10 Best Spring Assisted Knives for EDC in 2020

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10 Best Spring Assisted Knives for EDC in 2020

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For many people in the EDC community, the pocket knife is their most used tool. That’s because a good knife serves you well whether you’re performing everyday utility cutting and slicing tasks to leveraging a sharp edge in critical life-saving applications during emergency situations. It’s easy to see why having a reliable and sharp blade can be so useful, but not all knives are built the same. If speed is important, and you’re the kind of person who wants to bring a knife to bear on a task quickly, you’re going to want to EDC a spring assisted knife.

What are Spring Assisted Knives?

Spring assisted knives (also called assisted opening knives) feature a spring mechanism built into the pivot or handle of the tool that takes over and speeds up the process of opening everything up. Basically, to operate an assisted opening knife you start the process of opening it up, usually with the thumbstud or with a flipper index tab. Once you get to a certain point manually, the stored energy in the spring assist mechanism causes the blade to fully flip open without you having to manipulate the knife all the way. The end result is a blade that you can open up quickly and conveniently, usually only with a single hand.

Spring Assisted Knives vs. Automatic Knives

While spring assist mechanisms are faster than a standard manual opening knife, these type of EDC knives should not be confused with automatic knives (also known as “switchblades”). With an automatic knife, all you have to do is press a switch or button that’s completely separate from the actual blade to get it open. And while the technology in assisted-opening EDC knives now a rival the speed of automatic knives, that mechanical difference makes spring assisted blades generally easier to EDC and legal to carry in more locales compared to automatic knives, which are usually more restricted. But as always, do your own research and check your local laws to make sure a spring assisted knife is legal to carry where you live.

Now that you know what makes assisted opening knives special and desirable for everyday carry, you might be wondering what are the best spring assisted knives. The good news is that there’s a lot of variety of options out there for picking an spring assisted knife so you can pick the ones that suit your needs. To help you find the best spring assisted knife for your EDC, we've put together a list of our recent favorites for you to consider.


The Best Spring Assisted Knives


Kershaw Leek Copper Spring Assisted Knife

Kershaw Leek Copper Spring Assisted Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Flipper opening
Stonewash finish
Liner lock
Specifications
Blade Length
3“
Weight
4 oz
Materials
154CM, copper scales
Reviews


Price
$$
When it comes to assisted-opening knives, Kershaw is near the top of the list with a plethora of offerings featuring their unique SpeedSafe spring assist tech. The Kershaw Leek is one of the first EDC assisted opening designs that became popular in the community, and years on it still remains one of the best options for everyday carry. Since its release, it has undergone a few refreshes, keeping the sharp organic low-profile flipper blade shape and ergonomics that make it a winner as well as the lightning-quick SpeedSafe mechanism built into the handle. But now you can get it with a premium 154CM stainless steel blade and a gorgeous antimicrobial copper handle scale that will only get better with age and patina.
ZT 0350 Spring Assisted Knife

ZT 0350 Spring Assisted Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Flipper opening
G10 handle scales
Liner lock
Specifications
Blade Length
3.25“
Weight
6.2 oz
Materials
CPM-S30V
Reviews


Price
$$$$
As a premium tactical knives brand alongside Kershaw in the Kai USA family, it’s easy to see why Zero Tolerance also has great everyday carry spring assisted knife options. ZT’s classic Ken Onion designed tactical assisted opening blade is still hard to beat in the present day. Unlike a lot of knives that are made to look pretty, the 0350 is made to be used. Its unique blade is made of premium S30V stainless steel and it features an organic curved blade shape that increases the cutting power of this compact knife to equal its bigger cousins. It’s listed as having a liner lock, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not up to the task, there’s basically no blade place once the SpeedSafe flipper spring opening is engaged and you’re ready to get to work.
Benchmade Mini Vallation Spring Assisted Knife

Benchmade Mini Vallation Spring Assisted Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Thumbstud opening
AXIS-lock
Safety prevents unintentional opening
Specifications
Blade Length
3.2“
Weight
4.58 oz
Materials
CPM-S30V
Reviews


Price
$$$$
Benchmade is well-known for their premium quality manual opening knives, but their assisted knives garner a lot of attention in the EDC community as well. They are especially great if you’re not a fan of flipper-style assisted opening knives. The Benchmade Mini Vallation, for example features a more-traditional thumbstud opening with an integrated safety built in to the AXIS-assist mechanism in the handle. The drop-point blade is made out of premium CPM-S30V stainless steel and you’ll appreciate the carbide glass breaker tip found at the pommel if you find yourself in an emergency situation.
CRKT Full Throttle Spring Assisted Knife

CRKT Full Throttle Spring Assisted Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Thumbstud opening
Frame lock
G10 handle scales
Specifications
Blade Length
2.9“
Weight
3.1 oz
Materials
8Cr13MoV
Reviews
No reviews yet
Price
$$
CRKT has stepped it up in the EDC pocketknife world over the past few years bringing high quality collaborations with custom knifemakers into accessible price points that everyone in the community can enjoy, and their spring-assisted knives are plentiful as well. One of their best is the new Full Throttle knife, which was made in collaboration with award-winning knifemaker Matthew Lerch. Its design denotes exactly what its name does: speed mated with performance. It features a 2.9" bead blasted drop-point blade that motors into place after actuating the thumbstud. It also features a secure frame lock for hard use and a deep carry pocket flip that allows for discreet tip-up carry when you’re not using the knife.
Al Mar Mini SERE 2020 Spring Assisted Knife

Al Mar Mini SERE 2020 Spring Assisted Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Spring-assisted flipper opening
Liner lock
G10 handle scales
Specifications
Blade Length
3“
Weight
3.1 oz
Materials
D2
Reviews


Price
$$
Al Mar is an old battle-tested name in the EDC community, and their line of venerable folding tactical knives are still prized today. They’ve been relatively quiet as of late except for a collaboration series of knives made with Kershaw, but in 2020 they have updated one of their best compact tactical knives with a spring-assisted flipper mechanism that’s tall enough to double as a guard against cutting yourself on your own knife in rough situations. It also features sturdy and reliable D2 tool steel in the blade. Overall the design of the blade was upgraded to take on harder use with pillar construction that’s able to take a beating. It also disappears in your pockets now with a reversible deep carry pocket clip that works on whatever side you prefer.
OKC Joe Pardue Utilitac Spring Assisted Knife

OKC Joe Pardue Utilitac Spring Assisted Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Tactical Assisted opening, dual thumbstuds
G10 handle scales
Liner lock
Specifications
Blade Length
3“
Weight
4.4 oz
Materials
AUS-8A
Reviews


Price
$
Ontario Knife Company (OKC) is well-known in the community for making sturdy and affordable everyday carry knives, and their Utilitac features Joe Pardue’s design and proprietary Tactical Assisted opening system. This system is simpler mechanically than most spring-assisted designs, which means there’s less moving parts that can fail in critical situations. And the aggressive thumb jimping and ergonomic handle featuring grippy G10 scales allow you to get total control over the cut once you get the 3" drop-point blade into its place.
Buck Knives 294 Momentum Spring Assisted Knife

Buck Knives 294 Momentum Spring Assisted Knife

Purchase
Key Features
ASAP flipper opening
Anodized 6061-T6 aluminum handle with carbon fiber
Liner lock
Specifications
Blade Length
3 1/8“
Weight
4.3 oz
Materials
S35VN
Reviews


Price
$$
You might remember Buck from the classic folding hunter gents knife your grandpa used to carry, but their decidedly modern 294 Momentum is a fast spring-assisted modern knife featuring premium materials and ergonomics. The Momentum features Buck’s patented ASAP technology, letting you use the very low profile flipper index tab to get the knife into place with a rapid one-handed flick. The handle features aircraft-grade 6061-T6 aluminum with beautiful carbon fiber scaling for both embellishment and weight savings. And the premium 3 1/8" drop-point blade is made out of S35VN steel for the utmost in sharpness and edge retention despite constant use.
Case Kickstart 27771 Mid-Folding Hunter Spring Assisted Knife

Case Kickstart 27771 Mid-Folding Hunter Spring Assisted Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Thumbstud opening
Jigged bone traditional handle
Liner lock
Specifications
Blade Length
3“
Weight
3.2 oz
Materials
Tru-Sharp surgical steel
Reviews


Price
$$
Case is a good choice if you’re looking for traditional gents knives, or need a knife that won’t raise too many eyebrows in polite company, but they do mix in modern features into their offerings as well. Take their 27771 Mid-Folding Hunter Kickstart knife for example, which integrates a spring-assist function into the handle of a decidedly traditional gents knife frame. The prominent thumbstud make starting the process easy, and a liner lock keeps everything secure once you have the blade in place.
SOG Flash AT Spring Assisted Knife

SOG Flash AT Spring Assisted Knife

Purchase
Key Features
AT-XR lock
GRN handle scales
Deep carry pocket clip
Specifications
Blade Length
3.13“
Weight
4.49 oz
Materials
D2
Reviews
No reviews yet
SOG is a go-to knife and tool maker for people looking for tactical gear for everyday carry, and they did a major refresh of their knife line for 2020, all featuring their new XR mechanism. And one in particular, the upcoming Flash AT, features an assisted opening. The older Flash knife was a fan-favorite for EDC, and its newest iteration is ready to take up that mantle with D2 blade steel and a huge belly in its geometry allowing for serious cutting and slicing power despite its compact 3.13" length. With GRN scales, it’s lightweight at just 4.49 oz in total and the ergonomic shape of the handle makes it good for long term use with it in hand.
Böker Plus Gemini NGA Spring Assisted Knife

Böker Plus Gemini NGA Spring Assisted Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Liner lock
Partially-rubberized handle
Thumbstud spring assisted opening
Specifications
Blade Length
3.5“
Weight
3.9 oz
Materials
VG-10
Reviews
No reviews yet
Price
$$
Böker has been making pocketknives in Germany for over 150 years now, and their Gemini NGA is their best spring-assisted offering. It features a 3.5" VG-10 hollow ground stainless steel blade that enjoys great edge retention and resistance to corrosion, which is further helped by the black treatment on the blade. The partially-rubberized handle makes it easy to grip even when things get wet in the rain, and its ergonomic shape allows for a sure grip, along with the top jimping on the spine of the knife. The handle shape also allows wide and easy access to the thumbstud opening, making it easier to operate than most manual knives. And the assisted opening allows easy one-handed operation, with a liner lock keeping you safe while the blade is in use.

Do you carry a spring assisted knife? Leave a comment below with your favorite fast-opener that you think deserves a mention!

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Discussion (59 total)

I love carrying the Benchmade Emissary 470. Great 3 inch blade and super fast assisted opening.
My EDC blade is a Kershaw Blur with a plain edge. It lives in a cargo pocket (right next to the doggie poo bags) and I strop every couple of weeks to keep the edge sharp. I also have a Kershaw Leek flipper with G10 scales that is wicked sharp, holds its edge, is small enough to not be considered "tactical," but would serve in a tight spot. Both are great blades at attractive price points.
I carry a Hogue full auto with 4" blade. Tactical works as I work for a defense contractor. An Esee 6 rides ranger style across my belt in the small of my back.
I have the ZT0301for 4 years now and it’s been a workhorse it’s scuff up and worn well in I love it, my only negative is the price of ZT & other knives in Australia is ridiculous.
The Benchmade 2750 - Adamas (Tan) Automatic, gets my vote. Hands down, No matter how big or how small the job this blade here gets it done and done quick. Lightning fast opening, & holds a great sharpening !! 👍🏼
There are some righteous options listed here and I must respectfully disagree with your comment about “falling afoul” with the law. But am happy to see that you did end it the advice of checking with your local laws. If you live behind enemy lines, as I do, they don’t want you to even carry a butter knife. If you have a subway system in your city, you can forget about carrying anything at all. Recently the laws have changed where I live in regards to carrying certain knives which is a HUGE win for us knife EDCers. The subway is still the forbidden zone.
Ask your supply shop to order you an NSN # 1095-01-446-4348, then ask your S-1 to draft you up an "Authorization for Importation of Military Issued Switchblade Knives" letter in accordance with DTR 4500.9-R Part V and CENTCOM Reg 600-10, Appendix E, as permitted by 19CFR 12.98 and 15 USC 1244, "Exceptions". (Let me know if you need an example for your Adjutant to plagiarize)

Get your CO's signature on the letter, and carry that letter with you when you redeploy. Also be your unit's hero for showing them how to properly bring back your beloved auto knives without the customs nazis confiscating them.

A nice perk is that you also then have a signed document originating with the DoD that proves your knife's pedigree as having been carried in a combat zone. Your great grandchildren will thank you if you store that letter with the knife.
You sir, are awesome! Thanks for the gouge sheet.
I carried both the Blur and the Leek for years. Lately, I have been carrying the Dividend(very similar to the Leek) or the Knockout, both with M390. The Knockout feels better in my hand but with lightweight shorts in the summer, the Dividend usually wins the EDC contest.
Can recommend the Kershaw AM3, great edc option.
Kershaw Cryo II | Black
I just picked up a Benchmade 940S-1 Osborne design with S90V and Carbon fiber scales. The action is amazing right out of the box. It’s a bit pricey, but the build quality and design makes this my favorite knife!
Give my a Case mid-folding Hunter with kickstart any day. It's small and doesn't attract any unwanted attention. From the outside, it looks exactly like a old fashioned pocket knife.
I never leave the house without taking my Leek.
After many years experience with knives, I still have no idea why we need assisted opening?
Useful for one handed opening
No offense Boris, but that kinda sounds like a "these kids and their fancy knives, back in my day..." old guy comment :)
I get that way with some things I don't see the point behind, but that doesn't mean we can't embrace innovation. I carried a Spyderco for years because of the one-handed opening and to me, these knives are just the next step in the evolution (and a lot more affordable!)
All flippers or thumb stud knives are one handed opening without the kick of an assist spring. "Who need that extra kick" is my question mark point. I can only imagine those who has physical problem with their fingers.
Could I go through life without an assisted open knife. Absolutely. Definitely not necessary, you're right, but I like them and now prefer them for my EDC. I will admit though, there are days I miss my Spyderco.
Some people just like them for a sort of cool factor, a lot of manufacturers use it to make up for a lack of quality in the action of their knives, which is why a lot of gas station knives are assisted. Obviously there are also plenty of quality knives with assisted opening (like most on this list) and it’s just a personal preference. Like you, I’m personally not a big fan of assisted opening, but to each their own. 😊👍🏼
Can't speak for others but for me it's a bunch of reasons... sight unseen, one handed, lock-positive response. Oh yeah, and the incredibly cool sound it makes!! >>snikt!!<<
The Kershaw Link and the Kershaw Cryo II are probably some of the best buys you can find for EDC AO blades right now. Build quality, on the Link especially is outstanding.
I had a Cryo II for a while. Absolutely loved it. Got several of my friends Cryo IIs for Christmas gifts.
I love my Kershaw Blur Black Serrated Kershaw 1670blkst! The price is right and the blade is partially serrated.
I love my Blur as well. Probably even more than my Benchmade Griptilian.
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