The Best Pocket & Folding Knives of 2020 (review guide)
A good pocket knife is certainly among the most important tools you could carry with you. From saving someone trapped in a vehicle to cutting a fishing line, a quality pocket knife is your best friend. But with hundreds of different models on the market, it can be a real chore to wade through all those options to find a pocket knife that will suit your needs.
To make things a little bit easier, we wrote reviews of the best pocket knives that the money can buy today. Take a look at our recommendations and find a quality model for yourself!
3 top quality pocket Knives of Our Choice
TAC Force TF-705 Series Knife – Best Budget Knife
- Quality 88% 88%
- Design 90% 90%
- Blade 86% 86%
- Price 99% 99%
This knife is eight inches long, with the blade itself measuring 3.5 inches – the blade is partially serrated and quite sharp. The handle is made out of aluminum and provides an excellent grip, which is something we’re used to when it comes to knives manufactured by TAC Force. The grip won’t become loose even when your hands are completely wet, and it’s also very durable and sturdy.
The same could be said for the blade, which is manufactured from carbon-rich stainless steel. This material is long-lasting and removes the risk of rusting. The TAC Force TF-705 has a very protective tang, as well as the thumb management point, which makes operating with it even easier. The joints of this knife are made in a way that the constant closing and opening won’t have an adverse effect on the model’s efficiency – it will stay flexible and smooth, and that’s always a big plus in our book.
Along with the reliable and efficient locking mechanism, we also liked the weight of the TAC Force TF-705. Even though it’s made out of metal, the model is still lightweight enough and won’t bother you when you’re carrying it in your pocket. And to top everything, the TF-705 is absolutely affordable. We’re pretty sure that it offers the best value for the money on the entire market, and is probably the best budget model that money can buy today. In this price category, we’re used to knives with plastic elements – but this bad boy is made entirely out of metal!
In conclusion, we think that the TAC Force TF-705 is truly something special, and a model that you should definitely consider for purchase, especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of money. Its stainless steel blade is extra sturdy and a perfect tool for all kinds of situations.
On the other hand, we didn’t really like the bottle opener – it’s not as functional as we hoped it would be. Also, this model cannot be exported out of the US, making it usable only on the territory of the United States, which is truly a shame.
Benchmade – 940-1 Knife, Reverse Tanto – High-Quality Knife
- Quality 98% 98%
- Design 90% 90%
- Blade 99% 99%
- Price 60% 60%
The blade of the 940-1 is a Tanto model manufactured from S90V steel. Without going too far into the specifics, we’ll just say that this steel is ultra-tough and provides above-average corrosion resistance. To put it simply, it’s the material we’d like to see on all other pocket knives. The big vanadium carbides ensure that this blade will hold a good working edge for a very long time. It is finished in Darkened Stonewash, which is something we’re used to with Benchmade and does a good job of hiding use. The handle of this knife is certainly one of its most striking features, as it is a beautiful combination of stunning materials and organic lines. The 940-1 addresses the comfort and the ergonomics with an excellent forward choil and the gimping on both the front and the back. This gives traction to your pointer finger and the thumb, ensuring that the knife won’t fall out of your hand.
The Axis lock of the 940-1 allows it to be easy to use with both your left and right hand. The deployment is achieved by operating the thumb studs, and the knife’s blade comes out really fast. During our testing period, the model showed impressive results in vegetable, cardboard, and rope tests, cutting everything with smoothness and ease. One of the greatest strengths of this knife is its capacity to continue to perform and stay sharp-looking at all times. What more could one want from a pocket knife?
We really liked the sharp blade of the 940-1, and its ability to deliver insane levels of performance. The handle, on the other hand, looks absolutely sleek and is certain to attract some attention. Efficient and beautiful, this pocket knife definitely deserves our big recommendation.
When it comes to disadvantages, we have to say that the Benchmade 940-1 is one really expensive knife and not a good choice for those with lower budgets. But, have one thing in mind – if it’s so pricey now, imagine how much it’ll be if the manufacturer decides to end production?
Case Mother-of-Pearl Mini Copperlock Knife – US Made Quality
- Quality 92% 92%
- Design 91% 91%
- Blade 94% 94%
- Price 86% 86%
One of the first things to notice about this knife is its size. Even though there’s a word “Mini” in its name, the knife is actually bigger than we imagined. It is over six inches long when opened, and weighs close to 60 grams (1.94oz). When it comes to design, we have only words of praise. No matter which color you select (and there are over twenty of them), your Case Mini Copperlock will look very attractive. Our “pearl” model certainly does. Its blade is made out of the surgical stainless steel (“Case Tru-Sharp™), which is high in carbon and helps the blade hold a sharp edge for a long time. It is also corrosion resistant, so you won’t have to worry when going to wet places during your hitchhiking adventures.
The handle looks very classy and feels great in hands. It offers an excellent grip, which is quite important if you’re an outdoor enthusiast. Both scales of this knife are evenly matched as far as its pattern goes – on some knives, they might look entirely different from one another, and we were never fans of that. The case makes the model look symmetrical and uniformed, which is great. After a week of testing, the knife remained sharp. The sharpening process is easily done – with just a few passes on a stone; the Copperlock’s edge will be razor sharp, just like when you first took it out of the box.
We are very pleased with this knife’s look and the performance. It’s one well-made piece of American cutlery, and something you’ll be able to depend on. It sports an elegant look that’s certain to attract attention, but it’s also sharp enough to help you with most of your daily tasks. Purchasing it can’t really turn out as a mistake!
The biggest downside of this pocket blade is definitely its price. It’s quite expensive, which is not surprising due to its high-quality build. Some users report that their specimens arrived with dull edges – the manufacturer surely deserves some criticism for that.
Highest Rated Pocket Knives
Case Orange Coral Peanut Knife – Perfect Quality
- Quality 92% 92%
- Design 99% 99%
- Blade 94% 94%
- Price 90% 90%
Of course, the “Orange Coral” is just the name of the color of the model we had on test. You can order this knife in one of 40 different colors. This choice is absolutely great if you like to have a certain amount of personalization when it comes to pocket knives. We have no complaints about the overall design of this knife, as it looks very similar to other models made by this company. The blade is made out of “Tru-Sharp™” surgical steel, which is pretty decent and quite suitable for a pocket knife. It holds an edge and is sharp enough for all sorts of everyday tasks.
There’s not much to talk about the handle. If you’re used to big models, it will take some time to get used to gripping the Peanut’s small handle. We advise you to use the three finger grip – it will provide you with the full control over the knife. The weight of two ounces makes this blade very convenient for everyday carry. There’s no locking mechanism here, but, since the knife is so small, we don’t find that really necessary.
As you can see, this tiny blade offers quite a lot for the price – it sports a fantastic design, a sharp blade, and an ergonomic handle. It’s an excellent choice for everyday cutting tasks.
Some users will probably find this knife to be too expensive for its size, as it is truly one of the tiniest on the market.
MTech USA Ballistic MT-A705 Knife – Excellent Multi-Functional Knife!
- Quality 92% 92%
- Design 89% 89%
- Blade 87% 87%
- Price 96% 96%
The MTech USA Ballistic MT-A705 is a spring-assisted model, which means that it allows easier deployment. You can even open it with only one hand! And once it’s open, the lock will be securely locked into place due to the implementation of the liner lock. The blade itself is sleek and shiny, measuring some 3.75 inches in length and being manufactured from stainless steel (always a plus in our book). It is also sharp enough for shaving, according to one of our readers. Meanwhile, the sides of its ergonomic handle are built from aluminum. The model is generally well-built and is a little bit heavier than it looks in the photos.
The MTech USA Ballistic MT-A705 comes with an attractive pocket clip (silver, made out of stainless steel). This ensures easy carrying wherever you decide to go. We should also mention some of its additional features – like the glass breaker, the screwdriver, and the bottle opener. All of these features make the MT-A705 a true multi-purpose EDC knife – it’s both practical and efficient.
In conclusion, we think that this knife offers a lot for the price. The gorgeous color combinations, a sharp blade, an ergonomic handle, and the useful extra features make the MT-A705 something worth considering for purchase. It’s hard to find something better for this price!
Unfortunately, the MT-A705 is quite prone to fingerprints and scratches. Its spring-assisted opening mechanism isn’t as good as on some other models we tested, but that’s simply the price of the knife’s low cost.
Grand Way Spring Assisted Knife – Great Style, Easy Opening
- Quality 93% 93%
- Design 96% 96%
- Blade 94% 94%
- Price 95% 95%
Coming at an affordable price, the Spring Assisted Knife features a sharp blade made out of 440C steel. The balanced composition of steel in the blade ensures long-term operation, as well as high durability and the resistance to rust. All of this is very important if you’re often going to outdoor adventures – you want a blade that won’t let you down in the most critical situations. The handle of the Spring Assisted Knife is equally well-made. It is very comfortable and feels great in hand. The coverings on the handle are manufactured from the aircraft-grade aluminum, and sport a black matt color, just like the blade.
The liner lock mechanism of this model is extremely reliable, as it is resistant to dirt. The included mechanical fuse prevents the unauthorized disclosure of the model. And, to open the knife, all you need to do is to apply some gentle pressure on its finlet – and the blade will pop-up immediately.
Made out of the finest steel and featuring a truly ergonomic handle, Spring Assisted Knife is yet another excellent model from Grand Way. Although it is not perfect, this blade offers a great value for the money, and we can do nothing else but recommend it.
In our case, the blade wasn’t sharp out of the box, and we had to do some sharpening before the testing. This isn’t such a big deal, but it still deserves criticism. Grand Way certainly shouldn’t ship dull knives if they want to stay on the top of the game.
Kershaw 1990X Brawler Knife – Great Value for Money
- Quality 91% 91%
- Design 96% 96%
- Blade 95% 95%
- Price 84% 84%
The overall length of this knife stands at 7 3/8 inches (4 1/8 inches when closed). It’s a lightweight model, as it weighs only 3.9 ounces, and you won’t even notice its presence in your pocket. The modified tanto blade (8Cr13MoV stainless steel) features a shape that’s often found in sharp tactical knives and has an extra thick tip. This gives it the necessary strength when puncturing sturdy materials, while the straight belly provides greater cutting capacity. The angled handle is made out of glass-filled nylon and fits very nicely in hand. The textured surface makes it more secure, especially in case of wet hands.
The blade of the Kershaw 1990X Brawler opens with the thumb, but you can also pull it out with your thumb and the forefinger. Pressing the thumb stud will cause the blade to pop up with lightning-quick speed, and that’s always a big plus in our book. During our testing period, the 1990X cut through plastic bottles and cardboard boxes with incredible ease. We’ve also tried it on the pierced fertilizer bags and burlap, and the performance was excellent.
This affordable and sturdy model is an indispensable EDC item for both your house and the yard. It’s also an excellent choice for outdoor adventures, like fishing trips, and certainly deserves our recommendation.
Some buyers report that their Kershaw’s arrived misaligned, with blades scratching the handles when opening/closing the knife. Our model did not have this issue.
Kershaw Link Tanto Folding Knife – Excellent Tactical Pocket Knife
- Quality 99% 99%
- Design 97% 97%
- Blade 99% 99%
- Price 81% 81%
The blade of this knife is a drop-point model manufactured from 420HC stainless steel and has higher amounts of chromium and carbon. This makes cutting through the various materials a lot easier, and it also makes the blade more corrosion-resistant. The blade is covered with Kershaw’s BlackWash finish, which gives it a truly stunning look. The handle, on the other hand, is made out of machined aluminum and sports a beautiful anodized dark gray look. It has well-eased bevel edges which add extra comfort and make handling the knife a lot more convenient. For people with medium-sized hands, this knife will be perfect – it will provide them with a secure hold during the cutting operations.
Springing the flipper starts the SpeedSafe mechanism which, in turn, gives a swift open. However, it takes some time to get used to this flipper, as it’s a bit firmer than we’ve expected. This also has a good side – there is no chance you’ll accidentally open the knife. If you’re a left-handed person, you’ll be pleased to know that this knife features a reversible pocket clip.
This American-made model is, in our opinion, an excellent choice for your first tactical knife. It holds an edge very-well and sports a high-quality construction that guarantees longevity. It also provides a very secure hold, so you won’t have to worry about accidental cuts.
When you get it out of the box, you will notice that this knife’s blade isn’t particularly sharp, which means that it requires some immediate sharpening or you won’t be able to use it properly.
Pocket EDC Knives – Quick Comparison
These were the best pocket knives that the money can buy today, with all of their features, advantages, and flaws. See how they compare and easily find one that suits your needs – having a quality pocket knife is very useful for all kinds of daily situations.
|TAC FORCE TF-705 SERIES||Best Budget Knife||4.7/5||Fetch Best Price|
|BENCHMADE – 940-1 KNIFE, REVERSE TANTO||High-Quality Knife||4.9/5||Fetch Best Price|
|CASE MOTHER OF PEARL MINI COPPERLOCK||US Made Quality||4.8/5||Fetch Best Price|
|CASE ORANGE CORAL PEANUT||Perfect Quality||4.4/5||Fetch Best Price|
|MTECH USA BALLISTIC MT-A705||Excellent Multi-Functional Knife!||4.1/5||Fetch Best Price|
|GRAND WAY SPRING ASSISTED KNIFE||Great Style, Easy Opening||4.3/5||Fetch Best Price|
|KERSHAW 1990X BRAWLER||Great Value for Money||4.0/5||Fetch Best Price|
|KERSHAW LINK TANTO FOLDING||Excellent Tactical Pocket Knife||4.5/5||Fetch Best Price|
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Pocket Knife
Why should I carry one?
Even though carrying a pocket knife isn’t crucial to one’s safety anymore, people who enjoy outdoor adventures certainly know how to use one when they’re starting a fire, preparing food, or hunting. A simple model makes all the difference in such situations, especially in emergency conditions. They can also be very helpful if you have a big yard which always requires some sort of fixing. This general-purpose tool is one of the most useful things you could carry in your pocket.
The handles come in all sorts of shapes, and it’s up to you to choose one that you like the most. When it comes to material, however, it would be wise to select an aluminum or titanium-made handle, both of which are highly durable and perfect for outdoor activities.
But the most durable types of knife handles are the Zytel ones – they’re next to unbreakable. Of course, this feature also makes them really expensive.
When it comes to pocket knives, every type of a blade serves a different purpose, which is one of many points to consider when purchasing one. One of your first major decisions will be between buying a straight-edge or a serrated edge blade. The straight edge blades excel at clean cuts, while the serrated ones are better at sawing things. Those who want both types can purchase a knife with a partially-serrated blade.
Beyond this, there are also many different shapes and sizes to choose from. Let’s see the five most common ones:
- Drop point – this blade is curved on both sides – one is flat, and the other sharp. The pointed end makes it a must-have choice for the hunters.
- Clip point – this one, on the other hand, comes with a cupped edge on the side and a fine tip, and is considered to be an excellent everyday tool. However, this tip can be quite fragile sometimes, and the excessive force can damage it easily.
- Needle point – a needle point blade, as the name suggests, comes to a small (but very sharp) point. They’re not so common but can still be used for a variety of purposes.
- Hawk-bill – hawk-bill blade is, of course, very similar to a bill of the hawk. It’s always good to have one with yourself in case your other blades fail.
- Pen knife – this one is small and easy to control, making it perfect for smaller tasks.
Blades are often made from carbon steel or stainless steel. The stainless steel knives are less durable than the carbon ones, but the carbon steel blades are also more prone to rust. Choose a carbon steel knife only if you expect heavy-use situations, but otherwise, a stainless steel knife will be good enough for everyday use.
The Opening Mechanism
There are three most common types of pocket knives opening mechanisms – automatic, assisted-opening, and manual. In our opinion, the assisted-opening mechanism is the best one – it’s an excellent choice for those that require fast access to a blade, like hunters and survivalists.
Whether you want to peel an apple or skin a bear, a pocket knife will be there to make the task easier. Take the above-mentioned points into consideration during a purchase, and you’ll end up with a model that will serve you for years!
Knives have been around for thousands of years – they are the necessary tools used by all humanity throughout the history. The first cavemen used sharp tools to cut meat and for the defense against beasts and other humans. As the time went by, people managed to devise pocket knives with folding mechanisms that could be carried safely. Many different types were created, addressing different needs – from the simple single-blade knives to multi-blade models that come with additional tools. They are still incredibly practical, especially if you like to camp or hunt. Today, an outdoor enthusiast has a choice of hundreds of different models, made out of different materials and coming in all shapes and sizes.
And that is exactly why selecting your first pocket knife can be so hard. Many of them come with very similar features, and that makes the ultimate decision even more challenging. By reading our reviews and articles, choosing the best pocket knife will be much easier – we can guarantee you that. In our opinion, the best pocket knife currently on the market is the Benchmade 940-1, which looks absolutely sleek and offers insane levels of performance. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something cheaper, we recommend the TAC Force TF-705. It’s one of the best budget models we’ve tested yet!