If you are looking for the best pocket knife, you are in luck. There are tons of great options out there to choose from.
However, because there are so many options, searching for a pocket knife can be an overwhelming experience.
There are multiple different factors to consider and it's hard to know which ones really matter.
That's why I did tons of research to find the absolute best options out there.
Not only did I look at features, but I also looked at what is the most popular, highest rated, and top quality.
Putting all of those factors together, price carried a lot of weight in these rankings.
Let's face it, the majority of us work hard for our dollars, so we want the best bang for the buck when it comes to knives.
The result was this list that ranks the top pocket knives available on the market.
If you are just looking for the highest quality and most expensive knives out there, you won't find them in this list. We define best as the balance of all factors, including price.
The intent of this guide is to help you make an informed buying decision and find your perfect knife. Read on to see which knives made the list.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, where I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Best Pocket Knife - Top 10 Table
Although we have many knives that we cover here in this article, let's look at which ones made the top 10 first.
Blade Length (inches)
Before we get into the details though, we will cover some of the most basic parts and tell you what to look for in a high-quality pocket knife.
The parts of the knife include the blade, the opening mechanisms, the locking mechanisms, the handle, and carrying features.
Several blade options are available such as different blade styles, blade edges, and steel types. Some of the most common blade styles for pocket knives are drop point, tanto, and clip point.
The drop point blade has a point that is not as sharp as others but offers plenty of slicing strength.
The tanto point is extremely strong but is not as good for slicing.
The clip point has the sharpest point but lacks pure strength.
Pocket knife blade edges are commonly available in either plain edge, serrated edge, or half and half.
Serrations provide more sawing power but make the knife significantly more difficult to sharpen. Speaking of sharpening, make sure that you have a great pocket knife sharpener.
One of the most confusing parts of the blade is the steel type. Depending on the manufacturer, literally hundreds of steels are available.
As a general rule of thumb, more expensive knives have higher quality steels. Some brands are naturally more expensive than others.
When considering the steel type, check out our steel type comparison review. Something to keep in mind is that harder steels hold an edge longer but will be much more difficult to sharpen.
Also, if you do a lot of heavy duty work, consider getting a dedicated cutter for the job. A great utility knife not only makes work easier, but it will also spare your EDC knife.
Opening mechanisms refer to what you use to open the knife. Many knives have thumbstuds. There are other opening mechanisms available, such as the opening hole in Spyderco knives.
Some knives also have an assisted opening feature.
The main thing to keep in mind when shopping is how easy it will be to open the knife one-handed and if that is important to you.
One other thing to think about is how long you plan to keep the knife.
Assisted opening mechanisms wear out or break over time.
The locking mechanism is an important knife part. It locks the blade in place once it is opened.
A high quality locking mechanism prevents the blade from wiggling back and forth and increases cutting power.
The most basic locking mechanism is the liner lock, which has a split liner in the handle. When the blade is opened, half of the liner snaps into place and keeps the blade open.
Higher quality knives come with higher quality locking mechanisms.
When looking at the knife’s handle, grip and safety are the main concerns. Added texture in the handle material and jimping along the handle create more grip.
Jimping refers to notches cut into the steel that provide more surface area for grip. More grip allows for more cutting power.
When considering safety, we look at the shape of the handle. A safe handle will have a deep indentation for your index finger.
This prevents your hand from slipping down the edge of the blade in case your blade catches something you are cutting. Some higher quality handle materials reduce the knife’s weight and resist wear and tear.
Finally, if you are planning on carrying the knife, consider the weight, length, pocket clip, and shape of the handle. If you plan to carry the knife in your pocket all day, a lighter knife will be much more comfortable.
If you are planning on attaching it to a backpack, the weight may not be as important.
If you are planning on carrying it in your pocket, a multi-position pocket clip is another desirable feature. This allows you to carry the knife however you prefer.
When considering the shape, make sure there are no sharp edges that can catch on your pocket when you try to take it out.
The Leek is an extremely sleek looking knife at an affordable cost.
It has a stainless steel handle and blade.
The unique blade features a modified drop point shape which allows for slicing power with added detail abilities thanks to its sharp tip.
The size and weight make it great for everyday carry.
The biggest pros of this knife are how easy it is to open, the high quality steel, and its handle. With all of its features, the Leek could be considered the best pocket knife in the world.
To open the blade, just push the flipper. Let Kershaw’s SpeedSafe assisted opening technology do the rest of the work for you.
The only con is that the pocket clip is not reversible.
This Cryo is similar to the Leek.
It has a sleek look with a matte gray titanium coating over the stainless steel.
However, the Cryo is more affordable than the Leek.
It is small for carrying and has a more traditional drop point style blade.
The pros of this knife are the same flipper and SpeedSafe assisted opening pairing, a four-position pocket clip, and a handle shaped for safety and added grip strength.
The biggest con of this knife is that the blade is not as high quality as the Leek.
Up next is the Tenacious, another excellent carrying knife.
This knife has rigid steel liners to give more cutting strength to its leaf-shaped blade.
The slightly larger size allows for more cutting strength.
Spyderco’s patented opening hole makes the blade extremely easy to open. It is priced similar to the above knives.
The pros of this knife are the opening hole, the number of options available, a four-position pocket clip, and its size. As far as options go, you can get this knife with multiple blade edges and colors.
The cons of this knife are the linerlock locking mechanism which is not the highest quality locking mechanism available.
The Blur has a unique blade that is very similar to the blade of the Leek.
It has a slight recurve and a sharp point that gives it excellent piercing and slicing abilities.
Similar to the Leek, it has a high-quality steel blade and is almost the exact same size.
It also features SpeedSafe assisted opening, but with thumbstuds instead of a flipper.
The biggest pros of the knife are the blade, the improved handle with grip, and the reversible pocket clip.
The cons are the linerlock and it's slightly more expensive.
The Skyline is one of the smallest and thinnest knives on our list.
For the average person, these are awesome features.
If you have a tougher use for a knife, you are going to want to look elsewhere.
The blade is a drop point style and is manually opened with a flipper.
The closed length is just over 4 inches. The knife weighs only 2.5 ounces.
The best features of the knife are the small size (for the right person), the safe handle, and a very high-quality steel blade. The handle has a deep indentation with jimping for added safety.
The biggest con of this knife is the linerlock.
Here is the first knife from Ontario Knife Company on our list, the RAT 1.
These knives are affordable and have multiple options for blade edge and color.
The most expensive versions of the knife have assisted opening technology.
The biggest advantages of these knives are affordability, available options, and a safe handle that allows for a firm grip.
The blades are decent quality, especially when considering the price.
The biggest downfalls are the linerlock mechanism and a larger, heavier size. However, this is a simple, inexpensive knife. Improving these features comes at an added cost.
There is so much to love about the Paramilitary 2.
The ParaMilitary 1 was one of Spyderco’s most popular knives. With 2 they made it better.
You get tons of features with this knife.
The main ones are one of the hardest steels available, Spyderco’s opening hole, and a Compression Lock mechanism.
Other things we like are the smooth Bushing Pivot System for opening the knife, a G-10 handle with jimping added for strength, a four-position pocket clip, and multiple blade edge and color options.
The only negative of this knife is that it is one of the most expensive on the list. But, rest assured, it is also one of the highest quality.
The next installment on our list is the Brawler. It is an extremely tough knife.
It features a tanto style blade with an angled handle to fit your hand better. These features increase cutting power.
The pros of this knife are the blade shape, budget-friendly price, flipper with SpeedSafe assisted opening, strong handle with plenty of grip, four-position pocket clip, and a great size for carrying.
The one con of this knife is that the blade is not as high quality as some of the others. However, all of the other features packed into a budget-friendly knife will likely make you overlook this shortfall.
The Delica was one of Spyderco’s first knives from nearly three decades ago.
Throughout the years, they have continually improved it. It remains one of their most popular knives now with the Delica 4.
The knife is very small and light, weighing only 2.5 ounces and measuring 4.25 inches when closed.
One outstanding feature of this knife is its handle, which has a very safe shape with Bi-Directional Texturing and jimping for added grip strength.
This knife also features a quality steel blade, a smooth opening mechanism, and of course, Spyderco’s opening hole.
While it is not overly expensive, this knife is slightly more expensive than others on the list. The back lock mechanism also lacks slightly.
The OSO Sweet is another inexpensive knife perfect for everyday carry. This knife is not exactly basic.
It features a flipper with SpeedSafe assisted opening. The price of this knife makes it hard to beat.
Some of the other nice features of this knife are its unique look thanks to a scaled pattern on the handle, four-position pocket clip, safe handle, and an awesome size for carrying.
It weighs in at 3.2 ounces and measures 4.1 inches.
The shortcomings of this knife are that the blade is not high quality and that it uses a linerlock locking mechanism.
The RAT 2 may be the most affordable knife on this list.
The knife is meant to be a simple and inexpensive everyday carry knife. It serves admirably in that role.
The best features of this knife, other than how inexpensive it is, are the handle, the four-position pocket clip, and the blade steel.
The handle has textured nylon and jimping in the choil to allow for plenty of strength and safety.
The blade steel is not the highest quality. However, at a price point this low, it is an excellent steel.
While there are multiple things that could be improved, given the price point, it is hard to complain about any of them.
Similar to the Blur, the Clash features a slight recurve in the blade which increases the slicing ability of the knife.
This knife is a nice utility knife at a reasonable price. It measures 4.25 inches and weighs 4.3 ounces.
The best features of this knife are the blade steel, the flipper and SpeedSafe assisted opening, the handle with an indentation for safety, and a reversible pocket clip.
For the price, this is a very high-quality steel blade. The assisted opening is also a great feature.
As far as cons go, just like many knives on this list, this knife includes a linerlock.
While expensive, the Recon 1 is extremely tough.
They have some of the highest quality blades on this list.
These blades are made from very high-quality steel and feature a sharp, clip point shape.
It is available with multiple blade sizes from 2 inches to 5.75 inches.
The micro is the most popular and easily the best small pocket knife that you can get.
The best features of these knives include Cold Steel’s extremely strong Tri-Ad Lock locking mechanism, the high quality coated blades, safe handles, and their strength.
While they are on the expensive side, these are some very tough, durable knives.
The cons of these knives are that they are heavier than their competition. All of the tougher, thicker features come with some added weight.
The Griptilian family of knives is some of Benchmade’s most popular knives.
They are available with various levels of blade steel, multiple blade and handle colors, various blade shapes, as well as blade edge options.
The best features are the strong, easy to use AXIS opening and locking mechanisms, the variety of options available, the reversible pocket clip, and the easy-to-carry size.
One shortfall is that the knives are pretty expensive, as to be expected with a Benchmade knife.
The Dragonfly 2, with a mid-sized blade, has been very popular. The blade is 2.25 inches long and has a traditional Spyderco look.
The best features include its very small size and weight, Spyderco’s opening hole, and the handle.
This handle features a deep choil for safety and has jimping along the spine and in the choil.
These features along with its Bi-Directional Texturing give the user added grip.
Some of the downfalls are the wire pocket clip and the smaller blade. The wire pocket clip significantly cuts down on weight but is not that resilient. The smaller blade limits what you are able to do with this knife.
The Mini Griptilian includes all the features of the full-sized Griptilian, except shrunken down into a smaller form.
This family of knives is available with multiple blade edges, steels, colors, and styles.
Multiple handle options are also available.
It is less than 4 inches when closed and weighs less than 3 ounces.
The best features are the options: AXIS opening and locking mechanism and reversible pocket clip. Carrying this knife is a dream thanks to its small size and weight.
The cons are the price, as it is a little on the expensive side for a small knife.
The Manix 2 is available with multiple blade edge options made of a high-quality steel.
It is a small, sleek knife that is great for everyday carry. The safe, comfortable handle allows for plenty of grip strength.
The best features are the opening hole, Ball Bearing Lock which allows for smooth opening and locking of the blade, a very high-quality blade steel, and a reversible pocket clip.
This is one of the smoothest opening knives made by Spyderco.
The cons are that it is slightly heavier than some other knives and is a little more expensive.
The Swiss Army Knife is one of the handiest tools ever created and most iconic tools of our time.
The Huntsman II is one of the most popular and for good reason.
This one is less about the knife and more about the number of different functions. You get 15 unique functions here.
This quality tool performs well in all situations.
It's small and easy to carry in your pocket. For camping and outdoor uses, this is the best tool to have with you. It's also very affordable.
As far as cons, there are not many. If you are looking for a knife specifically, this probably is not the tool for you.
The Resilience is a larger version of the aforementioned Tenacious.
It is an affordable everyday carry knife that features a decent quality blade.
There are multiple options available.
The steel liners in the handle make the knife very strong to support the larger blade.
The best features are the phosphor bronze washers that allow for smooth opening, the toughness of the knife, the safe handle with plenty of jimping, and a four-position pocket clip.
The cons of this knife are the linerlock and the size. The knife is very large and tough, so it is a heavier knife. If you do not need a tough knife, we recommend something smaller.
The Shuffle is a nifty multifunctional knife from Kershaw.
It features a small tanto blade, a flathead screwdriver, and a bottle opener.
The tanto blade provides added cutting strength, and the handle offers plenty of texture.
All of this is packed into a small frame measuring only 4 inches when closed and weighing only 3 ounces.
The pros of the knife are the affordability, functionality, decent quality blade, surprising strength for its size, the “all black” look, and a reversible pocket clip.
The tanto style blade gives it more power than you are expecting. Because of all of the awesome features with a great price, this is the best pocket knife for the money.
The one con is the linerlock.
The 940 family of knives from Benchmade is available with two blade steels, two blade edges, two blade styles, and two blade colors.
The blade measures just under 3.5 inches making it an excellent size for everyday carry.
Just like the blade, the handle has many options--one of which is carbon fiber.
The pros of this knife are the options, Benchmade’s AXIS opening and locking mechanism, the reversible pocket clip, and the strength of the blade.
The higher quality steel is stronger, resulting in sturdy blades with plenty of cutting power.
As far as cons go, this knife is very expensive, but the quality is there to support the price.
Another knife that Spyderco has been making for decades, the Endura has continued to be very popular.
The Endura 4 features a slightly larger blade that is available with multiple edge styles.
The handle is contoured to fit your hand and has Bi-Directional Texturing for added grip.
The knife measures 5 inches when closed and weighs 3.6 ounces.
It makes a very strong everyday carry knife. It is locked open by a back lock. This feature is slightly better than a linerlock.
The pros of this knife are the VG-10 steel, a great steel for knife blades, the opening hole, the overall toughness, and the four-position pocket clip.
The one con is that it is larger. However, if you need a stronger knife, this is a great option.
The Link is an excellent knife. It offers many great features at a very affordable price.
The blade’s steel is very tough. The drop point style blade measures 3.25 inches.
The handle has plenty of added texture. One unique version of the knife features an aluminum handle with a matching gray blade.
This combination is very nice looking.
The pros of this knife are the sleek lines, flipper and SpeedSafe assisted opening pair, safe glass-filled nylon handle, a high-quality steel blade, and the reversible pocket clip. The closed length is 4.4 inches. The knife weighs 4 ounces.
The one con is a liner lock. With the quality of the blade steel at this price point, you can easily overlook this.
The Finn Wolf is a very distinct looking knife.
It is a modernized folding variation of the classic Pukko knife.
This very sleek, unique looking knife has the classic Finnish styling that gives added functionality.
As far as carrying is concerned, this knife is a near perfect size. It measures 4.4 inches long and weighs 3.4 ounces.
The pros of this knife are the blade shape, the Griv-Ex handle for added grip, Cold Steel’s Tri-Ad Lock mechanism, the decent quality blade steel, and the reversible pocket clip. All of these features are put into an affordably priced knife.
The cons are that the thumbstuds make it slightly more difficult to open.
Last on our list is one of the toughest knives we have ever seen, the Adamas.
The toughness comes from a very thick steel blade, thick steel liners in the handle, and added grip along the handle.
The blade steel is extremely high quality. The blade is over 4mm thick. Benchmade’s AXIS opening and locking mechanism is another excellent knife feature.
The handle has some G-10 added for grip and features jimping throughout the liners in the handle.
Overall, this is an extremely tough knife that is obviously meant for military and law enforcement use. It is the toughest knife you can find, but with that comes a lot of added weight and price.
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