It’s rare for a farmer, DIYer, or camper to go without a small knife. A knife is essential for performing many everyday tasks, such as cutting the twine on hay bales or taking a snip from a favorite vine. The best EDC (everyday carry) knife is relatively small and lightweight, so it’s easy to slip into a pocket or purse and ready whenever you need it.
The most common type of EDC knife is a folding knife, often called a pocket knife, that features a 2.5- to 5-inch blade paired with a 3- to 5-inch handle. Non-folding knives can also qualify as EDC knives, but they usually include a sheath that attaches to a belt or a boot.
When shopping for an everyday carry knife, look for quality over a fancy design. The best EDC knife will have a razor-sharp, durable blade, often made from carbon steel or stainless steel and combined with a hardener, such as vanadium. A good locking mechanism is also important because it keeps the blade from folding onto your fingers while busy whittling a work of art. You’ll need to maintain it with a knife sharpener every now and then, but the blade will stay sharp for long periods of time.
Our Top Picks
To qualify as a top pick, an EDC knife must be resilient, compact, easy to carry, well-made, and meet rigid standards. While everyone has their own opinion about what makes an attractive EDC knife, functionality should be the primary concern. Read on to discover some of the best EDC knives on the market, either for yourself or as a gift for a friend or loved one.
For a heavy-duty EDC knife for camping, fishing, or even self-defense, opt for Columbia River Knife & Tool, a manufacturer known for high-quality knives. It features a fast-deploy blade that extends from the handle just by flipping a lever, so you won’t need two hands to open the knife. Its 3.5-inch, drop-point curved blade is made from high-grade AUS 8 carbon steel—a superior steel made from a high level of carbon, combined with vanadium, molybdenum, and manganese. This combination makes for a durable blade that will maintain a sharp edge and resist corrosion.
This EDC knife also offers a cold-forged, aluminum handle that is ergonomically designed with finger grooves for a firm, secure grip. The knife’s closed length is just under 5.2 inches, and it weighs only 6.2 ounces. Slip it in a pocket or attach it to a belt or strap with the included clip.
A high-quality EDC knife doesn’t have to break the bank. This inexpensive knife from ALBATROSS features a razor-sharp, stainless steel claw blade that measures 2.75 inches, and a full 8 inches when open. This is a spring-assist knife, sometimes called a “flipper knife,” which allows the user to quickly expose the blade by flipping a lever along the knife’s top edge without using two hands.
This affordable knife also provides a safety lock to keep the blade from accidentally closing, and the included clip makes it easy to attach to a belt or purse strap if desired. It also features a car window glass-breaker on one end as an emergency tool in case the user becomes trapped in a burning or submerged car. Available in two trendy color schemes, the knife is as attractive as it is affordable.
Despite its small, 2.4-inch blade, this multipurpose pocket knife can be used for a wide assortment of tasks. When the mini cleaver blade is extended, the entire length is 5.9 inches; folded, it’s a mere 3.5 inches, easy to tuck away in a pocket.
The blade is made of high-quality stainless steel, and it also folds into a stainless steel handle with an indented ergonomic grip. This CRKT knife can be opened in one hand by both left- and right-handed people, but rather than the typical dual-sided thumb stud, it has an ambidextrous thumb slot in the tang to quickly flip open the blade. It also has a frame locking mechanism for security when the blade is in use.
There’s no need to carry individual tools with this EDC knife from LEATHERMAN in your toolkit, since it includes virtually every small tool you could ask for in one tidy package. The knife features a sharp, stainless steel blade for cutting and package opening, and it also comes equipped with a Phillips screwdriver, a tiny flat screwdriver, spring-action scissors, a file, a pry tool, a bottle opener, and an awl.
Slip the knife into a pocket, carry it in a purse, or attach it to a belt or strap via its secure clip. Versatility is the name of the game with this EDC knife that offers a solution for nearly any problem that arises during an average day.
If a comfortable grip is a priority, look into the Opinel Carbon Steel Folding Pocket Knife. Its durable beechwood handle feels soft in the hand, and there’s a curved tang for a more secure grip. The hard carbon steel blade measures 3.28 inches, sturdy enough to cut through hardwoods and softwoods when carving or whittling.
The blade is flat, with a gentle curve toward the end, making it easy to work with either the edge or the belly of the blade. A locking mechanism keeps the blade in place whether the knife is open or closed, and at 4.31 inches long when closed, it’s a good size to carry in a pocket.
This survival knife from ALBATROSS features a stainless steel blade with flat and serrated edges, coated with a black finish for wear resistance. The versatile emergency tool is equipped with a built-in LED flashlight, rope cutter, magnesium fire starter, and bottle opener, and a strong tail hammer functions as a glass breaker. The sturdy anodized aluminum handle and blade weigh only 5.5 ounces for convenient carry on hunting or hiking trips.
This tactical ALBATROSS knife measures 5 inches when closed and a full 8.5 inches when open, with a pocket clip for attaching it to your gear. Its LED light requires four LR621 batteries (not included). The ALBATROSS 6-in-1 survival knife is available with a black, blue, green, or red handle.
This EDC knife from Grand Way offers quick access to its razor-sharp blade with the flip of a lever located along the top edge. The military-inspired tactical knife features a high-carbon blade made of 440C black stainless steel for durability and corrosion resistance. The blade measures 3.54 inches, and when fully extended, the knife measures 8.46 inches from tip to end. It also boasts an attractive black steel and rosewood handle.
Designed for hunters, campers, hikers, and survivalists in mind, this tactical knife weighs just 6.88 ounces, making it ideal to carry in a pocket or attach to a belt via its secure steel clip.
The full tang—the solid steel extending from the tip to the end—on this EDC knife from SOG makes it rock-hard for all cutting needs, even in an emergency situation. This non-folding knife features a 2.3-inch stainless steel blade with a clip point that’s useful for quickly penetrating with a stabbing motion, in addition to a straight-blade edge for cutting. It measures just 5.9 inches from tip to end and weighs in at a mere 2.3 ounces—well suited for boot carry.
The knife also includes a sheath to protect both the blade and your skin and a secure clip that slips over a boot’s rim for concealing it inside the boot. It is also small enough to wear around the neck on a cord as a necklace knife. The handle is made of fiberglass and boasts finger grooves to facilitate a stable and ergonomic grip.