Walking the Edge – Finding the Best Pocket Knife For You

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So you are on the prowl for the best pocket knife out there? Well, you've started a long and hard journey because its really hard to choose just one as the best ever, however, we can find the best one for you! 

Knives and usefulness are subjective to their owners, and an educated shopper needs to know what they are looking at and shopping for. This guide is the first step in your search for the best edc knife. 

Name

​Blade Length

​Blade Material

Price

Kershaw Link

3.25”

420HC

​Gerber EVO

3.43"

Carbon Steel

Emerson CQC-7BW

3.3"

154CM

Gerber Remix

3.0"

7Cr17MoV

Spyderco Gayle Bradley 2

3.60"

CPM M4

SOG Baton Q3

5.8"

Steel

Benchmade Griptilian 551

3.45"

154CM

Spyderco Tenacious

3.39"

8Cr13MoV

Boker Plus Credit Card

2.25"

440C

Opinel

2.76" - 3.94"

Carbon Steel

Blade Style 

By blade style, I’m talking about how it dresses or looks in the mirror. No, by blade style we are talking about how the blade is designed in terms of usability. There are three general methods of blade styles. 

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We have plain, straight edges, partially serrated edges, and fully serrated edges. Each offers the end user a purpose-built tool designed for their needs and wants. Let’s explore all three briefly. 

Plain Edge

The most common type of knife edge is a simple plain blade. From tip to handle the blade is singular. This is great for push cuts, as well as forming accurate and cleaner cuts in general. A straight blade will not get hung up when utilizing quick cuts through stong materials.

One logistical advantage they offer is they are very easy to sharpen. A straight plain edge is quick and easy to finish off and it allows for an even and precise blade finish.

Partially Serrated Edges

This versatile system allows the user to go with a combination plain blade and partial serration. This allows you to do some decent push cuts, as well as saw through tougher materials. A serrated edge makes it much easier to chew through the thick rope, cardboard and similar materials.

Fully Serrated

While these aren’t the most common pocket knives they do exist. A fully serrated blade is designed for getting down and dirty with tough materials. They are quite popular with rescue personnel for their ability to chop through most materials. They don't allow for much precise cutting but are a bulldozer through anything else.

Personally, I like a plain edge, but that’s just me. I can see the merits of any of these options and it's wise to consider what you chop through on a daily basis when choosing a knife. 

Blade Tip

The tip of your blade says a lot about what the knife is designed to do. There are tons of different tips out there, but we are going to focus on what’s popular on pocket knives. 

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Clip Point

Clip point blades are extremely popular and one of the more common types of blade. Clip Point blades have a concave design on the backside of the tip. This gentle curve offers a solid belly for precise cuts and to make use of wrist leverage. 

Clip points are great for a variety of tasks and make excellent EDC knives. The sharp tip and provided belly make them solid performers for both piercing and slicing. 

Tanto Point 

Tanto points are popular with Tactical Knives. They have a sharp point and a straight cutting surface with a slight upward angle cutting point as well. Tanto points are very strong, and perfect for deep piercing through hard materials. 

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Tantos have very strong tips that can crash and smash without worrying about breaking too much. 

Spearpoint 

Spearpoint blades often have two edges, but on occasion, one can be a mock edge. A spearpoint edge is uniform on both sides and comes to a strong tip. The spear point is best used for piercing, but the small belly it offers does make it a little easier to do cuts and slices. 

Spearpoints are excellent in self-defense roles due to their ability to pierce and penetrate.

Drop Point

Drop point blades are likely the most common type tip style on the market. Drop Point blades are very versatile and they offer both piercing and deep cutting abilities. The straight point gives you solid piercing power and the pronounced belly of the blade is rock solid for both deep slices and precise cuts. 

Sheepsfoot

The Sheepsfoot blade is a blade style gaining popularity in knife circles once more. Sheepsfoot blades have a flat cutting edge that comes to a dull point. As you'd imagine they are poor for stabbing, but excellent for cutting. 

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Sheepsfoot blades are well suited for first responders and seat belt cutting tasks. It’s also great if you have butter fingers and are worried about slicing yourself. 

Multi Tools 

One popular option for pocket knives is multi-blade knives, as well as multi-tools. These are often very valuable and versatile tools that offer the end user a multitude of options for their everyday problems. When you compare quality and steel materials when compared to the cost of the knife though, and you may feel a little shorted. 

For the cost of a multi-tool, you can typically get a higher quality dedicated knife. It’s all about compromise and what you want and need. A multi-tool does give you much more versatility, but a more upper end knife can be purchased for the same cost. 

Multi-tools will also limit you on blade length, tip style, and blade style. Multi-tools are still a fantastic option if you need less knife and more tool. 

Blade Length 

How much is too much, how little is too little? Keep in mind we are talking pocket knives so size can be a significant concern. How much is too much? 

To answer this question, you need to examine a few things. The first is your local laws. How long of a blade can you legally carry? 

The majority of states may limit you to 3 inches or less, so here you run into your first restriction. You do have tons of different options for blades under 3 inches. 2.75 inches is quite standard for pocket knives. 

Shorter blades tend to be easier to control, and lighter to carry. A short blade allows you to commit to accurate and precise cuts. 

Larger knives, of course, give you a longer cutting surface and are generally stronger than most shorter knives. A large knife typically falls between 3 to 4 inches in blade length. Longer blades are more versatile and are better self-defense and survival knives as well. 

Anything longer than 4 inches is a bit much for pocket carry, but they indeed exist. These knives are robust survival and tactical knives. They cut deeper and are easier to handle, as well as pierce deeper. 

Blade Steel

Blade steels are numerous and of an extensive variety. Each steel offers its strengths and weaknesses. We could fill a book with the number of blade steels that are available. We are going to go ahead and talk about several prevalent steel types at different budget ranges. 

Budget Option

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420HC - This high carbon stainless steel is extremely common among mid-range knives. 420HC knives are very easy to sharpen but don't offer much edge retention. They also provide very high corrosion resistance.

Mid Range Steel 

AUS-8 - AUS-8 is a Japanese made steel that's become quite popular in the last few years. AUS 8 is a sturdy steel that is a real workhorse. It’s surprisingly easy to sharpen and does offer significant rust and corrosion resistance

AUS-8 can also be honed close to a razor sharp edge although it won’t hold that razor edge for a very long time. 

High End

154CM - This is one of my favorite steels of all time. 154CM steel is rugged, tough as nails, and designed from tool steel. 154CM steel is a little harder to sharpen, but it holds an edge well and can be close to razor sharp.

154CM steel has become familiar with higher end companies, and it's becoming very popular steel. 

Premium Steel

CPM S30V - CPM S30V, often referred to as just S30V, is one helluva steel. It resists rust and corrosion like a champ while being able to hold a fantastic edge. The blade can be honed to a razor's edge, and it will stay that way for some time. 

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It’s also a hardened steel that will last close to forever. It’s a perfect steel for those who do a lot of work with their knives and need it to perform flawlessly. Even though it's a robust steel its not too difficult to sharpen. It really is one of the best EDC knife steels out there. 

Our Best Pocket Knife Picks 

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We always like to include a few examples of the subject we are discussing, so today we are gonna toss out our top 10 favorite pocket knives and who they are for. 

1. Kershaw Link 

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The Kershaw Link is a sexy little knife. The blackwash finish looks amazing, and the gray aluminum handles are very sleek. Behind the sex appeal is rock solid knife at a great price. The Link has a 420 HC blade that comes in both plain and partially serrated edges. 

The Link sports a rear slipper for quick opening and a liner lock to keep things in place. The knife also has Kershaw’s Speed Safe opening technology to make sure you don't hurt yourself. The pocket clip is reversible, and the knife’s flipper is ambidextrous. 

The Kershaw Link is a stylish knife from a company with a rock solid reputation. Its backed by a great warranty and will serve you for many years. 

Who is it for

The Kershaw Link is affordable, but a stylish knife that's well suited for EDC. The blade is priced right for most casual knife users, and the 420HC steel is excellent for those mundane EDC tasks. A knife’s looks are rarely a primary concern, but the Link does have a professional appearance that doesn’t scream tactical. 

Kershaw Link Gray Aluminum Folding Pocket Knife

Available at Amazon

The price of Kershaw Link varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

2. Gerber Evo

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Packing a 3.43-inch titanium coated blades gives the Gerber Evo a very distinct appearance. This thin, and lightweight knife looks like a science fiction version of the classic stiletto. The spine is rigid and straight, and it sports a drop point blade with partial serration. 

The Evo uses a liner lock and has two methods of opening. The first is a rear flipper for one-handed opening and the second is a stud on the side for more methodical opening. The handle has seven oval cuts to lighten the weight and provide a suitable grip surface to the end user. 

The Evo is an excellent knife and comes in at an excellent price.

Who is it for

The Gerber Evo is for someone looking for an affordable knife that’s also slim and lightweight. The Evo isn’t small length wise but weighs only 2.8 ounces. The blade is almost 3.5 inches, so that kind of weight is impressive. 

The 440 Steel is robust and reliable, and titanium coating makes it slick, so it glides through whatever you are cutting. This sturdy little knife is perfect for a low profile, lightweight carry option. 

Gerber EVO Knife

Available at Amazon

The price of  Gerber EVO varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

3. Emerson Knives CQC-7BW - The Best Folding Knife

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Emerson folding knives are absolute legends. The Emerson CQC 6 is the famed knife of the US Navy SEALs and is widely considered the first tactical folding knife. The CQC 7 is the descendant of the 6 and the current flag bearer of the Emerson tactical series. 

This knife sports a tanto edge for deep penetration, and for the highest level of strength. The CQC 7 is a severe tool and one that will chew through whatever is thrown at it. This includes people. 

The CQC 7 sports the patented Wave Technology that Emerson created. This allows you to open the knife as you draw it from your pocket. It's just as fast as an auto-opening knife when used correctly.

Who is it for

The Emerson CQC 7 is for someone who wants both a weapon and a tool. The CQC 7 is a great knife and is designed to act as a weapon when needed. The CQC-7 is everything you want in a tactical folding knife, and its fit for EDC and duty carry. 

Emerson Knives CQC-7BW

Available at Amazon

The price of  Emerson   CQC-7BW varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

4. Gerber Remix Tactical

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The eye-catching ring in the middle of the Remix Tactical is what you’ll notice first. Once you get past this dominant feature, you’ll find a rock solid knife. The Remix Tactical is an EDC sized knife with a twist. 

That eye-catching ring is there to provide you with the most stable grip possible. With that ring around your finger, you’ll have an insanely sure grip on your knife, sweat, gloves, or cold be damned. 

The Gerber Remix Tactical sports a heavily textured handle to help reinforce that solid grip. The blade sports a tanto tip and a partially serrated edge. The ambidextrous blade deployment knob is convenient and easy to reach. 

Who is this for

This is a great EDC knife for heavy duty use and comes in at a great price. The Remix Tactical is perfect for heavy-duty cutting and penetrating, and the extra ring really aids in this effort. This is an excellent knife for construction, hunting, tactical use, and EDC tasks. 

Gerber Remix Tactical

Available at Amazon

The price of Gerber Remix Tactical varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

5. Spyderco Gayle Bradley 2 

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Mixing class with performance is a hallmark of Spyderco’s knives. Spyderco’s are trusted by professional’s worldwide and known for their durability, sharp nature, and comfortable handling grips. The Gayle Bradley 2 is an excellent example of Spyderco’s commitment to quality. 

This is one knife I’ve used and abused. If you can’t tell the Gayle Bradley 2 is a big and robust knife that’s still light enough for EDC. The 3.6-inch blade is long, and its made from the sturdy CPM M4 steel. 

The knife sports the standard Spyderco thumbhole we all know love. It’s ambidextrous and easy to use after a healthy amount of practice. The Gayle Bradley 2 sports carbon fiber handles a beautiful blade, and is a very well made and classy knife. 

Who is this for

Your professionals who need a professional grade knife that also looks professional. The gayle Bradley 2 is a nice you can trust and depend, regardless of the situation in front of you. Best of all, you can look good while you’re doing it. 

Spyderco Gayle Bradley 2

Available at Amazon

The price of Spyderco Gayle Bradley 2 varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

6. SOG Baton Q3 

I mentioned multi-tools earlier and want to toss at least one on this list. The SOG Baton series of multi-tools are the most pocket-friendly EDC tools on the market. Instead of being a brick like shape this multi-tool forms into one long, straight tool. 

This reduces bulk and cuts down on needing a belt sheath or having a massive lump in your pocket. The Baton Q3 is the best choice for a simple multi-tool, and it offers 13 different tools, including a small blade. 

The Baton is lightweight and easy to use. Each tool locks into place and provides you with a secure and safe option. The SOG Baton Q3 is an innovative design, and its so simple you wonder why it took so long for someone to come up with. 

Who is this for

Anyone and everyone should have at least one multi-tool. These superbly handy devices are used for just about everything and for anyone in any role in life. The Baton is an affordable and excellent option for a dedicated multi-tool. 

SOG Baton Q3

Available at Amazon

The price of SOG Baton Q3 varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

7. Benchmade Griptilian 551

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The Griptilian exemplifies brilliance in the basics when it comes to rock-solid reliability and simple design. The Griptilian comes in several size and shapes, and I really prefer the 551 as an EDC knife. It’s just the right size for my more everyday adventures. 

The Griptilian uses Benchmade’s robust Axis lock system, and it shows. This lets you trust the knife to do the most laborious tasks without failure. The Griptillian offers an ergonomic grip that’s really awesome for long and hard work. 

The blade is made from a 154 CM steel so its strong, durable, and can be honed to a razor’s edge. The Benchmade Griptilian is an all-around excellent knife, and one that is well suited for both light and heavy tasks. 

Who is it for

The Griptilian is for anyone who wants a capable, and reliable knife and are willing to pay for it. This knife is well suited for cops, soldiers, firefighters, and civilians who need something more robust than the average knife owner. 

Benchmade Griptilian 551

Available at Amazon

The price of  Griptilian 551 varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

8. Spyderco Tenacious 

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Spyderco is a brand synonymous with quality, but that quality often comes at a rather high price. The Tenacious is Spyderco’s attempt to offer a quality Spyderco knife at a more affordable entry point. The Tenacious is a bit smaller than most but ideally suited for EDC. 

The Tenacious sports a 3.39-inch blade made of 8Cr13MoV which sounds like a Star Wars robot, but is a very dependable steel. The Tenacious sports a G-10 handle that aids in cutting cost and cutting weight. The Tenacious still sports the traditional Spyderco thumbhole for ambidextrous opening, and the pocket clip can be changed for lefties as well. 

The Tenacious is often priced at under 50 bucks which makes this a very approachable Spyderco. Why skimp on quality when it's so affordable?

Who is it for

Someone who wants a sturdy, sharp, and reliable knife, but is also on a bit of a budget. The Tenacious keeps up with Spyderco’s legendary reputation without offering all the frills of more expensive models. This is a hardworking and dependable knife. 

Spyderco Tenacious

Available at Amazon

The price of  Spyderco Tenacious varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

9. Boker Plus Credit Card Knife 

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The Boker Plus Credit card knife is a bit of oddity on here. On paper, it doesn't look like the best knife, but stick around, and we’ll explain why it's not so bad. The Boker has a 2.25-inch blade made of 440C stainless steel so it is small and it weighs only 1.1 ounces. The blade is , and the handle is very awkward. 

This isn’t the best knife for those hardcore knife tasks. What it is is a knife you can carry anywhere you are allowed to carry knives. The thin design allows it to be worn around the neck, inside a waller, or small pocket with ease. 

It offers a lot of concealability and a super low weight. This makes it convenient and lightweight carry knife that's perfect for any type of dress. 

Who is this for

The Boker Credit Card knife is designed for convenient carry over hard work. The Credit Card knife is for those who can’t carry a regular knife. This is for women in dresses, or either gender in bathing suits, etc. 

Boker Plus Credit Card Knife

Available at Amazon

The price of  Boker Plus varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

10. Opinel 

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Coming out of the Savorie region of France we have the Opinel knife. This very classic design is simple and lacks a lot of modern flairs. This knife is as simple as it gets and sports a wood handle, a manually opening blade, and a collar lock. 

It lacks the sexiness of a Benchmade or a Cold Steel, but the retro design is gorgeous. The blade is carbon steel, and can be sharpened and honed to a razor’s edge. The Opinel comes in a wide variety of sizes from 7 to 12 cm in length. 

The simple wood handle is actually very comfortable, and the knife overall is very lightweight and easy to handle. It’s the opposite of tactical in every way, and there is something great about that. Plus, it's a very affordable knife. 

Who is this for 

The Opinel knife is for someone who wants something humble and classic in design. It’s a solid performing knife and its great for those who live in states or countries with very restrictive knife laws. The Opinel is a well-proven design that tends to be a little more straightforward.

Opinel

Available at Amazon

The price of  Opinel varies, so check the latest price at Amazon.

Parting Shots

The good news is your pocket knife options are expansive, the better news is you can hopefully now sort through the garbage with our handy dandy guide. Pocket knives are invaluable tools to have, and personally, I use mine several times a day. 

Make sure you choose one that works for you and one that’ll you’ll carry on a daily basis. Any knife left at home is basically useless. 

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.

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