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Best EDC Knife (2021): Top 10 Cool Knives for Tactical Preparedness

If you are looking for the best EDC knife, today is your lucky day. In this article, we shall discuss 10 cool knives to have on hand for a tactical edge in any situation. We’ll also help you figure out how to choose the best pocket knives for your needs.

Best EDC Knife - Cool Knives Reviewed 2021

For a long time, pocket knives have been considered EDC essentials, thanks to their practicality as tools and self-defense implements. Nonetheless, as with anything, these tools vary significantly in quality, features, and overall usability. With that said, how do you buy the best EDC knife in 2021?

10 Best EDC Knife Brands of 2021

There are numerous EDC knives on the market today. Consequently, narrowing down your options can be an arduous task. Luckily, we have done the leg work for you.

The following are reviews of the 10 best EDC knives you can buy today.Regardless of your preferences, you can be sure to find something that will align with your needs.

1. Ontario Knife Company | 8848 Rat I Folding EDC Knife

Ontario Knife Company 8848 Rat I Folding Knife
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Ontario knives are designed for those who love the outdoors, and the 8848 Rat I Knife is no exception.

Measuring 8.6 inches in length and weighing around 5 ounces, this EDC knife has just the perfect size to allow you to take on both simple and challenging tasks while outdoors. You will also appreciate its blade’s well-thought-out design; it features the drop point design that makes it exceptional at slicing applications.

The RAT’s handle is made of Zytel, a type of plastic that feels great in hand. The overall ergonomics are pleasing, and if you have larger hands, do not worry, as the 5-inch handle should feel comfortable.

The Ontario 8848 RAT is an excellent choice for campers looking for good cheap knives.

2. Kershaw | Blur Everyday Carry Knife

Kershaw Blur Everyday Carry Pocketknife
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The Kershaw Ken Onion Blur is one of the most popular EDC knives available today, and for good reason.

For starters, the Kershaw Ken Onion Blur’s blade features an anodized aluminum construction. This  means that the surface of the metal has been altered on a microscopic level to make it stronger and more durable. The anodization technique also gives the blade a unique, fading hue and makes it scratch-resistant.

Additionally, Kershaw was the first manufacturer to bring the highly renowned Speed Safe system to the market. The Speed Safe system is a one-of-a-kind, patented mechanism that allows the user to open the blade with a single thumb push or a flipper pull back. The torsion bar is at the heart of the Speed Safe mechanism, preventing the blade from opening accidentally when the knife is closed.

Another feature you will appreciate is the insert liner lock that makes the model lightweight while still being sturdy and durable. Additionally, the handle comes with pre-drilled holes to allow you to have a secure grip at all times.

Overall, the Kershaw Ken Onion Blur is an excellent multipurpose blade, as it excels at both piercing and slicing tasks.

3. Spyderco | Tenacious Tactical Folding Knives

Spyderco Tenacious Folding Utility Pocket Knife
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Spyderco has a long history of producing high-quality EDC knives. The Tenacious Folding Knife, their newest mid-sized blade, is deserving of a closer examination.

The Spyderco Tenacious resembles a large frame-lock knife with a hefty ground blade in terms of overall appearance. The knife has a finger groove on the handle, making it easy to open with only one hand, as is the case with other Spyderco knives.

It sports G10 scales on its exterior that boost ergonomics tremendously, especially for individuals with medium-sized hands. Although some people may find the scales thinner than expected, we believe the texturing is just about appropriate — it is not too harsh. The Spyderco Tenacious has a highly robust structure thanks to its steel frame, but it is also rather heavy.

Overall, it’s easy to understand why this knife is so popular: it’s inexpensive, yet it delivers the same quality and performance as higher-priced models.

4. TAC Force | Spring Assisted Knives

TAC Force Spring Assisted Folding Pocket Knife
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When it comes to value for money, the TAC-FORCE Spring Assisted Opening folding knife is unrivaled. 

It measures 7 3/4 inches long when extended and only 4 1/2 inches long when closed, so you can be sure that it will fit into most pockets.

The vicious serrated blade features a 440 stainless steel construction and is sharp and sturdy enough for everyday usage around the house or while camping in the woods. The handle is not shabby either, as it is made of black aluminum and features the Speed Safe system for your convenience.

Overall, if you are searching for a budget-friendly EDC knife, the TAC FORCE folding knife should top your list.

5. Benchmade | Mini Griptilian Pocket Knife

Benchmade - Mini Griptilian
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The Mini Griptilian is renowned for its durability and ability to keep its edge, thanks to the 154CM stainless steel used in the making of its blade. Its blade has a modified drop point design with a smooth curve that gracefully lowers the knife’s tip for added strength when piercing.  

Another feature you will love is the Griptilian’s AXIS lock. This locking mechanism ensures that the blade cannot deploy accidentally while in your pocket.

With its nearly 3 inch blade, the 556 isn’t tiny, even though it’s called a “mini” knife. It’s the right size for a multipurpose, handy everyday carry knife.

6. Cold Steel | Recon 1 Series Tactical Folding Knife

Cold Steel Recon 1 Series Tactical Folding Knife
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The Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife has the appearance and feel of a knife that would be at home in the hands of a ninja or soldier. That should not come as a surprise, as this knife was designed for self-defense purposes.

Its blade is made of CTS-XHP stainless steel–not the toughest steel in the world, but it is enough for most people’s cutting needs. It also has a black DLC coating that adds to its longevity by preventing corrosion. And the polish also gives the blade a more combat-ready appearance.

The Recon 1 Tactical Knife’s non-slip grip is arguably its most gratifying feature. Its handle is covered in G-10 laminate scales, which provide a solid and pleasant grip regardless of how sweaty your hands are. And Cold Steel’s Tri-Ad locking system features a stop-pin mechanism that holds the blade securely in place when closed, preventing accidents.

The knife also has an ambidextrous clip for your convenience. By repositioning the clip, you may hang the knife on either your right or left side. The clip is robust and secure enough to hang from your belt without falling off.

7. Spyderco | Para 3 Signature Small Folding Knife

Spyderco Para 3 Signature Folding Knife
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The Spyderco Para 3 might be light, but it is incredibly sturdy. Like all other Spyderco blades, this knife also features a large thumbhole that makes operating and opening a breeze. And notching on the throat and neck of the blade is designed to help with grip during the most arduous work.

It is also worth noting that the Paramilitary 3’s spine includes a compression lock, making it difficult to shut the blade with only one hand. That ensures your safety, as it is almost impossible to trigger the knife accidentally.

You also do not have to worry about durability, as the blade is made of powdered stainless steel, with more vanadium than chromium, making it exceptionally tough.

The Paramilitary 3 is well worth the money, thanks to its smooth opening mechanism, ergonomic handle, and exceptional sharpness. It is also remarkably aesthetically pleasing.

8. CRKT | Squid Folding Pocket Knife

CRKT Squid Folding Pocket Knife
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The CRKT Squid, like many other small knives, has a deceptively simple design, but this is one practical pocket knife. The stainless steel handle and the 8Cr13MoV blade are a perfect match for each other and boast an exquisite appearance.

You will appreciate the handle’s ergonomic design that makes this knife comfortable to hold and easy to use. Additionally, it has friction grooves that provide you with good thumb positioning to improve the overall grip.

While the blade is only 2.25 inches long, it is not afraid of large cutting challenges. This is a well-balanced drop-style blade that is ready for action at a moment’s notice.

9. Kershaw | Chive Slim Pocket Knife

Kershaw Chive Pocket Knife
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The Kershaw 1600 Chive is another extremely popular model among EDC knife enthusiasts. It’s a small sharp knife that comes at a reasonable price.

The Chive’s blade is constructed of 420HC stainless steel, while the handle is built primarily of 410 stainless steel. Both metals are well-known for their sturdiness and durability. Additionally, 420HC steel is renowned for its ability to maintain an edge, meaning you don’t have to keep sharpening your knife.

The drop point shape on the blade allows this knife to excel at slicing tasks. Unfortunately, the handle is not suited for left-handed individuals.

Nonetheless, we were happy to discover that it comes with the Speed Safe system, which allows for easy opening and closing. An extra tip lock stops the blade from opening when the knife is in your pocket.

10. Benchmade | 940 EDC Folding Knife

Benchmade - 940 EDC Folding Knife
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If you have the cash, the Benchmade 940 Osborne is a choice worth considering. The blade is made from CPM-S30V steel, which is renowned for its ability to keep an edge. Additionally, it is robust enough to handle difficult cutting operations without breaking.

The blade’s drop-point shape is incredibly versatile, making it suited for a wide range of cutting applications.

Buying the Best EDC Knife (Factors to Look Out for)

Finding a good EDC knife can be difficult, especially if you are a beginner. Consider the following factors when looking for a knife to help you narrow down your options and find the perfect everyday carry knife for you.

Additionally, keep in mind that state and municipal regulations may prohibit some types of EDC knives. Therefore, consult the local government website and the AKTI’s state knife legislation guide to confirm that you can carry within your jurisdiction.

Size and Weight

The handiest EDC knife is the one with you when you need it. As such, an EDC knife should be compact and lightweight enough that carrying it every day is not a hassle.

However, it should be big and sturdy enough to handle challenging tasks. An ideally-sized EDC knife should measure around 4 inches when closed and weigh around 3 ounces. You can get away with less, but don’t go for total minimalism or risk being unprepared.

Blade Material

The blade material is what determines an EDC knife’s dependability, durability, and in most cases, price. The following are the most commonly utilized materials in the making of EDC knives:

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel combines three elements: steel, carbon, and chromium, resulting in a highly corrosion-resistant alloy that provides adequate performance.

However, stainless steel is not the best when it comes to physical ruggedness. Under severe use, these blades are more prone to suffer damage than carbon blades. Nonetheless, steel with outlast other types of blade material due to the metal’s ability to withstand weathering by the elements.

Carbon Steel

Carbon Steel blades combine steel and carbon to produce some of the most durable blades on the market, with a focus on toughness and the ability to withstand high degrees of usage.

Additionally, carbon steel blades have excellent edges and are easy to sharpen. However, they are not as resistant to weathering and corrosion as stainless steel blades.

Tooling Steel

Tooling steel is essentially a steel alloy that has been hardened and refined to provide decent, but not remarkable, performance in various applications.

However, tooling steel blades have quite the same anti-corrosive resistance as stainless steel but aren’t nearly as sharp as carbon steel blades. The good thing is that they are typically inexpensive to buy and have a reasonable hardness.

The Edge

EDC knives can have a straight, serrated, or combo edge. Straight-edged blades are simple to sharpen and suitable for most applications. It is the most often used blade type. A straight edge cuts or slices but is not suited for sawing tasks.

Serrated edges are similar to tiny saw blades, and they excel at sawing. Therefore, if your needs require regular sawing, such as cutting rope or small branches, a serrated edge knife is an excellent choice. However, you should know that sharpening serrated blades may be time-consuming and challenging.

Combo blades have both a straight and serrated edge, as the name suggests. The majority of combination knives feature a serrated edge near the handle and a straight edge near the tip.

While many people enjoy them, we find combination knives to be ineffective at both slicing and sawing. It is better to invest in two separate knives instead of a combo edge knife.

CHECK OUT: The Best Bowie Knives

Blade Design

EDC knives sport different blade designs to suit different purposes. The most common designs are the drop point, Tanto, and straight back.

  • The drop point is by far the most common blade type, and if you’ve ever used a pocket knife, you’re probably already familiar with it. These blades feature a convex spine that slopes down slightly from where it attaches to the handle up to the tip. These blades are good at slicing and are arguably the most popular all-purpose blade style. If you’re unsure, a drop point knife will suffice.
  • The Tanto blade is arguably the most effective blade design for self-defense knives. The Tanto blade design is standard in short swords, such as the Samurai sword, but it is becoming increasingly popular in self-defense pocket knives. These blades have a flat and straight belly with a sharp upward curve at the tip and a spine that reinforces the tip, resulting in a powerful piercing capability.
  • Straight backs aren’t as popular as they once were, but they’re still available. As its name suggests, the straight back has a straight spine. These blades are great for slicing and chopping, and they give you a firm platform to put your palm on for increased pressure.

RELATED READING: Check Out the Best Throwing Knives

Handle Material

While the blade is arguably the most important feature of any knife, the handle plays a significant role in the overall practicality of a knife, as it affects balance, weight, and durability. It also determines your comfort when using the blade.

Handles are made of various materials, with the most common ones being wood, fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN), G10, and stainless steel.  

  • Wood has a traditional appeal and offers a smooth, comfortable grip. However, it is porous, meaning it tends to absorb excess moisture. Consequently, without proper care, wooden handles are likely to swell and split.
  • Hardwood handles are less likely to split, but they still need to be maintained and oiled as needed.
  • Fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN) is a low-cost, easy-to-clean, and long-lasting material. These handles aren’t prone to splitting or swelling, and they’re also lightweight, making them a great alternative to wood.
  • G10 is a fiberglass epoxy laminated synthetic material. It has the lightweight nature of plastic, the robust feel of wood, and the chemical resistance of stainless steel. As a result, G10 is arguably the best material for knife handles.

Although stainless steel is the most durable and easiest to clean of the four options, G10, FRN, and wood are more comfortable to grasp and use for extended periods.  

Opening Mechanism

Since you will be using your EDC knife numerous times a month, you want it to be easy to open and close. Therefore, you should consider a model’s opening mechanism before making your decision.

Spring-assisted opening mechanisms are ideal for most people. Other mechanisms include the nail slot, thumb hole, and flip out.

The nail slot is perhaps the most common type of opening mechanism, particularly on less expensive blades. The nail slot is exactly what the name implies. It’s a small machine cut out near the spine of the blade that allows you to hold the blade with your fingernail and pull it out of the handle. Nail slot blades are typically the slowest to deploy and can be a pain to use if the blade fits snugly into the handle.

Thumbholes eliminate the nail slot in favor of a hole that is much easier to grasp and opens faster. However, the catch is thumb holes add weight and size to the knife, which can result in an uncomfortable carry experience.

Flip-out knives have their blades on a pivot point to allow you to release them with a flick of the wrist. As such, the flip-out is arguably the most convenient opening mechanism, which explains why most premium EDC knives come with this system.

What Is the Best EDC Knife? Verdict

Carrying a knife in your pocket is by far the simplest and lightest way to ensure you’re ready for any situation. Whether you need to protect yourself or just need a handy tool to tackle the job effectively, you want to be sure that your EDC knife is up for the task.

All the models in our reviews enjoy good ratings among users. However, they all suit different demographics. Therefore, let your needs and preferences guide you to your ideal EDC knife.

Do you have a favorite EDC knife? What’s one time a folding pocket knife helped you out of a jam? Let us know in the comments section.

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