Everyday Carry

The Best Swiss Army Knife for EDC

Everyday Carry
The Best Swiss Army Knife for EDC

EDC is all about having the right tool for the job. Multi-tools take that a step further by putting the right tool for a number of different tasks into one compact body. When it comes to keeping your bases covered, one of the most trusted brands of multi-tools is Victorinox, thanks in no small part to their Swiss Army Knife becoming an essential tool to carry since it was invented for the field in 1897. And in the past century Victorinox has only gotten better at what they do, now offering plenty of different variations of the tried and true tool.

If you've never owned a Swiss Army Knife (SAK), picking your first one out of Victorinox's extensive catalog can be daunting at first. Many of the models have specialized tools for specific uses, but they all share a common core of tools for general EDC. To make the decision easier, we're highlighting the 5 most-carried SAKs among our readers in this guide. As we'll be comparing tried-and-true models, you can't go wrong with any of the picks below.

Finding the Right SAK for You

When selecting a SAK, keep these considerations in mind. You'll want…

  • The right size: SAKs come in all shapes and sizes, and while they generally fall into a few categories, each knife will differ in length and weight thanks to their tools and purpose. We have a handy chart below to help you choose among our picks.

  • Enough tools to cover your bases: Your main reason for getting a SAK is to ensure all your daily tasks can be addressed, so make sure the one you pick is able to do so with its complement of tools. Is the knife large enough? Do you need a pair of scissors or a corkscrew? These are the things to look for when narrowing down your choice of knife.

  • Unique tools for unique needs: While there are some common tools across the SAK catalog, each model is built for a specific theme or purpose. Some of them are suited more for the outdoors, while others for repairs under your desk. Consider these unique tools if you have a special task that needs addressing.

  • Your preferred grip: You often have a choice between thicker cellidor or ABS handles in the iconic Victorinox colors or the lightweight and robust aluminum oxide (Alox) handles (and sometimes, even wood) for your SAK. The former's colorful thickness gives the knife space to fit in an extra pair of tweezers and/or toothpick, while Alox scales lower the knife's weight and give it a beautiful metallic texture. Sometimes those tools are useful to have in exchange for the extra thickness, so give your SAK an extra thought if you think they'll come in handy.

Top 5 Most Popular Swiss Army Knives

Victorinox Cadet
Victorinox Pioneer
Victorinox Spartan PS
Victorinox Climber
Victorinox Huntsman

Length: 84 mm
Length: 93 mm
Length: 91 mm
Length: 91 mm
Length: 91 mm
Material: Alox
Material: Alox
Material: ABS/Cellidor
Material: ABS/Cellidor
Material: ABS/Cellidor
# of Tools: 9
# of Tools: 8
# of Tools: 13
# of Tools14
# of Tools: 15
Unique Tool: Nail file/cleaner
Unique Tool:  Reamer
Unique Tool:  Lanyard
Unique Tool: Scissors
Unique Tool: Wood saw
Buy ($42.50)
Buy ($81)
Buy ($38.50)
Buy ($45.50)

Victorinox Cadet Alox

If you’re looking for a low-profile tool to handle basic but frequent everyday tasks, then the Alox Cadet might be the way to go. The aluminum oxide scales trade toothpick and tweezer storage for a lower profile, improved durability, added grip, and a bit of visual interest. The Cadet's slim, flat design means there’s virtually no bulk when you slip it into your pocket. At just 3.3” when closed, the Cadet is one of the smaller and more portable offerings on the list. But it still packs a punch with 8 essential tools: a 2.4” blade, screwdriver, can opener, and bottle opener just to name a few. Thanks to its useful selection of tools for general utility, more compact frame, and highly durable handles, the Alox Cadet earned its spot as one of the most carried Swiss Army Knives among our readers.


Victorinox Pioneer Alox

The Victorinox Pioneer is a medium-sized pocket tool hits the sweet spot between practicality and convenience. Measuring 3.7” when closed, it's equipped with 7 useful tools including a large blade, can opener, wire stripper, and a reamer. If you liked the Cadet but have space in your pockets for something a little larger, the Pioneer might be for you. It offers larger blades and ditches the nail file in favor of the reamer, which comes in handy if you need to poke a new hole in a belt or open packaging. It's useful for all around poking and prodding, sparing your blades any damage and saving them for precision work. When you’re really putting in work on tougher tasks the ribbed scales also provide good grip so you won’t slip. At 71 grams the Pioneer isn’t barely noticeable in your pockets, but it’ll be there for you when you need it. It’s discreet enough for the office yet versatile enough to have your back on weekend adventures and DIY projects alike.


Victorinox Spartan PS

If a good blade is the main tool you’re looking for in a SAK check out the Spartan PS. Whether you want to slim down your carry with an all-in-one option or you just want something to supplement your main knife should you forget it at home, this all-black everything tool might be the way to go. With steel tools that appear different shades of black depending on how the light hits it thanks to a Polispectral coating process, the Spartan PS is practical as it is cool. Every one of the 13 tools from the trusty blade to the corkscrew is coated in the special black giving it a sleek and discreet appearance perfect for EDC in and out of the office. At 3.6” when closed the Spartan PS isn’t exactly a large tool and since Swiss Army Knives don’t come with pocket clips, the attached lanyard is a great way to quickly retrieve it when you need your SAK in a pinch.


Victorinox Climber

Sometimes your day isn’t so average and you might find some use for a few specialized tools in your arsenal. That’s where the Victorinox Climber comes in. Along with the usual suspects that come with their multitools like large and small blades and scissors, you also get a few tools that can come in handy when you’re out and about. One example of this is the corkscrew on the side which is of course great for opening bottles of wine, but is also helpful when untying stubborn knots in shoelaces or ropes. If you find daily uses for some of these tools, the Climber is still compact enough to easily toss in your pocket for EDC. But as its name suggests, it's more of a catch-all adventure tool for rock climbing or whenever you really don’t know what you’re going to come across. The Climber is a great pickup for anyone that has some pocket space to spare and wants to cover as many bases as possible.


Victorinox Huntsman

When you think of a Swiss Army Knife you probably picture their smaller offerings similar to the Cadet, not the powerhouse that is the Victorinox Huntsman. As you might have guessed from the name this tool was made for the woods. It weighs only 97 grams so whether you toss it in your pack or your pocket it shouldn’t be hard to carry. You’ll get 15 tools inside including a wood saw for slicing through thin branches and a multipurpose hook which is perfect for hanging fish for transport. You also get a can opener which is a must-have when camping, and an awl that can be used for drilling small holes into trees to set up snares. Just in case you’re really out there. With all its offerings this tool is one of the more heavy duty SAKs available. If you’re going to be outdoors for any amount of time the Huntsman is the tool you want by your side.


What's your favorite Swiss Army Knife? Let us know in the comments below.

This is a sponsored post presented by Victorinox Swiss Army.

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Discussion (61 total)

Ethan ·
I own huntsman, it is a great tool. It has all the tools you need. The saw makes a great fire steel striker. The knife dulls after heavy but you also have a backup blade. The knife is easy to sharpen. One thing I don't get is what is that hook tool?
Artemio Ricarte ·
My 1st Victorinox Swiss army knife was a SAK Mechanic in 1996 it was given to my father who gave it to me. I have never thought about getting another MT since the Mechanic had every tool i needed. It was only in 2014 i saw a SAK Tinker and bought it for it was lighter than my Mechanic. My wife gave me SAK mini champ for my overseas travels until an airport security guy in Bali Indonesia decided he needed a small MT and demanded that i leave it with him before im allowed to board my flight. Got myself SAK mini SD when i got home. A trip to Manila saw me buying a SAK Climber. Then another trip this time to Macau i bought a SAK Alpineer. Afterwards my brother who was coming home from Oslo brought me SAK Soldiers Knife 08. Now im trying to decide whether to get SAK One Hand Trekker or Super Tinker. Btw my SAK Mechanic is still the one i get ahold of whenever im home and get to do some yard or home repair works.
Paul Tobeck ·
Unfortunately, the only tool SA makes which has everything I want (top mount phillips, scissors, saw, corkscrew) is the larger Outrider with it's really large price tag. I currently have an old Tinker, that I finally had to glue the scales on to, which rides as a backup in one of my bags, and a promo Wenger with the nice nylon scales that just has the main blade, bottle opener and a corkscrew (unsure if it has a name). Had a black Classic I carried for years, but lost it a while back.
Currently trying to decide between a Huntsman or an Explorer as a new lightweight EDC. I think the Explorer has the edge, but may end up getting both!
Barry Allen ·
This is a cool list indeed! When I was a kid, I coveted a Victorinox Swisschamp and I eventually saved up my pennies to purchase one. My imagination ran wild with everything that I could DO with that knife! 33 tools in a little package that fits in my hand? I was smitten & determined to become Macgyver! I beat the crap out of that knife and it saw plenty of use, but I did not use half of the tools that I expected to. Although I'm still a big fan of the SAK, pocket space & functionality are much bigger priorities as an adult. These days I would opt for something simple like an Alox Cadet or one of SAK Modder's beautiful creations.
Justin ·
Evolution S101 is my favourite. This is the knife I carry when around people who are likely to be freaked out by pocket knives.

It's one of the only knives they've made in classic red with the signature corkscrew that has a locking main blade. It's thin enough to be comfortably carried in most watch pockets along with a small flashlight and disposable mini lighter.
Neel Parmar ·
I love spartan!! But i keep Tinker with me always as I need Phillips screwdriver all the time.
my choice for the longest time for EDC is the Executive...perfect size and all the tools i need
I often carry a bantam silver alox, blade and opener only. Very sleek and slimfit at the office. My ltd blue cadet is a close second. During weekend I carry a pioneer black. If I need more tools I go to the toolbox. For camping or hiking the huntsman is my choice. One thing very important for me is that a knive is more or less generally accepted (known) by the public as not everyone likes knives. And it should be large enough to cut through an apple.
Victorinox offers both. You can never go wrong buying one, they are not very expensive and with some care they last a lifetime. However you will always find yourself buying anotherone.... and anotherone...
Orwell ·
ÜberSAKfan here. If you want a very slim knife with some degree of versatility, get yourself a 84mm Bantam Alox. I carried it for the last 10 years almost everyday and it never let me down. You dont notice it untill you need it. The Combotool offers lots of functions, opening, prying or as strong fingernail.
I just switched recently to the 84mm Victorinox Secretary, for its more classic cigar( or Peanut,Zeppelin...etc) shaped look, but would love to see a Secretary with a combotool. Also a alternative: a Secretary with a big Blade and a small, thick blade, called Watchmakers knife.
T Shrapnel-Carruthers ·
The Classic SD on one of my keychains is the best small SAK. Also, I have various medium size models, in different bags so that there is usually one to hand. Of these, my favourite is a Climber (I think) that I have had for years.

In the end it is about the tools that you (might) want. I get a lot of use from the (large) blade, scissors, bottle opener, corkscrew, mini and Philips screwdrivers.
T Shrapnel-Carruthers ·
Correction: Climber doesn't have a Philips screwdriver. Must be an Explorer.
I carry a SAK Manager on my keychain. While the small size makes it not especially great at anything, it has enough tools that will get-you-by for a lot of common tasks. Yet it is small enough you can forget it is there. Being just a slightly large version of the SAK Classic, it also includes a bottle opener and pen which will do the job in a pinch. And from a minimalism perspective it is nice to ditch those two things in full-size form from my pockets.

I considered the Midnite Manager, but the flashlight isn't any more powerful than my cell phone light.
Robin ·
Second this. Very useful little knife. I like the pen especially, but the philips is also often used. Used to carry the midnite version, but changed to nitecore tube + the manager.
You are right that the philips is a nice addition. It might be easy to overlook, but if you have young kids it is nice to have-- all the child-proof battery compartments on most toys use a tiny philips-head screw, and this is the perfect tool.

The nitecore is nice. I paired mine with a Rofis ER3A aaa-light which suits my needs for a somewhat brighter light but in a minimalist form. I live out on acres which can get pretty dark, so I frequently need the extra lume to throw light further. Also the ER3A is about the same size as a SAK Manager, so the two pair nicely together.
Zebadiah Ritselaar ·
I can't help but notice that none of these picks are 111mm knives. I carry the Locksmith, which has a 3.25" spear point locking blade, the usual large (also locking) and small screwdrivers with bottle and can openers, true Philips head screwdriver, awl, tweezers, toothpick, 3.5" wood saw, and 3.5" metal saw/file - and it is only 5/8" thick. Mine is an older model with the simple knife blade, but the newer ones come with the thumb hole for one-hand knife deployment. I find the larger knives just more heavy-duty in every way, and the smaller knives get to be too thick to comfortably use or pocket-carry if they have too many "functions," as Victorinox calls them.
billyboy4873 ·
I've been carrying a Recruit for twenty years. It's a model that gets overlooked quite often. Not too big, not too small, just the right features. Just a basic "camp" style knife. All function, no flash.
Tony Weidman ·
hear ya!
Jeroen ·
I’ve always had a Tinker and just got a Ranger. Both awesome.
Super Tinker all the way. Corkscrew is useless to me.
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