5 Framelock Knives Under $50

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Nowadays, you have a ton of options to choose from when picking out a good EDC knife. Hands down, one of the most important things to consider is what type of locking mechanism it has. In terms of strength, a frame lock is tough to beat. This kind of lock is usually found on expensive, high-end knives — for good reason. Luckily for us, they're recently becoming popular on much more affordable designs. Today, we're highlighting 5 frame lock knives that won't break the bank.

Why Carry a Frame Lock Knife?

It all boils down to sheer strength. A frame lock is one of the sturdiest types of knife lock out there (not to mention, it allows for some uniquely aesthetic knife designs). That's because it's essentially a beefed up version of a more common liner lock. Instead of a thin metal plate holding the blade in place, it's a part of the handle (or frame) of the knife itself. And with the entire handle being so much thicker than just a liner, there's more metal-on-metal contact. The result? A super strong lockup.

If you're curious about other lock types, you can learn more about 'em here. But for now, let's get into the gear…


CRKT Jettison

This modern-looking flipper checks all the boxes for a great EDC knife. It’s affordable, sturdy, and the blade measures in at 3.25”. Speaking of the blade, the shape on this one is quite unique. It’s a modified sheepsfoot that’s easy to handle - great for a variety of everyday tasks. The stainless steel handles are stonewashed for a smooth look and feel. For right around $30, you can’t go wrong.

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Kershaw Leek

Slim, lightweight, and sturdy. The Leek by Kershaw is one of the most popular EDC knives around, and for good reason. It uses premium materials, like Sandvik 12C28N steel on the blade, and heavy-duty bead blasted 410 stainless for the handles and locking mechanism. The frame lock provides a safe and strong lock up, while keeping the overall profile of the knife slim. EDCers will also appreciate the Speedsafe flip-to-open mechanism and that it’s made here in the USA.

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Boker Plus Nano

The Boker Nano is one of the smaller frame lock knives available. What it lacks in size, it makes up for with premium construction and surprisingly good ergonomics. This tiny knife measures in at just 4.75” when opened, and under 3” when closed. Its size makes it especially easy to slip in a coin pocket, but large enough to carry out most cutting, slicing, and piercing tasks. The handles are made from patterned Zytel resin and of course, stainless steel with an integrated frame lock.

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Blue Ridge Knives Avispa

This budget-friendly knife is much better than its price tag would suggest. For just under
$35, you get all the impressive features of a knife several times its price. There’s a stainless steel frame lock mechanism, G10 scales for grip, and an AUS-8 steel blade that will keep a sharp edge. The Avispa’s ergonomic design feels great in hand while being slim enough to ride comfortably in your pocket.

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Kershaw Pico

The Kershaw Pico is one of the better blades to come out in recent years. This Speed-Safe assisted flipper has a premium feel that’s especially comfortable to use and carry. With a blade just under 3”, this frame lock folder is ideal for EDC. The lock itself is robust, yet it’s still easy to unlock when it’s time to fold up the knife.

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Do you have a favorite frame lock knife? Let us know what it is in the comments below!

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Discussion (9 total)

Kershaw Pico $12.97 at Walmart.com :-) great deal.
I have an older model of of the Leek SRT & bought the Pico the second is was released and was very excited to get mine.

I have to say...I'm underwhelmed by the Pico after extended use for EDC. The blade steel is awful. It loses an edge quick and I've found it's a pain in the rear to keep sharp. The factory angles are a joke. The pivot screw starts to back out almost immediately after tightening and it causes the blade to be unstable. It's also quite heavy for every day carry, too. The SpeedSafe makes it ship out like a freight train. If you have arthritis, etc. it WILL hurt your hands (similar to opening a butterfly with decent force).

I loved it shortly after getting it because it's so well designed. The fit and finish seems bang on out of the box and you'll be blown away with how comfortable it is to use. It's just a shame they used Chinese steel for such a beautiful knife. Waste of one of the most ergonomically pleasureable Onion knives I've ever used.
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The Leek, however...Is fantastic. The clip is better (low pro, vs 'deep carry' bends), the knife itself is MUCH lighter, and the steel is GREAT. My model is made with an older Benchmade US blade steel, but I have had nothing but good experiences with 12C28N on other knives. Mine was a gift, so it has serrations...but I'd prefer the smooth blade. The SRT model just cuts the more useful edge of the blade down too much. With a blade that's thinner like this you can get it so razor sharp there's actually very little need for serrations (even more tougher cuts).

The assisted open is FAST (much faster than the Pico) and balanced. The Leek and won't 'whip' your wrist, either. Not my favorite blade style, but even though the Pico is my dream drop point I'd take the Leek over it any day of the week.

Just my 2 cents. Oh...and for what it's worth...I only daily carry Carbon Steel now. The X90 blade on my Opinel #9 is capable of an incredible edge that lasts for a surprisingly long time. While I realize assisted open is a big deal for a lot of people if you're willing to 'mod' a little you can easily convert any Opinel with a lock to a gravity knife in about 5 minutes with some sand paper. I like it more than any of the assisted open knives I've owned with the gravity conversion, too.
Ganzo makes some good frame-locks. The G723 is nice.
Love the Kershaw Leek. It's one of my, if not the absolutely, most sleek knife I have. It's reserved for my evenings out. Where I need something light and moderately flashy, that's not as small as the Chive.
Kershaw Nura 3
The Buck Graduate is fantastic. Good steel, excellent construction, beautiful burl wood handle. You can find them on Amazon for closer to $30.
https://www.buckknives.com/product/328-graduate-knife/0328BWS-B/
I spent a long, long time researching flippers for my (low-budget) EDC carry. My choice is the Kershaw Strobe, which is an adaptation of Kershaw's beautiful fixed-blade Diskin Hunter, redesigned by Matt Diskin as a smaller folder. The Strobe has the same graceful lines as its larger cousin, especially the wide, elegant blade.
The Strobe also has a partially "floating" scale on one side to disguise the fact that it is a true framelock. This brings me to the one thing that I don't like about the stock knife, and that is that the scales are truly hideous "K-Texture" glass-filled nylon, which essentially turns the knife into a walking Kershaw advertisement. However, the scales are easily removable, and in my case have been replaced with padauk hardwood, which transforms the knife into a true gentleman's folder.
Love my Blue Ridge Knives Avispa, I carry it everyday. Feels amazing in the pocket, slim design so comfortable I forget I've got it on me sometimes. Bought my dad and I both one at fathers day. He likes his just as much as I do mine. Great edc knife. And also comes with a razors edge that lasts a long time and is easy to resharpen.