Everyday carry (EDC) refers to a small collection of items that are carried on a consistent basis to assist in handling normal everyday needs, or even dire situations. If one of those items isn't a pocket knife, you're not doing yourself any favors! Stick around to learn about the best EDC knife on the market today.
Undoubtedly, one the best EDC items to carry is a folding knife. Making fire and having a knife are two items I consider the most important when I'm putting together an EDC gear list. Of course there are other items to include like a flashlight for example. But this isn't an article about all that.
If for some unknown reason I find myself on my own in the wilderness, I know with my essential items along with my knife I can handle most situations.
I'm sounding dramatic now, a folding knife 99% of the time is going to be used for normal everyday situations, like opening a letter, or cutting up an apple.
Not having to track down a knife to complete these mundane tasks not only saves you time, but also saves you from unnecessary frustrations when you can't quickly find one.
Best EDC Pocket Knives
Here are a few of the very best edc knives on the market today. I've chosen these knives for specific reasons, you'll find most are in certain weight and size ranges which are 2 very important features when looking for an everyday carry knife.
MY TOP PICK: BENCHMADE 940 OSBORNE
I've featured the 940 is some of my other articles, mainly because I like this knife so much. I carry the 940 daily because it just gets the job done.
It's blade is made from S30V stainless steel, which is an American-made premium grade steel. For the best knives the S30V offers excellent corrosion resistance, which is a nice benefit if you use your knife in any kind of wet conditions.
The reversible pocket clip allows me to carry tip-up which is my preferred carry, the AXIS locking mechanism is super strong and very easy to use. With the ambidextrous thumb studs I can quickly open with either left or right hand.
It's lightweight design is also a major turn on, at only 2.9 ounces I can put this in my pocket and basically never know it's there.
The aluminum anodized handle is very small and thin, yet it's long enough at around 4.5 inches that it feels comfortable in even larger hands. Its just the perfect usable size and very comfortable, didn't I mention that already?
This blue class folding knife from Benchmade is not only a solid edc knife, but could quite possibly be the best pocket knife available, I highly recommend you give this one a try if you haven't had the pleasure of doing so yet.
It's only downside I can think of, it's an expensive knife. If you have tendency to misplace or lose knives, this one may not be the best choice for you. I know if I were to lose mine, it would hurt my heart.
Runner Up: The Spyderco Delica 4
An even lighter option, the Spyderco Delica 4. Weighing in at a measly 2.3 ounces, the Spyderco Delica 4 is one of the best selling Spyderco knives they make. Why? Because its the perfect size for an EDC. The blade is under 3 inches and its overall length is a touch over 7 inches.
This combination makes it easy to carry, hardly even noticeable in your pocket and with the 4 way pocket clip you can carry left or right handed with tip-up or tip-down options.
The FRN handle material and the skeletonized liners are the source of its lightness. However, do not misinterpret the lightweight design features as being a compromise of strength. FRN is a highly durable handle material, and with the Bi-directional texturing molded into the handle there is plenty of traction to boot.
The blade is a full flat-ground VG-10 stainless steel, its high carbon count makes this blade steel very corrosion resistant, which is an excellent quality for any type of knife.
If I’m being honest with myself, VG-10 is probably one of my favorite blade steels that isn’t considered a premium grade. I’ve surprised myself with just how sharp I can a get VG-10 blade. With a little work you can get a hair-popping edge back on this blade in no time at all.
The Spyderco Delica 4 is considered by many to be the best edc knife on the market, I can't argue that statement either. I may prefer the Benchmade 940, but the Delica is no slouch. Not to mention it's much less expensive if you're on a budget.
Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight
Keeping in the Spyderco line of knives, next up would be the Spyderco Manix 2 lightweight version. I’m talking specifically about the lightweight model. This particular lightweight model of the Manix 2 is equipped with injection molded FRCP handles with Bi-directional texturing for a secure grip.
The FRCP handles reduced the overall weight of the knife down to around 3 ounces. As opposed to the G-10 model Manix 2, which has full steel liners and is a hefty 5 ounces. 3 ounces is right in my wheelhouse as an EDC blade.
The reversible wire clip provides a right or left hand tip up carry. It’s also equipped with an oversized lanyard hole for easy attachment of paracord if you desire to do so.
The blade is made from CTS-BD1 steel, which naturally will arrive to you razor sharp and has excellent edge retention qualities. Spyderco requested this particular steel to be made specifically for good performance in edge retention, toughness and corrosion resistance. This steel type is more economically priced for those looking for a greate knife but at a lower retail cost.
The Spyderco Manix 2 lightweight is a solidly built knife with some great EDC qualities. Overall length may be a touch long for my liking at 8 inches, I generally prefer edc knives around 7 inches. With the lightweight design, the length isn’t a huge problem for most. For around $80 on Amazon the Manix 2 lightweight is a nice edition to anyone's EDC collection.
The Kershaw Skyline is another great folding knife, only weighing 2.3 ounces the Skyline is perfect in the EDC role. If you prefer a super lightweight knife, the Skyline could be the best choice for you.
Not only is the Skyline lightweight, but is also very slim, making it not only a very comfortable knife to carry, but also very discreet to carry.
The equipped clip provides for a reversible carry, pre-drilled holes allow you to either change the tip position up or down or the side you carry your knife on.
The blade of the Skyline is 3 /18 inches long and made from Sandvik 14C28N steel with a bead blasted finish. The drop point blade is nice looking and highly functional for everyday uses. It has a strong tip for light prying duties and is overall balanced very well.
The Sandvik 14C28N steel is a performer, while it may not be the best knife steel, it is optimized for good edge performance and corrosion resistance. It’s hardness falls in the range of 55-62HRC so blade resharpening is easy and edge stability isn’t affected in terms of chipping or rolling.
The textured G-10 handles provide for a nice and secure grip, also a nice touch is the deep index finger groove to help with stability when using on tougher materials such as canvas or thick rope.
But perhaps what I like most about the Kershaw Skyline, even though it isn’t an assisted opening knife, the flipper provides for a quick and easy one handed deployment of the blade.
Once the blade has been deployed the liner lock ensures a securely locked blade. A portion of the knifes liner (the steel the G-10 scales are mounted to) moves into position behind the blade locking it into the open position.
Liner locks are a very popular design and are known to be very strong and durable. No worries with the blade closing down on your fingers prematurely during heavy duty use.
Benchmade 556 Mini-Griptilian
Beginning to notice a pattern here? Not only are all these awesome EDC knives, they are also some the best and most popular folding knives period. And for good reason, the Griptilian line is no different.
The Mini-Griptilian is in the blue class line of folding knives, which is according to Benchmade classified as their everyday use knives. The 556 Mini-Griptilian, as its name would imply is smaller than it’s big brother, the 551 Griptilian. Which, if you ask me makes it the better pick of the two.
The 556 Mini-Griptilian is 6 7/8″ overall length, versus the regular sized 551 griptilian at 8.07″, so its over an inch shorter. Also the 556 is only 2.5 ounces while the 551 is 3.8 ounces. Little over an ounce lighter, which may not sound like a whole lot, but makes it the better choice of the two.
The 556 Mini-Griptilian has all the same great features and qualities of the regular griptilian, just in a smaller size.
The blade is made from 154CM stainless steel, which if you’ve read any of my other Benchmade reviews you know is a high end premium steel with great corrosion resistance qualities. It’s edge quality is ridiculously good and it’s fairly easy to sharpen.
However, if you aren’t the greatest at sharpening a blade, no worries because the edge retention is equally as good, so it will not be an issue for a while.
The Mini-Griptilian sports a 2.9 inch drop-point style blade, The drop-point style blade is a good choice for everyday practical uses, the tip is strong and the slightly curved belly provides plenty of blade edge for slicing.
The handle is made from Valox, which is very tough and durable with great texturing applied. No worries in that department. The AXIS lock is also super tough and easy to use, no issues there either.The pocket clip is reversible with tip up carry.
The pocket clip is tight and holds in your pocket very well. Too well in fact, it could be an issue over the long run with wearing out your pockets. Just something to watch out for.
Overall the Benchmade 556 Mini-Griptilian would make an excellent choice for an edc blade.
Spyderco ParaMilitary 2
The Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 is bar none one of my favorite folding knives in the world. I love it so much, and I have a feeling you will love it just the same.
Between the Benchmade 940 and the PM2 I have a tough time deciding which to carry, ultimately I tend to swap these 2 out quite a bit just to mix it up. I like a bit of variety on occasion.
There isn’t much to complain about this knife, it’s an awesomely designed blade and it looks freaking cool. The only complaint I would have towards it in an EDC role would be the overall length, it comes in at 8.28″ long.
With that said, you don’t have to twist my arm to carry this guy. The blade is CPM S30V, which is a high end premium grade stainless steel. You can read my full ParaMilitary 2 review here and learn all about the great qualities of S30V steel.
The G-10 handle scales are very durable, and provide great texturing to prevent any kind of accidental slips. The compression lock is strong and easy to release to close the blade.
The handle is also pre-drilled for a 4 way pocket clip, left-right hand carry tip-up or down. Makes for a variety of user friendly carry options.
If you come across a Spyderco ParaMilitary 2, pick it up and give a try. I think you will figure out pretty quickly why these knives are so popular. The ergonomics are outstanding, Spyderco refined the original ParaMilitary by slightly narrowing the end of the handle and thinning out the g10 scales for improved ergonomics.
The Spydie hole is also slightly larger on the ParaMilitary 2, making it easy for blade deployment for the folks with sasquatch fingers. The deployment is fast, there is no assist here so this is impressive to me, the blade action is very smooth.
Between the 940 and the PM2, its hard for me to choose, so I switch them out often. Both get a big thumbs up from me.
The Buck Spitfire I’ve become very fond of over the past couple months. Not only is it a good looking knife but I’ve found it’s also very functional in an edc role.
The blade is 420HC, which is a pretty common blade steel used by Buck Knives. I find it to be a mid tier steel that is very capable as an EDC. It resists corrosion well and is very easy to sharpen, can’t ask for much more than that in this price range. Also, as I’ve talked about before, its drop point blade style is my recommended style and I've found the best edc knives are usually drop points.
The handle is made from aluminum and is available in a couple different anodized color options. Green and Orange and the standard silver finish. You may think the aluminum would be an issue for slipping while in use, however with some well placed jimping this isn’t an issue. Buck has placed jimping where you thumb rests and also along the bottom of the back portion of the knife handle for traction.
Another source of traction is from the raised torx screws on the handles scales, so while the aluminum is slick, the jimping and the raised screws were a nice addition to the Spitfire.
The 4 way pocket clip lets you carry tip-up or down and left or right handed. So if you have a specific preference for how you like to carry your knife, this pocket clip is completely universal in that way.
The blade length is 3.25 inches, and the handle is 4.25 inches. Overall 7.5 inches is right in that range that a great everyday carry knife should be. The icing on the cake would be its only 3.3 ounces. And the knife itself is very thin, making for a comfortable carry and use.
Other EDC Knives to Consider:
Spyderco Tenacious: I’ve talked this knife up quite a bit in other articles, it’s a good budget folding knife and would make for an excellent knife as well. Check out my full review on the Spyderco Tenacious.
Kershaw Cryo: The Kershaw Cryo is smaller than the Cryo II by around a 1/2″, so if you are looking at the Cryo II for an EDC knife and want a smaller version, make sure you get the original Cryo. Check out my full review of the Kershaw Cryo right here.
Spyderco Persistence: The Spyderco Persistence is a perfectly sized knife option, blade length is 2.75 inches and the overall length is 6.8 inches. G-10 handles provide excellent texturing and the blade steel is easily sharpened. The Persistence is also just 3.3 ounces, so perfectly acceptable weight range. You can pick up the Spyderco Persistence for pretty cheap from online retailers.
How to Choose the Best EDC Knife
When I buy a knife there are certain aspects of a knife I look at, I want the most practical knife possible for the situations I come across on a daily basis. Here are some of the main characteristics I look for.
Size and Weight
Being as this is going to be a knife that I will carry with me on a daily basis, I want it to be as lightweight as possible but also reasonably sized. I’ve talked a little about it previously, but an edc knife will generally be in 3 ounce range, however I’m not opposed to going heavier up to 4 to 4.5 ounces if everything else perfect. I find 3 ounces to be in my wheelhouse, it’s not too lightweight that it feels weak or cheap, but it’s also not going to tip the scales and weigh down my pocket. After all, I’ll most likely have other items in my pockets as well, so the less weight the better.
Why not less than 3 ounces if lighter is better? I find the super light weights are generally very small knives, like the Kershaw Chive or the Spyderco Dragonfly. Each are great knives in their own respect but for everyday carry, I find them to be too small for my liking. Of course there are exceptions made to this rule. It depends on the knife and its characteristics.
Size wise I’m a little more lenient, I may just put more stock in weight than I do size, however I do look at it. I prefer a blade length of 3.5 inches or less. Generally speaking if the blade length is 3.5 inches the overall length will fall in the 7.5 to 8 inch range. Anything over 8 inches better have some lightweight aspect to it. An example of this would be the Spyderco ParaMilitary 2, it's over 8 inches but I love characteristics of the PM2.
Blade and Handle Materials
For my knives I want a blade material that will be tough enough to resist the wear and tear of everyday use. When it comes to everyday use, the possibilities are endless for why I may use my pocket knife. Having a blade steel that will easily resist corrosion is important, most steel nowadays can and do have some resistance qualities. Depending on the carbon count in the stainless steel will determine just how much and will impact the blades hardness. To much and it’s impossible to sharpen, too little and it will rust.
With all that said, the more popular blades steels for the best edc knives will be S30V on the premium end and 154CM for high end knives. If you are looking for a little cheaper option a blade steel like VG-10 is an excellent choice. Foreign steels like 8CR13MoV and AUS8 will be your budget type folders and will provide great corrosion resistance, however they are softer steels and will require sharpening more often.
Handle materials are a little easier to decipher, as long as the handle is durable, has some good texturing and resists moisture it’s fair game. Some popular materials include G-10, Zytel or FRN and aluminum. G-10 is very strong handle material, has good texturing to it and can basically be molded into any shape needed. Same goes for Zytel (FRN), it can molded into any handle shape and is usually heavily textured for a secure grip.
Aluminum is slick, and if not properly textured will be slick in your hand. Jimping or some sort of creative aluminum handle shape is usually applied on the handle to enhance your grip, if it’s not I’d move on from that particular knife.
When we talk about an everyday carry knife, we are talking about a convenient single blade pocket knife that we can use for quick tasks we perform everyday. It would be nice if we could carry a multi-tool with us everyday, however the EDC role doesn’t call for such a tool. It's not everyday you need a nail file or screw driver that a multi-tool would provide you. The single blade pocket knife will be a sufficient tool for 90% of your everyday tasks. If you find that you need a multi-tool on a daily basis, you are probably in construction business of some sort, the exception to the rule so to speak.
Pocket clips for me are a must, and I would prefer the pocket clip to have multiple carry options. Some clips are in a fixed position and only allow for a certain carry, if I would rather carry tip-up and if the clip is fixed for tip-down this would be an issue for me. So before you buy your knife, make sure there are multiple carry options.
Locking mechanisms are also a must for safety, I want to know that if I accidentally slip and dig the point into a block of wood the blade isn’t going to fold down on my fingers. Most folding knives nowadays are equipped with a strong lock, so its comes down to preference on which you like better. I’ll say frame locks, liner locks, compression locks, AXIS, they are all very good and I have high confidence in any of them.
Quality and Price Range
One may equate the word quality with meaning expensive, well this isn’t the case here. I’ve found with many knives that their quality far outweigh their price tag. For example my runner up, the Spyderco Delica 4. This knife only costs around $60 dollars on Amazon, however with the FRN handles and the VG-10 blade its quality and durability are 2nd to none. So you see, quality doesn’t have to mean expensive.
Another great example of a quality pocket knife would be the Kershaw Blur with S30V stainless steel. This particular knife has premium S30V blade steel and only runs around $80 dollars on Amazon. This is an excellent knife that I probably should have included earlier and just didn’t for no good reason. If you want inexpensive quality, the Blur S30V is the perfect example that isn't super expensive.
Generally speaking, I wouldn’t recommend breaking the bank for a Chris Reeve Sebenza or something outrageous like that. Being something you have to keep up with on a daily basis make the chances of losing it more likely. I’ve left knives in my pants pocket no telling how many times and I’ve thrown it in the washing machine. There are countless ways to lose a knife, so take that into account when deciding your price range.
For an EDC, I can get a great budget folding knife in the $50 to $80 dollar range, my higher end EDC’s, I wouldn’t spend over $180. Those are just my general guidelines and depending on your financial situation something you should decide.
Final Thoughts on the Best EDC Knives
Like many of you I’m just a normal ole regular middle class American, who happens to love pocket knives. I don’t have the good fortunes to be able to just endlessly purchase pocket knives. The collection I do have has been meticulously assembled over the years either from saving my pennies or gifts from family and friends. So if you're going to buy a knife but only have limited funds, I hope you take into consideration some of the knives I’ve talked about today.
You don't have to break the bank, the above options are some of the best on the market in all price ranges. They are all built with high quality materials and have many 5 star reviews not just from me, but the many knife enthusiasts on the internet today. I would encourage you to check out some other websites who review these knives and see for yourself exactly what I’m talking about.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article and i hope you are able to find the best edc knife for you. If you would like to leave me a comment you can do so below, I would love to hear from you and maybe you could recommend other knives for me to check out.