It may seem a trivial issue to some, but choosing the best knife to carry on a daily basis, in your pocket, wherever you go, is a tougher decision than most people imagine it to be. The reason it is so difficult to pin your choice down is that there is a huge number of knives from which to choose.
The good news is that there is no right or wrong EDC knife, each knife will have benefits that come with it, finding the best edc knife for you will depend upon what you would primarily want your knife to be better at. This means that a knife that is perfect for one person might be totally the wrong knife for someone else. In fact, if you asked 50 people what kind of EDC knife they currently have; there is a good chance you would probably get 50 different answers.
Ultimately, your EDC knife should be versatile enough to tackle any task, whether it is a mundane activity such as opening envelopes to the other end of the spectrum which is as a self-defense weapon.
When choosing the best type of EDC knife to carry, most of the features you will need to consider will be based on personal preference. However, the most basic rule to adhere to when picking a knife that you want to carry every day is that you are comfortable with it. A knife might be great at all the things you consider important but if it doesn’t feel right in your hand or comfortable to use then it’s not the knife for you.
After checking out more than a few EDC knives, we are going to help you choose your next EDC knife, so keep reading.
After going through this guide, you will be able to find the perfect EDC knife even if:
- You are a beginner who has never owned a pocket knife before
- You live where it is challenging to find a good EDC knife
- You are a minimalist and don’t like having too many things in your pockets
- You are a knife buff, but want a good, affordable blade
Here are the TEN knives we will be detailing further down the page:
What to Look for when choosing an EDC Knife
When looking for a knife for any type of use, there are several basic features you should look for before making your decision. The best thing about the EDC (every day carry) knife is that you can have as many as you wish. However, they will not all perform the same, and one will often be better than the rest.
Let’s look at what you need to consider before purchasing your first EDC knife.
Why do you need to carry a knife with you every day?
Before buying anything, you need to have a reason. After all, a knife is a weapon, thus you need a pretty good reason for wanting to carry one. Some states have outlawed some knives altogether and a license will be required to carry certain other knives in the open, and you can’t get a license without providing good reasons.
Apart from being a weapon, knives are also one of the oldest human tools often made from stone and were effective for cutting and hunting.
Today, a pocket knife can be used for cutting open envelopes, boxes, crates, packaging, chopping vines, small branches, and even cutting free a car seat belt in the event of an emergency.
Certain professions require the frequent use of small knives making it easier for them to carry an EDC blade, if you’re not a hunter, electrician, or medic then you will may have to think outside the box to obtain your permit.
This is perhaps the first thing you should look at prior to buying a pocket knife. Wherever you are, you should always be aware of the laws regarding the ownership and the carrying of personal knives, since not all states are the same. The best thing to do is to check with your county office to see what license is requirted, if any. If so, just obtain one and be sure to always carry a copy of it wherever you go.
Some state laws ban carrying certain knives with certain blade lengths, in others, you will be required to have a license to carry a fixed blade knife.
If you are travelling interstate be sure to check the knife laws relative to where you are going to and passing through.
Weight is also an important factor to consider, as you will be carrying the knife every day wherever you go. This will obviously depend on your preference since what you consider too heavy may be light to someone else. To refer you to the single most important rule of purchasing a pocket knife: choose a knife that you are happy to carry with you every day.
However, personal preferences aside, the ideal weight of an EDC knife is around five ounces. Also, keep in mind that most lightweight knives are versatile and can perform a wide range of tasks, so there is no need to go for heavier blades.
The length and shape of the knife
The purpose of your knife will determine the length and shape of the blade. Typically, the sweet spot is usually between two and five inches. Anything beyond that will be uncomfortable and will also defy the golden rule of choosing a pocket knife since you will likely not enjoy carrying it every day.
There are seven different types of knife shapes you can choose from, depending on your needs. But the most popular shapes are the spear point, the drop point, trailing point, clip point, sheepsfoot, tanto, and Wharncliffe.
Type of edge
When it comes to the edge of the knife, it can affect the sharpness as well as the ease of sharpening. Just like the shape, there are also different types of edges, and the most commonly used include V grind, Full Flat Grind, and Hollow grind.
V grind edge may weigh more than other types of blades due to the extra volume of the body. Full grind is easy to use and sharpen as it features less surface area.
Last but not least, hollow grind blades are perfect for cutting delicate objects.
What material is the handle made from?
Most pocket knives are typically made from carbon steel or stainless steel. However, the handle uses a variety of different materials, including thermoplastic, metal, fiberglass reinforced nylon, or carbon fiber. Of all the materials, metal is the most costly and less durable. There are unique designs on the handle that allows for a better, firm, and comfortable grip and handle.
Let’s now tackle the elephant in the room – the cost. Just like the purpose of the knife, you probably have a rough idea of how much you want to spend on an EDC knife. Between $10 and $2,000, you can find a wide range of pocket knives, some customized while others readymade (yes, $2000 isn’t a typo! Some people definitely have more money than sense!).
However, a lower priced does not mean inferior quality, as you can find some notable brands that offer trusted EDC knives well under a hundred dollars.
An EDC knife should be able to perform perfectly. This means avoiding knives that are thicker than your phone, as all they will do is hold you back. A perfectly functional knife should have thin, high performing steel. It should be comfortable in the hand, well-balanced, and highly responsive. Imagine the feeling when your knife slices an apple cleanly.
Other features to consider
Blade and pocket retention, lock type, and open mechanism. But these features vary from one blade to another.
Generally, an EDC knife should be quick and comfortable to open. Whether you want to chop a twine or you need to get yourself out of a seat belt, the kind of opening system matters a lot.
The two-handed opening system requires holding the knife with one hand and opening the blade with the other. On the other hand, the one-handed opening system usually comes with a thumb stud.
Lastly, assisted-opening blades open once the pressure is applied to a thumb knob. The choice is yours, but the assisted-opening system seems to be ideal and practical.
The Best EDC Knives under $50 currently on the market
Now that you know what to look for in an EDC Knife, let’s take a closer look at some of the best and most affordable knives currently available. All great knives that do not compromise on quality.
If you love fat blades but you have never found one that is compact enough to use as an EDC knife then look no further than the Spyderco Tenacious with its inch and a half fat blade.
With a name like “tenacious”, you just get a feeling that this knife should have a good chance of ticking all the boxes and to be honest, it doesn’t disappoint.
The total length of this Spyderco knife is slightly over seven inches, of which the blade is about three inches. Total weight is a very light four ounces, give or take a few micro ounces!
The blade is leaf-shaped, which ensures smooth cutting and slicing. It has a pretty large handle compared to other blades, but offers great grip and it feels really comfortable in the hand.
The blade is made with heat-treated 8Cr13Mov Stainless steel, enabling a sharper edge,as well as improving its durability. The tenacious is easy to sharpen, although this particular type of steel will require the blade to be sharpened frequently depending upon the level and type of use.
The Spyderco Tenacious has a dark G-10 enclosed handle, designed with prolonged fatigue-free cutting in mind. If you’re wondering, G10 is a thermoset plastic laminate made with multiple layers of fiberglass cloth mesh and epoxy resin, extremely strong!
The knife deploys very smoothly, the lock is very secure with no residual movement, and there is little chance of clothing being damaged due to the pocket clip fitting perfectly into pockets.
Overall, the Spyderco Tenacious is among the best performing EDC blades currently available and will usually be purchase for around $50.
- The G-10 handle is an epoxy packed woven glass fiber that gives it the rigidity an EDC knife needs. It is non-slip, as well as resistant to high-temperature changes.
- The knife can be opened and closed with one hand.
- The Tenacious boasts a blade milled with smooth bevels that run from the cutting edge to the spine, reducing drag during cutting as well as reducing the overall weight of the blade.
- The knife is made from HIGH quality materials that enhance both performance and durability.
- It may be a little bit bulky for some people
- Since it is made of steel, it will require sharpening frequently if used often.
Ontario Knife OKC Rat II
Ontario Knife OKC Rat II has a length of about 7 inches with a three inche blade. It is lightweight, weighing just 2.75 ounces. This perfect combination of weight and the length make the Rat II the perfect EDC knife, easy to use and carry. The handle is feels very comfortable to grip, and the blade is sharp enough to get just about any job done.
The blade style is customized drop point, with rather plain design. Nevertheless, this knife is great for all sorts of tasks. The blade has a full flat grind edge, perfect for easy cutting through just about anything.
The tip of the blade is perfect for tasks that are detailed and that require a high level of precision. The satin finish looks great and offers improved resistance to corrosion.
The Rat II has a black nylon handle that is ergonomically designed to offer better control and a firm grip. Additionally, the rounded corners add to the overall comfort of the knife, while the handle also adds to the aesthetics of the knife.
The blade also features a pocket clip with a satin black finish that looks attractive. The pocket clip can be fitted to any one of the four corners of the blade.
It is also easy to unlock the knife, while the lockup is robust with a sturdy liner lock.
For its price, this EDC knife offers excellent value for money.
- The handle is made with an extremely tough textured black nylon that makes it easy to handle and use
- The weight and length of the knife are perfect for an everyday knife
- The blade stay sharp for a long time before it needs sharpening
- The action of the knife can be a bit stiff and difficult to adjust
- The liner lock has been found to be defective on a few occassions
The Kershaw Leek, designed by famous knife designer, Ken Onion, is a refined blade with a lightweight design and is one of the most popular EDC knives there is.
It is made from Sandvik 14C28N knife steel, a material used predominantly for making higher-end knives. The blade and the handle are tough, rust-resistant and super easy to sharpen.
While it is a low maintenance knife, you will still need to sharpen it once a week, or after any heavy usage.
The knife is small, thus super easy to carry around, and the stainless look gives it an almost surgical appearance.
The handle is not textured, so you wouldn’t want to use this knife for hard tasks. However, for normal EDC tasks, it can’t be more perfect. The three-inch blade makes up for an un-textured grip and will help you accomplish any tasks in front of you.
The knife comes with an assisted opening that allows for easy deployment with just a simple pull back action on the ambidextrous flipper.
Kershaw Leek Knives also comes with a wide range of stylish colors that are fade-resistant, scratch-resistant as well as permanently bonded to the anodized aluminum grip.
- Kershaw Leek knives are made from Sandvik 14C28N steel, which is a high-performance material with a nitrogen formula that aids with corrosion-resistance and sturdiness.
- The knife also boasts attractive blade-blasted coating that enhances the aesthetic of the knife while complimenting its end-use.
- It has a fast deployment, as users need to only move the blade out of the handle by using a torsion bar. This technology is unique for this brand and allows for smooth, safe, and fast one-handed blade-deployment.
- The knife pocket clip fits a specific knife based on the weight, purpose, style, and hardware.
- The stainless steel material used to make the handle of this blade contains chromium, which enables it to withstand rusting. The material also offers durability and an easy grip.
- It offers two options for one-handed blade deployment. To open by pushing a thumb stud or pressing a flipper. The flipper function is easy to operate by both right-handed and left-handed users.
- Secure locking system to make it safer even when it is in your pocket. With other knives, users have complained of injuries due to cuts from the blades, but with this feature, your safety is guaranteed.
- The blade of a Kershaw knife may not be as strong as some other knives
- The thumb stud may be unsafe for left-handed users
- It appears to have a few safety flaws
This knife comes with a vintage design with a wooden handle thumbscrew to open the blade and a simple spinning lock. The old school design is kind of cool in many ways.
This is not a hi-tech tactical knife; rather it is a modest blade pocket knife.
You may be wondering why you would go for this old fashioned knife over modern knives. But the reasons are many, but the simplest one is that Opinel works perfectly.
This blade is also light and easy to carry around; it is sharp and quite affordable. It is a highly functional knife and is reliable. The proof of this is that this syle of knife has been around since the late 1800s.
The knife can cut through cardboard, paper, paracord, cardboard, and even a steak.
You will need to sharpen the knife to hone the blade a little bit, but since it is made of carbon steel, it is pretty easy to sharpen with less than 10 swipes.
It comes with a wooden handle, but it is insanely lightweight, weighing about an ounce. The handle is round-shaped, so it is pretty comfortable to grip and control. Because the blade is wide, the force is evenly distributed through your hand, helping to combat hand fatigue should you need to use it over many hours.
Opinel No8 is an extremely popular knife mainly due to its old school design and reliability.
But just like any other blade in this list, this knife also has some flaws, but none is safety-related, so it is probably something you can live with. First, it is slow to open, and the blade can easily rust if you don’t maintain it properly.
- Opinel #8 knife is unchanged since 1890 and it has been among the top choices for outdoorsmen over the years.
- The steel used to make this blade is extremely hard, thus, guarantees great cutting quality.
- The Beechwood used to make the handle is hard and durable
- The knife comes with a guarantee from the manufacturer in case of any defects
- The Stainless Virobloc safety ring comes with two sections, one fixed while the other is sliding for safety locking.
- Their customer service isn’t great
- It may not be a hundred percent safe! (It is a knife!)
- The blade rusts easily if you don’t take good care of it.
- The wooden handle can react to water, oils, etc.
The Kershaw Skyline is one of the most liked knives from the Kershaw range and for good reasons. The frame of the blade is slim, pocket-size, and elegant.
It features a 3.1 inch long, 1/16″ inches wide spear or drop point blade, with a 4 inch handle. The overall length of the knife when opened is 7.4 inches, and when closed is merely 4.25 inches.
The knife weighs only 2.5 ounces, meaning it will not weigh you down when you walk around with it all day. Along with the clip installed, the knife is about 0.5 inches thick, and without the clip, it is only 3/8 inches thick. This is a pocket knife that you can carry around discretely since it will not make a visible bulge in your slacks or jeans.
The blade of Skyline has a spear-point with a small drop and a saber (hollow) ground. The blade is made of Sandvik 14C28N steel which is known for its edge retention as well as sharpness factors.
The handle is made of textured G-10 scales which are also rounded-off perfectly to avoid dangerous sharp edges. The G-10 is also advanced, innovative fiberglass with great durability and lightweight. The G-10 scales are tough and indestructible, which is something you would wish for in an EDC knife.
The textured scales offer the handle a great grip, so you can use the knife without worrying about it slipping out of your hands. Additionally, the blade also comes with a finger groove that an index finger can rest in, thus further enhancing the grip and preventing the blade from folding closed on your hand.
Opening this knife is done by using either the flipper or ambidextrous thumb stud. While you can use whatever technique you wish, both mechanisms have pros and cons. The thumb stud is close to the handle of the knife, which makes it challenging to perform as a swift opening.
The flipper doesn’t use spring or any mechanical assist; the blade opens manually by your fingers only.
- The drop-point blade provides a good balance as well as a sturdy, hard tip. The jagged Stonewash finish prevents scratches and fingerprints.
- It is a useful knife for cutting tasks including opening difficult packages, removing zip-ties, breaking down boxes, cleaning small game, slicing fruit, aggressive animal defense, as well as stripping small wires.
- It can make a great gift for a hiker, hunter, carpenter, hobbyist, backpacker, angler or anyone who is a knife enthusiast.
- Some may think that the Skyliner doesn’t offer great value for money
- The blade is not as strong as some of the other knives on this list.
- It isn’t an ideal knife for left-handers
If you are a knife buff, you will notice a close resemblance between CRKT Ripple and some of Kershaw knives and that is understandable as this knife was designed by Ken Onion, who has also been designing knives for Kershaw for many years.
Ripple knives come in several sizes; small, medium, and large.
The knife has an eye-catching drop point design. It does not have the typical organic curves that most knives have but this slender and refined blade has an exquisite tip. Moreover, the swedge running over the blade is also a touch of elegance, and the high hollow grind allows the knife to slice nicely.
The handle of the knife is made of aluminum. The handle pieces have a ripple pattern and has been hard anodized black then polished down to bare the metal on the top of the ripples to give the handle a worn look.
CRKT Ripple is a non-assisted open blade that can be opened with a flipper located on the back of the handle.
- The flipper opening is easy and safe
- Hrd anodized aluminum handles that make it comfortable to hold in the hand
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturer
- Tip-down carry
- The quality is not top-notch
Buck Knives 110
The Buck Knives 110 has an elegant and timeless design that seems like it has been around for centuries.
The lock of the knife is said to be the strongest in the world and also the safest.
The blade has a 3-inch hollow-ground clip with a sharp swedge on the back of the clip. The blade is made with 420HC stainless steel, which is widely known for its quality.
The deployment of the blade is also easy; as it has a right-handed nail nick opening mechanism. But this method can be problematic for those with small hands.
Generally, Buck 110 is a large knife and can fill up an average hand. The grip is about 5 inches long and 5/8 inches thick and 3/4 inches wide at its narrowest section.
- It is easy to open this knife with just a nail notch.
- The brass bolsters and crelicam ebony handle give the knife an excellent blend of balance and beauty.
- It has been around for over 50 years but it still remains one of the most loved blades
- The color is not that awe-inspiring
The Spyderco Roadie has a blade of about 2 inches and a cutting edge of slightly over an inch. The length of the handle with the choil is 3 inches and 2 inches without. The overall length of the knife is about 5 inches and it weighs just under an ounce.
The handle of Spyderco Roadie is reinforced fiberglass, slightly contoured and slightly textured. Perhaps the most pleasing trait is the half and half finger choil, which is covered in jimping.
The ergonomics are also on point. Despite the small handle, the knife is pretty accommodating, and you will not feel any cramp and even with large hands, you will still feel comfortable using the blade.
There is no pocket clip for the Spyderco Roadie, but you don’t need one. With its small size, the blade is practically invisible in your pocket, but it can often get tangled up with keys if all in the same pocket.
- The knife is lightweight mainly due to the reinforced nylon mixed with glass fiber handle
- It has a smooth blade, which ensures the safety of the handler
- It does not offer value for money
- It may not be a match for the other Spyderco blade in this list.
The SOG Salute is a tactical knife that was designed progressively and with performance in mind. It is a testament that great design and quality can still be affordable.
The handle is made of G-10 material, and with scalloped full-length steel liners, the blade is aesthetic.
The blade is made of 8Cr13MoV steel, which is resistant to rust. The material is not extremely hard, but is not soft either; it is somewhere in the middle of the scale.
The pocket clip is reversible, making it easy for left or right-hand users to carry it around. The pocket clip is silver and bead blasted to bond with the blade.
The knife uses a thumb stud to open the blade and it is fitted with a lock back locking system.
- It can be opened with one hand lock-back mechanism
- The 8Cr13Mov stainless steel material makes the knife extremely durable
- The company offer repair and replacement
- It is hard to open the knife with one hand when on the grip
Kershaw Cryo II
Another blade from Kershaw, the Cryo II is an assisted open EDC knife that is a bit larger in size than its predecessor the Cryo I. The 3.25-inch blade gives it a 7.75-inch open length, but it is merely 4.4 inches when closed. Cryo II has the same amazing features as the original version.
The blade is made of 8Cr13MoV, while the handle is 410, but both the blade and the handle are coated with titanium carbo-nitride.
The Cryo II weighs just 5.5 ounces.
This knife was made for heavy-duty usage and can perform as a backup for a fixed blade or simply as a bigger working knife.
If you prefer a larger knife, then the Cryo II is a perfect EDC knife for you. It has everything you need in a pocket knife, including good steel, assisted opening, and frame lock.
- The high-performance stainless blade offers excellent toughness and edge retention, as well as corrosion resistance.
- The knife features assisted opening with flipper, 4-position deep-carry pocket clip, and a secure frame.
- The titanium carbo-nitride coating ensures the knife maintains the edge and enhances the blade’s toughness and longevity.
- Features a sleek, rugged-looking and can easily be carried in your pockets, purses, jackets, on belts, or even around your neck on a lanyard with a predrilled attachment point.
- It may have some design flaws, as the tip can easily break
…the last word!
After going through what you need to look for in an EDC knife and covering some of the best EDC knives on the market, it is time to see which one those listed above, ticks all the boxes.
Having checked out all the knives in this article, we are drawn towards the Kershaw Leek as our choice for best EDC knife under $50.
If you go back to our review of the Kershaw Leek, you can see that there are more pros than any other knife on our list, but that is not the litmus test.
The Leek is extremely comfortable to walk around with, mainly due to its small size. It has a folding blade with flipper assisted opening mechanism as well as a customized Wharncliffe shape.
The deployment is fast, which can come in handy if you need it in an emergency.
The Kershaw Leek also follows the Golden Ratio for folding blades – 3:4:7 and 3, meaning it has a 3-inch blade, a 4 inch handle, has an overall length of 7 inches, and only weighs 3 ounces.
Don’t take just our word for it though, there are plenty of great reviews on Amazon where you’ll also find even more detailed info on this and the other EDC knives we’ve covered here.