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Are you a knife guy or knife gal? Truth be told, you don’t actually need to have a gigantic collection of folding and fixed-blade knives. All you require is one or two well-chosen pieces to fill out your everyday carry knife collection. Why own a hundred knives when you can invest wisely in just a few pieces that will easily tackle any task you bring them?
We’re here to introduce you to some of the best folding pocket knives money can buy right now – to help you start your collection, or find your next pocketable obsession. The focus is everyday carry (EDC), so folding knives (vs. a fixed blade) probably makes the most sense for the most people. Get your whetstones ready and let’s dive in!
1. Opinel No. 08
It’s possible there’s no better value in the knife world than the made-in-France Opinel No. 08. Opinel got started making knives in 1890, and their designs are still some of the most iconic and durable you’ll find anywhere. For an everyday carry knife, we especially recommend the No. 08 with lanyard in natural beech wood. It also comes in blue, red, green, burgundy, and dark brown, although these don’t show off the wood’s grain as well.
This Opinel costs just $20, but it punches far above its weight. The blade is 3.28” long and is made from 12c27 stainless steel. You’ll know Opinel knives for their incredibly simple but elegant designs, where the knife blade is manually locked securely in place with a rotating ring. The No. 08 is elegant and capable – and you can take it anywhere effortlessly – but it won’t cut thicker materials as well as pricier knives.
2. CIVIVI Elementum
Thanks to quietly and consistently solid build quality and appealing materials and designs, CIVIVI has become a popular dark horse of the everyday carry knife community. The Elementum exemplifies what sets CIVIVI’s value proposition apart from the rest. At just over $61, the Elementum is almost literally a steal.
The blade is 2.96” long and is fashioned from tough D2 steel. The handle “scales” come in a wide variety of colors, each made out of durable, pleasingly textured Micarta. Other variants of the Elementum feature brass handles, if you’d prefer an all-metal design. Reviewers praise the knife’s value, the smoothness of its open/close action, and the well-balanced feel it gives in the hand. The secure steel pocket clip makes sure the knife stays where you put it.
3. Doug Ritter RSK Mk1
Lots of EDC enthusiasts swear Doug Ritter broke the mold when he released the RSK Mk1. Ritter is a famous knife rights activist and was previously the designer at Benchmade known for beloved designs like the Griptilian. In fact, the Griptilian is so beloved that in some circles it’s practically synonymous with the phrase “everyday carry knife.”
The Doug Ritter RSK Mk1 is a lesser-known but possibly superior knife compared to the Benchmade Griptilian. They look similar, but knife enthusiasts frequently say Ritter raised the bar for design and material choices in his RSK series. It comes in your choice of four colors and features a 20CV carbon stainless blade. The handles are ultra-durable G-10 micarta. Three generations of knife design expertise went into the RSK Mk1, which is belied by its relatively humble price tag of $169. The mini version of the Mk1 will set you back $149.
4. Spyderco Paramilitary 3
The Paramilitary (“Para”) collection from Spyderco consistently receives rave reviews and top billing in “best everyday carry knife” listicle roundups. There are several good reasons for this. For a start, the Paramilitary 3 adds S45VN stainless steel, which is just about the toughest steel you can get in a folding knife right now.
The Para 3 also features Spyderco’s distinctive hole-punch cutout in the full-flat grind of the blade, along with the distinctively butter-smooth open/close action. The knife was deliberately designed to support opening and closing with just one hand, making it ideal for spur-of-the-moment tasks in the field. The Para 3 will set you back $231, but it might be the last knife you have to buy.
5. Chris Reeve Sebenza 31
If you have your mind set on being a one-knife guy or gal, you want to know that knife won’t fail you no matter how harsh the conditions get. There’s a good chance you want to be able to disassemble the knife to clean it, lubricate it, and keep it folding smoothly. It also wouldn’t hurt if the guy who designed the knife was also the inventor of the rock-solid frame-lock knife.
The Sebenza from Chris Reeve delivers all those things, plus heirloom-level build quality, for a price. The Sebenza 31 costs $425, which is close to twice the price of the Spyderco, but this is a knife you could pass down to your kids and grandkids. Solid titanium scales sandwich a generously proportioned drop-point blade, and the knife includes everything you need to take it apart and lubricate it. The pocket clip is one of the most secure you’ll find on an EDC knife.
Ready to Find Your Perfect Everyday Carry Knife?
Still wondering how to find the perfect everyday carry knife for your needs? There are thousands to choose from! Still, there’s just a small handful of things to prioritize as you make your selection. If it’s an EDC knife you want, look for:
- A lightweight knife that doesn’t sacrifice durability.
- A design that is easy to clean (and possibly service).
- A secure, well-designed pocket clip to keep it secure in your pocket or bag.
- A comprehensive warranty with a generous duration.
If you can find these things, you just might have a new favorite EDC knife on your hands! Remember – there’s nothing wrong with building a huge knife collection! We get it, and the lads and ladies in the Knives Subreddit will definitely welcome you! But what might be even more impressive is building a small collection of hand-chosen tools and doing more with less.