It almost goes without saying that the thought put into selecting a pocket knife to purchase for yourself can directly affect your outdoor experiences and your day-to-day tasks. As a tool, the pocket knife is nearly as old as pockets themselves, and it continues to be a quintessential outdoor tool for casual hikers and trail enthusiasts alike. Here we compare a few of the leading pocket knife brands and weigh their pros and cons in various situations that one might encounter in the great outdoors, and we hope that by the end of this article, you will feel confident selecting the best pocket knife for your tastes and needs.
1. What Is a Pocket Knife?
We use the term pocket knife to describe so many knife designs it can often be difficult to discern exactly what is meant by when someone refers to a pocket knife. For our purposes, a pocket knife is defined as a utilitarian knife that can be stored away in your pocket, which means we’re not talking about a kitchen knife or a machete knife, but rather a portable and easily accessible knife often meant to handle outdoor and utilitarian functions.
2. Where Can I Purchase a Pocket Knife?
You can find foldable knives and pocket knives at nearly every corner store and pawn shop in the country, but purchasing one that works well and won’t fall apart under duress can be a challenge. We seriously advise that you visit your local outdoor store so that finding the best pocket knife is a hands-on and well-informed venture. Outdoor store employees are often trained directly by manufacturers to break down the qualities of various knives, and many often have their own favorites, so take advantage of their expertise while you have a chance. Plus, you’ll avoid making a hasty, ill-informed online purchase.
3. Are There Different Types of Pocket Knives?
There most certainly are! These types can include, but are not limited to: hunting, tactical, foldable, fixed, butterfly and so much more.
4. How Much Do They Cost?
You can find pocket knives at prices as low as less than $10, but without a doubt, anything this cheap won’t be the best pocket knife for you. For a good pocket knife, expect to spend at least $50, and more expensive knives will cost more than $100, with top-tier pieces netting out at closer to $500.
5. Do The Knives Need to Be Sharpened?
Any amount of use will dull your knife, and more usage in certain areas of the blade are likely to dull it even more. That said, you can find high-quality sharpening stones at most outdoor stores, and there are countless videos online that can help you learn how to sharpen your knife properly.
How We Picked the Best Pocket Knife
Image from Pixabay
To find the best knife for you, we reviewed the following brands based on their business values, pros and cons, prices, where you can buy them, and their warranties. It is important to note that we did not evaluate a particular knife, but rather a variety of brands that make pocket knives. Meanwhile, our grounds for valuation come from considerations like the quality of material used in each knife, the quality of design, and the business practices of the companies that make the knives themselves. From these considerations, we hope to help you in your search for the best pocket knife for you.
Overall Price Range of Pocket Knives
Knife costs depends o various factors. For our list we will focus on a sweet spot range from the cheap ones to the average and high price range, to highlight quality pocket knives that won’t scare you off from a price standpoint. These brands are among the gold standard of knife makers, and they have focused their skill and ability on developing products that are exceptional, durable, and reliable. Thus, we hope this guide will help you find the best pocket knife for you among.
Brands We Reviewed
- Cold Steel
- DPX Gear
- HIGH-QUALITY: The 154CM stainless steel blade is tough, rust-resistant, and holds an edge...
- WELL-DESIGNED: Benchmade's AXIS lock is exceptionally strong and fully ambidextrous. The...
- COMFORTABLE: The 551's lightweight design and handle grips make it comfortable to hold and...
Benchmade is an American brand dedicated to quality from the ground up. The company illustrates this by operating out of the founders’ home town of Oregon City, Oregon, even as the company expands into more and more far-reaching proportions.
They offer their exceptional knives via a three-tier system: Gold, Blue, and Black. Gold is the most common and affordable system, Blue is more expensive and Black is rarely sold at a civilian level and is more directed to law enforcement and other parties that would require a permit to carry them.
- American brand
- Mostly folding pocket knives
- Not widely available worldwide
- Black series not available for civilians
- Relatively high starting price
- 440 stainless steel blade
- G-10 handle scales
- Includes Kydex sheath and belt adapter
Boker boasts a long history of knife making experts and enthusiasts, and every knife exudes quality. However, their somewhat uninspired design can occasionally be a turn off for people, but the pocket knives make up for their less-than-impressive design in functionality and durability.
- Long history of quality knife making
- First brand to work with ceramic knives
- Reasonable asking price
- Not American made
- Not the most renowned brand
- Might be a challenge working with the claims department, which is based in Germany
- RAZOR SHARP BLADE - 3-1/4" Drop Point 420HC Steel Blade delivers excellent strength, edge...
- CONVENIENT ONE HAND OPENING - A Thumb Hole on the blade facilitates a smooth one-handed...
- SAFE AND SECURE GRIP - The Ergonomic Grip made from Injection Molded reinforced nylon...
Owning a classic Buck knife is a rite of passage for most American hunters and outdoorsman, and it has maintained its level of success and notoriety by maintaining high standards of quality for all of its knives.
- Classic and beautiful design
- Well-renowned blade
- Very affordable
- No frills type of design
- Many store knockoffs often confuse buyers
- Not as many tactical features as other competitors
- Satin Polished Japanese aus 8a blade
- Easy to re-sharpen in the field
- Compact design
A little left field compared to other brands on this list, Cold Steel makes their mark by creating unique knives that never shirk on the quality. The result is polarizing among knife enthusiasts, but one thing is for sure: the blades are great.
- Innovative blades
- Sturdy design
- Tri-Ad lock technology
- Not the most beautiful design
- Somewhat confusing store
- There is a learning curve for handling these
- Blades: Chrome Vanadium Steel Clip And Spey Blades
- Length Closed: 4 1/8 Inches
- Great everyday pocket knife for projects around the house, the outdoors, and hunting
Knives by Case are known for their elegant and classy design coupled with an outstanding heritage of quality. Case knives pack a portable and user-friendly punch that users continue to boast about to this today.
- Beautiful materials like bone and oak
- Classic craftsmanship
- American made
- Not as many options as other retailers
- They are harder to repair
- Design is not ergonomic
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CRKT (Columbia River Knife & Tool Company) is a major innovator in the knife game that continues to elevate itself to new and innovative technological achievements with every knife it releases. The knives are a gorgeous marvel of innovation and pristine engineering.
- Innovators of things like field strip technology
- Highly-regarded foldable knife makers
- Large selection
- Design is simplistic and may be less than thrilling
- Knives may not be user friendly
- Somewhat high starting price
- Super karambits = Overall Length 8.375 in - Blade Length 3.0 in.
- Combat Karambits = Overall Length 6.80 in.- Blade Length 2.60 in.
- G10 Grips & Titanium liners & Lock
A brand built from the essence of pure enthusiasm for knives Emerson is quality knife making at its finest. This is one of the best pocket knife companies out there, but is it the best pocket knife company for you?
- Durable and renowned design
- Original and exciting knives
- Made in the USA
- High asking price
- Style is specific
- Style more suited to urban rather than outdoor
- Crafted from the highest quality materials
- Built for performance and durability
- Made in United States
DPX is quickly becoming a contender on the knife making scene, and for good reason. DPX makes extremely durable knives designed to thrive in tough conditions.
- Unique design
- Wide variety of knives
- Expensive asking price
- New brand, so not as time-tested as other models
- Style might not be for everyone
- Lightweight open frame perfect for everyday carry
- Easy to clean, carry, and open
- Frame lock holds blade open and safely closes
Gerber is a household name among knife and outdoor enthusiasts because of their dedication to creating high-quality blades, particularly heritage knives, which are meant to last through generations and nearly any use.
- Innovative, forward facing technology
- Designed to last for years to come
- Versatile knife designs
- Lack of focus in any one area of knife making
- No longer a solely American-made product
- Titanium carbo-nitride coating adds distinct appeal and blade protection to the durable,...
- Awesome, stylish, classy, exciting, flashy, blue-gray handles with a carbon fiber overlay...
- Opened with a built-in flipper, the KVT ball-bearing opening makes opening the knife...
Offering stylized and user-friendly knives, Kershaw is the everyman’s knife maker intent on bringing quality folding knives to the masses.
- Very affordable prices
- Many styles to choose from
- Works with many unique designers
- Lower price means lesser quality
- Designs often focus on aesthetics over utility
- Shape is not ergonomic
Finding the best pocket knife for you means you must consider your budget, your needs, and your own personal style. If you can afford it, we highly recommend the Emmerson blade series for their exceptional quality and stunning design. If this is unreasonable for you, then consider a buck knife; they are affordable and downright amazing to own.
As with any purchase, sometimes the best way to make a choice is to be able to personally handle the item. For that we recommend you visit your local outdoor store or knife shop and check out the different models we talked about here for yourself. Whatever you choose, we know that among these brands, you won’t struggle at all in finding the best pocket knife for your needs.
Last update on 2021-04-12 at 00:19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API