Recommended EDC Knives

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 KnivesOverall Length (inches)Blade Length (inches)Weight (ounces)Blade SteelPriceMade In
Spyderco Sage 1

Read Review
7.87533.2S30V3 $$$Taiwan
Kershaw Skyline

Read Review
7.3753.1252.314C28N1 $USA
Zero Tolerance 0562 CF

Read Review
8.253.55.5M390
Elmax
4 $$$$USA
Chris Reeve Mnandi

Read Review
6.3752.751.5S30V
S35VN
5 $$$$$USA
CRKT Swindle

Read Review
7.53.23.38Cr14Mov
12C27
1 $Taiwan
ESEE Zancudo

Read Review
72.943.1Aus81 $Taiwan
Ontario Rat II

Read Review
732.75Aus81 $Taiwan
Chris Reeve Large Sebenza 21

Read Review
8.3353.6254.7S35VN5 $$$$$USA
Strider PT

Read Review
6.52.752.3S30V5 $$$$$USA
Case Sod Buster Jr

Read Review
6.452.82.210951 $USA
Victorinox Alox Cadet

Read Review
5.752.51.6Unknown1 $Switzerland
Benchmade 940

Read Review
7.873.42.9S30V3 $$$USA
Spyderco Paramilitary 2

Read Review
8.33.43.75S30V3 $$$USA
Benchmade Mini Griptilian

Read Review
6.782.912.5154CM
S30V
2 $$USA
Chris Reeve Small Sebenza 21

Read Review
6.92.943S35VN5 $$$$$USA
Spyderco Dragonfly 2

Read Review
5.43752.31251.2VG10
ZDP189
2 $$Japan
Spyderco Delica 4

Read Review
7.1252.8752.5VG102 $$Japan
Ontario Rat 1

Read Review
8.63.55Aus81 $Taiwan
CRKT Minimalist

Read Review
52.1251.65Cr13MoV1 $China
Benchmade Griptilian

Read Review
8.073.453.82154CM2 $$USA
ESEE Izula II

Read Review
6.752.753.210953 $$$USA
Spyderco Domino

Read Review
7.683.134.1CTS-XHP4 $$$$Taiwan
Spyderco Chapparal

Read Review
6.3752.8122.5CTS-XHP3 $$$Taiwan
Cold Steel American Lawman

Read Review
8.1253.54.5Aus8
CTS-XHP
2 $$Taiwan
Kershaw Blur

Read Review
7.8753.3753.914C28N2 $$USA
Cold Steel Mini Tuff Lite

Read Review
521.7Aus81 $Taiwan
Buck Marksman

Read Review
8.253.54.3154CM3 $$$USA

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.

Size

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.

Blade Steel

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.

Blade Shape

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.

Anything Else?

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.

If you enjoyed this review, get free email updates (no spam).
Never miss a review again.

Comments

  1. says

    Have you taken a look at the benchmade mini pika now that they updated it again and shifted it to the HD line?
    Quite nice!
    Incredible fit and finish on mine. Price was right too. I like it better than the older red class edition.

    • says

      Hey Sarge! I have not had a chance to check out the new Mini Pika, although I have heard about it here and there. I will have to check one out. I’m always interested in exploring new high value edc options so I’ll have to make some time for this one. Thanks for the great suggestion.

  2. Peter says

    Have you guys done a review on the Doug Ritter RSK MK1
    It’s also called a “ritter griptilian”
    It has the same scales, axis lock, etc. of the Griptilian but it has a very nice stonewashed s30v blade that has a blade shape that is similar to a sebenza.

    If you haven’t reviewed it yet you definitely should check it out.

    • says

      Hey Peter! I have not done a review on the Ritter Grip yet. Man that is a knife I have wanted to own for a while now, and agree, it’s got some nice improvements over the regular Griptilian and it’s long overdue for a full review. I’ll pick one up, I’ll review it. Thanks so much for excellent suggestion. :)

      Dan

      • Peter says

        Thank you, I’ve feel like this knife doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Everybody who I know who has ever bought one has absolutely loved it! The Spyderco Para Military 2, Buck Vantage Pro, and the Benchmade Ritter RSK MK1.

        • says

          My pleasure Peter! I have only heard good things about it, and I’m a huge Griptilian fan to begin with – so naturally I’m all about an upgraded blade shape with S30V. I’m sure it’s an awesome knife. Can’t promise that the review will go up tomorrow but it is officially on the list. Thanks again for the great suggestion.

          Dan

  3. Matt Davis says

    After looking over your recommendations I respect your opinions. It seems you really keep in mind function,construction, affordability and looks of course. I will be buying a benchmade griptilian, spyderco delica 4, and one that is not on the list a tops fixed blade of some sorts. Thank you for a practical perspective on knives for the working collector. As appealing as autos and assisted knives are I am always scared of malfunctions. I guess I should get over my fear but, manual folders are almost just as quick with less problems. If you stumble on one that is great in 100-150 range let me know. Until then i’m sticking to fixed or manuals.

    • says

      Hey Matt,

      Thanks man. I do take the recommended knives section seriously as I want to provide some honest people that may not know a ton about knives, but want to make a sound purchase. Also, I tend to agree with you on manuals vs assisted and auto knives, I think with the great number of awesome manual folders out there it’s entirely possible to get by without assisted openers (or autos for that matter). That said, assisted openers can be fun and if you go with something like a Kershaw, (ZT), or Benchmade assisted opener it should be extremely reliable. If you want a suggestion for a nice assisted opener in the $100 range the Zero Tolerance 0350 comes to mind – that is a really solid knife.

      Dan

  4. ricardo says

    The Ka-Bar Dozier Hunter 3 inch blade is and excellent edc knife.Its a lockback design with aus 8 steel , very light weight at 2oz and comes with tip up carry. The price is a steal at 20.00 made in Taiwan

  5. Robert says

    I EDC The Para2 in s30v DLC black on black. And the Benchmade 550 Griptilian in 154cm, have everyday for 5 months now. What a spectacular duo! I am pleased to see that these knives made your list, they are well worth the $ for what they give in return. I use them both daily in my career as a Auto Tech, mostly the Benchmade because of it’s serrated blade, but the Spyderco gets a fair amount of use also and its perfect foraelf defense. Love the website, I am a new subscriber, and will be reading often.

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Robert. Both the Para 2 and the 550 are modern classics and made their way onto the list for very good reason. Keep on enjoying yours – cheers!

      Dan

  6. Sollux says

    Hmmmmmmm……. Why do I not see any opinel knives listed? Opinel #6,7,and 8 are all excellent edc knives!

    • says

      Hi Sollux,

      There is a simple answer for that – I haven’t reviewed any! Not yet at least. I have owned a #8 for a while and plan on reviewing it eventually. But you are right, they are great EDC knives.

      Best,

      Dan

  7. ed says

    Great read! Thanks for the article. I have 3 follow up questions: (1) what is the overall best edc self-defense tactical folding knife (assuming price is not a factor); (2) would you recommend carrying an assisted opening knife; and (3) if so, what is the best assisted opening knife for edc self-defense centered (assuming price is not a factor). Thanks in advance for your response!

    • says

      Hi Ed,

      My pleasure! Thanks for checking it out. Great questions.

      (1) – This is so tough to answer. I do not have any kind of martial arts background which makes it really hard to comment on the efficacy of these blades on a self defense basis. Everyone is different in their styles, needs, etc. A good place to look at some of my favorite tactical folding knives is at my Recommend Tactical Knives page. That said, I like the Benchmade Barrage, the Benchmade 940, and the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 a lot.

      (2) – This is really based on your individual tastes, preferences, and needs. I personally am not a huge fan of assisted openers, but I do see the value, especially for people who may need to reply in their knives in a defensive / high stress scenario (eg, law enforcement, military).

      (3) – Once again the Benchmade Barrage is a great assisted opener. Slim, no-nonsense design paired with high end materials and exceptional fit and finish.

      Thanks again for the great questions. Hope this helps.

      Dan

  8. ConiKat says

    Hi there,
    I just found your site and am interested in your opinions and takes on EDC, especially for women and self-defense as well as practical use. So far I’ acquired two new knives. First is the Kershaw ” Leek”, which I love for a number of reasons. The balance is perfect, very sharp, small and easy open. Next is a tiny (2-inch folded) Gerber that I like very much. In addition I have two fixed-blades in the original ” Buck” knife 60’s version, and a nice Columbia.
    Am now considering another ” Onion” folder, but am a bit confused by the pros and cons of the 3 I’ve been looking at; chive, shallot, and the third in the same group, whose name escapes me at the moment.
    My question is whether you have suggestions for self defense that might me faster, less clunky, lighter- but still with a good sturdy blade….and I’d really prefer a US made knife if possible. Any thoughts, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I’d really like to avoid the ” gimmicky” if possible ( neck-knives come to mind)!
    Thanks,

    • says

      Hi ConiKat,

      Thank you for stopping by. I really don’t have much in the way of self defense suggestions, since I have no training of any kind in using knives defensively (or any kind of self defense training for that matter).

      For a good USA made EDC I do have some suggestions here: http://bladereviews.com/usa-made-edc-knives/

      Of the list perhaps a Spyderco Native or one of the USA Made Ken Onion designs would suit your purposes. If I recall correctly the difference between chive, shallot, etc is mostly size. Of course the Kershaw Skyline is a classic USA made EDC as well. Hopefully this at least points you in the right direction.

      Dan

  9. ConiKat says

    Dan,
    Thanks for your input. I’m not very familiar with the Spyderco‘s, but I’ll check on them.
    Ken Onion designs–yes indeed, but the Kershaw you mentioned is new to me. This likely just requires more research than I’ve been able to give it so far. Meanwhile I really do appreciate your time and the suggestions, so I’ll keep looking.
    Thanks again,
    ConiKat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>