What is the Best Pocket Knife 2018?
With so many pocket knife brands available it makes it hard to find the best. With a little help from this Best Pocket Knife 2018 review, we’ll breakdown some of the most popular pocket knives on the market today based on a combination of personal experience and online reviews. While most are smaller than the large size of a Bowie Knife, these popular compact blades will comfortably fit in your pocket and be there when you need them.
We’ve taken into account a host of factors including blade construction, metallurgy, design, and usability to come up with the best pocket knives available today. We’ve narrowed the list down to the Top 10 Best Pocket Knives of 2018. So lets take a look.
Best Pocket Knife 2018
|Pocket Knife||Overall Length |
|Kershaw 1660 Leek Folding Knife||7.0||3.0||3.0||Speedsafe|
|Kershaw 1990 Brawler Folding Knife||7.1||3.0||3.9||Speedsafe|
|Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS M&P Linerlock Knife||8.6||3.6||8.0||MAGIC Assisted Open|
|Gerber STL 2.0 Knife||5.1||2.1||1.4||None|
|Gerber Paraframe Mini Knife||6.0||2.2||3.0||None|
|Kershaw 1556BW Cryo II Folding Knife||7.7||3.2||5.5||Speedsafe|
|Gerber EAB Pocket Knife||4.1||Standard Razor Blade||2.4||None|
|SOG Escape Folding Knife||8.2||3.4||4.8||Thumb Studs|
|TAC Force TF-705 Series Folding Knife||8.3||3.2||4.4||Spring assist|
|SOG Key Folding Knife KEY||3.0||1.5||0.3||None|
1. Kershaw 1660 Leek Pocket Knife – Best Pocket Knife 2018
Kershaw makes some really good pocket knives these days and the Kershaw 1660 Leek Folding Pocket Knife is at the top of the list. It leads the best pocket knife 2018 review. Lets take a look at what it has to offer.
The specs of the Kershaw Leek are pretty standard. 7 inches overall length, 3 inch blade length, and weighs 3 ounces. This means it’s the perfect size for a pocket fit and light enough that you won’t know it’s there.
Constructed of 410 stainless steel, you won’t have to worry about corrosion or rust. This pocket knife will last a long time. The blade is made of Sandvik 14C28N steel, which takes a fine edge and holds it well. It’s also easier to sharpen than a S30V type blade.
The Kershaw 1660 Leek Folding Pocket Knife comes with Kershaw’s great feature called Speedsafe. If you have never used a Kershaw Pocket Knife with Speedsafe before, it’s a great little feature that lets you open it with one hand seamlessly. It’s really simple to master and you can flip the blade open by using the raised assist very quick and easy.
The Kershaw 1660 Leek Folding Pocket Knife is a great design with an even better look. It’s sleek style makes it great for a pocket knife that wont’ snag and it clips with ease to hold in place. It’s made in the U.S.A. with the quality of Kershaw. The Kershaw Leek is the best pocket knife of 2018.
2. Kershaw 1990 Brawler Pocket Knife – Folding Pocket Knife
Like the Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife, the Brawler features the Speedsafe mechanism making for easy one handed opening. The assist is even larger on the Brawler and mastering the one handed opening technique is very easy.
The clip is adjustable to any configuration you would like (tip up/down, right/left mount) and clips tight to stay in place.
The handle design is raised and studded to aid with grip. The 8Cr13MoV blade is a Chinese Steel similar to AUS8, so it will likely not hold it’s edge as long as higher quality blades, but it should be easy to sharpen. The blade I received has not lost it’s edge yet though, and it was razor sharp when it arrived.
This is a great inexpensive EDC pocket knife with a quality design and look. At near 4 ounces it feels sturdy in hand and well built. The Speedsafe mechanism is a great added bonus.
You may recognize Smith and Wesson from their firearms, but they also produce some nice pocket knives as well. The Smith & Wesson M&P Pocket Knife is the largest knife in the best Pocket Knife 2018 review (8.6 inch overall length) and also the heaviest weighing in at 8 ounces. It’s a solid pocket knife that feels sturdy in your hand.
Constructed of 4034 Stainless Steel, the blade is highly stain and corrosion resistant. It’s not as durable as some of the top end expensive steel blades around, but will give a better edge retention than 420J2 grade steel.
It’s equipped with Magic assist opening, which stands for Multipurpose Assisted Generational Innovative Cutlery. You can open the Smith and Wesson M&P Pocket Knife by either pushing the thumb stud of depressing the lever in the handle.
Other features include a Black Rubber Inlay for grip padding, a Safety Lock to insure the knife stays open, a Glass Break tool for emergency situations requiring breaking glass like a vehicle window to escape, and a Pocket Clip top hold it in place.
While the Smith and Wesson M&P is one of the larger pocket knives in the best pocket knife 2018 review, it’s also one of the sturdiest in hand due to it’s increased weight. It makes a nice solid knife that feels great in your hand.
4. Gerber STL 2.0 Pocket Knife – Sharpest Pocket Knife
From the largest knife in the Best Pocket Knife 2018 review (Smith and Wesson M&P), to the smallest, the Gerber STL 2.0 is the perfect affordable small knife. It’s also one of the lightest at 1.4 ounces which makes it easy to carry around in your pocket without causing any issues.
The Gerber 2.0 pocket knife features a cutout in the top of the blade to aid with opening. It’s not as fluid as the Kershaw Speedsafe, but you can open it with one hand with some practice.
This pocket knife is built around being lightweight and durable. Hence the STL name, meaning Strong, Thin, and Light. For light duty tasks and precise cutting, this is the top knife in the best pocket knife 2018 review to get the job done.
Equipped with a 440A stainless steel blade which takes a good edge and can maintain it long enough for most uses. 440A isn’t a top quality blade material, but the cheap price of the Gerber STL 2.0 is the big trade off.
The Gerber Paraframe Mini Pocket Knife another affordable small pocket knife that looks cool and is capable of handling medium to light tasks. This Mini version of the Paraframe model has the smaller 2.2 inch length blade.
The Gerber 22-48484 Mini Paraframe Knife is a small, lightweight, stainless steel knife that folds open with an easy, one-handed motion. With a serrated-edge blade that measures just over two inches, the Mini Paraframe Knife also features a unique open design on the handle, a sturdy pocket clip, and a frame lock that holds the blade securely in place. It’s available in both the Serrated version and the Fine Edge versions.
It’s small design and lightweight of 3 ounces make it a comfortable fit in the pocket. Made of stainless steel, the Gerber Paraframe will hold up well to corrosion and staining. There have been some reviews of rust happening on the blade due to the stainless steel processes used in manufacturing this pocket knife. Keep that in mind, but it a little rust will not compromise the functionality of this knife.
The simplicity of the Gerber Paraframe Pocket Knife is refreshing. It serves it’s purpose well, which is all you can ask for.
Another popular knife by Kershaw, the Cryo II with it’s black-oxide BlackWash finish is like no other knife in the best pocket knife 2018 review. It looks broken in right out of the box. It’s also one of the heaviest weighing in at 5.5 ounces, so it feels sturdy in hand.
The blade of the Cryo II is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel that is easy to sharpen and holds a good edge,. However, don’t expect it to last as long as some of the higher grade steel.
As with most Kershaw pocket knives, the Cryo II is equipped with the Speedsafe opening mechanism making one handed opening pretty simple. The speed assist lever extends pretty far, so you won’t have any problems activating it.
The Cryo II also comes with the Hinderer Lock Bar Stabilizer that prevents over travel of the lock bar while closing. This addresses a common problem where over springing of the lock bar can render a pocket knife useless in some situations.
The Gerber EAB is one of the smallest knives on the best pocket knife 2018 list. It measures in at 4.1 inches overall. It’s design is also different in that instead of a fixed steel blade, it utilizes either standard or contractor utility knife blades (razor blades).
The EAB pocket knife is made completely out of stainless steel, making it very durable and resistant to corrosion. It can be used as an EDC knife (Ever Day Carry Knife), a box cutter, or even doubles as a money clip.
Since the Gerber E.A.B. Pocket Knife uses locks in razor blades as the cutting apparatus, you’ll never have to sharpen a blade again. Just purchase cheap replacement razor blades and lock it in for razor sharpness.
The Gerber EAB pocket knife weighs only 2.2 ounces and 2.4 inches in length when closed. This makes for a comfortable pocket carrying experience that you will hardly notice. If you want a pocket knife that is slightly different, than the Gerber EAB is a perfect fit. For box cutting and other small tasks it excels over others in the best pocket knife 2018 list and the ability to change blades is unmatched.
8. SOG Escape Folding Knife – Best Hunting Knife
The SOG FF25-CP Escape Knife is a popular tactical pocket knife with multiple capabilities all wrapped into one package. It includes both the Seatbelt cutter and Glass breaker near the end of the handle. Both handy features should such an emergency arise. It’s the most versatile knife in the best pocket knife 2018 review.
The SOG FF25-CP Escape Knife includes a 9Cr18MoV Stainless steel blade that holds a good edge. 9Cr18MoV Stainless steel is not as high quality as some of the previously reviewed tactical knives, but this is priced into the product and should perform just fine for the average knife enthusiast. Remember when it comes to tactical knife steel blades, the heat treat is just as important as the steel being used. A bad heat treat with good steel can produce a bad knife. So just take that into consideration when reviewing blade material. The SOG FF25-CP Escape Knife does not have these problems and should perform just fine with the 9Cr18MoV Stainless steel being used.
The TAC Force TF-705 Series Assisted Opening Pocket Knife is the ultimate budget knife on the market. It’s the complete mix of functionality and design at an inexpensive price for a pocket knife. The TAC Force TF-705 series boast assisted opening, bottle cap opener, cool designs, stainless steel blade, and glass breaker all in one compact tactical knife. It comes in a series of different models, some of which include Red Camo, Grey, Back, Rainbow, Fall Camo, Grey Camo, Pink, and Pink Camo.
Additionally, the handle features a screwdriver just in case you’ve managed to lose that as well. This pocket knife seems to offer about everything you could cram on a knife these days. While the quality and blade strength is nothing compared to the higher end Best Pocket Knives 2018, it does offer practicality for those not wanting to spend a lot on something they may not use frequently and tend to lose items with a high frequency rate.
Overall, the TAC Force TF-705 Series fills a specific niche in the pocket knife market. It’s inexpensive, looks intimidating, and will serve it’s purpose for however long until it’s misplaced or falls between the seat in the vehicle never to be found again.
The SOG Key Folding Knife Key is one of the those specialty knives you see and automatically think “How cool is this”? It’s equipped with a 1.5 inch steel blade that retracts into the key itself. Put it on your key chain and never be without a knife again.
With a secure locking blade, the SOG Key Folding Knife Key is great for limited tasks such as opening shipping boxes or cutting line.
This a great little EDC key knife made with the quality you would expect from SOG. The SOG Folding Knife Key also makes a great gift.
How to Choose the Best Pocket Knife
Pocket Knife Fit – The first things that come to mind when searching for a pocket knife are the size and dimensions. If this knife will be going in our pocket, we need a pocket knife that is light and allows for full range of motion as we go about our day. The last thing you want is a large knife that binds when you crouch or worse, keeps catching on things.
To mitigate this, it’s important to narrow your search to a folding pocket knife that is 4 inches or less closed, and 1-2 inches slim. This will insure it fits well in your pocket and won’t snag. You will have a free range of motion too.
Durability – Some of the best pocket knives also have the greatest durability. Look for pocket knives make of high quality stainless steel since they will be corrosion and stain resistant adding to the longevity of the blade. Also look for pocket knives that are designed to hide the blade when closed. Any portion of the blade expose beyond the handle when closed can be damaged or chipped more easily.
Added Features – It’s common these days for pocket knives to not only provide a durable cutting blade, but also offer additional features such as glass breakers, seat belt cutters, and screw drivers. While it’s often better to have as many tools at your disposal as possible, keep in mind that some of the lower priced pocket knives sacrifice quality in other areas to provide these extra features. It’s often better to focus on selecting a pocket knife based on the blade alone, rather than additional features that may seem gimmicky.
Price – Price is often one of the largest factors in determining which pocket knife is the best. Usually rather than finding the most durable, it’s the most durable at a certain price point. This is why it’s important to identify all the factors which may restrict your decision and know these going in. It makes no sense to waste time looking at expensive knives (although we all like too), if you will never be purchasing one. Narrow it down as far as possible by price, then everything else will be so much easier.
Combining Fit, Durability, and Additional Features to Find the Best Pocket Knife
Taking into account the fit, durability, and added features is the best way to choose the best pocket knife. If a knife meets all these aspects, then the only other factor limiting you is the price. Many of the best knives listed in the Best Pocket Knife 2018 review cover a wide price range to give you some ideas of what is available to make the search easier.
Wrapping It Up
We’ve reviewed some of the best pocket knife brands that are available today to come up with the top 10 best pocket knife 2018. It’s hard to label just one as the best pocket knife in the world, but many are capable knives at very affordable prices that you can depend on. These knives coupled with a quality pocket knife sharpener like the Benchmade Mini Blister Field Sharpener will last a long time. The Kershaw 1660 Leek Folding Pocket Knife led the list as the best pocket knife 2018. It’s durability, blade sharpness, design, and Kershaw quality is really hard to beat.
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John is our resident expert on the outdoors. He writes about outdoor gear, camping, traveling, and anything outdoors related. He has over 20 years experience camping and hiking the backwoods of Montana and has traveled extensively all over the world.