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Kershaw Pocket Knife: A Cut above the Rest

Kershaw Pocket Knife
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

If you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed to quickly open a package or wanted to skin a wire, but you simply did not have the right tool for it, then you had the same problem as many. If these are everyday situations that you often find yourself in, then you’re very likely going to appreciate a good Kershaw pocket knife.

There are many pocket knife manufacturers out there, and several of them make a commendable job, but Kershaw not only offers high quality at an affordable price but a large selection of models as well. The knives they make are fairly reliable and they even offer free sharpening until your warranty lasts, something that not many companies do.

Kershaw Knifes

With this article, we will show you how to properly select one, and what should be prioritized when it comes down to truly-needed functionalities. We will also showcase some of the models we think stand out, and ones that should cover the need of most people who are hunting for a new knife.

Our Top Picks

ProductBlade MaterialTextSerratedPrice
Kershaw Ken Onion LeekStainless steelStainless steelNoCheck price on Amazon
Kershaw CryoStainless steel with titanium carbo-nitride coatingStainless steel with titanium carbo-nitride coatingNoCheck price on Amazon
Kershaw Volt SSStainless steelStainless steelNoCheck price on Amazon
Kershaw 1987 RJ TacticalStainless steelGlass-filled nylonNoCheck price on Amazon
Kershaw Ken Onion BlurStainless steel with DLC coatingAnodized aluminumYesCheck price on Amazon
Kershaw ClashStainless steelGlass-filled nylonYesCheck price on Amazon
Kershaw ShuffleStainless steelGlass-filled nylonNoCheck price on Amazon
Kershaw KuroStainless steelGlass-filled nylonYesCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

Depending on your own personal needs there are many things that you should look out for when trying to decide which Kershaw pocket knife is the best fit for you. A good one will never fail on you when trying to accomplish its appointed task, but to make sure this will be the case here are the most important aspects to check before deciding on which model to pluck down your hard earned cash.

Blade Material

The blade of a knife is the most important element of it (obviously). It has to be sharp and often pointy enough, so you can cut, open or even eviscerate with it. There are many different metallic and non-metallic materials used in knife production, but stainless steel is the most desired option.

Kershaw Pocket Knife Blade

This will guarantee that the blade is highly resistant for most pressure-heavy tasks, the edge won’t get dull in a short amount of time and even if it gets wet it will not rust. Stainless steel has many positive properties that simply make it one of the better blade materials.

It might push the price a bit higher, but the extra cost will almost certainly save you from headaches in the long run. Just be certain that the stainless steel is of good quality. Many manufacturers advertise this, but in reality, they use lower quality alloys in the manufacturing process.

Handle Material

No matter how good your blade is, if you cannot hold it in a pleasant way and use it without causing physical harm to yourself, the knife is pointless (no pun intended). A good, ergonomic handle is a must and in this case, there are many materials that suit the bill.

Kershaw Knife Handle

Stainless steel, aluminum, nylon and even wood might be perfectly fine for the base material, but the key thing will remain the sturdiness (so it won’t break) and how well the finishing was performed. Even if it is resistant enough that it won’t break under the pressure of a pneumatic hammer, it won’t mean anything if small pieces of metal or wood will get under your skin, while being in use.

When buying online it is highly recommended to imagine it in the palm of your hand and try to figure it out if it would be comfortable. Maybe the overall body size is smaller than needed or maybe it is just too big for it to be comfortable.

Size

The size of a pocket knife will decide several things when it will come down to usability. Can you holster it? Is it really carry-friendly? Will it fit your palm? Will it be legal to carry it? Can you actually open screws with it? How long the blade should be, or the overall length is your decision and it should be based on your guaranteed needs.

Kershaw Pocket Knife Size

Luckily for you, Kershaw offers a very large model variety. They have blades as short as under 2 inches while if you want something more heavy-duty they also offer sizes roughly five times that size.

The size of the handle and the length of the pocket knife in a closed state will be roughly the same as the length of the blade. This way, by simply finding out this one length you will actually learn pretty much every information you need regarding every key measurement.

Weight

As a pocket item, the weight of a Kershaw is of a central importance. A difference of two ounces might mean the difference between true portability or home use (again, this is mostly dependent on personal taste).

Kershaw Knife

Some people like their pocket knives to be a bit heavier so they can feel it, and to give the sense of a sturdier build. Others prioritize the higher quality and less dense material use for a lighter build. What your choice will be should boil down again to personal experience and taste.

Assisted Opening

Assisted opening systems are available for most Kershaw knives, but while most people love them, there are those who find them cumbersome or simply another extra element that might shorten the life of the tool they just bought.

Open Kershaw Knife

It will confer an extra level of ease and comfort when using the blade, but they do tend to either break faster than the normal lifetime of the blade should be, or even if they do not break, they might get stuck, or with time work slower than intended.

Lock System

Most Kershaw pocket blades come in two different lock types: frame or liner lock. Both have pros and cons and both have their respective fan base.

The frame locks are arguably the more resistant ones, that will likely last you longer. Unfortunately for them to be properly functional it will likely mean that the knife will be a bit larger than usual.

Kershaw Lock System

On the other hand, liner locks are mostly found in smaller bodies, or in pocket knifes that might have other tools incorporated. The downside is pretty obvious. They tend to last a shorter amount of time. But if you might not plan to use the knife for heavy duty tasks this might still be a great option.

Pocket Clip Type

The way a pocket clip is implemented might make the difference between a great and a somewhat unpractical pocket knife. Luckily Kershaw is pretty good at making clips that won’t irritate your hand and best of all most of their models come with fully reversible clips as well.

The reversibility comes down in most cases to the position of it on one side but they also offer several models that have the option to not only choose the side on which the clips are found but also have ones that are great for deep-carry.

Knife Clip

A deep-carry one might not be the sturdiest clip out there, but there are several states where carrying a pocket knife in a legal way might depend from this small piece of metal.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Now that we have managed to show you what we think are highly important aspects of a pocket knife, let’s look at the list of Kershaws we put together. In this list, you will find a high variety of products and we believe that most of them will fit everyone’s need in one way or another.

Kershaw Ken Onion Leek Folding Knife

Price: $35 – $40Kershaw Ken Onion Leek Folding Knife

Weight: 3 ounces

Dimensions: Overall length – 7 inches, blade length – 3 inches

Specific features: SpeedSafe assisted opening, frame lock, reversible pocket clip, bead-blasted blade and handle finish

Best use: Slicing meat, opening packages, cutting wires, cutting zip ties

If you need a pocket knife with a good drop-point blade, the Kershaw Ken Onion Leek Folding Knife might be just the one for you. This sturdy little blade is a good choice for a slicing knife and the slim tip guarantees high piercing capabilities as well.

The knife has a reversible pocket clip and their specific SpeedSafe assisted opening system has full ambidextrous support, so it will work in pretty much anyone’s hand without any issues. The slickness of the overall body also means that it is a good carrying knife.

The downside that comes with this is the overall thin blade that could break under serious side pressure. Because of this, we do not recommend it to be used for prying open wooden boxes or packages as these actions could irreversibly damage or completely break the blade itself.

The price might also seem slightly steep considering the resistance of the blade, but when the knife is held in the hand it soon becomes obvious that this is a well-designed one and if it is used properly it will be fit for most tasks.

PROS:

  • Elegant design
  • Entire body is made of stainless steel
  • Sharpness lasts a long time
  • Good weight balance
 CONS:

  • A bit expensive
  • Not recommended for prying open boxes
  • Pocket clip could be better

Related: If deep carrying is a necessity for your newly purchased pocket knife, you might want to look into the Blade4Sell Titanium Deep Carry Pocket Clip for Kershaw Leek. This clip is made of grade 5 titanium alloy for maximum resistance (hence the somewhat higher price tag) and it has a nice bead blasted finishing as well. This way you will always manage to keep your knife secured and away from the public’s eye, without the fear that it won’t be fully accessible to you.

Check the price on Amazon

Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife

Price: $20 – $60Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife

Weight: 4.1 ounces

Dimensions: Overall length – 6.5 inches, blade length – 2.75 inches

Specific features: SpeedSafe assisted opening, frame lock, quad-carry pocket clip with deep-carry capability, lock bar stabilizer

Best use: Slicing meat, opening packages, cutting wires, cutting zip ties, cutting soft metal cans, wood cutting

If affordable ruggedness is what you are looking for in a pocket knife, the Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife is most definitely a fairly good choice. The beautiful titanium carbon-nitride coating is not only practical (for added sturdiness) but it also results in a great look for the blade itself.

The SpeedSafe opening system is present in this model as well (and in most models that we are going to showcase) and the frame lock will always keep the blade in a perfectly stiff position, no matter how hard is the material that you are cutting with it.

The knife comes with a very well placed quad-carry pocket clip as well, meaning that you will be able to set it in any position you want it on both sides, and if in your region deep-carrying is a necessity you can also opt for that as well.

Even if the blade is highly rugged, sharpening will be needed on a fairly regular basis. When it is well-sharpened, it works like a charm, but with our tests, it seemed that it loses its edge somewhat quickly. Even so, this is still a top-notch choice if you are looking for a solid hiking knife.

PROS:

  • Strong blade
  • Good deep-carry clip
  • Speedy deployment
 CONS:

  • Some color options are expensive
  • Needs sharpening fairly often

Related: No matter how good the blade is, dullness will occur sooner or later, and you will be well prepared for this if you choose a Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Sharpener. This multifunctional sharpener has a diamond coated rod, carbide blades and reversible carbide and ceramic stones for pretty much every blade type one would want to sharpen with it. If you are like most of us and never get the sharpening angles right, don’t worry as this sharpener comes with preset angle settings as well.

Check the price on Amazon

Kershaw Volt SS SpeedSafe Knife

Price: $20 – $35Kershaw Volt SS SpeedSafe Knife

Weight: 4.3 ounces

Dimensions: Overall length – 7.75 inches, blade length – 3.5 inches

Specific features: SpeedSafe assisted opening, frame lock, three-position pocket clip

Best use: Slicing meat, opening packages, cutting wires, stripping wires, cutting zip ties, animal defense, peeling

Yet another great choice for a narrow, clipped tip pocket knife is the Kershaw Volt SS SpeedSafe Knife. One of the better-looking models from our list, the Volt SS is not only a showcase in class but also a surprisingly versatile tool for even the neediest user.

It comes with the well-known SpeedSafe assisted opening and the added frame lock for high stability. The frame lock might not be as solid as for other models, but it does the job, and if handled with care it could easily last you for years to come.

The blade is good enough for some heavy-duty tasks as well (like animal defense) but also for ones that need highly-detailed moves. In this regards, the knife might seem a bit heavier than other models, but the full stainless steel body is the main culprit for this, and in this case, we believe that it was the right choice from the manufacturer.

PROS:

  • Good mid-level Kershaw knife
  • Sleek design
  • Highly ergonomic
 CONS:

  • Somewhat heavy
  • Blade could be thicker

Related: If you want a sharpener that is made from the same manufacturer, you won’t go wrong with the Kershaw Ultra-Tek Blade Sharpener. This classic-style sharpener has a 4-inch steel rod with a 600-grit diamond-coated oval shaft. This is a true one-size-fits-all approach that needs some real skills to be used, but arguably one of the best solutions once you get the hang of it. The nicely-finished aluminum handle will make sure that you will be able to finish your task without hurting your hand.

Check the price on Amazon

Kershaw 1987 RJ Tactical Folding Knife

Price: $20 – $30Kershaw 1987 RJ Tactical Folding Knife

Weight: 2.8 ounces

Dimensions: Overall length – 6.9 inches, blade length – 3 inches

Specific features: SpeedSafe assisted opening, reversible pocket clip, built in flipper, stonewashed blade finish

Best use: Cutting wires, cutting zip ties, cutting cans, peeling, hardened package opening, tightening screws

The tactical knife market is oversaturated by cheap rip-offs, so if you want to make a good bet there are far worse options than the Kershaw 1987 RJ Tactical Knife. This pocket knife comes with a very ergonomic glass-filled nylon handle and a blade with stonewash finish.

At an overall closed length of four inches, this knife has a good tactical size and it makes it ideal for carrying in almost anything from a pocket to a backpack or even holstered under clothing. The heat-treated blade will resist for most tasks even if this puts a surprisingly large pressure on the blade itself.

If comfort is a must (both in usability and carry) this comes with the usual Kershaw additions like SpeedSafe assisted opening and fully reversible pocket clip (one that can easily be changed if needed for a deep-carry one).

If there is anything that might not be positive about this knife, that would ironically be its size. What results in a perfectly portable form can also be somewhat cumbersome for people with larger hands. Even in this case if you do not plan to use it on an hourly basis it will still fit the bill for a good tactical knife.

PROS:

  • Good handle
  • Thick blade
  • Sturdy feel in most cases
 CONS:

  • Stonewash finish scratches fast
  • Not the perfect fit for larger hands

Related: If you do not want to carry your knife in your pocket, you might want to look into a set a Ball Chain 30 Inch Stainless Steel Necklaces. These ball chains will help you carry the pocket knife anywhere you want: on your neck, hanging outside from your pocket or creating an easily reachable knife that you can carry in your backpack. They are made of stainless steel, but even if somehow one breaks you can still get a spare one, as this comes in a set of ten pieces.

Check the price on Amazon

Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Knife

Price: $40 – $90Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Knife

Weight: 3.9 ounces

Dimensions: Overall length – 7.9 inches, blade length – 3.4 inches

Specific features: SpeedSafe assisted opening, liner lock, reversible pocket clip, thumb stud, Trac-Tec inserts

Best use: Cutting wires, cutting zip ties, cutting cans, peeling, hardened package opening, slicing meat, cleaning fish

Another good choice for a pocket knife would be the Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Knife. This model actually comes in far more than expected variants and some of them even include a partially serrated blade as well (for cutting most anything from wood to even bones).

For an easy use the blade comes with all the usual bells, including the SpeedSafe assisted opening system, reversible pocket clip and this time around even a very well placed thumb stud.

The downside appears in the form of the liner lock (no frame lock options available) that might be less than stellar and something that could potentially shorten this pocket knives life. But if you do not force it too much it should still serve you for a fairly long time.

Depending on the color scheme and choice in what blade you want, the price can be surprisingly varied, but if you do manage to find one at the lower-end of the spectrum, this would easily become a recommended choice.

PROS:

  • Highly reliable materials
  • Durable blade
  • Well-placed serrations
  • High-quality handle
 CONS:

  • Pricey
  • Locking mechanism could be sturdier

Related: As with most knives from the Blur series, this one might benefit from a Blade4Sell Titanium Deep Carry Clip. This clip is made from the same high-grade (5) titanium alloy as every other model they produce and will make certain that your deep-carry capability is as comfortable as possible. Luckily this alloy is fairly light, so it won’t add another layer of unwanted weight.

Check the price on Amazon

Kershaw Clash Folding Knife

Price: $25 – $60Kershaw Clash Folding Knife

Weight: 4.3 ounces

Dimensions: Overall length – 7.4 inches, blade length – 3.1 inches

Specific features: SpeedSafe assisted opening, liner lock, built-in flipper, reversible pocket clip

Best use: Cutting wires, stripping wires, cutting zip ties, cutting ropes, cutting cans, peeling, hardened package opening, slicing meat

If high-grade serration is your game than the Kershaw Clash Folding Knife is a model that we would recommend to check out. The partial serration is perfect for tough materials like wood, webbing or rope, and the placing makes it fairly easy to sharpen as well.

But the serration is not the only reason why this is a standout knife. The handle is very comfortable and all the usual Kershaw options can also be found here as well (SpeedSafe, reversible pocket clip and even a built-in flipper).

This drop-point blade comes with a natural thickness as well and this means that if you need it for more demanding tasks, like opening cardboard boxes, this will handle them without any serious damage (except some potential esthetic ones).

If there is anything somewhat negative to say about it, it would come down to the size and weight of the knife. Even though it would not be impossible, in the case of the Clash, concealment might not be the easiest task. But then, this is one that most people will use on a regular basis and won’t try to conceal it.

PROS:

  • Nice finish
  • Strong blade
  • Practical serration form
  • Comfortable use
 CONS:

  • Somewhat unexpected weight distribution
  • Hard to conceal

Related: If you are having issues of concealment because of the size of a knife, you could choose to buy a Nite Ize Holster Stretch. This is a great, almost universal tool holster made of high-grade ballistic nylon. It has a sturdy clip for hip holstering that rotates for a full 360 degrees, so you can set the accessibility at pretty much any angle. A great choice for pocket knives that are not easily concealable.

Check the price on Amazon

Kershaw Shuffle Folding Knife

Price: $12 – $30Kershaw Shuffle Folding Knife

Weight: 2.8 ounces

Dimensions: Overall length – 5.75 inches, blade length – 2.4 inches

Specific features: Liner lock, built-in flipper, reversible pocket clip, deep-carry capability, flathead screwdriver, bottle opener

Best use: Cutting wires, stripping wires, cutting zip ties, cutting ropes, opening bottles, tightening screws, cleaning fish

In case portability and high concealment possibility are the keywords that you use when searching for a great pocket knife, then the Kershaw Shuffle Folding Knife is one that you should most definitely try out at least once.

The only blade on our list that has no SpeedSafe assist makes up for the lack of it in many ways. Firstly, it is not only a pocket knife as it comes with a built-in bottle opener and flathead screwdriver.

Then there is also the surprisingly small and light body. Closed, the knife measures barely more than three inches and the overall weight is less than three ounces. This makes it a great choice for a hidden carry option and even a one-size-fits-all solution for most buyers.

The handle is very comfortable and overall the look and feel of this model make this a surprisingly good option. Of course, the only downside comes from its biggest plus: size. Because it’s a fairly small knife, the types of tasks one can use it at might be limited compared to other, more robust models.

PROS:

  • Affordable price
  • Easy to conceal
  • Built-in extra tools
  • Rugged body
 CONS:

  • No SpeedSafe assist
  • Size might limit its versatility

Related: If you want to change the position of a clip, you will need a Kershaw TX-Tool. This 4.8-inch single-position and multi-functional magnetic bit driver was made for Kershaw knives in mind and it will be compatible with every model the manufacturer releases. Coming in at only 1-ounce, this tool will never become a nuisance to be carried next to your favorite blade.

Check the price on Amazon

Kershaw Kuro Folding Knife

Price: $25 – $50Kershaw Kuro Folding Knife

Weight: 3.2 ounces

Dimensions: Overall length – 7.25 inches, blade length – 3.1 inches

Specific features: SpeedSafe assisted opening, liner lock, built-in flipper, reversible pocket clip, two-step serration

Best use: Cutting wires, stripping wires, cutting zip ties, cutting heavy cordage

No list would be complete without the Kershaw Kuro Folding Knife. This knife comes with a very sturdy, partially serrated blade that can withstand almost everything one could throw at it, as it has a modified tanto blade with a very good drop point.

This means that regardless of what you need it for (piercing or cutting), this will be handled with ease. You will also be helped by the comfortable handle as well. The handle feels really good in the palm, but it does have some less than stellar build quality. This is one of the few pocket knives that could first suffer from handle problems and not blade-related ones.

One thing that makes it stand out from the rest comes from the design of the build and the patterns that appear on the handle. These do not only serve esthetic purposes but help the pocket knife in functional ways as well, making this blade a worthy contender for your money.

PROS:

  • High-quality serration
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Strong piercing power
 CONS:

  • Screws come out fairly easy
  • Thumb stud would have been nice

Related: The Kuro is a great series from Kershaw, and if you will need at one point a good sharpener, why not choose a Lansky QuadSharp Carbide/Ceramic Sharpener? This affordable tool will be a good fit for any pocket knife. And as all reliable ones this also has four pre-set sharpening angles as well (17, 20, 25 and 30 degrees) making the task of sharpening a nice and relaxing one every time.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

With this, we have managed to showcase some of the Kershaw knives that we found worthy of mentioning. Large or small, heavy or light, cheap or expensive there are plenty to choose from no matter what you are looking for.

Choose your Kershaw Knife

Now you can comfortably start searching for the one that best suit you, as we not only feel that we managed to show what would be some of our favorites but also managed to point out all the key elements you should know when browsing online for a great pocket knife.

But Kershaw is known to make some fine blades and they offer quality in a pretty high quantity. Do you know any model that you think would deserve a spot on this list? If so, please do share with us, as we always like to know what others think are good catches when it comes down to pocket knives. The comment section is down below!

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.