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There are many different products that we can purchase that serve multiple uses, and versatility is always a plus, as long as other aspects don’t suffer because of it. A pocket knife is the embodiment of this philosophy, as it can be used for a wide range of purposes beyond what many would expect.
In fact, there are points where a pocket knife may end up being invaluable, and it may not be for the reasons that you expect. Over the course of this guide, we will be primarily looking at ten of the best pocket knives on the market. You may be wondering why we are going over so many of them.
We have chosen a diverse set of knives (all of which are high-quality offerings) since it will improve the likelihood that every one of our readers will find something that they like. Five of the pocket knives in this guide will consist of our top recommendations while the others will be alternative options.
Keep in mind that there is no such thing as the best pocket knife in the world, rather, there is the best pocket knife for you. Since everyone has different needs, the ideal knife for another customer may be useless to you, or perhaps vice versa, so we will also cover how to go about finding the best pocket knife for your needs.
First off, we are going to discuss what exactly makes a knife a pocket knife, as there are many similar kinds of products. We’ll also be covering some of the differences between pocket knives and other types of blades that are typically carried, as there may still be some lingering confusion
Other than that, you may also want to take a look at the section in which we go over the features to look for when you are choosing the best pocket knife possible. Taking a look at the different aspects of the available pocket knives and then selecting the one that suits you is often the best way to pick one.
Of course, if you are used to buying pocket knives, it is likely that you already know what you are looking for, so feel free to skip through that particular section. In the end, read through this guide as you see fit since there is no wrong way to use it, as long as you get the info that you were looking for.
Without any further delay, let’s lay down some of the groundwork by taking a look at what exactly makes up a pocket knife.
What Are Pocket Knives?
As you may have guessed by the name, a pocket knife is a blade that is compact enough to fit in one of your pockets, but this still doesn’t give us an obvious idea of what to expect. There are many different kinds of pockets, all of varying sizes, and the same can be said for pocket knives.
There are pocket knives for all kinds of different needs, ranging from self-defense all the way to utility uses, and they will typically feature designs that are optimized for the job they’re made for. Pocket knives can have a wide range of different features, but we’ll describe the most common type.
The vast majority of pocket knives feature a folding design as that is the simplest way to collapse a knife without compromising its structural integrity while it is in use. Keep in mind that most pocket knives are not spring-loaded, as individual states may have legislature that forbids such blades.
Most pocket knives do not feature a very large blade, which demonstrates that they aren’t meant to be used in place of dedicated knives. That means that a pocket knife can get you out of a tough situation, but you shouldn’t rely on it if you’re going camping or into the wilderness for an extended period.
While these blades may excel in utility, you will have to remember that they are still relatively small and light, meaning that they aren’t made of heavy-duty materials. Unless you invested in an advanced model, a pocket knife isn’t designed for protracted use, instead being made for maximum portability.
Even though some pocket knives are built to last longer than others, they will typically be unable to hold a candle to survival knives and other types of heavy-duty blades.
If you expected something different from your pocket knife, there isn’t much cause for concern, as we will now be taking a look at various other kinds of knives that you can come across. Who knows, you may even find another sort of blade that is more suitable for your needs than a pocket knife.
Pocket Knives Vs. Other Types of Knives
There are many different types of blades, and this will not be an exhaustive list, by any means. The purpose of this section is to go over knives that are similar to pocket knives and explain the differences. This will help clear up any confusion as to the purposes of these various blades, and it may even help you choose the right one.
Swiss Army Knives
Likely the most famous of the blades on this list, the Swiss Army Knife is a cultural icon of Switzerland. These blades were originally designed in the late 1800s for Swiss soldiers, and they are more of a multi-tool than a full-blown knife, which makes them the most versatile option on this list.
Keep in mind that the Swiss Army Knife and a pocket knife serve two distinct roles, as it is unlikely that you will ever use a Swiss Army Knife to defend yourself. However, there are a few select Swiss Army Knife models that can still be used as a defensive weapon in a tough situation.
Regardless, the primary use of these products is to be versatile, as they can come equipped with dozens of tools. Most of the time, a typical Swiss Army Knife will feature miniature scissors, a corkscrew, screwdrivers, tweezers, blades of varying lengths and different styles, and much more.
These knives are an excellent choice for anyone who is out of the house often and needs access to a wide range of tools in a convenient package. Most of the time, a Swiss Army Knife won’t replace the need for a pocket knife, but it will rather go hand-in-hand with one as items that you should always keep on you.
Now we get into knives that have a truly specialized use, as survival knives are optimized for use in the wilderness and other tough situations. Bringing one of these knives with you is crucial if you plan on going camping, hiking, or any other activity that involves you going out into the wild.
Survival knives are not so much knives as they are tools that can facilitate your survival in the most desperate situations, so they are made to take a beating without failing. You will find that survival knives are the most durable of the common knife varieties that you will see available.
Other than durability, however, survival knives also feature a very versatile design that is useful in situations where you there is a wide range of tough materials to cut through. Whether you are trying to slice through some foliage or you need to use your knife to pry something, a survival knife will have you covered.
Most of the time, knives of this type will feature a rubberized grip with an ergonomic design, so that you can keep the blade in your hand even in the rain and in other tough conditions. These knives will often feature a blade that is partly serrated for additional purchase on some substances.
This is the kind of knife that you can expect to see in your kitchen drawers, and they share almost no similarities with the smaller blades that you can fit in your pocket. Of course, both kinds of knives consist of blades with handles, but that is about where the similarities between them come to an end.
First off, a kitchen knife will almost never feature a folding blade, and they are much larger than other kinds of knives so you can have a broader surface for chopping and cutting. Many kitchen knives will also be much sharper than pocket knives, as you will know to be more careful with them.
There are many different subtypes of kitchen knives, from meat cleavers to cheese knives, but most people think of the chef’s knife, which is the one with the broad, flat blade. This knife was initially developed to cut through large cuts of meat, so it is capable, if not a little unwieldy.
Kitchen knives and pocket knives share no similarity when it comes to their use, as a kitchen knife will never leave your home, but it is still one of the more common types of knives that people purchase. Most of the time, you can expect to pay far more for a quality kitchen knife, however.
All switchblades are pocket knives, but not all pocket knives are switchblades. This statement may cause some confusion, but you’ll find that it makes sense when you further examine it. Almost all switchblades will be small enough to fit into your pocket, and they will still fold up so that they can be stowed.
So where does the difference between switchblades and pocket knives lie? Most people will tell you that a pocket knife becomes a switchblade when the mechanism to deploy the knife is spring-loaded. Since the blade is deployed by pressing a switch, it is evident to see where the knives got their name from.
This feature makes switchblades particularly suitable for self-defense since the blade will be ready far faster than it takes you to unfold a pocket knife’s blade manually. On the other hand, you will have to consider that switchblades are regulated by the governments of some states, so you will have to do your research.
In the end, there is some significant overlap between the functionality of the pocket knife and the switchblade since they are essentially the same knife with a different method of operation. If switchblades are entirely legal in your state, and you will be using your knife for self-defense, we would recommend opting for one.
The last kind of knife we will be looking at is the butterfly knife, which can also be referred to as a balisong. A butterfly knife is a blade that is attached to split handles that rotate around to cover each half of the blade when it is not in use. These handles are connected to the tang, so the blade is well-balanced.
If you know of butterfly knives, then it is likely that you have seen some of the impressive performances by wielders of these blades. Many butterfly knife owners learn how to spin the blade around their fingers, which makes for an impressive (albeit dangerous) display of nerve and resolve.
Much like switchblades, there are certain areas in which butterfly knives are forbidden, so you will have to look over your local regulations before deciding to purchase one of them. Other than for performance, you will find that a butterfly knife can fulfill all the uses of a typical pocket knife.
While they may look unwieldy, butterfly knives are still useful as defensive weapons and sometimes as utility blades when the need arises. If you are proficient with this kind of blade, it may even work better for you as an everyday carry knife, but you may want to purchase a training blade before trying to do some tricks.
Uses for Pocket Knives
In this section, we are going to be taking a look at some of the most common uses for pocket knives. Of course, since everyone has a different purpose for their blade, don’t expect to have to use your pocket knife in all of these ways, but be aware that they are very versatile tools.
The most obvious reason for carrying a pocket knife is because it provides you with an easy way to defend yourself in a tough situation. Since these blades are so much smaller than other kinds of knives, it is easier to keep them in your pocket until the need arises, which it hopefully never will.
Keep in mind that pocket knives aren’t fighting knives, so they will not be the ideal blade that you would use in a defensive situation. Rather, a pocket knife is convenient to carry around in case you need it, which is a distinction that you need to understand for your own safety.
If your assailant is coming at you with a six-inch blade, you may have to reconsider your options, as a pocket knife is not meant to compete with the kind of reach that a blade such as that offers. Always keep an eye on your options in a defensive situation, as there are several ways to defend yourself.
Other than keeping yourself protected, you will find that a pocket knife can be useful in a wide range of different utility situations. Have you ever been in a position where you couldn’t get a package open for the life of you? One quick poke with your pocket knife and that packaging won’t give you any more trouble.
Keep in mind that if you are going to be using your pocket knife for utility purposes, you may wish to invest in a blade that is slightly more durable. Many pocket knives are made with blades that are just too thin to withstand daily use, so you will want something that is built to last.
While a pocket knife isn’t the ideal tool to have on you in a survival situation, it is better than having no blade. Since a pocket knife will always be on your person, it is likely that you will have access to it in the event of an accident or another unfortunate situation that may necessitate a blade.
Keep in mind that if you know you are going to be headed out into the wilderness, you will want to bring along a dedicated survival knife with you. A folding knife may end up damaged, or it can even break if it is subjected to the stress that a survival knife is commonly put through, but it can work for you in a pinch.
Choosing the Perfect Pocket Knife For Your Needs
Finding the right knife can often be a challenge because of the various features that you will have to look for. In this part of our guide, we are going to cover all of the aspects that are essential to look over in your search for the best pocket knife on the market.
Of course, the first thing that you are going to want to consider when you are buying your new pocket knife is how large it is. The whole point of a pocket knife is so that it can fit in your pocket and so you can carry it around with you wherever you need it, and you won’t want one that is too big.
Keep in mind that a smaller knife will also have a smaller blade, which will diminish its usefulness in various situations. When looking for the best pocket knife for your needs, you will have to balance the size of the blade with the overall size (with the handle included) so that it fits comfortably, but is also useful.
You will also want your blade to be reasonably durable, as nobody wants to buy a knife that will fail within the first few months of usefulness. Getting a durable knife is about more than a blade that is made of quality steel because you will also want to ensure that your folding mechanism is reliable.
A pocket knife that can’t fold will be impossible to carry, so there is more to a durable one than just the blade. You should also take a look at the material that the handle is made of, as a cracked handle may compromise the ability of the blade to fold into it in the first place.
When buying a new knife, you may want to consider whether or not it comes pre-sharpened, as many pocket knives arrive in that condition, unlike other blades which you must sharpen yourself. Take a look at whether or not this is the case if you would prefer to do the work sharpening the blade.
How much a pocket knife weighs is another thing that you will have to account for when you are shopping around for the best one available. Since you can expect to carry around your pocket knife everywhere you go, you won’t want some massive monstrosity that drags your pants down when you carry it.
The best pocket knives combine exceptional durability with a lightweight design that provides the best of both worlds. This way, you can carry the blade wherever you need it, and you can also use it in tough situations without worrying about the blade snapping or the mechanism failing due to stress.
Your pocket knife’s grip is another thing that you should consider when making your purchase, as you will want something that is comfortable and prevents slippage. The last thing you would want in a defensive scenario is to have your blade slip out of your fingers, as that could be rather dangerous.