Best EDC Knives for Utility, Survival, and Outdoors

Last Updated: by Aiden Williams

Everyday carry is, in simple terms, the things you prefer to carry on you all the time. These are things that are valuable in terms of function, back up for emergencies and some could be sentimental, like a piece of jewelry.

In any case, your everyday essentials provide convenience and self-reliance because they’re always within reach. These particular items are also an expression of your personality because their choice is so personal to you.

The same goes for your EDC knife, which should be reliable, convenient, easy to carry without fuss, and most of all, functional. Our best EDC knives review highlights the best-rated knives in the market for workmanship, versatility, and price.

We give you an overview of the key features and details of each knife to help you select the best one for your needs.

We love the Benchmade Mini Griptlian 556 knife because it’s a simply designed mid-sized knife that fits well in your pocket and has versatile use for every day carry. Benchmade is a top brand so you’re assured of getting a superior quality knife.

The Best EDC Knives Are…

ProductDetails
1. Benchmade Mini Griptlian 556

  • Overall Length: 6.78 inches
  • Blade: 154CM/ 2.91 inches
  • Handle: Grivory
  • Weight: 2.81 oz
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2. ESEE Izula Fixed Blade

  • Overall Length: 6.25 inches
  • Blade: 1095 Carbon Steel / 2.63-inch
  • Handle: 1095 Carbon Steel
  • Weight: 2.0 oz
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3. Spyderco Paramilitary 2

  • Overall Length: 8.281 inches
  • Blade: CPM S30V / 3.438-inch
  • Handle: G-10
  • Weight: 3.9 oz (with sheath)
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4. Spyderco Dragonfly 2

  • Overall Length: 5.56 inches
  • Blade: VG-10/ 2.25 inches
  • Handle: FRN
  • Weight: 1.20 oz
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5. CRKT Swindle

  • Overall Length: 7.50 inches
  • Blade: Stainless Steel/ 3.20 inches
  • Handle: Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 3.30 oz
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6. Ontario Rat II

  • Overall Length: 7 inches
  • Blade: AUS-8/ 3 inches
  • Handle: FRN
  • Weight: 2.8 oz
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7. Zero Tolerance 0450CF

  • Overall Length: 7.375 inches
  • Blade: CPM-S35VN/ 3.25-inch
  • Handle: Carbon Fiber, Titanium
  • Weight: 2.45 oz
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8. CRKT Minimalist

  • Overall Length: 5.13 inches
  • Blade: 5Cr15MoV / 2.13 inches
  • Handle: Green/Black Micarta Scales
  • Weight: 2.1oz (with sheath)
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9. Ka-Bar Becker Remora

  • Overall Length: 5.125 inches
  • Blade: 1095 Cro-Van / 2.375 inches
  • Handle: Steel
  • Weight: 1.30oz (with sheath)
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1. Benchmade Mini Griptlian 556 — Best EDC Pocket Knife

Benchmade - Mini Griptilian 556 EDC Manual Open Folding Knife Made in USA, Drop-Point Blade, Plain Edge, Coated Finish, Black Handle

This Mini Griptilian knife is a perfectly balanced medium knife for everyday carry. It is well designed to be simple but very functional. Benchmade is an American manufacturer of high-quality knives, mostly for the tactical and combat end of the market.

They have a strong reputation for excellent workmanship due to their high-level quality control measures employed in the factory. This perfection can be seen on the first-rate materials used on the Mini Griptilian which makes it a top contender for the best everyday carry knife.

The blade is made in 154CM stainless steel on the blade for excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance. It is also tough and hard which gives this knife durability through hard use.

It comes with a grivory handle which is a durable nylon copolymer that offers good strength to weight ratio. It is color anodized to give you a choice of different and exciting colors.

Specs

  • Overall Length: 6.78 inches
  • Blade: 154CM/ 2.91 inches
  • Handle: Grivory
  • Weight: 2.81 oz

Pros

  • AXIS locking for smooth opening and closing
  • Ambidextrous clip and lanyard hole for versatile carry options
  • Compact and lightweight profile for easy carrying
  • Drop point blade design provides strength and versatile use
  • Options to choose different color handles and blade finishes
  • Thick blade for heavy-duty use

Cons

  • A little expensive

This knife is better quality and better performing than other comparable knives in the market, especially on the locking mechanism and durability. It is good value for money but the price may also put off some people from buying it.

Overall Rating – 4.7/5

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2. ESEE Izula Fixed Blade — Best EDC Fixed Blade Knife

ESEE Knives Stainless Steel Izula-SS w/Handle, Molded Polymer Sheath, and Clip Plate (Olive Drab G10)

The Izula fixed blade knife is one of the most popular EDC knives in the market. It is a product of Randall’s Adventure and Training, a company that performs survival training and also produces high-quality knives for military and outdoor bushcraft applications.

The isula is an ant found in Peru that has an extremely painful sting that can be comparable to getting shot. Though it’s a small ant, it is also tough and adaptable, traits that inspired the design of the Izula knife. It is a small knife for easy and concealed carry but aggressive for survival and tough for everyday tasks.

It features a 2.63-inch drop point edge blade made from 1095 carbon steel which is tough and holds a great edge and it’s been coated with a black textured coating to prevent corrosion.

It comes with a basic skeletonized handle that can be customized by attaching scales to it or you can wrap it with paracord. The handle also features a carabiner hole for attaching the knife to a harness.

To top it off, the Izula comes with a plastic molded sheath for easy and concealed carry and you’ll get 100% no questions asked warranty.

Specs

  • Overall Length: 6.25 inches
  • Blade: 1095 Carbon Steel / 2.63-inch
  • Handle: 1095 Carbon Steel
  • Weight: 2.0 oz

Pros

  • Versatile utility and survival knife in one package
  • Small and lightweight for everyday carry
  • Razor-sharp out of the box with good edge retention
  • Hard-wearing blade material and coating
  • Customizable handle
  • The sheath holds the knife securely

Cons

  • 1095 carbon steel will quickly rust if you don’t take care of it

1095 carbon steel just needs a little extra care to prevent it from rusting but fortunately, the textured coating on the Izula is made to be hard-wearing so there is some assurance for durability. It is highly rated and it’s our top fixed blade pick in our EDC knife reviews.

Overall Rating – 4.8/5

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3. Spyderco Paramilitary 2

Spyderco para Military 2 Signature Folding Knife with 3.42" CPM S30V Steel Blade and Durable G-10 Handle - PlainEdge - C81GP2

The PM2 features in our best EDC folding knife list as a reliable and high-performance everyday knife. This knife was introduced into the market in 2010 as an improvement of their classic Military model into a pocket-friendly folder. It’s become the standard by which other EDC folders are compared with for performance and quality.

The blade comes in CPM S30V stainless steel, a premium grade steel that offers high durability, corrosion resistance, and edge retention.

Even though the leaf design of the PM2 blade gives it a pointy tip, S30V steel is structured in such a way that there are no weak points on the blade to chip. It’s a full flat-ground blade that stays sharp throughout weeks of use.

The PM2 has also made improvements to the ergonomics of the G-10 handle by narrowing it at the end. It features a compression lock that is designed to be a reliable and safe one-handed locking mechanism.

The iconic Spyderco Round Hole is well-positioned for one-handed thumb opening or you can easily flick it open by releasing the compression lock. Whichever way you prefer, the Bushing Pivot system will provide a consistent fluid movement to swing the blade open and closed.

The refinements to this knife have made it’s profile narrower and slimmer so that you now get a better, easier to carry knife. They’ve also made it all-inclusive with features such as the 4-way deep pocket clip and the option of a PM2 for left-handed people.

Specs

  • Overall Length: 8.281 inches
  • Blade: CPM S30V / 3.438-inch
  • Handle: G-10
  • Weight: 3.9 oz (with sheath)

Pros

  • The leaf-shaped blade allows for versatile use
  • Superior quality construction for high performance
  • Reliable with excellent ergonomics
  • Compression Lock mechanism for easy open and close
  • Sharp and perfectly centered blade out of the box

Cons

  • It’s a bit expensive

Some people love the tight pocket clip because it ensures the knife won’t fall off the pocket, while others don’t like it so much. Overall, most owners have said this is the best pocket knife and EDC knife they have.

Overall Rating – 4.5/5

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4. Spyderco Dragonfly 2 — Best Under $100

Spyderco Dragonfly 2 Lightweight Signature Folding Knife with 2.28" VG-10 Steel Blade and High-Strength Black FRN Handle - PlainEdge Grind - C28PBK2

The Dragonfly 2 is a mid-sized blade and an upgrade of the Dragonfly and includes notably improved features while keeping the basics that made this knife a classic. Spyderco is a top brand in the cutlery industry and they pioneered the round hole in the blade design for one-handed opening.

The Dragonfly 2 features an ergonomic FRN handle that features a front finger choil and spine cusp. The handle has been refined to include their patented Bi-Directional Texturing to increase resistance to slipping and an ambidextrous wire clip for deep pocket carry.

The blade is still in VG-10, a premium carbon stainless steel produced in Japan, and widely used in cutlery because it has excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance.

The blade features the Spyderco round hole which is an iconic symbol of this brand. The round hole offers a larger surface area to give your thumb a better, more reliable grip for one-handed opening.

The full flat grind of this blade gives it a longer cutting edge with less drag. And with a plain edge, it gives you plenty of everyday uses and is easy to sharpen.

Specs

  • Overall Length: 5.56 inches
  • Blade: VG-10/ 2.25 inches
  • Handle: FRN
  • Weight: 1.20 oz

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Curved blade with full grind improves cutting performance
  • Excellent edge retention and sharpens easily
  • Ergonomic handle with a good grip
  • Good quality workmanship

Cons

  • A little on the expensive side

Some people may find it a bit costly but the quality and functionality of the Dragonfly 2 make it worth the money.

Overall Rating – 4.5/5

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5. CRKT Swindle — Best Under $50

CRKT Swindle EDC Folding Pocket Knife: Gentleman Everyday Carry, Satin Blade, IKBS Ball Bearing Pivot, Locking Liner, Flat Handle, Tensioned Pocket Clip K240XXP

The Swindle is a budget-priced model designed by Ken Onion who is a highly acclaimed knife designer. CRKT is an American company known for producing high-quality knives that feature distinctly designed handles.

They collaborate with high-level designers such as Ken Onion to produce innovative features that inspire and give confidence.

The Swindle features an elegant classic form reminiscent of the swayback jack design that is inspired by 19th century English Jack knives.

It features a 3.2-inch blade in the Wharncliffe design that features a shallow belly and a pointy tip. It has a hollow ground plain edge that is ideal for everyday tasks, from letter opening to preparing meat.

This model features 8Cr14MoV steel that is softer and has good edge retention that is easy to sharpen when it dulls. This steel also has good corrosion resistance and finishes well in satin which gives it a more elegant finish. The handle is in a plain stainless steel finish and it neatly tucks in the blade.

Another feature that we like is the IKBS pivot system which provides one of the smoothest blade openings and closing in the market and kept firmly in place by a frame lock.

For carry, the unique pocket clip design that looks more like a pen clip that flows from the tail end and back over the spine giving the entire design symmetry.

Specs

  • Overall Length: 7.50 inches
  • Blade: Stainless Steel/ 3.20 inches
  • Handle: Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 3.30 oz

Pros

  • Attractive classic design with excellent finishes
  • Blade design makes for a great general purpose knife
  • IKBS pivot system provides smooth opening
  • The subtle pocket clip that can position either side
  • Sharp out of the box and is easy to sharpen

Cons

  • A little heavy for every day carry
  • Frame lock loosens up quickly

This gentleman’s knife is beautifully designed but it may not be functionally versatile because of the almost flat edge of the blade.

The uniquely designed pocket clip is also more aesthetic than functional for most people. It is well priced and offers the durability and quality finish than most in its class.

Overall Rating – 4.0/5

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6. Ontario Rat II — Best Budget EDC Knife

Ontario Knife OKC Rat Ii Sp-Black Folding Knife, 7Inches

The RAT series of knives are a product of an exclusive collaboration between Ontario Knife Company and RAT, a professional survival training team.

Their collaboration created a series of knives that are durable and versatile for civilians and professional soldiers. The RAT series also includes fixed blade EDCs such as the ESEE Izula that are just as versatile as the folders.

RAT 2 is an impressive medium-sized blade built for everyday performance and endurance at a budget. It features a 3-inch drop point blade with a full flat grind which gives it a longer cutting edge.

The blade is in AUS-8 steel which is a durable, corrosive resistant metal. It provides good edge retention that is also easy to sharpen and comes in a satin finish.

The handle comes in a textured FRN nylon over a stainless steel frame. It is lightweight, tough, and has a comfortable non-slip grip, plus you get a choice of different colors to choose from. But again it is also a lower quality material mostly used on budget knives and is unpopular with many users.

Other features include a deep pocket, 4-position reversible pocket clip in a black satin finish. It has a simple but functional design and it clips on the pocket edge firmly.

The knife uses a liner lock that locks the blade firmly in place and features ambidextrous thumb studs which open smoothly. It is a conveniently sized knife that fits well in the hand and pocket for everyday carry.

Specs

  • Overall Length: 7 inches
  • Blade: AUS-8/ 3 inches
  • Handle: FRN
  • Weight: 2.8 oz

Pros

  • Razor-sharp and perfectly centered blade
  • Ergonomic design with a good grip and perfect fit
  • Durable and tough blade material with easy maintenance
  • Offers great value for money

Cons

  • Thumb studs positions make one-handed opening difficult

This knife is great quality construction and in materials which makes it easily the best budget EDC knife. The biggest issue most users had is how the thumb studs are positioned for one-handed opening. Otherwise, it has good ratings on ergonomics, craftsmanship, and the locking feature.

Overall Rating – 4.6/5

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7. Zero Tolerance 0450CF — Best EDC Folding Knife

Zero Tolerance 0450CF; Folding Knife with 3.25” DLC-Coated S35VN Stainless Steel Blade, All-Black Carbon Fiber and Titanium Handle Scales, KVT Ball-Bearing Opening, Frame Lock, Pocketclip; 2.45 OZ.

If you’re looking for a knife that’s a bit on the higher end but also affordable, the ZT 0450 is an excellent choice. It features premium quality materials that one would find on a premium knife that costs far much more than this one.

This knife’s sleek form with clean lines and functional design was created by Belarusian custom knifemaker Dmitri Sinkevich. He collaborated with Zero Tolerance to develop a line of high-quality everyday carry knives that feature practical design and aesthetic detailing.

It features a drop point CPM-S35VN blade steel which is a high-quality stainless steel that offers high corrosion resistance, wear and chipping resistance and edge retention.

The blade finished in DLC (Diamond-like Carbon) coating that gives it enhanced performance characteristics such as durability, abrasion resistance as well as giving it a sleek matte-black finish.

The handle features a carbon fiber front with a beautiful weave pattern which along with the blacked-out titanium back provides a stylish and sophisticated look. Both materials have great aesthetics, are hardwearing and lightweight for a high-quality handle.

Specs

  • Overall Length: 7.375 inches
  • Blade: CPM-S35VN/ 3.25-inch
  • Handle: Carbon Fiber, Titanium
  • Weight: 2.45 oz

Pros

  • Produced in very high-quality materials
  • Good workmanship and aesthetic design
  • Smooth opening and closing mechanism
  • Slim profile and lightweight for EDC

Cons

  • Some complaints about the blade being off-centered

This knife performs everyday cutting tasks well and has a slim lightweight profile for fitting neatly in the pocket. The blade material is quite hard which means sharpening may not be as easy but luckily, it has great edge retention which means it will be a while before you need to touch it up.

Overall Rating – 4.6/5

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8. CRKT Minimalist

CRKT Minimalist Bowie Neck Knife: Compact Fixed Blade Knife, Folts Utility Knife with Bead Blast Blade, Resin Infused Fiber Handle, and Sheath 2387

The Minimalist knives are a series of uniquely designed neck knives made to be complete utility knives that you can use for survival and outdoor activities such as camping and hunting.

They come in a variety of blade styles to suit your needs but we took up the clip point bowie blade to review because its belly shape offers much more versatile use than the other blade styles in this line.

The form of the Minimalist was designed by Allan Folts, a top knifemaker and metalworker who specializes in making custom fixed blades that are ergonomic, practical, and aesthetically futuristic.

The attention to detail in the design is visible in the workmanship and quality of the knife which is exceptional for a knife at this price.

It features a 5Cr15Mov stainless steel blade which is a good steel for lower priced knives but more importantly, it’s lightweight and with a plain edge that’s easy to sharpen.

The handle is ergonomic green and black Micarta scales designed with three-finger choils for a firm hold and a braided lanyard for extra grip. The knives come with a Zytel sheath with a positive detent to lock the blade in securely and it has a neck paracord for personal carry safely on the neck.

Specs

  • Overall Length: 5.13 inches
  • Blade: 5Cr15MoV / 2.13 inches
  • Handle: Green/Black Micarta Scales
  • Weight: 2.1oz (with sheath)

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight for EDC
  • Razor-sharp out of the box and is easy to sharpen
  • Ergonomic handle with a firm and comfortable grip
  • The sheath holds the knife firmly for inverted carry
  • Durable knife with versatile use

Cons

  • Soft blade material dulls quickly

It comes with a belt clip included if you don’t prefer to carry it on the neck but it has a slim profile that allows concealed carry whichever way you decide to carry it. It’s a popular knife that rates highly on ergonomics, safety features, and craftsmanship, and best of all, it’s a smart little knife that’s affordable for everyone.

Overall Rating – 4.7/5

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9. Ka-Bar Becker Remora

Ka-Bar Becker Remora Knife

The Becker Remora is another tough little fixed blade knife that is similar to the Minimalist, in size and has a skeletonized form like the Izula.

A product of the Ka-Bar brand, The Becker series of knives offers several great options to choose from and are produced with the same level of workmanship and quality.

The Becker Remora is one of the smallest knives on the fixed blade market. It is made of 1095 Cro-Van steel with a hollow ground drop point blade that provides versatile utility.

1095 Cro-Van is a carbon-based steel that is mostly used on budget knives which has good edge retention, corrosion and wear resistance as well as being easy to sharpen. The knife is black powder-coated to add an anti-rust protective layer.

It features a skeletonized handle that is easily enhanced for grip and comfort with paracord and a finger guard to protect your fingers from slipping onto the blade. It comes with a hard plastic sheath with snap-in retention and a lanyard hole for the option of neck carry.

Specs

  • Overall Length: 5.125 inches
  • Blade: 1095 Cro-Van / 2.375 inches
  • Handle: Steel
  • Weight: 1.30oz (with sheath)

Pros

  • Sharp blade out of the box with good edge retention
  • Durable hard plastic sheath with good retention
  • Compact and lightweight knife for conceal carry
  • Reliable with versatile application

Cons

  • Some quality control issues with the blade grind

The Becker Remora is a great companion to your bigger knives and has a wide range of applications because it has a drop point blade. The 1095 Cro-Van is good quality steel that is reliable and good value for money.

Overall Rating – 4.1/5

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Why You Should Get An EDC Knife

Depending on where you’re from, the EDC knife can be considered as an essential item to have at hand. And though the reasons for having one may be similar across the board, choosing the best EDC knife is a deeply personal choice.

There are many knife options to choose from in the market with almost similar features but when you look at why you would need one, it becomes easier to prioritize which knife would work best for you. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Fixed Blade or Folding Knife?

If given the option, most people would prefer a folder over a fixed blade because the convenience of carrying a folder is so much better. But there are some advantages to the fixed blade over the folder such as strength and reliability of the knife.

There are also some super cool and compact fixed blades now available in the market that make concealed carry so much easier.

Function

When you’re comparing the features of the EDC knives in the market, it’s important to have an idea of what you’ll be using the knife for. Do you need it for self-defense, emergencies, or everyday tasks?

Perhaps you need a reliable knife for camping and other outdoor activities, or you want a nice little knife for cutting open boxes. The function of the knife will determine the form and which features you’ll prefer over others.

Reliability

Fixed blades are generally more reliable than folders simply because they don’t have the folding mechanism. Reliability is mainly determined by the quality of materials and workmanship.

A good quality blade will retain it’s edge longer and will allow for easy maintenance while the handle should fit well in your hand and provide a good, firm grip.

Workmanship

We have some budget knives that have made it to our top EDC knives roundup because of quality workmanship which makes a durable and reliable knife.

Good workmanship entails good finishing and quality control. The blade should be well ground and sharp from the factory and with a durable corrosion-resistant coating.

A good quality handle is a plus, as well as good quality pocket clips and sheath for convenient carrying.

Conclusion

The knife has evolved over the years from just being a survival tool into an everyday accessory. They are lighter, more stylish, compact, and extremely effective for various tasks.

Essentially, the best EDC knives should tick off the basic requirements of ease of use, reliability, and because it is a knife, safety.

We’ve highlighted several knives that meet these basics and most have excellent workmanship to be reliable and safe. The Benchmade Mini Griptlian 556 is our choice among the best everyday carry knives and it can be considered to be on the high-end spectrum.

But we like it because the workmanship and utilization of first-rate materials have made this knife one of the most reliable and versatile every day carry knives in the market.

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