The Best Knife Brands for Cooking, EDC and Survival

A survival knife

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A good knife is a must-have tool for a huge range of activities. Whether you’re cooking, camping or find yourself needing to open lots of boxes, splurging on a reliable knife can go a long way. To get the most out of your purchase, though, you’ll need to know the best knife brands.

As with many things, the best knife brand depends on what you’re looking for. To help narrow your options, here’s a look at some of the most beloved and respected in each category.

The Best Kitchen Knife Brands

A set of Japanese chef's knives

First, let’s take a look at kitchen knives. While there are tons of cool purpose-built kitchen gadgets out there, you shouldn’t underestimate the impact of a good chef’s knife. In general, these should be:

  • Full-tang
  • Sharp
  • Easy to clean
  • Have balanced weight

With that in mind, here are three of the best knife brands for the kitchen.


Wüsthof is the undisputed king of the kitchen knife. The German knifemakers have been in the business for over 200 years and have since become a favorite of chefs everywhere.

These knives come in a huge variety of both type and price. You can snag an entire set for less than $200 or spend more than that on a single blade. Across all that variety, though, you’ll find the same durability, sharpness and balance that has solidified Wüsthof in culinary history.


Are you seeing a theme here? Many of the most respected kitchen knives come from Germany. Zwilling even comes from the same town as Wüsthof, though it offers some more budget-friendly options and doesn’t have quite the same reputation.

This entry is technically a two-in-one, as Zwilling’s sister brand, Henckels, also makes some of the best kitchen knives available. However, the Zwilling line tends to be more high-end and reliable, while Henckels are a little cheaper but may not perform as well.


While German knives are the traditional choice in the West, Japanese-made knives are having a moment, too. These tend to be made of Damascus steel instead of conventional stainless, making them beautiful as well as durable. Among these, Shun Cutlery is one of the best brands you can get.

Shun makes many collections for different budgets and preferences. That said, they usually don’t come cheap. For that money, you’ll get a gorgeous, sharp knife that will last longer than anything else in your kitchen if you take care of it.

The Best EDC Knife Brands

A Benchmade folding pocketknife

The humble pocketknife is often at the core of the everyday carry (EDC) trend and can be anything but humble once you get serious about it. An EDC knife should be highly practical — a tool you can pull out for anything you encounter throughout the day. As such, a good EDC knife is:

  • Portable
  • Durable
  • Comfortable to use
  • Sharp, even with rigorous use

Here are our top three picks for the best knife brands for EDC.

Chris Reeve

Once you join the EDC community, it won’t be long until you hear someone sing the praises of Chris Reeve. The brand started as one guy in a garage with a passion for bladesmithing and is now revered among pocketknife enthusiasts.

Chris Reeve knives are expensive, but you won’t find anything else that stays as sharp for as long. You won’t find much variety in the Chris Reeve collection, but everything the brand makes meets rigorous quality standards. These are largely simple, unassuming-looking pocketknives, but they perform like nothing else and last a lifetime.


Benchmade is a more recognizable name to those outside the EDC community and another killer brand. As you might guess from the name, Benchmade focuses on precision-engineered, handmade knives instead of mass production. Consequently, they’re as carefully made, sharp and reliable as they come.

The Benchmade range has more variety than Chris Reeve and meets similar quality standards. These pocketknives are also famous for their use of high-quality steels. As a result, they come at a premium price but will hold up to more stress than a cheaper blade.


While Benchmade and Chris Reeve make impressive ultra-premium knives, you don’t need over $100 to get a good EDC knife. Spyderco is another one of the best knife brands in this category and has a much wider variety of styles and prices.

Spyderco is most famous for its leaf-shaped blades, which enthusiasts say make them more utilitarian, and a distinctive round thumb hole. Across their impressive range of products, you’ll find a focus on lightweight design, ease of use and high-quality materials. You can spend several hundred dollars on a high-end Spyderco if you want, but you can also grab one for $30 to $60.

The Best Survival Knife Brands

Two survival knives with wooden handles

The more outdoorsy crowd will want something with a little more substance. Whether you need to field dress a deer, gut a fish or have protection for a worst-case scenario, a survival knife is the thing for you. A good survival knife:

  • Has a fixed-blade
  • Is at least four inches long
  • Can take a beating
  • Has a durable, comfortable grip

Here’s a look at the best knife brands in this category.


German and Japanese knives are favorites in the kitchen, but Swedish knives reign supreme for the outdoors. Fällkniven is among the best of these Nordic knife brands. Unlike most survival knives, these laminate different kinds of steel for an optimal balance between resilience and edge retention.

Fällkniven fixed-blade knives come with a range of different handle materials and sheaths, so you can choose whichever you like the most. Most importantly, these knives are made to last, even with repeated outdoor usage, which justifies their hundred-dollar-plus cost.


ESEE, a U.S.-based company, also makes quality survival knives. These are often less eye-catching in their design but rugged and reliable in their usage.

These military-inspired knives are some of the best flat-ground blades around, especially for the price. They also come with a no-questions-asked lifetime warranty, so if you break it — which isn’t likely — you don’t have to worry about buying another.


Rounding out our list of the best survival knife brands is another Swedish company — Morakniv. Mora knives are famous for their synthetic rubber grips that make them comfortable to hold, no matter what you’re using them for. While their steel and sheath material quality may not be as high as others, these knives are also relatively affordable.

Morakniv makes a huge range of products, though the Spark and Companion are the most beloved. Many also come with flint or other survival tools, making these highly useful in a pinch. 

Get the Best Knife for Any Application

There’s a knife out there for you, no matter your budget or goal. Making the right choice starts with knowing what brands to trust.

These nine companies are the best knife brands you’ll find for cooking, EDC and survival. That doesn’t mean you can’t find quality knives outside these labels, but start here if you don’t know what else to look for. You can’t go wrong with any of these brands.

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