Everyday Carry

The 21 Best Pocket Knives for EDC in 2022

Jonathan Tayag
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The 21 Best Pocket Knives for EDC in 2022

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If there’s one item that separates your usual setup of a phone, wallet, and keys from a bona fide everyday carry (EDC), it’s the venerable pocket knife. It’s become a symbol of preparedness, widely regarded as a staple of EDC gear. That’s because having a good pocket knife can come in handy in a surprising number of ways, from everyday tasks like opening packages or prepping a snack to emergency applications such as self-defense or outdoor survival alike. With so many ways you can use a pocket knife, it’s no surprise you’ll have plenty of options to choose from, which can be daunting. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll break down what to look for when choosing the best pocket knife for your EDC, as well as highlight our 21 favorite options to make your search for your next pocket knife easy.

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What You Should Know Before Buying a Pocket Knife

Adding a pocket knife to your EDC is an important decision to make. It's important to understand the legality of it, what your use cases are, and what kind of knife to buy. We'll cover that in this section for those of you who are new to EDC knives. In this guide, we'll focus on dedicated pocket knives. For multi-tools and multi-functional knives like Victorinox Swiss Army Knives, check out this article.

Is It Legal to Carry a Pocket Knife?

For the most part, carrying a folding pocket knife in the United States is legal. There are a few caveats, and it is always best to check your local laws and proper legal advice when deciding to EDC a knife. Sometimes you have to deal with length restrictions. For the most part, keeping the blade length below 3 inches is the safe option. You can't carry a locking blade in some places, so you might have to opt for a slip joint blade. 

The kind of opening sometimes matters as well. Some jurisdictions frown upon spring-assisted knives, so a manual thumbstud or nail-nick knife is your safest bet. Three types of knives tend to be more highly restricted, and you might want to do further research about them if you carry them in your area. The automatic knife is the first type that tends to be a problem in many places. Another is the balisong or butterfly-style knife. The third is fixed blade knives. 

How you carry can be significant. Some areas require you to open carry a knife. Others require concealment. You may also face restrictions on where you can have a knife. For example, you might be unable to bring them to work or other sensitive areas like public events and government buildings.

Why Would You Need an EDC Pocket Knife

Having a pocket knife means having a cutting tool ready whenever needed. It might not seem so important until you suddenly need to cut something with no sharp implement on hand. You might have to make do with your keys or scissors, but a knife would have made things easy from the get-go. If you are outdoors, having a knife can get you out of scrapes, especially if you find yourself in a survival situation. And when it comes down to it, you can defend yourself from threats with a knife with proper training.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Knife

As with all EDC gear, finding the right knife for you depends on plenty of factors. For general everyday use, you’ll most likely want a folding knife with a locking mechanism, a pocket clip, and a blade that’s around 2.5“ to 3” long. However, there are still a few things to consider besides those factors:

  • Size and weight: The most useful knife is the one you have with you. An EDC knife should be compact and light enough that you won’t feel inconvenienced carrying it every day, but large and robust enough to feel comfortable in your hand and effective while cutting. A good ballpark range for an EDC knife size is around 4“ long when closed and around 3.25 oz in weight.

  • Blade length and shape: A drop-point-shaped blade between 2.5“ to 3.5” long should handle most everyday tasks. The trade-off with length is the longer you go, the more cutting edge you can work with, potentially making tasks easier. Any longer and it may feel unwieldy in hand. Shorter blades are ideal for lighter cutting tasks and seem less threatening when using them in public.

    Be sure to check your local knife laws about restrictions on blade length as that may narrow down your options. If you can only legally carry a smaller knife, be sure to check out our guide to the 14 Best Small Pocket Knives for EDC.

  • Blade steel: The steel used in your knife can affect its cutting performance, edge retention, corrosion resistance, ease of maintenance, and much more. The knives on this list feature good steel in general, but if you want to learn more about the different kinds of steels, be sure to check out our beginner’s guide to blade steels.

  • Locking system: A sturdy lock mechanism on your knife makes them safer to use during rigorous cutting tasks. Different locking systems operate in different ways—some are ambidextrous, some move your fingers away from the path of the blade, and so on. Learn more about common knife lock mechanisms in our beginner’s guide to knife locks to find the right one for your needs.

    Be sure to check your local knife laws about restrictions on locking knives, as that may narrow down your options. If you can’t legally carry a locking knife, see our guide to the 10 best non-locking EDC knives.

  • Handle materials: There’s more to a knife than its blade—the handle is an important part of the equation. You’ll want a handle that’s comfortable, durable, and grippy. G10 is a good all-around material for its light weight and grip but you might also like other materials like anodized aluminum, micarta canvas, or wood.

  • Styling: Once you’ve gone over the considerations above, you can narrow your search to knives that look great and fit your style alongside the rest of your gear. You might want a tough-as-nails tactical blade, a classy gent’s knife to use around the office, or a traditional design for that timeless appeal.

Best Pocket Knives — 2022 Edition

The Best Overall Pocket Knife: SOG Terminus XR LTE [Buy] / [Full Review]

The Best Pocket Knife on a Budget: CIVIVI Elementum [Buy] / [Full Review]

The Best Traditional Pocket Knife: Buck The 55 [Buy]

The Best Tactical Pocket Knife: Ontario Knife Company Rat II [Buy] / [Full Review]

The Best Lightweight Pocket Knife: Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight [Buy] / [Full Review]


CRKT

CRKT CEO EDC Folding Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
GRN handle scales
Liner lock
One-position tip-down right hand deep carry clip
Specifications
Blade Length
3.11"
Blade Steel
8Cr13MoV
Weight
2.10 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$
The CRKT CEO has always been one of the community's favorite choices for classy EDC. The CEO is slim and lightweight, but don't mistake that to mean that it's less capable. The slender blade is 3.11" long and composed of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. Deployment is easy thanks to the IKBS ball bearings in the pivot, and the secure liner lock holds everything in place during use. The glass-reinforced nylon handle scales include a recessed cutout that stows the thumb stud neatly when the knife is closed. And that's where the deep carry clip at the side helps the blade disappear into your pockets. You might not be the CEO of your office, but you can certainly feel like one with this in your hands.
Buck

Buck The 55 Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Lockback mechanism
Crelicam™ genuine ebony Handles
Made in the USA
Specifications
Blade Length
2.375"
Blade Steel
420HC
Weight
1.9 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$$
The 55 Knife from Buck is a smaller version of their venerable 110 Folding Hunter traditional gent’s blade. The compact design of this made-in-the-USA knife means it's easier to carry it around wherever you go. Like your dad's trusty old knife, The 55 features a manual nail nick opening. It also comes with a beautiful Crelicam genuine ivory wood inlay. A beefy lockback mechanism on the spine removes any possibility of it closing on you during use. And with its easily-maintained 2.375" 420HC clip point blade, you'll always be prepared to take on life's challenges. If anything should go wrong with the knife, you can avail of Buck's Forever Warranty, so buy with confidence.
Spyderco

Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Compression lock
FRN scales
Ambidextrous tip-up deep carry wire clip
Specifications
Blade Length
2.92"
Blade Steel
CTS BD1N
Weight
2.4 oz
EDC Rating


Just released
Price
$$$
The Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight is immediately recognizable, thanks to its full-flat ground leaf-shaped blade. This American-made design is unique to Spyderco, and the signature Round Hole cut into the CTS-BD1N steel makes it easy to deploy the knife with either hand. The other Spyderco-exclusive thing that makes this knife great for tactical EDC is the compression lock in the spine. This locking mechanism uses a spring and a split liner to hold the knife where the blade tang and the stop pin meet. And the textured black FRN handle scales make it easy to use the knife even when your hands are dripping wet.
Gerber

Gerber Fastball Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Aluminum handle
Stainless steel liner lock
Three-position left/right hand tip-up/down pocket clip
Specifications
Blade Length
3"
Blade Steel
S30V
Weight
2.79 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$$$
The Gerber Custom Fastball offers made-in-the-USA quality with effortless one-handed operation. That's thanks to its smooth one-handed flipper deployment made easy with B.O.S.S. Tech ball bearings in the pivot. There's also a precision detent that lets you “lightswitch” the blade open and close quickly. The Fastball features a 3” S30V stainless steel blade with a flipper opening for ambidextrous convenience. If you opt for a custom knife, choose between 14 different handle colors or swap to carbon fiber or copper handles if the aluminum handles aren't your thing.
Benchmade

Benchmade Bugout 535 Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Carbon-fiber handle
Finish Satin Blade
Deep carry reversible tip up pocket clip
Specifications
Blade Length
3.24"
Blade Steel
S30V
Weight
2.02 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
The Benchmade Bugout 535 is hands-down one of the most popular knives in the community, and it's easy to see why. First is the weight: this is a 1.85-ounce knife that gives you barely-there lightness in your pockets. And with its extremely-sharp 3.24” CPM-S30V stainless steel blade, you're ready to take on any challenge. The Bugout 535 is completely ambidextrous as well. There are thumb studs on either side of the knife, and the deep carry pocket clip is reversible. If you prefer, remove the clip from the Grivory scales and use the rear lanyard hole instead. And the sturdy AXIS lock in the handle can be actuated with either hand on the blade.
Benchmade

Benchmade Mini Bugout 533 Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Grivory scales
AXIS lock
Deep carry reversible tip up pocket clip
Specifications
Blade Length
2.82"
Blade Steel
S30V
Weight
1.5 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$$$
The Benchmade Bugout 535 is hands-down one of the most popular knives in the community, and it's easy to see why. First is the weight: this is a 1.85-ounce knife that gives you barely-there lightness in your pockets. And with its extremely-sharp 3.24” CPM-S30V stainless steel blade, you're ready to take on any challenge. The Bugout 535 is completely ambidextrous as well. There are thumb studs on either side of the knife, and the deep carry pocket clip is reversible. If you prefer, remove the clip from the Grivory scales and use the rear lanyard hole instead. And the sturdy AXIS lock in the handle can be actuated with either hand on the blade.
CIVIVI

CIVIVI Elementum Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Canvas micarta handle scales
Manual flipper opening
Liner lock
Specifications
Blade Length
2.96“
Blade Steel
D2 (also available in S35VN)
Weight
2.89 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$$
The D2 tool steel blade on the CIVIVI Elementium is purpose-built for rough use. After all, makers around the world craft shop tools with the same kind of steel. With it, the CIVIVI Elementum offers dependable blade strength with superior edge retention, and it helps this 2.96” drop-point knife shine. Length isn't everything, and in the case of the Elementum, you get excellent sharpness thanks to its hollow-ground edge. The flipper opening and ball bearings in the pivot make for a satisfying and smooth one-handed opening. The grippy G-10 handle scales add more security when things get slippery, and the liner lock ensures the knife won't close on you during a cut.
SOG

SOG Stout FLK Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Flipper tab
Frame lock
Reversible pocket clip
Specifications
Blade Length
2.62“
Blade Steel
D2
Weight
4.09 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$$
True to its name, the SOG Stout FLK is a stubby knife that cuts above its size. This compact knife has a short 2.62” CRYO D2 tool steel blade given the blacked-out treatment to deal with life's scraps and scrapes. On one side of the knife's handle, you get textured and grippy G-10 scales. And on the other side, you get a sturdy stainless steel frame lock that holds the blade in place after deployment. With the large eyehole cut out, you can deploy the blade manually. A compact index flipper lets you “kick” the knife open, ready for use at a moment's notice.
Böker

Böker Magnum Damascus Duke Folding Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Lockback mechanism
Nail nick opener
Wood handle
Specifications
Blade Length
2.44"
Blade Steel
Damascus
Weight
2.15 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$$
If you're looking for the height of class, a gent’s folding knife like the Boker Magnum Damascus Duke is for you. As its name implies, it comes with a hammered 37-layer Damascus steel blade with an intricate and aesthetic pattern. To create this blade, Boker had to fold the steel used in the knife many times during the forging process. The double metal bolsters also come with an etched design that complements the beautiful burled wood inlay in the handles. Like other traditional gent’s knives, the opening is a manual two-handed affair. And there's an old-style back lock holding the clip point blade in place during use.
SOG

SOG Terminus XR LTE Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Flipper tab
XR lock
Carbon fiber liners
Specifications
Blade Length
3.00“
Blade Steel
S35VN
Weight
2.35 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$$$
The SOG Terminus XR LTE is at the cutting edge of what SOG as a company has to offer the EDC community. This “Light Edition” knife improves on the groundbreaking original blade by lightening things down to just 2.2 ounces by integrating carbon fiber into its design. And with its flipper tab, this knife is fully ambidextrous. The XR lock can stand up to 1,500 pounds of force, and you can operate it with either hand. The blade steel choice for the Terminus XR LTE is also stellar, as SOG has opted for a premium CPM-S35VN cryo-treated blade for superior sharpness and edge retention.
Steel

Steel Will Cutjack Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Finger choil
Slip-resistant handle
High flat grind
Specifications
Blade Length
3.5"
Blade Steel
D2
Weight
3.8 oz
EDC Rating


Just released
Price
$$
If you like having fine-tuned control over your EDC knife during a cut, you should look at the Steel Will Cutjack. It starts with the textured and lightweight FRN handle scales, which enhance the gripping surfaces even when things get wet. There's an ergonomic curve where the liner lock holds the knife in place, and that, combined with the flipper opening tab, helps prevent you from cutting yourself on your blade during hard use. There's a deep finger choil at the heel of the 2.5" D2 tool steel blade. That choil lets you get a close-up choke grip on the blade for fine detail cuts with the tip.
BLUE

BLUE RIDGE Knives Zancudo Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Pocket clip
Fiberglass Hhandle
ESEE Zancudo Framelock
Specifications
Blade Length
3"
Blade Steel
AUS-8A
Weight
3.3 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$
The BLUE RIDGE Zancudo folding knife was initially designed by ESEE years ago, and it's still one of the best tactical everyday carry blades you can choose today. Unlike most tactical knives, the Zancudo is slim and compact, with a 3” stonewashed D2 tool steel blade for improved durability and sharpness. The drop point blade shape is versatile, able to cut, chop, and slice at a moment's notice. The frame lock allows you to take on big tasks with this relatively compact knife. And the G-10 handle scale on the reverse side improves your grip on the blade during use.
WE

WE Knife Banter Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Dual blue thumb stud openers
Black G-10 handle scales
Steel liner lock mechanism
Specifications
Blade Length
2.875"
Blade Steel
S35VN
Weight
7.1 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$$$
Simplicity with the WE Knives Banter does not mean a lack of sophistication for the person holding the knife. It starts with the premium 2.75" spear point blade made of versatile CPM-S35VN stainless steel. With its high-end steel, the Banter delivers excellent performance for its small size. Other G-10 handle scale knives come with aggressive texturing that's rough to the touch, but the Banter features a softer treatment. The Banter's smooth lines and a deep-carry pocket clip with recessed screws give it a sharp overall look that lends itself well to everyday carry, especially in more dressy or professional situations.
Gerber

Gerber Sedulo Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
3D-textured handle grip
Ambidextrous pivot lock
Made in USA
Specifications
Blade Length
3.4"
Blade Steel
S30V
Weight
3.6 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$$$
If you're looking for a high-end American-made duty knife, the Gerber Sedulo offers you one-stop shopping. The blade's aggressive ergonomics allow the user utmost control in action. The user can open the knife with a single hand, and the pivot lock is ambidextrous. The exposed liners jut out of the handle, providing jimping at the top and bottom for enhanced grip. And the sharp 3” S30V stainless steel blade has a full panel grind with a plain edge for suitably high-end cutting performance. The price and the looks may steer some people away, but if you choose the Sedulo, you know what you're getting.
Opinel

Opinel No. 6 Carbon Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Two-hand open
Vibroloc locking system
Traditional styling
Specifications
Blade Length
2.87“
Blade Steel
High carbon steel
Weight
1.0 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$
If extreme sharpness is what you look for in a knife, you want a pure carbon steel blade for everyday carry. The Opinel No. 6 Carbon pocket knife is one of the best options in this regard. Its classic design has remained unchanged over the years with a beautiful beechwood handle and a razor-sharp carbon-steel blade. This knife also comes with Opinel's Virobloc locking ring that turns the knife into a fixed blade with a simple collar turn at the pivot point. If this is your first time using this kind of steel, you must know that it requires regular maintenance or it will rust. Treating the knife with oil and ensuring it dries out thoroughly when it gets wet will keep this knife cutting for you every time.
CRKT

CRKT Pilar III Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
New spear-point blade shape
Ambidextrous thumb slot opening
Steel frame lock
Specifications
Blade Length
2.9"
Blade Steel
D2
Weight
3.6 oz
EDC Rating


Just released
Price
$
The CRKT Pilar III is the third iteration of this EDC-favorite Jesper Voxnaes design. But where the original editions of the blade featured purely minimal design, the Pilar III is made for a more urban EDC lifestyle. The blade profile is slightly extended, giving it a 2.75" cutting edge. The steel frame lock remains, ensuring safety during use, but the reverse side of the handle has a G-10 scale for better grip. IKBS ball bearings aid the ambidextrous eye hole opening in the pivot for a smooth action. And despite the change in look, the Pilar III is still low profile, with a pocket clip that helps most of the knife disappear when not used.
The

The Summit by Ridge Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Multi-purpose drop point
Carbon fiber handle
Frame lock
Specifications
Blade Length
2.75"
Blade Steel
D2
Weight
5 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$
If you already have a Ridge Wallet, The Summit Knife is the perfect complement. It features similar modern and minimal design notes, a compact footprint, and a sturdy clip that slides effortlessly into any pocket. The durable drop-point D2 steel blade is 2.75” long and secures with a frame lock during use. You can opt between a grade 5 titanium handle scale or an attractive carbon fiber knife treatment that almost halves the weight. Its size might be too small for some people in EDC, but if space in your pockets is limited, having a knife that you can carry is better than not having one.
Kershaw

Kershaw Fraxion Folding Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
High-performance steel
Attractive blade coating
Secure locking system
Specifications
Blade Length
2.75"
Blade Steel
8Cr13MoV
Weight
0.11 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$$
The dual-material composition of the Kershaw Fraxion is one of the most striking features of its contemporary design. Custom knifemaker Jens Anso collaborated with Kershaw to make a streamlined knife with a carbon fiber inlay in its G-10 handle scale. That carbon fiber inlay helps save weight, bringing the Fraxion down to 2 ounces in the pocket. The black stonewashed clip point blade contrasts nicely, and its 8Cr13MoV steel makes for easy maintenance and sharpening. Its top swedge helps with fine cutting and slicing tasks in tight spaces. The flipper opening makes for a convenient ambidextrous carry. You can opt for either left-hand or right-handed tip-up carry by unscrewing the pocket clip and changing its position.
CJRB

CJRB Feldspar Folding Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Natural G10
Reversible deep carry pocket clip
Liner lock
Specifications
Blade Length
3"
Blade Steel
D2 (also available in S35VN)
Weight
2.62 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$
The CJRB Feldspar offers excellent value for money in a great-looking knife if you're on a budget. It features a 3.5" D2 tool steel blade with a well-defined tip on its drop-point profile. The extended belly also makes for easy slicing action. The simple and versatile flat grind and finger choil make it easy to sharpen this knife on a whetstone. The G10 handle scales offer superior grip without being overly aggressive or ostentatious. It also conceals the liner lock while holding everything in place during use. The reversible tip-up deep carry pocket clip helps the knife disappear when work completes, which is essential when trying to remain low-profile.
Ontario

Ontario Knife Company Rat II Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Dual thumb studs
Reversible pocket clip
Ambidextrous handle
Specifications
Blade Length
3"
Blade Steel
D2
Weight
2.75 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$
The Ontario RAT Model 2 has been one of the community's favorite tactical EDC blades for years, and it's also highly affordable for people just starting their everyday carry journey. D2 tool steel offers excellent performance while still being accessible for beginners to maintain compared to ultra-hard premium blades. The liner lock on this knife is sturdy and part of this knife's overall outdoor adventure heritage. For versatility in carrying options, the four-position pocket clip allows for tip-up or tip-down carry with either hand. You can also remove it entirely and opt to add a rope lanyard at the back of the knife.
Zero

Zero Tolerance 0235 Pocket Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Water-resistant
Lightweight
Stonewashed finish
Specifications
Blade Length
2.63"
Blade Steel
20CV
Weight
1.8 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$$$
The Zero Tolerance 0235 is not your grandfather's gent’s knife. Made in the USA in collaboration with custom knifemaker Jens Anso, the ZT 0235 features a modern take on high-class everyday carry. It features a manual nail-nick opening blade like an old-time knife, but unlike the soft steel of that heritage knife, the ZT 0235 comes with super-premium CPM-20CV stainless steel. That means the 0235 gets you exceptional hardness, wear resistance, and edge retention over the knives of old. The double-detent in the 0235 allows for a controlled open and close and use in a half-open position. The gorgeous carbon fiber handle and pocket clip are further departures from the traditional formula, giving this knife a decidedly-modern look. It also helps keep the weight down in your pockets, as the ZT 0235 tips the scales at just 1.8 ounces.

How we picked

Decades of experience and deep connections in the everyday carry industry give us a unique viewpoint on the market to inform our product recommendations. We have the depth of information for thousands of products that have come before and an extensive eye on the market to see what’s new and trending for each piece of gear. The result is a buying guide that we feel is informative and useful for EDCers of every trade, industry, and budget.

What is Everyday Carry?

Everyday Carry is both the concept of what people carry in their pockets and the process of picking out gear that thoughtfully considers what one wants or needs in their daily lives. It encompasses everything from style to preparedness to utility, meaning an entire industry full of valuable tools and essentials to choose from.

Why you should trust us

Our team has decades of combined experience in all aspects of everyday men’s essentials, from wallets to pens to bags and everything in between, and we know where to find great gear ideas that you may not come across at your local stores or when shopping online. Our expertise with the industry and familiarity in design, materials, and usability help you make more informed choices when it comes to picking up your next piece of gear.

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Discussion (6 total)

Geordon VanTassle ·
I just don’t get the adoration for Opinel knives. A while back. I I bought an Opinel #8 carbon steel ( I had bought a #6 decades back when my son was a Scout but had misplaced is shortly after I bought it) but the and the edges for both knives came out of the package a hot mess. Basically, the edge has a burr on it like only one side actually got sharpened and the wire burr was left in place.

If you don’t experience blade sharpening and maintenance, I would steer clear of an Opinel even though the price is good. I’d much rather have a legitimate higonokami. Available in multiple sizes, multiple blade metals, and multiple handle materials, for pricing similar to Opinel.
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