Even if you’re not heading off into the woods every weekend or working a job that requires the regular use of one, a pocket knife is incredibly useful. An obvious statement, we know. But it’s true nonetheless. Need to open an amazon box? Release a product from its plastic packaging? Slice through the plastic zip-ties that fasten most child toys to their cardboard casing? Perform an emergency appendectomy? That last reason aside, (we’ve watched too many episodes of The Simpsons) there are hundreds of uses for a good pocket knife or, to use a common phrase, keep it amongst your every day carry.
But there’s a big difference between any pocket knife and a great pocket knife. First, if you’re going to keep it in your pocket every day, it needs to be slim enough to fit into not any pocket but a small pocket. Second, it should have a strong, sharp blade (frankly, it should only have just a good blade) that’s not too long. Third, it should have a handle that, even when wet, stays grippy. Finally, it should be affordable. Whether you want to call ’em pocket knives, folding knives, or everyday carry knives, here are eight excellent blades to consider.
Best Pocket Knives and Folding Knives
Although it may not hold the same status as America’s more seasoned heritage knife manufacturers, The James Brand certainly made a splash when it first launched in 2012. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, the company was started by a group of guys who believed when you can’t find what you want, you just have to make it yourself. The Folsom is an excellent example of their work, a slim 5.6 ounce liner lock knife with a nice, grippy handle and clip. It's basic, but it's beautiful.
Combining innovative stainless steel Armored Grip technology and false edge spear point blade, this auto-open folding knife is an American-made workhorse that’s capable of carrying out virtually any day-to-day project. Thankfully, its safety-focused design (including a push button automatic plunge lock and safety switch) doesn’t compromise its sophisticated aesthetic. Its revisable pocket clip also allows it to be carried tip-up or tip-down with ease. What’s more, the new line comes in a variety of trend-forward colors, like urban blue (pictured), stonewash, and classic black.
Maybe you’re looking to invest in your very first everyday carry knife, but not quite sure where to start. Perhaps you’re just on the hunt for a great tool at an even better price. Whatever your motive, Kershaw is a top-notch contender, thanks to its broad array of affordable blades and varying styles. With a titanium carbo-nitride coating and carbon-fiber insert, the Fringe is an attractive option from first glance. But the all-steel pocketknife also boasts plenty of other commendable features, like a built-in thumb stud, heat-treated, high-quality blade, convenient lanyard hole, and SpeedSafe assisted opening.
The Columbia River Knife and Tool company has built a great reputation for delivering resilient and innovative products time and time again. Their Raikiri everyday carry folding knife is no exception. Designed by Dew Hara in Seki, Japan, this five-ouncer features a modified wharncliffe blade with a satin finish and two cold forged aluminum handles. Field Strip Technology also allows for super simple disassembly, making it a breeze to take apart and clean. Weighing in at just five ounces, this lightweight knife can take a beating, but also boasts a lifetime warranty (you know, just in case).
Those familiar with the Benchmade brand know it’s one of the most admired knife manufacturers in the game. Their 565S Mini Freek is a more compact riff on their popular Freek product line, but it still incorporates many of the original’s same lauded features, like dual durometer handles and fully ambidextrous AXIS locks. The serrated blade measures three inches, and the entire unit is just over seven inches when fully opened. This folding pocketknife is known for its strength and comfort grip, making it ready for almost any task at hand.
When it comes to creating some of the most tactical knives in the industry, SOG has been leading the way since 1986. Their newly launched Terminus XR model is a sleek but hard-wearing selection that won’t break the bank. In fact, the company still manufactures a fixed-blade model used by the US Navy SEALs today—and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you. With its satin-finished straight edge steel blade, smooth XR locking mechanism, and ergonomic handle comprised of G10 and carbon fiber, it's a great EDC.
Buck Knives traces its roots all the way back to 1902, and has been revolutionizing the blade industry ever since as one of the most prolific American knife manufacturers of all time. Their 112 Slim is an updated take on their classic, the 112 Ranger, but features a modernized design with a slew of upgraded materials. Users love its removable pocket clip, durable-but-lightweight Micarta handles, streamlined one-handed opening, and the corrosion-resistant stainless steel blade finished with Buck’s Advanced Edge2X Blade Technology. And if you’re feeling a bit fancy, you can even add customized engraving for just seven bucks more.
The Spyderco ClipiTool Rescue is a trusted option for anyone in search of a truly versatile and functional instrument. Designed with first responders in mind, it’s been built to handle some seriously tough situations. The multi-functional pocketknife houses three different folding tools: a primary serrated SpyderEdge knife, a high-performance hook-shaped cutter, and a hollow-ground screwdriver blade. Each is crafted from superior stainless steel and feature Trademark Round Holes for quick, one-handed access. Throw in a few more useful features like its LinearLock mechanism, textured G10 handles, and dual-position hourglass clip, and you’ve got yourself an apparatus that’s ready for just about any job you throw its way.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.