20 Best Pocket Knives of 2020 (For EDC!)

Buying the best folding 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 regretfor 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 pocket knives which you can consider for yourself.

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

I am what people call a knife specialist. And I love to impart the knowledge I have on these topics.

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

In this article, we will 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 of 2019 — A Quick Glance:

Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife...
Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife...
Kershaw Blur Black (1670BLK)...
Benchmade - 940-1 Knife,...
Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife...
Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife...
Kershaw Blur Black (1670BLK)...
Benchmade - 940-1 Knife,...
Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife...
Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife...
Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife...
Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife...
Kershaw Blur Black (1670BLK)...
Kershaw Blur Black (1670BLK)...
Benchmade - 940-1 Knife,...
Benchmade - 940-1 Knife,...

Attention: If you like any knife below, after reading the review, and want to purchase it then you can click on the corresponding image and it will take you to the Amazon.

In the above table, you will find out all the knives that we have reviewed below. It’s more like an excerpt of our article for the people who don’t have enough time to read everything. This is what each column means:

1. Check Price: Click to the model to check price and see users review on Amazon.com2.Blade Material: The Steel type that have been used for constructing the blade.3.Highlights: These top 5 featured pocket knives in the table are listed for a reason and category section depicts the reason.

The article is pretty informative, Rather than treating you like our client and just showcasing the knives we instead made a detailed article. The buying guide is included so that you guys can understand what you need and what is best for your purpose.

More and detailed listings of the EDC best pocket knives and their details are below.

Since the list of modern and traditional knives is way too long. We’ve already explained things you should consider before you make a purchase. Here is our top 20 picks for popular pocket knives.

Best Pocket Knives (Folding) [2020] For Every Day Carry: 

1. Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife

If we had to pick the most budget friendly folding pocket knife that doesn’t break your bank, then it certainly has to be Kershaw Cryo Knife.

Initially, we listed this knife at the bottom of the list but since it was the most sold out unit through our website, so we realised that half of the people are looking for basic EDC knife, not for the tactical folder.

Specification of Kershaw Cryo

  • Weight: 4.1 ounces
  • Blade length: 2.75 inches
  • Overall length: 6.5 inches
  • Closed length: 3.75 inches
  • Locking Mechanism: Frame Lock
  • Blade material: 8Cr13MoV stainless steel
  • Handle Material: Stainless Steel
  • Country of origin: China

cheapest pocket knife

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Kershaw Cryo is a small EDC knife for general stuff like opening boxes and cutting thin ropes. The knife has SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism which is quite impressive for its price. The knife has quad-carry functionality which makes it suitable for everyone. For the price point, its the perfect knife you can get for yourself.

The knife is obviously not meant for the heavy-duty stuff because it comes with the average blade material. But, you can’t expect more for this price point. Kershaw is undoubtedly the best EDC folding knife for its price.

2. Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding 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.

Specifications of the Ken Onion Blur

  • Blade length: 3.375 inches
  • Overall length: 7.88 inches
  • Closed length: 4.5 inches
  • Locking Mechanism: Liner LockBlade
  • Material: 14C28N stainless steel
  • Blade Material: 14C28N stainless steel
  • Handle Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • Country of Origin: USA

best pocket knife

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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.

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.

Specifications of the Spyderco Tenacious Combo Edge

  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Blade length: 3.375 inches
  • Overall length: 7.75 inches
  • Closed length: 4.4 inches
  • Locking Mechanism: Liner Lock
  • Blade material: 8Cr13MoV stainless steel
  • Handle material: G-10
  • Country of origin: China

spyderco tenacious edge knife

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Spyderco Tenacious is a very high-performing EDC folder. 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.

4. SOG Flash II Knife

SOG Flash II is a tactical folding knife which makes it more than just an everyday carry knife. This knife a good choice if you’re looking for a sharp and dependable blade for knife collection.

Specifications of SOG Flash II

  • Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Blade length: 3.5 inches
  • Overall length: 8 inches
  • Closed length: 4.5-inches
  • Locking Mechanism: Assisted opening mechanism
  • Blade Material: AUS-8 steel folding blade
  • Handle Material: Glass-reinforced nylon
  • Country of Origin: USA

SOG flash 2 knife

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The blade is actually easy to sharp as compared to other serrated edge blades. You can operate the knife by one hand in tactical/emergency situation. The belt clip is strong and partially serrated blade cuts through the liner 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.

5. Spyderco Delica4 PlainEdge Knife

Spyderco Delica4 is one of the best knives of Spyderco. The knife is very well built. The knife uses VG 10 steel which is very easy to sharpen and retains the edge for a very long time.

Specification of Spyderco Delica4 

  • Weight: 2.5 ounces
  • Blade length: 2.875 inches
  • Overall length: 7.125 inches
  • Closed length: 4.25 inches
  • Locking Mechanism: Lock Back
  • Blade Material: VG-10 stainless steel
  • Handle material: FRN
  • Country of Origin: Japan

spyderco pocket knife

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This is a better knife than Kershaw leek and Blur combined. It has 4-way Clip which makes it a very friendly knife for lefties. The best part about this knife is its blade which is unarguably the sharpest blade as compared to its competitors.

The knife’s coating scuffs easily. And, it rides a little high in the pocket which is not even a surprise to us. The other turn off is that it’s not built in America but in our testing, the quality didn’t seem to sacrifice.

6. Benchmade 940 Osborne Knife

Benchmade 940 Osborne is one of the best pocket knives. We can bet on this knife for its durability, performance, and sturdiness. Though the price is equally high, however, it totally does the justice, in fact, more than that.

Specifications of Benchmade 940 Osborne

  • Weight: 2.9 ounces
  • Blade length: 3.40 inches
  • Overall length: 7.87 inches
  • Locking Mechanism: Axis Lock
  • Closed length: 4.47 inches
  • Blade Material: S30V stainless steel
  • Handle Material: Aluminium
  • Country of Origin: USA

benchmade folding pocket knife

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Benchmade 940 Osborne is a kind of 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.

Read my full review of Benchmade 940 Osborne

The knife has no downside, literally. If the price would have been around 150$, then we could get a couple of them. And, 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.

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.

Specifications of Benchmade Mini Griptilian

  • Weight: 2.9 ounces
  • Blade length: 2.91 inches
  • Overall length: 6.78 inches
  • Closed length: 3.87 inches
  • Locking Mechanism: AXIS Lock
  • Blade Material: CPM-20CV
  • Handle material: G-10
  • County of Origin: USA

affordable folding knife

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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 knife but few users reported an issue about blade’s alignment, It’s not centered. Hopefully, Benchmade has worked on it.

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 pocket knife is supposed to do. This knife has been the most selling knife for years now, so it’s definitely worth your look.

Specifications of Kershaw 1660 Ken Onion Leek

  • Weight: 3.0 ounces
  • Blade length: 3.0 inches
  • Overall length: 7.0 inches
  • Closed length: 4.0 inches
  • Locking Mechanism: Frame Lock
  • Blade material: Sandvik 14C28N
  • Handle material: Stainless steel
  • County of Origin: USA​

kershaw ken onion leek

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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.

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.

Specifications of Kershaw Ken Onion

  • Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Blade length: 3.25 inches
  • Overall length: 7.75 inches
  • Closed length: 4.625 inches
  • Locking Mechanism: speed safe
  • Blade Material: S30V stainless-steel with Tungsten DLC coating
  • Handle Material: G-10 handle
  • Country of Origin: USA

zero tolerance

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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.

Few people might have a problem with the weight of the knife since it weighs about 5.8 ounces, but it all depends on the usage as well. You don’t want a fragile knife either 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.

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.

Specification of Benchmade 940 Osborne

  • ​Weight: 2.44 ounces
  • Blade length: 3.40 inches
  • Overall length: 7.87 inches
  • Closed length: 4.47 inches
  • Locking Mechanism: Axis Lock
  • Blade Material: S90V
  • Handle Material: Carbon Fiber
  • County of Origin: USA

becnhmade-940-1 knife

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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 awesome and a good contender for the best pocket knife 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. The pocket clip also loses color over the time.


We talked about modern pocket knives of 2017. we shared top 10 models which we felt worth mentioning in our review. The modern folder is loved by everyone because of its design and overall Aesthetics without sacrificing the quality.

However, traditional pocket knives are still in demand. When you’re a knife lover then you don’t mind testing different knives. And, not to forget, traditional knives are still a popular choice among new generation as well. So, without any further ado, let us get right into it.​

11. Buck 505RWS Knight Knife

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.

buck traditional pocket knife

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Specification of Buck 505RWS

  • Weight: 7.5 oz.
  • Blade Length: 1.85 Inches
  • closed length: 2-3/4 inches
  • Overall Length: 4.5 Inches
  • Locking Mechanism: Nail Notch
  • Blade Material: Drop Point 420HC Steel Blade
  • Handle Material: Rosewood/Brass
  • County of Origin: USA

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.

12. Winchester Traditional Folding Knife

Winchester is a traditional pocket knife which comes with lifetime warranty. This is 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.

Specification of Winchester

winchester folding pocket knife

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  • Weight: 0.5 ounces
  • Overall Length: 5.5 Inches
  • Blade Length: 3 Inches
  • Blade Type: Drop Point
  • Locking Mechanism: Linear lock
  • Blade Material: Surgical Stainless
  • Handle Material: Rosewood/Brass
  • County of Origin: China

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.

13. Folding Hunter 110BRS Knife

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.

Specifications of Buck 110BRS​:

buck 110 traditional knife

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  • Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Blade Length: 3.75 Inches
  • Overall length: 8.5 inches
  • Closed length: unknown
  • Locking Mechanism: Frame Lock
  • Blade Material: 420HC Steel
  • Handle Material: Macassar Ebony Dymondwood
  • Country of Origin: USA​

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

14. Buck Knives 112BRS Ranger Lockback Folding Knife

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.

Specifications of​ Buck 112BRS:

traditional folding knife

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  • Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Blade Length: 3 Inches
  • Overall length: 7.75 inches
  • Closed length: unknown
  • Locking Mechanism: Frame Lock
  • Blade Material: 420HC Steel
  • Handle Material: Macassar Ebony Dymondwood
  • ​Country of Origin: USA

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.

15. Case Small Red Bone Lockback Pocket Knife

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 pocket knife which deserves your attention, at least for once.

Specification of Case Small Red Bone Lockback

case lockback red bone knife

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  • Weight: 1.9 ounces
  • Blade Length
  • X-Small – 2.5 inches
  • Small – 3 – 3.25 inches
  • Medium – 3.75 inches
  • Overall length: 7.75 inches
  • Closed length: unknown
  • Locking Mechanism: Frame Lock
  • Blade Material: Surgical Stainless
  • Handle Material: Rosewood/Brass
  • Country of Origin: USA

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.​

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 pocket knife is Imperial IMP16S folding pocket knife which costs less than 10$, pretty cheap, right?

Specifications of Imperial IMP16S Stockman 3 Blade Knife

schrade imperial stockman pocket knife

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  • Weight: 0.3 ounces
  • Blade Length: 2.5 Inches
  • Overall Length: 5.9 Inches
  • Blade Type: Clip Point
  • Material: Celluloid
  • Country of Origin: China
  • Blade steel: Grey Swirl POM Handles with Stainless Steel Bolsters, Brass Pins and Heat Treated Back Springs Handle

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.

17. Buck Knives 301 Stockman Three Blade Folding Knife

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 pocket 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.

Specifications of Buck 301 Stockman

multiblade folding knife

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  • Weight: 2.9 oz
  • Blade Length: 2.75 Inches
  • Overall Length: 6.5 Inches
  • Closed Length: 4 inches
  • Blade Type: Clip Point
  • Blade Steel: 420HC
  • Handle Material: Rosewood/Brass
  • Country of Origin: USA

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.​

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.

Specifications of Case Medium Amber Bone SS

multiblade pocket knife

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  • Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Blade Length: 3 Inches
  • closed Length: 3.63 inches
  • ​Overall Length: 6.5 Inches
  • ​Blade Steel: Surgical Steel
  • Blade Type: Clip Point
  • Handle Material: Amber Bone
  • Country of Origin: USA

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.

19. Case Amber Bone CV Trapper Pocket Knife

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.

Specifications of Case Amber Bone CV Trapper


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  • ​weight: 4.0 ounces
  • Blade Length: 3.25 Inches
  • closed Length: 4.13 Inches
  • Overall Length: 7.25 Inches
  • Blade Steel: Surgical Steel
  • Blade Type: Clip Point
  • Handle Material: Amber Bone
  • Country of Origin: USA

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.​

Attention: Case Amber Bone CV Trapper is now available in stainless steel as well. So, make sure to select in on Amazon, if you’re concerned about it.

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.

Specification of Case Grandpa Embellished Trapper

Case Sons grandpa Trapper

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  • weight: 4.0 ounces
  • Blade Length: 3.25 Inches
  • closed Length: 4.13 Inches
  • Overall Length: 7.25 Inches
  • Blade Steel: Surgical Steel
  • Blade Type: Clip Point
  • Handle Material: Amber Bone
  • Country of Origin: USA

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.

Like we said earlier, during our testing, we didn’t find any issues as 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.​

Attention: Case Amber Bone CV Trapper is now available in stainless steel as well. So, make sure to select in on Amazon, if you’re concerned about it.

So, What’s the Best Pocket Knife For The Money?

First of all, thanks for making it so far. If you made it so far, then it clearly shows your love towards knives. Anyway, the answer would totally depend on what you like and what would be the purpose of your knife.

Here we are giving you simple model suggestions:

Modern Pocket Knife Choices:​

  • Cheapest Pocket Knife: Kershaw Cryo
  • Budget Friendly Pocket Knife: Kershaw Ken Onion Blur
  • Top-Quality Tactical Pocket Knife: Benchmade 940 Osborne

Traditional Pocket Knife Choices:

  • Top Traditional Lockback: Buck Folding Hunter Knife
  • Top Trapper: Case Grandpa Embellished
  • Top Stockman: Buck 301 Stockman

Hopefully, our article helped you to make up your mind. There are plenty of options for a pockeet folder. However, if you get confused then pick the one from above excerpt, it should be enough.

If you still feel doubtful about any knife then you can go near your local store and check the knife there. If you’ll purchase through our links then we will get very small commission but it will support the site a lot. 

If you liked our article, don’t forget to give us a shout out on your favorite social media channel. And, if you still have any doubts or questions then drop down a comment below. We will reply as soon as possible.​

Pocket Knife Buyer’s Guide: Things to Consider

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.

These little tweaks decide weather that knife would be better for tasks like slicing, piercing, throwing, hunting and so on. 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. These blades are consist of cheap steel, mostly, and handles don’t make any secure grip.

A multi-tool is a good choice for a whittling knife, if you’re not into it, then it’s better to purchase a single blade knife.

How you’ll be carrying it?

carrying pocket knife with clip

Well, in your pocket, for sure. But, there is more to it than just a simple answer. Traditional 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.

Spyderco does allow you to reposition the handle either of the sides. You can reposition it on the left side or right, and you can also reposition it at bottom or top of the handle. But, it does leave half an inch of the handle above your pocket which makes it less secure.

For more secure grip, SOG knives are the best. SOG knives disappear all the way in your pocket and make a tight grip with the pant. It makes the knife secure and hides it from people.

Blade’s Size (Modern VS Traditional)

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.

A longer blade does the job better and makes a good grasp on the handle, but it’s no optimal for everyone. And, knife laws in your state may also regulate blade’s size. For example, Chicago limits blade length to maximum 5. inches. 

You can read more about knife laws in different states, clicking on that link​. A small size pocket knife is a better choice if you don’t need it for extreme wilderness challenges. A small pocket knife will fit even in the moderate pocket size. And, it will not make you look like an evil in front of coworkers.

Blade’s Style (Modern VS Traditional)

modern folding knife vs traditional pocket knife

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.

Here is the breakdown of three most common blade styles which are suitable for a pocket knife. The two most famous and used blade style in folding knives are clip point and drop point.​

Clip Point Point

In drop point knives, the edge of the blade runs straight from the handle and makes a slight curve to its drop point. Since its less curvy and has less sharp drop point, as compared to the clip point; Therefore these knives are more durable.

Clip point has a cutoff area from where blades are usually curved which is referred as a clip and how it got its name. This is a great all-rounder blade. The lower edge point makes it excellent for slicing, piercing, and razor sharp.

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

Drop Point

These knives 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?

serrated edge blade

Serrations may look cool, but make knives difficult to sharpen. Photo: Maciec Bielec

The blades have a plain or serrated edge. In general, plain edge knives are better for push cuts like shaving, skinning an apple, skinning a deer and can be sharpened easily.

Whereas, a serrated edge is better for slicing cuts. It is used for cutting hard things like cordage. It’s a 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 pocket 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.

Also Read: Best Knife Sharpeners

Choosing a Folding Knife’s Blade’s Steel

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.

  • Blade’s Use: The first thing that will help you is knowing that how you will use your blade. If you need to do hardcore stuff like cutting abrasive material (rope or wood), then you need a wear-resistant alloy.
  • Blade’s Thickness: There is one rule to blade’s thickness, the thicker the steel is, the more wearable it would be as compared to thin blades.
  • Edge Type: As we discussed in blade’s style, the edge type is a considerable factor. A Trailing point and drop point will perform totally different tasks.
  • 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.

Pocket Knife Handle Material

choosing handle material

High quality blade is not enough if you can’t make a secure grip on your knife. To make a secure grip, you need to ensure that the handle of the knife is constructed of high-quality material.

​Like steel types, handle material industry is also huge. So, we would not be able to include each and every material type in this article.

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.

Ivory handle is also well-known for natural coloration and variations that make the knife looks unique. However, Ivory handles are very fragile; so you don’t want to drop them on the concrete.

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.

Blade Opening Mechanism

opening mechanism

It’s essential to understand how opening mechanism of a folding knife works. There are several lock systems that prevent the blades from falling back on your finger. Different lock mechanism has a different purpose.

We have explained popular locking mechanisms that are used in modern and traditional pocket knives.

Manual-Opening Knife: 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. Now laws have been changed a bit but still make sure to check your state laws before you get yourself a switchable pocket knife.

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.

You can opt for any mechanism until and unless you want a tactical pocket knife. For a heavy duty task, It’s better to stick to the manual opening blade, it’s easy to use and less prone to damages.