Though many people think of them as little more than violent weapons, we’re of the mind that knives are tools first. And, in the hands of someone who respects the danger involved, they can be one of the most valuable things you carry with you anywhere. Of course, it helps if the everyday carry knife in your pocket is of good quality.
If you really want to stack the deck in your favor in that regard, you can rarely go wrong with a pocket knife made here in the United States. After all, “USA-made” is often synonymous with “superbly built” — and American craftsmen are keen on continuing that tradition. It is with that in mind, specifically, that we’ve put together the following list of our picks for the 12 best USA-made EDC knives currently on the market. Stay sharp!
Why Buy American?
Dedication to Superb Quality
It would be asinine to suggest that American soil is the only place you can find well-built gear. That doesn’t change in the case of everyday carry knives. In fact, there have been positive strides made all around the EDC and knifemaking worlds and there are tremendous craftspeople all around the planet. Having said that, there are also a lot of reasons you know you can trust American craftsmanship — guarantees that you might not find elsewhere. Below, we’d like to illuminate some of the many reasons you should consider buying a USA-made blade for your next EDC cutting tool.
Expectations/Reputation: It’s hard to say which came first in the United States: the quality of craftsmanship or the public perception of it. The truth is, they probably developed simultaneously over time. The real truth is, however, that it doesn’t matter. The fact remains that USA-made goods have a reputation for being well-built and, as a result, that’s what people expect out of them. And American craftspeople are keen to keep that reputation, as it means people will continue to seek out their goods and keep them in business. Thusly, it’s in the best interests of American makers to continue the tradition of well-built goods. It might be a chicken-and-egg situation, but the true origin doesn’t really matter.
Regulations: As far as labor laws are concerned, the United States has some of the strictest in the world. This ensures that craftspeople are well cared for, paid appropriately, not abused on-the-job, etc. To some, this means that USA-made gear is simply more expensive — but we’d suggest it also means greater quality, oversight, etc. Furthermore, materials are also subject to higher scrutiny on U.S. soil — leaving less room for corner-cutting and, thusly, resulting in a better overall quality tip to toe. Yes, the laws and regulations are rigid, but that means the end result is elevated that much higher. It also encourages craftspeople at the top of their game to seek out employment with U.S. companies. After all, people that craft the best also want to be employed by the (subjective) best.
Patriotism: While it probably shouldn’t be the sole reason to seek out USA-made gear of any kind, national pride can definitely influence a decision — and Americans are often quite full of pride. After all, why wouldn’t you want to support the hardworking people of your country of origin? Americans have a penchant for thinking of their country as the best in the world, so it makes sense to purchase goods that originate within its borders. After all, what’s good for America is often also what’s good for Americans.
SOG-TAC XR Folding Knife
Masterfully blending a pocketable EDC-friendly silhouette with professional-level tactical durability, the SOG-TAC XR Folding Knife is certainly a formidable cutting tool no matter which way you look at it. This particular version is equipped with a cryogenically heat-treated D2 drop point blade, a grippy all-weather G-10 handle, and the brand’s signature ambidextrous XR locking mechanism — which pairs perfectly with the reversible pocket clip. For those with a flair for the tactical, few other USA-made EDC knives can compare at this price point.
Blade: Cryo D2
Blade Length: 3.39″
Total Length: 8″
Kershaw Leek Assisted Opening Knife
Ken Onion’s knife designs are a lot like fine wine: they just get better with time. That perhaps goes double for the Kershaw Leek, especially when you take into consideration the version you see before you. Along with its instantly recognizable silhouette, this knife boasts an assisted flipper deployment, a high-end CPM-154 steel modified wharncliffe blade, and eye-catching carbon fiber handle scales. For under $100, we’d suggest that this is one of the best all-around USA-made folding knives you can get at such a low price point.
Handle: Carbon Fiber
Blade Length: 3″
Total Length: 7″
Type: Assisted Flipper
Gerber Fastball Flipper Knife
Why more people aren’t obsessed with the greatness that is the Gerber Fastball is beyond us. Truly, having handled this one ourselves, it is a spectacular USA-made EDC knife any way you flip it. With a sleek, pocket-friendly design, this knife boasts tough and lightweight anodized aluminum handles, a razor-sharp CPM-S30V steel blade, and a reliable liner lock. It might not be very boastful, but it is beautiful in its subtlety and quite formidable at its price point. Back that with a USA-made construction and you can understand our draw to this knife.
Blade Length: 3″
Total Length: 7.1″
Benchmade Bugout Knife
While Benchmade’s Griptilian long held the attention of the everyday carry and knife worlds, it’s beginning to look a lot like its dominance has now been usurped by the incredibly popular Bugout. And that is a pretty big deal, as Benchmade has long been amongst the best knifemaking brands out there. Available in a huge number of formats — including a smaller, more discreet mini version — we’ve chosen to focus on the base model. But don’t let that fool you; this is still a formidable option. It boasts a reliable CPM-S30V manually-deployed blade, a lightweight-yet-super-tough Grivory handle, the brand’s signature AXIS locking mechanism, and — of course — a lifetime guarantee. Pick up this knife and you might not want to ever put a different one in your pocket again.
Blade Length: 3.24″
Total Length: 7.46″
Buck Sprint Pro Knife
Most of those with a familiarity with Buck Knives are probably aware of the brand’s iconic Hunter folding knife. However, we’ve eschewed that one in favor of the more modern Sprint Pro you see here. The reason for that is fairly simple: this knife was designed specifically to be the brand’s most overbuilt EDC blade ever. And they’ve succeeded in that venture with a CPM-S30V steel clip point blade, a stunning and tough marbled carbon fiber handle, a ball-bearing pivot system, and a reliable liner lock. This might not be a knife for purists, but it remains one of Buck’s best all-around everyday carry knives.
Handle: Carbon Fiber
Blade Length: 3.125″
Total Length: 7.5″
Spyderco Para Military 2 Knife
If you consider yourself an everyday carry enthusiast and the Spyderco Para Military 2 isn’t on your radar, we’ve got some bad news: you’re probably not as well versed as you think you are. Since its initial release, the PM2 has remained one of the most iconic and formidable folding blades ever released and has retained its popularity through the years. While there are many different options, the one you see here has a leaf-shaped CPM-S30V blade (complete with Spyderco’s signature oversized thumb hold), G-10 handle scales, and Spyderco’s unrivaled compression lock — which might be the best all-around lock presently on the market.
Blade Length: 3.42″
Total Length: 8.24″
Filson Titanium Frame Lock Knife
Filson is perhaps best known for its outdoor apparel and not so much for EDC gear, but that hasn’t stopped them from dipping their toes into the everyday carry world here and there — sometimes to spectacular effect, as can be seen in this exclusive titanium frame lock knife. Yes, that means the sleek handle, along with its frame lock, is made from solid titanium. The subtle flipper clip point blade, however, is built from premium S35VN steel. And, perhaps obviously, the whole thing was made in the USA. But don’t think that this is just an existing knife with a Filson logo slapped on it because it definitely isn’t. This knife was custom-made exclusively for Filson — and it’s a limited-edition, so you’d better hurry if you want one.
Blade Length: 2.75″
Total Length: 6.5″
Case XX CG01 Flipper Knife
For the most part, Case is known for their more traditional knives — things like the lauded Trapper and/or the Stockman. However, you might not be aware that they do have a few thoroughly modern options, like the Case XX CG01 Flipper you see here. A fairly big departure from their other styles, this knife is marked by sleek, lightweight aluminum handle scales, a reliable frame lock, a stout and sturdy pocket clip, and a high-end CPM-S35VN steel tanto blade inspired by Japanese swords. It might not look like what Case is known for, but there’s no denying that this USA-made EDC knife is pretty wonderful regardless. And you’d be lucky to slip one into your pocket.
Blade Length: 3.37″
Total Length: 8.37″
Zero Tolerance 0235 Slipjoint Knife
Believe it or not: Zero Tolerance had actually never released a slipjoint before the 0235 you see here. That being said, this Jens Anso-designed beauty was certainly worth the wait and has already become one of our favorite designs in recent memory. For starters, it has a grippy and lightweight carbon fiber handle mated to a stout-yet-useful CPM-20CV steel blade — complete with a nail nick for easier deployment. Furthermore, the blade is kept safe in the closed position by a pair of detent balls, the pocket clip allows for deep carry, and there’s even a lanyard hole — should you want to attach some paracord and/or beads. For discreet carry, this is a pretty tough knife to beat.
Handle: Carbon Fiber
Blade Length: 2.6″
Total Length: 6.3″
Emerson Knives Bullshark Auto
California has some of the strictest regulations regarding automatic knives in the world. However, Emerson Knives has masterfully sidestepped them to create this stunning and stout Bullshark automatic knife that is 100% legal to carry in California. Of course, even without that goal in mind, this would be a spectacular USA-made everyday carry knife thanks to its unique silhouette, 5.3-inch total length, 1.9″ 154 CM steel blade, and the list just keeps going. If you have always dreamed of owning an automatic knife but you’re wary of the legal restrictions, this is one of the absolute best workarounds. Of course, even if legality isn’t a concern, this is a spectacular knife.
Blade Length: 1.9″
Total Length: 5.3″
DPx HEST/F Urban Ti Knife
Designed by all-around badass Robert Young Pelton — who has lived through more battles than he’d probably care to count as a war journalist — the DPx HEST/F Urban Ti is a remarkably hardcore tactical folder pared down into a pocketable EDC format. To be more specific, the knife weighs just 4.25 ounces, measures up at 6.7″ overall, and still manages to be loaded from tip to tail with an incredible number of high-end features and materials. That includes a full titanium handle with a remarkably sturdy frame lock, a CPM-S35VN drop point blade, an integrated bottle opener, a glass-breaker tail, and a hex wrench. All told, this incredibly formidable folder might just be the definition of “tiny but mighty.” At the very least, it packs a punch that you can depend on for years and years and years.
Blade Length: 2.9″
Total Length: 6.7″
Chris Reeve Sebenza 31 Knife
There is a very good reason that the Chris Reeve Sebenza has been one of the most lauded and sought-after pocket knives ever built. Actually, there are numerous reasons — many of which have been carried over and improved upon for the latest update, the Sebenza 31. The standard edition (meaning the version without any additional upgrades, like onlays) comes with a titanium handle, CPM-S35VN drop point blade, an off-set pocket clip, and the legendary Reeve Integral Lock — which is perhaps the best version of a traditional frame lock we’ve ever seen and has been emulated many times but never truly replicated. It’s also available in large or small versions — so you can pick your poison — and, as mentioned, there are five other available upgraded editions, including one with absolutely drop-dead gorgeous Macassar Ebony wood.
Blade Length: 2.99″/3.61″
Total Length: 6.98″/8.4″
The 12 Best EDC Knives Under $50
You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get a solid everyday carry cutting tool. In fact, if you take a gander at our list of the best EDC knives under $50, you’ll realize you can find carry-worthy quality for much less than you might think.