The Best Large Folding Knives for EDC

The Best Large Folding Knives for EDC

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UPDATE: We’ve updated this list with new picks in 2019. Check out the new guide here.

When it comes to finding the best knife for everyday carry, smaller knives often dominate the discussion. That's because a smaller knife can work well when pocket space and local laws restrict what you can carry. But it doesn't mean they're always the best tool for the job, especially when the task at hand calls for a bit more grip and blade to work with.

Larger blades over 3” give you more of a cutting edge as well as a more secure and comfortable grip during heavy duty cutting. In colder weather, when you've got bigger coat pockets and you're wearing gloves, a bigger blade is both easier to carry and to use with control and confidence. It's that confidence that makes many people EDC larger knives a part of their normal carry, no matter the season.

It also helps that with modern design, larger knives don't have to come with cumbersome heft. There are plenty of knives with blades over 3" with designs that are friendly for EDC. In this guide, we'll introduce you to some of your best options for making a large knife a part of your everyday carry.

10 Best EDC Knives Over 3"

Kershaw AM-4

The AM-4 integrates Al Mar's hallmark slim design with Kershaw's SpeedSafe assisted opening. It's a flipper knife with blazing quick one-handed opening. The AM-4 is also very lightweight at only 2.8 ounces. It has a 3.5" long 8Cr13MoV blade and a handle that features a polished G10 and a reliable frame lock. You usually have to spend a lot to get an Al Mar design, but this collaboration piece is a good value, especially if you prefer assisted flipper knives.

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Benchmade 560 Freek

The Benchmade 560 Freek is a functional update to the excellent Griptilian. While the Freek isn't the same knife as that go-to EDC classic, it's actually better in a few ways. Its combination of Grivory and Versaflex materials provides you a better grip on the handle. The Freek's 3.6" drop point blade features better S30V blade steel as well. Benchmade's trademark AXIS-lock keeps that blade in place even during hard use.

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Spyderco ParaMilitary 2

The ParaMilitary 2 is an iconic Spyderco design that sets a high bar for quality in this category. It has a razor-sharp 3.438" S30V blade that's available in both plain and full serrated edge. Deployment is easy, even with gloves, because of the large signature thumbhole. The ergonomic handle features very grippy G10 scales. The compression lock at the top makes sure the blade stays engaged at the task on hand without fail.

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Ontario RAT 1

The RAT 1 is an excellent tactical folder with a 3.5" AUS-8 full flat taper blade. The ergonomics of the knife allow you to get a large amount of control and precision during the cut. The nylon handle conforms to your hand, and it's large enough to do so even when you're wearing gloves. The jimping at the top of the blade helps with fine control as well. For a few more dollars, you can opt for the RAT 1 in an upgraded D2 steel.

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Cold Steel Code 4

When discussing larger EDC knives, Cold Steel undoubtedly deserves a mention. As the name implies, your situation is under control and needs satisfied with the Code 4. It has a substantial 3.5" spear point blade made out of hard CTS XHP steel. While it's big, looks can be deceiving. The 6061 aluminum handle helps even out the perception of heft in the knife, which weighs only 4.3 ounces.

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CRKT Amicus

The Amicus is a design by Jesper Voxnaes that's both functional and minimalist. It features a 3.407" 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade with a satin finish. The sleek handle has an attractive stonewashed finish, fitted with an integrated frame lock on the back. The large thumbslot makes it easy to open, especially when outside wearing gloves.

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Boker Plus Urban Trapper

The Urban Trapper designed by Brad Zinker is a slim and lightweight knife with a sharp 3.5" VG-10 clip flipper blade. It has an elegant titanium handle that saves a lot of weight with a skeletonized design that adds to its beauty. And while the knife only weighs 1.78 ounces, it still has a solid frame lock, making it suitable for any task you throw at it. If you want to spruce things up a bit, the Urban Trapper is also available with cocobolo wood panels on the handle to round out a more urban gents style.

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Zero Tolerance 0220

The ZT 0220 is a design by Jens Anso that mixes sleek minimalist looks with premium materials. That means that while it does look amazing, it isn't a display piece. The 3.5" S35VN stainless steel blade has a modified drop-point shape with a slight recurve. This gives it more surface area to help you perform your everyday cutting and slicing tasks with ease. The matte titanium handle features a finger choil for comfortable control and easy access to its integrated frame lock. And because it's a flipper knife with KVT ball bearings, it opens easy with a single hand.

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SOG Kiku Assisted

The Kiku is a new tactical knife by SOG that features linen micarta handles with excellent grip. The knife is the namesake of Japanese custom blademaker Kiku Matsuda. With its 3.5" VG-10 tanto blade, it's an excellent piercing knife. But the blade's recurve also makes it an excellent slicing tool. Deployment is easy with a thumbstud and assisted opening. A button lock holds the blade open during use.

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Emerson CQC-7 SF

The CQC-7 is a venerable and iconic knife in this category of knives over 3 inches. The patented Wave opening feature makes it one of the fastest manual knives to have out of your pocket and ready. On this updated version, the blade comes equipped with a flipper tab as well, giving you even more options for speedy deployment. The 3.3" S35VN tanto blade is available in both plain edge and partial serrations. This is a working knife, and the G10 handle provides you an affirmative grip even during hard use.

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Do you prefer more compact blades, or knives on the larger side? Let us know your favorite EDC in the comments below!

#knives #buying-guides #best-large-folding-knife #best-large-edc-knife #heavy-duty-folding-knife #large-tactical-folding-knife see all

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Discussion (23 total)

I have Kershaw Emerson CQC 11k. The Emerson wave feature is so fun to use. The wave feature is the fastest way to deploy a knife. I want to get a Spyderco Delica with the Emerson wave. Now a company came out with with a signet ring for the Delica. The ring now turns your Delica into a karambit
I am thinking about getting one really good EDC blade. I am trying to decide between a Benchmade freak and a Benchmade griptilian. I can't decide
The only knife on this list I have is the RAT 1. I like some of the others, but just haven't got arou d to getting any.
In regards to a comment about them all being cheap, I would argue that cheap isn't a bad thing. Sure, a $400 knife is probably going to be awesome, but it's also going to be painful to replace if something happens to it. In my experience knives get lost more than anything other EDC item except for maybe lighters. If my knife falls out of my pocket or off my gear it is a lot less painful to spend fifty bucks on a SOG or CRKT or Kershaw than a few hundred on a higher end blade. Sure, I could save up for the fancy knife, but that could take a while, since bills will always have to come first. For me at least, the knife I can have right now is going to be more useful than the knife I might have later. Also losing or damaging that knife will be a lot less painful.
In 40+ years of owning knives I've never lost a knife. That's irresponsible, sorry. That's like saying "Don't buy expensive pistols because it's less painful when you lose a cheap one". They are both weapons and should be treated as such. It's like wallets and keys. How on gods green earth do you lose either. They both stay in your pocket and only come out when actually being used and then go straight back into your pocket. Accountability is something I had to and do take extremely seriously​.
In 40 plus years of carrying pocket knives I’ve had several damaged when loaned out. I would never compare a pocket knife with a pistol, you may as well compare it with a house.
So do you loan out your pistols? I don't loan out knives or firearms to anyone.
Boker Urban Trapper is awesome. You can get Petite, Grande, Cocobolo, Carbon Fiber, G-10, Damasteel, black steel. So many varieties!
The 10 (most sponsored on EDC) "best" "large" (3.5" bladed ) knives... lol. There are some great budget knives on here, but nothing (outside of the PM2) I'd consider the best of anything. Oh well
Nice list! I tend to ECC more compact blades because of their lighter weight, smaller footprint in the pocket, & they fit my hands a little better. For the last decade or so I've alternated between a Benchmade 585 mini barrage and a Benchmade 5500 Mini Presidio Small Automatic. Recently (& largely due to this website), I've started appreciating the elegance & simplicity behind the titanium framelock folder. Currently carrying a CRK small Sebenza 21 Insingo & coveting a PDW Badger.
Why always cheap knives??? What about the Graham GMT Razel, Grimsmo Norseman, Shirogorov NeOn or Three Sisters Forge Gorgon. All of those knives are superior in every way to the knives on your list. The Norseman is probably the best folder made hands down. Please stop with the cheap seats knives. Benchmade and Syderco are fine. Some Emerson, Ontario and ZT are fine as well, but Kershaw, SOG, Cold Steel and CRKT should NEVER be on a "Best Of" anything.
I think they keep in mind the FACT that most Working class people cannot justify spending 600 plus dollars on a pocket knife. especially when these more budget friendly knifes can cut cardboard boxes and paracord just as well the "fancy" brands you named off. Now if someone was a hardcore camper or survivalist then a more endowed blade could be a more beneficial purchase. With that said these type of blades are fine for any civilian edc purposes.
My point is, why buy cheap knives over and over and over. $50 here $75 there over and over adds up. Save up and buy a high quality knife that will out last you and probably your kids. The knives I named will out perform even just cutting boxes any of the knives in the article list. Because it's design, materials, craftsmanship to include fit & finish. I own over 100 knives and probably have owned 300+ over the years. When you buy knives you get what you pay for. $195-$200 is were you should be looking to enter the knife market for a quality EDC knife excluding slip joints. Slippies start around $80-$150 entry level quality. Why spend $600 over the years on crappy knives when you could spend that same $600 on a Custom-Mid Tech that'll be handed down to your kids and grandkids. Save up and buy once cry once. Oh $600 wasn't the cheapest knife on my list, $375 was.
Hardcore camper here. Don't waste your money. All you are paying for is a small team (or a single person in most of the knives he listed) to overcharge for their services. They just happened to market well and utilized social medias keywords to turn their hobby into a business. They are well crafted, no doubt. But not even close to worth the price. It's like buying a Lincoln instead of a Ford.
You clearly haven't seen what it takes to make a Grimsmo Norseman. It alot more than just slapping a knife together and cheap marketing gimmicks. It's hardcore engineering​ and machining to achieve those tolerances and fit and finish and not to mention materials. Then you have the TSF BEAST. Honestly you can't kill it. It's purposely​ over engineered and designed to be user maintained and serviced. When you hold one of these knives and use them you can feel the difference. I didn't even know what a Norseman was until a buddy handed me one when I ask for a folder to cut a rope. As soon as he handed it to me I could tell this was a quality knife and then when I opened it I knew it was a special knife. Cheap knives a cheap for a reason. Lincoln over Ford would be like Zero Tolerance over Kershaw. They both are owned by the same company, Ford owns Lincoln and Kershaw owns ZT. A proper comparison would be Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini over Ford. There's definitely a difference in quality.
I’ll remember to buy a ferrari the next time i’m looking for a ford. Thanks for the advice
Hardly... Have you seen the maintenance on a Ferrari? Also, how many Ferraris do you know pushing 300k? Ferrari's (and all of the above) have serious operational limitations. Calling certain brands "cheap" is like wearing abercrombie over american eagle, or adidas over nike.. who cares. I get the work that goes into those knives, but it's ridiculous to think a $400 knife will cut any better than a $50 knife, when sharpened and maintained regularly. Also, most people don't have that much to blow and can make a $50 blade last just as long as that $400 one. So the argument of spending $50 more often, is not realistic at all. Some knives are built better than others, obviously. It's all about budget really. Comparisons aside, it's about what you can afford. But comparisons in mind, a sharp object is a sharp object.
And I have seen what it takes. Plenty of people out here in Montana do it. Almost every good store has some locally made knives, among many other weapons, all locally forged.
Because a decent $20-30 knife falling out of my pocket and getting lost isn't nearly as bad as losing a $600 knife.
Personally I'd rather have a cheaper $50 knife for the everyday stuff and keep a more expensive, albeit well made knife for more specific tasks. I'd love nothing more than a $350 Benchmade but I doubt I'd carry it all the time. My $50 Kershaw has worked perfectly and sharpens very quickly.
What? No Benchmade Griptilian? No Spyderco Endura? No Spyderco Tenacious? SOG Tomcat? Kershaw Blur?
Agreed on the Spyderco Tenacious. It's all the good qualities of the Paramilitary at under half the price. Been carrying the Tenacious for years now.
Yep, I bought several on sale
It's incomprehensible to me that in a list of the supposed "best" large blade knives, the ZT0220 made the cut but the venerable ZT0350 didn't. Seriously?