Pocket knives are incredible tools that are made even greater by how portable and versatile they are. We’ll help you choose the best pocket knife for your budget and your needs. There are loads of pocket knives out there that will eat your money and not deliver any value.
Here you’ll find information to help you choose a knife that suits your intended uses and your style. We’ve selected knives that are balanced and that cater to a wide set of users. Our goal is to save you time and help you get awesome value for your money with easy to understand and concise reviews of each of the knives. Let’s dive in!
Top 7 Best Pocket Knives Review in 2023
For each of the knives, we’ll break down their most unique and stand-out features that deserve to be mentioned. We’ll show you what you can expect in terms of performance and functionality. We want to give you a clear idea of how well the knife will suit you.
At the end of each review, you’ll find what we did and didn’t like about the knife. By the end of our buying guide, you’ll be ready and well-informed enough to make a smart purchase. You’ll have the perfect knife for you and a trusty companion for years to come!
Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife
Let’s kick it off with an awesome and super-popular Swiss Army pocket knife. These knives are renowned for their excellent value for money and multi-functional design that wears well over time. They’re surprisingly lightweight and compact despite packing so much versatility into a small frame.
You’re getting a sharp 1.25” blade that has great edge retention and a sturdy feel. There’s also a nail file with a Philips head screwdriver at the end. You can pull out tweezers and a toothpick from the insert at the top of the body. The scissors perform better than you’d expect for such an affordable knife. While they’re not heavy-duty, they’re sharp and durable enough to cut through tough materials.
The keyring helps you mount the lightweight build onto your keys. This keeps the pocket knife handy and accessible for emergencies. You’ll also be able to mount it to a belt – or keep it in your pocket. Overall, it’s one of the best pocket knife options if you want something trustworthy and highly portable.
- Very lightweight and compact considering the features it packs
- The blade is sturdy and ultra-sharp with good edge retention
- Excellent quality scissors
- Unfolding the various tools is smooth and easy
- Rusting can be a bit of an issue if you don’t get a good quality leather case
- Spring for the scissors can get knocked out of line quite easily
Kershaw Blur Black EDC Pocket Knife
With a larger 3.4” drop-down blade, this Kershaw knife is well-suited to the outdoors and light tactical use. The gorgeous black design is subtle and sleek. You’re getting a well-designed handle that’s ergonomic enough for tactical and rough use. The rubberized Trac-Tek inlays along the handle give you a good grip and all the traction you need.
While we’re not huge fans of assisted opening folding knives, this opening motion is smooth and the action is swift. It’s a knife you can pull out and be ready for action at a moment’s notice. One of our favorite aspects of this pocket knife is how close the tip sits to the centerline of the knife.
The spine of the knife gradually curves to bring the tip down. This helps you get a stronger piercing and stabbing power from the knife. In terms of durability, the stainless steel blade can be made exquisitely sharp when honed with the right tools. Edge retention is decent and the blade is coated in a rust-resistant material.
- Larger blade with quite a hefty feel without sacrificing control
- The centered tip is sturdy with excellent piercing power
- Ergonomic handle with rubberized inlays
- Impeccable sharpness
- Hard to sharpen to a very fine edge without scratching off the coating
- Edge retention could be better
Gerber Paraframe Mini Pocket Knife
We love mini pocket knives. They’re perfect if you’re looking for an everyday carry knife with enough versatility to keep you covered. It’s easy to clean and maintain thanks to the smaller overall size and smooth profile. These knives are legal in places like the UK and in many states in the US.
One of our favorite features of this Gerber knife is the sturdy pocket clip. You can get robust mounts at various angles without risking its strength or utility. You’ll immediately notice how well the handle fits into your hands. There are finger holds curved into the profile that helps you get a better grip – even with larger hands.
The blade is ultra-sharp for a small blade and can handle cutting work far above its “weight class”. It’s a knife that packs some of the cutting prowess and utility of larger and more premium knives, into a small and affordable package. Overall, you’re getting one of the best pocket knife options. It’s great for light utility and general use and has excellent value for money.
- Super-lightweight and easy to carry
- Fits larger hands and fingers despite the smaller profile
- Legal to use as an EDC knife in many places
- Ultra-sharp edge
- The locking mechanism is a little on the dangerous side
- Handle gets scuffed and scratched quite easily
CRKT Squid Folding Pocket Knife
With some of the best edge retention in a small pocket knife, it quite easily takes on larger and more expensive knives. It’s a sleek and subtle knife with a black stonewash finish that’s durable and wears exceptionally well. Considering the price point, you’ll get excellent value for money. These CRKT knives are robust and last a long time if you take care of them.
One of our favorite features is the powerful and sturdy pocket clip. It’s extremely strong and capable of clipping on to a variety of materials without slipping. You can change the clip out for something reversible or easier to use if you’d like.
Overall, you’re getting quite a small profile and an even smaller blade. This helps to keep the knife legal as an EDC option but takes a little away from the utility and functionality it offers. It’s hands-down a strong competitor for the best pocket knife for the money.
- Fantastic value for money
- Lightweight and compact design
- Excellent quality steel and top-class edge retention
- Black stonewash finish resists scuffing and rusting
- The pocket clip can be a little too strong and difficult to use
- Premium quality build is slightly let down by the small size of the blade and handle
Sanrenmu Outdoor Pocket Knife
Here’s one of the top best pocket knife you may have never heard of. If you’re looking for an EDC folding knife that’s suitable for use in the office – this might be your next knife. The body and blade are handsome and attractive. The 3CR13 blade has a larger bevel set at a slighter angle. This helps give you one of the sharpest edges on a 2.75” pocket knife blade you’re likely to find at this price.
While the blade isn’t made from traditional premium steel, the Chinese steel that’s used is impeccable. It can achieve a sharpness that’s close to premium steel knives – with only a little less edge retention. It’s a knife that fits easily and effortlessly into any pocket and doesn’t weigh it down. You’re getting an ultra-compact and slim knife you can take to the office with you.
You’ll find it to be extremely capable for general home and office use. When you consider the fact you’re getting all this all a frighteningly low price, it’s a hard offer to resist. Overall, it’s a top pick for the best pocket knife and reliable addition to your EDC kit.
- Lightweight, compact, and subtle enough to take to the office
- High level of sharpness despite not using premium (expensive) steel
- One of the best belt clips you’ll ever use
- High-quality performance that’s light on your wallet
- Edge retention could be better
- A little slippery when it’s used with wet or oily hands
GrandWay Spring Assisted Pocket Knife
To share the limelight with some lesser-known knives that perform impeccably, here’s one of the most unique and attractive pocket knives you’ll find for this price. The blade is made from 440c stainless steel. While it’s not the toughest steel around, it’s lightweight and robust enough to use daily.
The edge retention is on par with more expensive knives, though sharpening it to a fine edge will take some skill and experience. You’ll quickly fall in love with the handle – and not just because it looks good. The thicker base helps you get a firmer grip that doesn’t slip easily. We loved the raised ridge where the thumb stud sits.
This helps you get a better pinch grip and give you better control over the tip of the blade. Speaking of the tip, it sits close to the centerline of the knife and gives you excellent puncturing and piercing power. The sharp edge of the blade makes cutting feel more effortless than it should. Overall, these are high-quality pocket knives considering the low and affordable cost.
- Great balance between affordability and quality
- Unique and attractive wooden handle inlay with fantastic ergonomics
- Strong and sturdy tip with good piercing power
- Makes an excellent gift for a boy scout or young enthusiast
- Quite tough to sharpen without skills (and you might ruin the blade’s black finish)
- The spring-assisted opening isn’t too durable or consistent
SOG Cash Card Folding Pocket Knife
Here’s an awesome minimalist wallet or cash/card knife. It’s ultra-compact while still offering you the versatility of a 2.75” knife. The handle is designed with a skeletal structure that lets you easily loop a chain through the gaps. You can attach this SOG knife to a key ring or set, or even to your wallet.
You’re getting consistency and safety thanks to the high-quality linear locking system. This helps to give the blade the power and sturdiness you’d need for more heavy-duty cutting and piercing. The blade turns dual-edge towards the tip. This helps to give the knife exceptional piercing power and the ability to penetrate and cut quickly.
While it’s not quite long enough to be used as a dedicated outdoor or tactical knife, it’s still very capable. The small body and lightweight build make it suitable to use as a backup daily carry. You’re getting one of the best pocket knife options for a secondary carry folding knife.
- Ultra-lightweight and compact for use as a backup daily carry pocket knife
- Skeletal handle design gives you grip and lets you wind a chain through it
- The linear lock is excellent and safe
- Has a money clip for holding cash and cards safely
- Blade and handle scuff and scratch quite easily
- The blade doesn’t have the greatest edge retention and needs touching up relatively often
What Should I Look for in a Quality Pocket Knife?
In today’s knife market, the pocket knife has arguably the broadest range of options out of any knife niche. The sheer number of options available can be overwhelming. You need to have quite a good idea of what you’re looking for – and what features matter more for different need sets. We’re going to take a quick look at a couple of the most important pocket knife aspects you should consider before making your choice.
This is at the top of our list because there are several laws surrounding how long the blade of a folding or concealed knife can be. You need to make sure that you know how you’re going to use the knife (in an office, for camping, etc.). In addition to legality, the size of the blade will impact the type of use the knife is best suited to. If you need a tactical pocket knife that’s great for the outdoors, then you’ll need a blade of at least 3.5”.
Make sure the knife you choose is made from stainless steel and has an HRC rating of 56-58. Any harder and the steel becomes a little brittle; any softer and edge retention isn’t great. High-carbon steel is great for corrosion resistance, and you’ll often find pocket knife blades coated in an additional black coating for extra resistance.
If you’re new to folding knives, you might want to go with a secure and standard lock-style such as a frame lock or back lock. These are intuitive and easy to build up muscle memory with. If you have experience then you’ll know what knives best suit your habit, and what you can comfortably use single-handed.
Cutting Edge and Tip Style
If you want an outdoor pocket knife, get one that has a serrated cutting potion. This serrated edge is also great for general utility and makes the knife more versatile. For the tip, we love clip-point blades for general utility. They’re quite common, sturdy, and very versatile. If you need a more tactical knife, the tanto-style is excellent. Its robust and powerful tip can handle thrusting and slicing comfortably.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: How Do I Sharpen the Serrated Cutting Portion of My Pocket Knife?
A: Bear in mind that this doesn’t need to be done all too often. Your best ally here is a tapered sharpening/honing rod. These have a cylindrical shape that gets consistently thinner from base to tip. Use it to sharpen each of the serrations in even and consistent motions.
Q: How Good Are Assisted Opening Pocket Knives?
A: They’re great for one-handed use and a swift, consistent opening/closing action. They’re exceptionally easy to use and great for beginners. You don’t need much muscle memory and they’re very safe. The main drawback is durability. If the knife is treated roughly, the moving parts can be damaged and the opening/closing actions can be ruined. Some countries also have rules/laws regarding the legality of assisted opening knives – especially if they have a front-releasing blade.
You should feel comfortable choosing your next pocket knife now. Hopefully, you know what kind of performance and features you can expect at the different price points. You must get something that closely matches your needs and offers you what you’re looking for. Take some time to go back over the knives we’ve reviewed and take a closer look at the ones that caught your interest.
You’ve got 7 awesome and attractive pocket knives to choose from. They strike a great balance between price, performance, durability, usability, and features. Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you need, get the knife on order! Don’t get too caught up in the process. Having the best pocket knife will keep you ready and able to handle daily knife – and keep you safe and secure at the same time!