The 4 best pocket knives in 2022
What else I considered
Less than $20
I scoured the shelves of big box stores for cheap blades and although many were surprisingly sharp out of the package, most didn’t last very long and nothing stood up to Opinel (again a times, if you’re looking for a folding blade for under $20, Nick Shabazz backs us up: Opinel is the best, period).
A five dollar knife will probably do its job for a short time, but straight blades made from cheap alloys just don’t hold up. A tip if you choose to get a really budget pocket knife is this: serrated edges hold better. I can’t rightly or safely recommend anything in this price range, however, cheap knives will do in an emergency.
Less than $50
Bubba Sculpin 4″: It’s a great tool and while I really like the handle, the blade isn’t very secure when folded. It’s also heavier for a pocket knife, but would be a great addition to a toolbox or bug out bag.
CEO of CRKT: A sleek and understated option, if you’re looking for something a little more like a penknife, and maybe not quite as intimidating, this is a great locking blade for the price.
Gerber Gear Armband Workout: This is another option that doesn’t quite fit the designation of a pocket knife, but is so popular and compelling that I had to try it. It’s a great budget option for those looking for a capable yet inexpensive multi-tool that fits in a pocket.
Miscellaneous Opinels: Opinel makes just about every knife imaginable and I have tested most of their folding pocket knives. The drop point shape is still the most useful overall, but it depends on what you’re using your knife for.
If you’re opening plastic packages, you’ll need something with more than one point, and a clip-point blade might be best. I prefer the brand’s Carbone (high carbon) alloy over its Inox (stainless steel) as it’s thinner and easier to sharpen, but you can’t go wrong with Opinel for a budget option.
Less than $100
$110: It’s hard to discuss pocket knives and not give Buck his due. The brand makes some of the most timeless designs almost synonymous with the phrase “pocket knife”. If that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for, then don’t hesitate to pick one up. I just find it’s not as practical for most people when there are lighter, slimmer, and easier to maintain options.
James Brand County: Another low-profile option, this blade is sharp and wears fairly easily, but it’s heavy and the blade doesn’t lock (it’s also become wobbly over time).
Leatherman Free P4: It’s hard to find a more iconic multi-tool than the Leatherman, and where others may be smaller and more detailed, it’s as tough as it gets. I liked both this model and the smaller Wave.
SOG Ultra XR: I am in love with SOG’s knives, and especially the XR’s. I spent hours deliberating back and forth, but my decision ultimately came down to getting a firmer grip on the Benchmade option. Still, it’s made with similar-grade steel and shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you want something that weighs as little as 1.2 ounces and stores neatly.
SOG Terminus XR LTE: A more formidable blade compared to the Ultra, this was in contention against my upgrade pick above. The design wasn’t quite as comfortable in the palm as Benchmade’s Bugout (I also thought the thumb buttons were overkill), but with a similar warranty and at a similar price range, you’re not going to be upset with this option.