What is the best pocket knife brand? There really is no clear cut answer to this question, because there are dozens of brands to choose from and so many factors to consider.
There are many highly-rated, high-quality pocket knife brands to choose from, and there is also a lot of cheaply made garbage out there. It can be an overwhelming task trying to distinguish the garbage from the good stuff. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you make an informed decision when deciding which brand best suits your needs.
There are several questions to keep in mind when selecting a pocket knife:
- What type of pocket knife are you looking for?
- What does the knife need to do?
- Length of the blade?
- The number of blades?
- What kind of edge?
- Are there any mechanical preferences?
- What is your budget?
Whether you are a novice or a pocket knife enthusiast, the following list of top pocket knife brands are all known for taking great pride in producing an exceptional product. We’ve highlighted a bit of info about each company and their best sellers.
Below are the brands that are well respected. In each case, we have highlighted one of the best of their offerings so you can see what they are about.
Please note that these links are affiliate links. This means that if you buy anything after clicking through we may receive a commission. This does not affect our choices as we get the same commission regardless, but it does help keep this site running, so we hope you don’t mind!
Benchmade is a precision knife maker in Oregon City, Oregon with amazing manual, automatic, and fixed blade knives.
Every Benchmade knife comes with free LifeSharp maintenance. They offer a variety of knives with premium materials and unique designs that fill every need you could ask of a knife.
There are three tiers to Benchmade knives:
- Gold: High end and limited edition. Made from rare steels, titanium and rare wood scales. Great for collectors.
- Blue: Known as the “recreational” class. Popular, high-quality knives, Usually made from S30V, 154CM and D2 steels.
- Black: Military and law enforcement tier. Many of this line requires special permits and are not available to the public.
Our Pick: Griptilian 551 Knife
One of their top-selling knives is the Griptilian. It’s a great no-nonsense daily carry knife praised for its dependability and long working life.
It features a strong and lightweight textured Noryl GTX handle and double 420J stainless liners to add strength and durability to the handle design. The ergonomically designed AXIS lock mechanism makes the knife easy to open and close for everyone.
Spyderco is a well-known brand from Golden, Colorado. These knives are instantly recognizable due to their futuristic look. They were the first to introduce things like one-handed opening and combo blades for folding knives.
They are aggressive in their appearance and most have the trademark “Spyderhole” near the spine of nearly all their folding knives, which makes this ideal for those who wear gloves as this allows for easy opening even when wearing bulky gloves.
Spyderco has a proven track record of being innovative and not afraid to try new things. Their knives are functional, ergonomic, and beautiful. You can expect an amazing fit and finish along with premium blade steel on every knife.
Our Pick: The Tenacious G-10
The mid-sized Tenacious has a black G-10 laminate handle, milled with prolonged fatigue-free cutting in mind. Tucked inside are skeletonized steel liners increasing the handle’s rigidity and strength without adding non-functioning weight or bulky thickness.
The 8Cr13Mov stainless blade is leaf-shaped and ground flat from spine to cutting edge for cutting performance. The blade’s shape coupled with an oversized Spyderco Round Hole and textured spine jimping allows you to open the blade and position your thumb on the spine in slip-proof confidence.
Buck Knives is an American knife manufacturer founded in San Diego, California and now located in Post Falls, Idaho. The company has a long history through five generations of the Buck family from 1902 to the present day.
It was in 1902 that the first Buck knife was created by Hoyt Buck as he endeavored to invent a better way to temper steel. To this day, Buck Knives remain one of the best American hunting knife brands out there.
Not only is Buck known for using some of the best heat-treated 420HC steel you can find in a blade, but they are also backed by the Buck 4-Ever Warranty.
Our Pick: Buck Knives 110 Hunting Knife
The 110 model was created with outdoorsmen in mind who wanted a sturdy knife but did not want to carry a long fixed blade. The 110 is one of their oldest and continues to be their most successful for its usability, quality of materials, and understated elegance. This knife is as reliable as they come.
This brand has one of the most loyal fan bases in the entire folding knife community. Their blades are of incredibly high quality, with a price tag to match. What began as a custom knife garage brand in 1979 has grown into one of the all-time best tactical knife making companies in the world.
These knives are all made in-house in Los Angeles, CA and are made with 154CM stainless steel, while the handles are made from G10, which is a type of fiberglass laminate.
154CM is one of the best steels available. It has an exceptionally good balance toughness, hardness and corrosion resistance.
Our Pick: Emerson Sheep Dog
The Emerson Sheepdog is a medium-sized pocket knife that features a black G-10 handle, and two types of blades: Spear Point and Bowie. It features a ball-bearing pivot system to allow for a smooth and rapid deployment
Boker makes some pretty incredible blades, and this brand has roots that date back as far as the 17th century when it was just a small-end tool shop in Germany.
Boker Knives is a trusted maker of quality hunting, kitchen, and of course pocket knives. Their automatic and folding EDC knives offer amazing quality at an affordable price.
Our Pick: Boker Anti-Grav Knife
The blade of the Boker Anti-Grav knife is made of non-magnetic, hi-tech ceramic and provides outstanding edge retention and corrosion resistance. The handle is made of high-quality carbon fiber, reducing the overall weight of the knife, and is known for its stability and elegance.
Tough, durable, and solid is what should come to mind when you hear Cold Steel. Lynn Thompson’s Cold Steel brand has been making knives and other tools such as axes and broadswords since 1980.
This Ventura, California brand has managed to put themselves at the forefront of modernization with knife technology with such innovations as their patented Tri-Ad lock.
They offer a wide variety of knives, from karambits, folding, assisted, fixed, and much more. Consider Cold Steel when looking to find the best knife for your needs.
Their dedication to innovation is unmatched. And, judging from their constantly evolving catalog, they’re looking to keep things that way.
Our Pick: Cold Steel Spartan
The Spartan’s super-sharp stonewashed blade is made from Japanese AUS10A Steel and was designed to echo the aesthetics and cutting performance of the world-famous Kukri.
Its distinctive Kopis-inspired handle is contoured for comfort and features a heavily textured surface finish for an exceptionally effective grip. The injection-molded Griv-Ex polymer handle has nested steel liners and the Tri-Ad locking mechanism for superior strength making this knife incredibly safe and secure.
Columbia River Knife & Tool Company
Based in the state of Oregon, CRKT is known for crafting brilliant designs at prices affordable to everyone. They are easily one of the top dogs in the folding knife community.
They offer a wide array of products to satisfy the needs of everyone from the most hardcore outdoorsmen, to the collector and everyone in between.
Working in conjunction with famed knife designer Ken Onion, CRKT is on the cutting edge of technical innovation as well. They have created a unique tool-free strip technology that will most certainly to be the next big evolutionary step in the world of pocket knives.
Our Pick: CRKT Homefront
The CRKT Homefront is designed to resemble a classic WWII folding knife and it features the innovative tool-free field strip technology, which allows you easily disassemble your knife for cleaning without tools.
Ken Onion designed the tactically inspired, EDC knife to stay true to its vintage roots. The bayonet lug-style flipper sets off the smooth open action of the drop point blade, while tank jimping on the backstrap sits snugly against your palm.
Ontario Knife Company
Based in upstate New York, the OKC has been making a wide range of quality products – including knives, cutlery, kitchenware, and tools for over 125 years. A big part of their business has been making knives for the United States military.
They are not yet a household name when it comes to pocket knives, but that is soon to change. All of their knives have uncompromising craftsmanship and are made with quality materials and components. Grab one of their masterfully designed creations we’re sure you won’t be let down.
Our Pick: Ontario Rat
The immensely popular RAT folders are among the Ontario Knife Company’s top-selling products. They feature versatile AUS-8 stainless steel and a reinforced nylon handle.
The RAT folding knives come in a variety of styles featuring different blades and handle colors. They are an ideal and affordable option for an EDC knife.
Founded in 1974, this Oregon based brand is known for working with renowned custom knife designers like Ken Onion, Rick Hinderer, and Ernest Emerson. Kershaw manufactures a huge variety of function-forward EDC, sport, and tactical knives.
A lifetime warranty ensures your Kershaw knife is up to any task you throw at it. They take pride in offering performance, design, and quality for a great value, which makes them one of the best knife brands to put your money towards.
Our Pick: Kershaw Cryo
The Cryo is a superb knife for everyday carry. It has an all-steel construction that is coated with matte gray titanium carbo-nitride, which increases the durability and longevity of the blade.
A harder blade holds an edge better and for longer. The Cryo also features Kershaw’s SpeedSafe assist for fast and easy one-handed opening. With this knife you get the tactical, hard-use looks you’re looking for, a Rick Hinderer design, and SpeedSafe assisted opening technology at an amazingly affordable price.
You can’t go wrong with any of the above when looking for the best pocket knife brand to suit your needs, but this is by no means an all-inclusive list. There are dozens of brands to choose from, and some produce a higher quality product than others.
Even if you are brand loyal to a certain company, remember not all knives within a brand are created equal, therefore it is still important to do your research. Explore your options, don’t just make a purchase based of the name of the company.
Gather all the info you can on any brands you may be considering and then make an educated purchase based on everything that makes a knife important to you. You can never go wrong being an educated consumer no matter which brand you choose.
Matt Green, is an avid hiker and lover of the great outdoors. He is always planning his next big trip or hitting the trails for a solo hike.
He’s traveled extensively to many remote regions and has plenty of experience exploring various terrains, and stories to tell.