool. This handy-all-around folding EDC pocket tool, between its handle scales, boasts a duo of blades (small and large), multiple drivers, multiple saws, metric and imperial rulers, bottle and can openers, and so much more. For anyone looking to hit as many points as possible, this might be your best SAK option at a reasonable price point.

No. of Tools: 33
Handle Material: Walnut Wood
Length (Closed): 3.6″

Purchase: $105

Victorinox Swiss Army SwissTool X

Just because it isn’t formatted like a traditional Swiss Army Knife is not reason enough to discount the Victorinox SwissTool X. In fact, for some, it might actually be a pretty major bonus that this particular device is formatted more like a multi-tool ala Leatherman. Crafted entirely from stainless steel, this hefty folding EDC tool features a whopping 26 built-in functions including multiple blades (knife and saw), multiple drivers, rulers, and so much more. Furthermore, each individual tool is made in Switzerland and benefits from a lifetime guarantee against manufacturing defects. If you’re in search of a solid Swiss Army Knife but you find yourself drawn more to modern multi-tools, this formidable folding tool bridges that gap beautifully.

No. of Tools: 26
Handle Material: Stainless Steel
Length (Closed): 4.5″

Purchase: $113

Victorinox Wine Master Swiss Army Knife

Back in 2018 (not so long ago), the Victorinox Wine Master Swiss Army Knife took home the Red Dot Design Award for Kitchen Innovation of the Year. That alone lends credence to the overall quality and functionality of this particular tool, especially with anyone that has an appreciation for wine and wide-adjacent beverages and foods. Housed within a wooden handle — built from your choice of walnut or olive — this device features a large blade, corkscrew, foil cutter, two-step lever, bottle opener, and key ring — making it one of the all-time best wine-focused multi-tool around. Whether you’re a bartender or server at a fine dining restaurant or you just like to take your wine out for a picnic from time to time, this tool will serve you beautifully and faithfully for years.

No. of Tools: 6
Handle Material: Walnut or Olive Wood
Length (Closed): 5.1″

Purchase: $155

Victorinox Ranger Grip Boatsman Swiss Army Knife

Though many Swiss Army Knives are made to suit a wide variety of purposes, some can still manage that better — given the right circumstances. For instance, if you’re a fisherman and/or boat owner — or just someone that spends a lot of time on some kind of vessel floating on a body of water — you may be drawn to the Victorinox Ranger Grip Boatsman. While it still follows the same basic premise of other SAKs, the tools installed within this folding multi-tool are better suited to DIY boat repair and maintenance. The 22 said tools include sturdy needlenose pliers, a partially-serrated knife blade, shackle opener, marlinspike, and many more. It also has a two-composite handle — with rubber inlays — that’s better suited to grip when wet.

No. of Tools: 22
Handle Material: Two-Component Scales
Length (Closed): 5.1″

Purchase: $220

Victorinox Swiss Champ XAVT SAK

Let’s be real: $430 is a lot to ask for a Swiss Army Knife, as most of the really useful ones are only a fraction of that price brand-new. But this isn’t an SAK for the faint of heart; this is the ultimate Swiss Army Knife for the people that simply will not settle for less. That includes a whopping 83 built-in functions — which includes all the normal bits you’d expect out of a folding multi-tool of this nature but also goes far beyond to additions like an integrated digital clock, “pharmaceutical spatula,” LED flashlight, watch opener, barometer, altimeter, thermometer, and so much more. It’s the granddaddy of all Swiss Army Knives, composed of 118 parts that took a jaw-dropping 500 meticulous hand-assembled steps.

No. of Tools: 83
Handle Material: Polyamide
Length (Closed): 3.6″

Purchase: $430

The Complete Guide To Custom Swiss Army Knives

As it turns out, SAKs are actually quite friendly to modifications. That means, if you want one but you’d like to put your own personal twist on it, it’s actually quite manageable to do so. You can learn everything you need to know and more on our complete guide to custom SAKs.

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