OUTDOORS

Best Carbon Fiber Knife: Lots of Power within the Size of Your Palm

Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

How many times have you needed to cut something during your hiking adventures only to realize your pocket knife isn’t enough? If you are sick of not having a reliable blade under hand when you are in the wild, consider looking for the best carbon fiber knife out there for the maximum convenience and effect.

A good carbon fiber knife may be essential to your outdoor kit. It is simply easier to work with a carbon fiber pocket knife in comparison to other pocket knives as they’re lightweight but strong enough. They will come in handy when you most need them and serve you for the years to come. The ideal one for you is definitely out there somewhere but would you be able to locate it among all this abundance of choices?

Carbon Fiber Knife

Don’t worry, we have come up with a guide on finding the most suitable carbon fiber knife on today’s market. On our list of items below, you will see all sorts of options and you will also become familiar with the general features of a good carbon fiber pocket knife. Read through the whole thing and make an informed buying decision.

Our Top Picks

ProductOverall LengthWeightBlade TypePrice
Cool Hand Super Light6.37 inches2.1 ouncesCeramicCheck price on Amazon
Kershaw Leek7 inches2.3 ouncesCPM 154 steel bladeCheck price on Amazon
Spyderco Bradley Folder 28.42 inches2.1 ouncesTool steel bladeCheck price on Amazon
Zero Tolerance Sinkevich7.4 inches2.7 ouncesS35VN steel bladeCheck price on Amazon
Cool Hand Scale 6.37 inches1.6 ouncesCeramicCheck price on Amazon
Case Small Lockback6 inches0.8 ouncesStainless steelCheck price on Amazon
Buck Knives Nobleman7.75 inches2.6 ounces440A steelCheck price on Amazon
Schrade SCH405 5.6 inches1.1 ouncesCeramicCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

Similar to most items in our everyday life pocket knives also share common features. Our goal is to make things as clear to you as possible and this is why we will highlight the most distinguished characteristics of a good folding knife. Some of them depend entirely on your preference and are impossible to categorize as right or wrong.

Length of Parts

A pocket’s knife main purpose is to be a compact tool for quick use. However, you still need to feel comfortable holding it. Additionally, the blade has to be large enough so that it can actually be functional. After all, you aren’t looking for a nail clipper.

Carbon Fiber Knife Length

Pay attention to the length of the blade and see if it is good for you. If you are to use your pocket knife to cut paper or clothing then a shorter blade might be alright. In case you plan on preparing food in the wilderness or peeling some bark of trees, then maybe getting a slightly longer blade is in order.

The same goes for the handle. Larger palms require longer handles. The overall length of your pocket knife is relevant only to the way you carry it and in case you want to buy a sheath for it.

Handle Composition

While this guide is all about reviewing carbon fiber pocket knives, you will notice that some items fluctuate from that norm. It is up to you whether you want to obtain a piece with a complete carbon fiber handle or not. It is tough to say if there is a wrong choice here – we can only present you with as many options as possible. Some knives feature 100% carbon fiber handles while others only have a coating that resembles the material.

Knife Handle Composition

Titanium is also featured in many pocket knives and you should know that such items tend to be a little bit more expensive. Look for a back spacer for extra protection or maybe only steel rivets in the handle which will make it easier for you to clean your knife.

Textured handles are also fairly popular and that’s quite understandable. Getting a knife with enhanced grip is always the way to go as you want both safety and smooth operation. Contouring also matters and the better knives have their handles with ergonomic design.

Clip

The clip of your pocket knife is an essential component as it affects its portability directly. A clip allows you to carry your piece inside of your pocket without worrying that you might lose it. Additionally, this will save some more room in your pocket for more EDC things.

Carbon Fiber Knife Clip

Image credit: knifeart.com

The clip allows for a lot of versatility as well. There are models with reversible clips which can be placed on either side of the handle. Many models have the so-called “tip-up, tip-down” clips and thanks to them you can have your knife facing upwards or downwards depending on preference.

A static clip is not the end of the world although it is somewhat one-directional and will be pretty demanding. Typically the material is steel although titanium can also be used for that part.

Durability

It is quite obvious that a durable knife is a good knife. Sure, we all want to have a convenient handle, lightweight frame and what not but if our precious pocket knife gets damaged easily then we are likely not going to use it a lot.

Ceramic blades or carbon fiber ones are very good looking. They also tend to stay sharp the longest and will be very effective when dealing with food or paper. These blades, however, break easily and get chipped really quickly. The key to maintaining such a blade is to never expose it to hardcore action.

Knife Durability

Stainless steel blades are the way to go but you need to know that there are differences there too. Some types of steel can still catch rust while others are corrosion resistant. It is all about conducting the right research and we have done exactly that for you in our guide. Handles with bad coating will also show wear very easily especially on the edges.

Additional Mechanisms

The extra parts of a pocket knife can really make a difference when selecting the one for your needs. Make sure you check the lock in order to see how stiff the blade is when unfolded. You want stability there in the name of safety and efficiency. If the blade isn’t stable then it may turn out to be compromising.

Thumb studs are also a great part to have as they allow for a very rapid unfolding of your piece. Furthermore, these jimpings will allow for a better grip of the handle as they have notches carved up in them. Some knives do not have such a mechanism and you need to open them by pulling with your fingers. This is a rather slow and annoying way of deploying your knife.

Knife Mechanisms

Image credit: euro-knife.com

The folder is just as important especially because it is connected to the blade. This part often malfunctions when not constructed properly. On top of it all, you want it to be made out of steel because titanium is a softer metal and when it touches a steel blade, both surfaces might deteriorate quicker.

Best Products on Today’s Market

This is where our list of reviewed pocket knives begin. We have comprised a wide array of items in our write-ups in attempt to give you some luxury as well as budget options. You will also notice that while most of the knives are universal, some of them are niche specific items.

Cool Hand Super Light Carbon Fiber Folding Knife

Price: Approx. $56Cool Hand 3.75'' Super Light Carbon Fiber Folding Knife

Weight: 2.1 ounces

Dimensions:  Blade length: 2.75 inches, overall length: 6.37 inches

Specific features: Lightweight, stiff clip, 3.75-inch handle, carbon layers, carbon/ceramic blade, Lanyard holes

Best use: Cutting light things, preparing food.

The first carbon fiber knife we are about to review in this article is a below average one in terms of pricing. Whether this is also the case when it comes to its functionality, we will find out. The Cool Hand Super Light Carbon Fiber Folding Knife is indeed going to look exceptionally appealing to buyers. It just has that special carbon fiber look on its blade and handle. You can even see the layers.

It is also lightweight making it compact and easy to carry. When it comes to sharpness it is also fairly sharp and effortlessly cuts through carton and paper. The edge is pretty decent making the knife effective in the thrust as well. There is a stiff clip on the back allowing you to put it under your belt without worrying that it will fall off.

Even though it has the looks, it is apparent that the designers wanted to make it feel like the real thing. It even smells like carbon. There is no glossy finish so it is as if they are telling you “This is a big boy knife”. However, questions can be asked regarding its durability.

Being so light, the knife and its carbon fiber/ceramic blade is not exceptionally sturdy. In fact, the blade will start chipping if you abuse it a lot. Furthermore, you cannot use the knife for prying as it will break.

The folding knife is sharp but not exactly strong. It is hard to use it as your EDC (Every Day Carry) knife as it is mostly about looks. Can handle easy tasks at home as durability is questionable.

PROS:

  • Neat, easy to carry
  • Lightweight
  • Sharp, stabs easily
  • No needless gloss
 CONS:

  • Easy to break
  • Blade chips
  • Cannot be your everyday knife

Related: Complete your self-defense kit with the Shomer-Tec Carbon Fiber Ventilator. It is disguised to look like a regular pen but can be your last ditch self-defense option. While the “pen” is made out of carbon, it is also covered with a special tacky coating to enhance your grip. Along with this carbon tube, you also get a regular pen cap.

Check the price on Amazon

Kershaw Leek Carbon Fiber Utility Pocket Knife

Price: Approx. $75Kershaw Leek Carbon Fiber Utility Pocket Knife

Weight: 2.3 ounces

Dimensions:  Blade length: 3 inches, overall length: 7 inches

Specific features: CPM 154 steel blade, carbon fiber textured handle, reversible clip, stonewashed finish, corrosion resistant blade, opens by a flipper or thumb studs, slim design, back spacer

Best use: Backyard work, medium-sized outdoor tasks

Practicality radiates immensely from this next carbon fiber knife we are going to review. The Kershaw Leek Carbon Fiber Utility Pocket Knife will provide you with a fantastic option both for survival situations in the forest as well as a safe defense weapon. There are very few drawbacks to it given the fact the even the price is by far not the highest you will see in our guide.

The blade of this item is made out of CPM 154 steel with stonewashed finish. The actual carbon fiber part is the handle. It is also textured to allow for a better grip. A case can be made that the handle is a little shorter than expected allowing only for a 4-finger grip and people with larger hands will be able to use even fewer fingers on it.

The blade has enhanced wear resistance along with corrosion resistance. This paired with the stonewashed finish shows you that this knife was designed in such a way so that it can hide casual wear. Additionally, it opens pretty rapidly and you have two ways to do it. One would be to use the flipper and the other – by pressing the thumb studs.

Inspecting the handle further shows us that it has steel liners along with a back spacer so that it can protect your palm from the cutting edge of the blade when closed. It also features a reversible clip and when you tuck the piece away, you can have the tip up or down depending on your own preference.

The slim design makes it disappear in your pocket giving you enough real estate for more things in there. Consider this to be one of the better value for money knives you will encounter. Get this knife if you are looking for an everyday companion in the forest or your backyard.

PROS:

  • Stainless steel blade
  • Tough to damage
  • Rapid flipper
  • Reversible clip
  • Not big and bulky
 CONS:

  • Price is above average
  • Handle is not long enough

Related: Keep your folding pocket knife intact by maintaining it regularly and what’s more important, properly. Buy the Sentry Solutions TUF-GLIDE and polish your blade. The TUF-GLIDE has a number of ingredients some of which resemble paint thinner. After all is set and done, the liquid evaporates leaving behind a non-toxic film.  It is like some extra coating for your pocket knife.

Check the price on Amazon

Spyderco Bradley Folder 2 Carbon Fiber Folding Knife

Price: Approx. $145Spyderco Bradley Folder 2 Carbon Fiber Folding Knife

Weight: 2.1 ounces

Dimensions:  Blade length: 3.6 inches, overall length: 8.42 inches

Specific features: Tool steel blade, 4.82-inch handle, carbon fiber handle, thumb jimping, universal clip, textured handle, hollow grind CPM M4

Best use: Hardcore bushcraft tasks, everyday use

Now we will take a deep dive into the world of carbon fiber knives mainly in terms of pricing. The Spyderco Bradley Folder 2 Carbon Fiber Folding Knife has a three-digit price of about $145 and it is our goal to determine if it is really worth it. The model represents a collaboration between Spyderco and Bradley – household names in this industry.

Looking at the blade, we see that has a hollow grind CPM M4 steel. The edge retention is really good. An important drawback here is that the material is actually tool steel and not stainless steel. This means you will need to maintain your blade in a good shape in order to avoid the emergence of rust and corrosion.

The knife is really easy to hold as the carbon fiber handle is of the highest quality and design. It is textured and also accommodates two steel liners. It is made out of two parts connected by standoffs for easier cleaning while still protecting your hand from the blade when folded.

You can maintain a nice grip on the knife also thanks to the notches you find on the “hump” of the blade. This is also called thumb jimping and it is very effective. The same jimping can be found on the bottom and its purpose is to allow you to access the layer lock. It compensates for the lack of a finger cutout while at the same time keeps the design looking clean.

The clip is universal as you can move it to either side of the handle depending on the fact whether you are right or left-handed. It also allows for a tip-up and tip-down carry. This knife is for pros looking to spend money on a name brand item for maximum quality and beautiful design.

PROS:

  • Good edge retention
  • Comfortable handle
  • Universal clip
  • Durable
 CONS:

  • Steel is not stainless
  • No finger cutout on the bottom
  • Pricey

Related: Sharpening your blade is best done using the Spyderco Tri-Angle Stone. Stay in the family of the same brand as your knife and enjoy the ultra-fine ceramic triangular rods of your sharpener. It can handle even serrated edges. Unfortunately, you cannot buy it in a set with other Spyderco items.

Check the price on Amazon

Zero Tolerance Sinkevich Carbon Fiber Knife

Price: Approx. $180Zero Tolerance Sinkevich Carbon Fiber Knife

Weight: 2.7 ounces

Dimensions: Blade length: 3.25 inches, overall length: 7.4 inches

Specific features: Titanium frame lock, S35VN steel, carbon fiber handle front, textured handle, KVT opening system, made in the USA, aluminum back spacer

Best use: Tough outdoor projects, everyday use, carving

It is going to be rather difficult to find any disadvantages about this next pocket knife we are going to review below. The Zero Tolerance Sinkevich Carbon Fiber Knife is by far the most expensive piece on our list and for a good reason. Its design features a blade with a sand finish on the edge and stonewash on the flats.

The thickness of the blade will also impress you given the fact we are talking about a 3.25-inch blade. The steel is S35VN along with DLC coating. Not only that the blade is exceptional but it also has a number of support features that really make it functional and easy to use.

For instance, the back spacer of the handle is aluminum and has notches also known as jimping. The KVT ball-bearing system aids the opening mechanism greatly and ensures a smooth operation. The semi-open back construction allows for easier cleaning.

The handle as you might suppose is really special. It is made out of carbon fiber but that’s only the front side. It has a colored weave and the color actually resembles rust. It has nice curves, allowing for a firm grip. The other side of the handle, however, features a titanium frame lock. This side is smooth on touch and it also accommodated the clip.

It is important to mention that the clip isn’t very versatile at all. It is a single position, tip up, right-hand clip. You cannot change its position at all. A nice touch is the addition of a steel lock bar insert. It prevents the titanium from interacting with the steel blade in order to prevent wear. You can only have the insert replaced instead of the whole handle or blade.

A fine EDC knife which will set you back a significant amount but will satisfy every requirement you might have to a pocket knife.

PROS:

  • Thick blade
  • Aluminum back spacer
  • Stonewashed blade
  • Titanium frame lock
  • Reliable and durable
 CONS:

  • One-dimensional clip
  • Expensive

Related: Part of maintaining your pocket knife in top form is oiling it. Get a hold of the Nano-Oil NanoLube Anti Friction Concentrate and have your metal friend smoothened out. Don’t put too much so you won’t clog the folding mechanism but apply it sparingly. The cap will prevent any excess material from spilling.

Check the price on Amazon

Cool Hand Carbon Fiber Scale Folding Pocket Knife

Price: Approx. $40Cool Hand 3.75'' Carbon Fiber Scale Folding Pocket Knife

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Dimensions:  Blade length: 2.75 inches, overall length: 6.37 inches

Specific features: Ceramic blade, carbon fiber handle, tip-down clip, gift box, stainless steel liner

Best use: Domestic use, paper cutting

The Cool Hand Carbon Fiber Scale Folding Knife will present you with an option similar to the one we already reviewed on this list. In fact, the length of the blade and the overall length are the same. The design is not significantly different but here we do not have a blade decorated in the same way as the handle.

Speaking of the blade, again it is non-metal and non-magnetic. This leaves just one more option – ceramic. This can be both a blessing and a curse. Ceramic blades are always sharp but they can get easily damaged. The main drawback of the knife is that it simply cannot be your EDC knife.

If you use it for hardcore work, then the blade will start chipping or will simply break in half. The handle is nice as it is carbon fiber made and has a stainless steel liner. If you want to sharpen it, use a wheel or a high grit belt.

Additionally, you get a lanyard hole. The box is really nice and will turn this knife into an excellent present. But all in all, there’s nothing special about this knife – even the clip is just a tip down style one.

PROS:

  • Cheap
  • Great design
  • Beautiful gift box
 CONS:

  • Not durable
  • Clip not versatile
  • Small in size
  • Too light
  • Blade is easy to damage

Related: Don’t ever allow for any accidents to happen when you use your pocket knife. Be equipped with the Comkes Cut Resistant Gloves and always have your hands protected. This pair is made out of high-quality polyethylene which makes them completely cut resistant. The grip is also enhanced making it easy for you to utilize your pocket knife.

Check the price on Amazon

Case Small Carbon Fiber Lockback Pocket Knife

Price: Approx. $60Case Small Carbon Fiber Lockback Pocket Knife

Weight: 0.8 ounces

Dimensions:  Blade length: 2.2 inches, overall length: 6 inches

Specific features: Carbon fiber handle, Tru-Sharp technology for the blade, stainless steel blade, steel rivets in the handle, no clip, US made, Tumbler for folding

Best use: Precision tasks, everyday use

This is the knife with the smallest blade that we will review but it doesn’t mean it is useless in any way. The Case Small Carbon Fiber Lockback Pocket Knife features a stainless steel blade with the Tru-Sharp technology. The blade also falls into the drop point category which makes it excellent for cutting and carving.

The handle is carbon fiber made and it does not have any steel liners. There are however steel rivets in it for extra strength. Folding it is fairly easy using the Tumbler which is right on top of the handle. This pocket knife will give you durability and safety when it comes to home use. Its small blade will give you precision but will struggle with large projects.

While it is a convenient small home knife, there is one significant disadvantage when you want to carry it around. There is no clip so you are forced to just put it in a pocket or a bag. Because of the size of this pocket knife, you might end up losing it easily. Other characteristics are that the item is absolutely featherweight with its 0.8 oz. and it is also US made.

PROS:

  • Featherweight
  • Tru-Sharp
  • Carbon handle
  • Tumbler for folding
  • Steel blade
 CONS:

  • Might be too small
  • Rather expensive for what it offers
  • No steel liners
  • No clip

Related: Who says carrying a pocket knife cannot be aesthetic. Buy the Case Hobo Sheath and tuck your Case folding knife away. It is made out of genuine leather and also features a stamped “Hobo” logo in front. The sheath will give you convenient and easy access to your pocket knife right on your belt.

Check the price on Amazon

Buck Knives Nobleman Carbon Fiber Knife

Price: Approx. $25Buck Knives Nobleman Carbon Fiber Knife

Weight: 2.6 ounces

Dimensions:  Blade length: 3.75 inches, overall length: 7.75 inches

Specific features: Titanium coating, 440A steel, thumb studs, riveted handle, carbon fiber coating on the handle, rubberized coating, tip-down clip

Best use: Everyday carry, small backyard projects

With the Buck Knives Nobleman Carbon Fiber Knife you will receive a compact blade which will hold up pretty decently in domestic situations. This knife is not going to be able to handle a lot of beating although its durability is pretty fair. This is mostly due to the 440A stainless steel out of which the blade is made. This type of steel is rust-resistant.

Additionally, the blade has titanium coating which gives it extra strength. It is easily deployed through the thumb studs. Once it is open, the knife has a decent lock up although the blade will move a little to the left and to the right. This is one of the reasons as to why you shouldn’t expose it to a lot of beating.

As far as the handle goes, this is the only model that features a “so-so” handle. Most importantly, it is NOT made out of carbon fiber. Only the coating resembles this material but it’s not the real thing. The left side has a rubberized coating, while the right side doesn’t. That’s because of the clip which is located there. Wear will be visible on the handle.

The pocket clip has only one configuration and this can also be taken as a setback. However, the thing is easy to clean as there is no back spacer in the handle but only rivets. It is fair to say that the Buck Knives Nobleman Carbon Fiber Knife is a middle of the pack item which price makes it a decent value option. This knife can definitely be used as an EDC item if you are on a budget.

PROS:

  • Cheap
  • 440A stainless steel blade
  • Titanium coating
  • Compact and fairly durable
 CONS:

  • No carbon fiber parts
  • Lock up is not so steady
  • Easily shows wear on handle
  • Clip is static

Related: Complete your EDC set by adding the ASP Pocket LED Pen Light to it. It fits in a pocket and can be carried there along with your folding knife. It is powered by just one AAA battery and also features a tempered glass optical lens. The heavy-duty aluminum body will protect your flashlight from damage.

Check the price on Amazon

Schrade SCH405 Liner Lock Folding Knife

Price: Approx. $25Schrade SCH405 Liner Lock Folding Knife

Weight: 1.1 ounces

Dimensions:  Blade length: 2.4 inches, overall length: 5.6 inches

Specific features: Lightweight, carbon fiber ergonomic handle, tip-up and tip-down clip, ceramic folder, ceramic blade, Liner Lock safety

Best use: Light tasks in the woods, food preparation

This last item on our list of reviews will be an excellent companion for your family outings in the wood or during a picnic. The Schrade SCH405 Liner Lock Folding Knife features a ceramic blade making it not exceptionally reliable when looking to strip the bark off lumber. However, the lack of rust makes it easy for the piece to handle food preparation as well as paper cutting.

The knife is very compact and yet tough with its 5.6 inches in total length. The drop point blade stands at 2.4 inches in terms of length. The whole thing is lightweight as it will stop the scale at 1.2 oz.

Unfolding the knife can be achieved with either hand as the ambidextrous thumb hole is universal. Anyway, there is no button to be pushed for the blade to pop. Opening it is slow so you cannot use it in an emergency situation which requires quickness.

The handle really has all the cool features you want in a carbon fiber handle. It is lightweight but very tough. It also has ergonomic contouring made out of graphite fibers. Holding the knife and maintaining control over it is not a challenge. This design promises you a very good grip. There is also a Liner Lock safety to protect your fingers from accidental closure.

Among the small accessories on the handle, we find a ceramic folder which interacts with the blade as well as a steel tip-up, tip-down clip. Great knife to have in your pocket when encountering little challenges during a trail-run or a picnic.

PROS:

  • Ceramic folder
  • Liner Lock safety
  • Handle is ergonomic with good grip
  • Has a convenient thumb hole
 CONS:

  • A little too small and short
  • Ceramic blade cannot take a lot of use
  • Slow to open

Related: One big part of your EDC and outing kit is going to be your watch. Opt for the CakCity Digital Sports Watch as it will compliment all of your other items you have in your pocket during a trail-run. It has large digits on its screen and is fully shock resistant. It is also waterproof but buttons should not be pressed underwater.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping Up

It seems like no pocket knife is useless regarding of its price. We hope that you have not only liked our guide but have also found it to be pretty useful in helping you choose a folding knife to your liking. Don’t hesitate to explore each option carefully before making a final decision.

After all, everyone wants to spend their money wisely and a knife is not a toy but a rather important everyday tool. Keep in mind every factor we have listed and then click “order now” whenever you feel confident. Do you have a favorite when it comes to carbon fiber knives? If that’s the case, then feel free to leave us a comment and let us know – we’d love to hear back!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.