Our editors carefully select every product we recommend. We may earn a commission from these links. Learn more

The Best Balisong Butterfly Knives For EDC

Best Balisong Butterfly Knives 00 Hero
Photo: Terrain 365 Mini-Butterfly

There are a lot of different knife styles on the market — including outdoor fixed blades, kitchen cutlery, and (of course) everyday carry folders. However, even within those sub-categories, there are even smaller groupings based on shape, purpose, materials, and more. It’s easy to think that you’d have to be a lifelong expert to even start to understand the tremendous number of possibilities for knife styles. Then again, there are some that stand out even to those who have near-zero familiarity with the industry.

Butterfly knives are one such style — marked by a unique format that’s almost instantly recognizable to anyone with a familiarity with popular culture. Unfortunately, thanks to their portrayal in the media — often found in the hands of thugs, thieves, and any other manner of proverbial “bad guys” in movies and television shows — they’re typically associated with violence and gang activity. The truth, however, is that these are impressive, mesmerizing, and useful tools in the right hands. If you’re interested in learning a little bit about this class of folding knife and perhaps picking one up for yourself, you’ll find 10 superb options on our list of the best balisong butterfly knives for EDC.

The Best Butterfly Knives

Buying A Better Balisong

What Factors To Look For When Buying A Butterfly Knife

Butterfly knives — or balisongs — are admittedly a somewhat strange and unusual type of knife that features markedly different handle and blade deployment methods compared to traditional folding knives. As such, it can be somewhat difficult to know what to look for when shopping for a butterfly knife — especially if it’s your first-ever butterfly, or if you’re looking to upgrade to your first “serious” flipping knife. Knowing this reality firsthand, we’ve put together a condensed guide on the most crucial areas to consider when shopping around for a butterfly knife for everyday carry or flipping. 

Materials: Just like with any knife, the materials used to make a balisong will play an enormous role in determining its overall quality. More specifically, you’ll want to pay attention to the type of blade steel used, and, more importantly, the material used for the handle. What’s more, it’s not just the handle’s material that matters, but also the construction technique used to craft it — such as sandwich and channel constructions which are universally viewed as two of the best construction techniques for balisong handles. 

Ergonomics & Grip: Being able to get a good grip on a butterfly knife is absolutely essential, which is why ergonomics and grip are also of extreme importance. On top of the material used for the handle, whether or not the scales have been bestowed with any type of texturing or pattern will also play a major role in determining overall grip. Handles with rounded edges also make for a much better flipping knife. 

Flippability: While one could, in theory, learn a basic butterfly knife opening (and closing) move and call it a day, the reality is a major part of the joy of balisong ownership is learning different moves, tricks, and techniques, and growing and evolving as a flipper. For this reason, getting a well-balanced knife with smooth action is incredibly important. In addition to the handle design and blade, this area is primarily owed how balanced the overall design is, as well as the type of bearings and bushings used to guide the blade. While it can be difficult to determine flippability just from a knife’s online landing page, a quick visit to a balisong blog or forum will provide plenty of insight in tis arena. 

Size: Not unlike standard EDC knives or fixed blades, balisongs come in a wide array of different shapes and sizes. Smaller butterfly knives are more pocketable and often lend themselves better to everyday carry duties than their larger counterparts, however, smaller balisongs are actually more difficult to flip. As a result, we recommend finding some balance and tradeoff here. As a point of reference, a standard full-size flipping balisong typically measures around 10″ overall.

Additional Elements: Butterfly knives consist of two handles (a safe handle and a bite handle) mated to a blade via a pair of pivot pins. With that said, some balisongs come outfitted with additional elements such as a handle latch or a pocket clip. Both these aforementioned amenities do admittedly make a butterfly knife more conducive to EDC use, however, a lot of flippers prefer knives that don’t have a latch, as they often get in the way when flipping — and can often damage the blade. There are, however, some latches with spring-loaded length setups that prevent this — such as Terrain 365’s butterfly knives — thereby offering the best of both worlds. 

Tuning: One area that separates even high-end mass-produced butterfly knives from small-batch boutique-made balisongs is tuning. Some of the smaller — but no less reputable — outfits in this space like Blade Runner Systems and Squid Industries actually have expert flippers who individually fine-tune and lubricate each and every knife before it leaves the factory. This unsurprisingly does come at a financial premium, however, if you’re seeking a great flipping knife, nothing beats a blade that’s been perfectly-tuned by a highly-experienced pro. 

Balisongs & The Law

A Quick Note On Legality

While they aren’t really any more dangerous than a great many other knives that are fully legal to carry, butterfly knives’ longhand association with criminals and the underworld has lead to balisongs being legally banned in most locales — many of which classify butterfly knives as a type of “switchblade.” We urge readers to look into their local laws regarding butterfly knives so you know the potential risks and consequences before you opt to carry one. Butterfly knife trainers (i.e. balisongs with non-sharpened blades) are legal to carry almost everywhere, and there are even some butterfly knives that are sold with both live (sharpened) and trainer (unsharpened) blades that can be swapped out. 

Mantis Vuja De Balisong Karambit

  • Ultra-idiosyncratic Karambit-butterfly hybrid
  • Has locking 2.0” hawkbill blade
  • Super pocketable & compact at only 6″ overall
  • Features push-button lock
  • Karambit hole offers unparalleled grip
  • Very difficult to flip

Best Self-Defense Balisong: As mentioned in the intro, not all balisongs fit into traditional styles and formats. Nowhere is that more true, perhaps, than in the Mantis Vuja De Balisong Karambit. Rather than adhering to the traditional shape of the Filipino balisong, this one functions in a similar fashion — a butterfly opening with a 2-part separating handle — but the format, at least in the deployed position, is that of the Indonesian karambit — a tactical blade inspired by tiger claws and based on ancient agricultural tools. It’s certainly a unique take on the balisong, but that helps it stand apart from the crowd.

Blade: Mantis M-VX
Handle: G10
Blade Length: 2″
Overall Length: 6″

Bradley Kimura Butterfly

  • Uniquely-designed take on a balisong
  • Slightly more compact than most full-size balisongs at just 8.875″
  • Offered in over a dozen variants
  • Reversible latch lock can be attached to either handle
  • Unique design not very well balanced
  • Would benefit from more premium blade steel

Best Affordable Balisong: If you want a balisong with a bit more of a stylistic pop, you might find something you like in the Bradley Kimura Butterfly Balisong. What helps this particular butterfly knife stand apart is the fact that its stainless steel handles are also equipped with black-and-blue G10 handle scales. Pair that with its 154CM steel spear point blade, a reversible latch, and simple-to-manage Torx hardware (making it ultra-easy to maintain), and this is an all-around exceptional everyday carry knife that also happens to be a spectacular balisong.

Blade: 154CM
Handle: G10
Blade Length: 3.88″
Overall Length: 8.875″

Kershaw Lucha Balisong

  • Can easily be upgraded
  • Offered w/ numerous blade steels & handle options
  • Utilizes version of Kershaw’s KVT ball-bearing pivots
  • Made in America
  • Mass-produced knife lacks fit & finish of boutique-made balisongs
  • Would benefit from tuning

Best Entry-Level Flipping Balisong: Most folks in the knife community know Kershaw as the more budget-friendly little brother to Zero Tolerance. However, they broke the mold with their premium Lucha Balisong. This spectacular, traditionally-styled butterfly knife features a formidable 14C28N Sandvik steel drop point blade, KVT ball-bearing pivots, and a bead-blasted finish. Best of all, $120 is still quite the bargain price for a blade of this quality — proving that you can always count on Kershaw to deliver tremendous value at a fraction of the cost of most other similarly-reliable knifemaking brands.

Blade: Sandvik 14C28N Or CPM 20CV
Handle: Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 4.60″
Overall Length: 10.25″

Terrain 365 Mini-Butterfly

  • Ultra-top-shelf, EDC-focused take on mini balisong
  • Born out of collab w/ D Rocket Design
  • Absolutely stellar build quality & materials
  • Fitted w/ bronze bushings
  • Has billet 6AL-4V titanium handles & pocket clip
  • Small size makes it harder to flip

Best Everyday Carry Balisong: If Terrain 365 isn’t a name that has crossed your lips, the time has come to change that. In the very short time this brand has been around, they’ve proven themselves numerous times over to be one of the best companies in the hardcore, hard-use knifemaking community. And their take on a balisong is definitely no exception. Measuring up at just 4.875″ overall, this miniature butterfly knife is tougher than just about any others currently available. And that’s due, in part, to its exceptional Böhler M390 and super sturdy, ultralight titanium handles. Made in collaboration with Darriel Caston of D Rocket Design, this might actually be the toughest, most outdoor-ready balisong ever built. And that makes it very special, indeed.

Blade: Böhler M390 Or Terravantium
Handle: Titanium
Blade Length: 2.125″
Overall Length: 4.875″

Squid Industries Krake Raken V2.5

Squid Industries Krake Raken V25
Photo: Blade HQ
  • Unquestionably one of the best flipping balisongs money can buy
  • Offers great value compared to other premium pro-grade flippers
  • Absolutely stellar tuning straight from factory
  • Incredibly smooth & well-balanced
  • Available as live blade or trainer
  • Immense popularity can make it difficult to find in stock between drops

Best Flipping Balisong: If you were to survey a random handful of flipping enthusiasts about the three best flipping knives currently on the market, Squid Industries’ Krake Raken V2.5 will undoubtedly come up time and time again. Custom-engineered from the ground up for flipping, this handle-less design features a set of beautifully machined channel-construction 7075 aluminum handles with a light textured pattern that enhances grip. Mated to the handle is a razor-sharp 4.50” AEB-L blade that rests on a set of bushings and washers that have been meticulously hand-tuned and lubed by Squid Industries’ California-based team. Fitted with upgraded zen pins composed of a harder steel, the latest generation of the Krake Raken truly is one of the best butterfly knives ever made. Even the sound this balisong makes is immensely satisfying. Squid Industries also offers the Krake Raken V2.5 in a plethora of different colors and with a variety of different blade shapes — our favorite of which is the ultra-unique Tanto profile seen here.  

Blade: AEB-L
Handle: Aluminum
Blade Length: 4.50”
Overall Length: 10.125″

Blade Runner Systems Replicant

Blade Runner Systems Replicant
Photo: Blade HQ
  • Top-shelf titanium flipping knife
  • Designed by & for hardcore flippers
  • Incredibly smooth & well-balanced
  • Available as live blade or trainer
  • Expensive price

Best USA-Made Balisong: Blade Runner Systems — or BRS — is undoubtedly one of the most respected names in the balisong world, with a proven history of delivering butterfly knives made by and for hardcore flipping enthusiasts. Often utilizing a spare-no-expense approach that aims to deliver the highest-quality possible knife with no concern for costs, BRS produces its knives in small batches, which allows for ultra-exacting quality control standards, and, more importantly, hand-tuned setups straight from the factory. And these traits very much apply to the Blade Runner Systems Replicant. Made in America, the Replicant boasts titanium liner cloaked in titanium (or G-10 or forged carbon) scales. Hand-tuned pivot washers and a latch that’s been designed not to interfere when flipping complete this impressive package. This knife is also produced in a huge range of different colors and blade shapes. 

Blade: 154CM
Handle: Titanium or G-10 or Carbon Fiber
Blade Length: 4.50”
Overall Length: 10″

Flytanium FLY One Balisong

Flytanium FLY One
Photo: Flytanium
  • In-house balisong design from renowned EDC brand
  • Made from top-shelf materials
  • Offered in huge variety of one-of-a-kind finishes
  • Has contoured titanium sandwich construction
  • Features expertly hand-tuned bushing pivots
  • Expensive price
  • Can be difficult to find in stock between drops

Best Customizable Balisong: After spending the last decade producing top-shelf aftermarket components and upgrades for some of today’s most popular everyday carry knives, Flytanium has more recently began churning out its own completely novel knife designs. And after cutting its teeth on its inaugural blade — the Talisong Z — the aftermarket specialist has now delivered an even more impressive followup with the Flytanium FLY One. Offered with a variety of one-of-a-kind finish options, the FLY ONE is constructed around a set of contoured titanium sandwich construction handles that have been paired with a 4.25” hollow-ground drop point blade composed of CPM S35VN blade steel. Devoid of a latch, the FLY ONE was engineered to lend itself to flipping, and as such is not only perfectly balanced, but each unit also benefits from having its bushings hand-tuned before leaving the factory — a high-end detail that’s only possible through small batch production from boutique companies like Flytanium. This knife is also made in America. 

Blade: CPM S35VN
Handle: Titanium
Blade Length: 4.25”
Overall Length: 10.13″

Benchmade 85 Ti

Benchmade 85 Ti
Photo: Blade HQ
  • A top-shelf return to Benchmade’s roots
  • Fitted with thrust-bearing washers
  • Has ultra-premium machined billet titanium handles
  • Made in America
  • Very expensive
  • Could use more premium 20CV, S90V, or M390 blade steel considering price

Best Top-Shelf Balisong: First revealed in June of 2020, the Benchmade 85 Ti is the Oregon City outfit’s latest and greatest butterfly knife — a genre of knife that the now legendary company actually got its start in. Made in America, the balisong’s handles consist of 0.46” thick integral single-piece items that have been CNC-machined from billet titanium. Mated to the full titanium handle-set is a 4.4” drop point blade that’s composed of CPM S30V blade steel and smoothly guided by a set of stainless steel ball bearings. Spanning 10” overall, the 85 Ti balisong also sports the type of high-end craftsmanship and fit and finish that the EDC community has come to expect from Benchmade. Successor to the 87 Ti, this butterfly knife admittedly doesn’t come cheap, though it’s undeniably one of the nicest balisongs that money can currently buy. 

Blade: CPM S30V
Handle: Titanium
Blade Length: 4.4″
Overall Length: 10″

The Best Folding Karambit Knives

Photo: CRKT Provoke Karambit

Though not quite in the same class as butterfly knives, the tactical karambit has taken on a new life in the modern-day thanks to the inclusion of folding mechanisms. If you’re interested in EDC oddities, you’ll find some impressively unique options on our list of the best folding karambit knives.