What follows is a list of some of my favorite EDC knives, and knives that I recommend if you aren’t sure where to start. This list has been newly updated to be sortable, so have fun playing around with the variables to see what pops up. If you are new to the site and new to knives, these are what I think are among the very best EDC knives that I have reviewed.
These choices vary in size and price, so some may be too big or too small to fit your budget or style of EDC, but I think most will agree that there isn’t a bad knife in the list. These are all great knives and I’d be happy to have any one of them in my pocket.
A note on prices: I have tried to make the table so that you can sort through by price. The number of dollar signs relates to the price of the knife as follows: 1 ($0-$50); 2 ($50-$100); 3 ($100-$200); 4 ($200-$300); 5 ($300+). Naturally these are all approximations and actual prices are subject to change.
Best EDC Knives:
|EDC Knives||Overall Length (inches)||Blade Length (inches)||Weight (ounces)||Blade Steel||Price||Made In|
|Spyderco Sage 1|
|Zero Tolerance 0562 CF|
|Chris Reeve Mnandi|
|Boker Urban Trapper|
|Chris Reeve Large Sebenza 21|
|Case Sod Buster Jr|
|Victorinox Alox Cadet|
|Spyderco Paramilitary 2|
|Benchmade Mini Griptilian|
|Chris Reeve Small Sebenza 21|
|Spyderco Dragonfly 2|
|Spyderco Delica 4|
|Ontario Rat 1|
|ESEE Izula II|
|Cold Steel American Lawman|
|Cold Steel Mini Tuff Lite|
EDC Knife Considerations
As someone who has carried hundreds of pocket knives, my goal is to help you find the ideal EDC knife for yourself – without having to own hundreds of pocket knives like I have (although it has been fun). If you want to cut to the chase, here are some of my tips for selecting the most appropriate EDC.
This may sound obvious, but size matters when selecting an EDC. The knives I have listed on this webpage have blades that range from 2″ to just under 4″. This begs the question – what is the best size for EDC?
Some countries, states and municipalities pick the appropriate size for you, and have restrictions on blade length for a pocket knife. If that’s the case, then your options may be limited.
For most people, they will want an EDC knife in the 3″ range. Personally, it depends on what I’m doing. If I am working at the office, I’ll want a smaller knife (like the Alox Cadet or Spyderco Dragonfly 2). If I am working in the yard or helping a friend move, then I’ll spring for something larger like a Benchmade Griptilian or Spyderco Paramilitary 2. You will want to consider the tasks you will be using the knife for, as well as social considerations. It probably isn’t a smart idea to bust out a Strider SnG if you work at a call center, but it might be an OK choice if you are a diesel mechanic – common sense will dictate, and some people will actually carry 2 knives (a small one and a larger one) so they have the option depending on what’s going on.
You also want to consider the weight of the knife. Sometimes that’s just as important as the overall dimensions. For me, super heavy knives tend to stay at home. I like lightweight and compact designs that give me plenty of utility without pulling my pants down.
Of course plenty of people will say that steel matters in picking out a pocket knife. It does. To me, it doesn’t matter as much as I can easily and regularly sharpen my pocketknives. If this is a concern for you, check out the Spyderco Sharpmaker. It will turn just about anyone into a competent sharpener.
That said, I know some people will have an absolute desire for the “best” steel. Often people consider the “best” steel to be the one that holds its edge the longest. I prefer a steel that holds a good edge but is relatively easy to sharpen. If you are new to steel I have devoted an entire section of the website to the subject. It should provide you with a decent primer on knife steel.
Perhaps more important that blade steel, blade shape will dictate how you use a knife and how you maintain it. I like a simple non-threatening looking blade for EDC. These shapes tend to function well and won’t alarm people. I prefer a blade shape without recurves and serrations for ease of sharpening. I like a thinly ground blade that slices efficiently. I like a blade with a clean stonewashed or satin finish for aesthetics and ease of maintenance. Blade shape is important to consider.
Handle Design and Ergonomics
The handle directly impacts your use of a knife. A poor handle design will make for an unpleasant cutting experience. I like simple handles without a ton of jimping (serrations) and texture. A little grip is fine, but I don’t need my knife handle to resemble a cheese grater. I also don’t like handles with tons of finger grooves. Each hand is different, and it’s impossible for a knife designer to design a production knife that “fits” most people if it has very pronounced finger grooves.
I generally like the handle to be relatively thin so it rides in the pocket well. I prefer handle materials like carbon fiber and G10, although fiberglass reinforced plastic has its place.
I also like a well constructed handle. When I review a knife I can tell a lot about its quality by examining the handle. I look to see how all of the pieces fit together, whether they have been all properly finished, whether there are any sharp edges. I look at the hardware used to hold the knife together. I look for functional details like milled out liners and I look for artistic details as well. You can tell a lot about a knife by how its handle is made.
Pocket Clips and Carry
Another hugely important consideration for selecting an EDC knife is how it carries in the pocket. A primary consideration is how you are going to carry the knife. Specifically: are you going to use a pocket clip? I could write an entire article on pocket clips, but I doubt many people would derive much value from it because it is such a personal decision. Tip up, tip down, right side, left side, deep carry, ultra deep carry – everyone has their preferences.
Personally, when evaluating a pocket clip I look for slim and discrete pocket clips. I don’t mind a deep or ultra deep carry clip. Sometimes I prefer a clip that rides a little higher in the pocket for a work knife I will be drawing from my pocket frequently. I prefer a blackened clip as it is more discrete. I don’t like lots of branding on my clips. I personally prefer tip up carry.
More importantly, I like a knife that is slim, lightweight, and not bulky. This goes back to the “Size” section. It is important for me to have an EDC knife that I can carry without annoyance. Ultra big and bulky knives don’t make the cut for me. I know some guys who love them, but I’d rather have a small manageable knife that stays in my pocket, than a big knife that lives on my shelf.
These are just some basic considerations for finding the best EDC knife. Did I leave something out? Feel free to tell me about it in the comments section below.