What is EDC? EDC or “Every Day Carry” means the stuff you carry with you every day. Naturally, an EDC knife is a knife that you carry with you every day. These EDC knives aren’t primarily designed to be used as weapons, instead they are meant to help out with common tasks like opening mail, preparing food, breaking down boxes and handling all the other chores of every day life.
If you got here by typing something like “best EDC knife” into Google, you probably already have a little history with knives. Likely, you already have at least some indication of what you do and do not like in a knife, owning at least a few yourself already. But chances are, you are also looking to see what others think on the topic of the best EDC knife as well. In all probability, you’re looking to see:
- What production knives are the most popular,
- What other knife users would recommend, and
- If you’ve missed noticing any knives you really would’ve liked if you only known about them to begin with.
- Well if that’s why you’re here, you’re in luck. We’re here to remedy all three of these problems in this one (admittedly quite long) article!
Frankly, I’ve seen so many spammy articles on the “Best Everyday Carry Knife”, “Best Pocket Knife”, “Best Survival Knife“, “Best Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife“, “Cold Steel SRK San Mai III” topic around the net that I thought I’d throw my own experience into the mix to set the story straight at least a little.
One the best EDC items to carry is a pocket knife. Making fire and having a pocket knife are 2 items I consider the most important when I’m putting together an EDC gear list. Of course there are other items to include like a flash light for example. But this isn’t an article about all that.
However, if for some unknown reason I find myself on my own in the wilderness, I know with my essential EDC items I can handle most situations.
I’m sounding dramatic now, an EDC pocket knife 99% of the time is going to be used for normal everyday situations, like opening a letter, or cutting up an apple.
Not having to track down a knife to complete these mundane tasks not only saves you time, but also saves you from unnecessary frustrations when you can’t quickly find one.
Recommended Best EDC Pocket Knives
Without further ado, here is a list of our favorite EDC folding knives available today in order of price range:
Benchmade 940 Osborne
I’ve featured the 940 is some of my other articles, mainly because I like this knife so much. I use this knife while I’m out hunting and as my personal EDC knife because it just gets the job done.
It’s blade is made from S30V stainless steel, which is an American-made premium grade steel. For an EDC knife the S30V offers excellent corrosion resistance, which is a nice benefit if you use your knife in any kind of wet conditions.
The reversible pocket clip allows me to carry tip-up which is my prefered carry, the AXIS locking mechanism is super strong and very easy to use. With the ambidextrous thumb studs I can quickly open with either left or right hand.
It’s lightweight design is also a major turn on, at only 2.9 ounces I can put this in my pocket and basically never know it’s there.
The aluminum anodized handle is very small and thin, yet it’s long enough at around 4.5 inches that it feels comfortable in even larger hands. Its just the perfect usable size and very comfortable, didn’t I mention that already?
This blue class pocket knife from Benchmade is the quintessential EDC pocket knife, I highly recommend you give this one a try if you haven’t had the pleasure of doing so yet.
It’s only downside I can think of, it is an expensive knife. If you have tendency to misplace or lose knives, this one may not be the best EDC choice for you. I know if I were to lose mine, it would hurt my heart.
An even lighter option, the Spyderco Delica 4. Weighing in at a measly 2.3 ounces, the Spyderco Delica 4 is one of the best selling Spyderco knives they make. Why? Because its the perfect size for an EDC. The blade is under 3 inches and its overall length is a touch over 7 inches.
This combination makes it easy to carry, hardly even noticeable in your pocket and with the 4 way pocket clip you can carry left or right handed with tip-up or tip-down options.
The FRN handle material and the skeletonized liners are the source of its lightness. However, do not misinterpret the lightweight design features as being a compromise of strength. FRN is a highly durable handle material, and with the Bi-directional texturing molded into the handle there is plenty of traction to boot.
The blade is a full flat-ground VG-10 stainless steel, its high carbon count makes this blade steel very corrosion resistant, which is an excellent quality in any EDC knife.
If I’m being honest with myself, VG-10 is probably one of my favorite blade steels that isn’t considered a premium grade. I’ve surprised myself with just how sharp I can a get VG-10 blade. With a little work you can get a hair-popping edge back on this blade in no time at all.
While I may opt to carry the Benchmade 940, the Spyderco Delica 4 is no slouch in the EDC knife world and is a much less expensive option if you are on a budget. You can buy the Spyderco Delica 4 at Amazon.com for around $60 dollars.
The original Kershaw Cryo has been a popular low-priced EDC option for many years now. Still, it had some shortcomings in being a little too heavy and not grippy enough. Well, Kershaw listened and introduced the Cryo G-10 which is grippier and lighter! Like the similarly priced Spyderco Tenacious (see below) it uses 8Cr13MoV stainless steel which is an affordable Chinese made steel similar to but harder than the popular AUS-8. The stonewash blade is only two and three quarter inches long and the knife weighs in at about 3.7 ounces.
Overall the knife is solid and sturdy with it’s well performing frame-lock and it oozes plenty of cool. Without doubt it’s a nice looking knife. With the inclusion of the SpeedSafe fast deployment technology and pocket clip this sure is one heck of a pocket knife for the money. A great choice for those on a budget.
We’re big fans of Spyderco here at Best Pocket Knife Today and the Tenacious is a terrific little performer at the lower end of the budget scale. It carries 8Cr13MoV steel like the Kershaw Cryo but has a very different look and feel. The blade is leaf-shaped and immensely sharp right out of the box as we tend to expect from Spyderco’s these days. I did a video review of this bad boy to show you it up close and personal.
Ergonomics are top notch and it almost feels like an extension of your hand as you slice through the day’s tasks. We also like the four-way pocket clip that can be installed up or down on either side. Now lets face it, neither this nor the Cryo will outperform most of the $50+ knives listed on this site and they won’t even come close to the $100+ knives. Still, if you only have $30 or $40 to spend then these are super choices.
Okay now we’re headed into premium territory and the Zero Tolerance 0350 is an outstanding performer for those with a little more money to spend. The size of this knife is similar to the Spyderco Manix 2 and it even weighs a little more but we wouldn’t let than put you off. This baby has high-end S30V stainless steel which is insanely sharp and a G-10 handle with rough texturing to aid grip. It’s built more solidly than most other knives we know yet looks sexy enough to flirt with your wife.
The ZT 0350’s liner lock contains more steel than most knives use in the entire frame and the locking mechanism is tighter than a pitbull’s bite. Again, it is bulky and some will try to convince you this is not an EDC knife. Sure, it’s not for carrying in your swim trunks but we believe this is a great EDC for those who want solid everyday performance from a knife that won’t start crying when put to the heavy duty test.
The Gerber Ripstop may not be the most durable or heavy-duty knife, but it’s impressive for its budget-friendly price. The Ripstop comes in a couple of varieties, including the original Ripstop with a fine edge and a serrated edge, or the Ripstop II with a serrated edge. In every case, the body of the blade is solid stainless steel, and the original Ripstop features a 2.3” blade while the Ripstop II increases it to a full 3”. All models are folding clip knives with a lightweight steel web handle, with fewer places for the folding mechanism to get gunked up with lint, dirt, or anything else. It’s not an assisted-open knife, and all models have dual-sided thumbstuds that make opening in either hand easy. The frame lock keeps the blade open when you’re using it, and closing it is a one-handed maneuver as well. It’s a simple, affordable knife that strives to be a bang-for-the-buck blade, as opposed to a heavy-duty, do-anything model. If you want one, the Ripstop I is a mere $10 at Amazon, and the serrated version is the same price. The Ripstop II however is a little more, a whopping $13 at Amazon.
Those of you who nominated the Ripstop and the Ripstop II all said similar things: The knife is amazing for the money. It won’t outperform other models that are made with better steel, higher quality materials, or a thicker blade, but for ten bucks, you really can’t go wrong, especially if you wind up losing it, breaking it, or just need a knife to open boxes and packages around the home or office. It’s small enough to be inoffensive, and cheap enough to be replaced easily if someone walks off with yours after borrowing it. Many of you said that you own one or two, even if it’s not your EDC, for the sheer utility of having a more affordable knife you use for day-to-day things that would dull your preferred blade. Many of you called out Gerber specifically for their choice of steel, a comment we heard when we highlighted the Gerber Shard all-purpose tool not too long ago. Either way, read more in its nomination thread here.
Finally, you have saved all your pennies for the ultimate EDC that will make your friends green with envy – may we present the Spyderco Paramilitary 2. Check out my detailed review here. Once again, Spyderco produces great pocket knives and this is one of their finest. Even though the PM2 tends to go for a bit less than the 940 Osborne, it’s often out of stock so you have to be patient. Still, the value for money is excellent as the Paramilitary 2 checks all the boxes you want for only half the price of some “premium” knives out there.
It has everything to make us happy, premium S30V steel, G-10 handle and US-made. We’ve honestly never seen blades so sharp out of the factory like this before. I could literally perform heart surgery with it. Interestingly, the Paramilitary 2 features a compression lock which many may doubt but it actually works amazingly well. Never a hint of blade play. Supreme ergonomics as we expect from Spyderco and the overall fit and finish is second to none. Unlike many other premium pocket knives, this pocket knife is made for real world use for those who really value a good knife.
- The Blade
The blade of any knife is the heart of what makes a quality knife. Having a knife that’s razor sharp is crucial. What the blade is made off, how often it needs to be sharpened, and how it reacts under various conditions are important considerations when choosing a knife. Most blades are made of either stainless steel or carbon steel. Carbon steel tends to stay sharper longer than stainless steel. Stainless steel, however, is known for its durability, strength, and rust resistance.
There are more detailed aspects of the blade you need to consider when picking the best knife. Strength is how well the blade can hold up without deformity under pressure and strain. How tough the blade is will be determined by its ability to resist cracking and chipping. Rust resistance is how well the blade will resist corrosion caused by the elements. Edge retention is also extremely important. Initial sharpness is important as well, but how often you’ll need to sharpen the blade should be a consideration.
Finally, you’ll have to decide if you want a plain or serrated edge. Some blades are partially serrated. What type of edge you’ll want depends on what you’ll primarily be using the knife for. A completely straight or curved edge is best for pushing types of cuts such as skinning an animal. It would also be useful for scraping and work that involved detailed precision. A serrated knife would be best for slicing through wood, leather, or rope. A partially serrated knife is a combination of both and usually has the serrated section near the handle with the smooth part of the blade at the end of the knife.
- The Handle
After the blade, the handle is probably the most important aspect of the pocket knife. There are different types of materials to consider. There are handles made of fiberglass, titanium, and zytel. Handles are sometimes made of bone or wood, but these are usually found on knives that collectors would have. Rubber offers a sturdy grip but obviously won’t last as long as other types of material. The handle should be constructed in such a way so that it doesn’t absorb moisture. The locking mechanism on a pocket knife must work flawlessly every time it’s used or the knife is useless at best, and even dangerous. Choosing a handle with glass breaking abilities at the end are also an option.
- The Design
Ergonomics, which is basically how comfortable a knife feels when you’re holding it, is an important aspect of the knife. In some ways, this is perhaps the most important part of choosing a knife. Even a high quality knife can be useless if it feels awkward and is difficult to manipulate. Little things like the type and style of the pocket clip can make a big difference as well. Some knife owners may want a clip that will allow the knife to stay low in the pocket. There’s less chance that it will fall out or draw attention to itself. A good locking mechanism is also important so the blade won’t clamp down on your hand while you’re using it.
- The Size
Pocket knives obviously can come in all different sizes and what size is best will depend on the individual and the primary reasons he or she is purchasing the knife. In general, blade sizes on average sized pocket knives will fall in the range of 2.5 inches to 3.8 inches. Larger blades for a pocket knife are unusual. Blades smaller than 2.5 can be found and are often used as simple utility knives. It should be noted that blade length laws vary from state to state.
Since there are so many pocket knives and each have their own unique features it can be overwhelming when trying to choose the best one. It often comes down to individual preference and needs. The following, however, are three great knives with several versatile features.