Whether you’re looking to have a blade on hand for survival tactics in the great outdoors, or just want a little something to keep around so you’re always prepared, a folding knife is a sound investment. Commonly called pocket knives, folding knives come in all shapes and sizes. We’ve compiled this year’s best folding knives so you can compare and decide for yourself which is truly the one for you.
Our Top Picks: Best Folding Knives
Short on time? Here are the highlights:
- Best Overall: Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife. Made in the USA, ambidextrous assisted opening, serrated blade base, reversible pocket lip, lanyard hole, and over a dozen color options — need we say more?
- Best Eco-Friendly: Victorinox EvoWood Swiss Army Knife. EvoWood is collected from the leftover wood of other responsibly-sourced production, ensuring no wood goes to waste. The stainless-steel blade is also completely recyclable.
- Best Budget: Kershaw Cryo G-10 Folding Knife. With one-handed friendly SpeedSafe assisted opening and a deep-carry pocket clip for discrete EDC, this durable steel blade is an absolute steal.
- Best EDC: Kershaw Blur Pocket Knife. This lightweight, compact steel knife is incredibly durable and available at a moment’s notice thanks to SpeedSafe assisted open technology, making it the perfect EDC choice.
- Best Tactical: SOG Trident Tactical Folding Knife. When it comes to tactical use, look no further than this titanium-nitride coated steel blade with military-grade glass-reinforced nylon handle that is designed for everything from survival to self-defense.
- Best Survival: Zero Tolerance 0350 Folding Knife. This survival blade is made of a steel-carbon-vanadium combo coated in diamond-like carbon for unmatched durability for any application. The G-10 handle is all but indestructible, and the four-position ambidextrous pocket clip means it’s always close at hand.
- Best Utility: Victorinox SwissChamp Swiss Army Knife. This all-in-one utility blade is truly multi-purpose, with no less than 33 different tools stowed away in a low-profile, compact package that fits in your pocket or on a keychain.
1. Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife
The best folding knife overall
Manufacturer: Kershaw | Material: 14C28N Stainless Steel | Blade Length: 3 Inches | Weight: 3 Ounces | Price: 💰
Proudly made in the USA, the elegant Kershaw Leek is everything a folding knife should be. The three-inch blade is rigged on an ambidextrous assisted opening system, so you can actuate it in either hand. Serrations near the base of the blade offer added versatility, and the slim, sharp tip gives the knife excellent piercing capability. For added convenience, the integrated pocket clip is reversible, and can be configured to carry the knife tip-down or tip-up. There’s also a hole in the handle so the knife can be threaded onto a lanyard.
The blade itself measures about three inches, for a total of seven inches when unfolded. The entire folding knife weighs in at just 3.1 ounces, so you can comfortably carry it around all day, every day. It even comes in over a dozen colors to suit any aesthetic preference.
- Great price for a durable, long-lasting knife
- The blade arrives extremely sharp with excellent retention
- Easy to open and close with very fast assisted opening for quick access
- When the pocket clip is reversed, the majority of the knife sticks out when in a pocket
- A few reviewers noted issues with the blade and/or serrations bending after a few years of use
2. Victorinox EvoWood Swiss Army Knife
The best eco-friendly folding knife
Manufacturer: Victorinox | Material: Stainless Steel & EvoWood | Blade Length: 3.3 Inches | Weight: 4.5 Ounces | Price: 💰💰
The environmentally-conscious knife connoisseur will be pleased to find that having a quality pocket knife doesn’t have to be bad for the environment. The Victorinox EvoWood (short for Evolution Wood) line of Swiss Army knives make their handles from responsibly-sourced, leftover walnut wood that would otherwise become waste from other production. Every single tool in the folding utility knife is stainless steel that is sustainable and completely recyclable at the end of its life.
As far as the knife itself goes, Victorinox is known for their incredibly durable and reliable Swiss Army knives packed with any and every tool you could need for any situation.
- Small enough for EDC on a keychain
- All the tools in the knife open and close smoothly
- Responsibly-sourced wooden handle is elegant and comfortable to hold
- Slightly expensive for a Swiss Army knife
- Some reviewers noted sticking when opening and closing the scissor tool
3. Kershaw Cryo G-10 Folding Knife
The best folding knife on a budget
Manufacturer: Kershaw | Material: Stainless Steel | Blade Length: 2.75 Inches | Weight: 4 Ounces | Price: 💰
When it comes to a quality pocket knife on a budget, look no further than the Kershaw Cryo G-10. This rugged 2.75-inch pocket knife features a lightweight handle and a stainless-steel blade designed for durability and high retention. SpeedSafe assisted opening means the blade is always ready when you are, while the frame lock and lock bar stabilizer ensure all sharp edges are safely stowed away in your pocket. For one-handed deployment, simply push the thumbstud or press the flipper. The deep-carry pocket clip can be adjusted into four different positions to suit your personal preference, all of which have a lower profile than non-deep-carry clips.
- Four different clip positions for versatile EDC
- Arrives sharp with excellent retention despite daily use
- Strong protective finish and durable blade at a great price
- A few reviewers felt that one-handed opening was too difficult
- A little heavy — some reviewers said it weighed down their pockets
4. Kershaw Blur Pocket Knife
The best EDC folding knife
Manufacturer: Kershaw | Material: S30V Stainless Steel & Aluminum | Length: 3.4 Inches | Weight: 3.9 Ounces | Price: 💰💰
At just under four ounces, the Blur is another quality blade from the well-respected, USA-based Kershaw brand. This pocket knife offers a slightly longer blade made from high-end S30V steel that has high anti-corrosive properties and is incredibly durable. SpeedSafe assisted open technology means the blade is ready to use at any given moment, while the liner-lock locking mechanism ensures the sharp edge is safely stowed away while in your pocket. The integrated clip keeps the blade securely in your pocket for every-day carry.
Customize your Blur by choosing the level of serration at the base of the blade and the amount of curve at the tip. No matter which color you choose, every Blur handle features Trac-Tec grip for a firm grasp in all conditions.
- Excellent blade retention with multiple serration options
- Well-placed thumb studs along with assisted open means a ready blade the minute you need it
- The shape, size, and low-profile pocket clip make the blade easy to handle and convenient for pocket carry
- The pocket clip is not deep carry, and leaves around 25% of the knife exposed
- The Trac-Tec grip, while useful for a secure grasp, may hinder the easy slide into and out of a pocket
5. SOG Trident Tactical Folding Knife
The best tactical folding knife
Manufacturer: SOG | Material: AUS-8 Stainless Steel & Glass-Reinforced Nylon | Blade Length: 3.75 Inches | Weight: 3.6 Ounces | Price: 💰💰
The Trident is an action-ready tactical blade with a range of features for hard-and-heavy EDC use.
Both SOG-Assisted Technology (SAT) and an arc actuator allow for one-handed opening, while the secure piston lock and release mechanism means no fumbling to get the blade open or closed. The military-grade Glass-Reinforced Nylon (GRN) handle features a groove specifically for cutting cables, cords, and lines, that can be used while the knife itself is closed. The blade measures just under four inches and is coated with black titanium nitride (TINI), which offers scratch- and peel-resistant protection. Partial serrations at the base of the blade offer plenty of versatility for any conceivable use. The large, fitted pocket clip is designed to securely attach to your pocket during even the most strenuous physical activity.
- High blade retention stays sharp after “tons of daily abuse”
- Incredibly thin, lightweight, durable and functional, at an unbeatable price
- The groove for cutting cord and line is conveniently usable even with the knife closed
- A few reviewers mentioned that the assist mechanism needed be broken in
- One reviewer noted the safety locking mechanism doesn’t work 100% of the time
6. Zero Tolerance 0350 Folding Knife
The best survival folding knife
Manufacturer: Zero Tolerance | Material: S350V Stainless Steel & G-10 Fibers | Blade Length: 3.25 Inches | Weight: 6.2 Ounces | Price: 💰💰💰💰
When it comes to survival, no one does it better than Zero Tolerance. The high-performance S350V steel is made of carbon, vanadium, and steel for the ultimate combination of durability, retention, abrasion resistance, ductility, and corrosion resistance. On top of such strong structural integrity, the blade is coated in Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC), which is even tougher than the steel it protects. The extra hardness improves the already-excellent wear and corrosion resistance — plus, it gives the blade a natural, diamond-like appearance that is incredibly attractive.
And the assisted-open blade isn’t the only thing built for high performance. The G-10 handle is made of laminate composite, epoxy-filled, woven glass fiber that is impervious to temperature changes and, for all intents and purposes, indestructible. Texturing along the surface, along with the ergonomic curves, ensures a secure grip for any application. The deep-carry pocket clip offers a low profile and can be set to four different positions for tip-up and tip-down carrying on both the left and right sides.
- Unmatched durability in both the blade and handle
- Comfortable EDC carry with four-position pocket clip
- Incredible retention almost never needs to be sharpened
- Though worth the cost, it’s definitely on the pricier side
- The heavy-duty knife is, understandably, heavier than other folding knives, and may be too heavy for some
7. Victorinox SwissChamp Swiss Army Knife
The best folding utility knife
Manufacturer: Victorinox | Material: Stainless Steel & ABS | Blade Length: 2.45 Inches | Weight: 6.5 Ounces | Price: 💰💰
This flexible utility knife has no less than 33 different functions, making it truly an all-in-one powerhouse. Despite being packed full, the knife weighs in at just 6.5 ounces and is just 3.6 inches long, making it small enough for keychain EDC and lightweight enough for pocket EDC. Each and every tool is made of durable stainless steel that will resist corrosion and last for years to come. Whether you need to fillet a fish in a pinch, open a can on a camping trip, or unscrew the battery panel on your kid’s new toy, the SwissChamp has you covered.
- Small enough to fit into the small half pocket on jeans
- Multiple testaments indicate a usable life surpassing five years
- With 33 different tools, there’s literally nothing this baby can’t handle
- The knife doesn’t come with a carry case
- None of the tools lock in at a 90-degree angle, which some users desired
What to Look for in the Best Folding Knives
Choosing the best folding knife for you and your lifestyle is an important decision. There are a variety of factors you might want to keep in mind as you peruse your options:
- Size: do you need this to fit in your jeans pocket, or just a bag or purse?
- Blade: what’s the material? Is it long enough for your purposes?
- Handle: does it fit comfortably in your hand? Is it easy to hold and wield?
- Folding: do you want a simple folding knife, or do you need spring-loaded assist?
- Locking: is it important that the blade locks closed, or locks open?
- Extra Features: are you looking for a basic blade, or do you want an all-in-one tool?
For this guide on the best folding knives our team spent 5 hours researching the most popular models from over 30 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about one hundred and fifty user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each knife. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 7 folding knives on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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