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10 Great Compact Everyday Carry Knives

These small soldiers are sharp and easy to use — they’re knife enough for most every task.

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“Stay sharp” applies to both your wits and your gear. And when you need to open boxes, slice and dice food, or — worst case scenario — engage in a bit of self-defense, it’s good to have a trusty tool. But size doesn’t equal practicality. Keeping the knife at a manageable size and weight is important — in order to keep it in an EDC rotation, a knife should be light (three ounces or less), easy to deploy and ideally have a blade under three inches in size. This makes your daily blade simple to use, and it keeps you unburdened.

Each of the below knives falls into the EDC category, and any one will prove to be an effective workhorse for daily tasks that don’t involve building a shelter or batoning a log. And, thankfully, none of them will rip the seams off the pockets of your nice pants.

SOG Access Card 2.0

Best Compact Black-Ops Knife: The Access Card 2.0 doesn’t grant you CIA HQ entry, but it does keep your EDC slim and secretive with a low profile and stealthy black aesthetic. The super-sharp Japanese steel blade folds into a high-tech, lightweight titanium nitride handle, and SOG’s Arc-Lock lets you deploy quickly with either hand. And with a clip point, it makes easy work of any piercing tasks that may stand in your way.

SOG Access Card 2.0 Specs
Blade Length: 2.75 inches
Blade Material: VG-10 stainless steel
Blade Type: plain edge, clip point, hollow grind
Handle Material: titanium nitride
Weight: 1.8 ounces

Buy Now: $45

Cold Steel Micro Recon

Best Compact Keychain Knife: The Micro Recon looks like a badass tactical knife thrown in the dryer. The blade is coated in Tuff-Ex, which ups the blade’s corrosion resistance, diminishes glare and decreases resistance, allowing the knife to glide through cuts. The G10 scaled handles are grippy, and the ergonomic shape helps you make both tough and precise cuts. It foregoes a pocket clip for a convenient keyring, making EDC blade carry even easier.

Cold Steel Micro Recon Specs
Blade Length: 2 inches
Blade Material: AUS-8A stainless steel with Tuff-Ex coating
Blade Type: plain edge, spear point, flat grind
Handle Material: G10 laminate
Weight: 1.1 ounces

Buy Now: $25

CRKT Ed Halligan KISS

Best Ultra-Thin Compact Knife: This is about as stealthy and minimalist as knives get. The KISS (Keep it Super Simple) blade’s flat side closes completely against the handle, eliminating the need for a two-scale handle. There are just two pieces, blade and handle, with single-handed deployment via thumb stud and secure frame lock. There’s a pocket clip that doubles as a money clip and a hole for a keyring or lanyard. Thin and stealthy is the name of its game.

CRKT Ed Halligan KISS Specs
Blade Length: 2.25 inches
Blade Material: 420J2 stainless steel
Blade Type: combo edge, tanto point, chisel grind (single side)
Handle Material: 420J2 stainless steel
Weight: 2.3 ounces

Buy Now: $26

Al Mar Osprey Ultralight

Best Gentleman’s Compact Knife: The Osprey Ultralight is a superb gentleman’s knife that looks as good cutting rope as it does delivering wafer-thin artisanal cheese slices. The thin profile blade makes quick work of small tasks, and the weight is under half an ounce, making daily carry seamless. The razor sharp AUS-8 blade keeps it simple with a plain edge and flat grind, but the Osprey’s look is pure class. It’s so featherweight and compact, you’ll need a reminder to check your pockets before you head to the airport.

Al Mar Osprey Ultralight Specs
Blade Length: 1.65 inches
Blade Material: AUS-8 stainless steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, flat grind
Handle Material: brown canvas micarta
Weight: 0.37 ounces

Buy Now: $77

Buck Nano Bantam

Best Bargain Compact Knife: The Nano Bantam is no-nonsense, tough and a ridiculous bargain. For less than $15, you get a razor-sharp blade that holds its edge and resists corrosion, a grippy black thermoplastic handle and a lock-back mechanism to secure the blade. Toss it in your pocket thanks to its incredibly light sub-ounce weight or attach it to your keyring. It’s just the kind of compact everyday knife you can buy in multiples and never worry about losing. And, Buck makes it right here in the USA, too.

Buck Nano Bantam Specs
Blade Length: 1.87 inches
Blade Material: 420J2 stainless steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point,
Handle Material: textured black thermoplastic
Weight: 0.6 ounces

Buy Now: $12

Gerber Mini Paraframe

Best Hollow Frame Compact Knife: This is the smaller version of the Gerber blade Bear Grylls would carry if he were still in the SAS. Gerber took their full-sized Paraframe and modeled the Mini after it to a T. The minimalist frame handle is light and strong, while the Tanto blade excels at piercing. The blade locks in place by a strong frame lock and is coated with black titanium nitride for resilience and stealth. Clip it in your pocket, and no one will be the wiser.

Gerber Mini Paraframe Specs
Blade Length: 2.13 inches
Blade Material: 7CR17MoV stainless steel
Blade Type: plain edge, tanto point
Handle Material: 3Cr13 stainless steel
Weight: 2.9 ounces

Buy Now: $10

Benchmade 585 Mini Barrage

Best Compact Tool Knife: Benchmade quality shows up in everything they make, and their smaller knives are no exception. Despite being on the larger end of the group here, the Mini Barrage is still an excellent compact tool knife that can handle rigorous daily use thanks to its practical drop-point blade, tough Valox polymer handle, reversible pocket clip and ambidextrous thumb studs. The Axis spring-loaded blade ensures quick deployment, and the quality, as always, is Benchmade exceptional.

Benchmade 585 Mini Barrage Specs
Blade Length: 2.91 inches
Blade Material: 154CM stainless steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, flat grind
Handle Material: polymer
Weight: 3.4 ounces

Buy Now: $119

Spyderco Delica 4

Best All-Around Compact Knife: The Delica’s reputation amongst the knife cognoscenti is second to none. It’s affordable, boasts a quality build and is easy to carry. Naturally, it’s one of Spyderco’s most popular knives. The 4 has a full flat-grind blade with jimping on the spine for security while cutting, skeletonized steel liners for weight savings and a four-way clip for carry versatility. The FRN handle also now comes in a rainbow of colors to match any outfit. Versatile, indeed.

Spyderco Delica 4 Specs
Blade Length: 2.88 inches
Blade Material: VG-10 Stainless Steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, flat grind
Handle Material: fiberglass reinforced nylon
Weight: 2.5 ounces

Buy Now: $59

Kershaw Shuffle

Best Extra Tool Compact Knife: Kershaw delivers a full-featured compact folder, amazingly for under $20. The grippy curved handle feels great in the hand, and the black coated blade is the perfect EDC size for tasks that don’t require a machete. It even comes with a flathead screwdriver, bottle opener and lanyard attachment all built into the handle. Genius. Very affordable genius.

Kershaw Shuffle Specs
Blade Length: 2.38 inches
Blade Material: 8Cr13MoV with black coating
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, hollow grind
Handle Material: glass-filled nylon
Weight: 2.8 ounces

Buy Now: $18

Boker Subcom

Best Short Compact Knife: Short, tough as nails and ferocious looking, the Subcom a sub-two-inch blade that’s rapier sharp. It has thumb studs for quick deployment to a secure frame lock, and it even has jimping for tougher cuts. The black blade complements the popping orange handle for an extra dose of style. The reversible clip makes the Subcom ideal for money-clip carry or convenient pocket carry.

Boker Subcom Specs
Blade Length: 1.86 inches
Blade Material: AUS-8 stainless steel with black coating
Blade Type: combo edge, drop point, flat grind
Handle Material: fiberglass-reinforced nylon
Weight: 2.5 ounces

Buy Now: $36

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