We’ve all been there.
You’re looking for a great knife you can carry everyday that is durable and will not break the bank.
Meet the Civivi Elementum. With sleek lines, a durable D2 blade, and a street price of $50 the Elementum is quickly gaining traction in the race for the best pocket knife under $100.
The Elementum’s design is simple yet effective. It isn’t flashy by any means, but the Elementum’s ergonomics and durability have been proven by many users in the time it has been available to knife lovers worldwide.
Civivi Elementum Review
|Specification Type||Specification Detail|
|Overall length||6.99 inches|
|Closed Length||4.03 inches|
|Blade Length||2.96 inches|
|Blade Thickness||0.12 inches|
|Blade Steel||D2 (S35VN also available)|
|Handle Material||G10 (Micarta, Wood, Brass, and Copper also available)|
|Locking Mechanism||Liner Lock|
|Pocket Clip Orientation||Deep Carry Reversible (Right Hand or Left Hand, Tip-Up Only)|
|Country of Origin||China|
The hollow-ground Drop Point blade on the Elementum is razor-sharp out of the box and will handle a TON of work. I have owned my Elementum for almost a year now and it takes everything I have thrown at it.
The Elementum’s D2 blade is willing and able to accomplish any daily tasks with ease. After breaking down countless packages from Amazon it just keeps on ticking.
I’ve cut up everything from letters and boxes to apples and paracord and a ton in between. The Elementum is a workhorse of a knife.
When choosing a new knife it is always a give-and-take when it comes to the blade steel. Although more premium steel options are available, D2 has become a popular steel choice for many knives recently.
D2 steel has many advantages, but it is not without fault. D2 has incredible edge retention and toughness, but it is not the easiest to sharpen compared to other steels.
Somehow Civivi was able to read the minds of the masses and come up with a knife that has some of the best features everyone always asks for in a great EDC knife. The Elementum features jimping on the spine of the blade where your thumb rests in a traditional grip.
This jimping is not overly aggressive and allows you to get a good grip on the knife when it’s time to go to work.
The Elementum is simple yet elegant. Civivi Knives are designed under their parent company’s umbrella, WE Knives. The attention to detail flows down to the Civivi brand and the Elementum is no exception.
If no one told you that the Elementum was made overseas I guarantee you’d never know.
The Elementum features no real branding on the knife other than the “C” Civivi logo on the show-side of the pivot screw. No model name or number, blade steel stamp, or the manufacturing country.
I don’t know of many companies who don’t plaster their logos and models all over their products, and the Elementum is a breath of fresh air in that sense.
The “base” models of the Elementum come in a variety of G10 handle scale colors to suit the end user’s taste and style.
G10 is a timeless material for handle scales and Civivi knows how to make them grippy enough to keep the knife secure in hand without being extremely rough on your pocket.
The Elementum is crafted from a tough set of stainless steel liners. The Elementum isn’t the lightest knife out there at 2.89oz, but Civivi has done what I wish more companies would do: they skeletonized the Elementum’s liners.
Not too much to jeopardize the integrity of the knife, but enough to lighten it to save any dead weight.
The Elementum is an open-pilar construction design, meaning instead of having a traditional backspacer the knife is constructed in a way you can easily see through and clean the knife.
Additional material not only adds unnecessary weight but also adds cost to the end user. Civivi has really thought through their design process and constructed the Elementum in a way that keeps the user in mind.
The Elementum features a well-placed lanyard hole at the tail end of the handle for anyone who wants to add a little flair to their new favorite EDC blade. We’ll get to ergonomics in a bit but the addition of a lanyard to just about any knife will aid in not only style but also function.
I’ve started to add lanyards to more and more of my EDC blades for easy retrieval out of the pocket, and as soon as some new paracord arrives the Elementum is definitely next on the list to get one.
Look, Feel & Ergonomics:
As stated previously, the Elementum doesn’t scream its brand or model all over the knife. The simplicity is what makes the Elementum look great. The drop point blade on the Elementum is a usable length for just about any EDC tasks you need it for. All at a cost just about anyone can afford.
The Elementum’s G10 scales are just grippy enough without being overly aggressive. There’s no crazy patterns on the Elementum’s scales that make it stand out visually against others on the market but they get the job done.
Ergonomics are a big deal for every knife I decide to purchase. The Elementum fits well in my size Large hands and I get a full four-finger grip on the knife without the need for a lanyard. There are no hotspots when the knife is in use for me either.
Deployment & Lockup:
The Elementum’s flipper tab is a breeze to open and throws the blade out without the need for any wrist-twisting motion. There is also jimping on the tab itself for added traction.
Instead of Teflon or bronze washers, Civivi packed caged steel ball bearings into the Elementum making the action incredibly smooth.
Lockup on the Elementum is fantastic. The lockup sits just shy of 50% with no blade play in any direction. Jimping on the liner lock itself also aids in traction.
Fit & Finish:
Fit and finish on the Elementum is superb. There are no tool markings or imperfections on the blade and the scales fit the liners perfectly. There are few knives in the Elementum’s price range that can compare to its overall craftsmanship and quality.
The clip is yet another feature that Civivi got 100% right on the Elementum. The stainless steel deep-carry clip on the Elementum stands apart from most budget knives on the market. It is durable and keeps the knife seated comfortably in the pocket.
The Elementum sits fully in the pocket when not in use. Some clips make knives uncomfortable in the hand or pocket (sometimes both!) but the Elementum is NOT one of those. The angle of the clip allows for the knife to sit almost vertically when in the pocket.
Sharpening & Care
From time to time every blade needs a blade touch-up and maintenance. The Elementum is no exception. In the year or so I’ve owned my Elementum I’ve not had to do much other than stropping every couple of months.
The Elementum is a simple knife. Four Torx screws keep the scales on the liners and a larger Torx bit is used to remove the Pivot screw. Basic care and maintenance will make your Elementum last a lifetime.
Alternatives to the Elementum
There are many preferences and budgets when it comes to knife purchases. Although the Elementum is one of the best you can buy for roughly $50, it is not without some competition.
A popular option for the “under $50” budget request from potential knife purchasers around the globe has been the Ontario Knife Company Rat Model II.
The Rat II is similar in size and weight to the Elementum, but also has its own shortcomings when it comes to materials and quality control.
The Rat II features an AUS8 blade, nylon handle scales, and bronze washers. The Rat II is a great budget blade, but the upgraded blade steel, ball-bearing washers, and authentic G10 handle scales make the Elementum a much better choice for a little more money.
Also new to the market, the Steel Will Cutjack is another budget-friendly favorite. The Cutjack features the same D2 blade steel as the Elementum, but it lacks in the simple class that the Elementum provides.
The Cutjack is a great knife for the money, but it’s pocket clip allows the knife to sit above the pocket line and its FRN handle scales are too aggressive for some folks.
We’ll have a separate review for the SOG Terminus XR, but I’ll say it’s a GREAT knife. Around the same price as the Elementum, the Terminus XR features SOG’s patented “XR Lock” that is reminiscent of Benchmade’s AXIS lock.
The main complaint with the Terminus XR is its pocket clip. It is shallow and does not fit the variety of pant styles that the Elementum does due to its width and shorter length.
Now discontinued (unfortunately), the Kershaw Skyline has been a fan favorite for many years. Slightly more expensive than the Elementum, the Skyline features a 14C28N blade and a classic flipper/liner lock design.
The Elementum has a MUCH smoother action compared to the Skyline and fits better overall in most hands. The Skyline’s pocket clip has been a common complaint from knife lovers around the world since its release.
With the price difference and the need for most to upgrade to an aftermarket deep carry clip, the Elementum is a winner all day long.
Since the initial release of the Elementum, several variants and shop-specific exclusives have been produced by Civivi. Currently, there are 22 different variants available from Blade HQ and other dealers.
Options for upgraded CPM-S35VN steel are also available. Civivi has really thought about their customer base to create a unique blade for just about everyone.
Smooth action, great edge retention, perfect centering, ergonomics, and budget-friendly pricing are just some of the things that make the Civivi Elementum a great knife for anyone. With loads of scale colors and materials, upgraded “super steel” options, and Civivi’s warranty it is a no-brainer to pick up an Elementum today!