20 Best Pocket Knives of 2020 (For EDC!)

Buying the best pocket knife could become a tedious job when you’re thrown into hundreds of options.

A few years ago, people like me were more into the traditional pocket knives for their everyday carry knife choice. However, things have been changed a lot over the time, for the better, of course.

The 60 seconds you spend on this page can make the difference between a great choice or a regret for months or even years. Feel the pain!? You don’t have to! 

Now, people are miles ahead of the old-fashioned knives especially because these knives have slip joint handle (non-locking folders). Yet, there are some high-quality traditional folding knives which you can consider for yourself.(Like the Buck 119

You might need a folding knife for plenty of reasons, from opening packages, wilderness activity to slicing meat. However, what you in your pocket knife is sturdiness and a sharp blade that holds its edge.

So let me jump right in cuz we don’t have time to waste, now do we?

In this article, I’ll walk you through both traditional and modern day knives, because both are feasible options as a pocket knife. Take a look at the table below to compare a variety of knives against one another based on price, size, blade material and more

Best Pocket Knives (Folding) 2020 For Everyday Carry:

1. Kershaw Cryo Pocket Knife

Kershaw is most popular budget folding knife on the market. It brings a lot of functionalities to the table for its price. The knife is Sharp, looks modern, the speed safe opening is excellent, great value for money.

This is a tough working knife, have a speed safe assisted opening mechanism, you can reverse the clip. It is lightweight and extremely durable which makes it a great choice for its price. The knife has handful of issues which include inconvenient thumb stud, over tight pocket clip which becomes annoying sometimes especially when you find yourself in a tight corner.

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2. Kershaw Ken Onion Blur

Kershaw is most popular budget folding knife on the market. It brings a lot of functionalities to the table for its price. The knife is Sharp, looks modern, the speed safe opening is excellent, great value for money.

This is a tough working knife, have a speed safe assisted opening mechanism, you can reverse the clip. It is lightweight and extremely durable which makes it a great choice for its price. The knife has handful of issues which include inconvenient thumb stud, over tight pocket clip which becomes annoying sometimes especially when you find yourself in a tight corner.

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3. Spyderco Tenacious Combo Edge

Spyderco Tenacious has a unique blade design. It has serrated edge blade with a hole at the top side of the blade which makes the knife easy to open.Spyderco Tenacious is a very high-performing EDC knife. Spyderco has done a great job by constructing such high-profile knife for the reasonable price.

The serrated edge makes it a good choice if you need a pocket knife for camping, and hunting.

The knife has handful of issues; the blade steel is little soft because it is constructed of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. And, serrated edge is not the best choice if you’re not into wilderness activities (now you do have option to go with plain-edge blade).

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4. SOG Flash II

SOG Flash II is a tactical folding knife which makes it more than just an everyday carry knife. It’s a a good option if you’re looking for a sharp and dependable blade. The blade is also easier to sharp as opposed to serrated edge blades. The belt clip is strong and partially serrated blade cuts through easily.

This knife is not made for extreme use. And, you might face some issues with blade play. Kershaw Blur is a better knife for just a few added bucks.

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6. Benchmade 940 Osborne

Benchmade 940 Osborne is one of the best pocket knives. I can bet on this knife for its durability, performance, and sturdiness. It’s a folding knife to have through thick and thin of your life. It doesn’t fail to perform and outrank all its competitors. From blade’s performance to handle’s ergonomics, everything is created near to the perfection.

The knife has no downside, at all. If the pivot screw gets lost, then you’ve to pay a good price so be careful. This is the best folding knife for high-budget. Read my full review of Benchmade 940 Osborne

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7. Benchmade Mini Griptilian

Benchmade Mini Griptilian is no short of a high-quality EDC pocket knife. With the recent update, it has just got even better than before. If you’re looking for mid-sized pocket EDC knife, then look no further, purchase this one.

The updated Benchmade Mini Griptilian offers different models at different price rate (coated finish, plain edge, serrated edge, serrated edge/satin finish.) The new model offers from mid-range to high-end knife with updated CPM-20CV steel and G-10 scale materials, what else do we need?

Everything is perfect about this except a few users reported an issue about blade’s alignment, It’s not centered. 

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8. Kershaw 1660 Ken Onion Leek

Kershaw 1660 Ken Onion is a budget-friendly pocket knife that doesn’t sacrifice the quality. It does everything that a small pocket knife is intended to do. It’s also the most selling knife for years now, so it’s definitely worth your look.

This is a sleek and slim designed knife at a reasonable price. The speed safe assisted opening mechanism is impressive for its price. The clip has tip-up and tip-down option which makes it glide easily and hide in your pocket.

The one complaint we have about this knife is “tip of the blade.” It’s pretty fragile. If you put a lot of pressure on it, then it will break-down. This knife is a good option for simple tasks, but it can’t make into the tactical folder.

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9. Zero Tolerance ZT0350TS

Zero Tolerance has to make it to our list, for sure. Zero Tolerance is by far the best knife series launched by Kershaw. This is a heavy duty knife that does justice to the wilderness chores that hikers, backpacker, and hunters have to perform.

This is a heavy duty tactical that works from cutting open packages to pulling nails out of the floor. The handle material is great, provides comfort and absorbs the impacts/shocks. The blade material is excellent, stays sharp and cuts through easily.

It’s a heavy-weight knife, but you don’t want a fragile knife especially when you’re in the extreme wilderness. And, for the blade length, the weight does the justice. Zero Tolerance has always been my best folding knife for durability and heavy duty tasks.

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10. Benchmade 940-1 Osborne

Benchmade 940 is a high-end pocket knife which costs around 250$. This is a fairly large knife with the weight of the small knife. This is an excellent knife for EDC with weight under 3 ounces but having a tough and sharp blade.

This knife’s construction quality is insanely good. The fact that it’s a big knife but weighs around just 2.44 ounces makes it stand out of the competition. The design is sleek and beautiful. Talking about performance, you don’t even have to worry about it, that’s how good this knife is.

Though the knife is great but we still feel it’s little expensive. If the price would have been around 200$, then it would have been icing on the cake. Also, the color of clip wears off over the time-period.

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What if You're Looking For Traditional Pocket Knives?

The pocket knives above are modern and what majority of the people use today. However, I know that, there are still people out there that are more inclined towards traditional pocket knives because the way they feel and look.

So, for them, these are the best pocket knives in the traditional category. 

11. Buck 505RWS Knight

The first traditional pocket knife that makes it out a list is Buck Knight knife. This is a small blade knife which will hide in your pocket easily. Even small knife would an understatement for people with big hands as it can easily disappear in your palm as well.

This is a perfect small knife for normal tasks like opening boxes, cutting tags off new clothes. It won’t take too much of space in your pocket. This knife will stay with you for a long time unless you throw it away or it gets lost.

This knife by no means is a tactical folder and for its size, the price looks a bit on the expensive side. People have reported about faulty pieces being delivered; however, you get the warranty so it shouldn’t be a problem.

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12. Winchester Traditional Folding Knife

Winchester is a a decent quality knife that costs around just 15$, keep in mind that the prices keep on changing, but for the most part, it’s around this only.

We like the fact that this knife comes with a clip which is a bit surprising for its price. And, it also comes with surgical stainless steel blade for strength and corrosion resistance. The knife is built with Genuine wood handle for durability and a traditional look.

We don’t recommend you purchasing this knife if you’re serious about using your knife. This is a decent knife for sure, but we still won’t recommend it for everyday work. However, carrying it for small tasks like cutting thin ropes make sense.

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13. Folding Hunter 110BRS

It’s perfect for every woodsman, hunter, fisher, and adventurer. And, not to mention, 110 is Buck’s best-selling model for a good reason. This is an American icon made in the USA and offers a lifetime warranty.

Buck 110 deserves all the attention that it has gathered since last decade. This is a traditional knife which is a great choice for hunting and wilderness stuff. The curve tip blade has a very sharp point which is good for detail work. The Dymondwood Handle with Brass Bolsters provides traditional look with comfortable ergonomics.

This knife is not at all lightweight, but we discussed earlier in our guide that if you are looking for a lightweight pocket folder, then the traditional knife is not something that will please you and meet your expecations. Though the knife has no clip, but it includes Genuine Leather Sheath with a snap closure and can be carried on your belt

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14. Buck Knives 112BRS

Buck 112BRSis pretty much similar to the 110BRS folding hunter knife but it’s more on the compact side with small size when compared to the 110BRS hunter knife. 112BRS is a great alternative if you’re looking for compact size, though there is no huge difference in size.

When compared to the 110 hunting model, it saves you a couple of bucks and comes in A compact size and also weighs less which makes it comfortable for most of the knife lovers. However, quality wise both the models are same, and the material is also same, so you don’t have to worry about the quality.

Though the material is same but we used both the models and could feel a slight difference. The 110 had a much smoother action to it when opening. Overall, there is no huge difference so you can opt for this version.

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15. Case Small Red Bone

The last edition to our traditional pocket knives is case small lock back. This knife in itself is equal to the multiple different knives because it comes in different sizes, color, and blade options. This is a unique knife which deserves your attention, at least for once.

Case Lockback features Tru-Sharp surgical stainless steel blade which comes in 3 difference sizes as mentioned in specifications. This is a great and lightweight everyday pocket knife for projects around the house and the outdoors. Overall, it’s a great utility knife.

The built quality is not as impressive as compared to other case knives which is really disappointing. The paint fades away quickly so we would recommend getting yourself a simple color knife, not the one with modern print edition.

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16. Imperial IMP16S Stockman 3 Blade Knife

Now, we are moving to Stockman category which features 3 blades in a single knife. The most budget friendly Stockman’s pocket knife is Imperial IMP16S that costs less than 10$, pretty cheap, right?

Imperial manufacturing quality cutlery and steel products for decades. Whether you’re a huntsman, a fisherman, or even a recreational cutter, Imperial IMP16S fit the mold for any use, amateur or professional. All the three blades are stainless and can be used by fishers.

This is not a professional knife for outdoor purpose. It can be utilized for small chores. But, don’t expect the steel to hold the edge for a longer time and don’t expect it to stay sharp for a longer time either. If you’ve little to no budget, then you can definitely consider it.

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17. Buck Knives 301 Stockman

The next knife to our Stockman series is 301 from Buck. This is our top choice if you’re looking for a high-quality Stockman knife. It is a classic knife that will never go out of style. The handle of this knife is constructed of Rosewood Handle with Brass Bolsters which provides it a traditional touch.

Buck 301 has three Blades; 2-3/4″ clip point, 2″ spey, and a 2″ sheepsfoot blade. The blades are constructed of 420HC Steel which delivers Excellent Strength, Edge Retention, and Corrosion Resistance. The knife has got traditional touch with rosewood handle. And, it comes with a Buck forever warranty since it’s made in the USA.

The back springs of knife are so weak that the clip and spey blades have relatively no snap, and the sheep’s foot blade had no snap at all. You can’t really trust the back springs to hold when the blades open.

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18. Case Medium Amber Bone SS Stockman

Case Medium Amber Bone is an ultimate Stockman pocket that you can customize according to your needs. It has plenty of options to choose the color for the handle, and it also has the size option. You can pick this knife in small, medium, and large size.

The knife features Tru-Sharp surgical stainless steel blades: Clip, Sheepfoot, and Spey blades. The handle is constructed of peach seed jig amber bone. This is an excellent stockman knife for everyday situations, the outdoors, hunting, and hiking. It is also made in the USA and comes with limited lifetime warranty.

Again, like 301 stockman, this knife too has spring issues on the main clip blade. And, sometimes the blades are finished uneven which is disgusting. You’ve to work on the knife to bring on its full potential. If you find any manufacturer mistake, then you can return it, as simple as that.

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19. Case Amber Bone CV Trapper

The last edition to our list is trapper knife. Trapper Knives usually, contains one trapper blade and one clip blade. Some trapper knives only have one blade, or a blade and a saw. The first knife that makes to best trapper knife is Case Amber Bone.

This knife is pretty much similar to the Case Amber Bone Stockman. The difference is that this knife has two blades instead and steel is constructed of Chrome vanadium. Then the difference is between weight and blade length. The knife is made in the USA and comes with limited Lifetime Warranty.

During our testing, we didn’t find any issue that we faced in the Case Amber Bone Stockman Knife. The blade spring is pretty reliable and works well. The blade is also sharp. However, we think that if the blade was stainless, then it would have been better.

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20. Case Grandpa Embellished Trapper

Case Grandpa Embellished Trapper is similar to the last one. We liked it more because of its style. Not to forget, if you don’t like this design then you can check out different styles that are available on product’s page.

This Trapper knife is produced by W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company, an American manufacturer of premium, hand-crafted knives that are passed down for generations. The price of the knife will vary according to the design you’ve selected. This knife would be a great gift for your Grandpa.

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How to Choose the Best Pocket Knife For Your EDC?

Now that you are looking for a pocket knife, It’s necessary to understand what you need in your knife. All pocket knives have minimal differences that a newbie might ignore or never notice.

Different pocket knife brands are good for different type of things, So, here’s is our quick guide before you purchase one.

Do you need a multitool?

Multitool can be a good choice if you rarely use your knife. However, if you need a good companion with you for every-day-carry, then multitool isn’t a good option. Multitool has multiple blades, so these blades don’t tend to flip out of the handle smoothly and quickly. 

A multi-tool is a good choice for a whittling knife.

How you’ll be carrying it?

Well, in your pocket, for sure. However, Traditional pocket knives tend to don’t have a clip with them, so you’ve might need a belt sheath or have to slide it in when your pocket is already stuffed with other important things like Leatherman and flashlight.

Even if you opt for modern day folder, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind. Like… 

Do you want the knife to ride in left side of pocket or right side, or do you want the tip of the knife to ride up or down?

However, it’s not necessary that a modern folding knife will have a clip. Swiss Army knives don’t have a clip, so you’ll need a secure and deep pocket to carry it with you.

  • Size of The Blade

Finding optimal blade size knife is essential. Modern pocket knives have two sizes – medium and large. Whereas, traditional pocket knives have all the sizes – small, medium, and large.

The longer blade knives usually make a good grasp on the handle, but they no optimal for everyone.

Also, the knife laws in your state may also regulate blade’s size. For example, Chicago limits blade length to maximum 5. inches.

  • Blade’s Style

Knives have different blade styles. Each blade design is built for a different purpose, so it becomes essential to understand more about blade styles for making a better purchase.

The two most famous and used blade style in folding knives are clip point and drop point.

Clip Point

  • Razor sharp and controllable point.
  • Excellent for slicing.
  • Good for piercing.
  • The point is narrow and fragile/weak.

Drop Point

These blades are good for slicing and ideal for hunting pocket knives. These blades are usually used in hunting knives and also in big blade knives like swiss army knives.

  • The sharp and vigorous point that makes it less fragile.
  • Drop point knives are better for wilderness activity.
  • Less sharp as compared to the clip point blades.
  • The blade type is not suitable for the piercing.

Spear Point

It is used in throwing knives. The center of blade retains the belly and is almost in line with the drop point. A spear blade may or may not be single or double-edged; the tip is sharp only if both the sides are sharpened.

  • Usable in extreme wilderness situations.
  • Sharp point (if double edged)
  • Strong point.
  • Small cutting edge for slicing.

Plain or Serrated Edge?

A serrated edge isa good choice for sailors, fisherman, and divers. The problem is that these blades are not easy to sharp, you need it to submit to the professionals to get it sharpened.

If you need a knife for self-defense, then the serrated edge is definitely a better choice, but for everyday carry, the plain edge blade is a better option.

What Steel is Used For Constructing The Blade?

Blade’s material is one of the most important aspects of choosing a knife in any category (from camping knife to self-defense knife). However, the truth is that we can talk about it all day long without coming to an actual conclusion.

So, for the sake of keeping it simple and understandable, we will not get into the each steel’s model. Generally, there are 2 types of steels used in knives, stainless steel, and carbon steel.

Attention: The bitter truth is that neither of the terms is correct. The stainless steel is not always exactly stainless, and same is the case with carbon steel.

These are the following things you need to keep in mind when selecting a blade’s steel.

  • Carbon steels: The carbon steels are not corrosion resistant. These are built for sturdiness and stays sharper for a longer period.
  • Stainless Steels: The stainless steels are obviously corrosion resistant to a good extent. These steels are a good option for the humid environment.
  • What Material is Used For The Handle?

To make a secure grip, you need to ensure that the handle of the knife is constructed of high-quality material.

Traditional knives have plenty of options ranging from the ebony, the Peanut, the Sunfish, the stag, the jigged bone, the ivory, the Canoe, Swell End Jack, the Serpentine, the Coke Bottle, etc.

Usually, first, you need to make your mind what type of blade design you need, because certain blade design is followed by certain design and you can’t do anything about it if you can’t opt for the custom made knife.

In traditional knives, people are a fan of the bone ( smooth or jigged) wood (walnut, juniper, ebony). These handles have traditional touch in them and provide good ergonomic experience.

On the other hand, modern design is simple yet Aesthetic. These handles are constructed for the special purpose.

Here we are listening few popular handle materials and their respective attributes.

  • Aluminum: It is used for constructing lightweight knives, and coated with a protective film. These are great to use in harsh weather conditions.
  • G-10: is one of the most popular handle materials; our favorite. G10 handles are strong yet lightweight. These are black colored and great for survival and tactical knives.
  • Stainless Steel: Stainless handles are corrosion resistant and are very durable. These handles are little heavier but have a lower threshold to withstand pressure.
  • Wood: The wood handles are grippy and go through stabilization process for making them suitable for folding knives. The wood handle comes in various different materials like amber bone, blackwood, box, elder, snakewood, Bubinga, Curly maple, koa, rosewood, and thuyas.
  • What Blade Opening Mechanism Does Your Knife Uses?

It’s essential to understand different lock mechanisms have different purposes.

  • Manual-Opening: This mechanism has been around for years. You can find it in both traditional and modern knives. You’ve to use your hand to pull back the blade to the knife. Popular Swiss army knives use nail nick manual method.

  • Automatic/Switchable Knife: The automatic blade mechanism makes the blade open automatically with a single push of the button. But, it was outlawed back in 1958 because of security issues toward the society. 

  • Assisted/Spring Opening Knife: In this technique, an internal mechanism is used to finish the opening of the blade. Once the user has partially opened it using a flipper or thumb stud attached to the blade. The only difference between automatic and assisted opening is that, in assisted opening that you require extra force to open the blade.