Pocket Knife Reviews – 2023’s Best Pocket Knives

Does a pocket knife sound more like a toy to you? If so, you’d better reconsider this. These small knives are important tools that can be carried by anyone and which were proven vital in many situations. Pocket knives have been around for a long time – for centuries, actually. The range was diversified continuously, and modern technologies made it possible to expand the possibilities greatly. Thus, you will see that these knives have turned into complicated gadgets. Should you go for one of these or pick a simple, basic model? We will help you find the answer to this question and other questions you may have and let you find the best pocket knife for yourself.

Wading through the many options on the market is not easy, though. We will help you make an informed choice by pointing out the best pocket knives available.

What a Pocket Knife Is Good For

It’s not that pocket knives can’t be sturdy or extremely sharp. It’s their size that limits your work. Therefore, you can’t use a mini knife, no matter how easy to cut through thick branches. Instead, you will still have a complete range of situations in which it may come in handy. A good knife of this kind has an endless amount of uses. A mini knife will do the following and more:

best pocket knife
  • can help someone who’s been in an accident by cutting the seat belt,
  • can cut rope, wire, and cord to free someone,
  • will help when fishing,
  • will aid in preparing food,
  • can help with a great range of farmers’ tasks,
  • can cut open envelopes and boxes,
  • will sharpen things etc. 

What Pocket Knives Are Not Good For

You can figure this out first by matching the size of the blade with the task at hand. For a heavy-duty tool, you would better get a survival knife, conceived especially for the wilderness. Pocket knives aren’t necessarily for survival purposes but rather for daily tasks. You may just need these around the house when you go on a trip, at work, and so on. Also, pressure or stress represents another important matter. Because small knives usually have a mobile mechanism, they will fail when attempting to take on a too difficult job.

Use logic and common sense when choosing your knife. Match it with your needs – don’t buy a very small one if you need something bigger and vice versa. Think that you will not buy a sword to cut vegetables in the kitchen. Also, don’t purchase a model because it looks great and has a ton of nice features if you don’t need these. It will be a pain to search for the blade when you must use it quickly. There are pocket knives – the multi-tool type, which has as many as 87 distinct implements!

What to Look For in the Best Pocket Knife

Pocket knives come in many shapes and types. First of all, we advise you not to fall for their appearance, at least not before you identify which type suits your requirements. Whichever type you look for, let the following be a guide for you. These are the common traits of good pocket knives:

  • Overall quality – reliable materials, a good make (an established brand),
  • A blade length of 3-4 inches,
  • Not too many add-ons because these will make it heavy and also difficult to use,
  • Less moving parts, because it will last longer,
  • A locking blade,
  • A glass-reinforced nylon handle, which is more durable,
  • A coated blade,
  • An anti-slip system (preferably a textured handle). 
best pocket knife

When choosing, you must become aware of your needs – What will you be using this knife for? Is the blade long enough? What kind of point should it have? Will you cut cords and such so that you need a blade with a serrated section?

The heavier the workload, the larger the blade needs to be when it comes to mini knives. You will find many different lengths. The differences are not too big, but they always matter.

The brand is another important aspect. Well-known knife brands make use of good materials, while others will just employ cheap ones. Even if an ordinary brand knife looks very sharp and sturdy and performs well when testing it, it will fail you shortly. Poor materials will make it lose its edge quickly and will make the moving mechanisms become loose. Check our recommendations for the best pocket knife, and you will not go wrong.

Four Styles of Mini Knives

  1. The Jack Knife
  2. The Pen Knife
  3. The Multi-Purpose Knife
  4. The One-Handed Opening Knife 

Jackknife features one hinge at one of its ends and has at least 2 blades. Pen knives have a hinge in each end, carrying 2 to 3 blades. Each of the blades has a different purpose. This type is usually lightweight and can be hardly noticed when carried around. A multi-purpose knife is a very popular gadget. It can incorporate scissors, openers, tweezers, and more. All the added features may just become an annoyance, though, if you need nothing more than a blade. The one-handed opening refers to a blade that can be opened employing just one hand. This requires your thumb – to place it over the hole at the end of the knife to slide it open. You will manage so in one simple gesture.

best pocket knife

The Best Folding Knife for Your Pocket

It may not sound like a good idea to get a mini pocket knife that has a chance of failure. As we know, folding knives do not take as much stress and can fold back when the pressure is too big. Fortunately, pocket knife manufacturers have come up with a great solution. The best folding knife to use is a lock-blade knife. The blade, when fully opened, is locked in place by a mechanism. To close it back, you have to use the lever in the end and thus undo the lock. This solution is great when you are looking for a stable blade. You may hear that slip joint blades also keep in place, but this spring-based mechanism doesn’t match the lock blade one.

Multifunctional: The Swiss Army Knife

If you are looking for more than just a knife, here is one of the most efficient of the small pocket knives. The Swiss Army knife has several blades of different types and is also a screwdriver or can opener. Moreover, it features tweezers, a toothpick, a ruler, a compass, a keyring, a magnifying glass, a nail file, scissors, pliers, and more. Recent models even include a USB flash drive, an LED light, a digital clock, etc. It’s been said that one such piece could even help one escape a well-secured prison. All its blades and tool can be folded away into the handle when not in use. The original manufacturer is now known as Victorinox. The versatility and perfect economic design made this knife a highly popular one, being recognized worldwide.

Easy to Maneuver: The Single Blade Pocket Knife

Those who are looking for a strong tool that is easy and quick to unfold and use should turn to the single-bladed knife. Single-bladed models that come with locks to hold the blade in position are the best. Also, these ideally have a mechanism or feature that lets you open the blade in just one gesture, with one hand only. Handling it comes easily. For most of the general tasks, you won’t need more than one blade. For a really small pocket knife, look for a folding one.

Need proper, actual examples of what rules the market? Here is a series of pocket knives with a fabulous rating, along with the main reasons why they are getting loved by people.

Our Top Picks for the title of Best Pocket Knife

Ken Onion’s Kershaw Leek

Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter Knife with Finger Grooves and Leather Sheath
  • RAZOR SHARP CLIP POINT BLADE- 3-3/4" 420HC stainless steel clip blade has excellent strength , edge retention and is corrosion resistant. The Clip blade has a very sharp controllable point, and is good for detail work, piercing and slicing
  • STRENGTH AND SAFETY - Easy to open with a nail notch on the blade. The lockback mechanism locks the blade open for reliable strength and safety while you work. Closed Length 4-7/8" Weight 7.2 oz.
  • AN AMERICAN ICON - Classic handle and brass bolsters provide a perfect combination of beauty and balance. The 110 Folding Hunter, after 50 years is still one of America's best selling knives, and one that's handed down from generation to generation
  • CONVENIENT CARRY- Includes a genuine high quality protective leather sheath with snap fastener. The integrated belt loop allows for safe and secure carry on your belt for easy access. The 110 is perfect as a hunting companion or for general outdoor use
  • MADE IN THE USA - FOREVER WARRANTY - Since 1902 Buck Knives has offered a lifetime warranty on our knives because we believe in the integrity of our products. This knife is proudly made in the USA.

One of the best-sold knives today, the Kershaw Leek is compact, affordable, and easy to maneuver. The blade can be deployed using just one hand. The very sharp steel blade has a tip that is rather delicate. This means that one can’t risk using it for difficult jobs. However, the steel is very resistant and allows the blade to stay sharp for a very long time. You can pick this either as the serrated blade type or with a smooth blade. It has numerous impressive ratings online to back its quality, and that is why we nominate it for the title of the best pocket knife.

Buck 110

Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife (1660) 3-In. Sandvik 14C28N Blade and Stainless Steel Handle, Best Buy from Outdoor Gear Lab Includes Frame Lock, SpeedSafe Assisted Opening and Reversible Pocketclip, 3 oz.
  • KERSHAW LEEK POCKET KNIFE: The Kershaw Leek might just be your new favorite EDC. Not too big, not too small, the 3-inch blade and slim design make it capable of fulfilling a wide range of cutting tasks. Made in the USA.
  • DROP POINT PLAIN EDGE BLADE: Made from high-performance Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel, the blade resharpens easily and holds its edge. The bead-blasted finish provides a clean, matte look.
  • 410 STAINLESS STEEL HANDLE: The corrosion-resistant, stainless-steel handle is contoured for a comfortable grip while in use. Silver, bead-blasted finish. Includes reversible pocketclip for right, tip-up/down carry.
  • DESIGNED WITH SAFETY IN MIND: Equipped with Kershaw’s SpeedSafe assisted opening for easy one-handed release with flipper. Frame lock secures blade open while in use and Tip-lock slider keeps blade locked closed when folded. 
  • SIZE SPECIFICATIONS: Blade Length: 3in. Closed Length: 4in. Overall Length: 7in. Weighing in at 3oz. Backed by Kershaw’s Limited Lifetime Warranty. 

This hunting knife is dated to 1964 and has become iconic. Since then, it has been copied by a horde of manufacturers. Its folding steel blade does not get rusty. Also, it is counted among the Lockback pioneering models. The lock is definitely one you can trust – the blade just doesn’t move at all. Buck 110 is excellent for heavy-duty tasks if you can have a bigger knife than the usual minis. You will greatly benefit from its sturdiness. At the same time, it is affordable, so do yourself a favor and consider this one when ready to buy. It comes with a lifetime warranty!

Sebenza by Chris Reeve

Chris Reeve S21-1122 Small Sebenza 21 Raindrop Damascus Blade, Macassar Ebony Inlay
  • Titanium handles
  • S35VN Plain Edge Blade
  • Overall Length: 6.875" Blade Length: 2.94"
  • Liner lock

Chris Reeve means quality knives for all connoisseurs. He simply creates some of the best pocket knives out there. Sebenza is a folding knife that’s on the expensive side, but it features a titanium frame, is made of S35VN stainless steel (very reliable), and seems to keep its edge forever. The lock is as solid as it gets. There is no bad word about this exquisite piece, and there is no better choice if you can afford the investment. The Sebenza is priced above $400, usually around $450, and it is one of the costliest pocket knives available.

Benchmade Mini

Spyderco Delica 4 Lightweight Signature Knife with 2.90" Flat-Ground Steel Blade and High-Strength Black FRN Handle - PlainEdge - C11FPBK
  • Wide Spectrum of Handle Colors - The Delica 4 now offers new vibrant tones including blue, green, brown, gray, orange, zome green, black and purple.
  • Superior Blade Steel - The blades are full flat-ground VG-10 Steel with a thinner highly refined cutting edge and a larger 13mm opening hole.
  • Ultra-Lightweight - Inside the handle are dual skeletonized stainless steel liners which strengthen the knife without additional weight and double as an anchor for external and internal components to attach through generating more sturdiness.
  • Ergonomic - Added to the blade's spine is slip resistant jimping. Phosphor bronze washers smooth out the open/close action and the clip is upgraded to a four-way tip-up, tip-down, left-or right-handed clip.
  • A Secure Grip - Molded onto the FRN Handle's surface is Bi-Directional Texturing for slip-free tactile traction. It provides resistance to slipping in the hand.

This small folding knife represents good value and is a perfect everyday tool to rely on. The Benchmade Mini Griptilian comes from one of the classic manufacturers. Versatile and ergonomic, it has a drop point blade made of stainless steel. Sharpness? Definitely amazing and durable. Easy to slide? Very, since it has thumb studs to let you open the blade with no effort. Also, it has the spring-based AXIS lock mechanism to secure it in place. Moreover, this knife is lightweight and is priced under $100. 

Spyderco Delica 4

Spyderco - Delica 4 Titanium Handled Damascau Knife with PlainEdge Stainless Steel Blade - Trademarked Round Hole - Back Lock Mechanism - C11TIPD
  • Fourth design of one of Spyderco's most popular knives, with refined steel blade and screw-together construction that's durable and easy to clean
  • Fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN) handle comes in a variety of colors, and has proprietary Bi-Directional Texturing for nonslip use with improved ergonomics
  • Dual skeletonized steel liners improve strength without adding weight, and anchor all external components; razor sharp VG-10 steel blade is flat saber ground
  • 7.125-inch open length and 4.25-inch closed length; 2.875-inch VG-10 steel blade with 2.56-inch cutting edge, 0.5-inch hole, and 0.09-inch thickness; 2.5-ounce weight; FRN handle material
  • Includes limited manufacturer's warranty; details included with purchase

No wonder this is selling so well; it is light as a feather and can perform in so many situations. It has a blade that combines serrations with a straight edge. The opening move is simple and requires only one hand. The handle is made of nylon reinforced with fiberglass, textured in a way that makes any slip impossible. The innovative texture is Spyderco-patented. No wonder it found its place in this list of best pocket knives

Buck 301BKS Stockman

Buck Knives 301 Stockman Three Blade Folding Knife
  • TRIPLE BLADES- The Stockman features Three Blades; 2-3/4" clip point, 2" spey, and a 2" sheepsfoot blade. 420HC Steel delivers Excellent Strength, Edge Retention, and Corrosion Resistance. Closed Length 3-7/8" 2.9 oz.
  • VERSATILE - The clip point blade is used for detail work and cutting in tight places. The spey blade is perfect for skinning or sweeping knife strokes, and the sheepsfoot blade is suitable for making clean cuts, especially on a flat surface
  • HANDSOME HANDLE - Injection Molded Black Valox Handle with Nickel Silver Bolsters provide a knife that is as handy as it is handsome!
  • TRADITIONAL, CONVENIENT and MULTI-PURPOSE - The Stockman is the largest of Buck's multi-blade folding knives. It's a smart choice for every day carry and big enough to accomplish multiple tasks
  • MADE IN THE USA - FOREVER WARRANTY - Since 1902 Buck Knives has offered a lifetime warranty on our knives because we believe in the integrity of our products. This knife is proudly made in the USA.

We’re also enlisting one multi-blade for the title of the best pocket knife – here is another Buck, one that features 3 stainless steel blades. This folding knife is the largest of its kind (overall length almost 4 inches) for the Buck brand and comes with a lifetime warranty to prove its worth (the 4-Ever Unconditional Lifetime Warranty). The tip of each blade is different. This model has set a standard for other manufacturers, but the Buck quality and craftsmanship could never be equaled. Do not worry about its size; it will still fit inside your pocket.

Wrapping up the Pocket Knife Saga

You don’t necessarily need one of those big survival knives if you stick to the usual activities. A pocket knife is enough and will be useful not only in day-to-day situations but also when lost in the wilderness or when camping outside. You should consider bigger tools when you are facing an area that has serious potential dangers like enemies threatening your life or big beasts. Apart from the size, speed will also dictate your choice. Consider that you will have to unfold the knife – preferably with one hand – then lock it into position. If you think speed really matters in your situation, then don’t opt for a gadget that is loaded with various blades and features. It will take a while to find the right one.

Ultimately, you should pick a knife that feels good in your hand because people – especially men – tend to develop a real bond with their tools. You will be bound to your pocket knife as you will be handling it so often for such an array of tasks. Our guide has hopefully helped you identify the different types with their specific features. Each has its strengths. A pocket knife can easily become your most important tool, and you must make an informed decision. Last but not least, please be informed of the laws valid in your area. In many cases, the law doesn’t allow individuals to carry blades that measure over a certain standard.

How do you find the best pocket knife for you? Care to share? Or have some questions? Drop a comment and let us know.