With technology developing so rapidly, everybody has a phone in their pocket – but what are we missing out on by not carrying the best folding knife? Our guide unpacks common features you should be looking for in your next folding knife.
You’ll learn why they’re unique and how they’re worth your time. Once you’ve got the right knife for you, you’ll never need to worry about being unprepared and unable to handle everyday situations. Our guide will help you get the knife you need, and not need to sell a kidney to get a well-suited and balanced knife. Let’s jump right in!
Table of Contents
- Top 3 – Best Folding Knives
- Top 7 Best Folding Knife Reviews in 2021
- What You Need to Know Before Buying a Folding Knife
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Final Thoughts
Top 3 – Best Folding Knives
|Kershaw Blur Pocket Knife||More Details|
|Smith & Wesson Folding Knife||More Details|
|CRKT Squid Folding Knife||More Details|
Top 7 Best Folding Knife Reviews in 2021
We’ve handpicked 7 of our favorite knives available on the market. They do a great job of balancing performance with durability, and price with quality. We want you to get a knife that you rely on when you need it most. We’ll cover what’s unique about each knife, what you should be looking for, and the kind of real-world performance you can expect.
We’ll conclude each section with what we did and didn’t like about the knives so that you can make a well-informed buying decision. Our goal is to get you ready and confident enough to choose a knife and not regret it. Let’s see how we can make your life easier and safer with our best folding knife review!
See More Images ➜
Kershaw Blur Black Pocket Knife
Let’s kick off the review with this all-black drop-point blade. At 3.4” long, this isn’t a blade to joke with. It’s capable of both utility and protective work. While it’s over the 3” legal limit in many places, this is a compact knife that will get you prepared for anything.
The reversible pocket clip lets you mount the knife in a variety of different configurations. We love these types of clips because you don’t always have to use your left hand to quickly draw the knife. You’re getting a slightly shorter thumb stud that isn’t as rough. It’s just enough to be useful, though we would like to have seen it a little longer.
Linear locking systems are awesome and reliable, and that’s what you’re getting here. This, along with the Trac-Tec handle inlays give you all the reliability and control you need over the 3.4” blade. It’s possibly the best folding survival knife at this price point and offers decent value for money.
- Longer 3.4” blade while remaining compact and lightweight
- Assisted opening is snappy and responsive
- Linear blade lock is consistent
- Trac-Tec handle inlays to give you slip-resistance
- Black finish on the blade can be scratched off through rough use
- Thumb ridge needs to be a little longer
See More Images ➜
Smith & Wesson Assisted Folding Knife
Here’s a futuristic-looking knife with robust and solid steel construction. This solid build supports the large 3.6” blade. It’s quite a bit heavier than many other pocket knives, but you’re not losing out in versatility. It’s less compact but makes up for it by being powerful and easy to hold.
The black aluminum handle has rubberized inlays to help you find the perfect grip and gives the knife non-slip properties. This is a reliable knife with an assisted opening that works seamlessly. There is a finger flipper if you prefer the snappy and reactive feel of that.
There’s also a safety lock switch that’s easily accessible. This helps to keep your fingers attached to your hand for those rare occasions when the linear lock slips. It’s an excellent pick for the top tactical folding knife if you want a longer and thicker blade with a bit of heft to it.
- Great for EDC for people with larger hands
- Easily assessable safety lock switch for the blade lock
- High-carbon steel is super-sharp and holds its edge well
- Rubber inlays make the knife non-slip and great for emergencies
- Not very compact and over 8” when opened
- Not the most comfortable handle you’ll lay hands-on
See More Images ➜
CRKT Squid Folding Pocket Knife
This CRKT knife finds the perfect balance between size and functionality. It’s small enough to use as an EDC knife but big enough to handle most situations that call for a pocket knife. You’ll find that the blade has better edge retention than most – if not all – folding knives with similar prices.
You’re getting a taste of premium performance and build quality, without needing to pay premium prices. This is a super-practical knife with a sleek and subtle design. The pocket clip is a little tight, but once the knife is in place, it’s super discreet. You won’t need to sharpen it often thanks to the harder steel and more gradually sloped bevels.
This comes at the cost of being a little on the brittle side. So long as you’re not using the knife to pry open cans and other related tasks, this beast will last you for a long time. It’s one of our favorite picks for the best folding knife and it challenges knives that are far more expensive.
- Fantastic value for money
- Discreet and subtle profile and pocket clip
- High-quality steel and excellent edge retention
- Black stonewash finish doesn’t come off easily
- Sharpening is slow and rather difficult
- Slightly slippery when wet
Also Read: Best Whittling Pocket Knife Reviews to Buy
See More Images ➜
Ontario RAT1 Folder Blade
Here’s an amazing pocket knife for the money. AUS-8 stainless steel is quite rust and corrosion-resistant. Your 3.5” blade has an excellent balance between edge retention and how easy it is to sharpen. It’s not nearly as brittle as some pocket knives that use harder steel. The pocket clip can be removed and the blade is locked by a high-quality thumb stud flipper.
At 5” closed length, it’s a great choice for an EDC pocket knife. It’s dependable enough to use frequently and safely. We love how lightweight the knife is without feeling cheap or fragile in your hands. The thumb flipper works well with both hands and the action is smooth. What’s unique is that the blade is slightly offset from the handle.
This gives it a different appearance and helps align the tip of the blade with the centerline of the knife. This is one of the top folding knives if you’re looking to get back to the basics and have a no-nonsense folding knife that’s dependable and easy to maintain.
- 5” closed size is perfect for EDC
- The lightweight and unique design feels premium
- Flawless thumb stud flipper
- The tip is aligned with the centerline of the knife – making it better for piercing than many other pocket knives
- Not the most ergonomic handle
- A serrated portion on the blade would take this knife much more effective
See More Images ➜
Benchmade North Fork Folding Knife
Here’s a top-end made in USA premium pocket knife. It’s going to cost a pretty penny – but it’s worth every single one. You’re getting a blade made from CPM-S30V steel that stretches throughout the length of the knife. It’s extraordinarily well-balanced and your attention is immediately drawn to this feature.
There’s a heft to the knife, but it almost goes unnoticed thanks to the impeccable design and craftsmanship. The AXIS blade lock is one of the best in its class and is ultra-secure. It’s a manual knife and there’s no assisted opening. Most die-hard pocket knife enthusiasts might agree that assisted openings aren’t always the go-to choice for them.
Perhaps our favorite feature is how easy this knife is to open single-handedly (with either hand). Closing a pocket knife is often a 2-part move. With this Benchmade knife, you’re able to open and close it with one snappy and smooth motion. You’re getting a knife that’s exceptionally well-suited to tactical and general use, without compromising on much. It’s possibly the best folding knife you’ll get your hands on.
- Premium quality materials and craftsmanship
- Stabilized wood handle is high-end and treated to be non-slip and robust
- Lightweight despite having a premium and slightly hefty feel
- One-handed opening and closing is snappy and seamless
- Quite expensive – not the kind of knife you buy on a whim
- There is some slightly annoying blade wiggle when shut
Also Read: Dagger vs Knife – Choose the Best One
See More Images ➜
Buck USA Assisted Folding Knife
Here’s an awesome compact 2.75” assisted pocket knife. It’s under the 3” EDC limit that many states and countries adhere to. The 420HC steel is hard and tough. This hardness lends to its extreme sharpness gives you cutting power and utility common to larger and more expensive pocket knives.
You’ll be able to open this blade in either hand faster than lightning. The QuickFire assisted opening is efficient and consistent. It’s so smooth you’ll probably spend most of your time playing around with the opening mechanism. There’s a mid-lock design that keeps the blade secure at the cost of closing speed.
It’ll take some time to build the muscle memory before you can open and close the blade without thinking about it. Overall, this is a low-profile and convenient carry best folding knife with a small frame and legal blade.
- 75” is legal for EDC in many states and countries
- Low profile and ambidextrous swift opening action
- Ultra-sharp edge thanks to the harder steel
- Convenient and super-safe to use every day
- The blade is a little on the narrow side and might feel fragile at times
- The locking mechanism takes a long time to get used to
See More Images ➜
KATSU Handmade Folding Knife
This blade is unique. The handle is handcrafted from treated bamboo that leads into an extremely sharp double-beveled blade. This knife is sharper than almost anything else in this price range. The blade sits at 3” long which is on the legal line if you’re looking for an EDC knife. We love the G10 bamboo handle. It’s comfortable and memorable.
You’ll open the blade by flipping the opening lever. It’s fast enough to not become a distraction and incredibly durable. You’ll also get a high-quality nylon sheath to further protect the knife between uses. Overall, this is a carefully handcrafted knife with a blade worth way more than you’re paying for. It’s a little on the narrow side but makes up for it by being exquisitely sharp.
- The handcrafted G10 handle is robust and durable
- The double-beveled blade is excellently sharp
- 3” blade is just the right length for an EDC knife
- Comes with a solid nylon knife sheath
- Setup only supports down-pointing right-handed users as the pocket clip is fixed
- Closing the blade is a little slow
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Folding Knife
Buying a folding knife doesn’t need to be a painstaking process. Keep these pointers in mind and you’ll narrow down your search and be more comfortable choosing a knife you can be confident with. Let’s take a look.
Blade and Cutting Edge Type
There are 3 main types of folding knife blades – plain edge, hybrid edge, and serrated edge. The plain edge is the most common and doesn’t have any serrated cutting portion. Hybrid edges have a serrated cutting near the handle or on the blade’s spine. These are the most versatile and are excellent EDC knives that can be used outdoors.
Serrated edges are less versatile but have excellent cutting power, especially on large folding knives. If you want the best possible functionality then a hybrid edge might be best for you – though they are harder to sharpen and aren’t as useful for slicing tasks.
Assisted Vs Manual Opening
This is a contentious issue in the folding knife community. Assisted opening knives are snappy and perfect for one-handed use. This comes at the price of being more expensive and less durable. They’ll need more care and maintenance too. Manual opening knives are exceptionally durable and reward the skilled user more. They’ll take more experience and muscle memory to use well.
Longer blades are more capable and functional but are quite a bit bulkier and heavier. If you want an EDC or versatile utility knife, try to stay over 3” (blade only). Any smaller you lose quite a bit of cutting powers and practicality. Too much larger and they become bulky and difficult to carry in your pocket or on a belt.
Make sure you check your local laws on the maximum size of concealed carry knives. Many states around the US have strict laws on this issue and often limit these knives to 3” and below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Are Non-Assisted Opening Pocket Knife Any Good?
A: I prefer my folding knives not to have assisted opening. A lot of this is a personal preference. When the assisted opening is done right, it’s excellent and super-functional. Admittedly, at the budget price point, the assisted opening is very seldom done right. They’re either not durable or they’re sluggish and the action is quite lousy. You’re probably better off getting a manual open knife and building the muscle memory to open and close it in an instant.
Q: What is the Best Blade Locking System for Folding Knife Beginners?
A: If you’re just getting your first best folding knife, you should probably go with a linear locking system. These are foolproof and don’t take a lot of management from your side. They’re often not the most reliable, but the low skill floor makes them easy to unlock and close the blade without risking your fingers.
Q: What Is the Most Secure Locking Mechanism on a Folding Knife?
A: Benchmade’s AXIS locking mechanism is one of the hardest to beat in the folding knife market. The lockup spans both liners and is secured in an extremely secure steel cutout. The knife is unlocked by moving the slider and it locks into place automatically.
Q: Are Butterfly Knives Considered Folding Knives?
A: Yes, they are a type of folding knife – but be warned that they are widely illegal in most countries.
Q: What Is the Best HRC Rating for a Folding Knife?
You should feel confident and clear about exactly what you’re looking for in your next best folding knife. If you’re still in doubt, go back over the knife reviews and see what features stand out to you the most. Take some time to think about your budget and which knife best suits your needs and goals.
You should also consider the local EDC laws to ensure you don’t waste your time or money. When you’re ready, go ahead and order the knife that’s right for you. Once you’ve got the best folding knife on you, you’ll feel confident and prepared to take on the challenges life throws your way! Good luck!