Aside from being a favorite weapon of countless Hollywood villains, pockets knives are incredibly versatile tools. Despite appearances, there are numerous functionalities of pocket knives, especially depending on the size and shape of their blades. Take the talon blade, for example, a blade that might remind you of Jurassic Park as it looks like the claw of a winged dinosaur. That said, you can use a pocket knife for its obvious purposes along with a vast array of further creative applications such as removing staples, flashlights, laser lights, seatbelt cutters, emergency glass breakers, and more.
We researched and reviewed dozens of pocket knives on our way to tracking down the best of the best. While we examined many factors, our primary focus staid on the most important aspects including blade quality, grip materials, functionality, overall performance, and reviews from existing customers.
When it comes to the best pocket knives the Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24s should rank high on anyone’s list. Produced by a world-class manufacturer known for over a century of superior craftsmanship, this knife offers all the best features you could want in a pocket knife. It comes with a super sharp blade (with jimping on both sides) right from the factory, is easily opened with one hand, and closes just as easy. It also fits perfectly in the palm of your hand. Even more, it comes highly rated by Amazon customers from all over the globe and costs less than $20. Now that is what we call a killer deal.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Pocket Knives
|Best Overall||SMITH & WESSON Extreme Ops SWA24S||4.3|
|Runner Up||KERSHAW Blur Blackwash Folding Knife 1670BW||4.7|
|Best Budget Buy||TAC-FORCE Tactical Spring Assisted Knife||4.5|
|Best Swiss Army Pocket Knife||VICTORINOX Tinker||4.8|
|Best Tactical Pocket Knife||BLIZETEC Survival Knife||4.5|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S
The only time you might have heard of the name “Smith & Wesson” would be in the movies. In fact, the famous fictional character John Wick has used Smith & Wesson handguns for – let’s say – effective crowd control. However, Smith & Wesson are not just a renown American manufacturer of firearms and ammunition, but a producer of excellent tools and merchandises as well. Which means, right of the bat, you know that you’re getting a high-quality product.
For cutting tasks that require a sharp blade, the Smith & Wesson SWA24S is the ideal tool for the job. It features a 3.1-inch high-carbon stainless steel blade that provides you with sharpness and durability. The knife features a liner locking mechanism, allowing you to secure the blade when it is open. Upon closing the knife, you have a belt clip to hold it firmly within the handle. This prevents the knife from springing open when you least expect it and give your fingers an unwelcome surprise. The aluminum handle allows you to grip the knife firmly but fits snuggly in your hands. The blade itself features jimping on both edges. The term “jimping” refers to small notches on a blade. These notches provide you with a small area to press down on without causing harm to your fingers.
What makes the SWA24S stand out from other pocket knives is the fact that it features a comfortable and straightforward design. With a manufacturer like Smith & Wesson, you might expect them to go overboard with the designs of their products. However, the company’s primary focus for the SWA24S was comfort. Without any sharp edges and pointy additions, the knife fits in your pockets without damaging them. Additionally, the thumb knob allows you to easily use the blade one-handed. You know, for those times you just want to look awesome.
Smith & Wesson SWA24S Main Features:
- 7.1-inch body with a 3-inch blade
- Consists of 7Cr17MoV black oxide high carbon steel
- Pocket Clip, finger flipper, jimping
Runner Up Pick: Kershaw Blur Blackwash Folding Knife 1670BW
The Blackwash features a spear point blade. With that type of blade, the knife is excellent for slicing and piercing tasks. Those capabilities, in turn, makes the knife a great companion for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing. Need to cut branches to start a fire? Sure, no problem. Need a quick tool to cut tangled fishing lines (or even the fishes themselves?) The Blackwash is your tool. The knife provides you with a slightly longer blade – at 3.4 inches – than other pockets knives.
It features a thumb stud that allows you to quickly open the pocket knife with one hand. The whole motion of flipping open the blade is fluid. Those who put the flip action to the test and noticed minimal resistance even after multiple tries. That definitely is an attractive feature in our book. The handle is not only made of aluminum but features trac-tec inserts to provide you with better grip. The black-oxide coating covers the blade, giving it not just durability, but a stylish look. The knife almost feels like something Batman would have. With the reversible pocket clip on the handle, you can clip the knife to your clothing with the point facing up or down. Either direction you point the blade, you can rest assured that the blade does not spring open suddenly. This is because the knife features a liner lock to keep the blade in place.
The best part of the knife is the reversible clip. It makes it convenient to attach the blade without fumbling around for the right placement. While it may seem like a minor additional feature, you might soon notice its importance when you start using the knife. After all, when you are outdoors, you do not need to spend a whole minute merely figuring out how to clip your tool.
Kershaw Backlash Main Features:
- 3.4-inch blade of high-quality 14C28N Steel
- Speed Safe opening function for one hand operation
- Reversible pocket clip and easy grip
Best Budget Pick: Tac-Force Tactical Spring Assisted Knife
If Kershaw could be a pocket knife suitable for Batman, then let us say that the Tac-Force has Iron Man written all over it. The blade is simply stylish and tactical, which is the first impression you might make of the tool. Like Kershaw, Tac-Force’s Tactical Spring Assisted Knife also features a spear point blade, making it ideal for slitting and penetrating. Speaking of superheroes, if you’re in the market for a super-fly ride, you might also be interested in our review of the best mountain bikes.
With a spring assist feature, you can easily – and quickly – flip open the knife. The blade is made of serrated stainless steel, giving it durability and a sharp edge. The blade’s nearly 3-millimeter thickness just adds to the durability and allows it to slice through objects without much resistance. A small space on the blade allows you to depress the knife with your finger should such a need arise. The liner lock secures the blade and prevents it from springing off the handle. Using its pocket clip, you can easily attach it to many surfaces, making it easier for you to carry the knife.
However, what makes the knife stand out from other tools of its type are the minor additions. The aluminum handle includes a glass breaker and a bottle opener. The glass breaker is used to crack open windows or other glass surfaces in an emergency. If you find yourself locked in your car, just use the sharpened tip on the handle to give yourself an opening. The bottle opener is useful to get your bottle of beer ready during your camping trips. All in all, the knife is truly versatile.
Tac-Force Tactical Spring Assisted Knife Main Features:
- 4.5-inch closed with a 3.25-inch blade
- Comes with bottle opener and emergency glass breaker
- Half-serrated black stainless steel blade
Best Swiss Army Pocket Knife: Victorinox Tinker
A lot of people may not have used pocket knives like the ones mentioned above (though they should.) However, everyone who knows about pocket knives might know about the Swiss army variety. With a multi-tool functionality, swiss army pocket knives can be used for a plethora of purposes. Inside the Victorinox Tinker, there is a small blade to get into those hard-to-reach crevices. The knife also includes a long blade to cut through tougher surfaces that the shorter blade cannot handle.
Need a hand with some screws? Or should we say, need a knife? Victorinox includes a screwdriver to under the screws that are giving you trouble but is mainly suitable for Phillips screws. A bottle opener pops open those bottle caps with ease. With a wire stripper tool, you can pull of wire casing with deftness. The knife even features a reamer, useful for repairing leather. All tools present inside the knife have a stainless steel finish, prevent typical wear and tear. Unlike most other pocket knives, the devices also click into place quickly and firmly. Because of this, you won’t usually notice a screwdriver or a knife sticking out because of a faulty mechanism.
The Victorinox is a versatile tool that becomes handy for many purposes. Our favorite feature was the polished finish of the product. We all know what we are getting with pocket knives. However, what makes the Victorinox unique is that it looks and feels like a high-quality product. Plus it has a keyring that you can use to fix the knife to your keys or other looping objects.
Victorinox Tinker Main Features:
- All stainless steel blades and tools, pocket size and lightweight
- Includes large blade, small blade, screwdriver, tweezers, can opener, bottle opener, reamer and more
- Backed by a lifetime warranty
Best Tactical Pocket Knife: Blizetec Survival Knife
Tac-Force may look a tactical knife, but Blizetec’s Survival Knife functions like one and then some. There is a lot of ground to cover with this knife so let’s get started. The blade is made of serrated stainless steel for durability and strength. It includes a firestarter mechanism made of magnesium alloy, allowing you to light up wood or other fire conducting surfaces with ease.
With the blade lock, you can secure the blade within the handle. Using the window breaker, you can crack open glass in an emergency. The knife also features a seatbelt cutter. Getting locked in your vehicle with your seatbelt jammed is a frightening scenario indeed. And though the situation may sound odd, there are many instances of such incidents happening. Luckily, you have a tool that can cut open your seatbelt and break open the window. Neat huh?
The pocket clip allows you to attach the knife to various surfaces. What is striking about the tool is that it is lighter than the other knives on this list. This makes it comfortable to carry around. The blade itself is rather long, at 3.5 inches, give you more cutting length. But the most unique part of the know (and what makes it tactical), is that it also features an LED light. This becomes useful when you want to work with the knife in the dark.
Best Tactical Pocket Knife Main Features:
- 5-in-1 stainless steel emergency tool knife with LED light
- Weighs less than 6 ounces, has belt clip and a nylon pouch
- 8.5-inch full length with a 3.5-inch blade
Who Should Buy A Pocket Knife
Like most people, I’m sure you have found yourself in the position of wishing you had a knife more than once. I know that I sure have (more times than I care to mention!). Whether merely trying to open a box at work or slicing an apple at home, a pocket knife sure makes life a whole lot easier.
Everyone can benefit from carrying a pocket knife. Regardless of where you work, live, or spend your free time, pocket knives are more useful than one might assume. Aside from protection, there are dozens of reasons to own a pocket knife.
Opening boxes, cutting tape, slicing apples, and opening your mail are just a few of the most popular everyday uses for owning a pocket knife. Of course knives are weapons, but even more so they are a tool. Whether you’re camping, hiking, walking, or sitting around the house, a pocket knife sure comes in handy when you least suspect it.
Important Features to Consider
A pocket knife should have several important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a pocket knife:
- Purpose. Knowing what purpose your knife will serve is the first step in deciding which will be the best pocket knife for you. After you determine what you’ll be using your knife for (the most), you can move on to examining factors such as size, shape, and price based on what purpose you’re buying it in the first place.
- Overall design. The overall design of a pocket knife is crucial to consider. The design not only affects the diversity of the knife’s functionality but it also has more to do with the aesthetic appeal of the knife than almost any other feature.
- Quality of steel. Perhaps the most important feature to consider of all is the quality of steel. Lesser-quality steel results in poor blades which will not only rust and pit faster but are also more likely to snap in half.
- Locking mechanism. One of the most important factors to pocket knives are their locking mechanism. The higher-quality the locking mechanism, the safer you are and the longer your knife will last.
- Grip. The grip and the material that it consists of is a critical aspect not to overlook while searching for the best pocket knife. Furthermore, it’s the part of the knife that is most visible and therefore dictates the appearance of the knife.
- Warranty. A warranty is a valuable feature to receive with your purchase. Most of the best pocket knives come with one. A great way to gauge a knife’s overall value is by the warranty the manufacturer is offering. A lifetime warranty is a sure sign a product is valuable.
- Price. Of course, last but not least, the price is always a consideration one needs to take into account. The more money you spend, the better quality a knife you have the chance of acquiring. However, without carefully selecting the best pocket knife based on all the aspects mentioned earlier, price alone is not enough to base your purchasing decision on.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different types of pocket knives?
Today, there are several types of pocket knives on the market today. Replicas and collectibles aside, there are four models that are far more popular than any others:
- Locking Knife
The locking blade pocket knives typically come with one or two blades. Each blade automatically locking into place upon opening. To shut the blade once it opens requires the pressing of a button or a special release-tab. Locking blade pocket knives are among the safest knives to carry for day-to-day use.
The pen knife is another of the world’s most famous pocket knife models. Initially, this type of knife was a fixed knife with a thin little blade on both ends. Today, the penknife is more often a pocket knife with multiple blades than a fixed blade instrument. Pen knives are typically slim and lightweight which makes them easy to carry and conceal.
- Multi-Tool Pocket Knife
Multi-tools are by far one of the favorite pocket knives today. They are just as useful as the original swiss army knives (which inspired than many multi-tool pocket knives that now exist). Most multi-tools come with pliers, multiple blades, a mini saw blade, scissors, and more. They’re also great for work, for camping, and for keeping in your toolbox at work or home.
- Jackknife Knife
The most simple type of pocket knife in existence is unquestionably the jackknife. It’s compact, has one blade which folds out, and is held open only by the hinge tension. Meaning, it has no real locking mechanism.
What are the three blades on a pocket knife for?
Many popular of the best pocket knife models on the market today come with three blades. Each of these blades as a name, and a particular purpose:
- Clip Point Blade: allows users to perform detail work such as carving and inscribing
- Spey Blade: enables users to perform tasks such as skinning or slicing
- Sheepsfoot Blade: allows making perfectly straight cuts (particularly on flat surfaces)
What size knife is legal to carry?
Depending on what state (or country) you live in the size of a knife that is legal to carry varies. Most states in the United States allow for knives with blades 2.5 inches or shorter to be carried in public. That said, Delaware allows 3-inch blades and Colorado allows blades up to 3.5 inches. Several other states allow 4 to 5 inches blades to be carried as well. We highly suggest that you research the law in your state (or country) before making a purchasing decision on the best pocket knife for you.
Should I carry a knife?
There are many reasons to carry a pocket knife (many of which we listed above). The least of these reasons is self-defense (albeit a knife can be a good defensive weapon with proper training). That said, nearly everyone can benefit from carrying a pocket knife as it is a genuinely versatile tool.
Other Pocket Knives We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other pocket knives. Even though they didn’t make our top 5 best pocket knives, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your needs. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Case’s Clip And Pen Small Pocket Knife is convenient to use in numerous situations; it’s also corrosion free and extremely durable. Furthermore, because of its size, and you can carry it in the pocket all the time.
- Clip and pen blades made of Case Tru-Sharp Stainless Steel
- Comes with a brown synthetic handle
- Made for working, hunting, hiking, and detailed work
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
The Old Timer Small Lockback Pocket Knife is excellent for you if you need something simple yet versatile enough for different situations. It’s perfect to have it with yourself in case it’s needed.
- Stainless steel blade with durable Delrin handle and a lanyard loop
- Folding and made for multiple purposes
- Easy to carry and use
- Measures 1.6 x 2.2 x 3.8 inches and weighs 0.96 ounces
Imperial’s Stockman Stainless Steel Traditional Folding Knife will quickly prove it’s worth, specifically for lovers of the outdoors and camping. Coming with three types of blades, it will save you both time and money.
- Comes with clip point, sheepsfoot, and spay folding blades
- The “Stockman” features three stainless steel blade with POM handle
- Easy to open and close with nail pulls on each blade
- Highly-durable and secure
Gerber’s Stl 2.0 is an absolutely superb choice if you like challenging activities such as camping and hiking where you might find yourself trying to survive in Nature. The ultra-thin and light knife will fit in your pocket and always be secure in your hand.
- Strong, thin and light, comes with a lanyard hole
- Weights only about an ounce
- Can be easily open with one hand and locked with original safety lock
- Useful for hiking, military, and surviving
The Winchester Folding Knife is an affordable, yet high-quality pocket knife made to serve anyone well and look good while doing it. So, if you like to have a knife in your pocket just in case, look no further.
- Stainless steel blade with a high-quality looking handle
- A nail nick for easier opening
- Traditional lockback and lanyard hole which allows pocket
- Lifetime Warranty
Locking Blade Pocket Knives
RoverTac’s Multi-purpose Pocket Knife/Tool is absolutely an excellent choice for workers, hunters, campers and those with outdoor jobs. Almost anything you need to cut or fix something on the fly is made possible with this fantastic pocket tool.
- Stainless steel made with black oxidation with seven different tools
- Safe locking mechanism
- Comes with ballistic pouch available to wear on your belt
- Very sharp and for adults use only
TAC Force’s Snake Eye Tactical Spring Assist Folding Pocket Knife is made for use in unpredictable, dangerous situations, such as car accident or saving people trapped under ice. That said, you might want to have it’s an excellent tool for those who are working for some sort of rescue agency.
- Made out of high-quality stainless steel
- Black half serrated blade
- 3.25” (3mm) thick blade
- Includes glad breaker, seat belt cutter, and pocket clip
The Columbia River Snap Lock Folding Pocket Knife is stylish, highly-functional, and comfortable to use. If you carry this knife in the pocket, it’s ready when you need it and extremely useful for numerous situations.
- Stainless steel folding blade with Bead Blast Finish
- Decorated and practical to use
- Easy to use and safe to carry
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
Buck Knives Folding Hunter Knife is sharp and sturdy, making it ideal for hunting and outdoors activities. Even more, it makes any detailed work far more manageable. Also, it’s easily carried on your belt.
- Stainless steel clip corrosion free blade and wooden handle
- Easy to open with a nail notch on the blade and a lock back mechanism
- Suitable for precise work and safe to use
- Lifetime Warranty
The Gerber LST knife is an absolute must-have if you are planning to hunt or hike. It’s also highly preferred by those who belong to the military. The LST is ultralight and practical for carrying and using in all sorts of situations.
- Made out of 400 series stainless steel blade and ultralight
- Opens and closes smoothly
- Multi-purpose such as hiking, military, hunting, surviving and more
- Field tested and comes with Limited Lifetime Warranty
Multi-purpose Pocket Knives
The ProMaster Multifunctional Pocket Tool consists of just about every piece of tool you will ever need for hiking, camping, surviving and other outdoors activities. Keep it in your pocket, and you’ll stay prepared for unexpected situations.
- Made out of quality HC Stainless steel
- 15 IN 1 multifunctional tool
- Makes a great gift for adventure lovers
- Lifetime Warranty and 90-day “double-your-money-back-guarantee”
BlizeTec’s Survival 5-in-1 Tactical Pocket Knife is good to have for camping and hiking, sure, but specifically, it is even more excellent for those employed by a rescue agency, military, or law enforcement. Even more, it makes a perfect gift for family or friends who’re into dangerous hobbies or career fields.
- Limited edition Stainless Steel 5-in-1 pocket knife
- An LED flashlight, drop-point blade, serrated saw, fire starter and window breaker
- Pocket size, lightweight and easy to use
- Lifetime Warranty
Leatherman Wingman Stainless Steel Multitool is made to help you out around your house, on camping trips, at work or any survival type scenario. If you have this bad boy in your pocket, you’re ready for anything that comes your way.
- Made out of Stainless Steel with 14 different tools
- Opens with one hand and has a locking blade for safer use
- Lightweight and pocket size
- 25 Years Warranty
The SOG PowerAssist Black Oxide Multitool should be a part of the equipment of any hiker, soldier, outdoorsman or service technician. Not only will It help you to repair just about anything but it will help you to survive in nearly any situation.
- Includes 16 Black Oxide Stainless Steel hand tools
- Two sturdy pliers and two blades with screwdrivers, can and bottle openers and else
- For camping, hiking, working outside
- One hand opens knife blades
Gerber’s MP600 Black Multitool can help solve your “problems” quick, fast, and in a hurry. If you like to stay prepared for anything than this tool might be the perfect piece of outdoors equipment for you.
- Practical designed and extremely reliable; field tested
- It comes with 15 useful tools
- One hand opening and safety lock
- Limited Life Warranty
Collectible Pocket Knives
Damascus’ Steel Pocket Folding Knife is not just quality made and fits perfectly in your hand; it looks aesthetically stunning and unique. That said, it makes an ideal addition to a knife collection or gift for a friend or a family member.
- Handmade steel blade folding pocket knife with an aesthetically pleasing handle
- Made lightweight to fit in your hand perfectly
- For fishing, hunting, camping, outdoors
- Excellent gift or a nice addition to a knife collection
Grand Way’s Spring Assisted Folding Pocket Knife makes a perfect choice for hunting, fishing, camping, as well as self-defense. Its specific design turns it into an excellent gift for men and women for regular day-to-day carrying as well as adding to a collection.
- Made out of Black Coated Stainless Steel and comes with a spring assisted corrosion resistant blade
- Safe liner-lock for added safety as well as preventing dirt from getting inside the blade
- Perfect for hiking, camping, surviving, hunting, fishing, and military
- Ten-year warranty
Gerber’s Suspension Multi-Plier Multitool will become a great addition to your tool case. The versatility of this tool will aid you with large and small repairs alike. Having all your essential tools in all in one place make this Gerber a real gem.
- Sturdy and durable 12-piece Multitool
- Strong pliers and sharp knives
- Guaranteed safety components and easy to open and use
- Comes with a nylon sheath for protection
The Case Medium Navy Stockman Pocket Knife looks good and works even better. Furthermore, you don’t need to be worried about the quality as the world famous manufacturer Case produces it. That said, It will last for a long time, and its design will make you proud to have it.
- Sharp stainless steel blade with navy blue handle
- A clip, sheepfoot, and pen blade included
- For everyday situations (outdoors, camping, hiking, work, and home)
- Limited Life Warranty; Made in the USA
The Victorinox Swiss Army Tinker is an extremely high-end and durable multi-tool which will fit in your pocket and never let you down. Even more, it’s an excellent choice for soldiers, hikers, campers, and all types of outdoorsmen.
- Swiss Stainless Steel blade with a red handle, with retro aesthetics
- Blade, can opener, scissors, Phillips screwdriver, and pliers
- Suitable for carrying in the pocket
- Lifetime Guarantee; made in Switzerland