Best Pocket Knife Brands 2020- In Depth Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

A pocket knife is a convenient tool to have in our daily lives. But picking one is not always the easy part. How do you choose the best and which brand produces the best pocket knives?

Today, we are on the question of brand which brings us to the understanding that the best pocket knife brands will vary from person to person. It comes down to the attributes you need in a pocket knife before qualifying it as good enough and ideal for your personal needs.

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Here are some questions you will need to ask yourself before picking a pocket knife from the best brand?

  • What is the purpose for the knife?
  • Which is your desired deployment and locking mechanism?
  • Do you have preferences over the blade materials, edge, and shape?
  • Does it have comfort features?
  • What is your budget?

Every brand is distinct in their right. You will find that they follow different standards which qualify their knives along the lines of budget pocket knives, regular pocket knives, and high-end pocket knives.

Renowned brands support your buy such that you can always return it for sharpening, replacing of worn parts, adjusting the screws, and giving it a shine of the brand name. This convenience is only brought about by knowing which brand suits your needs.

Here are 5 Best pocket Knife from top knife brands on the Market Today. Their prices vary from as little as under $10 to as high as over $100

5 Best Pocket Knives

Product Name Best Use Blade length Key Features Weight
Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife • Everyday carry
• Survival situations
1.25 inches • 7 Implements
• Stainless steel (Swiss precision blade)
• Spring-assisted locking mechanism
0.74 ounces
Spyderco Tenacious Plain Edge Folding Knife • Outdoor survival 3.38 inches • Stainless steel blade (8Cr13MoV)
• G-10 laminate handle material
• Textured spine
• 4-way pocket clip
4.0 ounces
Kershaw Cryo (1555TI) • Hunting
• Landscaping
• Backpacking
• Hiking
• Everyday carry item
2.75 inches • Stainless steel blade (8Cr13MoV)
• 4-position carry
• Speed safe assisted opening
• Frame lock
• Titanium Carbo-nitride coating
4.1 ounces
Smith and Wesson SWMP4LS • Hunting
• Backpacking
• Hiking
3.6 inches • Clip point serrated blade
• Black oxide stainless steel blade
• Finger actuator
• Assisted opening
• Pocket clip
• Aluminum and rubber inlay handle
7.6 ounces
Benchmade- Mini Griptilian 556 Knife • Outdoor activities
• Everyday carry
2.91 inches • Drop point blade
• AXIS lock
• Glass-filled nylon handle
• Tough stainless steel blade
• Reversible tip-up clip position
2.81 ounces

Know the Intended use of the Pocket Knife

You will need to know the purpose of your knife before choosing a pocket knife. Some brands produce survival knives while others specialize in self-defense knives. Knowing your intended use will help you narrow down which of these brands create the best pocket knives in your specific category.

The Ka-Bar brand, for example, is known for their self-defense pocket knives while Victorinox Swiss Army is well-rounded with multipurpose pocket knives.

If you want a light duty pocket knife, you will need a general purpose utility knife mostly made by the Kershaw and Benchmade brands.

Quality of Steel

Without a sharp knife, you are as good as being without one. That is where the quality of steel comes in. A good pocket knives will utilize steel in the making of the blade, but the quality of the steel is what distinguishes one brand from the other.

There are many types of steel as it is an alloy of iron and other materials. Many knife manufacturers use 8Cr13MoV, AUS-8, 1.4116, and 154CM. Some different kinds of steel include S30V, S90V, S110V, and CPM 3V.

  • 8Cr13MoV Steel
  • AUS-8 Steel
  • 1.4116 Steel
  • 154CM Steel

8Cr13MoV is the most common type of steel used in the making of pocket knives. It is Chinese-produced steel that is hard and less prone to corrosion. Knives made of 8Cr13MoV steel are standard-grade. The more appropriately ground ones can cost a little bit higher.

This type of steel is extremely tough. It has a carbon to chromium ratio. Because of the low carbon content, it may not retain an edge as well as other knives. These knives are also very affordable.

This is high-quality steel commonly used with Swiss Army knives. These knives are extremely easy to sharpen since they are exceptionally rust-resistant. They can retain an edge and are washable with water.

This knife balances the three aspects of toughness, ease of sharpening, and corrosion resistant. It is not powder steel, but the quality is common with premium pocket knives. You will pay more for a pocket knife made of 154CM steel.

What is the Relation of Price to Brand?

When it comes to pocket knives, most people associate expensive knives with premium quality. While this might be true on high-end knives, it’s not always the case with all budget knives. The materials and the work done on your knife will direct its pricing.

Microtech, Benchmade, and Spyderco are brands known for high-end knives. You will rarely find a knife under $50 from these brands. On the other hand, brands like Kershaw, Gerber, Emerson, CKRT, and Case all strive to use high quality knives that have established themselves as budget knives.

Leading Pocket Knife Brand of 2018

  • Benchmade
  • Spyderco
  • Gerber
  • Microtech
  • Emerson
  • Kershaw
  • Buck
  • Boker
  • Brous
  • Chris Reeve Knives
  • Cold Steel
  • Case
  • SOG Knives
  • CRKT

Reviews of the Best Knife Brands

Benchmade Brand

This Oregon based company is a leading knife producer in the United States. Having been around for 30 years, this brand knows a thing or two about perfecting a pocket knife for use as an everyday carry, tactical, survival, or rescue knife.

This company took it upon themselves to produce knives that will replace butterfly knives. They wanted to reflect manufacturing technology and the latest materials to manufacture blades that could last a lifetime.

At the onset of the company in 1988, the drive to produce knives with a strong commitment to the US customers was born. Benchmade was the first company to use a high-end laser cutter which allowed working with hard steel that was hard to stamp.

Being able to produce high-quality steel knives propelled this company to the top as they are a world leader in the crafting of automatic knives.

Today, this company continues to put a heavy focus on the tactical and everyday carry, and tech combat knives. They have a second to none quality control as a result of utilizing state-of-art technology in their blades.

Their knives are in a variety of blade styles, patterns, and colors. Their most famous line is the Griptilian line which features everyday carry and all-purpose knives.

Unique features of Benchmade Knives

  • High-End stainless steel M390, 154CM, S30V and Damascus Steel
  • AXIS Lock Mechanism
  • G-10 handles

The Benchmade brand produces three classes of knives

  • Gold Class
  • Blue Class
  • Black Class

Gold Class consists of high-end knives that are custom designed for wealthy collectors while the Black Class are knives made for the law enforcement, Military personnel, and public service servants. These knives are not available for sale to the general public because they require stringent legal requirements to own them.

The Blue Class consists of knives made for specific uses like outdoor enthusiasts and survivalists. They usually pass for recreational knives since they are priced lower than the Gold and Black Class knives. They also use quality materials like D2, S30V, and 154CM stainless steel.

Spyderco Brand

Spyderco Brand knife

This is a well-known brand as it pioneered pocket knives with a one-hand opening mechanism. Founded in 1976 in Golden Colorado by Gail and Sal Glesser, this company produced the Tri-Angle Sharpmaker as their first product which was sold at fairs.

It wasn’t until 1981 when this company produced the first Spyderco brand pocket knife. It was an innovative knife that features a clip on the handle for carrying and a one-hand opening mechanism. These two features pioneered the qualities to look for in a folding knife. They revolutionized the market and became a leading manufacturer of pocket knives in the US, China, Japan, Taiwan, and Italy.

Today, this company produces pocket knives with revolutionary features like serrated blade portions, pocket clip, and a hole for opening the knife. The hole allows deployment of the knife with only one hand.

Spyderco knives are known to resist wear as they are incredibly robust and their steel is sturdy and retains a sharp edge.

Spyderco has many different lines of knives.

  • Police Line

These are knives designed to meet the demands of duty-bound personnel. They are tactically-oriented, and they feature serrated portions, pocket clip, and the popular one-handed deployment mechanism. This is because they are needed for fast-action activities where the knife might be used for self-defense and needs to be deployed even when wearing heavy gloves.

The Police line knives also attract rescue workers and first responders because of their incredible versatility.

  • Marine Line

This consist of rustproof knives known as salt knives.  They are reliable in all types of environments. They usually have a construction from H1 steel which is entirely corrosion resistant.

Spyderco also produces fishing, hunting, everyday carry, collectibles, and throw knives that are available to the general public. They also have the popular Endura and Delica lines which are best known for their top-notch performance in a lightweight body. The Native line is known to have the most comfortable knives of the Spyderco brand.

Gerber Brand

Gerber Brand knives

This brand is known as a legendary in the manufacture of outdoor pocket knives. It is an American, Oregon based, company founded in 1939. This brand specializes in innovative tools that span the outdoor survivalist arena.

Their pocket knives are great with hunters, hikers, backpackers, military personnel and many others. These are knives dedicated to saving time and lives in tough situations.

This brand has a line of different pocket knives including folding knives, fixed blade knives, assisted, and automatic knives. All their knives have a lifetime warranty which points to the fact that their pocket knives are trusted, and it’s no wonder why they have earned a name for themselves.

These knives consist of the handle, blade, and a lock that folds to store the edge within the handle. Gerber has different locking mechanisms which include; frame lock, lock liner, wedge lock, lock back, plunge lock, etc.

These are knives whose blade extend into the handle. As such they do not have a joint which means they do not have a weak point. These knives are the strongest in the Gerber line of pocket knives. They have a wide following among survivalists, military, and law enforcement.

These are spring-loaded pocket knives. They deploy fast and comfortably with the push of a button. Gerber produces this line of knives to meet the needs of combat situations. They have been designed by following recommendations from the Law Enforcement and the American Military. This line has the most durable knives since they can withstand everything the environment can throw at them. They are relentless and qualify as essential military tools.

Automatic knives are not for sale to the general public. You will be required to have service credentials before acquiring an automatic knife from Gerber.

These knives are also folding knives that are spring loaded. They deploy by applying direct force to the thumb stud. These knives are available to the general public and are governed by state laws.

Kershaw Brand

This brand is well-known for their award-winning technologies, solid blade lock-up, and the use of high-quality and advanced materials. This company has its headquarters in Oregon which is a common base for the top knife producers in the USA.

Founded in 1994, this company continues to make considerable strides in the manufacturing of many most sought knives. With their dedication to intensive craftsmanship, you cannot lack to identify a Kershaw not only because of their distinct stamp but also because of the many ways you can utilize their pocket knives.

This brand thrives on bringing value to knives. They want you to own the best knife at the most affordable price. You will find Kershaw knives that range from every day carry knives that come in handy for opening packages or breaking the glass of a stuck car door. You will also find professional/ tactical knives for law enforcement personnel as well as sporting pocket knives used for hunting, hiking, and other outdoor adventures.

This company is the pioneer of the SpeedSafe Assisted Opening Mechanism invented by Ken Onion. It is an opening system that provides an accelerated blade deployment but is not considered an automatic blade opening mechanism. It allows it to be used in states where automatic knives are banned.

They are acclaimed for introducing the concept of interchangeable blades. They have innovated Composite Blade Technology. It is a technique that utilizes two types of steel in one blade. This feature ensures that you get a sharp knife that can retain its edge as well as sturdy steel for the spine.

Kershaw has many different lines of knives that consist of the popular models. These lines include; Cryo, Shallot, Leek lines. These are knives designed as everyday carry items.

Their professional and tactical category consists of the CQC and Blur lines. The Zero Tolerance line is considered to have the best law enforcement knife by the Kershaw brand.

Emerson Brand

Emerson Brand knives

Ernest Emerson made custom knives before founding the Emerson brand in 1996. It was founded at a time where tactical knives left little to like. Together with his wife, Mary, this company produces top-quality, high-end knives. These are models with a focus on the military, law enforcement sector, and premium custom collectors. Navy Seals have used their knives for elite special operations for the last 20 years.

Their iconic knife the Emerson CQC-7 (Close-Quarter-Combat) is regarded as the best tactical knife 20 years after it was introduced to the market.

Emerson custom made knives are well-accepted by collectors because of their unique designs. Some of his custom knives are reported to sell at over $10,000. In fact, one of the Emerson CQC-7 knives was used by the tactical team that raided and killed Osama Bin Laden. The knife was sold for $35,400 in an auction.

This is why Emerson knives are believed to be reliable in tactical situations making them a favorite among knife collectors, police, and tactical-knife enthusiasts.

Emerson knives are crafted from 154CM stainless steel. It is a high-end material which is rust resistant and easy to sharpen. Their folding knives use the Walker Linerlock mechanism. It is a technique where a side-spring lock is used to open and close the knife with one hand.

You will also find Emerson knives manufactured using carbide-edged titanium and CPM S30V steel. The liner material uses stainless steel and fiberglass knife scales.

Apart from the CQC-7, there’s also the CQC-6 line which is also a pioneer in Emerson’s first successful models. These are knives that were custom produced for close combat. They are regarded as impressive models because the US Navy Seals uses them. These knives, the CQC-6 and CQC-7 were later mass-produced for the general public.

If you are looking for a good field-tested pocket knife for close combat, the Emerson brand will cater to your specific needs.

CRKT (Columbia River Knife & Tool) Brand

CRKT brand knives

Based in Tualatin, Oregon, this brand is another of the top influential pocket knife companies on the market. This company was founded in 1994 with a drive of innovation and integrity. Their knives are known to endure harsh conditions which makes them ideal for the outdoors in extreme environments.

Their most popular knife is the K.I.S.S knife which is a compact knife with folding design. The word K.I.S.S refers to Keep It Super Simple. It is a knife that is attributed to its innovative and contemporary look. It features two-piece construction with a Tanto-style blade and a bead-blast finish that secures your grip.

This brand produces knives that are unique to the needs that you require. You will encounter both fixed-blade and folding knives. These are models which you will get to use for hunting, tactical situations, survival, and even fishing.

This brand has risen to the top because of their unique innovations. They have worked with Ken Onion the inventor of the SafeSpeed opening mechanism as well as other knife designers. Their innovative features include the AutoLawks locking mechanism which adds a safety feature to the liner locking system. It has an additional safety feature which ensures the knife stays in the locked position when open.

CRKT knives are also known for their unique Outburst assisted opening mechanism, Veff-serrated edges, and lockback safety. They are distinct styles that will give you safety usage for your needs.

Microtech Brand

Microtech Brand knife

The Microtech company is a classic story of a garage startup only that this one started in an apartment. In 1994, the mission to create the best knives possible was the driving force behind Microtech. It started in Vero Beach Florida, but it’s now based in Western North Carolina.

The production of Microtech knives is exclusive using American materials. They are all tactical knives that are high-end quality with their prices ranging from $50 to over $400. Their knives are acclaimed for high-quality parts, great aesthetics, and high tolerance levels.

As a brand that has produced knives for the American Military, they have made a name in the consumer market. Their most popular lines include Ultratech, Socom, Halo, and UDT among many others. These are knives accredited to having custom-made quality thanks to Tony Marfione the person behind the custom designs.

All the knives produced by this brand are sharpened by hand. Their knives undergo research and development and rigorous testing to ensure that they meet the high standards that Microtech is reputed. It is no surprise why their pocket knives have a high status wherever they are of use.


Knowing the different knife brands will set you on a path of understanding about the knife you pick. We want you to find a knife that is satisfactory in the features, and for the purpose you intend for it. We have discussed some of the top performing Knife Brands as the starting point for your guide to the right pick.

We hope you will find it easy when bombarded with a variety of knife brands.

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