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Last Updated: March 29, 2020
Back in the day, I didn’t think I would like the Spyderco Dragonfly 2. I’m a big guy, and tend to carry medium size folding knives. I always felt that I would be under-equipped with a small knife. Maybe it’s a macho thing, I really don’t know. I like a good size knife. Something I can use comfortably.
Buy the Spyderco Dragonfly 2 at BladeHQ
So the thought of packing a massive 5-7/16″ folding knife with me that weighs a whopping 1.2 ounces wasn’t super appealing. That is, until I got my hands on the Dragonfly II. It took me about 2 seconds to realize how badly I had underestimated this little knife. It punches well above its weight, and is one of the best EDC knives on the market. I originally wrote this review back in 2011, and I still carry and use my Dragonfly 2 to this day. This is a long term review that benefits from a decade of ownership. How many reviewers can say that? Let’s give this awesome EDC blade the full run down.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Spyderco Dragonfly 2 or “DF2″ has a 2-5/16″ blade, an overall length of 5-7/16” and a weight of just 1.2 ounces. You hear about knives that “disappear” into the pocket. This is one of them. I’ve literally forgotten I’ve had it in the pocket many times. It’s been few the wash a few times too. I love the Dragonfly 2 for Every Day Carry (EDC), it’s perfect for almost any kind of urban environment and it’s got a big enough blade (and more importantly, a comfortable enough handle) for most EDC tasks.
Here is a size comparison with the Delica and Endura:
You can see how the Dragonfly II is significantly smaller than both knives. Here’s a video review I did many years ago:
The DF2 comes with a beautiful little leaf shaped blade. The blade almost resembles a dart with its triangular shape. The small swedge running across the top softens the feel of the spine and the whole blade has been given a full flat grind. There is adequate belly and the tip is both fine and strong. This blade excels at opening mail and packages. My only gripe with the blade shape, is that it lacks a sharpening choil. A small notch at the end of the edge that allows you to easily sharpen the entire length of the edge. You don’t have a sharpening choil here, so it will be difficult to sharpen the heel of the blade with a flat stone. Instead I’d recommend a rod sharpener like the corner of a Spyderco Sharpmaker stone.
This knife was made in Japan and like many of Spyderco’s Japanese production knives this one features VG-10 blade steel. VG-10 is a good choice as it holds a good edge and is capable of getting extremely sharp. I say “good” choice, not great, because these days there are better blade steels out there. VG-10 was fine back when this knife was first released, but times have changed. Still, VG-10 is serviceable blade steel and it certainly still works. What I like about VG-10 is how easy it is to sharpen, and how it is resistant to rust and corrosion. Newer, more exotic steels will hold an edge longer, but VG-10 gets the job done. I think it’s fine here, but wouldn’t complain if Spyderco upgraded it to S35VN or something along those lines.
In practice, the Dragonfly 2 cuts well and is an imminently useful knife. I have used my knife for years and years. Mostly for pedestrian things like opening mail and packages, and light food prep. I’ve never prepared dinner with just my DF2, but the knife has no problem with tasks like cutting fruit and cheese. It’s a small blade, but it’s all you need for basic stuff. And it’s a nimble blade. I reach for it when I have a delicate task. The tip is fine, and the angled thumb ramp allows you to get great control over the blade. This knife is a workhorse and it cuts great.
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The handle on the Dragonfly is made of fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN) and is covered in Spyderco’s bi-directional texturing. This is the same kind of texturing found on both the Delica and Endura and I find that it offers exceptional grip in both wet and dry situations. Unlike the Delica and Endura, the Dragonfly does not have stainless steel liners. That is not a problem for me because the handle feels plenty strong and it is a big part of the reason why this knife weighs so little. Fans of G10 and steel can rejoice because Spyderco also makes a G10 version. All in all handle construction is solid, I like that they used screws for easy take down and everything feels very well finished.
Ergonomics is where we really start to see this little knife shine. Most smaller blades suffer from poor ergonomics and get kicked out of my pocket pretty quickly. The Dragonfly has extremely refined ergonomics and squeezes big grip out of a small knife. First of all, you have a 50/50 choil and large thumb ramp. Both have been given a large amount of jimping. I am a huge fan of 50/50 choils, it really can transform the way a knife handles and what it’s done for the Dragonfly is no exception. But perhaps my favorite ergonomic feature is the way the back end of the handle has been shaped to support the pinky finger. This gives you a true 4 finger grip and allows for awesome leverage on the knife. In my mind, this little section of FRN is what really makes the Dragonfly work.
The pocket clip is another home run. This is a Spyderco wire clip and is perhaps my favorite pocket clip design of all time (really). Small, but very secure, this little piece of hardened steel gives you a deep and reliable carry. The handle has been designed to allows for ambidextrous tip up carry. My only suggestion would be to anodize it black like on my Sage 1 – then it would be virtually invisible riding in a pair of blue jeans or dress pants.
Here is your pocket clip shot:
Deployment and Lockup
The Dragonfly takes advantage of a 11 mm Spyder-hole. This is a good size for the knife and has been left kind of sharp, which ensures that you thumb will catch on it every time. Deployment is smooth and reliable and you can easily flick this knife open if you like. I have zero complaints with the deployment.
Lockup is achieved through a small lock-back positioned in the middle of the handle. I like the lock-back on this knife, it’s easy to get too and the spring isn’t too heavy. The lock-back makes this a fully ambidextrous knife as well (always a plus – especially when a lefty is writing the review). Lockup is rock solid on the FRN version, with zero play in any direction.
Here is a parting size comparison with a Benchmade Mini Griptilian and a Kershaw Skyline, two other all-star EDC knives:
Spyderco Dragonfly II Review – Final Thoughts
This has been the story of the little knife that could. I seriously have nothing bad to say about the Dragonfly. I am totally impressed by how well this thing works as an EDC blade. Since it weighs nothing I also like pairing this with a larger tactical folder; that way I always have the right tool for the job.
Perhaps the only downside is the price. With a price tag hovering in the $50 range, you are looking at Delica (and almost Endura) territory. Some might have a hard time justifying spending that kind of money on such a small knife, especially given the rest of Spyderco’s product line.
However, I love my Dragonfly II and it has remained one of my all time favorite EDC knives. It is hard to beat this small, lightweight package for daily carry. The knife is imminently useful when you need it, but disappears into your pocket. It has stood the test of time for me, and easily makes my best edc knives list. For fans of Spyderco and ultra lightweight EDC knives, the Dragonfly II is a no-brainer.
If you would like to buy a Spyderco Dragonfly II, I recommend purchasing it at Amazon.com or BladeHQ. Please consider that buying anything through any of the links on this website helps support BladeReviews.com, and keeps the site going. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.
My wife’s been begging me for one of these. AND she just read your review over my shoulder. Thanks for nothing man. ;^)
Lol, did I forget to mention that they make great Christmas gifts? 😉
Anon R.D. says
Ebbs, you definitely need to hook your wife up with one of these little spitfires. GREAT smaller EDC blade. By the way, you will probably end up wanting your own as well!
This is the key passage from Dan’s review:
“… my favorite ergonomic feature is the way the back end of the handle has been shaped to support the pinky finger. This gives you a true 4 finger grip and allows for awesome leverage on the knife. In my mind, this little section of FRN is what really makes the Dragonfly work.”
True that. The knife looks like it should be too small for practical tasks, but it’s not. The choil, plus that last little section of FRN, allow the base of your pinky to contact and support the handle. The resulting grip is almost as good as a Delica! Kind of amazing.
Anon – thanks for the great comment, I couldn’t agree more. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to hone in on the unique handle shape. It really makes this perform like a much larger knife.
And yes – Ebbs, you totally should pick up a couple of these if you get the chance. 🙂
Right now I’m exploring all over your website since the content is so well done.
Plus, you’re right on about the handle ergonomics. I own a Spyderco Cat, and although small, it feels really good in my hand. Not only that, they’re built really tough, and cut like mad.
It’s now retired now, but I just can’t seem to get rid of it, probably since it was the first knife I bought when I became legal age, and the first one that started this crazy knife hobby!!!!
I am glad we share an enthusiasm for Spyderco’s smaller designs! I still carry my Dragonfly, and it does feel very good in hand. I will concede that a larger knife is better for a lot of things, but this little guy can get a majority of my work done without issue. I have handled (and owned) a Cat, and it’s another nice little folder from Spyderco.
As always, thanks so much for dropping by.
Sorry for resurrecting an old thread, but you should get her a Dragonfly Tattoo this Christmas.
El Cascabel says
Well done review sir…we seem to have the same tastes in toys 🙂
Thanks man, indeed it seems we do. 🙂 Thanks for droppin by.
Hey Dan, great review as always. You recommend picking up the ZDP-189 blade, which only comes in the Green Handle. Spyderco also did the same pairing with the Delica, which I picked up earlier this year. I really prefer the Black handle and am thinking of picking up the VG-10 blade. What do think? You seemed pretty happy with it.
As always, great review!
I was wondering what you would think about getting the D’fly in PE or SE. I normally don’t care for SE blades, but I have never owned a Spyderedge so I don’t want to rule it out. I have seen a number of reviews that say that this makes up for the short blade and really enhances the cutting ability. I like the look of the Dragon with Spyderedge, but am still hesitant.
Do you have any thoughts?
To be completely honest I don’t have a lot of experience with the Spyder Edge. I tend to prefer plain edge knives for EDC because I can keep them sharp without much effort. I find VG10 in particular can get extremely sharp without much work. For the kind of work I use my Dragonfly for (small EDC tasks) I haven’t felt outgunned with a plain edge, but I could see where a serrated edge could be helpful. I guess if we were ultimately asking for my opinion I don’t regret buying the plain edge DF and would do it again. That said, this is about you, so buy what you like. 🙂
I have been looking for a smaller knife, that still retains a lot of functionality, for both the work environment and for when I travel to areas with more restrictive knife regulations (Cleveland, OH limits you to a 2.5 inch blade). On your recommendation, I decided to buy a Dragonfly and I have to say, I am in love with this knife. It was a little pricey for such a small knife, but once I held it and flicked it open I could not put it down.
It has accommodated all of my edc tasks very well, but I occasionally put my edc knives through harder use so I decided to test the Dragonfly a little. I sliced about three yards of heavy cardboard of varying densities and this little knife ate through it all like it was slicing paper. A short time with a fine Arkansas stone brought it back to shaving sharp. However, this was not necessary as it still had a very useable edge. This is my first experience with VG-10, and I am very impressed.
I did have a slight amount of blade play develop from this cutting test, but a little thread locker and a pivot adjustment took care of that. If I was going to put this knife through it’s paces on a regular basis, the G10 with stainless liners would be a better option. Since I don’t plan on doing that, this knife is perfect for what I need.
Thank you for providing these wonderful reviews of great knives and for continuing to make my wish list expand.
I have the H1 steel straight edge version. I absolutely love this little monster. Its amazing how such a small knife can feel so good in your hand. Stays on my desk and opens every package and cheese for midnight snacks:)
Yeah, a bit pricey but I am glad I bought it.
The Dragonfly remains one of my favorites, and for good reason. It’s a very practical and well thought out design. I agree, well worth the coin.
I have the ZDP-189 version. Just got HAP-40. It’s probably the current best version of this knife steel-wise if you can get one. And my wife has a Cricket in VG-10; came suuuuper sharp and that hasn’t changed since New Year’s Eve(her birthday). You won’t be disappointed in any version of the Dragonfly.
So have had a Dragonfly2 for a while now and I find it is just about perfect as EDC for a guy with a desk job (like me). Love the ergos. Love love the light weight. Perhaps a different lock would make it easier to operate one handed but I don’t use it often enough for that to be overly important to me.
What locking folder has the most similar ergonomics, and is similarly light, with just a liiiiiittle more blade? The Spyderco Urban seemed to fill the bill almost exactly, except that it does not lock.
How about the FRN Native?
Dan, lacks the gimped thumb ramp that I think is part of what makes the Dragonfly so easy and safe to use.
Think they might come out with Para 3 in FRN? If so, wouldn’t that be pretty close to what I am looking for (just a bit bigger than what I wanted)?
Since they just released the Para 3, I doubt they will release a FRN version any time soon. But if they did, that would probably be close to what you are looking for.