Best EDC Knives: Portable and Convenient Cutting Action
Be better prepared with one of these top-rated and powerful EDC knives
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BY Scott Roepel / LAST UPDATED ON October 12, 2019
Everyday carry, or EDC knives, may be small and compact, but they are one of the most practical tools you can own. Whether you’re in need of a knife to help you open letters and boxes or are planning a camping trip, an EDC knife is always useful. It is more powerful and reliable than a pair of scissors. Here are the best EDC knives for everyday use.
This 7.1-inch long knife features a 3.1-inch long blade and weighs 3.5 ounces. The blade is made out of a reliable black oxide high carbon stainless steel.
- Includes a pocket flip for easy access, a finger flapper, and ambidextrous thumb knobs, making it versatile and convenient to use
- Black finish looks nice and rustic
- It is on the small side
- Pocket clip is also small and might be a hassle to clip on
- May need to use a lot of force to flick it open
This frame lock knife features a contractor-grade replaceable utility blade. The blade is easy to clean, is lightweight, and opens effortlessly. The knife is perfect for everyday carry.
- Knife has a smooth stainless steel handle and deep finger grooves for a secure fit
- Handle can also serve as a money clip
- Blade is ideal for cutting in close quarters
- There is no thumb stub or assist spring for one-handed opening
- Blade is razor-sharp and may nick you accidentally
This folding pocket knife provides quick one-handed deployment and locks easily with a liner lock. It comes with a pocket clip for easy and safe carrying.
- Weighs just 4.8 ounces and is ideal for daily use
- Can be used as a seatbelt cutter and glass breaker
- Slightly recurved blade is ideal for multitasking, and it has great slicing and piercing capabilities
- It isn’t lightweight and is heavier than it looks
- Closes with very little pressure, making it dangerous to use
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Benefits of an EDC Knife
- First aid. An EDC knife can come in handy when you’re out in the wild and get hurt. It can cut bandages and remove splinters and thorns. It’s a useful tool for everyday life.
- Offers protection. Everyday carry knives are not designed to be weapons, but if you find yourself in a dangerous situation, you can use yours to fend off an attacker. When you carry an EDC knife, you’re prepared for whatever comes your way.
- Ideal for camping. An EDC knife is an essential camping tool. You can use it to open canned objects, peel fruit, or set up a tent.
- Opening letters and packages. When you have an everyday carry knife, you don’t have to manually open gifts, letters, or packages. It also protects your hands from getting rough.
Types of EDC Knives
This is an everyday carry knife that uses a pivot mechanism to connect the blade and handle. The pivot allows the blade to fold into the handle easily. Folding knives come in different designs and can easily fit in your pocket. Some have single blades, while others have multiple blades—and the blades can be smooth or serrated.
This knife is the exact opposite of the folding knife, and its blade does not fold into the handle. Because of this, manufacturers usually make sheaths for fixed-blade knives to ensure the blades are covered at all times. Fixed-blade knives come in different designs and are categorized according to their purpose. They include hunting knives, combat knives, survival knives, and boot knives.
A card knife—also sometimes called a wallet knife—is very slim and resembles a credit card in shape and size. Because of its size, you can put it in your wallet next to your credit cards. It is ideal for those who travel frequently or don’t like carrying a folding knife or a fixed blade knife. A card knife is very lightweight, highly portable, and relatively durable.
A multi-tool knife is the most versatile pocket knife and is very popular with camping enthusiasts. It not only contains a blade, but it also has other useful tools you may need, like a screwdriver, a reamer, a wire stripper, and a bottle opener. Some multi-tool knives have extra features like scissors, a nail file, and tweezers.
A lapel knife is a small knife that was often used by spies in WWII. As its name implies, it can be hidden in a lapel—it can also be dropped into a boot, a sock, or hidden in a tie. Unlike most EDC knives, a lapel knife is easy to conceal. You can use it to protect yourself or for other purposes, like cutting objects. However, it’s very important to know how to hold the knife: Since it has a small handle, it can accidentally cut you. Experts recommend holding it between the thumb, the middle finger, and the index finger, like a key.
Gerber, an American brand based in Portland, Ore., was founded in 1939 and makes problem-solving and life-saving knives, cutting tools, multi-tools, and equipment. The company's products are specially designed for exploring, hunting, working, protection, or survival.
Victorinox is a company based in Switzerland that manufactures knives and luxury watches. The Swiss Army knives the company makes feature a proprietary blend of steel from France and Germany. If you’re looking for an EDC knife with several tools and versatile blades that will do pretty much anything you need, it’s the Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldmaster Pocket Knife.
Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT)
Founded in Oregon in 1994, CRKT is an American company known for its high-quality products. Over the last three decades, CRKT has manufactured knives and cutlery for work, cooking, survival, combat, hunting, and many more.
EDC Knife Pricing
- $10-$50: These EDC knives include folding knives, multi-tool knives, and card knives. They can be used in a variety of applications, from campsites to offices.
- $50-$150: The everyday carry knives you’ll find here are ideal for first aid, camping, survival, sports, and even hunting. Most are made by big brands like Gerber, CRKT, Victorinox, and Kershaw.
To choose the best design, consider the environment where you spend a lot of time. If you spend most of your days in an urban environment, get a folding EDC knife since it’s discreet, lighter to carry, and remains inconspicuous in urban areas. If you live in a rural area, you can get a fixed-blade knife because you may be skinning game and cutting rope most of the time.
Blade Edge Type
EDC knives have a variety of blade edges to fit different needs. The most common edge types are straight edge, fully serrated, and partially serrated. Blades with straight edges are straight along the cutting edge or slightly curved. They are great for cutting, scraping, poking, stabbing, skewering, pushing cuts (like shaving and skinning), and precision work.
Fully serrated blades have tooth- or saw-like edges ground into the cutting surface. They can be used like small saws with a back-and-forth motion. The blades are ideal for cutting through fabric, ropes, belts, and other textured materials. However, they are poor at stabbing because the serrations get stuck on clothing or bones.
Partially-serrated blades are serrated from the middle to the handle and have a straight edge from the middle to the tip. They provide the advantages of both blades in a single unit.
A good EDC knife should open and close quickly. You should be able to use it to get yourself out of a jammed seat belt or to cut twine more efficiently. A one-handed opening blade—also called an assisted-opening knife—is the best as it has a thumb stud that allows you to open it easily. It is a type of folding knife that uses an internal mechanism to open the blade once you’ve partially opened it using a flipper or thumb stud.
With a two-handed opening system, you have to open the knife using both hands: One hand holds the knife handle while the other opens the blade. Most people prefer assisted-opening knives because they provide quick and easy access to the blade.
- Local Knife Laws. There may be knife laws in your locality banning the carrying of specific knives. Some laws even specify the allowable blade length. In some states, you’ll have to get a concealed weapons permit for your everyday carry knife. Find out all the laws that relate to your EDC knife so you can carry it without getting harassed by law enforcement.
- Size and Weight. The best EDC knife is highly portable. If you get a large, heavy knife, you won’t be able to use it when you need it most. On the other hand, a very small blade can be ineffective for certain tasks. A good EDC knife has a 3-inch blade, give or take.
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- If you are left-handed, you’ll want to get an EDC knife that is ambidextrous. That means it will feature a knob on the left and right side of the knife for additional support.
- Be careful when using an EDC knife. Always make sure to cut away from your body to avoid potentially cutting yourself.
- If the knife feels loose or wobbly, check the screws and washers to make sure they are fully tightened.
Q: What can I do to maintain an EDC knife?
To make sure the knife opens and closes properly and effectively, oil the bearings and screws and make sure they are tightened daily. You can also rinse out the washers and other components with water, closing and opening the knife while doing so.
Q: How do I sharpen an EDC knife?
Purchase a sharpening or whetstone. The stones feature both a rough side and a fine grit side to ensure your knife is properly sharpened. You also need a lubricant that limits the amount of heat produced from the sharpening process.
Q: Are EDC knives illegal?
Check the laws in your state. While there may be no laws strictly banning or prohibiting EDC knives, there are ones focused on switchblades. Also note that EDC knives are not allowed on school campuses, airports, or courtrooms.
The Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Folding EDC Knife is lightweight, quick, and features a durable stainless steel blade.
The more affordable Gerber EAB Lite Pocket Knife is backed by a popular name and is ambidextrous for added convenience.