11 Best EDC Knives [2021 Review Guide]
First things first – what does “EDC” mean? This acronym stands for “Every Day Carry,” and is usually used for items that are handy to have on yourself at all times, as they can assist you with everyday needs or even in some dire situations. Without a doubt, an EDC knife is surely one of the best items for everyday purpose, since it has so many advantages. It can be extremely useful – you can open clamshells and boxes with it, prepare food, cut ropes and fix things around the household, and it’s no wonder why there are so many knife enthusiast (such as hunters, butchers, fishers, military service members and others) carrying an EDC folding knife on them at all times.
With thousands of these useful blades on today’s market, it can be really hard for a novice to find an EDC that suits his needs the best. Have no worries – that’s why we’re here!
In a Hurry? Check Out Our Top 5 Picks!
- PRODUCT OF OUR CHOICE: Spyderco Paramilitary 3 Black G-10
- AMERICAN MADE 154CM STAINLESS STEEL: Benchmade – Mini Griptilian 556
- REMARKABLE TITANIUM DESIGN: Benchmade 940 EDC Knife
- HIGH-PERFORMANCE STEEL: Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Knife
- MADE FROM G10 SCALES: Spyderco Tenacious EDC Folding Knife
The Best EDC Knife
Spyderco Paramilitary 3 Black G-10 Folding Knife
The main thing that gives this incredible knife an edge over the competitors is definitely the combination of design and quality – it is perfectly blended into an excellent product that has delighted every knife enthusiast all over the world. Let’s take a more detailed look at the Spyderco Paramilitary 3 G-10!
It looks like the Spyderco never fails in the construction department – the Paramilitary 3 is a lightweight folding knife, but still looks and feels very stable and robust. The handle scales are cored out, in order for the frame to properly fit within them, while the thong tube and the Torx screws are holding the whole thing together. Just like many other knives made by Spyderco, this one also has a big thumbhole, which makes operation and opening really easy. The notching, present on the throat and the neck of the blade, is there to improve the grip during the tougher jobs.
We should also mention that the Paramilitary 3 has a compression lock on the knife’s spine, so it’s pretty hard to close the blade with just one hand. This also brings an unexpected benefit – it’s almost impossible to activate the knife by accident. When it comes to steel quality, the Paramilitary 3 features a powdered stainless steel build, relying more on vanadium than on the chromium, which gives the whole item a longer-lasting look and feel. In our opinion, the durability of this pocket knife is almost unmatched – we’re pretty sure that this thing could last you for years, which just might be the thing that you were looking for. And since the Paramilitary 3 is so versatile and features a quality build, it also comes with a high price, and it is surely among the most expensive knives we’ve reviewed so far.
With a smooth opening mechanism (thanks to the large thumb hole), an ergonomic handle and the extreme sharpness, the Paramilitary 3 is surely worth the money. Not only is this blade dependable and durable, but it’s also very pleasing to look at, due to its fantastic design. It’s a product of our choice!
Benchmade – Mini Griptilian 556, Drop-Point EDC Folding Knife
Some people are saying that the Mini Griptilian 556 deserves to be called a modern classic – they’re claiming that this is the best of all popular EDC knives that are currently on the market. Is this an overstatement, or the actual truth?
The first thing to notice about this knife is surely its beautiful blade – the material used here is the quality 154CM stainless steel, made in the USA and being very rough and sharp. The blade has a shape that features the so-called modified drop point, with a gentle curve that elegantly lowers the knife’s tip and gives it some strength when you’re using it as, for example, a screwdriver. This doesn’t mean that the model isn’t suitable for slicing – it certainly is, as this shape was designed for the general everyday use. The model looks quite durable to use, but remember to be very careful when it comes to sharpening since there is a large bevel towards the blade’s top that can excessively rub the knife sharpening tools. This can do great damage to the blade, and we would advise you to only use the hand-held sharpeners.
One of the best things about the Griptilian is its AXIS lock, which is smooth as butter and also as solid as a rock. The lock gets its function from the steel bar that’s inside the model and makes the whole thing safer and easier for one-handed operation. Once you get the feel of it, we’re sure that it will be hard for you to get back to liner locks or even lock backs ever again. Even though there’s a word “mini” in the model’s name, the 556 isn’t really small – in our opinion, it has a perfect size for a versatile, convenient everyday carry knife.
The Griptilian 556 is a lightweight knife that can easily fit into any pocket and brings you a blade that can slice, cut, slash and peel the tough and hard materials. It also has a durable handle and a very efficient locking mechanism, which, along with its perfect size, makes this model worth considering for purchase.
|Blade Material:||Stainless Steel|
|Handle Material:||Glass-Filled Nylon|
Benchmade 940 EDC Manual Opening Knife
The Benchmade 940 Osborne looks like a simple, yet longer and more practical alternative to the Griptilian 556. Does that make it an equal or better buy?
This EDC is of premium material, from the tip of its blade to the butt of its handle. The entire knife is 7.87 inches long while the blade length itself is 3.40 inches, and yet, it manages to weigh no more than 2.9 ounces.
But there’s more to the Benchmade 940 Osborne that makes it a superb lightweight precision cutting tool.
Made with CPM-S30V steel, the blade is sturdy and can retain its edge longer than most EDC and regular knives. The blade itself might seem narrow at a glance, but it’s strong enough to use on tough cutting jobs without worries about it breaking.
The drop-point shape of the blade is also versatile, making it suitable for various piercing jobs, such as on cardboard or for carving wood. That means you can easily find uses for this knife at home, in the workshop, or while exploring the outdoors.
If you are worried about your everyday carry knife developing scratches or notches, that won’t happen with this blade. Its bead-blasted finish makes it scratch-resistant and perfect for dirty jobs without worrying about the blade losing its beauty.
As for the handle that houses the blade, it’s a simple yet attractive design. It’s green, made with aluminum, and has a swift and reliable blade release mechanism. Its AXIS-lock system lets you release the blade quickly, flicking the thumb stud. When you press the AXIS-lock again, the blade goes back in.
Even while wearing thick gloves, using the AXIS-lock to open and close the blade is quick and easy. It’s also safe, keeping all your fingers safely out of the way of the retracting or deploying blade. And since the spring system of the locking mechanism is built to last, opening and closing the knife will remain a hitch-free deal for many years.
When it comes to ergonomics, the Benchmade 940 Osborne is no slouch. There’s a clip that lets you fasten the knife to your pocket or belt. And when closed, the blade is light and compact enough to sit in your pocket unobtrusively.
|Handle Material:||Green Anodized Aluminum|
Kershaw Ken Onion Blur
The main reason that made us give the Kershaw Ken Onion Blur a more detailed look is this knife’s immense popularity – everybody’s talking about it! Let’s see if this pocket blade is really as good as thousands of users are claiming it is:
The Kershaw Ken Onion Blur has a performance and build that’s quite similar to those of your standard, general purpose blade, as it has all those common everyday-carry attributes. When it comes to material, the blade of this model is made from adonized aluminum, which means that the aluminum’s surface was changed on the microscopic level – it was strengthened and made more durable. The adonization process also gives a very specific, faded color to the blade, and makes it scratch resistant, which is something we really liked. This fantastic EDC also features the highly-praised Speed Safe system, with Kershaw being the first company that introduced this feature to the market. It’s a unique, patented system that can assist the user to easily open the blade with a single push on the thumb stud or the pull back on the flipper. At the heart of the Speed Safe system is the torsion bar, which, when the knife is closed, prevents the blade from being opened by accident.
One other thing that we really liked is the insert liner lock (makes the model lightweight but still secure and sturdy), and we also have to give praise to the pre-drilled holes, which are situated on the handle and are there to enhance the overall comfort. The Kershaw Ken Onion Blur is also quite affordable, and we can safely say that the users are getting something incredible for such a reasonable amount of money – some other companies would set a much higher price on this knife.
When it comes to overall pros, we can say that the Kershaw Ken Onion Blur has a lot of qualities – it’s a perfect blade for multitasking, offering top notch piercing and slicing capabilities, and having things such as the ergonomic handle and the adonized blade that’s resistant to wear and corrosion. The reasonable price is another big plus!
|Blade Material:||Sandvik 14C28N|
|Handle Material:||6061-T6 Aluminum|
Spyderco Tenacious EDC Folding Knife
Anyone who is into pocket knives knows that the brand really matters – and the Spyderco certainly has a long-standing reputation when it comes to manufacturing good EDC knives. Their newest mid-sized blade, the Tenacious Folding Knife, is something that deserves a more in-depth look.
When it comes to the overall design, we can say that the Spyderco Tenacious looks like a big frame-lock knife, with a beefy ground blade. The handle comes with a finger groove, which makes the knife easy to open with just one hand, which is also the case with most of the Spyderco knives. It is made from G10 scales and has ergonomics that are next to perfect for the people with medium sized hands, with a sure grip that’s helped by the notching which is present on the liner.
The texturing is, in our opinion, just about right – it is not too aggressive, even though some people might find the scales to be thinner than expected. Since it has a steel frame, the Spyderco Tenacious has a very solid structure, but that also gives it some weight. When it comes to the locking mechanism, we have only words of praise, while the overall finish makes the model looks like something a lot more expensive.
All in all, we can see why this knife is already so popular – it has an affordable price but brings quality and performance of the much more expensive models. In other words – the Spyderco did it once again.
Columbia River and Tool Squid – Compact EDC Folder
This is where we come to a knife that’s at the same time very affordable and highly functional – if that’s exactly what you’ve been searching for, read on and find out if the CRKT Squid is the right choice for you.
Just like many compact handguns, the CRKT Squid also has a design that’s deceptively simple. The two primary parts of it are the stainless steel handle and the 8Cr13MoV blade, both of which look quite elegant and a lot more expensive than what’s the actual price of this knife. The blade gracefully swells from the tip to the handle, and is also pretty wide – it’s close to a whole inch.
There are also some handy friction grooves here, providing the user with a great thumb placement and enhancing the overall grip experience. For us, this was especially surprising – the Squid is, after all, a knife with stubby measurements and a full-metal construction. The model weighs 3,4 ounces, which was something that we’ve expected. Although some people won’t like it, we think that this weight inspires confidence, with this feeling being further solidified by the robust frame lock. We have to mention that there are some rough edges around that very same lock, so be careful when you’re securing the blade.
All in all, we can say that the buyers of the CRKT Squid are getting a lot of good things for a low price – even though this EDC folding knife has a full metal construction, it still feels great to use it. Its careful design was a big surprise for us.
|Handle Material:||Matching 8Cr13MoV|
TAC FORCE Spring Assisted
Nothing beats this model when it comes to affordability – TAC FORCE Spring Assisted Opening folding knife can be found for just under $10! Is this low price affecting the blade’s overall quality and functionality? Read on and find out!
When it comes to looks, we have to say that we’ve very pleased with the design of this folding knife – even though it’s so cheap, it looks like something that’s a bit more expensive. It features a very nice combination of black and orange, which looks quite attractive in our opinion.
When it comes to exact dimensions, the knife is 7 3/4 inches long when it’s opened, and 4 1/2 inches when it’s closed – it will easily fit into most pockets. The blade is made out of 440 Stainless Steel and is sharp enough for the everyday use around the house or in the woods while camping. The handle, on the other hand, is made out of orange and black aluminum and has a big rubber logo in the middle, and there is also the convenient Speed Safe thumb stud opening, which is always a big plus in our book.
Even though it’s not flawless, we think that the TAC FORCE folding knife brings great value for the price that you’ll pay for it. It’s a simple, cheap blade that can help you with the standard cutting, peeling, and slicing operations. If you’re looking for an affordable but functional option, this would definitely be it!
|Blade Material:||440 Stainless Steel|
Ontario 8848 RAT
We’re always pleased to have Ontario’s knives on the test – their EDC models always tend to have some survival knife features, making them a good choice for the people who like having a blade that can come in handy during the camping in the woods. Let’s see how good it is!
When it comes to dimensions, the 8848 RAT knife has an overall length of some 8.6″, and it weighs around 5 ounces. The design, in our opinion, is a solid one – it is minimalistic and straightforward, but the whole thing still looks very appealing. The blade of 8848 features the drop point shape, and is a great tool for slicing – we were very pleased with the results during the testing period. The biggest problem with the blade is the cheap coating that the Ontario uses to cover it, and we noticed that it started wearing off on the very first day of the testing.
Nevertheless, the steel underneath the coating is the AUS8, it’s strong Japanese knife, which is quite sturdy and very easy to sharpen. The RAT’s handle, on the other hand, is made from Zytel (a sort of plastic material) and feels quite nice in the hand. The overall ergonomics are satisfying – the people with bigger hands will certainly like the size of the handle (5″).
Inexpensive but still very functional, the Ontario 8848 RAT is an excellent choice for the campers who are looking for a cheap option. This certainly isn’t the best knife that your money can buy but it’s still something worth considering for purchase.
|Blade Material:||D2 Steel|
Kershaw 1600 Chive SpeedSafe
The Kershaw 1600 Chive received many praises by both the users and other reviewers, as it is a sharp little knife that comes at an affordable price and can be a very handy tool to carry around. Let’s see if it’s really that good!
When it comes to materials, the Chive’s blade was made out of 420HC stainless steel, while the 410 stainless steel was used as a primary material for the handle. As we already said in the intro, this is a quite small knife, but it still feels good to use it, and its size doesn’t affect how easy it is to operate with it and to keep it clean. After all, the EDC items are supposed to be small!
The blade features the so-called drop point shape, and its 420HC steel that we mentioned has high amounts of chrome and carbon, which was done in order to increase the model’s resistance against corrosion. The handle has a single position pocket clip and isn’t suitable for the left-handed people. We were pleased to see the Speed Safe system, which enhances the opening mechanism and makes the whole operation of opening and closing a breeze to do. There is also an additional tip lock, which is there to prevent the blade’s opening while the model is inside your pocket.
As you can see, this tiny blade has a lot of good things going for it – it’s ergonomic, sharp, and easy to handle. For such a small everyday carry knife, it certainly has an impressive quality and design, and it deserves our recommendation.
|Blade Material:||CPM-154 Stainless Steel|
|Handle Material:||Carbon Fiber|
Zero Tolerance 0095BW Titanium Flipper
The Zero Tolerance 0095BW is one of the most attractive EDC knives on the market. But is there more to it than a sleek handle and sharp blade? Let’s find out.
The Zero Tolerance 0095BW has a gray blackwash finish that gives the knife a sleek and cool look in your hand. When folded, it’s small enough to fit into most pockets, and it is not so bulky that you’ll keep noticing it in your pocket.
This Zero Tolerance blade comes with a clip that lets you secure it to the edge of your pocket or belt; to make sure you don’t lose the knife.
But what about the blade itself?
The blade on the Zero Tolerance 0095BW is made with sturdy S35VN steel and shaped in a “harpoon-style” design that makes it suitable for precise cutting and piercing.
S35VN steel is more robust than regular steel because it contains niobium (Nb). Aside from being hard to break, once sharp, it can retain its keen edge for up to a year, depending on how often you use it.
Also, the gray Blackwash finish on the blade isn’t just for aesthetics. It provides a protective coating that further enhances the durability of the blade. On the back of the blade, there’s a scoop where you can place your thumb or index finger to guide the knife for better precision cuts.
The blade sits in a solid titanium handle that you can fold. There’s a reliable integrated frame lock and hardened lock bar insert, to keep the blade secure until you need it. The Zero Tolerance 0095BW has a KVT ball-bearing opening system – Simply move the flipper beyond the point of tension holding the blade, and it will flip open fast.
Once released, the integrated frame lock and hardened lock bar system will keep the blade firmly open, ensuring that it doesn’t accidentally close on your fingers during use.
The handle itself is durable and offers a very comfortable grip that fits nicely into most hands and doesn’t slip around during use.
In a nutshell, our favorite things about the Zero Tolerance 0095BW are its tough S35VN steel blade, effectiveness for slicing and piercing, smooth opening mechanism, and cool aesthetic.
Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical
The Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife looks and feels like a blade that belongs in the hand of a soldier, or a ninja. But does that mean it’s not useful for tamer and more domestic activities?
The Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife is available in various sizes to meet your unique needs. You can also get it with a serrated or plain edge blade.
For this review, we are looking at the standard size Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife. It weighs around 5.2 ounces and is a little over 9 inches from handle base to blade tip. The blade length itself is 4 inches long, which is long enough for most cutting chores.
As its name implies, this is a tactical knife. Looking at its shape and design, you can tell that this blade is meant for self-defense
Made with CTS-XHP stainless steel, which isn’t the toughest steel for a blade but makes this knife good enough for most people’s cutting needs. As long as you don’t need it for frequent heavy cutting, this knife is well up to the task.
There’s also a black DLC finish on the blade that gives it even more durability by preventing rust. According to the makers, the finish also has the upside of giving the knife a more combat-ready look.
When the blade is open, it’s firm and doesn’t buckle during use. But what’s most satisfying about the Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife is its non-slip grip. G-10 laminate scales cover the handle, giving you a firm and comfortable grip regardless of how wet or greasy your palms are.
Another favorite thing about this knife is its Tri-Ad locking system for sheathing and unsheathing the blade. The stop-pin mechanism effectively holds the blade in place when closed, preventing accidents. The same mechanism is what keeps the blade in place after opening the knife.
For your convenience, the knife also comes with an ambidextrous clip. You can hang the knife on your left or right side by simply changing the positioning of the clip. Just as important, the clip is thick and tight enough to hang from your belt without bending or slipping off.
In summary, if you want a combat-ready folding knife for intimidating assailants or defending yourself, the Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife is a good buy. You can also use it for light cutting chores, such as opening letters or cutting rope and cardboard.
EDC Knives FAQs and Buyers Guide
Tips To Consider When buying An EDC Knife
The Everyday carry knife could definitely be considered as the essential tools, as they can make your daily life a lot easier, and we don’t even have to mention how convenient they are if you like camping in the woods. But the problem is the fact that finding a good pocket knife can be quite complicated, especially if you’re a novice who doesn’t know a lot about them. Take a look at these five tips – they will help you narrow down the choice and find an Everyday carry knife that suits your needs the best.
In our opinion, this would be the most important consideration. You should ask yourself what would you like to use your pocket knife for, and what do you want it to do. Even though most of the modern EDC knives can do almost anything, you should know that some certain models are better suited for some particular jobs. If you, for example, work in a warehouse, you will probably use a folding knife or a butterfly knife to cut open the boxes. If you’re living on a farm or enjoy a hunting knife, then you’ll probably need a fixed blade knife for opening bales of hay, cutting ropes, and similar jobs.
As you will probably be carrying your EDC blade with you at all times, it will need to be small and light. Yes, there are certainly bigger knives that can help you with the tougher jobs, but the EDC ones are all about practicality – you will be using them for some simpler things. The thing that you should consider here is how you intend to carry it – if you’re going to carry it in your pocket, it should be very lightweight and small. If you’ll carry it in the gear bag, it can be a little bigger and weigh more.
The edge, or, in other words, the sharp side of your blade, could be either plain or serrated. Both variants have their advantages – the serrated blades are the ones that make cutting and slicing an easy task to do, while the plain ones will allow you to make really accurate cuts. There are, of course, blades that come with edges that are only partly serrated, which will give you more options once the need arises. If you don’t know what sort of cutting you’re mostly going to do, go for the plain edge.
In most of the cases, the blade parts are made from stainless steel. This is the most popular option, as the stainless steel has a lot of advantages – it has the durability, the strength, and the rust resistance, and you can’t go wrong by buying a folding knife with a blade made from this material. On the other hand, the best materials for the handle are the Zytel and the G-10, both of which are superb and feel great in hand.
Since the EDC knives aren’t actually multi-tools, it would be wise to keep things here as simple as it is possible. In our opinion, there are only three essential features that you should look for, and these would be the pocket clip, the sharp tipped blade, and the glass breaking butt. None of these traits are a real necessity, but they can certainly come in handy (or even life-saving) in certain situations. Also, we would advise you to avoid the rubber grips, as they can quickly degrade, and the gimmicky additions such as compasses and similar things. They often don’t work well and make EDC knives less sturdy.
As we already said, a pocket (folding) knife is one of the most important EDC items, coming handy in all sorts of situations. With so many different models on today’s market, we have selected and reviewed the most popular ones – check out our honest and unbiased reviews, and we’re sure that you’ll find a blade that will serve for many years. All of these pocket knives that we’ve tested are good in their own ways and come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. The product of our choice would definitely be the Spyderco Paramilitary 3 – even though it’s more expensive than the other models, it brings unmatched quality, design, and the performance, and is surely one of the best models that we’ve ever reviewed.
One other model that deserves our big recommendation would be the Kershaw 1600 Chive. This tiny pocket knife is something that surprised us in almost every way – it’s very easy to handle due to its ergonomics and has a sharp blade that’s suitable for the most kinds of everyday jobs. Definitely consider it for purchase if you’re looking for a small but versatile blade.
We hope that we’ve helped you – now it’s time to choose your Everyday Carry knife that you like the most!