Most people agree that an EDC kit isn’t complete without a knife. There are tons of knives out there which can make the experience of finding the right one for you an overwhelming experience but this guide aims to help you find perfect knife for your EDC kit.
A knife is one of those tools that serves many purposes. It can be used to open things, slice food or cordage, for self-defense, to carve wood, to skin game and filet fish, and to accomplish a multitude of other tasks.
Having a good EDC knife will make many every day tasks easier and will give you an advantage in nearly any survival situation.
Our Picks for Best EDC Knife
Best Overall EDC Knife: Kershaw Tanto Serrated Blur Knife
The Kershaw Tanto Serrated Blur Knife is our favorite choice for an all-purpose EDC knife. This Made in USA knife is built to last and is super sharp right out of the box.
It is extremely well-made and designed with military service, police force, and firefighters in mind. The handle is durable and lightweight, with a great texture to allow for a firm grip. SpeedSafe assisted opening system for smooth, one-handed opening
It’s partially serrated blade gives you added flexibility making it a versatile item in your EDC arsenal.
This is a fantastic knife that will serve its owner for many years to come.
Best Compact EDC Knife: Boker Plus Subcom Pocket Knife
The Boker Plus Subcom Pocket Knife is a little gem that is perfect for people that want their EDC items to be as small and low profile as possible.
It can easily clip onto a belt or even be used as a money clip. This knife is a great choice when concealability and having an unobtrusive EDC arsenal are your priorities.
Boker Knives come with a lifetime warranty.
Best Plus-Sized EDC Knife: Spyderco Endura 4
Even though the Spyderco Endura 4 is at the larger end of the spectrum for EDC knives, it is still quite compact and surprisingly lightweight.
As you’ll see from the customer reviews, this knife has a very loyal EDC user base.
This knife is an excellent choice for EDC if size isn’t your main driving factor.
How To Choose The Best EDC Knife for You
As with looking at a knife for any task there are a few basic qualities you should look at when making your choice.
Fixed vs Folding
This is likely the first decision to make when choosing your EDC knife. Most people opt for a folding knife as they tend to be smaller and can easily fit in a pocket or clip onto a belt.
Any fixed blade knife will need a sheath to cover the blade and would need to be worn on a belt or on a cord as a “neck knife.”
As with many elements of finding a good EDC knife it comes down to preference and what environment you typically find yourself in. If you are in an urban environment a folding EDC knife will be a better option as it will be unobtrusive and lighter to carry. Being discreet is often important in urban areas making a small folding knife a common choice for city dwellers.
If you tend to live in a rural location a fixed blade knife is easier to justify as you may find yourself skinning game and cutting rope more often. Additionally, outside of big cities wearing a fixed blade knife has less of a cultural taboo. Regardless of this many rural EDCers tend to choose a folding knife for their EDC kit due to size and weight advantages of this option.
Size and Weight
A good EDC knife will be able to fit in a pocket and will integrate strong, lightweight materials such as G10 or Micarta. It is important to recognize the “Every Day” aspect of an EDC knife when considering size and weight. No one wants to be carrying around an anchor in their pocket all the time. Choose an EDC pocket knife that is under 5 ounces (~150 grams) and less than 5 inches (~13 cm) in length for an easy, comfortable carry.
There are many types of blade styles available for folding EDC knives designed to fit a multitude of needs. The most 3 commonly available are:
- Full Ground Edge – This is a blade that has a straight or curved edge. Full ground edge blades are generally better for pushing cuts (shaving, skinning an apple or animal), scraping, precision work, poking, skewering, and stabbing.
- Full Serration – Serrated blades are generally better at slicing cuts through tough materials such as plastic, wood, rope, leather, or drywall. Serrated knives are generally poor at stabbing in a self-defense context as the serrations tend to get stuck on clothing or bones.
- Partial Serration – This is a blade that is serrated on the part nearest the handle and a straight ground edge nearest the tip. This type of blade seeks to deliver the advantages of both of the types of blades mentioned above in a single piece for the user making them a popular choice for EDC.
Knife makers have innovated in many ways to create opening mechanisms to suit any need. There is a lot of variety out there from assisted open knives to thumb studs and cutouts, to flipping nubs and many, many more. Regardless of what type of opening mechanism you choose for your EDC knife it should have the following qualities:
- Reliable – You want your knife to open on the first try when you need it. If you have to cut through a rope to save a life, or fight off a dangerous animal, you can’t call a “time out” to open up your knife. Make sure you can open it instantly EVERY TIME.
- One-handed – You never know what circumstance you may need to open your knife in or if you will be holding on to something essential in the other. Make sure you EDC knife opening mechanism can be operated one handed.
- Left or Right Hand Opening – Make sure your knife opening mechanism can be utilized with either hand. Some cheap knives come with a thumb stud only on one side. Great if you have the option to open your EDC knife with you right hand. Not so great if you are holding on to something essential with that hand or if it is injured. Hedge your bets and go with an ambidextrous opening mechanism.
- Assisted vs Manual Opening – Deciding whether your best EDC knife should have an assisted or manual open will come down to personal choice. It is a nice feature but is illegal in many jurisdictions. To meet the needs of knife owners, knife makers have responded with ever-improving manual opening methods that are lightning fast.
No matter what you choose as the best EDC folding knife for your situation, they all have one thing in common: a rock-solid locking mechanism. Having an excellent lock on your folding knife will make it nearly on par with a fixed blade knife for reliability. Some of the better folding knives out there even have a secondary locking mechanism, making it virtually impossible for the blade to close on your hand while in use. The 3 most common locking mechanisms for EDC folding knives are:
- Liner Lock
- Lock Back
- Lever Lock
Regardless of which of these options you choose to go with make sure it is reliable for your knife. Many cheap manufacturers will skimp on this feature, endangering their users and making an unreliable tool. A quality knife will have a quality locking mechanism, look for and EDC blade with a secondary option for extra safety.
Grip Style and Material
The grip for your EDC folding knife can be broken into two categories, style and materials. The style is how the knife is designed which will ideally allow it to fit well in your hand and allow for a secure grip in adverse conditions (wet, cold, etc). The materials are what the grip is made of. There are a variety of materials that are commonly used to make the grip of a folding knife, choosing one that suits your purposes is an important step in deciding what the best EDC knife is for you.
EDC Knife Grip Style
A well designed knife will fit easily in your hand. It should have a concavity for your hand to hold on to, a good sized choil to hold your fingers in place and well thought out jimping on the backside to provide grip for your thumb when in use.
EDC Knife Grip Material
There are a vide variety of materials used to make knife grips, here are some of the most common:
- G10 – An epoxy and fiberglass resin that is extremely strong and relatively lightweight
- Micarta – A combination of cloth (generally linen or canvas) and resin. Also very strong and lightweight
- Titanium – Extremely strong and lightweight material, nearly impervious to rust.
- Carbon Fiber – Very light weight material but also very brittle. Generally more showy and expensive than the other options.
- Zytel – A lightweight and nearly indestructible plastic.
Knives are one of the many items where you get what you pay for. While there are many good EDC knives out there that can be picked up for less than $50, the BEST EDC knives will generally cost more than this. For something you are going to be carrying with you EVERY DAY, it is worth paying a bit more to choose a high quality EDC knife that will last the test of time.
Additionally, a quality pocket knife is less likely to bind at the hinge or pivot point or have a lock mechanism failure, letting you down when you need it most.
A good knife will take care of its owner, require less maintenance, and if taken care of becomes a hand-me-down for future generations, hopefully with a few good stories to go along with it.
Look at your EDC knife as an investment.
Choosing the Best EDC Knife For YOU
As you can see choosing the best EDC knife to meet your needs is a highly personal choice.
The reward is that once you have looked at the points that we discussed, size, weight, opening mechanism, lock type, grip material and style, and cost you will be able to make a rational decision on the absolute BEST EDC Knife to add to your kit.
The EDC knives that we listed above are the ones that generally work well in EDC kits. Here they are again:
- Best Overall EDC Knife: Kershaw Tanto Serrated Blur Knife
- Best Compact EDC Knife: Boker Plus Subcom Pocket Knife
- Best Plus-Sized EDC Knife: Spyderco Endura 4
Want Even MORE Info On Building Your EDC Kit?
For more EDC related guides, please check out the following articles: How To Make Your EDC List, How To Choose The Best EDC Bag, and Picking The Best EDC Flashlight.
If you are looking for even more information on how to build your ultimate EDC kit you can check out my book, The Every Day Carry Guide. It is a comprehensive manual that will teach you:
- How to be prepared at all times – no matter where you are
- How to build your first EDC kit from scratch
- How to refine an existing kit to make it more effective
- How to pick the best gear to realistically make you more prepared
- How to assess threats and risks in your every day life
Do you have an EDC knife that you love? Do you look at any additional qualities when finding the best EDC knife to meet your EDC needs? Please let us know in the comments section below.
16 comments on “The Best EDC Knife – How To Pick The Best Knife for Your EDC Kit”
Hello Chris Ruiz, Good comparison and it will help me to choose my one easily. Great job!!! My EDC’s vary from week to week but revolve around these same top items. I like knives that can be opened and closed with one hand. Liner lock knives from Kershaw or CRKT allow to manipulate them with one hand. Assisted opening knives open with a slight flick and close easily. Can they carry multi tools that have a knife blade?
Hi Anthony, thanks for your comment. A multitool can be a great addition to an EDC kit as it serves many purposes. Some people just prefer a knife, others prefer a multitool.
One thing only mentioned in passing in your article, is legality. Knife laws are getting stricter in most jurisdictions, all the way down to the town level.
Where I live, a folding knife is limited to under 4″blade, may not open by assist, and may not lock. Some Boy Scout knives fail. Opinel knives, even a #2, would fail.
In some jurisdictions, knife offenses are primary crimes, and carry jail time.
You make an excellent point, it is VERY important to know your local carry laws for anything that can be construed as a weapons. Thanks!
In NYC, if you can open it with 1 hand, it’s a crime.
Great guide on EDC knives! I use the Kershaw Blur as my everyday carry usually, although occasionally I’ll class it up a bit and switch to a good old fashioned buck knife.
I have carried a mini CQC7BTS for several years now and it serves me quite well.
My EDC knife is a Kershaw OSO Sweet. Other knives I’ve used in the past are the Boker Plus Credit Card knife and the Smith & Wesson Pocket Protector.
The Boker makes some great gear, agreed. Thanks for your feedback!
The comment above about the jurisdictional knife restrictions, this ties directly into the second amendment argument as knives are arms. The second amendment states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. Limiting the type, style, size of a knife a person carries is directly a akin to gun restrictions. This is yet even more onerous as knives are essential tools of daily life. Banning knives that have blades that lock open is just a foolish notion that makes use of the knife more hazardous to the user. A locking blade is a safety feature, not an offensive feature. I have noticed a trend in certain states where they are reforming knife laws the same way they are reforming gun laws, in favor of greater lenience as to the type of knife you can carry without breaking the law. It is somewhat encouraging that maybe commonsense might prevail, and some of these ridiculous restrictions on knife features, like safety locks on the blade may well disappear. I would encourage everyone to participate in advocating for reducing legal restrictions on knives, the same way I would encourage people to advocate for greater protection of their Second Amendment rights. Knife rights are Second Amendment rights, the same as gun rights.
Holy smokes man, fantastic comment and call to action. I love this!
Hil. I´m using a Boker Magnum first responder knife as my EDC because of the additional features it brings, such as belt cutter and glass breaker, which can come handy in emergencies. I´ve heard some people suggest that one should carry a knife for defense purposes exclusively. What do you think about that?
The Boker Magnum is a good choice for an EDC knife. I think that, for most people, carrying two EDC knives may be overdoing but unless you have very specialized needs or are adament about carrying a specific additional knife for self-defense purposes.
I carry a CRKT Art Deco. It’s fairly small which is one of the things I like about it. It fits well in a change pocket and has a tanto style blade. It came sharp as hell out of the box as well. If you’re looking for one to carry in places you aren’t allowed to (school) I’d recommend it.
I collect knives and there are a lot of good EDC carry knives out there in the $30 to $50 range and some decent options for even less. However to find that one knife that you carry daily and it will last you for years with good durability you will be spending closer to $100. I have gotten good service from many “budget” knives but I also rotate through many different ones. Some “budget” knives I find to be good value are the Ontario RAT series. I will grab my RAT 2 to carry frequently. Those can be had sub $30 with AUS 8 blade or right around $30 for D2.
Chris, I am a hugebhan of the Spyderco para 2 and the smaller para 3. I prefer the locking mechanism in the back spine ans today in 2022 they are using some awesome steel like s110v. Also i recommend a stone or diamond honer for keeping a sharp edge. good luck out there.