Pocket Knife Buyers Guide

If you’re looking for a place that contains the most useful information on pocket knives, then you finally found it. As I have used and owned more pocket knives than I can remember, I want to share all my compiled knowledge and tips with you, my fellow pocket knife lovers.

I know you’re tired of all those sites and guides offering you a bunch of irrelevant details you can’t use. Don’t worry! Here you’ll discover the actual truth behind buying the perfect pocket knife, choosing the most suitable type as well as the qualities you should look for in a pocket knife.

It’s a fact that we all want one pocket knife that will do every job for us. However, that one isn’t still invented and you have to pick a knife according to your wishes and needs. Here we’ll also break down all the uses and the best ways to care for your precious possession.

With thousands and thousands of pocket knives on the market, it can be quite a challenge (or an impossible mission) to buy the right one for you or your loved ones. Whether it’s for fishing, hunting, working in the kitchen, protecting your home, doing regular everyday business or something else entirely, I’ll show you the best pocket knives out there!


What types of best pocket knives brands are there?

The answer is quite simple. Lots. Depending on the blades, the materials, the size, edges, opening and locking mechanisms, and other criteria, there’re a bunch of pocket knives to choose from. You just have to decide which of them fit your needs and desires.


Types of blades

All blades are different and this plays a big role in your decision. Why? It’s because every blade has its own purpose and is more efficient in a specific field than the rest. I gathered some of the most popular blade types:

  • Pen blade – Characteristic for the Swiss Army knife, the sides of this small blade make it look like you’re holding a spear. And that’s pretty cool if you ask me. Especially as this knife can come in handy while you’re doing any minor tasks such as those around your home.
  • Clip point – It’s the absolute star among the blades, because it’s the most famous out there. Its deep belly and slight inward curve make it perfect for hunting as well as ordinary needs. As the tip is sharper, you wouldn’t have any problems with piercing and slicing.
  • Needle point – If piercing is the function you’re the most interested in, this blade is just for you. It has a sharp and thin point which is quite vulnerable. However, the important thing is that it has two very shrill edges for penetrating objects more easily. Ideally, you can use this knife for self-protection.
  • Santuko – This blade does a seamless job when it comes to preparing food. As it has a straight cutting edge and a rounded spine, it’s perfect for slicing, cutting and chopping. Trust me – the risk of harming yourself while using it is practically nonexistent. You may also be familiar with Santuko’s brother – the sheepsfoot blade, which can be used for similar purposes.
  • Drop point – As an all-in-one wonder, the drop-point blade slightly slopes down from the handle to form the sharp point. That’s precisely why this blade is characteristic for bigger Swiss Army knives. Its main strength comes into focus when you’re hunting or defending yourself.

Have in mind that there are plenty of others waiting to satisfy your needs such as: tanto-point blade, straight-back blades, spey-point blade, spear-point blades, trailing-point blade, spyderco blade, wharncliffe blade, hawkbill blade, and others.

No matter which one you choose, always look for efficiency, quality, and preciseness when searching for the best pocket knife brands.


Blade materials

When searching for the perfect blade material, have in mind that what works for one doesn’t for the other. Clearly, the blade should be corrosion resistant, easy to sharpen as well as remain sharp no matter how many times you use it. Nevertheless, in practice you may face some troubles with specific steel types. Ones are exposed to rust, corrosion or sharpening difficulties while others are strong in those fields.

Perfection doesn’t exist, so it’s best to get to know the types of steel and their strengths before you make your final decision.


High-carbon best knife steel

If you want hardness and great firmness of your blade, then this is the right material for you. Knives made out of high-carbon steel have a sharp and resilient edge as well as immense strength and durability. That’s why it’s used for professional cooking and cutting solid objects.

Only mind that these blades can be more sensitive to corrosion than the stainless-steel ones.

Stainless steel

Even though stainless-steel knives are known as corrosion and rust resistant, they, too, have a few catches you need to consider. Yes, they’re tough, recyclable (good luck breaking them) and preserve the taste of your food. Heck, they even look good. But, the durability of their edge isn’t on the highest level as you usually need to sharpen them more often.

Among the most popular types, you’ll find:

  • S30V – As this steel has lots of vanadium, it gives hardness to the blade and resists rust. It’s a premium stainless steel promising a proficient usage.
  • Bohler M390 – This one, too, is rich with vanadium making it more durable and unaffected by any stains. This is what makes it a popular type of best steel for knives.
  • 420HC – If you’re in for a cheaper knife, then consider buying one made of this stainless steel. It’s well worth the money because it’s easy to sharpen, corrosion has no chance of ruining it and the edge is fairly strong.
  • 154CM – We’re speaking of high-quality steel here. It consists of a lot of carbon, so you’ll surely get more firmness and a proficient edge.


Types of knife handles

You’ll encounter lots of knife handles out there. Whether it’s the material, the shape, the durability or other characteristics, you can easily find yourself lost with so many options available.

Luckily, a few things can lead you in the right direction. They’re connected to the material of the knife handles as well as their shape.


Handle materials

Every person has their own taste, so dig deeper into yours and decide if you want efficiency or good looks.

Usually, people look for tough and durable pocket knife handles with a firm grip. If you’re one of them, then the likes of titanium, stainless steel, aluminum, G-10, and zytel are perfect materials for you. There’s no one like titanium and stainless steel when it comes to keeping your handle safe from corrosion, giving it the wanted strength and performance.

But don’t underestimate aluminum and G-10, too. Especially when you find yourself exposed to the harshest weather conditions, these handles won’t give you any headaches. G-10, for one, is water-resistant and at the same time lightweight, while the aluminum has a superb grip that’ll get you out of the most dangerous situations.

Let’s not forget zytel which is absolutely unbreakable and suitable for those opting for very durable and cheaper handles.

On the other hand, bone handles as well as plastic and wood ones bring the class to your best pocket knife. They come in numerous types, offering you a fancy look that accompanies their usefulness. Having said this, to complete your modern look you can get a metal contemporary design for your handle, too.

Finally, if you want to go for the nice hold and easy maneuvering, take a rubber or kraton material for your handle.

Handle shapes

It’s you that make the final call of how big or long you want your pocket knife handle to be. Big handles can easily fit big hands, for instance. Also, if you plan on wearing gloves while you’re working with the knife, take a larger handle.

However, if you’re after a knife that you can easily put everywhere you want, naturally a thinner and smaller handle will be perfect.


Number of blades


Pocket knives with one blade

Simple and coming in various sizes and shapes, these pocket knives are a treat to buyers that want to finish a job fast and easily. They obviously have a single blade in the center of the attention. That’s where the main difference between this type of pocket knives and the ones with two or multiple blades lies.

Pocket knives with one blade often have opening and locking mechanisms that allow them to open and finish the job at once. You may encounter mechanisms with springs that’ll reveal the blade in a second. This is what makes them stronger and firmer when your job is more difficult.

Although they’re short of a lot of options, the good thing about the single-blade pocket knives is that the makers focused on making that single blade perfect and great for almost every purpose.

Best pocket knives with multiple blades

Those willing to have more options while using their pocket knife are more than welcome to consider buying one with multiple blades. That way, you’ll carry one knife, but enjoy more possibilities thanks to the blades.

Generally, these knives consist of two to four blades, which vary in size and shape. The ones with two blades are more classical than the others and have more standardized types of blade points.

Whereas, models with three or four blades will help you do various tasks at once as their points usually come in numerous shapes. However, have in mind that if you choose this type of pocket knife, you may face certain issues with its durability since it’s less strong and resistant than the knife with a single blade.

Swiss Army pocket knives

In the past, soldiers in the field often had to finish multiple tasks, so even the best pocket knives with one blade were not sufficient. That’s the main reason the Swiss Army knife was created in the first place.

Aside from the blades, it offers various features and tools such as tweezers, openers, saws, toothpicks, scissors and even magnifying glasses that are perfect for satisfying your every need. Not to mention that you’ll have a multi-tool companion in your pocket at all times.


Length of the blade

Although it’s a matter of personal preferences and choice, the length of the blade plays a vital role when buying your pocket knife. There are a lot of options to choose from and each of them has both advantages and disadvantages, so it’s best if we look into them together.


Small blade

These knives consist of a blade no longer than 2.75 inches. I know that this may sound like insufficient, but have in mind that it’s ahead of the larger knives by one very important aspect. These knives are legal everywhere. No matter where you carry it, you won’t face any legal difficulties.

Also, as the blade is very small, this pocket knife feels comfortable in your pocket and isn’t heavy at all. That’s what makes it perfect for everyday use and for minor tasks around the house.

However, as you may guess, the pocket knives with tiny blades can get damaged from extensive work and are not as tough as the larger blades.

Medium blade

Actually most of the blades presented here fall under this category. Why? It’s because these knives have a blade long between 2.75 inches and 4 inches, making them not too small nor too big to carry around. Only mind that in some areas, blades longer than 2.75 inches aren’t allowed, so ensure your ownership is legal. This is probably the only disadvantage of this type of knives.

They’re suitable for completing multiple different tasks efficiently and are perfect for basically any job. From small tasks in the kitchen to hunting, you can do almost everything with them. Understandably, this proves their huge presence on the market.

Large blade

Usually, knives with blades longer than 4 inches are used for display or in extreme circumstances like self-defense. This is mainly because of legal reasons as these blades are indeed too big and strong for an everyday usage.

Not to mention that they can be quite heavy and less discreet to carry in your pocket. So, only if you’re in a dire need to own a pocket knife of this type or your area’s laws allow it, then buy yourself one. Otherwise, the medium-sized blades will serve you just fine.


Types of mechanisms

Another vital part of buying your pocket knife is the mechanism. How easy can you open the knife? How long will it stay open? Is the lock strong? These are some of the main questions you should be asking before making the final call.

When you’re faced with a dangerous situation or you just need to cut the vegetables, the pocket knife shouldn’t fail you. You should be comfortable while operating it and efficient in what you’re doing. The only way to be sure of this is to get a pocket knife with a great opening and locking mechanism.

To help you with that, I present to you the types of mechanisms to choose from.


Opening mechanisms

Out of all tools out there, your hands will always be the most useful ones. They’re the main asset when operating the knife as you hold it in them. In fact, in the past, your hands were the only way to open your pocket knife.

That’s called manual opening. You can do it either with your nail or thumb. How? Well, the blade of the Swiss Army knives and the other classical types has small grooves, which allow you to open the blade by pulling it with your nail. As for your thumb, there are certain types of knives that have holes big enough for your finger to grab the blade and pull it up. That way you can open these pocket knives onehanded, which is great when you’re rushing.

Our modern society has brought another opening mechanisms in use. They are either automatic or assisted. The main difference between these two is the force you need to apply. Pocket knives with automatic mechanisms require only a slight press on the button while the assisted ones need a bigger pressure to engage the blade.

Not to forget, the knives with automatic opening mechanisms were prohibited by law in the past due to being dangerous, so make sure your state approves their usage before buying one.

Locking mechanisms

These mechanisms keep the knife from closing and hurting your fingers. That’s why, they’re a very important aspect of your pocket knife.

The simplest type among them is the liner lock. This mechanism gets the job done without any special requirements except for your manual movements to move the liner away from the blade. Similar to this one, the slip joint can be found in the more traditional types of knives. The main thing differentiating it from the liner lock is that a bar or spring is required to hold the knife locked.

If you’re looking for an affordable and at the same tile durable locks, then consider pocket knives with ring locks. As the name suggests, you should turn the ring once to open the blade and one more time to block it in that position.

Finally, automatic knives usually have lever locks. They lock the blade in place with a pin placed in the hole near the base. So, as long as the pin is in the hole, your blade will stay locked both when it’s open and closed.


How to properly care for your pocket knife?

When you’re using your pocket knife you definitely want it to be at its peak and to perform well. And yes, many people think that their job is done after they leave the shop with a new knife safely stored in their pocket. In fact, that’s just the beginning of the whole maintenance process.

No matter how sharp, powerful, precise or strong your pocket knife is, once it becomes dirty, its great characteristics reduce to zero. The modern pocket knifes are made from the best, most sophisticated materials like steel. However, they aren’t immune to rust. The springs and joints inside can (and will with time) loosen.

What is more, dirty and unmaintained pocket knives are dangerous. If the pivot, for one, doesn’t work as it should, it may cause the pocket knife to open more slowly or in the worst case not open nor close at all. That may lead to injuries which we all want to evade.

Hundreds of pocket-knife owners around the world ask themselves that same question. How to properly care for a pocket knife? Finally, here are all the solutions you need to have a clean and well-preserved pocket knife.


Stop the rust!

Rust is probably the pocket knife’s one and only arch nemesis. Take the pocket knives from the 18th or 19th century who hadn’t been used very much. They look worn-out and dead by corrosion.

The thing is that every type of knife is susceptible to rust. Some might argue that stainless best knife steel is the exception, but actually it isn’t.

Everything comes down to the circumstances you live and work in. The coastal regions, for instance, have a great amount of moisture in the air accompanied by a bit of salt. Also, the extremely high temperatures in the summer and the humidity are known to cause rust to your blade.

The solution? Oil. Any lubricating oil you can find at home is fine. If you find yourself in one of the above-mentioned surroundings, remember to cover the blade’s surface with a layer of oil. You can find some at the nearest home centers or hardware stores.

Make sure that you keep your pocket knife separated from the sheath. The leather of the sheath is known to absorb moisture, representing a home to different acids and salts that harm your knife.


Lubricate the knife constantly

What is more you can occasionally put a drop of oil in the springs and the joints of your pocket knives. The opening and closing will be a piece of cake after that.

Problems with opening and locking mechanisms are right next to the ones concerning rust and corrosion. Before storing your knife, clean the grit, debris or sand from the lock backs, mechanisms and notches. They need to work perfectly.

Some say that it’s better to stop it before you have to cure it. That’s why another useful thing to do is to wipe the blade with a cloth of oil so that you won’t have any problems with rust whatsoever. Never leave your knife wet, too. Not just the blade, but the whole of it. Before you put it away make sure that it’s 200% clean.


Sharpen the blade

It’s a universal truth that a sharp, maintained knife is much, much safer to handle. Also, it will reduce the time you spend on cutting something while minimizing the chances of slipping from your grasp and hurting you.

So, don’t forget to do some sharpening every now and then. Sharpening steel or the famous knife sharpener or even some other technique of yours is acceptable as long as the edge of the pocket knife is satisfied. If you think that you can’t do this on your own, please go to an expert who will do the job professionally and to the point. A side note to mention here is to evade the grinding wheels running on power which tarnishes the strength, temper, and power of the blade.

And remember, while working and using the knife, cut in a way so that the edge of the knife moves away from you. Keep away sharp knives from the reach of children as well.


Clean, clean, clean!

At first glance, it may look like cleaning a pocket knife is the easiest thing to do on Earth. But the process can become quite delicate and especially hard for people who do it the first time. But you shouldn’t worry about that. I will break down everything about how to do it and what you need here.

First, you’ll require these items which surely lie around your home:

  • A small brush (a toothbrush is acceptable)
  • Lubricant (just think oil and you’ll find the one)
  • Toothpicks
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Q-Tips
  • Towels

So let’s begin!

It’s crucial to get rid of all the gunk hiding in your pocket knife. That’s when the toothpick comes into play. It makes no difference whether we’re talking about a knife with one blade or several; you have to open the knife carefully to get a better view of everything lying inside. It’s best to do this after reassuring that your knife is dry.

Next, take the knife to the sink and thoroughly wash it with warm water so that any trace of the debris and dirt can go away. Apply a bit of soap on the brush and go through every part of your pocket knife including the blade and the handle. You may want to focus on the lock as well. If you have a multi-blade knife, then open each tool individually and scrub it down. To cover all the details, you can use the above-mentioned Q-Tips to help you.

After you’re done with that, dry your pocket knife as well as leave it to air dry.

Then it’s time for lubrication. The main thing here is to not overdo it. Just apply oil to the moving parts of the knife, the blade, the pivot, the hinges, and so on. You can do that to the other tools (if you possess a knife with multiple blades) as well as the handle.

Finally wipe everything and you’re done.

Note: If the handle of the knife is wooden, you may want to use a special oil for that as well.


Respect the uses of the pocket knife

Not all people are the same. And not all knives are made to perform the exact same task. If you really want to protect the springs, blade, handles, and all other parts of it (and I know you do), don’t use it as a screwdriver, car opener (unless it says to), hammer or anything like that. The reason is simple – it wasn’t produced to do that.

Throwing knives is also out of the question if the pocket knife you own isn’t for throwing.


What you can use your pocket knife for?

Every person has different reasons and ways when it comes to using a pocket knife. Understandably, a cook, police officer and hunter won’t operate a knife in the same manner. This is why you need to determine what you expect from your pocket knife.

Do you plan to carry it with you every day or only when taking trips in the backcountry? Do you intend to use it on dry or wet surfaces? Is the task heavy or easy? Questions like this are crucial when buying your pocket knife, because, the same as people, not all knives can be used for all types of activities.

Here I’ll break down the main categories of usage so that you can see what your pocket knife is capable of.


Everyday activities

We find ourselves in situations that require a pocket knife every day. Whether it’s at home, while working, camping or even traveling, you need this tool to help you out. Slowly, it becomes an inseparable part of your routine and you can’t imagine leaving your house without it, similar to the cell phone in your pocket or your wallet.

The more time you spend with the knife, the more uses will turn up. Cutting ingredients in the kitchen, opening an envelope, cutting off clothing tags, cutting a rope, shaving, opening a bottle or peeling fruit are only the beginning of how useful your pocket knife can truly be.

If you’re the type of person that loves to repair stuff around your house or your job requires something like this, you’ll definitely find the pocket knife handy. Just consider getting a knife with multiple blades and options. As you’ll carry it every day, you don’t want any extreme bulk and weight, so buy a knife that’s lighter yet more durable.

Despite the number of activities, your day is organized better if you carry a pocket knife around. This is mainly because you won’t waste any more hours worrying about all the unfinished tasks. They’ll be done at once.

It’s a matter of time before you realize that your life is so much easier with a knife in your pocket.


Backcountry activities

You may need a pocket knife during your travels even more than you need it every day. This is especially true if you’re going in the backcountry. Nature is full of challenging tasks that you can’t finish with your bare hands.

Although, you’ll probably use the knife less frequently, it’ll help you a great deal. Activities like preparing dinner in the open, setting up a tent, kindling a fire or climbing are impossible to manage without an efficient pocket knife.

Aside from this, if you go hunting or fishing, don’t even think of leaving without a knife in your pocket. It’s best to have a fixed blade and long enough handle. This is because gutting a fish and skinning your catch can often be a tough job.

Also, look for a pocket knife that has a simple design and is easy to clean. As you’ll be in the wilderness, you won’t have a lot of time to deal with complexity and dirt. A bit of weight is not out of the question, too, as the tasks can be more demanding. Whatever you choose, just make sure that the edge is always sharp and strong to cut through all surfaces.


Safety and self-defense

All of the uses that I mentioned previously are not complete without this vital aspect of your life. Your safety.

The modern times we live in today bring a lot of unwanted and dangerous situations. That’s why the concern for your safety and the one of your family and friends is getting bigger and bigger. How can you protect yourself and everyone you love, then?

It’s simple. Buy a pocket knife and carry it everywhere you go (of course if the law allows it). Don’t risk being helpless before people who want to do you harm. Instead be ready to fight back with a strong and efficient blade.

All types of pocket knives can serve you at times when you need to defend yourself. The only difference lies in your preferences. Do you want the sharpest, fixed or folding blade or the longest handle? Do you prefer stainless steel over the rest? These are all your decisions. What matters is to have a full pocket so that when you reach inside it you can pull out a weapon that can save your life.


How should you carry your pocket knife?

A lot of people lose their socks, keys, cell phones and pocket knives all the time. If you’re one of them or you simply want to know that your knife is always with you, decide where and how you’ll carry it.

When using it every day, a good idea is to keep it with your keys. There’s a smaller chance to lose it if it’s tied up to your keychain. But this is not the only solution. Another thing you can try is clipping it to your pocket. A small, metal clip holds the knife inside your pocket. The good news is that it’s barely visible on the outside, yet it still does the job perfectly.

That way the knife is always at your reach and secured.


A final word

We came to the part where your decision of buying a pocket knife is surely already made. If you’re a handy person, who wants to be independent and in control, a pocket knife is more of a necessity rather than a choice.

As one of the biggest pocket knife fans and enthusiasts out there, I hope that I managed to offer some useful insights and advice regarding the ownership and maintenance of a pocket knife. Every aspect of the pocket knife is a topic all on its own – from the numerous types of knives, blades, materials, and handles to the cleaning and usage, so pay close attention to each of them.

However, all of this has been just scratching the surface of the pocket knives. This is the new home of the pocket knives which I’m sure you’re going to love. Prepare yourself to read more additional details, see hundreds of quality pocket knives and learn about everything concerning them.