Best Flip & Pocket Knives reviewed by Everyday Carry

Flip & Pocket Knives

If you've seen photos of what people carry every day, you might be wondering, “why do so many people carry a pocket knife?” The answer is different for everyone, but it all comes back to the idea that a handy pocket knife is an indispensable tool.

People use their EDC knife everywhere, whether they're at work (say, opening a package) or at home (making a quick repair around the house). Having a knife can also potentially save your life in an emergency (cutting a seatbelt) or in a survival situation if you spend time outdoors.

That said, knives may be restricted depending on where you live and what your local laws are, so be aware of those before deciding what kind of pocket knife you can carry.

The Best Pocket Knife for Everyday Carry

When picking the best pocket knife for your everyday carry, you should consider a bunch of factors: how big the knife is, how it opens, how it locks (or doesn't), how you'll carry it, how durable it needs to be, and so on.

Remember, you'll want a knife that's comfortable (both in your hand and in your pocket), built to last, safe to use, and legal to carry.

For a few ideas, check out our guide to the Best Pocket Knives Under $50. If you live where knife laws are a bit more strict, check out some of our non-locking blade recommendations too.

Different Types of Pocket Knives for Everyday Carry

Because different people have different requirements their knife needs to meet, you'll find tons of different kinds of pocket knives. They serve different purposes, have different designs and styles, and come at a range of different price points.

Some are classic and recognizable, like the all-in-one Swiss knives with multiple tools built in, or the traditional old timer knives your grandpa used to carry with wood or bone handles. Tactical knives and fast-opening flipper or flip knives are more popular these days for their advanced features and attractive designs.

Scroll down to discover some of the best and most noteworthy pocket knives on the site.

Spyderco Lil' Nilakka

No, “Lil’ Nilakka" isn’t just a tongue twister... it’s also one of Spyderco’s newest knives. The Lil’ Nilakka is a custom collaboration between Spyderco and Finnish knife maker Pekka Tuominen. It's a take on the traditional Finnish “puukko” knife that draws inspiration heavily from shapes found in nature and focuses on outdoors use. The small size, rare blade steel, and unique handles give a traditionally outdoors-specific design a new role as an EDC.

As its name suggests, the Lil' Nilakka gives you all of the design seen in the standard Nilakka in a smaller package that's better suited for EDC at a modest 5.6” overall length with a 2.3” cutting edge. But what really shines is the premium RWL34 Damasteel blade. Rarely seen on knives, this steel is known for its high strength, strong resistance to corrosion, and extreme edge sharpness that’s easy to maintain. It's an excellent fit for a blade that's traditionally “zero ground,” as the same shape that gives it its sharpness also makes its edge prone to damage and difficult to sharpen. Spyderco applied a full flat grind and even precision-machined a secondary microbevel to the blade for a practical balance of sharpness and durability.

The blade deploys manually via Spyderco’s signature round hole into a sturdy liner lock mechanism that's easy to operate thanks to a thumb cutout in the handle. And those G10 handles look pretty close to ivory, but they're much more resistant to wear (and certainly less illegal) than the real thing. The smooth handles and compact size at just 3.30” closed help the knife glide into the pocket, while a wire-style pocket clip keeps it secure for tip-up carry.

If you've been looking for a small, unique knife for your carry, the Lil’ Nilakka is certainly capable. It’s available in limited numbers as a first-of-its-kind “flash batch” at the link below.

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8 New Production Knives by Custom Designers

While carrying a high-end custom knife for day-to-day utility is certainly practical, dropping over a thousand dollars on one might not be. After all, a custom knife is like a functional piece of art, featuring rare materials, precision craftsmanship, and a level of finishing that can only be achieved by hand. Whether it’s out of your budget range, or simply long sold out, a custom knife may not be in the cards. However, there’s still a way to get all the design and functionality of a custom knife without breaking the bank: collaboration production knives.

Last year, we saw a huge increase in collaborations between production knife companies and custom knife designers. The trend continues, and the result is a bunch of affordable knives based on those unobtainable customs that we all long for.

Even though they’re not the “real” thing, production knives come darn close, with plenty of their own benefits. They’re way more affordable thanks to the more common materials they’re made from. Production knives are mass produced, so they’re much easier to get a hold of than a custom. It’s going to sting a lot less if you scratch up a $45 knife than its $1400 custom counterpart. You’re still getting a lot of the design and functionality of the custom at a more affordable price.

Here are 8 new production knives for 2017 that are based on high-end customs.

Manker Elfin

Some of the best things in life come in small packages. After putting together a sizable stable of flashlights, Manker set their sights on making a compact EDC knife. And while it would have been easy to pair a flashy design with generic materials and call it a day, they've done the opposite with the Elfin. By making the most out of limited space and using top-tier materials, their first blade shows experience and effort far beyond a freshman attempt.

CPM S35VN steel is a material you usually find on the highest-end knives, thanks to its high performance during tough use and ease of honing and maintenance. It's not a coincidence that it's the steel Manker uses for the Elfin, giving its 1.5” edge enduring operation in spite of its size. Titanium handles keep the knife light but resilient to match its blade steel, making it easy to carry without worrying about hard use both in and out of pocket.

Its steel and shape lend itself to both cutting and piercing tasks, while a flipper tab and frame lock makes the Elfin quick to deploy and get straight to the cutting task at hand. And while the handles don't make room for a clip, a lanyard hole lets you EDC the Elfin with a lanyard or split ring for attaching on a keychain or bag.

Materials make the Manker. Pick up the Elfin from the Amazon link below.

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Victorinox Spartan PS

When you think of Swiss Army Knives, their red, blue, or silver multi-toools are what usually comes to mind. While they handily get the job done, they probably aren't your go-to if you're after a murdered-out, all-black-everything EDC. Thanks to a new process—Polispectral (PS) coloring—that gives a covert coating to a high-utility multi-tool, Victorinox brings their popular Spartan multi-tool back into the fray by keeping it distinctly low-profile.

Polispectral coating gives the Spartan PS's tools a unique, shimmering look that changes depending on how the light hits them. This creates a shifting color range from dark gray to anthracite, giving the Spartan an exotic look to match the rest of your stealthy gear. By itself, the Spartan's a capable tool with 13 functions within its medium-sized frame, including 2 blades, drivers, openers, and the usual pair of slots for a toothpick and tweezers. As a new addition, the Spartan PS comes with a branded lanyard that helps with retrieval during pocket carry, making it easier than ever to carry a Swiss Army Knife in your EDC.

Shining, shimmering, splendid—the Spartan is back in black to get the job done. Pick one up at the link below.

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An Introduction to Damascus Steel EDC Knives

A handy pocket knife is one of those things we EDCers love to collect. Some zero in on their favorite material, like titanium or wood handles, others might collect knives from their favorite designer. But for many enthusiasts, knives with a damascus blade and their distinct wave pattern are a prized part of their collection. While they're stunningly beautiful knives, they shouldn't be thought of as just display pieces — they're capable tools in their own right. In this guide, we'll explain what makes a Damascus knife so special and list some great options worth a spot in your collection.

Leatherman Skeletool KB

When you think of a multi-tool, there's a good chance you picture a Leatherman. They're known for their quality and performance, but not necessarily for being lightweight. That started to change with the original Skeletool, which cut down on bulk and put a bigger emphasis on the tool's blade. As the newest offering in the Skeletool line, the Leatherman Skeletool KB gets even more barebones. It's a minimalist, lightweight folder that's the perfect size for everyday carry.

The “skeletonized” design of the Skeletool line of tools made them a go-to lightweight option for mid-sized and keychain multi-tools. The new Skeletool KB strips away many bulkier functions so it has a 'naked' feel to it. You can see the side of the blade, save for the edge, exposed through the handle when folded. It's a striking minimalist look, but it's not just for show. By cutting out all that non-essential material in the handle and blade, the Skeletool KB manages to weigh in at an incredible 1.5 ounces in total. That's so light that you'll barely notice it in your pocket until you need it. And with its deep carry pocket clip (which doubles as a bottle opener), it's not too conspicuous.

Of course, you can tackle your everyday cutting and slicing tasks easily with its 2.65" drop point blade. It's made out of reliable and easy to sharpen 420HC steel that'll you can feel confident in using daily. And with its featherweight design, it'll also work well for light duty tasks out on the trail.

The Leatherman Skeletool KB is a knife you won't want to leave behind. Make it a part of your own minimalist everyday carry at the link below.

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4Ever Survival Knife

"A durable fixed-blade knife for everyday adventures. We dig the angular design and circular perforations in the blade. In addition to its full tang 440C stainless blade, it packs a kit of survival gear inside its handle. Available with..." (via TheAwesomer)

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CRKT Crossbones

From the handle to the blade, the Crossbones is a marvel of slim, minimalist design. So much so that it went on to win the Best Imported Knife of 2017 at this past Blade Show. It's a feat made even more impressive given it's up-and-coming knifemaker Jeff Park's first production blade from CRKT. The Crossbones has an understated sleekness to it that makes it a perfect choice for a classy modern gent's knife. And its ergonomics and versatility make it a great choice for general everyday carry use, too.

The Crossbones sports a thin, 6061 aluminum handle with a two-tone “cross” pattern that gives it its signature look. A darker, diamond-textured section gives excellent grip to its otherwise slender frame and contrasts the rest of the brushed aluminum on the handle. An IKBS-assisted flipper tab keeps the knife's trim silhouette when closed while quickly deploying its 3.5” AUS-8 blade into a solid liner lock. The Crossbones is an excellent slicer thanks to the full flat grind on its blade, making short work of your everyday cutting tasks. And at a mere 4.5" closed and 2.4oz in weight, it's neither too big nor too heavy for your pockets.

If you're looking for a knife that cuts as sharp as it looks, the Crossbones is a great low-profile option for you. Give this modern EDC gent's knife a try and pick one up at the link below.

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CRKT Snap Lock Folding Knife

"The design is more than a decade old but it’s still one of the most unique available, and finally back in production. The CRKT Snap Lock Folding Knife, originally designed by Ed Van Hoy, is skeletonized as all hell and extremely lightweight for it at 2.6 ounces, not to mention safely locked both folded and unfolded thanks to a unique ambidextrous Snap Lock mechanism that’s actuated using your thumb (at which point the blade can be swung 180° open; see second image). The handle is still comfortable and..." (via GearHungry)

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Kershaw Dividend

Given their vast catalog, there's plenty to like from Kershaw's knives. So much so that sometimes, it would be interesting and useful to take features from one knife and mix them in with others to create the perfect EDC blade. With the Dividend, Kershaw's already one step ahead. It's a slimmer, sleeker knife in the vein of their popular Link and Leek models, sized and shaped for everyday carry, and one of the few Kershaw knives made in the USA.

You probably know what features come next. Like most Kershaw knives, the Dividend comes with a SpeedSafe-assisted flipper opening which secures with a steel liner lock. Its blade folds into lightweight anodized aluminum handles with a slight curve for a more comfortable full-handed grip. 

The Dividend's payoff comes from its blade. Its length is exactly 3 inches, giving it a balance of utility and compliance with many local laws. Its modified drop point geometry gives it a long belly with a narrower angle, granting extra precision and slicing performance. A 4-way clip and lanyard hole rounds out its carry options, making the Dividend a versatile EDC blade in any orientation.

The USA-made Dividend shows off Kershaw's knowledge and mastery over their own products, giving you a robust blade designed tip to clip for EDC. Pick one up in gray at the Amazon link below, and be sure to check out its black-handled version as well.

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CRKT Homefront EDC

When shopping for EDC knives, the ability to strip it down to its individual pieces probably isn't at the top of your list. But if you think about it, it makes plenty of sense when maintaining your favorite everyday blade. With recessed spaces and moving parts, even the best-made EDC blades can fall prey to the gunk and debris that come with everyday use. Not a problem for CRKT's Homefront EDC. This Ken Onion design first appeared as a field-stripping specialist for outdoor carry, but has come back as a mainstay for your everyday kit.

Like the original Homefront, the EDC version comes with Field Strip technology that lets you dismantle the knife without tools for ease of cleaning and upkeep. This new version comes with a few key changes: the 3.5” vintage WW1 bayonet style blade now comes in 1.4116 stainless steel giving it ample resistance to wear and tear. This folds into lightweight glass-reinforced nylon handles for a lighter carry at 4.3 ounces. The Homefront EDC also comes with a deep-carry pocket clip to help cement its position as an everyday blade in your pockets.

It's not every day that a knife that can come apart in your hands can be considered its best and most impressive feature. Check out and pick up the CRKT Homefront EDC at the Amazon link below.

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Kershaw Pub

The newly released Kershaw Pub is part knife, part multi-tool, and all kinds of useful. It's a refreshing take on an easy-to-carry EDC knife made in collaboration with custom knifemaker Dmitry Sinkevich. Because of its compact size and handy set of extra features built in, the Pub makes for a capable primary knife or backup option to carry anywhere.

At first glance, the Pub doesn’t even look like a knife. When the blade is closed, it looks more like a keychain than anything. The standout feature in the Pub's unique design is the back end of the blade. When you fold the knife partially open, an attachment loop opens up so you can throw it on a belt loop, key ring, or lanyard. When using the knife, the loop becomes a support for the blade, ensuring that it won’t close during use.

The compact 1.6” modified sheepsfoot blade is made from thick 8Cr13MoV steel that feels nice and sturdy during use. The non-locking slip joint, low-profile looks, and sub-2” blade make the Pub ideal for carry in even areas with strict knife laws. There’s also a bottle opener and screwdriver tip/prybar built right into the frame of the knife for quick fixes on the go.

Kershaw’s Pub is available in three different colors: carbon fiber, blue, and black. You can check them out in more detail below.

Check It Out

Update 06/09/17: Congrats to this week's winners Russ W., Rafael F., and Eric B.! Thanks to everyone who participated. Stay tuned for more giveaways in the future.

This contest is sponsored by Kershaw.

Opinel No.8 Outdoor

It's easy to see why Opinel knives have long been EDC favorites thanks to their variety of sizes and inexpensive price points. They're light in the pocket but heavy on performance, thanks to a rust-resistant blade with enough length for precision slicing, a unique locking collar, and a full-sized grip. And with the No. 8 Outdoor model, that same grip adds survival tools and features to an already solid knife.

The Opinel No. 8 Outdoor uses a slightly larger stock for its Sandvik 12C27 modified stainless steel blade. This extra 3.35” space gives the knife room to add serrations towards the handle in addition to a shackle key slot commonly used in sailing.

Opinel's signature lightweight wood handles are traded out for fiberglass-reinforced polyamide, which gives the Outdoor shock-, humidity-, and extreme temperature resistance. Its outdoor functionality is rounded out with a 110db survival whistle, an integral lanyard for ease of carry, and safety lock to keep it closed during travel and transport.

Opinel's knives are simple and effective additions to any EDC. The No. 8 Outdoor brings all the right features to the table for an even more useful survival knife and multi-tool. Pick one up in orange at the Amazon link below, and be sure to check out its other hi-vis colorways to best match your outdoor carry.

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The Best EDC Knives Under 3" in 2017

When it comes to your EDC knife, size matters. And bigger isn't always better. A knife that's too big can be unwieldy to use and carry, not to mention illegal depending on where you live. On the flip side, a knife that's too small might take more effort for even simple tasks. For a lot of you, the best EDC knife is just under 3" long. In this guide, we'll break down why you might want a smaller knife, what to look for in a compact EDC, and highlight 10 EDC knives around the 2.5” to 3” sweet spot that are a cut above the rest.

The Beginner's Guide to EDC Knife Blade Steels

Your EDC knife is only as good as the steel in its blade. A knife made of good steel will be sharp, stay sharp, and won't break on you. On the other hand, knives made of dubious steel are unreliable and downright unsafe. They tend to dull easily and end up chipping and breaking when you need them most. There's a lot of blade steels to pick from, and each has its own set of advantages to consider for your EDC. In this guide, we'll go over what to look out for in a steel before buying your next blade. To make things even easier, we'll give a few examples of our favorite knives made of each type of steel.

Benchmade 319 Proper

When you think of a proper gent's knife, Benchmade knives probably aren't the first to come to mind. But with their new 319 "Proper," that's all about to change. It's Benchmade's first take on a classic slip joint folder. It's a non-locking folding knife with a ton of character, crafted by one of the best blade makers in the USA. It’s significantly less aggressive than Benchmade's usual offerings thanks to the blade size, shape, and handle materials, but it's every bit as capable for EDC.

Instead of the cheap carbon steel you commonly see on slip joints, the Proper uses a corrosion-resistant, American-made CPM S30V steel on its 2.86” blade. Its sheepsfoot blade shape is ideal for a variety of cutting and slicing tasks, thanks to the large belly and distinct point. In keeping with the traditional slip joint design, the Proper comes with scales made of either red contoured G10 or a dark green micarta resin that both give a unique tactile feel and extra grip. It opens and closes with a nail nick and the slip joint mechanism keeps it firmly in place. There’s no pocket clip, but there is a lanyard hole so you can easily grab it from your pocket.

If you've been wanting a knife of Benchmade's caliber but prefer less tactical knives, the Proper is an excellent place to start. Pick up this modern, soon-to-be-classic from Benchmade via the link below.

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