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Small Pocket Knives | Your Favorite Everyday Carry

A small pocket knife is likely an everyday carry item for many people. They’re a great little trusty tool for a multitude of convenient uses. Bigger isn’t always better!

You probably carry that one particular (favorite) special little knife because…it’s small, and it’s not unwieldy to use and carry. And you just like it!

It fits easily in your pocket or clips to your pocket without being a nuisance while still getting most jobs done!

So, what is the best small pocket knife to carry?
Answer: The one that you carry!

Ha-ha, okay lets be serious. Here are some more thoughts on this practical little tool. And lets find out which one is YOUR favorite in the category of small pocket knives…

 
We all might have a slightly different opinion of “small” when it comes to pocket knives. They make some REALLY SMALL knives.

However I’m referring to a knife that’s small, but big enough to be practical for most ordinary functions without bordering on ridiculous.

Most small pocket knives have a 3.25″ to 3.75″ blade length. But there are some very nice little knives under 3″ too.

There are a LOT of quality knives in that blade length range nowadays. Why? Without going off topic, there’s a wide range of laws and legality issues when knife blades reach a certain length.

 
First,

Common Uses For Small Pocket Knives

THE most common use for my own small knife is opening cardboard boxes (can you say, “Amazon Prime” – Free Shipping? ;) ).

Other uses might include:

– Slicing through the foil that caps the cork on a bottle of wine
– Opening boxes or various mail packages
– Opening a bag of feed
– While fishing, cutting line
– While camping, cutting cordage, string
– Fire making, shaving tinder
– Scraping gum off your shoe (gross)
– While eating, cutting, peeling
– Splinter
– Hangnail
– Building a shelter

The many uses for a pocket knife are seemingly limitless as well as personal.

 

Plain Edge, Serrated, or Both

I very much like the plain edge blade as opposed to a serrated edge.

I do have both types. And some that are plain edge near the tip portion and serrated near the handle.

For me, my primary tasks do not require a sawing motion (with serrated). A plain edge works best for most tasks, at least for me…

What’s your opinion on that?

 

Small Pocket Knives [What to Look For]

Largely it’s a matter of opinion. There are lots of little details and specficiations to consider. But let’s keep it simple. There are a few key considerations.

1. Blade Edge: Like I mentioned above, plain edge or serrated.

2. The Handle Ergonomics: The nice thing is they’re making small knives with large enough handles ergonomically designed to fit well with your grip. Your own opinion and ‘hand’ will vary.

3. Blade Length: This will depend on your uses and comfort level for EDC.

4. Overall Size: How big is it, how long is it when the blade is closed?

5. Pocket Clip: The placement and orientation of the pocket clip will determine how it ‘rides’ on your pants. Different preferences for different people…

6. Blade Shape: I happen to like the Drop Point design (Wikipedia). The Clip Point and Tanto are also popular.

 

Popular Small Pocket Knives

There are plenty of durable good brand pocket knives.
Companies include these:

CRKT

Gerber

Buck

SOG

Spyderco

Kershaw

(and there are many others)

 
Continue reading: The Secret To Sharpening A Knife

The Best Knife for Batoning Wood

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41 Comments

  1. Ontario 8848 Rat Folding Knife (Black).
    Also a Leatherman Wave.

    On the question of “plain edge blade as opposed to a serrated edge.” I prefer the “Plain Edge” a knife is not a saw.

  2. My everyday knife is a Buck and I have a Gerber.

    Then I have a fancy pretty one with a sheath that I got as a gift from the hubby.

    I prefer a plain edge blade myself.

    Although I do have a folding knifes I prefer the bigger knives that are not folding.

  3. I carry a Schrade Essentials. It is a drop point liner lock with a pocket clip. I keep it clipped in my right pocket. This knife takes a beating. I use it for cutting boxes, wood, wire and all manner of things.

    I carry a Chipaway drop point hunting knife with a 4 in. blade on my left hip. I mainly use this one for cutting meat, when cooking, eating or processing dead animals.

    I also carry a small Gerber with a 2 in. drop point blade in my left pocket. This one is VERY sharp and only used for fine work and splinters.

    All of these knives have a straight edge.

  4. 4” Spyderco (scary sharp) plain edge

    Using a knife to get gum out of your shoe? Nasty! More like, use knife to trim a twig, then use the twig to get the gum out. 😆 Or just be like the Marine Corps and just ban gum altogether! 😎

    Plain edge. I hate sharpening serrated knives. Serrated does have its uses though. People see serrated and think saw. Truth is the little tips on the serrations are there to protect the cutting edge from hard surfaces. They work well until the edge dulls from normal use. Then you have to go through hell trying to resharpen it. So yeah, plain edge for the win!

    1. Grits, the sharpener for serrated, and sheepsfoot is conical. Specially designed for those blades.

  5. Depends on where I am and what I am doing. When at home or working from home, the majority of my time, I carry an older Emerson “Spec War CQC7″ Tanto, half & half blade in right pocket.

    Also, a Cold Steel Mini Tuff Lite 2.5” straight edge in left pocket and a older style Leatherman Wave on my belt.

    When traveling in other states and cities that have varying knife regulations, and keeping things low profile for the company I work for, I just carry the Cold Steel Mini and keep a Leatherman in my car “get home bag”.

  6. I have the Kershaw Skyline. At 2.3 ounces. it is light and doesn’t weigh down a pocket or purse.

  7. I don’t go all out on my carry knife.

    I had a nice Leatherman once…..lost it.

    Between work and the farm, I’ve been known to lose a few.

    Right now I carry a five inch Bear, with a 3 1/2 in blade. And a riveted pocket clip. Not using screws that come loose.

    Cutting electrical tape, boxes, mail, removing staples, baler twine, plastic bands on packaging at work, removing an occasional splinter, hoof pick. Never know when there might be an accident in which a lead rope, picket line, or halter that may have to be cut when camping.

    1. For inexpensive Leatherman’s, check out pawn shops, they often have Leathermans (especially Waves) for less than $25. Yes, they will show use, but the usual find is a few tools with heavy use, many of the other blades appearing hardly touched. Worth a look – if you don’t play, you don’t win.

  8. CRKT Drifter plane edge for EDC. Have a few other nicer smaller pocket knives I carry when wearing a suit as well.

  9. Classic Buck 110. Feels great in the hand and has enough blade to be useful for everyday tasks. Also carry a Colonel blades Lil’ Colonel as a back up weapon.

  10. I have so many knives! I wish I could carry them all! LOL

    My EDC now is a Kershaw Ken Onion knife. I love the shape of its blade, the Damascus steel and the speed that it opens!

    I do have some with serrated edges, but I prefer a smooth edged blade.

  11. I go nowhere without a pocket knife. I go nowhere without a gun. Neither is bigger than I am likely to need.

    Neither is going to weigh me down or get in the way of my normal daily activities.

    Both are intended to get me out of a tight spot without having to retreat to my side x side or pickup for the heavier duty stuff resting there until I really need it.

    That’s just me, on my farmstead, or on one of my infrequent trips to civilization, or even walking the woods hoping to take a deer (where I will carry a more capable firearm, but still have my constant companions).

    Up until Leatherman came out with their first multi-tool, my edc knife usually was small, no more than a 2 1/2″ blade, and super sharp. Seldom did I need a larger knife blade.

    Lost count of how many deer I’ve field dressed, and on more than one occasion, skinned and boned out using the small knife in my pocket.

    I’ve justified supplementing the small pocket folders with various Leatherman tools because of the other functions they offer that I use frequently. Currently that Leatherman is the Wingman model.

    The small pocket folders vary from a Schrade or Buck, to a cheap made in China skeletonized “Winchester”.

    The pocket folders all have un-serrated drop point blades. The Leatherman’s blade is half and half. The serrated edge sure helps cutting thicker rope.

    1. Dennis:
      Which of the Leatherman do you perfer, I kinda like the Wave, but always looking…

      1. NRP,

        I started out with the old original, then bought a Super Leatherman (too heavy for edc IMHO, but great for 72 hr bag). I love the Wingman I carry now, but would rather have the Sidekick which has a saw blade instead of the scissors, but is identical otherwise. The Wingman was a gift, and I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Never had a Wave so I really can’t compare. The Wingman is constructed so you can thumb the knife blade open one handed with tool closed (as is the Sidekick I don’t have). I like that feature. Not likely to get in a knife fight, but invariably when I need the knife open, I’m holding something in my other hand. It also has a pocket clip which I prefer over the pouch.

      2. I used to always carry a pocket knife until the Leatherman came out. Then that became my EDC.

        Over the years I have used many different multi tools as my EDC since the Leatherman.

        After the original, I used a Gerber which was nice for a one hand flip open. Then I used the Swiss Tool X which is very sturdy and all components are locking.

        The Swiss Tool is my favorite by far. To me, it is almost too nice to have as an EDC and it is pretty pricey at around $110.

        For the last few years, the Leatherman Wingman has been my EDC and it works great. The scissors leave a little to be desired but they do work if completely locked.

  12. My everyday carry pocket knife is a Buck 303.

    It is a small folder with 3 blades. Each blade has a different tip, and all have the plain edge.

    The main blade is somewhere around 2 1/4 inches or 2 1/2, and the knife closed is just over 3 inches long.

    I use it for everything. Doesn’t make a good pry bar or screwdriver though. I broke one blade doing that, and had to buy a new knife.

    The only drawback is that it’s not a lock blade. so you have to be careful with any folder that’s not, so it don’t fold on your finger. Don’t ask me why I know.

  13. Kershaw 1830 Speedsafe assisted opening. Keep a tool handy for tightening the screws that hold the pocked clip on and use Loctite on the screws. Kershaw is good about sending replacement clips and screws with out charge. Now if they would only offer it with an orange handle. I’ve lost more than one but they are very affordable and a lot of knife for the money.

    1. Went to buy another at Big 5 sporting goods and they were asking $45.00. Told the salesman I’d wait until they come back on sale. This past weekend they were on sale for $20.00. Checked amazon and they were 2-3 dollars cheaper. eBay had them for $12 and change with free shipping. I would up with a Kershaw Barricade for $24.00. 3.5″ assisted opening blade, seat belt cutter and window breaker. It also has a bright orange handle.

      1. Just thought I’d add that i really like my new knife. The price included shipping in a small flat rate priority mail box. This brings the overall rice down to about $17 and change. It’s a lot of knife for the money. Not razor sharp but close to it.

  14. I had a rather large pocket knife in my purse that my husband bought me. Back before 911 and you could fly with such things, I was stopped by the metal detector people and asked about it. I brought it out and said I use this at work to cut birthday cakes etc when we have a celebration. They opened it and sure enough there were crumbs on it. They laughed and let me go with it, no problem!

    1. Old Lady:
      So the last time you were on a Plane was what 30 years ago?
      LOLOL.
      No way in help you’d get away with that now 😎😎😎😎

      1. yeah, they are bad now. It is almost to the point that if you have a little blade (super dull to the point of almost never causing a flesh wound) on a finger nail clipper, they will confiscate it.

  15. For a true EDC, I have a Swiss Army Classic on a corded necklace, along with a ‘thataway’ survival kit compass and #14 James & Son sail needle carried inside a coffee stirrer straw that is threaded on same. Except for when I bathe, its on my 24/7/365 – even when I sleep. Its never forgotten and ALWAYS handy.

    Mainly office tasks, but the scissors are very handy and the blade is enough for 90% of the tasks needed.

    For when I feed our cows, a liner lock ‘cheapie’ is kept in the hay barn for cutting the cords wrapping the bales. I think its a Sheffield – its a beater that will be discarded when it finally breaks or gets lost. But it stays in the barn on a wood nailer holding the metal wall panel.

    Plenty of other pocket knives, and they get a rotation, but the Classic is my faithful servant Friday.

  16. My EDC is a Mini Griptilian. It’s made with D2 steel and has a blade length of 2.91”. It is very sharp and holds an edge very well. I only use it for personal protection so I can count on it’s sharp edge.

    In my town blades 3” or longer are considered a weapon. If it is in your pocket it can be considered a concealed weapon. So, I feel it’s better to avoid the “concealed weapon debate” and have a smaller but very sharp “pocket knife” for my EDC.

    1. I’ve carried the Benchmade Mini Griptilian as my EDC for about 15 years, and while I have many other knives, (even automatic because they’re legal in my State) it is the perfect size and functioning knife for almost any use.

  17. ok in the uk my edc is a swiss army knife. i have carried one since preteen years got my first one as a Christmas present around the of age 6 or 7 . it is clipped to the chain of my wallet . our laws and indeed public perceptions are so bad that even this can raise an eyebrow . pulling your wallet out in a bank can spark an over zealous bank employee to make pointed remarks about this untouched tool dangling from the wallet chain . so no quick deployment no 3″ plus blade no lock on blade . would love to carry a slightly more useful multi tool .

    1. Had a comical exchange with a woman outside a Wally World, in the parking area, recently. She approached me, holding a blister pack containing a cheap folding pocket knife. She asked if I had a knife she could borrow so she could cut open the blister pack. I laughed and told her “asking that in Arkansas is like asking if I have tires on my truck”. She laughed too, and said, “I know, I lost mine, so I just bought another one to replace it, but I can’t get it out of this plastic without waiting till I get home, and I don’t want to wait that long, I may need it before I get there”.

      Sort of drives home the importance folks place on having a knife with them. Not for stabbing folks, can’t remember the last time a stabbing was reported in our neck of the woods. Same for shootings, outside the illicit drug trade. Knives, like guns, are necessary tools. No more, no less. Cain killed Abel with a rock. Evil will do evil, the tool used makes no difference to them.

  18. i have carried the cold steel pocket bushman for almost a decade. the damn thing is a tank. i’ve thrown anything and everything i can at it and it still works. sure if you beat on it too hard it will break, but i haven’t had one break yet. then i don’t try to baton stuff with it either.

  19. I always have victorinox Swiss military knife. New model. I am very satisfied with this tool.

    Opinel carbon steel folding knife number 10 is my next choice. It is extremely good for processing meat.

    Blade can be sharpen like a razor. And steel is not so hard and it is possible to sharpen it with stones made in China. It is very good brand!

  20. – I agree with Veteran, mine is a Victorinox Explorer model. Mine is about 40 years old, though. I do have a Swiss Champ model I carry when I must dress up. The other one I will carry once in a very rare while, is a Schrade yellow handle 3-blade Stockman, which is basically very useful when working with animals.

    – Papa S.

      1. – I was cruising around looking at some of the older articles and came across this one. I still have and carry my Victorinox in my pocket but thought I would mention that my EDC has changed a little bit. I came across an old Buck lite 110 that I was issued while in the Army years ago. – it was the first thing I ever had issued on a hand receipt that they never asked to be returned. –

        I made sure it was sharp and started carrying it for a couple of weeks, then my oldest granddaughter returned from Army Basic and Christmas-gifted me a Smith and Wesson SW609 folder. I carried both for about a week and found I preferred the S&W. I like the flipper, and the thing is easy to keep sharp.

        The Victorinox is a good multitool, and I have an old Craftsman ignition pliers in my pocket for the pliers part. My GHB still has a Stanley multitool tucked in it, and I think it has a half-serrated blade on it. That’s the only serrated blade I carry.

        – Papa

  21. Yellow Case XX Trapper. Same knife since I was a teenager. Its seen the varmint so to speak.

    I’ll retire it one day. The blades have been sharpened so much they are really thin. I’ve been saying I would retire it when I retire. I’ve got a couple more years until I collect my pension.

    The kids bought me a new Case “pocket worn” with that new shiny steel. It’s not as good as the carbon blades but seems ok. I’ve carried it once or twice.

    Thanks for this article. It made me think back on an old man’s life with his knife. I’ve cut the hide off many a critter with that old knife. It’s cut my sausage at lunch, opened Christmas presents for my family, and done thousands of chores with me on my acreage. I can’t begin to thinks how many bales of hay it helped open.

    Again, thanks for the memories.

    1. You’re right. A pocket knife is like an old friend after awhile. I’ve got an old Gerber E-Z-Out that I have carried for years and years. Though I do carry others now and again, there’s nothing like the one you’ve carried and used for so many things (memories).

  22. Currently carrying a Spyderco Delica 4 plain edge. It replaced a mini griptillian that I lost. I like the Delica it is thinner and lighter than the Gerber and the lockback action is similar to my Buck 110.

  23. Buck “Hunter” 110. Heavy but reliable. But in the GHB there’s an Ontario 499 and a Victorinox Swiss Army knife with lots of doo dads,. Ohh and a $1.00 Chinese Wal Mart folder to deal with junky stuff for which I don’t want to waste the edge on a better knife.

  24. I currently have a CRKT Drifter on my person at present time. Very handy to dismantle the offending cardboard box and I keep it sharp to dismantle the occasional Homo Erectus that may wish to do me harm.

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