There are many things to consider when deciding to purchase a new folding knife, but for most of us, ultimately it comes down to the price. I decided to find the best edc knife under $50, turns out it was more a little difficult than I thought. Keep reading to find out why!
If you’re like me (on a budget), buying an expensive name brand pocket knife can take some saving and planning, and many times it’s just not in the budget to spend that much on a knife.
Thankfully, with the growing number of knife manufacturers, like Spyderco and Kershaw to name a few, many have made and continue to make some excellent pocket knives that fit into most anyone’s budget. Not only are these folding knives highly affordable, but they are also quality made knives.
So while all these pocket knives may be cheap on price, they still have many of the great features of the more expensive folding knives.
When I started writing all this down I thought this would be an easy list to put together, but after doing a little research I quickly realized that finding the best edc knife under $50 was a little more difficult than I had anticipated, for the simple fact that there are just so many to choose from.
So what did I look at to decide which knives made the list? Obviously my main focus was the price of the knife, I decided to keep it under the $50 mark. There are a few knives in the list that are bumping up against that ceiling, but all these folding knives are under that set mark.
Also I looked at blade and handle materials, I didn’t include every edc knife I could find for under $50, that would be too easy and defeat the purpose of this write up. I wanted the absolute best edc knife under $50, but it also had to have been made from quality materials.
The Absolute Best EDC Knives Under $50
I looked at each knife individually and compared the blades, handles, and even the ergonomics of each to comprise the best 10 I could find for under $50. Eventually this list may change, but for now this is what I came up with.
I choose the Spyderco Tenacious as my top budget edc pocket knife, Why?
It’s a simple answer really, because it is. The Tenacious is extremely affordable, has nice G-10 handles and the blade material is more than adequate for an EDC knife being 8Cr13MoV.
Out of the box of course the Tenacious is razor sharp, the blade is a little soft so you may find you need to sharpen it a little more often. However, the 8Cr13MoV touches up very easy.
The G-10 scales feel nice, they have good texture to prevent slips and can withstand heavy use. If you would like additional information on the Spyderco Tenacious I would encourage you to check out my full review.
So while the Tenacious may be produced in China, its value is off the charts. I love this knife and it’s probably the best EDC knife under $50 you’ll find.
Ontario RAT 2
I’ve recently moved this knife way up my list, it’s the best edc knife under $50 I’ve carried in a long time. I still love my Spyderco Tenacious, but the RAT 2 is growing on me fast.
It’s rare that you find a knife of this quality selling for as low as this one does. Compared with other more expensive folding knives the Rat 2 will hold its own without question.
For an EDC knife, the RAT 2 is absolutely perfect. I really can’t explain how much I like this knife.
The fit and finish of this knife is awesome, there is zero blade play and it’s just an overall solid knife.
The plain edge blade is constructed from AUS-8 steel and has a nice satin finish to it. It’s super sharp out of the box, easily re-sharpened and its edge retention is very respectable.
While its not an assisted opening blade, it is deployed with thumb studs and is very fast and smooth, no complaints here on that front.
The black nylon handle is not as grippy as say a g-10 handle, but is plenty grippy enough to prevent slips. Ergonomically speaking the Rat 2 handle is very comfortable. No sharp edges to dig into you hand, it just feels really good in your hand.
The pocket clip is drilled for your choice of tip up, tip down, left or right hand carry.
Seriously, you are going to be hard pressed to find a better edc knife under $50 than the Ontario Rat 2. This knife is just an awesome!
When it comes to matching quality with the price, none can beat the Ganzo G720 and none can match its performance. The Ganzo knife is constructed out of 440c Stainless Steel, which makes it lightweight and corrosion resistant.
The sharp edge is perfect for hunting and cutting through ropes and so on. The Green Stainless Steel Handle with grooves for the perfect grip is perhaps the identity of the Ganzo. This ensures your hand fits perfectly and bears with absolutely no strain.
The lock featured is an axis lock, which ensures safety! Apart from being ergonomic and comfortable, it has a metal pocket clip that allows you to hold the knife on your belt.
The metal clip is reversible so both right-handed, as well as left-handed folks, can use it. Also featured on the handle is a window breaker for emergencies!
The total net weight of the pocket knife is about 205 gm while the blade length 3.5 inches. The Ganzo can be your savior in times of crisis!
The Kershaw Cryo is number 3 on my list for a few reasons, first of all this folder is very affordable. You can pick up the original Cryo for well under $50. Believe me, for what you get in this knife that is a heck of a deal.
The blade and handle are 8Cr13MoV, with Titanium carbo-nitride coating, I’m not going to get into the science of it here. But I can tell you 8Cr13MoV material is a top notch stainless steel, so for the simple reason this knife is made almost entirely out of it gives me no reason to doubt its quality, or durability.
Optionally, if you would rather have a different handle material, the Cryo is also offered with G10 handles. I personally think G-10 is one of the best handle materials out there, so this makes the Cryo and even better value in my eyes.
SpeedSafe with the flipper make this pocket knife an easy choice for the best EDC knife under $50!
No budget edc knife list would be complete without the inclusion of the Kershaw Leek. This knife has quite a few features I personally like, and a few I don’t. But for its cheap price tag, it’s not going to be perfect.
The Leek has a Sandvik 14C28N steel blade, which is a top grade knife steel. It’s edge retention is really good and its very easy to re-sharpen when needed.
The handle is bead-blasted stainless steel, and can get a bit slippery in wet conditions. However, with some well thought out handle ergonomics this really isn’t an issue.
What I really like about this knife is the Speedsafe deployment with your index finger, its lighting fast. If you haven’t tried a Kershaw with the Speedsafe I would highly recommend you do so.
The Leek is also equipped with thumbstuds and the deployment is also very quick, I prefer the index finger, but both are equally good.
Overall the Leek is very well built, its sharp, thin and light. For an EDC, it the perfect size, you can’t really notice it in your pocket. It’s the perfect combination of size, weight & length.
I would say if you’re looking for the best edc knife under $50, its hard to beat the Kershaw Leek.But, the best reason to love the Kershaw Leek…Made right here in the USA.
The Spyderco Ambitious is the very definition of a budget EDC pocket knife. Even advertised as such by Spyderco themselves in their line of value-priced folding knives.
If you like a small EDC pocket knife, the Ambitious is perfect. Just a little over 5 inches opened with a compact 2.25 inch blade, it will fit nicely in your pocket and you will not be weighed down.
Much like the Tenacious, the Ambitious has G-10 scales and sports the 8Cr13MoV steel blade with liner lock. If you can tell from other knives listed here I personally like the feel of the G-10 and the blade steel is more than capable for these budget knives.
For reference the Spyderco Ambitious is an inch shorter that the Delica 4, but a little fatter. As with most of Spyderco’s offerings, the ergonomics are great and the knife fits great in the hand.
The Ambitious would be a perfect EDC knife to carry in cities that restrict blade lengths, ie Boston or Chicago.
Overall the Ambitious is a good little pocket knife with a great price tag for the budget conscious collector.
Next up on the list, the Kershaw Brawler. What I really like about this knife if the speedsafe function with flipper, makes for super fast one hand blade deployment.
What else do I like about the Brawler you might ask, the price tag of course. It’s cheap and packed with some awesome features.
The blade steel is 8Cr13MoV with a black oxide coating, it looks pretty cool for sure, however the black coating can scratch. But in my experience with this knife it can take a beating, so I’m not concerned about a few scratches.
The 8Cr13MoV is very easy to sharpen and can hold a nice edge for quite a while, if you’re looking to go 4 or 5 months in between sharpening with heavy use, then maybe this one isn’t the knife for you, but a touch up every couple months is pretty respectable for normal use.
The thumb studs, or blade stops depending on who you ask, protrude on both sides of the blade. For me they are not really functional for opening, I find they are to close to the handle and awkward to use. The flipper is much more convenient for me.
The glass filled nylon handle is nice and strong, with a nice texturing to prevent slips and accidents when wet. It’s matte black finish is pretty scratch resistant and should hold up to most jobs.
Another nice feature to this knife is the pocket clip, the handle is drilled for quad carry, tip-up or tip-down and left or right handed. So however you prefer to EDC, the Brawler is made to please.
For the guy looking to save a few bucks, I’d say the Kershaw Brawler could absolutely be the best edc knife under $50.
CRKT Carson M16-01KS
To start off with, the M16 is the perfect sized for edc, if you’ve search this article looking for a budget edc knife, the M16 is a great option.
With that being said, the CRKT M16 is also a very nice folding knife. It looks awesome and is very comfortable to hold and use.
The blade is made from 8Cr15MoV steel, which I haven’t really used all that much. But I can say it’s performed quite well. It’s a softer steel so the edge retention isn’t great, but it’s not bad either. Also it can be touched up easily so this for me isn’t a deal breaker.
Opening this knife is simple, it has the a flipper so a quick swipe with your index finger and the blade is deployed quickly.
The handle is made from glass-filled nylon in a solid tactical black color, There isn’t a ton a texture on the handle, but it’s not really necessary, The handle shape has a nice ergonomic feel and there isn’t much worry of your hands slipping. The little texture if does have has been well implemented.
The M16 comes equipped with the AutoLAWKS system, which prevents the liner lock from releasing with the knife opened. You have to disengage the lock to release the liner and close the blade. It can be difficult for 1 hand closing, but as you get used to it it becomes easier.
As I said, this is a nice sized knife for edc, it’s 7.125″ open length and only 2.3 ounces. It would make a perfect addition to your pocket.
The CRKT Squid Pocket Folding Knife is a tactical pocket knife that cuts through tasks like a katana! This small and portable knife has a steel blade lock handle with grooves on the side to support your hand.
Although it is not the best in terms of ergonomics, it is still decent enough not to cause any strain. The steel blade is high-quality drop point and is wider than other blades to help you cut through all challenges.
The frame lock on the handle is for added safety so the blade does not poke through. However, deploying the knife is easy; all you need to do is flick your thumb.
The blade length is about 2.25 inches, which are shorter than others; however, the overall length is 3.6 inches which can be considered as an advantage as well.
The Squid is lightweight weighing 3.4 ounces. The handle features a pocket clip that is fixed. The compact CRKT Folding Pocket Knife can let you have the upper hand in times of action!
Gerber Freeman Guide
The Gerber Freeman Guide Folding Knife is the ultimate pocket knife for all hunters or outdoorsmen.
The first thing you notice is the extremely ergonomic handle with pronounced grooves to help you hold on to the knife with sure grip and security. The Tac Hide Onlay on the handle enhances the grip even further.
The superior quality durable steel blade features a very fine edge of Gut hook to ensure you can cut through the toughest of objects.
The knife features no pocket clips, however, it comes with a nylon sheath that holds the folded knife. This sheath can easily attach to the belt or pocket.
The liner lock safely locks the blade into the handle. The lock is strong, however, opening the blade with your thumb is still quite easy.
The overall weight of the knife is about 6.6 ounces while the blade length is 3.6 inches. Due to its superior performance, the Gerber is a top favorite amongst most hunters.
Opinel Carbon Steel Folding Knife
The simple Opinel Carbon Steel Folding Knife has a unique look where it looks more expensive than it actually is!
The Opinel handle is made out of Beech tree, which is very easy to work with. The Handle is hard, strong and durable; however, it is not as ergonomic as other knives as it has no separate grooves for the fingers. Still, it does not strain your hand and has a unique stylish look to it.
It’s Carbon Steel blade is very hard and thus cuts to the bone. It is durable, corrosion resistant and is stamped with the ‘Crowned Hand’ symbol.
The blade fits snugly into the handle and features a Vibrolock Safety ring, which locks the blade when open and when closed as well.
This ensures safety while traveling and when in use. However, one shortcoming of the Opinel is that it has no pocket clip for ease of use.
The knife is available in different sizes. The timeless Opinel is a must-have tool for all enthusiasts, hunters or handymen.
Buck Knives 284 Bantam
Buck Knives is an acclaimed brand for making the best knives for outdoor purposes!
The Bantam 284 features a Glass reinforced Nylon material that is durable and sturdy. Grooves on the handle make for the perfect fit for your fingers and provide a comfortable ergonomic grip.
The blade itself is made of 420HC Steel, and while this steel isn’t the top of the line Buck has managed bring the best out in it with their heat treatment process. The blade has good strength, respectable edge retention and is corrosion resistant.
Additional features on the Bantam 284 is a thumbtack which makes it easier to deploy the knife with the swipe of a thumb. The lock back mechanism perfectly locks the blade into place and ensures reliability and safety.
The blade length is about 2.75 inches which are relatively short while the weight is overall 1.5 ounces.
Unfortunately, it features no pocket clip. With the host of such convenient features, who can deny buying the Buck Knives?
The Kershaw Eris pocket knife is a great value for budget-minded knife enthusiasts. The 8cr13Mov blade steel offers good edge retention and wear resistance, while the satin finish helps resist stains and scratches.
The non-reflective stonewashed blade gives it an attractive look, while allowing for fast one-hand deployment with SpeedSafe assisted opening and flipper tab. It also has a secure locking system frame lock to ensure safety when in use.
The durable stainless steel handle resists corrosion and comes with a reversible pocket clip for tip up or tip down carry. With its quality design and materials, the Kershaw Eris pocket knife provides excellent cutting capabilities at a price that won’t break the bank.
Buck Knives 0327 Nobleman
Buck Knives continues to produce high quality budget knives and comes out with the Carbon Fiber Nobleman to drown out all others!
The Nobleman features Carbon Fiber Handle that has rubber on the left side to provide you with superior grip ensuring your hand does not slip onto the blade. Although the handle is pretty ergonomic, it does not have grooves for the fingers to fit on.
The 420HC steel is titanium coated for a non-reflective and chic look. In terms of performance, it offers excellent strength, corrosion resistance, and edge retention.
The frame lock design tightly secures the blade and ensures it does not slip out. The length of the blade is about 3.75 inches while the weight is about 2.6 oz.
The blade features a removable pocket clip as well. Be careful where you point this sharp knife towards!
Best EDC Knife under $50
So there you have it, my final list of the best edc knife under $50. If you have any to add to the list, or just disagree with some of my choices I’d like to hear from you.
Being a knife enthusiast its hard to narrow the list down to just 10, because there are many more awesome knives out there that easily could have made this list. I could have comprised this list of just Kershaw and Spyderco edc knives under $50 just because they have so many to offer, but that would have left out many other great knives from other manufacturers and I couldn’t just ignore them.
When it’s all said and done, I love the Spyderco Tenacious and I’ll take that knife all day if I have to choose the best edc knife under $50!!!