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Upgrade Your EDC With a Better Folding Knife

Spanning a range of materials, sizes and prices, these are the best EDC folding knives to add to your arsenal in 2017.


A good folding knife, first and foremost, needs to be functional. It needs to handle what you throw at it, day in and day out, unscathed. But beyond functionality, a truly great folding knife has the looks to back up its function. Sure, a bright-blue $10 box cutter gets the job done, but you’re a gentleman. If you’re going to invest in a knife, it should be one that you’re proud to show off — whether you’re opening boxes or slicing pieces of artisanal cheese. It doesn’t need to cost four figures (though it can), and great knives can be had at just about any budget.

Additional contribution by Amos Kwon.

Editor’s Note: This list has been updated with new picks for 2016. Our previous picks can still be found on page 2.

Opinel Slim No. 8

Each Opinel has been crafted in France since 1890. In fact, the word Opinel was added to the French dictionary and is synonymous with “folding knife.” The Slim No. 8 is more ergonomic than the standard No. 8, though the blade is also more flexible. It’s great for light duty, everyday tasks like opening boxes.

Blade Length: 3.25 inches
Blade Material: Stainless steel
Handle Material: Olive wood
Weight: ~1 ounce

Buy Now: $34

Gerber Edict

Based in Portland, Oregon, Gerber is known for crafting high-quality knives at affordable price points. The Edict is new for 2016 and is made in the USA. Thumb studs on either side of the blade make it easy to open with one hand and the lock-back locking system keeps the blade sturdy for heavy-duty jobs.

Blade Length: 3.6 inches
Blade Material: 154CM
Blade Type: tanto
Handle Material: rubber over-molded glass-filled nylon
Weight: 3.6 ounces

Buy Now: $80

CRKT M16-03S Classic

The M16 is a classic CRKT knife designed by none other than Kit Carson. Carson was a legendary CRKT knife designer who recently passed away. To commemorate him, CRKT brought back the iconic M16. The knife has a liner lock design with an added pin lock that can be engaged by your index finger. This keeps the knife in a locked position for safety and security.

Blade Length: 3.46 inches
Blade Material: AUS-8
Blade Type: spear point
Handle Material: 6061 Aluminum
Weight: 3.3 ounces

Buy Now: $90

The Survival Kit You Can Take Anywhere

The Wasatch Outdoors Survival Kit includes an impressive amount of survival basics including in a pocketable reusable tin can. Best of all? It’s only $32. Learn more about it and find other amazing products in the Gear Patrol Store.

SOG Aegis Mini

If you’re looking for a reliable, durable, high-performance everyday carry knife, the SOG Aegis Mini is tough to beat. The clip point is a great all-around design, and the belly on the blade makes it great for everyday use. The deployment is fast and smooth thanks to the high-tension coil springs — a useful trait in any situation.

Blade Length: 3 inches
Blade Material: AUS-8
Blade Type: clip point
Handle Material: Glass Reinforced Nylon
Weight: 2 ounces

Buy Now: $90

Kershaw Launch 3

The Launch 3 features a fully automatic plunge lock design for fast deployment. A bit of jimping on the spine of the blade provides plenty of grip regardless of conditions. The aesthetic of the knife is also a huge plus; the handle is sleek and minimalist, with just enough of a tactical appearance to keep things serious.

Blade Length: 3.4 inches
Blade Material: CPM154, DLC coating
Blade Type: drop point
Handle Material: Anodized aluminum
Weight: 3.4 ounces

Buy Now: $100

Benchmade APB Assist Family

The Benchmade APB Assist is a locking system that debuted last year. It is an assisted opening system (though it also comes in an unassisted version) that has two buttons on either side of the handle. When pressed simultaneously, the blade can be folded back into the closed position. It also has one of the best locking mechanisms out of any knife we’ve used. It’s solid and doesn’t budge at all.

Blade Length: 3.6 inches
Blade Material: 154CM
Blade Type: drop point
Handle Material: G10
Weight: 5.46 ounces

Buy Now: $210

Zero Tolerance 0456

The 0456 is a collaboration between ZT and Dmitry Sinkevich. Sinkevich is a Russian knife maker who makes everything from knives with bone handles to balisong knives. This example is a titanium-handled, steel-blade knife that has a unique blade shape. It also has a KVT ball-bearing opening system that’s ultra smooth and fairly low maintenance.

Blade Length: 3.25 inches
Blade Material: CTS-204P, two-tone finish
Blade Type: sheep’s foot
Handle Material: Titanium, stonewashed & satin finish
Weight: 6.6 ounces

Buy Now: $300

Spyderco Military Titanium C36TI

The Spyderco Military Titanium follows the same design as the regular Spyderco Military, but trades the G10 handle for a titanium version. The titanium is lightweight and durable, and gives the knife a cohesive and seamless look. It features Syperco’s characteristic thumb or finger hole in the blade for easy opening with either your index finger or thumb.

Blade Length: 4 inches
Blade Material: CPM S30V
Handle Material: Titanium
Weight: 5.8 ounces

Buy Now: $400

Rockstead Higo X

The Higo X is the type of knife that you pass on to the next generation. It should be used judiciously, for tasks where your standard EDC feels second rate. The ironwood handle is beautifully finished, and is paired with a polished stainless steel blade.

Blade Length: 3.5 inches
Blade Material: ZDP-189 Stainless Steel
Blade Type: drop point
Handle Material: Ironwood
Weight: 4.6 ounces

Buy Now: $1,190

Chris Reeve Sebenza 21

Best High-End Tool Knife: Knifemaker Chris Reeve is a legend in the industry, and so is his celebrated Sebenza, which means “work” in Zulu. The Sebenza has been an icon for two decades — largely thanks to its simple and robust design, high-grade materials and impeccable craftsmanship. The Sebenza 21 marked an update, giving the knife a more aggressive chamfer on the handle that makes it easier to carry in the pocket, along with a reworked liner lock system. The Sebenza 21 is easily an elite folder, but it’s always been intended to be a workhorse, not simply a looker.

Blade Length: 2.94 inches (small)
Blade Material: S35VN stainless steel
Blade Type: drop point, plain edge, flat grind
Handle Material: 6AI4V titanium
Weight: 3 ounces

Buy Now: $350

Guardian Tactical HELIX DELTRIX

Best Elite Tactical Knife: Because spec ops and law enforcement tend to work their equipment hard, it usually means they need the best. An elite knife with an excellent design makes the job easier. The razor-sharp Helix was co-designed with the US Protective Service, so you know it’s up to standard. They’ve imbued it with a light, tough carbon fiber handle outfitted with grips and finger grooves for excellent ergonomics, and when the blade needs to take action, the 16-ball bearing hinge makes deployment fast and sure.

Blade Length: 4 inches
Blade Material: CPM-154 stainless steel
Blade Type: drop point, plain edge, flat grind
Handle Material: G-10
Weight: 5.7 ounces

Buy Now: $369

Rockstead TEI-DLC

Best Small Samurai Sword: If you ever desired a folding Samurai sword, the flagship Rockstead TEI-DLC is it. It’s so sharp and durable that testing it involves slicing through 1,000 cuts of a hemp rope. Whose job is that? It’s even used to cut dried bamboo without flinching, so it can probably handle your afternoon apple with ease. The double-convex blade shape (known as Honzukuri) mimics the traditional Japanese sword and is treated with diamond-like carbon for extreme durability. The hard anodized aluminum handle is both light and artful. The only catch is the price tag.

Blade Length: 3.66 inches
Blade Material: YXR7 (DLC coating)
Blade Type: clip point, plain edge, convex grind
Handle Material: aluminum A6063 hard anodized treatment
Weight: 5.47 ounces

Buy Now: $1,710

Microtech Socom Delta

Best Special Forces Knife: Microtech is known in black bag circles for slender, tactically focused automatic knives with abilities beyond the needs of ordinary folk. The Socom Delta folder, for example, is manually deployed and sees official use by US Spec Ops in the field. The powdered steel blade minimizes glare, and the tough-as-nails G10 handle has a titanium lock bar for strength and lightness. To top things off, Microtech has blessed the Socom Delta with a unique ceramic bearing system for smooth operation even in the most critical moments.

Blade Length: 4 inches
Blade Material: powder-coated steel
Blade Type: tanto, plain edge, flat grind
Handle Material: G-10
Weight: 4.5 ounces

Buy Now: $340

William Henry Monarch “Sawtelle”

Best Knife as Art Knife: The Monarch “Sawtelle” is the kind of knife you’ll draw from your pocket just to show off to friends. The hand-forged raindrop-style Damascus steel blade is paired with an intricately designed handle. A 24k gold frame, stunning desert ironwood handle scales and citrine precious stones for the button lock and thumb studs give it heirloom artistry that’s more suited to a gentlemanly suit than anything remotely survivalist.

Blade Length: 2.63 inches
Blade Material: hand-forged Damascus steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, flat grind
Handle Material: 24k gold, sterling silver, desert ironwood, citrine
Weight: N/A

Buy Now: $1,250

Strider Model PT

Best Engineered Elite Knife: Strider knives are equal parts tactical and futuristic, and their tried-and-true drop-point Model PT is meant to take punishment while looking perfectly engineered. The oval thumbhole makes for easy blade actuation, and the flat grind gives the subtle powder-coated blade strength. One of its best features is the jimping on the top of the handle that extends out to the top of the blade for grip and a rugged look. The G10 scales give it grip, while the titanium liner keeps things light at 2.5 ounces. But it’s no delicate edge. The PT will go to town on rope and boxes with authority, and it’s even great for field use when you’re in a pinch. Just have respect for the design, construction and materials, please.

Blade Length: 2.87 inches
Blade Material: CPM-S30V
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point or tanto, flat grind
Handle Material: G10 and titanium
Weight: 2.5 ounces

Buy Now: $300

Boker Mokume Damascus

Best New Classic Elite Knife: The Mokume Damascus is meant to be a collector’s piece, with an Imbuia wood handle and Damascus steel blade that uses 150 layers in what’s known as a “typhoon” pattern. And then there’s the Japanese Mokume metal bolster, which mimics the pattern of the blade on a gold-hued surface of forged non-ferrous metals. The drop-point, lockback knife is still a practical EDC knife that can handle daily duties, but it’s way too special to relegate to mundane tasks. It’s much more appropriate for things like slicing up rare Kobe beef and artisanal cave-aged Roquefort.

Blade Length: 3.13 inches
Blade Material: Damascus steel
Blade Type: drop point, plain edge, flat grind
Handle Material: Imbuia wood, Japanese Mokume
Weight: 4.3 ounces

Buy Now: $589

Spyderco Rubicon

Best Sci-Fi Hero Knife: Sure, an EDC staple like the excellent and versatile Spyderco Delica is good enough for most, but if you want one of Spyderco’s most exotic knives, aim for the carbon fiber Rubicon. Everything about it screams exclusivity, including the broad, hollow-grind blade with the curved top swedge, carbon fiber handle and the contrasting orange pivot. The titanium liners keep the Rubicon light, and the finger guard keeps your hand safe when the blade is deployed. The attention to detail warrants the high price tag.

Blade Length: 3.03 inches
Blade Material: CPM S30V stainless steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, hollow grind
Handle Material: carbon fiber
Weight: 4.2 ounces

Buy Now: $500

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