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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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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.

Best Overall

Smith u0026 Wesson Extreme Ops Folding EDC Knife

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Best Value

Gerber EAB Lite Pocket Knife

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Honorable Mention

ALBATROSS EDC Sharp Tactical Folding Pocket Knife

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Summary List

Types of EDC Knives

Folding Knife

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. 

Fixed-Blade Knife

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. 

Card Knife

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.

Multi-Tool Knife

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. 

Lapel Knife

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.

Best EDC Knives: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall

Smith u0026 Wesson Extreme Ops Folding EDC Knife

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Best Value

Gerber EAB Lite Pocket Knife

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Best Premium

ALBATROSS EDC Sharp Tactical Folding Pocket Knife

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Most Versatile

Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife (1660)

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Most Functional

Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife

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Our Verdict on the Best EDC Knives

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.

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.

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.

Key Features

Design

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.

Opening Mechanism

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.

Other Considerations

  • 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.

Tips

  • 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.

FAQs

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.