How to Pick the Best EDC Pocket Knife For Yourself?
How to Pick the Best EDC Pocket Knife For Yourself?
Having trouble deciding which knife to EDC (Every Day Carry) or how to pick out one that’s best for yourself? Overwhelmed by all the choices available on the market? Not sure how much money to spend on a reliable pocket knife? Don’t know what steel to go with for your day-to-day blade? In this blog, I will try to answer these questions in a comprehensive fashion base on my years of experience with hundreds of knives that I have dealt with. Hopefully by the end of this article you will have an idea about how to choose the pocket knife that’s good for you.
When choosing a knife as EDC, it is always important to keep in mind what’s the purpose of carrying a knife. Being one of the oldest forms of tools dating back to the stone age, knife has accompanied us on all kinds of occasions. One might carry a knife as a reliable cutting tool, cutting strings or boxes for work; one might carry a knife to cut his way through the bush, dealing with twigs and branches as well as preparing food; one might even carry a knife to demonstrate class and taste, just like the ancient people carrying their ornamented swords. As a result, it would be easier to pick out a knife for yourself after you set your mind on how you want the knife to serve you. After you figure out the purpose of your knife, you can pick the right model of knife base on their blade profile, finish, material, etc.
Besides the purpose, another key factor for determining which knife to purchase is the way you want to carry it. Some prefer to carry it in the pocket, while others feel like clipping it on the duty belt or backpack. For military personnel, attaching the knife onto the Molle can also be a quick and easy way to carry a knife. As a result, consider how you would carry your knife before you pick, so you find the right knife with the right type of clip or compatibility.
The type of material of the knife is probably the most important factor to consider when buying a knife. The steel that the blade is made of as well as the hardware and handle are all important factors to consider and will impact the way you use your knife. For blade material, there are so many different types of steel. If you need something good for EDC and general purposes, the models with 14C28N Sandvik Steel or AUS8 Stainless-Steel would be a good balance of budget and quality. If you’re looking for something higher end, there’s also a good selection of pocket knives with D2 Steel, VG-10 Steel or CPM S30V Steel. If you’re more of an outdoor person and need to hack wood or big ropes from time to time, something with 1095 High Carbon Steel or CPM 3V Steel would be your best friend. Or if you’re a sailor or diver, something with H-1 Steel would be the best option against salt water. And of course, there are so many other high-end steel types such as CPM S90V, S35VN, M390, and they all enjoy good reputation in the world of pocket knives. In terms of handle material, there’s the classic leather or wood handle that will offer you a classic look and good grip but not necessarily the best longevity; there’s the fancy Titanium handle that will last you forever while remaining lightweight but will cost you some money; and there’s also G10 and Micarta handles that offers very good grip and longevity even under extreme circumstances but might not offer the best appearance to some people. As a result, it is important to figure out the priority of what properties you want your knife to have and then make your choice of the right combination of materials.
With all the discussion above, it is the time to show some examples that I picked out for the different categories and budget of pocket knives, and hope it shows you a good direction of how to pick the pocket knife that’s best for you. Do note, the following suggestions are made based on my personal experience with the knife, I will try to be objective but different people might have different experience with the knife models I mentioned under different circumstances, and the order in the article does not reflect a ranking of the different models.
First, I will start with some budget friendly models that I would recommend to anyone looking for a good quality and reliable pocket knife that doesn’t break one’s bank.
Compare to many other big names in the industry, Civivi is a fairly new brand that recently catches the attention of many people in the knife market. They started with doing OEM for other brands and only in the recent years they started to produce knives of their own design and branding. Among their long catalogue of knives, the Elementum is probably one of their top selling models. Offered in many different colors, the Elementum does not just catch the eyes, but also give you a good package of quality and price. Being one of the budget knives, the Elementum offers D2 Steel and G10 handle, and features a back flipper opening mechanism, which for sure hit all the sweet spots for a good EDC pocket knife. The simplistic drop point blade and slim handle not only make the Elementum a competent cutting tool and at the same time doesn’t take up too much pocket real estate when you have it in your pocket. In a nutshell, for the price you pay towards the Elementum, it’s hard to find another model that beats its price while having better quality.
CRKT, also known as Columbia River Knife & Tool, has been providing reliable knives and tools for the military, law enforcement, as well as the civilian market for years. As one of their most successful series, the CRKT CEO is a great EDC knife for the cutting job one might encounter in an office or other urban settings. With the slim blade and handle that makes it look almost like a pen, it doesn’t draw too much attention while being put away, but will definitely get the job done. It is hard to find a more low-profile pocket knife that offers a cutting capability and blade length such as the CRKT CEO, and the AUS8 Steel that constructed the blade will not fail you in your daily missions.
Besides the original one, there’s also a back flipper variation for the CEO that I personally like a lot for its ease of operation.
Kershaw 1555G10 Cryo
Ever since Pete Kershaw started the brand Kershaw Knives over 40 years ago in Oregon, USA, Kershaw maintained its reputation as an example of producing high quality, reliable cutlery. As one of their most welcomed series, the Kershaw Cryo with black G10 handle and 8Cr13MoV high carbon steel is a sturdy little workhorse that has served in the pocket of men and women in all lines of profession. The spring assisted opening make sure of quick deployment in even the harshest conditions, and the textured G10 handle provides exceptional grip under all sorts of situation. When the blade is deployed, the stainless-steel liner lock will always hold the blade in place until disengaged and the 2.75” cutting edge will always get the job done. The Kershaw Cryo is indeed a “get the job done” knife for the “get the job done” persons.
Ontario Knife Company RAT Model 1
The Ontario RAT Model 1 from Ontario Knife Company and Randall's Adventure Training is a folding EDC knife that can withstand hard use and abuse associated with tactical or survival tasks. For the money, there might not be a better knife on that market that can match the performance of the RAT Model 1. It features an ergonomic handle with smooth action and rock-solid lockup. The four-position pocket clip allows the user to customize their carry method to their liking. We absolutely love the off-set blade from the handle, which creates a unique look we rarely see in a knife and distinguishes it from all the rest. Whether you need to add a new knife to your EDC rotation (or you think it would make a great fit for a survivalist, serviceman or woman, or a true friend), rest assured you're making the right choice when you go with an Ontario RAT Model 1.
With the models mentioned above, we have covered some good reliable knives that wouldn’t drain your wallet. In the next section, I will cover some more high-end and even collectible knives that are also tough work companions. If you are looking for a knife that gets the job done while looking good at the same time, the following models are not going to disappoint you.
Benchmade 551 Griptilian
Benchmade as one of the big shots in the knife industry always offers top-of-the-line products. Needless to say, the Benchmade 551 Griptilian which becomes one of their most successful series is a great choice among all EDC pocket knives. One of the most eye-catching features of the Griptilian is probably the blade. Featuring the CPM S30V powder steel, the edge retention and corrosion resistance of the blade is superb. For almost all kinds of work, the Griptilian is up to the task. The Benchmade 551 Griptilian also come with the ambidextrous Axis lock, which is one of the toughest locking mechanisms for folding knives on the market. Last but not least, Benchmade offers lifetime warranty for all of their knives, which means you don’t need to worry about replacing it as long as you take proper care of it. With the combination of top-notched material and lifetime warranty, the Griptilian offers a great value package with unbeatable price.
Zero Tolerance 0452CF
Needless to say, ZT is one of the most reputable knife manufacturers in the US and they are known for their quality and customer service. All the models they produce are made of top-notched material and with amazing craftmanship. As for the ZT 0452CF, it is designed by renowned knife designer Dmitry Sinkevich. The ZT 0452CF has a 4.1” S35VN Steel blade and Carbon Fiber handle, and the KVT ball-bearing pivot and the back flipper design make the opening action of the knife smooth as butter. The frame-lock is made of titanium with stainless-steel insert, making it almost a zero-fail knife as tough as many fixed blade knives. The drop point blade and strong spine of the blade gives it a lot of cutting power, and the 5.2” closed length with a slim profile make it very easy to carry even if you are wearing slim-fit jeans.
Benchmade 535BK-4 Bugout with M390 Steel
As mentioned above, Benchmade is always a “never go wrong” choice when you are looking for a pocket knife. This statement is especially true when it comes to the 535BK-4 Bugout. The Bugout series is one of the flagship series of Benchmade, and they made so many variations of this model. The 535BK-4 Bugout is definitely the crown jewel of the series, featuring M390 Steel and 6061 T6 Aircraft Aluminum Handle. The choice of the material they choose to make this blade with make it an amazing cutting tool while remain light as feather. The Cerakote coated M390 blade make the 535BK-4 Bugout one of the toughest pocket knives in the market, and will hold a perfect edge and blade surface for an extended period of time. The classic slim profile of the Bugout also holds true on this premium edition, and the red hardware will certainly stand out when you pull it out from your pocket.
Fox Italy 497BLTSW Folding Karambit
Fox Italy is famous for their professional and specialty cutlery, and one of their most popular lines are the folding karambits. The Fox 479BLTSW has a nice claw-shaped blade made out of N690Co steel, which is a variation of the famous N690 Steel with an addition of cobalt and vanadium in the recipe, making the blade tougher and keep an edge against more wear, and the stone-washed finish on the blade not just make it look fine but also keep the blade from all kinds of elements. The handle is made of an eye-catching blue twilled carbon fiber that looks elegant and classy. The blade also features an Emerson Wave hook with which you can deploy your blade while pulling it out of your pocket, making it the pocket knife with the fastest deployment. With the Fox Italy 497BLTSW Folding Karambit, you will be able to teach those boxes a lesson!
In this blog, I go over the basic factors to consider when you are trying to pick the right pocket knife for yourself, and I also provide some examples of different types of pocket knives for different scenarios. I hope you find this blog helpful in your hunt for the next pocket knife and use your loyal companion in good health.