We’ll help you choose the best keychain knife for your needs and style. While there are tons of options to choose from on the market, not all of them live up to the claims they make. Our goal is to show you what to expect from a quality keychain knife across the different price points.
We’ll also bring you 7 keychain knives we think to do it right. You’ll be well-informed and ready to choose a knife that’ll always be within reach and guide you into choosing the perfect knife for you. Let’s go!
Top 7 Best Keychain Knife Reviews in 2023
We’ve chosen the 7 keychain knives we think best represent balance. They give you value for money and an excellent balance between features, performance, and durability. You find more in-depth information on each knife, what we thought was unique, and why they are worth your attention.
We’ll finish up each review with what we did and didn’t like about each of the knives. Our goal is to build realistic expectations and give you a clear idea of how the knives will perform in the real world. Let’s jump into the reviews!
Screwpop Ron’s Keychain Utility Knife
Let’s get started with one of the most popular picks for the best keychain pocket knife on the market. It’s also one of our favorite picks for the best cheap keychain knife. Here’s one of the handiest knives for on-the-go utility, cutting, slicing, and more. You’re getting a four-step utility for extra life and cutting longevity. You’ll also be able to fit the standard 2-step blades from most manufacturers.
It’s a knife designed to excel with one-handed use. The compact and lightweight design combine excellently with the quickly retracting and deploying the blade. There’s almost no delay and you’ll be ready to go at a moment’s notice. We loved the magnetic portion of the body that lets you quickly stick the knife to a fridge, grill, or any piece of metal.
This gives you insane versatility and is one of the more unique features of the best keychain knife. The magnet isn’t too strong, so you don’t need to worry about it damaging your laptop or sticking to your keys. Finally, you’re getting a decent bottle opener and can attach the knife to a backpack, karabiner, keychain, and so on. The mounting and carry options are broad.
- You can mount or carry this knife almost anywhere
- The bottle opener is durable and quick to use
- Very lightweight and compact for effortless carrying
- Excellent quality cheap entry into the keychain knife market
- Can be a little bit slippery when used with wet hands
- The blade doesn’t come too sharp out the box
SOG Centi II Folding Keychain Knife
The Centi II is a fantastically designed SOG knife with portability at the center of its build plan. It’s a super-lightweight knife that can easily handle some rough use. You can carry it easily on a keychain or lanyard – or goes unnoticed on a belt or bag. You’re getting a slightly larger 2.1” stainless steel blade with great rust and corrosion resistance.
It’s a rugged knife that can take its fair share of rough use thanks to the blade cutout for added flexibility. Despite the small overall size of the blade, it’s exceptionally easy to hold the ergonomic handle. Unless you have very large hands, you’ll have no trouble fitting the knife in your hand and not have to worry about your finger slipping onto the blade.
The handle’s surface is texture to give you slip-resistance and there are grooves and molds to better fit the profile of your hand. You’ll find the blade comes very sharp out of the box and holds its edge well enough. You’ll need to touch it up once in a while to get the most from it. We think you’re getting one of the top keychain utility knife options in this price range.
- Good edge retention
- Comes sharp and ready to go
- Swift opening and closing one-handed
- Rust and corrosion-resistant stainless steel
- Slightly heavier than most keychain knives
- Black finish can wear off
SOG Keychain Pocket Knife
Here’s an all-in-one folding best keychain knife with one of the best compact bottle openers we’ve seen. It’s a small but capable knife with a sleek and subtle profile. At just 3.5” closed, this is a super-compact and easy to carry knife. It would make a superb additional carry or backup carry to keep in a car or a backpack.
We think it’s a great EDC that’s especially well-suited to being used by women. Its subtle and low-profile design is super-easy to use and is beginner-friendly. You’ll be able to use it for protection and basic utility (box cutting, minor cutting, etc.). The blade is released by simply pressing a button. You’ll love how snappy and responsive the opening action is, and it’s very reliable.
Once the knife is open, the lockup is very secure. It’s back locked which is usually quite inconvenient – though that isn’t the case here. The knob for unlocking the blade sits handily under your palm and can be pressed without needing much movement. Overall, this is one of the best small keychain knife options for women and as a low-profile EDC.
- Low-profile, subtle, and compact profile
- Quick opening action
- Very sharp and easy to maintain
- Excellent bottle opener
- Edge retention could be better
- The blade is very small and not super-functional
SOG Centi I Folding Keychain Knife
Our second knife is all about safety. You’re getting an incredibly strong and sturdy blade lockup system. It’s a Lockback design – which isn’t for everyone – but it is super-safe and secure. This lock style means that you’ll need to compromise a little opening and closing speed for safety. In our opinion, this is a worthwhile tradeoff for the best keychain knife.
The 1.4” blade is small and compact but packs a punch. There’s a cutout in the center of the blade to reduce its overall weight and reduce friction while cutting. It also gives the blade some much-needed flexibility to help it last longer. We loved the sleek and attractive profile of the knife.
It has a subtle and classy appearance that isn’t going to send people running when you pop it out in the office. You’ll find the straight edge is very sharp and relatively easy to maintain. The whole body is coated in a rust-resistant coating to help you get an enhanced lifespan.
- Good durability and rust-resistance
- Sleek and attractive profile
- Sharp edge with decent retention
- Secure lockup
- Lockback blade can be a little slow to open and close
- Black finish can be scratched off with rough use and wear
KeySmart Dapper Keychain Gentleman’s Knife
We love 420HC steel in these best keychain knife. It’s impeccably durable and does a good job of staying rust and corrosion-free. It can be sharpened to a decent edge and holds it relatively well through rougher use. The lanyard hole has been transformed more into a rail for added durability and strength.
You’ll be able to feed straps through it and get very firm mounts on boots, belts, and bags. You’re getting quite a sturdy knife with a slightly thicker body. This gives you a good grip and control over the blade for accurate cutting.
This larger body doesn’t add much weight to the overall profile and gives you a premium hefty feel. It’s still a nimble knife that you can open or close quickly. You’re getting a functional blade in a modern and one of the most user-friendly keychain knives for the money.
- Very easy to use
- Quick opening and closing action
- Very functional blade
- Larger handle and thicker body without adding much weight
- Edge retention isn’t great
- Quite tough to keep clean
NITECORE Folding Scalpel Keychain Knife
If you’re after a good blend between portability, precision, and quality; here’s an excellent knife to look at. Using CNC crafted titanium; you’re getting excellent high-precision edges and durability. It’s corrosion-resistant and has phenomenal edge retention. These are incredibly functional knives that can handle high-precision cutting at a moment’s notice.
The build is extremely sleek and minimalistic and while it’s a tad more expensive, it’s worth every penny. It has insane cutting power considering the size of the knife and blade. You can use this knife as an EDC and for extensive utility work like box cutting, slicing materials, hobby and craftwork, and much more. It’s a versatile knife that can handle almost anything aside from heavy-duty cutting.
You can replace the blade with standard #11 scalpel blades and don’t have to worry about sharpening it often – this knife has some of the best edge retentions of any keychain knife. If you’re looking for ultra-lightweight and compact knives with premium performance, this is a top-rated best keychain knife!
- Fantastic cutting edge and premium performance
- Lightweight and an ultra-sleek design
- Versatile mounting and carrying options
- Durable and effective in the long term
- Probably too sharp to be beginner-friendly
- Thin frame and blade can bend under lateral pressure
Keyport NEBA Keychain Knife
The black pocket clip (Anywhere Pocket Clip) is super-versatile and designed to go anywhere with you. You can clip it to a pocket, hat, belt, bag, etc. The options are endless and the clip is secure enough to handle them all. You’re getting the renowned clip point tip on a 2” blade. While it’s not the largest blade, it’s functional enough for utility work and is what you should expect from the best keychain knife.
It’s small and light enough to use an EDC standalone knife (or even a backup). The discreet design and profile make it suitable to legally carry and use in professional settings like an office. 420HC stainless steel gives you the resistance you need from rusting and corrosion that tends to cripple these types of knives after a couple of months.
It’s sharp enough for most utility and basic protective needs and holds its edge respectably. Cleaning the knife is relatively and the black coating doesn’t come off easily. This is a knife that’ll still be looking good well into its lifespan – and it’s light on your wallet.
- Great balance between price and quality
- Discreet and suitable for use in professional settings
- Resistant to corrosion and rusting
- Excellent versatile pocket clip
- Needs to be touched up often
- Notches and cutouts make the handle harder to keep clean
4 Things to Look for in a Great Keychain Knife
Buying a knife can be overwhelming with the plethora of excellent choices on the market. Will very little to differentiate many of the top-quality knives, it can be a real challenge to find the best value for money and a knife that suits both your needs and budget.
We’re going to take a look at some of the features we think are the most important to consider before buying a keychain knife. You’ll find some good pointers and tips to help you get the perfect keychain knife for you. Let’s take a look.
People don’t buy keychain knives to cut down trees, which is why choosing a keychain knife with a good balance between weight and functionality is essential. You should choose a knife that weighs under 2oz if possible. Slightly heavier is okay if your unique needs require a heavier knife – but you’d probably be better off getting a pocket knife in that case.
We always recommend staying under 3” in blade length. There are several reasons for this. Longer blades add a lot of the overall weight of the knife and this goes against our first pointer. Another reason is a legal one – many states and countries have a legal requirement that an EDC blade should be less than 3” in length. You should check your local laws before getting a keychain knife, especially if its blade is longer than 3”.
Some excellent Victorinox Swiss Army keychain knives meet both of the above tips – but add in a ton of versatility and functionality beyond a basic blade. Just be mindful of the weight and you’ll be good to go.
Stainless steel that’s highly resistant to corrosion is a must. Keychain knives are going to go almost everywhere you are, which is why they need excellent resistance and toughness. On the note of toughness, avoid steel that’s harder than HRC58 as it gets brittle and is prone to chipping and scuffing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Can I Use a Keychain Knife as a Legal EDC Knife?
A: They’re a little on the small side to be relied on as a sole everyday carry knife. That being said, their smaller blade size and discreet profile mean they’re legal in most places. You need to check the blade size limit and related laws for carrying a knife around in public as they vary hugely from state to state and country to country.
Q: How Long Do Keychain Knives Last?
A: This depends on how well you take care of them. The biggest causes of wearing are rough use and poor cleaning practices. Learn how to clean and dry a knife and learn your knife’s limits.
Q: Can I Use These Knives for Piercing?
A: To an extent, yes, you can. Don’t go overboard. They aren’t designed with reinforced or particularly strong tips. They could buckle or break if you’re trying to pierce tough leather, for example.
You should have a good feel for what you’re looking for and the features that will best suit your style and needs. All that’s left now is for you to make your choice. If this is your first knife, don’t get caught up in the details.
A little experience with a knife will teach you exactly what you need. Getting your hands on the best keychain knife will make your life easier. You’ll have all the utility you need in a compact and neat knife that’s ready to go anytime!