Everyday Carry

The Best New Liner Lock EDC Knives in 2018 So Far

Authored by:
Jonathan Tayag
Reviewed by:
Bernard Capulong
Founder and Editor-in-Chief
14+ Years Reviewing EDC Products
The Best New Liner Lock EDC Knives in 2018 So Far

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The liner lock folding knife is coming back in a big way with lots of great EDC designs that came out recently. While the liner lock is a tried-and-true mechanism, over the past few years they've fallen out of style compared to frame locks. But these knives have plenty of their own benefits that might be more in line with your EDC needs. In this guide, we'll explain why you should consider a liner lock for EDC and also show you some of our favorite recent releases in this category.

What makes a liner lock knife good for everyday carry?

  • Solid lock-up. A good liner lock knife will provide you a secure lock on the blade during use. Over the past few years, we may have been conditioned to think that only frame-lock knives are capable of this security. But the truth is a liner lock knife can absolutely do the same. Only the tolerances are different. A cheap frame lock knife tends to be more secure than a cheap liner lock knife, but if you buy quality this becomes less of an issue.

  • Easy one-handed closure. This is why the liner lock knife took over from the traditional lockback design. The lock is easily manipulated with your thumb, letting you close the knife quickly and easily with one hand.

  • Slimmer and lighter. Compared to frame lock knives, less of the design of a liner lock has to be dedicated to the lock itself. Designers of liner lock knives are more free to pursue the use of lightweight materials. And because a liner lock can be made to a slimmer profile, thinner and more elegant knife designs are made possible.

  • The grips of your choice. Liner lock knife designs are free to have the side panel grips of your choice, from ornamental wood to tactical grippy G10 scaling. And the best part is that you can have that grip on both sides of the handle. If you've had a frame lock knife before and been left wanting because the handle was made of slippery bare metal on one or both sides, a liner lock knife is for you.


The HVAS features CRKT's proprietary Field Strip technology, which lets you easily take the knife apart for cleaning and maintenance and put it back together without tools. This makes it perfect for outdoors carry, where mud and grime can jam up and damage your knife. The minimalist look of the blade itself is hallmark Voxnaes design. The HVAS has a stout 3.3” 1.4116 stainless steel drop point blade with a large belly, amplifying its slicing abilities.

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Spyderco Shaman

Spyderco has been making knives in this category forever, and their designs are some of the best you can have for everyday carry. The Shaman features their best take on the design with the compression lock. Think of it as a liner lock on steroids, getting behind the tang of the blade at the pivot point and further securing it with a locking pin. And because the lock is at the spine of the handle, it's even more easy to access with one hand than a regular liner lock at the bottom. The blade itself is made of premium CPM-S30V stainless steel with a drop point shape and a super sharp flat ground plain edge. Between the top jimping on the blade and its G10 scales, you'll have a solid grip on this knife even when wet.

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Kizer Begleiter

The Begleiter has been around for a bit, but it's now available in a blue G10 handle colorway. It remains a solid liner lock everyday carry knife that gets you a sharp flat ground 3.58” VG-10 stainless steel drop point blade at an affordable price point. The handle slims out in the center, letting you get a deep grip on the knife during use and helping protect you against accidental cuts during heavy use.

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Boker Plus Urban Trapper Gentleman

You might recognize the titanium Urban Trapper as a frame lock knife, but this design leverages the ability to make liner lock knives slimmer and more elegant to bring the Urban Trapper firmly into the modern gent's knives space. The cocobolo wood handles offer a deluxe feel to this thin and sleek knife with its deep red color and attractive grain. It also features a 3.7” VG-10 stainless steel blade that's deployed easily with its flipper opening. And at a mere 1.6 ounces in weight, you'll barely notice this knife in your pockets until you need to use it.

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Kershaw Atmos

The Atmos is a slim and clean liner lock design made in collaboration with Dmitry Sinkevich. It features a 3” 8Cr13MoV blade that has a modified drop point blade with a bit of a clip at the tip. This lets you be more agile with the blade in tight spaces. Because it has a index tab flipper opening and KVT ball-bearings in the handle, you get easy one-handed deployment with the Atmos. For added grip, the handle has G10 scaling on both sides, but it also comes with attractive carbon fiber embellishments for added elegance. When it's not in use, the reversible tip-up deep carry pocket clip lets the Atmos sink out of sight and out of mind in your pockets.

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Steel Will Mini Intrigue

This model is a slimmed down version of the Intrigue tactical liner lock knife, made more suitable for everyday carry with a 3.25” D2 hollow ground drop point blade. The handle is made of textured and lightweight FRN scaling, and it has an ergonomic shape that conforms to your hand. The blade opens easily with a high index flipper that's easily identified in your pockets as you draw the knife for use. That flipper also serves as an additional guard for your hands during rough use.

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TOPS Mini Scandi Folder 4.0

This year, TOPS has graced us all with the the superior ergonomics of their compact fixed blade Mini Scandi neck knife with the convenience of a folding liner-lock design. If you've avoided the original because fixed blades aren't your thing, or because fixed blades are restricted where you live, consider picking this up. You get a 3.25” sharp scandi-ground blade made of ultra stain-resistant N690Co steel. The flipper opening ensures you can deploy this blade with comparable speed to its fixed blade cousin and the tan canvas micarta handles add to its durability.

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Emerson Seax

When it comes to making great tactical folding knives, Emerson designs rank up with the best. The Seax is a new design featuring an interesting blade that looks like a cross between a wharncliffe and tanto shape. But it's actually a modern take on the ancient Germanic seax sword, in the shape of a modern tactical compact folding knife. The unique blade design lets its excel at both slicing and piercing tasks, and its hardy 154CM stainless steel ensures sharpness, durability, and edge retention. The liner lock minimizes blade play and also allows the handle to have grippy G10 on both sides of the handle.

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Do you prefer liner lock knives? Leave a comment below with your favorite liner lock knife and why.

Jonathan Tayag

Senior Contributor

About the Author
Jonathan Tayag is secretly an information technology and corporate security expert who prefers to moonlight as a creative event and commercial photographer whenever possible. His varied experience and substantial travels have led him to seek, without even thinking about it at first, the best gear for the best use at the best price available. Before the concept of EDC (everyday carry) firmly took hold, Jonathan already spent untold amounts of time optimizing for the best-in-slot pieces of gear, from cameras and lenses to pocket knives, pens, and bags and packs. In November 2015, Jonathan joined EverydayCarry.com and has since written numerous articles and guides to help impart his knowledge to the community as a whole.

Jonathan's photographic works have appeared on numerous online websites, print, video, and television outlets for over a decade. Jonathan's previous clients include Blizzard Entertainment, Red Bull, ESL, Razer, and several other endemic and non-endemic esports sponsors and brands. His work also features heavily in online competitive gaming communities, especially those of the StarCraft and Fighting Game genres. You've likely seen his work if you've spent time in a stream or in-game chat over the years.

Bernard Capulong

Founder and Editor-in-Chief

About the Reviewer
Bernard Capulong is an everyday carry (EDC) gear expert, entrepreneur, all-around nerd, and the founder and editor-in-chief of EverydayCarry.com—the largest online community for EDC gear enthusiasts. Since founding Everyday Carry in 2009, he’s built over a decade of experience in the industry, reviewing and highlighting brands and products, including pocket knives, flashlights, wallets, watches, bags, pens, and much more.

Bernard is known for bringing everyday carry out of obscurity and into the mainstream, having been published or featured in various publications such as GQ, TIME Magazine, The New York Times, VICE, HYPEBEAST, and many others. He has also played a part in curating, designing, and developing digital and physical products, resulting in successful crowdfunding projects or limited edition collaboration products with established softgoods brands. He stays on the pulse of the EDC industry by attending trade shows, participating in online interest communities, and actively engaging with fellow gear enthusiasts on social media.

In addition to being the editor-in-chief and main social media personality for EverydayCarry.com, Bernard is an avid gearhead and collector in general. His personal collections span technical bags, fountain pens, digital cameras, retro gaming hardware, personal hi-fi audio gear, and mechanical wristwatches, to name a few. Bernard Capulong is a prominent figure and trusted authority in the everyday carry industry with a career dedicated to helping people discover this hobby and stay prepared with quality gear.

Discussion (8 total)

craig b ·
No zero tolerance.i have zero tolerance for no zero tolerance.
Michael Mutant ·
Hinderer Slicer carrier here..
thewoodpecker ·
The Shaman is technically a Compression lock not a liner lock. Operating it is similar but the mechanical function is different.
Julian ·
Steel will has been really making itself a contender/threat between the intrigue, modus and cutjack especially with the budget and higher end versions
Jason Winter ·
I've researched these knives. Some are good choices, and others user reviews indicate their steel and overall design doesn't qualify them for top anything.
Robert Kirk ·
Not being an "expert", I prefer liner lock folders. One of my favorites has been my 2o y.o. Schrade CH18S Cliphanger. Hated by many, I have used this blade extensively as an OTR owner/driver and now on occasion in retirement. Not the best, but has been serviceable for me.
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