If you’re reading this, you’re in for a real treat, as today I’ll talk about the 9 best Spyderco folding knives you can buy in 2021. To begin with, Spyderco is a top-rated knife company known for manufacturing some of the best gear on the planet. Based in Golden, Colorado, Spyderco has a long history of raising the standards of knife-making and taking chances since its inception.
For example, Spyderco popularized the pocket clip on their folding knives, as well as the one-handed opening hole which is basically the company’s trade-mark design nowadays.
9 Best Spyderco Knives of 2021
The Tenacious Value folding knife is part of the company’s Tenacious series, as per its name actually, and it’s the best budget knife in my view for a number of reasons. First, it is one of the most affordable, high-quality folding knives you can buy in 2021, coming from a reputable company like Spyderco, i.e. this is sold for way under $100, which is a deal, it’s a steal, it’s the sale of the century, what have you.
Second, the Tenacious is a strong performer, has the ideal size for an EDC (3.39″ blade), comes with an excellent skeletonized G-10 handle, a half-serrated full-flat ground drop point shape, and has a 4-way reversible clip.
The Spyderco Delica 4 is another great choice for EDC as it’s relatively affordable, lightweight (3.2 ounces), and it’s built to be as strong as possible. The blade is made using VG-10 steel and its dimensions are almost perfect, whether you have big or small hands. The 3-inch blade really hits the sweet spot and has a big hole for easy opening, featuring a full flat grind design.
The pocket clip is excellently designed and can be put on either end and on either side; moreover, the handle is grippy as Hell, yet not too rough, not too smooth. Again, Spyderco really hit the sweet spot with the Delica 4.
The Spyderco Para Military 2 is a very special pocket knife with a phenomenal blade. Even if it’s kind of expensive for a little folder, this baby is made in the US, a thing that I personally appreciate, and it’s built to cut virtually anything. The Para Military 2 features the company’s patented Pivot Bushing System for seamless opening and closing, while its G10 handle is incredibly grippy and ergonomically designed.
Where this knife really shines is in the ergonomics department, as it’s incredibly easy to open and hold, while its full flat ground blade makes cutting almost effortless. Bottom line: if you can afford it, just go for it.
My next pick is the Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Signature, a very interesting lightweight folding knife with a translucent handle that makes you think you have X-ray vision. Looks aside, the Manix 2 is designed for EDC tasks and it features a picture-perfect ambidextrous design, as well as a high-quality ball bearing lock. The leaf-shaped blade has 3.375”, while the handle is made from G10 and has scales with full stainless steel liners.
The knife is a tad heavy at 5 ounces, but rest assured: heavy is good, heavy is reliable, and, first and foremost, this folder offers stellar ergonomics and a 2-position grip, which makes it a pleasure to use daily.
The Dragonfly Signature is a tiny and lightweight folding knife, built to be almost inconspicuous in your pocket, yet completely safe and easy to carry/operate. The blade measures 2.28’’ and it’s built using VG-10 steel, while the G10 handle is rigid, ergonomically designed, and impervious to chemicals and temp changes. Easy to manage and hold, the Dragonfly is made in Japan and it’s perfect for EDC, especially for ladies.
Weighing a mere 1.2 ounces, the Dragonfly boasts a short full-flat ground blade optimized for slicing and piercing, while the FRN scales on the grip hide skeletonized stainless steel liners.
Here’s an interesting option for those of you looking for a flipper knife: the Spyderco Smock, a premium folding knife with a 3.45″ hollow ground blade, made from CPM S30V steel, and a G10 handle. The textured carbon fiber handle is ergonomically designed and offers substantial grip even if you have big hands, while the button-compression locking mechanism is impressive, to say the least.
If you want to add some premium feel to your everyday carry, the Smock comes highly recommended. The knife is nothing short of amazing, looks the part, it’s razor-sharp and offers easy one-hand open and smooth action.
Next in line, I present you the Spyderco Ambitious, which is a fantastic value-oriented folding knife. This baby would make for the perfect gift, provided you want to convert a friend or a spouse into becoming a Spyderco enthusiast. The Spyderco Ambitious is crazy cheap, yet it comes with all the important features expected in a high-quality folding knife.
First, the 2.25 inches blade is made from 8Cr13Mov steel, then there’s the classic G10 black laminate handle, ergonomically milled for perfect grip, and finally, you get the iconic Spyderco Round Hole for easy opening.
Looking for a big yet affordable Spyderco folding knife? Enter Resilience, a value-line folder boasting a massive 4.2’’ blade made from 8Cr13MoV steel. Keep in mind that the Spyderco Resilience is pretty large for an EDC, having an overall length of 9.3’’ and a closed length of 5.2’’, yet it’s as sturdy and as reliable as a coffin nail; oh, and you’ll definitely love the Michael Walker Liner Lock with skeletonized steel liners.
The knife is hugely versatile, boasting an ambidextrous design, and given that it’s big and cheap, the Spyderco Resilience would be great as a starting tactical (as in self-defense) knife.
Last but not least, I have to present my female readers with a ladies’ knife, the Spyderco Ladybug 3 respectively. Why is this a ladies’ knife, you asked? Well, for starters, it’s purple. All jokes aside, the Ladybug 3 has all the characteristics of a knife made for women: it’s small, light, beautiful, cuts like a Katana, it’s innocuous and looks non-threatening, and it can be easily carried around on your keychain.
However, despite its compact size, the Ladybug 3 is strongly built and durable, fits anywhere, plus it’s crazy sharp out of the box, not to mention that the VG-10 blade will keep its edge forever.
Other Honorable Mentions
If 9 best Spyderco knives are not enough for my readers, here are a couple of extra choices. If you’re looking for something more, let’s say exotic, take a look at the Spyderco Military. It’s true that virtually any knife can be used for self-defense purposes, but the Spyderco Military is actually designed for that, making for one Hell of a tactical knife.
Compared to the previously reviewed Para Military 2, this one is relatively similar, having a 4-inch blade, but better slicing, slashing and piercing abilities, and even a better grip for self-defense purposes.
Another interesting option for my readers is the Spyderco Native 5 Lightweight. This knife has a very peculiar history, as it was initially designed to become a “Wal-Mart Best Seller”, i.e. it was specifically built to be sold in supermarkets.
The latest Native 5 offers a lot of bang for the proverbial buck asked, as it retails for something like $80, give or take, yet it’s built using S35VN steel, which is common in knives twice as expensive. Dollar for dollar, the Native 5 is a steal, and it makes for the perfect mid-range knife due to its excellent build quality, tough lock back mechanism, and stainless steel liners.
Buying Guide (Things to Consider)
I will start this section by telling you a few words about the brand. Spyderco was founded in 1976 by Sal Glesser, and the funny thing is that the first products were knife sharpeners. However, that was just a passing phase and today, Spyderco is known for making top-notch knives that are reliable without fail.
To make it really easy for my readers, if you’re looking for first-grade gear, there are few brands that can rival Spyderco, as they’ve earned a reputation for excellence and they offer an extensive range of knives for the most demanding clients.
Since 1976, Spyderco has been crafting some of the best everyday carry blades in the world, and currently speaking, the company is focusing on quality products at affordable prices, as they’ve offshored some of their products to China and Taiwan, where they have a couple of factories. However, you can still order Spyderco knives made in the USA, that provided you’re all in for “American Made” and all that, and you don’t mind paying a little extra for the “privilege.”
Now, if you want to choose a Spyderco knife for EDC, or, to put it simply, you’re into pocket knives, as I used to call them back in the day, just pay attention to some of the following considerations.
First, there’s the material used in the blade. A high-quality EDC knife is as good as its blade, and usually speaking, Spyderco uses high carbon steel also known as stainless steel in their knives. Unlike other companies, Spyderco tells you exactly what type of steel is used on each of their blades, i.e. they are very transparent in this regard, so you’ll know precisely what to expect from your knife long-term.
I assume you’ve read the article carefully so far, so you’ve already noticed what types of steel are most common in Spyderco folding knives: 8Cr 13MoV and VG-10 respectively. The former is a budget (Chinese made) chromium-steel alloy, which is an excellent choice for all-purpose knives (inferior to the Japanese AUS-8 though), while VG-10 is known for conferring the blade durability and amazing edge retention, being used in value-oriented knives, as it’s significantly better yet not so expensive compared to budget level steels, such as the 420HC (you won’t see 420HC in many Spyderco knives by the way).
Moreover, Spyderco uses CPM S30V in their higher-end blades, a superior stainless steel alloy that is hardened and sintered, being arguably one of the best blade steel in the world, as well as ZDP-189, which is popular for producing an incredibly sharp edge. You’ll also find highly corrosion-resistant steels in Spyderco’s Salt Series of knives, the likes of H1 and LC200N, and it’s worth mentioning that the company employs TiCN coating on some of their blades, for reduced friction and greater hardness.
Moving along, let’s talk a little bit about handles. Spyderco often uses FRN aka fiberglass reinforced nylon and stainless steel in their budget-value series. Stainless steel is cheap and durable, while FRN works great for reducing weight. Higher-end knives have G10 handles; in case you were wondering, G10 consists of woven glass fiber injected with epoxy, and the end result is a non-slip yet relatively tough surface that’s impervious to chemicals and doesn’t care much about temperature. Needless to say, stainless steel lasts forever, yet it’s heavier than composite/fancy handles (read carbon fiber, etc.).
EDC is the blade locking mechanism. If you don’t have a locking mechanism in your folder, you’ll spend a lot of money on Band-Aids, as blade locks are the “thin blue line” between the integrity of your fingers and the blade, i.e. blade locks prevent the blade from flipping outwards. Here’s what Spyderco uses: liner locks, which are the cheapest, simplest and most common variant, frame locks, a little bit better, as in stronger and more reliable, back locks, an older system yet pretty reliable, axis locks, strong and ambidextrous, and, the best of all, the very secure/in-house developed compression lock.
The pocket clip configuration is another factor when choosing the best Spyderco knife. A well-designed pocket clip allows you to remove it and reposition as you see fit, and most Spyderco knives allow you to reposition/swap around the pocket clip, which is great.
Then, there’s the functionality issue, and it must be noted that most Spyderco folding knives feature a slender blade with a flat grind, which means the respective knives are focused on cutting performance. Some argue that Spyderco knives are not as tough as others, as they lack sideways strength which is a benefit of thicker designs. That’s a good point actually, but it must be noted that Spyderco EDC folding knives are not designed for opening paint cans (read heavy-duty tasks).
Finally, there’s the budget question: how much are you willing to spend on an EDC folding knife? However, even if Spyderco’s “sweet spot” range is between $100 and $200, there are quite a few affordable Spyderco folders under $100, so don’t worry too much.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I buy a Spyderco knife?
What about Lifetime Warranty, is this thing for real or just marketing?
Spyderco covers replacement/lifetime repair on their products, and they’re very transparent about the process. It’s true that Lifetime Warranty is kind of vague to some, and here are the specifics: defects means that if you notice anything imperfect (as in defect) in your Spyderco knife, the company will repair it or replace it free of charge.
Exchange is the same thing, i.e. if you send back a product reporting issues and whatnot, they’ll either replace it, fix it or exchange it for another (similar) product, depending on the value of the knife.
It’s true that not all damages are covered under the Lifetime Warranty, and since these things do cost money, you’ll get an estimate of the bill, as in you’ll be made aware you’ll have to pay to get your knife fixed. Here’s what Spyderco won’t cover under LifetimeWarranty: if you altered your knife in any way (modders, beware!), shape or form, you won’t have it replaced under warranty, and no, there’s no such thing as free clips. Spyderco’s warranty only covers unaltered, original blades, including clasp, screws, joints, etc.