Best Pocket Knives
Now if you have decided it is about time to get a pocket knife of your own or looking to upgrade from your previous pocket knife but are getting overwhelmed with the variety of options on the market, then you have come to the right place. We have done the research and listed the top ten pocket knives of 2018, and why they are the best over the rest. The question is, what is the best model out there for me? Through general feedback, user reviews, and overall quality, you will find out firsthand. Simply follow through our list, and by the end, you will have a good idea of what pocket knife to go with.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hrs of research
Included bottle opener and glass breaker
Sleek aluminum handle and stainless steel blade design
- TAC-FORCE TF-705 SERIES
- KERSHAW KEN ONION BLUR
- BENCHMADE 940
- CASE SMALL STOCKMAN
- ZERO TOLERANCE G10
- BUCK KNIVES FOLDING HUNTER
- MTECH USA BALLISTIC MT-A705
- ONTARIO 8848 RAT
- KERSHAW 1990X BRAWLER
- CASE AMBER BONE CV TRAPPER
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. TAC-FORCE TF-705 SERIES
Included bottle opener and glass breaker
Sleek aluminum handle and stainless steel blade design
The bottle opener can only be accessed with the blade open; could lead to accidental injuries
It was a really close call, but the TAC Force TF-705 Series is the best pocket knife on the market. Soon, you will see why.Read more
The blade is coated with black stainless steel and is half-serrated; which comes in handy for cutting ropes and branches. The handle is made out of aluminum and has an ultra-stylish design.
Length and Weight
The blade itself measures 3-1/4 inches, when closed it measures 4-1/2 inches and it weighs six ounces.
The implemented spring assist mechanism allows you to open it with safely with one hand. In addition, while in use, it will lock securely with the liner lock and has a pocket clip for safe carrying.
The aluminum handle has a bottle opener and glass breaker, along with a screwdriver.
There are several color options available; including black, pink camo, fall camo, grey, rainbow, and red camo.
Not only is this a nearly perfect knife but it also can be used for other tasks. For the money, there really is not one better.
2. KERSHAW KEN ONION BLUR
The DLC coating adds extra corrosion-resistance and enhances the overall visual appeal
The design is extremely fashionable
The included thumb stubs can make it difficult to place it in your pocket with other items
The Kershaw Ken Onion Blur pocket knife missed the top spot by a hair, but through no fault of its own. It was so close, you could have flipped a coin.Read more
The blade is constructed with Sadnvik 14C28N Steel, as well as DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coating. The handle, on the other hand, is made from 6061-T6 anodized aluminum.
Length and Weight
Overall, it measures 7.9 inches (with the blade being 3.4” and the handle being 4.5 inches). A little lighter in nature, it only weighs 3.9 ounces.
The SpeedSafe design allows you to open it safely and quickly every single time; while open, the liner lock will secure it in place.
To enable different carrying options, there are reversible pocket clip holes in the handle.
A few color options are available, including jet black, olive drab, and tactical black.
This blade should take a backseat to nothing, but the competition is beyond fierce!
3. BENCHMADE 940
Various edge options
Can be used in various situations
Some find that the blade didn't move as easily as it should
Benchmade is known for making cream of the crop pocket knives, and this 940 is a prime example of this. It's worth mentioning that this knife is quite an investment financially, but what one can keep in mind, is the overall supreme quality of this particular knife. Find out why we chose it below.Read more
The blade of the 940 is made with CPM-530V Stainless Steel that offers excellent edges that are highly rust resistant. The handle is made of aluminum that excels in solid function and form without weighing it down.
Length and Weight
This knife's weight is 7.87 inches, and its length is 4.47 inches closed (7.87 inches open). This knife only weighs 2.9-ounces.
The blade stays firmly in place on the Benchmade 940 with an Axis lock, so you don't have to worry about it in your pocket.
This foldable knife has a reversible pocket clip so that it is easily accessible. The blade system in this is a reverse tanto blade, which is awesome for everyday use. A huge perk of this Benchmade 940 knife is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee. This means that if your blade needs any repairs, sharpening, or replacement, the company will take care of it for you.
Depending where you buy this knife, there are different color options. However, it's the blade that shines in this model. It comes in different edge styles and finishes to suit any specifics you might be looking for.
This knife is made of premium aluminum, stainless steel, and it offers exceptional safety with the lock. Furthermore, if you want something that comes with a lifetime guarantee, this is the knife to go with.
4. CASE SMALL STOCKMAN
Tru-Sharp stainless steel blades
When buying, the colors can be deceiving and may not look like their picture shows
A multi-purpose pocket knife in its own right, the Case Small Stockman model is as good as it gets.Read more
The handle is constructed from a smooth synthetic and the blade from Tru-Sharp surgical stainless steel; which provides more durability than conventional steel.
Length and Weight
Being very lightweight, it is only 2.63 inches long and 1.2 ounces.
While there is no locking mechanism to secure the blade while open, there is a strong back spring that will hold each blade and prevent it from accidentally closing.
On this model, there are three blades: a clip, sheep foot, and pen blade. The clip blade is used for detail work, the sheep foot is terrific for carving and the pen blade is ideal for everyday tasks.
There are a few additional size options, medium and large, that will enhance the length and weight of the pocket knife. In addition, there are several color options; such as amber bone, yellow John Deere and bone stag.
Once again, about the only true gripe is the price can be quite steep. But, it is still absolutely fantastic and nobody will blame you if you choose it.
5. ZERO TOLERANCE G10
Limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty
The tiger-stripe design is stunning
Heavy for everyday use
Can be very steep in price
Through every sense of the word, the Zero Tolerance G10 Blade is ideal for serious pocket knife enthusiasts.Read more
Not only is the blade non-serrated it is also designed with an extremely visually appealing tiger stripe finish. On top of that, it is constructed from S30V stainless steel with a DLC coating. The handle is textured with a matte black G-10 material.
Length and Weight
The blade itself measures 3.25 inches, but when it is closed the entire pocket knife is 4.6 inches. As far as weight, it measures 5.6 ounces.
The SpeedSafe design ensures you can open the blade with one hand and be safe every single instance.
An included quad-mounting system allows for multiple carrying options (tip-up, tip-down, etc.)
The tiger-stripe finish is the one and only design choice.
Nearly perfect in every way, except for its above-average price.
6. BUCK KNIVES FOLDING HUNTER
Included genuine leather sheath
Customer warranty for any damaged or defective knives
Need two hands to open it
Its double-edged, but it does not conceal when it is closed
As the name implies, this knife is made for hunters. But, non-hunters can find just as much use out of it, as well.Read more
The handle has molded brass bolsters and a Dymond wood design, while the blade is satin finished and made from 420HC stainless steel.
Length and Weight
Closed and concealed, it measures 4-7/8 inches (with the blade being 3-3/4 inches). Being for hunters, it is heavy-duty and weighs 7.2 ounces.
With its implemented lock back design, you are promised the ultimate safety and strength.
Including with the knife is a genuine leather sheath that can be used to carry the knife on your belt.
While there are no other color options at your disposal, the lone color design is very stylish.
You really can’t go wrong with this blade, just know that it does weigh more than you may imagine.
7. MTECH USA BALLISTIC MT-A705
Extremely visual appealing design
Half-serrated stainless steel blades
It can be difficult to open
Opening the blade without the assist will prevent it from locking
If you are on a budget, the MTech Ballistic Series is perfect. However, do not think for one second that because it is cheaper in price it is in nature.Read more
An aluminum handle and a Ti-coated half-serrated stainless steel blade combine to make a stellar design.
Length and Weight
When closed, it will measure 4.5 inches with a weight of 4.25 ounces.
When open, the blade will lock securely with the liner lock. To open it, the spring assist will make it easier; thus, making it safer.
The handle has a bottle opener located on it and can easily cut cords and break glass.
Quite a few options here, including black, black and blue, blue and silver, gold and silver, and gold.
While not as heavy duty or fancy as other versions, this pocket knife is absolutely fantastic considering its normal price.
8. ONTARIO 8848 RAT
Build-quality is excellent
The nylon scales on the handle are tame, which makes them less prone to ripping your pants pockets
The exterior design lacks visual appeal
The release lever can be tricky to handle
For pure quality purposes, the Ontario 8848 Folding Knife is fantastic. But, the plain design might not be appealing enough for some people.Read more
The blades are made from AUS-8 steel and are satin finished; while the handle is made from ergonomic nylon.
Length and Weight
At five ounces and 4.5 inches when closed, the size is standard for most models.
For easy one-hand opening, there is a thumb stub. Meanwhile, the liner lock will secure the blade in place when opened.
Complete with a four-way position pocket clip, there are different carrying options you can utilize.
Unfortunately, there are no other color or size options and the lone-design is rather plain.
If the plain design is not an issue, then this is a fantastic choice as it does a splendid job of performing what it was designed to do.
9. KERSHAW 1990X BRAWLER
Four-position clip for multiple carrying methods
The blade starts in a tanto position; which is stronger than other blade shapes
The assisted spring opening breaks much too easily
Kershaw makes their way back on this list and while their 1990X Brawler is not quite as great as their Ken Onion Blur, it still possesses a lot of the goods.Read more
Coated with black-oxide and produced from 8Cr13MoV steel, the blade is superb. It has included swedge adds to its piercing power. As far as the handle, it is made from glass-filled nylon.
Length and Weight
It weighs in at 3.9 ounces and has a closed length of 4.1 inches.
All the safety features are implemented: the SpeedSafe assisted opening, liner lock to secure the blade and the flipper for easily moving the blade.
Also included is a four-position pocket clip that allows for multiple carrying options.
No other options are present, just the jet-black design.
It is really difficult to find many gripes with this blade, it just so happens there are so many amazing models out there.
10. CASE AMBER BONE CV TRAPPER
Limited lifetime warranty
The ability to choose the blade type you want
Each blade can be stiff to open
Much like Kershaw, Case lands another version on this list. That is a sign that they know how to make excellent pocket knives.Read more
The choice is up to you; either the blade can be made from chrome vanadium, stainless steel, or 154-CM. But, for all the handle remains made from a genuine bone.
Length and Weight
It measures 4.13 inches and weighs 4 ounces flat.
There is no safety clip present, but there is a slip-joint trapper that adds safety.
This is a multi-blade pocket knife; coming equipped with a chip and spey blade.
Outside of being able to choose the blade design, there is a vast majority of colors. Such as yellow, chestnut bone, dark red and whiskey.
Even the last entry on this list is stunning, which says a lot about the quality of pocketknives available.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
At their core, pocket knives are designed for instances where a blade can be utilized. Amidst all the other features, without a proper blade, they are rendered practically useless. But, the handle is also important as you are not going to handle a blade with the sharp edges in your clutches. Thus, when it comes to both of them, they need to be designed with the best performance and durability in mind. Speaking of handles, they are less of a concern because they do not experience the wear and tear that the blades do. Meaning, most designs will suffice and last for a long time. Such as being constructed from aluminum, a smooth synthetic, a genuine bone or a G-10 material.
The blade design, on the other hand, is probably the most critical criterion to analyze. It does not just stop at what manufacturers decide to construct it from, either, as the way they make it and how they coat it also come into play. Most blades are constructed from stainless steel; which is a tremendous material that is resistant to corrosion, fire, and heat, easy to clean, and visually appealing to look at. Past this, it is also important to keep an eye out for the way the blade is serrated. Speaking in general, serrated blades tend to stay sharper for longer periods of time and provide a faster cut. However, non-serrated blades will provide you with a cleaner cut.
Then, there is the way the blade is coated. Without a doubt, the versions that are finished with a DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) are the best. This material has a high amount of hardness, is resistant to corrosion and abrasion, has a gas barrier, is anti-reflective, and has low friction. So, a stainless steel blade coated with DLC will provide an unreal amount of protection to the blade.
Even though pocket knives are designed to be carried around in your pocket, some models can be bulkier and heavier than others. It depends on the design, but some are meant to be used for everyday purposes; while some are meant for more extreme circumstances and to be used as a reliable cutting tool. The only true reason you need to care is some will feel very heavy in your pocket and be uncomfortable to carry around for several hours. As you probably noticed, many of the knives on this list altered quite a bit in terms of weight. Some were only a few ounces while others were several.
Just keep in mind if a heavier version will eventually become a nuisance; if so, aim for a lightweight model. Outside of the mass, the overall length is also a factor you may want to pay attention to. The length of the blade itself will not be too much of an issue, but the length of the pocket knife when concealed could sway your decision one way or another. Much like the weight, will a longer pocket knife be annoying to hold in your pocket? If you can honestly answer no to this question, then you will never have to worry about this. If not, be wary that some models can take up an excess amount of room.
This section can be a little tricky to assess as the subject at hand is pocket knives. But, with something as dangerous as sharp blades it is critically important that designers implement some sort of safety features. However, they can’t guarantee that they are 100 percent safe because they can’t predict who will be possessing them and how the safe they will be doing so. All the safety features in the world will not do any good if you are not safe yourself. After all, you are dealing with an intensely sharp blade that can easily cut human flesh and cause serious injuries to you and others.
But, there still needs to be safely implemented to minimize the risk of potential accidents while using the pocket knife. Thankfully, many manufacturers do design their blades with safety in mind. One key feature is what is known as the SpeedSafe assisted opening. This allows you to easily and safely open the blade with one hand by a simple push of a button, as opposed to manually touching the blade to open it. However, the danger truly begins when the blade is exposed. Thus, some will come equipped with a liner lock that will safely secure it in place while it is opened. This prevents it from accidentally closing while your fingers are on the handle. Finally, some will have a pocket clip that allows you to carry it in a safer manner.
Now, not all brands will have these types of safety features. For the blades that are extremely lightweight, the concern is lessened, though. Through it all, just remember to be as safe as possible when you are using a pocket knife.
This is where the fun stuff comes into play. No matter what type of product you are searching for, most will come with additional features. These are not necessarily needed to properly utilize what the product is designed for, but for extra uses to make it accommodate for more situations. When it comes to pocket knives, as you noticed throughout this list, there are a plethora of models that have additional, convenient features. Most notably, let’s start with the versions that have more than one blade for you to exploit.
Outside of the traditional blade that comes equipped, some will also come with additional types of blades (such as a chip, spay, clip, pen and sheep foot blade). In an instance where a different blade would work better than your pocket knife, it is nice to have those blades right at your fingertips. These different types of blades can be useful for carving, detail work, everyday tasks, etc. Then, you have some designers who will present you with several ways to use a traditional pocket knife. Such as, including the blades/material to use as a pair of scissors, toothpick, screwdriver, nail file, key ring or toothpick.
Past other blades, some pocket knives will have a quad-mounting system that allows you to carry it in a variety of ways. If you desire to, you could carry it with the tip up or down, to the right or to the left. Honestly, this is all personal preference and may prove to be useless for you. On other occasions, you could see a manufacturer add an entirely new accessory (such as a leather sheath for carrying the knife on your belt).
One last key feature some present to you is the bottle opener located on the handle. This is purely for aesthetics, but it can be useful as long as you are careful with it. To actually use the bottle opener to its fullest ability, you will have to leave the blade exposed. If you are careless with it, the blade could whip around and cause serious injury.
Almost everything that has been addressed thus far has been critical in your decision process. Not to say this next section is not, but this will vary from person to person. More importantly, this is where your input will be the most beneficial. Outside of yourself, there is not another person that can inform you what color/design option you should prioritize. Unless the manufacturer only offers a one color/design, which unfortunately does happen from time to time, you have a variety of options you can choose from.
For some of them, the options reach into the 20’s and 30’s. They typically account for nearly every color option that you could think of. This includes standard colors such as black, blue, green, white, yellow; to more creative colors such as chestnut bone, whiskey, American flag, and Emerald. At any given time, though, you do have to account for some options being out of stock.
Some designers will also allow you to choose what type of blade you want and the size of it. Say you prefer stainless steel over chrome vanadium, some will give you the choice of selecting between them. In terms of sizes, it is nice to be able to select from small knives to larger ones. Sure, you could simply look elsewhere if you wanted a differently sized pocket knife. But, what if you fell in love with the model you were looking at and did not want to sway away from it? Then, you could get the size you wanted in conjunction with the model you had your eyes on all along.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
These items are similar, but obviously, a multi-tool comes with more features. This may sound great but you must also remember that sometimes less is more. If the knife feature is something that is important to you, we recommend quality over quantity. Pocket Knives tend to have much more reliable and strong blades.
Always be sure to check the laws in your area before purchasing or traveling with a pocket knife. Many states have different rules and regulations about the length of the blade. While this may not put you in jail, you will most likely receive a fine and lose your knife.
Other Factors to Consider
Durability is always something to investigate before making a purchase. No matter how many times in your lifetime you do research on a particular product to conclude what the best option is, you can always take a customer warranty into consideration. It is one of those rare aspects that can be looked for in every single product you ever invest in. But, it never has to play a vastly important role, either. Truly, it really depends on how paranoid you are of receiving a damaged or defected part (which is certainly not a bad thing). However, if any sort of customer warranty or money-back guarantee is being offered free of charge then it could be the final aspect that puts it over the top.
Yes, it is the million-dollar question: how much are you willing to pay to get what you want? Price-wise, pocket knives can range quite a bit. There are certain models where you will have to spend upwards to a hundred dollars, while others a mere twenty dollars. A higher price generally equates to a higher quality, but some of the cheaper models can be amazing in that compartment. Pay attention to the price, but do not make it the main criteria as a cheap price does not signify a cheap product (when it comes to pocket knives).
Frequently Asked Questions
Eventually, your pocket knife is going to succumb to dirt and residue. When this happens, it is time for you to buckle down and prepare to clean it. Do not worry, though, cleaning them is a fairly simple process. The first thing you will want to do is put on a pair of gloves (to prevent an accidental cut while cleaning). Then, get a soft cloth and dump it in warm water. Proceed to wipe down both sides of the blade, with a decent amount of elbow grease.
Next up, if you happen to have rust on the blade, is to spray the blade with a lubricant (such as WD-40) on all the areas that have rust on them. Once you have let this sit for a few minutes, take a nylon pad and scrub it down again. Finally, wash the blade with soapy water, wipe it down, and then dry it off. If you missed a few rust spots, you may have to let the lubricant sit for a little while longer.
Much like grime and dirt, through human use, your blade is going to dull down over time. You never want a dull blade, which will be addressed in a second, so you want to always ensure it is as sharp as possible. No, this does not mean you have to order replacement blades. It will just take a little effort on your part to sharpen the blade and all you need to do so is a sharpening stone and a lubricant.
For the sharpening stone, if you do not currently possess one, there are several different variants available. If you decide to invest in a high-quality blade, then you may not want to settle for a cheap stone. As it is personal preference, it may be wise to experiment around with different types. Meanwhile, for the lubricant, you can use water or oil. The entire purpose of it is to reduce the heat from the friction of the stone touching the blade.
Once you get your materials, you are ready to rock. For a really dull blade, sharpen with the roughest grit side of the stone. Before you begin, apply the lubricant of your choosing right on the stone (be sure to use an adequate amount). Next, be sure to raise the knife to roughly a 10 to 15-degree angle. This will ensure the best possible sharpening possible and be sure to apply a decent amount of pressure.
Instead of going back and forth vigorously, do one long stroke multiple times (around 10-12). Do this for both sides and you will have yourself a sharpened blade.
There are times and places where you will not be able to carry around your pocket knife, but they will vary tremendously. In some countries, carrying knives in public is forbidden. But, often times there is an exception for pocket knives; it just depends on the jurisdiction. However, in certain events or places (at a school, in a courthouse, through public buildings, at a public event) they may be prohibited with no exceptions.
If you are ever nervous about going to an event with a pocket knife, conduct some research to find out if they will allow it. If you have to, you could even call ahead to make sure. Unless you are going to school or to a governmental building, most of the time you should be safe to carry it with you, though.
Throughout this entire list, you have seen the word “serrated” several times. Even though it was vaguely addressed, what exactly are serrated blades used for? For those who do not have the foggiest idea of what a serrated blade even it is, it holds the same principle of a handsaw. There are engraved teeth in the blade and they can be very helpful in certain situations. While it is not recommended to use them as a handsaw, as it will not work as well and will rapidly dull them, you can use the jagged teeth to your advantage.
As a matter of fact, if you love being in the kitchen, it will be perfect for you. Serrated blades are ideal for cutting through foods as long as they do not have a hard interior. For example, cutting through bread, vegetables, fruits, and desserts. It does a phenomenal job of cutting through these types of foods without altering their overall shape.
Remember when the safety features were discussed? Guess what, if you have not quite figured it out yet, those features alone will not ensure perfect safety. When using deadly, sharp blades there are some tips that you can keep in mind. First off, absolutely never use a pocket knife with a dull blade. This will make the knife immensely more difficult to cut through materials. Thus, you will exert more energy than you should and it could slip from your hands and injury you or someone else.
Secondly, be sure to keep common sense in mind. Properly handling a tool like this is not rocket science, so do not treat it as such. Cut away from your body when possible, never leave the blade open when not in use, do not point it at anyone in a joking matter, and if it falls do not attempt to catch it. Lastly, remember what a pocket knife is designed for and what it is not. For instance, do not use it as a pry bar!
This is probably one of the more common areas where people run into issues. Security and administration rules can be very strict when it comes to airports. Sometimes, you truly are unsure if you can carry a certain object through security. When it comes to a pocket knife, which can be technically classified as a weapon, the uncertainty is tenfold. But, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) makes it very clear on the standards of pocket knives in an airport.
On their website, the TSA has a specific section for what you can bring in carry-on or checked bags. They have a section for pocket knives and they are not allowed in carry-on bags but are so in checked bags. For an added note, they state that (in general) you are prohibited from carrying any sharp objects in your carry-on luggage.
- How to Choose the Best Pocket Knife, Advice, Aug 27, 2017 ,