Buy the Best: Pocket Knife Reviews


If you enjoy camping, gardening or are an outdoor enthusiast, are planning a survival weekend, or you just need a a robust, sharp and compact knife for work, then you’ll find a well-made pocket knife one of the most useful gadgets you can carry with you.

My guides will give you the low-down on the dozens of established manufacturers producing great knives … and help you work our which is the best pocket knife for you. You’ll find brands such as Schatt & Morgan, Buck, Kershaw, Benchmade, and Boker. These companies produce a wide product selection ranging from $10 to $500 but with so many features and prices, it can be confusing – so I’ve written dozens of guides and reviews to help you choose the right knife for you.

To help you with your research, I’ve put together my best folding knife comparison chart below, that lists the top ten pocket knives on the market and helps you compare blades, types of steel and other features to find the best knife for you! Or take a look at my ultimate comparison guide, with full details comparing over 60 of the best pocket knife models

Best Folding Pocket Knife Comparison Guide

Pocket KnivesOpen LengthBlade LengthWeightBlade MaterialPriceRating
Boker Folding Hunter with Faux Tortoise Handle

Boker Folding Hunter
9.25"4"5.3 oz420HC Stainless Steel$$$5
Buck 110 Folding Hunter, Lockback Folding Knife

Buck 110 Folding Hunter, Lockback Folding Knife
8.25"3.75"7.2 oz420HC Stainless Steel$4.9
Benchmade Griptillian Thumb Knife

Benchmade Griptillian Thumb Knife
8.07"3.45"3.25 oz154CM Stainless Steel$$$$4.9
Spyderco Tenacious Plain Edge Knife

Spyderco Tenacious
7.75"3.375"4 oz8CR13MOV$$4.7
Kershaw Ken Onion Leek Folding Knife with Speed Safe

Kershaw Ken Onion Leek Folding Knife with Speed Safe
7"3"3.1 ozSandvik 13C26 Stainless Steel$$4.7
Spyderco Delica4 Lightweight FRN Flat Ground PlainEdge Knife

Spyderco Delica4 Lightweight Pocket Knife
7.125"2.874"2.5 ozVG-10 steel$$$4.7
Buck 301 Stockman Folding Pocket Knife

Buck 301 Stockman Folding Pocket Knife
6.875"3"2.9 oz420HC Stainless Steel$$4.6
SOG Flash II Folding Knife

SOG Flash II Folding Knife
8"3.5"3.1 ozAUS8 Stainless Steel$$4.4
Benchmade 710 Mchenry and Williams Design Knife

Best Pocket Knife
8.8"3.9"4.5 ozD2 Steel/58-61 HRC$$$$4.3
Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS Border Guard 2 Rescue Knife -40% Serrated Tanto Blade

Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS Border Guard 2 Rescue Knife
10"4.4"8.8 oz400 Black$4.3

In this site, I take a look at pocket knives: one of the most popular accessories and gadgets for any enthusiast! Carrying a pocket knife always proves a handy and versatile tool wherever you go outdoors, at work, camping, gardening or even out on a survival weekend.

However, knowing you’d like to find the best new pocket knife is the easy part: with hundreds of models available, from the best folding knife to a survival knife, trying to narrow your search can be more difficult. This is where I can help!

The chart includes a pictures, the brand name and model, the combined blade and grip length, weight, and type of steel used. The pricing and ratings are from Amazon.com, which can change frequently based on availability and different promotions.

  • For reference: $ = under $30, $$ = $30 to $55, $$$ = $55 to $90, $$$$ = $90+
  • “Rating” is the average user rating found on Amazon.com, also a good indicator of customer satisfaction.
  • Click on the column headings to sort and compare.

Top Features of a Folding Knife

Pocket knives, including a folding knife or any of the survival knives reviewed, have just two main components – the blade and the grip – and it’s really important to choose these carefully. Look for a blade made from the best quality steel you can afford (see my guides on the differences between stainless steel, 154CM, ATS34, and 440C steel).

On the grip, look for either a decorative material or a shaped grip made of a practical material (such as G-10, Noryl GTX, Zytel, Micarta, canvas Rucarta, Grivory, and Hypalon).

Check out the comparison guide below and read my guides and reviews for more details on the advantages of each type of steel, blade and grip construction.

My Top Five Pocket Knives and Folding Knives

Any of the knives above are great options and you can’t go wrong if you choose one of my top 10; but if I had to whittle it down (pun intended) to a top 5 list, here are some quick overviews of my favorites. (Keep in mind, I go into more detail on each of these in the reviews section). So, go grab your marshmallow stick and campfire chair and lets get down to the nitty-gritty…

Benchmade 710 McHenry & Williams Folding Knife

benchmade 710 mchenry and williamsBenchmade is successfully carving its position at the top of quality knife manufacturers. They offer an exceptional line of popular designs, specifically the Griptillian and the McHenry & Williams. The 710 is unlike many tactical pocket knives in that it is designed to be a sportsman’s and outdoors-man’s folding knife. It features an overall length of 8 3/4″ inches when open and 4 7/8″ closed, with a non-serrated, satin-finished, modified clip-point blade measuring 3 7/8″ in length. Manufactured from D2 semi-stainless tool steel and hardened to 60-62 on the Rockwell scale – this knife holds a sharp edge and can withstand rigid use.

patented benchmade axis lockAnother awesome feature about the 710 is that it features the patented Benchmade AXIS lock, which in my opinion is the easiest lock to release with a single hand. The 710 McHenry Williams also offers an ambidextrous design with 420J stainless steel liners with black, Nyrol GTX grips and a reversible steel pocket clip. Overall, I love this knife, it is hands down my favorite EDC knife. >>Click here for the latest pricing and reviews on the Benchmade 710 McHenry & Williams.

SOG Flash II(FSA8-CP) Folding Knife

sog flash II pocket knifeThe story of SOG Knives is pretty remarkable, originating from a highly classified US special ops unit in Vietnam. Read the full story in this in-depth review of the SOG Flash II. Needless to say, it garners being listed as a top knife. The Flash II is a tactical folding knife featuring a Titanium Nitride coated, 3 1/2″ long, partially serrated, drop point blade made from AUS-8A hardened to 57-58 Rockwell, let’s just say this steel is very hard for a working knife of this style.

It also features SOG’s unique Assisted Technology (S.A.T) that functions via opposing coil springs, making the Flash II a pleasure to open. It just feels great in your hand as you press the release to flip the blade out. Not to worry the glass-reinforced nylon grip features a lock to keep the blade from opening unintended. This is a sexy knife, with over 200 favorable reviews on Amazon, and for under $50, this knife is a great buy. >>Click here for the latest pricing and reviews on the SOG Flash II.

Schatt & Morgan File & Wire Mountain Man Series #3 Edition #1

schatt and morgan file and wire pocket knifeToday, the brand name of Schatt & Morgan is widely recognized among knife collectors. They offer some of the highest quality American-made cutlery in existence, with the use of high quality steels and meticulous attention to fit and finish. Specifically, the Schatt & Morgan File & Wire series #3, edition #1, “Mountain Man Lock Back” is one my favorite folding knife designs due to both the history behind this iconic American knife brand and the quality of craftsmanship it displays. This knife measures 4 1/2” closed and features a flat ground 3 5/8” drop point blade made from ATS-34 steel (Rockwell hardness unknown), with a slip joint lock back design. At that size, it not only looks nice, but it also slips nicely into your pocket

In addition, it also features dark brown, worm jigged, bone handle slabs with brass liners, a lanyard loop, and high quality nickel silver bolsters. This knife is one of the finest hunting and/or every day carry (EDC) folding knives on the market today. Not only is the knife perfectly constructed, it is in my opinion, truly a work of art that is a pleasure to behold. >>Click here for the latest pricing on the Schatt & Morgan: File & Wire Series #3.

Boker Folding Hunter w/ Faux Tortoise Shell Handle

boker folding hunter pocket knife reviewAnother great one is Boker’s Classic Folding Hunter. Although this knife is available in many different handle materials, I particularly like the Faux Tortoise Shell handle slabs. This knife features high quality nickel silver bolsters which add to its beauty.

While the particular steel used in manufacturing this knife is not listed, the large clip point blade and trailing point blade each hold a nice edge and are highly corrosion resistant similar to 420 and 440 series steel. I’m also a big fan of the “Copperhead” handle shape with its curving spine towards the butt of the knife. It just contours and fits well in your hand. >>Click here for the latest pricing and reviews on the Boker Folding Hunter.

Buck 110 Folding Hunter Knife

Buck 110 Folding hunterFinally, how can I have a list of top pocket knives without mentioning the legendary Buck 110 folding hunter? I write about this model in my full review >>Click here for the latest pricing and reviews on the Buck 110.

How Do I Decide Which is the Best Folding Knife for Me?

It would be impossible for me to accurately review and list every model available. There are survival knives, a range of great folding knife, and even tactical knives on the market – but with so many different types and brands you don’t want to have to sort through every knife. I’ve made the search easier for you and have only listed ones that I would be happy buying.

Likewise, there are many different price points, and depending on your preference, you could buy the most expensive knife or be just as happy buying a more economical one… which brings me to my next point. Which one should you buy?

To answer this question, you’ll have to decide between a number of feature. For example, when you’re looking at the blade, you should think about what’s your main use and so should you look for:

  • a larger blade,
  • a serrated blade,
  • type of blade grind (hollow grinds, semi-hollow grinds, flat grinds, etc)?
  • type of blade shape do you prefer (straight back, trailing point, drop point, etc)?

What will you be using it for? Are you going to use it to just open up boxes in a warehouse or clearing out your drains or chopping up tough food for your garbage disposer unit or will you carry this along on every future camp out or to go fishing? The interactive chart above is useful for comparison, but here are four important things you must keep in mind…

The best steel? Knife blade materials

best knife blade materialThe blade is the most important part of the knife. The Rockwell Hardness of each steel indicates how well it will hold an edge. The type of steel of the blade is important for sharpness and longevity, you can read more about blade steel and blade finish here. Just keep in mind that stainless is the best to avoid rusting, and that 154CM its Japanese equivalent ATS34, and 440C are the top of the line.

Choose the right grip for your knife

pocket knife gripThe last thing you want is a knife that is uncomfortable to hold or has a handle that easily scratches/cracks. Most knife manufacturers know this and offer great fitting grips and materials such as G-10, Noryl GTX, Zytel, Micarta, canvas Rucarta, Grivory, and Hypalon. The best folding knife will have a grip made from any other those materials. Another factor to consider is the shape of the grip, there are also many different knife handle styles each designed with different purposes and use.

Overall design of a folding or pocket knife

overall pocket knife designBe conscious of the design and ergonomics of the knife. All of the knives listed on this blog are good, so keep to the selection here. One feature to keep in mind when it comes to design, is the type of locking mechanism: slip joints (non-locking), lock backs, frame locks, and liner locks. You can research more about the types of knife locking mechanisms and blade grinds here. In addition, there are three different types of opening mechanisms consisting of unassisted, assisted, and automatic. Automatics are fun, they offer a spring-loaded design that opens the knife with the press of a button; but, I would just stick with “assisted” which have thumb studs or holes for one handed opening.

Pocket Knife Reviews – my conclusions

Coming up with this list was difficult, these are all great knives. Nevertheless, I hope this article, the comparison chart and guide above, the reviews on this blog, and my tips and suggestions help you in your search for the best pocket knife. (If you want historical background, take a look at the Wiki page.) But, ultimately, finding the right knife will require you to handle some of these knives and play around with them. Albert Einstein said it best “The only source of knowledge is experience.”

Last updated: December 9, 2014 at 8:18 am

Comments

  1. Great comparison chart! Thanks for putting this together. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the Buck 301… It is one of my favorites.

    • John, you’re right the Buck 301 is a great knife! That’s why we listed it in our top 10. We’ll be reviewing it soon, stay tuned. Our blog is new, but we’re off to a great start. You can checkout more of our reviews on the “Reviews Page“.

  2. Nice chart and great info. Also appreciate the reviews. I’m a big fan of the Mini Griptilian myself. I like the griptilian knives on the sides of the site.

  3. Thank you for putting this comparison chart together Bill! Very useful. I love the Griptillian, but like you said, all of those knives you listed are great.

  4. Richard Mattingly says:

    WOW! What a nice resource. Bill, you’ve really put together a helpful guide for anybody looking to buy a pocket knife. Thanks for the nice comparison chart, and the helpful tips. I can tell you know your stuff and that your are passionate about pocket knives! Great site!

  5. Great site, nice breakdown on the different types of knives!

  6. john painter says:

    I’m glad to see my work knife on the list. Buck 301. Just got a new one. Yellow. I love it. Always carry one. Great knife.

  7. This is a great site – I am currently making research work for creating a survival kit. Your site gave me an excellent overview for all different kinds of knives. The best I’ve seen so far – and the best source for all my research work and my project. Thank you very much and keep up your good website.

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