The Best Pocket Knife for 2023
These tiny pocket knives are extremely convenient and can fit almost any pocket.
The convenience of having a small, sharp blade cannot be understated. Pocket knives are an indispensable daily tool that is growing in popularity for all the right reasons — from acting quickly in an emergency to carving meat by the campfire.
Outdoor enthusiasts are aware that there are a huge number of pocket knives available. This can make it challenging to select the best one, especially because they come in a variety of styles and models.
Different pocket knives are ideal for different users, and this list is guaranteed to make the choice quick and easy for you.
How We Picked
From using a pocket knife for hunting to having one for your camping needs, pocket knives come in handy for a slew of activities, and it's best to know what you plan to do with one. We looked at knives that could open, close, lock, cut, and perform a variety of other tasks.
There’s nothing worse than a sharp object suddenly shooting straight through your skin from your pockets. To avoid this, we looked at pocket knives with solid and reliable folding mechanisms and grips that have good traction and won’t result in accidental injury.
Getting a pocket knife that is resistant to rust and corrosion is key if you’re envisioning a lot of outdoor use. Among our picks, you will find pocket knives that are functional and very reliable.
It is worthwhile to pay for a knife that will provide years of reliable service. You don't have to pay a lot to get an effective one as we have found you solid pocket knives that are versatile, of high quality, and made with better-than-baseline materials at reasonable prices.
Our Top Picks
The Benchmade 535 Bugout Pocket Knife has been one of the community's favorite practical folding pocket knives for years. You can't go wrong with this lightweight pocket knife of premium steel quality with a lock that is guaranteed to keep your fingers clear when closing.
KATSU offers excellent performance with this titanium and carbon fiber handle pocket knife that guarantees a comfortable grip with anti-rust properties. It has a sturdy build, with a back lock mechanism that is classic, simple, and reliable leaving users with a paragon of comfort and unmatched functionality.
Kershaw always chooses appropriate, top-notch materials for all its working tools and knives. This one is highly affordable compared to other premium blades of the same caliber and is ideal for anyone who is a knife enthusiast or a novice just starting their everyday carry journey.
Everything We Recommend
Lightweight handle scales, strong and decisive.
A cleaver blade that has been stonewashed and is anti-rust.
A multifunction rescue pocket knife with a glass breaker tip.
Who This Is For
The products here advertised are for anyone who wants to have a good pocket knife as a standard tool for everyday use. From cutting bandages to removing splinters and thorns, you can never really tell when a pocket knife will come in handy for you.
States where it’s legal to have a knife
It is legal to own a knife across all the states of the US as long as the goal is to have a useful cutting tool that is non-threatening, ordinary, and within the objective parameters such as blade length and functionality.
Different restrictions may apply across different states based on “weapon” analysis, such as knives possessed with the intent to carry as a weapon and that is capable of causing wounds. Other restricting factors include the length of the blade, how the knife is being opened, the observability, and other tangible features.
In all 50 states, a pocket knife, sometimes marketed as a “gentleman’s knife,” would pass without objection or legal problems.
Can you have it on you in public?
You can have a pocket knife on your person in public as long as you are at least 18 years of age, and you are neither a convicted felon nor a non-citizen.
Also, the knife must be a folding knife with a blade length of no more than three inches ( blade length is measured from the tip of the blade to the handle). The knife has to be carefully concealed in your pocket or handbag.
Why You Should Trust Us
Many pocket knives on the market today are of mediocre quality with blades that can rust if left out in the elements, causing you to pick up a new piece of gear more often than necessary. As such, we have found the best, long-lasting everyday carry blades that will offer you excellent value for your money.
How We Picked
Having a good pocket knife can come in handy in a surprising number of ways, from opening delivery boxes to fishing little objects out from between floorboards. You can be sure that we looked out for pocket knives that will outperform basic tasks without you having to search around for specific tools.
Nobody wants second-best anything, so to get the ideal pocket knife for you, we scoured over previous customer experiences with all types of pocket knives, taking into cognizance the most useful pocket knife that offered them great versatility, grip, durability, blade type, amongst other features and accumulated their opinions on the satisfaction they got from using them.
Among our picks, you will find pocket knives with sturdy lock mechanisms that make them safe to use during rigorous cutting tasks.
For the most part, we streamlined our picks to knives that look great and will fit into different styles alongside the rest of your gear, and those that come with steels that offer corrosion resistance, are easy to maintain, and have profound cutting performance, with handles that are comfortable, durable, and grippy.
From the reviews we read, we discovered that shorter blades are ideal for lighter cutting tasks and are ideal for use in public because they seem less threatening. Longer blades, on the other hand, make cutting tasks easier because they provide a more cutting edge for you to work with, while for times when one blade just won’t cut it, a folding knife with two blades becomes inevitable.
It is possible to get a pocket knife with superior hardness and great edge retention at a very affordable rate. From a locking blade to a slip joint blade, proper legal advice is needed to ensure you purchase a safe option.
Even though carrying a folding knife that has its blade length below three inches is legal, you should note that knives of any description are prohibited at schools, public buildings, courthouses, and many public events, so it is always best to check your local laws before deciding whether to purchase a pocket knife.
Our Picks For You
Best Pick - Benchmade Bugout Knife
Who It’s For:
Get this if you are a modern outdoor adventurer seeking to incorporate the lightest, best-performing pocket knife into your next hiking or camping trip.
Why It’s Great:
Made in the USA, Benchmade's 535 Bugout Knife offers you exceptional hardness, wear resistance, and unmatched edge retention at just 0.2 pounds, making it lightweight and extremely comfortable to have clipped in your pockets for an easy grab.
Benchmade's pocket knife is an absolutely fantastic everyday carry option. Although the price seems to be an issue for some users, over half of the customers who left their reviews of it on Amazon have praised it for its timeless feel, comfortable handle, and durable build quality, saying it's worth every penny of their dollar bill.
Benchmade has been dedicated to designing and crafting the best knives in the world for over 30 years. Its Bugout 535 knife is one tool you can totally rely on and is our top pick because it is extremely lightweight, made with premium steel quality, very sharp, compact, easy to use and deploys a lock that will keep your fingers clear when closing.
Available in two colors, its ultralight handle is easy to hold, comfortable, and incredibly cool. Though it comes at a high price, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another pocket knife of equal quality for less than this amount.
Model Name: Benchmade Bugout 535
Special Feature: Lightweight
Locking Mechanism: AXIS lock
Blade Steel: CPMS30V (58-60 HRC) Steel
Blade Length: 3.24 inches
Overall Length: 6 inches
Handle Material: Glass Reinforced Nylon
Item Dimensions LxWxH: 6 x 2 x 0.2 inches
Colors: Grivory Handle/Benchmade Blue/Plain Edge/Satin Finish.
Runner Up - KATSU Pocket Folding Japanese Knife
Why It’s Great:
Get this if you're looking for a gent’s folding pocket knife for on-the-go activities like hiking, foraging, picnics, and working in the garden.
Why It’s Great:
The KATSU titanium knife sets itself apart as one of the most well-made pocket knives with incredible engineering, superb craftsmanship, and a perfect fit and finish.
This pocket knife doesn’t have any special tricks up its sleeve. What you see is what you get, but what you get is a knife that is very sturdy and well-built and will last through any situation.
Though customers are willing to pay over a hundred dollars for the KATSU titanium pocket knife, many complain of it being a little on the large side and say it's heavier and bulkier than average pocket knives, making it overkill for the everyday needs of the average user.
KATSU offers 3.9 inches of sharpened VG-10 steel, assisted one-hand opening, textured grips, and a blade that rotates on the bearing smoothly in a package that can be considered a heavy-duty modernized version of the Higo no Kami Japanese pocket knives.
KATSU's magic brew of quality designs and blade materials is relatively affordable, easy to sharpen, and offers a slicing performance anytime, any day. It is easy to operate with a single hand and quick to put away when you’re done.
Model Name: KATSU JT01
Special Feature: Stonewashed Cleaver Razor Blade
Blade Steel: VG-10 Alloy Steel
Blade Length: 3.9 In.
Overall Length: 9 inch
Handle Material: Titanium & Carbon Fiber
Item Dimensions LxWxH: 5.9 x 3.2 x 1.4 inches
Available Colors: Silver
Most Cost-Effective - Kershaw Barricade Pocket Knife
Why It’s Great:
Get this if you need a rescue pocket knife in your vehicle, a first aid kit, or a bugout bag.
Why It’s Great:
Kershaw offers a straightforward, eminently carryable knife that is lightweight, sharp, and durable for everyday carry at a price tag that’s easy to stomach.
Even though we consider Kershaw's Barricade 8650 pocket knife a great value for the money, users have expressed displeasure over its thumb-assisted opening not functioning well, making it hard to operate. To solve this, we recommend you oil and loosen the blade screw.
Kershaw promises this pocket knife features a carbide tip hard glass breaker for auto emergencies that require breaking the car windshield or passenger window for rescue. It comes in a bright orange handle that proves easy to find when unexpected emergencies arise, and a blade that is coated with carbon-enhanced black oxide to hold a sharp edge and allow ease of sharpening. It is very affordable, very lightweight, secure, and widely available.
Model Name: Kershaw Barricade 8650
Special Features: Glass Breaker, Seat Belt Cutter.
Blade Steel: 8Cr13MoV Steel with black oxide coating
Blade Length: 3.5 In.
Overall Length: 6 inches
Handle Material: Plastic
Item Dimensions: LxWxH, 6 x 1 x 1 inch
Available Colors: Orange
Almost Made The Cut - Smith & Wesson Folding Knife
Almost Made The Cut
It features assisted openings, thumb knobs, safety locks, full tang designs, and ergonomic grips.
This is a reliable pocket knife with a convenient pocket clip and ambidextrous thumb knobs.
Who It's For:
Get this if you are a backpacker or hiker seeking a ridiculously lightweight fixed-blade knife for everyday trail activities.
Why It’s Great:
Ideal for hunting, camping, and general outdoor use, the Smith & Wesson M&P pocket knife is a compact, durable, inconspicuous knife that comes with a sleek design and encompasses the same quality and prestige as Smith & Wesson firearms.
Due to its blade length being 3.8 inches, with an overall length of 8.9 inches, we do not consider it an average size pocket knife. Buyers say you can carry it in your pocket conveniently, but you will know it's there because, though it's a very solid knife, it is a bit bigger and longer than most of them expected.
With its blade made of reliable 7Cr17MoV high carbon stainless steel, you can depend on this one in any situation. It’s extremely tough and loaded with features like assisted opening, thumb knob, safety lock, and ergonomic grips. It is easy to use with a convenient pocket clip that makes it ideal for everyday carry. It is very affordable, easy to use, and comes with a grip that is contoured and heavily textured, so it will stay in your hand.
Model Name: Smith & Wesson SWMP11G
Blade Steel: 7Cr17MoV High Carbon Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 3.9 In.
Overall Length: 8.9 inches
Handle Material: Aluminum
Item Dimensions LxWxH:5.25 x 1.75 x 0.75 inches
Warranty: Limited Lifetime
Care and Maintenance
Restrictions apply when it comes to where you can have a knife on your person, so if you plan to travel across state lines or stop by a federal property such as a military base, double-check to ensure that a pocket knife is not considered a weapon before venturing in.
For the most part, it is legal to have a pocket knife on you for camping and other outdoor activities. For genuine reasons to carry a pocket knife legally, ensure that it is enclosed in a toolbox or carried along with equipment such as a professional climbing rope.
To sharpen your knife, use a whetstone and begin alternating swipes on it gently. Sharpen one side of the pocket knife with a single stroke, repeat twice, then immediately flip the knife and sharpen the other side too.
Do not run your fingers along the blades if they are double-sharpened and always cut any fabric or material away from your face and body.
Lastly, always keep your knife dry and clean, particularly the moving parts and locking devices. Wash with warm soapy water, using only non-abrasive sponges.
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