Pocket knives are considered as one of the most useful tools that every man or woman should have. Having one with you on your next journey will surely make things easier and more fun.
Fortunately, there are many trusted pocket knife brands that you can investigate to determine which product is the most suitable for your daily needs and activities.
A pocket knife does not necessarily need to be stored in your pocket. There are specialised knives for box-cutting, fishing, drywall, and hunting. From slicing fruits, opening a box, and to cutting seatbelt in case of a car accident, carrying one can make you prepared at all times.
Their design and features vary from one brand to another. However, looking for the right pocket knife can be difficult as there are many different features and unreliable products on the market.
Whether this is your first time to buy a portable blade or not, this guide will help you come to the right conclusion and select the best pocket knife brand for your needs. The post also includes various features and specifications of knives that you need to consider before making a purchase.
What You Need To Know About Pocket Knives
Before we proceed to the top brands, here are some aspects that you need to learn about pocket knives.
Type of Blade
Not all blades are the same, so it is essential to know which types of blades are suitable for your needs. For example, the edge of a clip point type is designed to make the tip sharp while the shape of its back is concave. This blade is used for everyday needs, but also ideal for hunting.
Another all-purpose type is a straight-back blade, which is great for slicing and chopping. It has a traditional shape that is usually applied on kitchen knives. You can also select a drop point blade, which has straight edges and slopes down to form a point. It is great for piercing and skinning, making this type of blade ideal for camping and hunting.
You will also find a spear point blade which is ideal for slicing and piercing. Needle-point blades are also great for piercing, especially when it comes to self-defence. The pen blade is commonly found on army knives and can be used for sharpening a quill.
It may not be as sharp as needle-point, but it is also good to use for small tasks. Other types of blade include trailing point, wharncliffe blade, sheepsfoot blade, tanto point, hawkbill blade, and spey-point.
Plain, Serrated or Partial Serrated
Before getting a pocket knife, another thing that you need to think about is the edge. Do you want it plain, serrated, or partially serrated? The basic type of edge is plain, and serrated edges are becoming popular recently. If you are thinking about the differences among the three, we’ve got you covered.
A plain edge lets you have more accuracy, better control, and get cleaner cuts. This type of knife is also excellent when it comes to push cuts. Another great thing about it is plain edges are easy to sharpen. The disadvantage of this type of edge is its inability to perform pull cuts.
On the other hand, serrated edges can perform pull cuts. It also does a better job when it comes to cutting sturdier materials, thanks to its extra strength from serrations.
Serrated edge knives are also thinner and let you slice or cut better than plain edges. These knives are ideal for a lot of hard sawing and cutting. If you want a pocket knife that has a mixture of both edge types, you may opt for partially serrated edges.
When checking for pocket knives, you will encounter different lengths of blades – from 2 inches small usually found on most multi-blades to 7.5 inches on single-blade knives. In most cases, pocket knives with small blades are considered as legal as long as the knife is below 2.75 inches. Small blades are also easier to carry than longer blades.
Blades from 2.75 inches to 4 inches are small yet big enough to perform more tasks. These blades usually come with a locking mechanism that lets you exert more pressure.
Long blades with over four inches are heavier and less discreet. In some locations, these knives are not allowed by the law. Before purchasing a pocket knife, it is important to check whether the knife you desired meets all requirements.
When looking for a pocket knife, some aspects that have to be considered are the opening and locking mechanism. This will give you comfort and convenience when using the knife as you will know exactly how it works. These mechanisms are also useful in case of emergencies.
The basic way to open a pocket knife is by using your hands, which are normally found on traditional pocket knives. Some of these products let your nail push the blade up while others require the use of the thumb to open the knife.
You will also find automatic or switchblade pocket knives, which come with a switch or button to open. Another popular mechanism on pocket knives is the assisted opener, which comes with an internal device that brings out the blade when you apply a certain amount of pressure to the knife.
In some areas, switchblade knives are prohibited by the law. It is best to do some research about your knife laws in your place before acquiring one.
The locking mechanism of the item will keep the blade engage to prevent it from closing or hitting onto your fingers fortuitously. Every brand offers a different system that you may want to be familiar with.
A slipjoint lock is usually found on traditional pocket knives. It uses a flat bar or spring to keep the blade in place. Knives with slipjoint are designed only for light tasks as enough pressure will move the blade back to its closed position.
Liner lock knives have a section of the liner angled to the inside, and the only way to go back to its closed position is with a manual force. One of the basic locking mechanisms is back lock, which works when the locking arm is formed with a hook.
It locks the knife with tension from the back spring. Another type of lock is mid lock, which is the same as back lock but the locking mechanism is in the middle. Other locking mechanisms that you will encounter include frame lock, which works similar to a liner lock, ring lock, and lever lock.
Number of Blades
Though a single-blade pocket knife is usually preferred, some products come with multiple blades for different uses. The best qualities of single-blade pocket knives are their small size and simplicity.
These products focus on the blade and usually come with locking mechanism. It would be best to get a single-blade if you are searching for a sturdy, all-purpose knife.
If you need a pocket knife that lets you switch from one blade to another, multi-blade pocket knives may be the best options for you. Multiple-blade pocket knives usually have two to four blades for different jobs. However, these models may not provide as much durability or strength as a single-blade pocket knife.
How to Choose a Pocket Knife
Now that you have an idea about how pocket knives work, how will you know which one is the most suitable for your needs? You can start by answering the following questions.
Where do you intend to use your knife?
Your work and activities will play significant roles when choosing a pocket knife. If you’re a mechanic looking for self-reliant and simple solutions to mechanical issues, your needs will be different from a police officer, a soldier, or a doctor.
Will you use the pocket knife daily, on camping trips, or only during the weekends? Where will you use it? Will it be exposed to extreme temperature, salt water, or high humidity? Considering your intended use will help you determine the characteristics and functions to look for in a product.
How will you carry your pocket knife?
How you want to carry the item will help you distinguish the right size of a pocket knife. For instance, a uniform with multiple pockets has a different carrying capacity than a suit with only one or two pockets.
You will find pocket knives that come with a clip. This lets the knife to stay in your pocket without worrying about dropping or sliding down. It also provides a quick access whenever needed. Knives with a pocket clip tend to be bigger in diameter.
Pocket knives without a clip take up less space and are smaller in diameter. However, these items may roll inside your pocket and carrying your knife can be troublesome.
Do you like the classic or tactical design?
Considering where you plan to use the knife and how you’ll carry it should give you an idea about which style to choose. The two main designs to choose from are classic and tactical.
Knives with classic style usually require two hands to open manually. Some products have a locking system while others don’t. The handles are usually made of bone and wood.
Tactical knives feature a locking mechanism and most can be opened with one hand. These knives usually have a pocket clip for easy transport, and the handles are often made of metal, composites, or plastic.
Many brands have built up great reputations by producing high-quality knives. Here are some of the well-known pocket knife brands that you should know about.
Kershaw is one of the most respected brands that often receive awards in the knife industry. A longtime player in the market, the company focuses on the quality of the product and being innovative.
Founded in 1974, they offer every day carrying knives, work knives, tactical knives, and sport knives for fishing, hunting, camping, and watersports. Some of the best-selling models are Leek, Scallion, and Blur.
Since 1902, Buck knives have become popular and the company name is now used for describing lock back folding knives from any brands. Buck is also one of the most iconic hunting-style knives. They release different designs and models, providing “forever warranty.” Some of Buck’s most popular knives are Cadet, Stockman, and Model 110.
Victorinox claims to the title Swiss Army knife maker. The company became the official supplier of Swiss Army knives since 2005. They offer pocket knives from small and medium to large sizes. Victorinox also releases Swiss cards, sport tools, and accessories. A few of the best-selling models are Classic SD, SwissChamp, and SwissTool RS.
Another popular brand when it comes to pocket knives, kitchen knives, swords, and related categories is Boker. The company also offers safety razors, tactical pens, knife sharpener, multitools, and sheaths.
Founded in 1839, Boker branched out into five sub-brands, including Tree Brand, Boker Plus and more. Some of their best-selling pocket knives are Boker Beer Barrel Copperhead Pocket Knife, Boker Gentleman’s Lockback Knife, and Boker Trapper.
Schrade Knives started in 1904, founded in Walden, New York. The company produced fine knives with attention to detail and tremendous quality. However, the business has changed hands a couple of times. It is currently owned by Taylor Brands LLC. Their popular models include Schrade Viper, Old Timer Minuteman, and Uncle Henry Stockman.
SOG Specialty Knives, Inc. was founded in 1986. The firm has become one of the favourite brands among tactical knife experts. This company is well-known for their military knives. They also produce other types of knives and tools made with innovative design and high-quality materials. The Aegis, Fielder, Trident, and Flash II are some of their popular models.
The Gerber Legendary Blades entered the big business world in 1939. Growing from small batches of cutlery, the company became one of the most trusted, collected, and appreciated brands in the knife industry. Their best-selling products are Bear Grylls pocket knife, Gerber multi-tools, and Gerber Gator folding knife.
Based in Golden, Colorado, the Spyderco Knives focus on quality and innovative design. This company has been accountable for the introduction of some features on most pocket knives today, such as partially serrated, pocket clip, and the hole used for opening. Among their most popular models are Endura, Tenacious, and Delica 4.
Cold Steep was founded in 1980, and it promoted the use of the tanto blade type. Their products stand out due to the durability and sharpness of the blades. The company also creates swords, machetes, tomahawks, and tools for every day carry. Some of their best-selling pocket knives are the Voyager, Espada, and Recon 1.
Started since 1889, W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co has been in the hands of astronauts and WWI soldiers. They continue to innovate and offer award-winning knives. Some individuals also collect various Case knife models as a hobby. Some of their most popular products are Peanut and Medium Stockman.
The company created Bali-Song knives when they first opened in 1988. The business expanded and increased their product line.
The Oregon based company is one of the top knife manufacturers in the United States. They claim the 3 M’s what makes them stand out: Materials, Mechanisms and Manufacturing.
Columbia River Knife and Tool was founded in 1994. Although it is one of the newest brands, it has become popular due to their innovation and passion. Some of their breakthroughs include locking mechanisms, assisted-opening mechanisms, and new serration types. A few of their best-selling pocket knives are Fire Spark, Ultimate II, and Nirk Tighe 2.
In 1996, Emerson Knives Inc. was founded by Ernest Emerson with his wife, Mary. They mass-produce custom folders and respected knives. Some of their popular models include Horseman, Super Commander, and Mini-CQC-7.
Pocket knives are a must-have tool capable of precise slicing, cutting, and opening. Having the right one can also assist you in your daily job or hunt. Any of the brands introduced throughout this post makes a suitable choice, and the type of product that you choose depends on your needs.
Some factors that will affect your buying decisions include the style of knife, price, and features that you’re after. Taking one of these useful tools with you into the heart of action can give you not only convenience but also protection in times of emergency.
Those who carry a pocket knife won’t feel the same way without it. Once you get used to having one, you may even find yourself becoming a collector soon. What do you usually use your pocket knife for and what functions does it offer?