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Our 8 Favorite Carbon Fiber Knives For Everyday Carry

Best Carbon Fiber Knives 0 Hero

There are a lot of really stellar folding knives worth adding to your collection and, obviously, your everyday carry loadout. With so many great options out there, it can be hard to pin down which blade is right for you. And while you don’t have to settle on one, it certainly makes sense to pare down the list a bit. One of the best ways to manage that can, in fact, be by picking out construction materials you find enticing.

When considering the materials that have gone into the construction of a given pocket knife, there are a few desirable ones that come to mind. Amongst those at the top of the list is carbon fiber. Renowned for its unique appearance, versatility, strength, and weight-saving properties, it’s not as cutting-edge as it once was, but it continues getting used fairly widely — and there have even been some novel applications therein. If you’re thinking about picking up your own carbon fiber everyday carry knife, we’ve put together a list of the best that you can buy right now.

Best Carbon Fiber Knives At A Glance

Ontario Knife Company RAT 2 D2 CF

Ontario Rat II CF
Photo: Blade HQ
  • Made by a brand that’s trusted by U.S. Navy SEALs
  • Excellent ergonomics even when reverse-gripped
  • Offers great bang for your buck
  • Makes for great budget EDC knife
  • Build quality leaves something to be desired

Best Budget Knife: One of the best budget-friendly folding knives of all time, the Ontario Knife Company RAT 2 has an iconic silhouette, a reliable construction, and comes in a wide variety of options. This particular version still has the same sturdy liner lock, overall length, and appearance but benefits from a sleek black-finished D2 tool steel blade and a handsome and thoroughly grippy carbon fiber and G-10 composite handle. If you want a tried-and-true, good-looking, ergonomic carbon fiber everyday carry knife, but you’re a bit tight on cash, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option out there than this one. Truly, this isn’t just a great budget pick, it’s one of the best EDC knives of all time — period.

Blade Steel: D2
Handle Material: Carbon Fiber & G-10
Blade Length: 3.00”
Total Length: 7.00”
Lock Type: Liner Lock

CIVIVI Elementum Shredded Carbon Fiber Copper Damascus

CIVIVI Elementum Carbon Fiber Damascus
  • Boasts super premium materials at affordable price
  • Offers exceptional value
  • Has surprisingly high-end build quality
  • Features ultra-smooth deployment/action
  • Wide range of aftermarket handle, pocket clip, & hardware upgrade options
  • Would benefit from thicker blade
  • Unknown Damascus steel construction

Best Value Knife: With its rugged materials and surprisingly premium action and build quality, the CIVIVI Elementum undoubtedly represents one of the best budget EDC knives on the market. And the Elementum’s immense and continued popularity has prompted CIVIVI to deliver a growing number of model variants — including the latest Sheepsfoot-bladed version. Taking things in a decidedly more high-end direction while still delivering incredible bang for your buck, the company is also offered premium versions of the flipper knife that feature layered Damascus steel blades mated to handles with scales made from shredded carbon fiber infused with shredded copper (or gold) flakes cast in a clear resin. Aside from the major material upgrades, this version of the knife otherwise maintains the normal Elementum’s design and size — including its excellent flipper action and 2.96” drop point profile. And, while this shredded carbon and Damascus variant is already thoroughly top-shelf, there’s an enormous number of available aftermarket upgrades for the Elementum, should you want to further customize or personalize the knife. 

Blade Steel: Damascus
Handle Material: Shredded Carbon Fiber & Copper
Blade Length: 2.96”
Total Length: 6.99”
Lock Type: Liner Lock

SOG Ultra XR

Photo: SOG
  • Has cryogenically heat-treated S35VN blade w/ titanium nitride finish
  • Features super slim profile & pocketable shape
  • Titanium pocket clip designed to double as money clip
  • Equipped w/ proprietary XR lock capable of withstanding 250lbs of force
  • Offers ample utility for its size
  • Made in China
  • Pocket clip creates hot spot during hard use

Best Compact Knife: There is certainly something to be said for compactness, which is one of the prevailing reasons the SOG Ultra has been such a significant offering for the longtime brand. After all, we’re talking about a knife that’s so thin, it can even fit in some wallets. That makes it remarkably discreet — yet it’s still formidable enough to be considered an everyday carry knife, especially if you get it with a carbon fiber handle, as in the SOG Ultra XR you see here. Of course, a super-thin profile is hardly the only thing this carbon fiber EDC knife has to offer. It also comes equipped with a CPM-S35VN steel blade, SOG’s signature one-handed ambidextrous XR lock, and it looks great from just about any angle. This is the kind of knife you may never want to take out of your pocket again — unless you need to cut something, that is.

Blade Steel: CPM S35VN
Handle Material: Carbon Fiber
Blade Length: 2.80”
Total Length: 6.40”
Lock Type: XR Lock

Kershaw Leek CF

Kershaw Leek Carbon Fiber
Photo: Kershaw
  • Premium material version of popular EDC knife
  • Made in America
  • Equipped w/ CF scales & CPM 154 powdered metallurgy steel
  • Designed by industry legend Ken Onion
  • Blade can be deployed using flipper tab or thumb-studs
  • Uses assisted opening

Best Assisted Knife: One of master knifemaker and top-tier designer Ken Onion, the Leek is an exceptional and memorable everyday carry pocket knife — the kind you proudly keep in your collection and consistently have in rotation amongst the rest of your loadout. It’s also one of Kershaw’s offerings with the most variety regarding available materials. In this case, this version comes with carbon fiber handle scales that perfectly complement the included CPM-154 modified Wharncliffe blade. It also boasts SpeedSafe technology — Kershaw’s proprietary assisted opening — for quick deployment in a pinch, as well as a reliable liner lock for safety during use. Whether you use the thumb stud or flipper, this one-handed knife is more than deserving of a spot in your pocket.

Blade Steel: CPM 154
Handle Material: Carbon Fiber
Blade Length: 3.00”
Total Length: 7.00”
Lock Type: Liner Lock

Buck Knives 841 Sprint Pro

Buck 841 Sprint Pro Marbled Carbon Fiber
Photo: Buck Knives
  • Tactically-inspired EDC knife
  • Made in America & backed by a lifetime warranty
  • Weighs only 3.2oz
  • Uses ball-bearing pivot w/ custom-branded collar
  • Offered w/ optional laser engraving
  • Smooth marbled carbon handle lacks grip of Micarta models (though still has great ergonomics)

Best USA-Made Knife: Most folks with a background and/or some baseline knowledge of the everyday carry space are familiar with Buck Knives. After all, their Hunter 101 is one of the most iconic folding knives of all time. However, while they tend to play a bit in the more traditional space, they definitely don’t shy away from more modern, avant-garde offerings. Such is the case with their fairly aggressive and tactical Sprint Pro you see here. The handle is crafted from marbled carbon fiber, which is both grippy and looks beautiful in a kind of intimidating way. Finally, the clip point blade with its sawtooth back is built from CPM S45VN stainless steel. Best of all, the knife is made in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty. The 841 Sprint Pro is also offered with burlap or canvas Micarta scales — though those versions feature S30V blades.

Blade Steel: CPM S45VN
Handle Material: Marbled Carbon Fiber
Blade Length: 3.11”
Total Length: 7.50”
Lock Type: Liner Lock

Zero Tolerance 0452CF

Zero Tolerance 0452CF
Photo: Zero Tolerance
  • Engineered specifically for EDC
  • Super buttery flipper deployment & great lock-up
  • Has frame-locking titanium handle w/ CF show side
  • Based on an already-award-winning design
  • Uses super premium materials
  • Outstanding build quality
  • Expensive (but justifiable) price
  • Pocket clip feels cheap compared to rest of knife

Best Flipper Knife: Dmitry Sinkevich’s flipper you see here has been a longtime staple of Zero Tolerance’s superior lineup of USA-made pocket knives. However, despite its age, it is still one of the absolute best EDC folders around — especially if you’re interested in something with sturdy, lightweight carbon fiber handle scales. This super-slender flipper actually only has a carbon fiber scale on one side of the handle, with the other — the frame lock side — crafted from tough and durable steel. The award-winning blade is built from S35VN stainless steel and the two parts are mated via a buttery-smooth KVT ball-bearing pivot for slick reliable deployment at a moment’s notice. Undoubtedly, it’s a bit of an investment; but it’s without a doubt an investment worth making for those who understand just how stellar this blade is.

Blade Steel: CPM S35VN
Handle Material: Carbon Fiber & Titanium
Blade Length: 4.10”
Total Length: 9.30”
Lock Type: Framelock

Benchmade 940-1 Osborne

Benchmade 940 Osborne Carbon Fiber
Photo: Benchmade
  • Made in America
  • Stellar craftsmanship & build quality
  • Upgraded materials version of legendary EDC knife
  • Price includes lifetime warranty & Benchmade’s LifeSharp service
  • Designed by Warren Osborn
  • Wide range of aftermarket handle, pocket clip, thumb-stud, & hardware upgrade options
  • Expensive (but justifiable) price

Best Overall Knife: Another spectacular knife designed by a legendary maker — Warren Osborne — the Benchmade 940 is widely regarded as one of the best EDC knives ever made. That was only proven to be more true when the brand recently equipped it with an automatic deployment mechanism. Known as the 940-1, this particular carbon-scaled version isn’t an auto knife, but that’s actually to its benefit, as it means it’s legal to carry in more places — though the Osborne is offered in an auto version. What it does have is sturdy carbon fiber handle scales, a slender CPM-S90V steel reverse tanto blade, the brand’s signature AXIS locking mechanism, and more. As a pair of added bonuses, this majestic cutting tool was also made in the USA and comes with a lifetime guarantee. If it’s within your budget, this is a knife that belongs in your collection.

Blade Steel: CPM-S90V
Handle Material: Carbon Fiber
Blade Length: 3.40”
Total Length: 7.87”
Lock Type: AXIS Lock

Microtech Signature Series Daytona D/E Carbon Fiber

Microtech Daytona DE Carbon Fiber
Photo: Blade HQ
  • Outstanding build quality & materials
  • Double-sided M390 dagger blade has insanely sharp factory edges
  • All hardware machined fully in-house
  • Part of Microtech’s super premium Signature Series
  • Excellent tactical EDC knife
  • Made by John Wick’s knife-maker of choice
  • Very expensive price
  • Illegal to carry in some locales

Best Automatic Knife: Headquartered out of a workshop in Fletcher, North Carolina, Microtech unequivocally make some of the finest tactical and out-the-front knives that money can currently buy. Run by industry legend Tony Marfione, Microtech utilizes highly-calculated designs that are brought to life using super premium materials, meticulous craftsmanship, and hardware that’s been precision-machined completely in-house. Part of the brand’s Signature Series that bestows existing knives with even more premium materials and special finishes, the Microtech Daytona D/E (dagger blade) is a blacked-out OTF that’s as tactical as it is top-shelf. Spanning 7.60” overall, the knife sports a 6061-T6 aluminum handle with woven carbon fiber scale inlays and Microtech’s signature ramped double-action thumb slider. Mated to the handle is a double-edged 3.10” dagger-style  Böhler M390 blade that features one of the sharpest factory edges we’ve ever tested. What’s more, at roughly 15% smaller than Microtech’s flagship Ultratech OTF, the Daytona is also that much more conducive to EDC. Lastly, in typical Microtech fashion, the build quality and fit and finish on the Daytona is nothing short of world-class. 

Blade Steel: Böhler M390
Handle Material: Carbon Fiber & Aluminum
Blade Length: 3.10”
Total Length: 7.60”
Lock Type: Double Action OTF

What’s The Deal With Carbon Fiber?

Originally created in Ohio back in 1958 and further refined and perfected at a British research facility in 1963, carbon fiber is a pretty magnificent material. Made out of one of the most abundant elements in the universe — the one responsible for the creation of life — CF (for short) is non-metallic but, when manufactured properly, exhibits properties similar to some of the best metals around. In fact, in some cases, it’s actually better than, say, stainless steel.

Two of carbon fiber’s most impressive qualities are, without a doubt, its tensile strength and how remarkably lightweight it is when compared to similarly-strong metals. Used widely in the aerospace and automotive industries, this woven wonder material can be made up to five times stronger than steel of a similar format/weight and twice as stiff. Furthermore, it’s also significantly lighter than steel and more malleable/versatile — making it ideal for use in the body panels and chassis of some of the world’s most impressive performance vehicles — like F1 race cars and production hypercars.

There is one fairly large downside to this material’s impressiveness: it can be quite expensive. While carbon itself is hugely abundant, it has to be refined and put through some pretty complicated manufacturing processes in order to turn it into usable carbon fiber — which makes the material much rarer than its unrefined precursor and, therefore, a good deal pricier. This also trickles down into the world of everyday carry, which means that a good carbon fiber EDC knife will inherently be more expensive than many of its more commonplace counterparts.

What To Look For?

There are admittedly dozens of factors one can consider when shopping around for a new everyday carry knife, however, there’s a small handful of elements that trump all others in terms of importance. Below, we’ll be breaking down the most pivotal areas to take into account when buying a carbon fiber pocket knife. 

Handle: While all knives on this list feature a carbon fiber handle construction, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other crucial areas to think about when shopping. For starters, a handle’s size and shape will play a massive role in the knife’s ergonomics and user experience. What’s more, you’ll also want to review the frame or liner material that the knife’s carbon fiber scales cover. You’ll also want to pay attention to the specific type of carbon fiber being used for the handle, as this can vary from everything from traditional carbon fiber weaves to forged, shredded, or marbled carbon fiber to special carbon fiber composites that combine carbon fiber with materials like G-10. 

Blade Deployment: How a knife’s blade is deployed from the handle is another factor that plays a major role in the overall user experience. Some of the most commonly-used deployment methods on modern knives include thumb studs, thumb hole openers, flipper tabs, and button or cross-bar-style locks that allow the blade to be flicked open. It’s also worth pointing out that some knives feature multiple deployment methods. On modern pocket knives, the blade can typically be deployed with one hand, though there are some more old-school deployment setups on more classically-styled knives such as slip joint knives with nail nick openings that require both hands to use. Additionally, there are also knives that use assisted blade deployments, as well as fully automatic deployments that fire the blade out at the push of a button or flip of a switch. 

Locking Mechanism: As the element that keeps the blade locked in place while open, a knife’s locking mechanism is also of major importance and should always be reviewed when shopping. Some of today’s most popular locking mechanisms include liner locks, button locks, cross-bar locks, and frame locks. In addition to proprietary locking mechanisms — such as Cold Steel’s Shark Lock, SOG’s XR lock, Benchmade’s AXIS lock, or Spyderco’s Compression lock — there are also some modern EDC knives that utilize non-locking setups such as friction folders or slipjoints.

Blade Steel: The type of steel used to construct a knife’s blade is undoubtedly one of the most important areas to consider when buying knife as this one factor will massively impact a knife’s cutting abilities, performance, and ability to hold and retain an edge. Modern EDC knives tend to utilize steels that are formulated specifically for blades, though you do also occasionally see some tool steels, as well. Some of the more popular and common blade steel constructions used today include D2, CPM S30V, 154CM, 420HC, Sandvik 12C27, and Böhler M390. It is also worth pointing out that the more premium blade steels that offer much better edge retention are also markedly more difficult to sharpen, resulting in something of a tradeoff. 

Size: Everyday carry knives can also vary pretty significantly in terms of size. Larger knives will typically afford better cutting power and offer better utility, though are far less pocketable compared to their smaller counterparts. A knife’s size will also play a considerable role in its overall user experience. 

Hardware & Secondary Elements: While a knife’s handle, lock, and blade no doubt make up its most important elements, there are still smaller details that should definitely be considered when shopping. This includes elements such as a knife’s back-spacer, thumb-stud construction, liner material, pocket clip, and the actual hardware used to piece everything together. For some of the most popular knives on the market — like the Benchmade Osborne or Civivi Elementum — there’s a wide range of available aftermarket upgrades for many of the knives’ hardware and secondary elements, as well as handle scale and even blade upgrades. 

Build Quality: It isn’t just the materials used that determines a knife’s overall quality, but also how those materials have been manufactured and pieced together. As a result, build quality is another crucial area to explore, as how meticulously a knife has been crafted plays an enormous role in distinguishing the more premium knives on the market from their more budget-focused counterparts

The Best Damascus Steel Knives For Everyday Carry

Best Damascus Pocket Knives 00 Hero

Want to check out another premium selection of EDC knife options that also utilize a unique and top-shelf construction? Then be sure to check out our guide to the best Damascus steel everyday carry knives for a handpicked list of our favorite forged and layered EDC blades.