The Best EDC Knives

What are the best EDC knives?

Every day carry (EDC) knives are versatile tools that many people use on a daily basis. Whether for opening up packages or as a method of self-protection, carrying a knife has many benefits.

When it comes to self-protection, many stores prohibit the carrying of a firearm, so an everyday carry knife is a good supplement in these instances. The best EDC knives serve a variety of needs in your daily routine and can tackle most jobs without fail.

EDC knives are commonly referred to as pocket knives, as they fit securely in your pocket with either a foldable structure or clip. Most people use smaller knives (under 5″) or folding knives as everyday carry knives. Full size fixed blade knives are harder to conceal and carry, so while they’re suitable for everyday use they may not make an ideal EDC knife.

You won’t see any fixed blade knives mentioned in this list. We’re firm believers that a great EDC knife is one that you can easily conceal and use in a moment’s notice. Whether this means it has a liner locking system, assisted opening system, or accessible thumb studs, it needs to be easy to get your knife open and closed quickly.

These knives suit multiple budgets and are all high-quality folding knives. Additionally, we have included knives that are made of a variety of steel so you can choose the material that suits your needs or preferences.

When reading through our reviews, keep in mind that stainless steel and aluminum knives typically work well for EDC knives, as most people aren’t particularly hard on these blades. However, if you need a knife for on-the-job use, it may be best to look for a carbon fiber or a titanium blade.

Best Overall:

Kershaw Cryo II BlackWash Pocket Knife (1556BW), 3.25” 8Cr13MoV Stainless Steel Blade; 410...
  • Stealthy BlackWash finish on blade provides extra protection, helping hide scratches, scuffs and...
  • 3.25” high-performance 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade features excellent toughness, edge retention...
  • Stainless steel handle features SpeedSafe assisted opening with flipper, secure frame lock, lockbar...

Kershaw is one of the most popular knife companies around today. Their knives are typically very affordable as most of their line is made of stainless steel, which is both strong and holds an edge well.

The Kershaw Cryo II in particular has a stainless steel blade and handle. This knife tops the list because of its mix of affordability and durability, which can be a common trade-off with everyday carry knives.

The Cryo II is rugged and strong, designed for those who love the outdoors and who need a knife to carry along during their adventures and use for any number of cutting tasks – from cutting rope to opening packages and using in wet, moist conditions.

The features of this knife are very impressive for the price point as well. This knife has an excellent grip with a slot for one finger just below the base of the blade. It also has a pocket clip for easy transport.

The Kershaw Cryo II is a great example of how you don‘t need to spend a few hundred dollars on an EDC knife to get a quality carry blade.

Pros

  • This knife features an assisted opening thumb stud so you can open the knife smoothly and quickly.
  • The blade on the Cryo II is 3.25 inches. This is a great length for efficient use, but also perfect for everyday carrying.
  • This knife has a lock bar locking mechanism that is easy to push to the side, which enables you to open the knife easily.

Cons

  • Those who are hard on their knives may find that this knife doesn’t hold up as well as others. It is best as an EDC knife, rather than a knife for work.
  • The blade of this knife is on the larger side, so if you are looking to purchase an EDC knife with a small blade, this is not the best option for you.

Runner-Up:

Sale
Benchmade - Mini Griptilian 556-S30V Knife Made in USA with CPM-S30V Steel, Drop-Point Blade, Plain...
  • BUILT TO PERFORM: Simplicity meets unmatched function, no matter the application; Ideal for pretty...
  • AMERICAN MADE 154CM STAINLESS STEEL: For first-rate edge retention and corrosion resistance;...
  • THE GRIVORY HANDLE: Is fully ambidextrous, has a textured grip, and is molded from glass-filled...

Benchmade has a patent on the axis locking mechanism, which is one of our favorite locking systems thanks to it’s stability and ease of use. Our current favorite EDC knife from Benchmade is the Mini Griptillion 556.

The Mini Griptilian 556 is made from stainless steel, which is why it is on the more affordable end of the price spectrum.

The blade of this knife is even smaller than the Kershaw Cryo II, at 2.91 inches. When closed, this knife is only 3.87 inches long, making it perfect to carry around on an everyday basis. You can also get the Mini Griptilian with a serrated or combo blade, so you have every option available to get exactly the right blade for your purposes.

Pros

  • This knife’s deployment method is ambidextrous, which is great if you are tired of right-handed assisted opening knives.
  • Benchmade prides themselves on having extremely sharp blades that you won’t have to sharpen frequently. If you are needing a sharp and sturdy knife, this is the perfect option for you.
  • The Benchmade Mini Griptilian has an excellent grip with a finger slot and textured handle to ensure you never lose grip of your knife.

Cons

  • The blade is on the smaller end of the spectrum, which can be a problem if you need a long knife for work or outdoor activities.
  • The axis locking mechanism may be a little awkward initially, but it does get easier over time.
  • Pricey compared to other options.

Also Great:

Sale
SOG TWI12-CP Twitch II 6.20 Inch EDC Pocket Knife
  • DAILY CARRY POCKET KNIVES: The Twitch II EDC pocket knife is a distinguished everyday carry folding...
  • ONE-HAND OPEN FLIPPER KNIFE: SOG Twitch II features SOG’s Assisted Tech for quick open action;...
  • SLEEK GENTLEMANS KNIFE WITH DURABLE HANDLE: Black pocket knife is designed with a machined aluminum...

SOG is a very popular sports and outdoors brand, selling a variety of tools and equipment. They make excellent gear, the SOG TWI12-CP Twitch II included.

This knife has a 2.65-inch blade, making it 3.55 inches long when closed. The clip is very slim and holds the knife close to the body, making it easy to conceal and transport easily.

These knives have aluminum handles along with drop point blades, making this knife highly attractive and easy to use. Its assisted opening enables you to open your knife with just a simple flick, which is great if you are in a situation where you have one hand to open your knife.

Pros

  • This knife looks amazing. It’s rugged, sleek, and it looks incredibly high quality.
  • SOG’s items are very affordable, this knife included.
  • Overall, this knife is well built and durable. It will last you for a very long time if you are a moderate knife user.

Cons

  • The grips on this knife could be better, as it doesn’t have a distinct finger grip.
  • The assisted opening takes a while to loosen up. Our testers also report some knives don’t open as quickly as others, which can be a problem later.

Best Large EDC Knife:

Cold Steel Recon 1 Series Tactical Folding Knife with Tri-Ad Lock and Pocket Clip - Made with...
  • GREAT FOR THE TOUGHEST JOBS: The Recon 1 is a popular knife with Military and Law Enforcement...
  • PREMIUM STEEL: Features exceptional CPM-S35VN steel, which is very tough and durable, highly...
  • COMFORTABLE, SECURE GRIP: Tough and durable G-10 handle material provides a secure and comfortable...

Cold Steel is known for durable products. Made of stainless steel, the Cold Steel Recon 1 knife is solid and engineered to take a beating.

It has Cold Steel’s patented tri-ad locking system, which is similar to other folding knives, except it uses a stop pin. The idea behind the tri-ad system is that it redistributes the pressure so the knife blade more evenly, making it safer and easier to use.

The blade is four inches long, which is on the bigger side for an EDC knife, and contributes to an overall fully opened length of 9.3 inches. While it’s definitely a longer EDC knife it offers multiple finger slots for increased control as well as a clip to make it easy to carry.

The Recon 1 is designed for tougher jobs like on-the-job use or for those who are tough on their knives.

Pros

  • Cold Steel has some of the best knife grips available on the market. This knife by far has the best grips on this list with two finger slots and a textured handle.
  • This knife is very affordable for what you get. It is hard to find high-quality EDC knives for such a great price.

Cons

  • The knife’s finish does have a tendency to flake off over time, which is strictly a cosmetic issue. Considering it’s made of stainless steel, there shouldn’t be an issue with rust.
  • You will need to learn a new locking mechanism if you purchase this knife, which can be a pain.

Honorable Mention:

Spyderco Military Model Signature USA-Made Folding Knife with 4" CPM S30V Stainless Steel Blade and...
  • ICONIC DESIGN - Originally created to meet the demanding needs of forward-deployed military...
  • SUPERIOR BLADE STEEL - Since the steel is the spirit of the knife, CPM S30V seemed the logical...
  • LIGHT AND DURABLE - The Military Model is modified with a clip-point profile and a full-flat grind...

Perhaps the most unique knife on this list is the Spyderco Military Model Signature.

This knife uses a thumb loop opening, which is yet another blade style, but that’s certainly not a bad thing. The blade is four inches long and the overall knife is 5.52 inches when closed. This is larger than both the Griptillion and Cryo II, but given Spyderco’s reputation for quality, this knife is worth it if you don’t mind the size or the price tag.

This knife looks great with its tactical appearance and rugged finish. It is also water-resistant, which is great if you plan on using this knife in the outdoors. The blade is sharp right out of the box, which can be hard to find with pocket knives.

Pros

  • This is a high-quality knife with top of the line steel.
  • Spyderco makes excellent knives that are extremely durable.
  • The blade comes perfectly sharp right out of the box, which is always convenient.

Cons

  • This is by far the most expensive knife on this list and will not be affordable for all budgets.
  • The Military Model Signature is a very large knife, which will not be a con to everyone.

How to choose the best EDC knife for you

Perhaps you are already considering a knife not include on this list. This is certainly likely, as there are, quietly literally, thousands of great EDC knives available on the market at a huge array of price points.

EDC blades are extremely popular thanks to their versatility. Also, let’s be honest, how doesn’t love a new, sharp, shiny blade in their pocket? Take a look at the suggestions below for what to look for in an everyday carry knife to ensure your new blade is reliable and durable – regardless of the make.

Materials

The best EDC knives can be used for several different purposes without the fear of them breaking, or getting dull overly quickly.

This is why many knives are made with a stainless steel blade or carbon fiber to ensure strength and durability. Your knife should last for years, depending on how you use it and how frequently it’s used.

No one wants to repurchase a new knife every few months, so avoid more fragile metals. You’ll save money in the long run and get a knife made of a quality metal if you look for blades made from titanium, carbon fiber, aluminum, or stainless steel.

Blade material certainly influences the overall cost of the knife. Higher-end knives are usually made with titanium, while EDC knives are frequently made with stainless steel or aluminum handles and blades.

However, this is not to say that stainless steel or aluminum cannot handle tasks such as opening boxes or even self-defense. It just means these knives are designed for everyday use, and may wear down more quickly than carbon fiber or titanium.

Knife size

The size of your pocket knife is an incredibly important consideration. Folding knives are typically preferred for EDC knives, as they fit in your pocket and are discreet.

Other knives, such as fixed blade knives, are often too large to discreetly and comfortably carry. They often have a blade length of at least seven inches, which is much longer than a typical pant pocket, so you may be stuck using a belt sheath. If you choose a relatively small knife it will give you the best mix of capability and ease-of-carry.

We recommend a folding knife with a blade length of no longer than five inches. This will ensure that no matter your pocket size, you will be able to comfortably carry your knife and not worry about its ability to open boxes or cut rope.

Folding knives are often the smallest knives, which is why we recommend this type of knife orientation. Not to mention, folding knives are easier to get open and closed than other knives when you need to open them quickly.

Grip design

A commonly overlooked aspect of the best EDC knives is their grip. There are many options for grips and many people consider them a deal-breaker for knife features.

The way you grip your knife determines how secure the knife is in your hand. Good grips mean preventing accidents or losing hold of your knife when you need it. Grip design is incredibly valuable, so don’t overlook finger slots, high-friction textures, and material when selecting your next EDC knife.  

Many high-end pocket knife grips are made with antlers, scales, or engraved wood. The top of the line knives with these materials will have some sort of grip, but many do not. Antlers and wood, specifically, can be very hard to grip, and even slippery if your hands are wet. So, we suggest getting an EDC knife that has texture to offer a stable grip regardless of the situation. 

The locking system

The best knife locking system is heavily debated amongst knife enthusiasts. There are a number of different locking systems to choose from, and the best of them is highly subjective.

Benchmade’s axis lock is their patented system. This locking system features thumb studs which help you move the blade into the open position, in which the spring locks into place. With an axis lock, you must pull back the spring to unlock it, which prevents accidents by requiring 2 fingers.

A common locking system is the liner lock mechanism. This is a very common locking mechanism on folding knives specifically, and you will see it in our selections. With a liner lock, you must push a side-spring to the side, which is both easy-to-use and can be opened and closed with one hand without repositioning the knife in the hand. These kinds of locks are self-adjusting for wear.

Another locking system you may see is a compression lock mechanism. This is exclusive to Spyderco as they have it patented. Similarly to the liner lock system, the compression system also uses a linear spring to unlock the blade. The compression lock, however, springs to the side and gets wedged between the anvil pin and blade tang.

Whichever locking system you choose is entirely up to you. Typically, people choose the locking system of their first knife, as this feels more instinctual. But, if you have tried a friend or family member’s knife before and you prefer their locking system, you can always get used to a new one.

With that being said, some practice with a new locking system will make perfect, so don’t completely write off a knife with an unfamiliar locking system.

Conclusion

Overall, we think the Cold Steel Recon 1 is the best EDC knife for most people. This knife offers a fantastic mix of price and quality. It has a great locking system, superior grips, and is everything you could ask for in an EDC knife.

The Spyderco Military Model Signature is also a great choice if you prefer their locking system or design. 

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MICHAEL CRITES is el jefe around here. He writes about guns and gear.

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