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A small pocket knife remains the most readily available, less expensive, and practical edge tool for everyday carry and general utility.
As long as the blade is reasonably short, like under three inches, you can easily conceal it or make it very inconspicuous. In a number of states, a portion of a small knife is required to be visible at all times. You can accomplish this with a tactical folder or fixed blade by using a pocket clip carry.
With that said, you should know that there are way too many of these mini EDCs on the market. So, you have to do a little research in order to find the best small pocket knife for your needs.
Table of Contents
- The Best Small Pocket Knives Are:
- 1. Case Cutlery LT1225L SS Pocket Knife — Best Small EDC Knife
- 2. SOG Centi II CE1012 Folding Knife — Best 2-Inch Pocket Knife
- 3. Kershaw Leek 1660BLKW Pocket Knife — Best 3-Inch Pocket Knife
- 4. Outdoor Edge MiniGrip MG-10C Knife
- 5. Gerber Kettlebell Compact Folding Knife
- 6. CRKT Pilar Copper EDC Folding Pocket Knife — Smoothest Handle Design
- 7. Kizer Sheepdog V3488 Pocket Knife
- 8. Spyderco Ladybug 3 Folding Knife — Best FRN Handle
- 9. Gerber Jukebox EDC Pocket Knife — Best Straight Edge Blade
- Buying Guide: Things To Consider When Buying A Small Knife
- Final Thoughts
The Best Small Pocket Knives Are:
|1. Case Cutlery LT1225L SS Pocket Knife||Check Current Price|
|2. SOG Centi II CE1012 Folding Knife||Check Current Price|
|3. Kershaw Leek 1660BLKW Pocket Knife||Check Current Price|
|4. Outdoor Edge MiniGrip MG-10C Knife||Check Current Price|
|5. Gerber Kettlebell Compact Folding Knife||Check Current Price|
|6. CRKT Pilar Copper EDC Folding Pocket Knife||Check Current Price|
|7. Kizer Sheepdog V3488 Pocket Knife||Check Current Price|
|8. Spyderco Ladybug 3 Folding Knife||Check Current Price|
|9. Gerber Jukebox EDC Pocket Knife||Check Current Price|
1. Case Cutlery LT1225L SS Pocket Knife — Best Small EDC Knife
The Case Cutlery LT1225L SS is a true pocket knife made in the USA. It weighs a little under one ounce and features a tru-sharp surgical stainless steel blade and a Camo Zytel synthetic handle.
- Overall length of 6.25 inches
- Blade length of 3 inches
- Blade thickness of 0.1 inches
- 5Cr15MoV steel
- G10 handle
It is a little smaller, only measuring three inches when closed, which is exactly what you need for a pocket-size knife.
The 2.25-inch blade is crafted from tru-sharp stainless steel, which is a great material because it has an edge as keen as a scalpel built into a rugged frame.
I really appreciate the Camo Zytel synthetic handle that is abrasion-resistant and virtually unbreakable with an impressive surface texture for an improved grip.
Another good feature is the Lockback mechanism that gives you the long handle benefit of a heavy sheath knife.
What I don’t like and you may probably not like about this model is the manual opening system, which requires a little muscle to get the blade opened. Nevertheless, it’s still the best compact EDC knife.
- A super lightweight pocket knife
- Extremely sharp out of the box
- Drop point blade is perfect for skinning, cutting and carving
- Satin finish on the blade improves rust resistance
- Lockback blade folds safely away
- Manual blade opening may not be incredible for some people
- Doesn’t come with a pocket clip
With a closed length of 3 inches and a weight of 0.9 pounds, the Case Cutlery LT1225L SS is the ultimate best small pocket knife for the money.
Overall Rating – 4.9
2. SOG Centi II CE1012 Folding Knife — Best 2-Inch Pocket Knife
It’s easy to fall in love with the SOG Centi II CE1012 Folding Knife. Crafted to go wherever you go, you can easily carry this knife on a lanyard or a keychain.
- Closed length of 2.9 inches
- Blade length of 2.1 inches
- Stainless steel blade and handle
- Straight back blade shape
- Lockback mechanism
This knife has a slim design that is lightweight and can go unnoticed, which is great because you can easily conceal in your pocket whenever you aren’t using it.
The blade is made from stainless steel, which is a popular class of material with impressive edge holding capability and great rust resistance.
The feature that is truly impressive on this knife is the strong lockback design, considering that the unlock button doesn’t affect your grip when holding the knife.
Another good feature is the straight back blade with the edge rounded at the end, which is great because the edge doesn’t deviate from the guidance direction.
The only major disappointment of this knife is the lack of a pocket clip. So, you either buy one separately or use the keychain accessory.
- Lightweight design that slips easily into your pocket
- Stainless blade has excellent edge holding capability
- Lockback blade folds away easily and safely
- Straight back edge is super easy to guide when cutting
- Versatile keychain accessory
- Doesn’t come with a pocket clip
- Could be better with a partially serrated edge
This knife is a great addition to your keychain. It’s lightweight, compact, and easy to deploy. Also, the blade is quite impressive at holding its edge.
Overall Rating – 4.7
3. Kershaw Leek 1660BLKW Pocket Knife — Best 3-Inch Pocket Knife
With a small, narrow blade and slim handles, the Kershaw Leek 1660BLKW makes a highly refined everyday carry that is perfect for a pocket knife.
- 3-inch long blade
- 4-inch long handle
- SpeedSafe assisted opening
- 14C28N sandvik steel blade
- 410 stainless steel handle
The Kershaw Leek has a heavy-duty 3-inch blade that is crafted from 14C28N, which is a fine grain steel material that can take an impressively sharp edge.
The blade of this model has a modified Wharncliffe design with a very acute point that has great piercing capability for opening packages.
What I truly like about this knife is the SpeedSafe assisted opening, which is remarkably easy to open by simply pushing the thumb stud on the blade or flipper tab on the back.
If you are a little nervous about the spring assisted system in your pocket, the Kershaw Leek has a tip lock slider for preventing accidental openings.
But the thing is, the spring used in the opening system may fail at some point, which may interfere with the opening system.
- Very sharp blade with great edge retention
- Modified Wharncliffe blade is good for piercing
- Quick and smooth opening of the blade
- Tip lock slider keeps the blade from opening accidentally
- Spring that assists with the opening may fail
- Threaded inserts may strip too easily
The Kershaw Leek is a truly impressive EDC knife. Its modified Wharncliffe blade is very resourceful for piercing and slicing.
Overall Rating – 4.7
The Outdoor Edge MiniGrip MG-10C comes in a very unique design with a strong 8Cr13MoV blade and a rubberized TPR handle.
- Blade length of 2.2 inches
- Overall length of 5.1 inches
- 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade
- Rubberized TPR handle
- Thumb stud opening
The blade is crafted from high carbon stainless steel, which is great because this material combines the durability of stainless steel with the added benefit of carbon steel.
The 2.2-inch blade folds into a rubberized kraton handle that has excellent sealing abilities, high traction, flexibility, and increased resistance to weathering, chemicals, and heat.
The nice secure lockback mechanism is integrated with a thumb stud opener to give you an incredibly smooth action and then it offers a rock-solid lockup when the blade is opened.
Another good feature is the lanyard hole with the attached lanyard, which ensures you can retain the knife in case you lose your grip of the handle.
What I don’t like when cleaning the knife is the steadfast ability of the kraton handle to resist chemicals, which makes cleaning quite a challenge.
- Highly durable stainless steel blade
- Lockback design opens smoothly and safely
- Rubberized kraton handle offers excellent traction
- Attached lanyard adds security when using the knife
- Kraton handle is a little bit challenging to clean
- No pocket clip is provided
This little knife is a great choice for most outdoor and EDC cutting jobs. Not to mention that its lanyard adds security.
Overall Rating – 4.7
The Gerber Kettlebell provides a surprising amount of utility in a compact format. It is designed mainly for the trend focused EDC user.
- Blade length of 2.5 inches
- Handle length of 3.7 inches
- 7Cr17MoV steel blade
- Frame lock type
- Anodized aluminum handle
This compact model features a 7Cr17MoV stainless steel blade, which is great because it is tough, holds an edge, and is corrosion resistant.
The Kettlebell is available in green and anodized gray aluminum handles that are low density metals and provide for a hefty, nice feel without adding too much weight to the knife.
I really appreciate the sturdy and reliable dual finger choil on this folder that is specifically shaped to offer superior grip and control.
Another amazing feature provided by the Kettlebell is the frame lock system that offers secure lock up and easy to close.
What seems off about this little knife is the drop point blade, which has a broad, fragile tip that could easily break.
- Compact pocket knife with a great amount of utility
- Dual choil offers superior grip and control
- Tough blade that holds an edge pretty well
- Dual thumb studs offer right or left handed deployment
- Tip up blade position for confident pocket clip carry
- Broad drop point blade is fragile
- Not an incredible choice for self-defense
The Gerber Kettlebell offers the EDC user a modern design and strong utility in a compact format that will fit right into your pocket.
Overall Rating – 4.6
6. CRKT Pilar Copper EDC Folding Pocket Knife — Smoothest Handle Design
The minimal design of the CRKT Pilar meets maximum utility. Its unique edge holding ability and a smooth handle design are suitable for most EDC cutting jobs.
- Blade length of 2.4 inches
- Closed length of 3.53 inches
- 8Cr13MoV blade steel
- Plain blade edge
- Stainless steel handle
This knife has a 0.15-inch thick 8Cr13MoV blade; so, it will really handle any cutting tasks you put it to without losing its edge.
It has a modified wharncliffe blade style, which is crafted for superior tip cutting by transferring all the cutting power to the material.
The frame lock keeps the blade locked up safely when opened, and the ambidextrous thumb stud makes it super easy to open and close the blade.
Another exceptional feature is the stainless steel handle, which has a bead blast finish that feels really solid on hand.
But the thing is, it is possible to receive a defective model that wouldn’t open smoothly.
- Wharncliffe blade is suitable for slicing and cutting
- Large, comfortable finger choil for added control
- Thumb slot allows for easy opening and closing
- Stainless steel handle feels solid on the grip
- Reversible clip allows for tip up or tip down carry
- Possible to receive a defective model
- Centering may be off on some models
Don’t understate the low profile of the CRKT Pilar because it’s well-equipped for the job. Its wharncliffe blade and ergonomic handle make it one of the best EDC small pocket knives.
Overall Rating – 4.6
If you’re looking for a beefy little knife that packs great cutting power and versatility, then look no further than the Kizer Sheepdog V3488.
- Blade length of 2.63 inches
- Closed length of 3.15 inches
- 154CM stainless steel blade
- G10 handle
- Caged ceramic ball bearing pivot
This amazing tool has a strong blade that is crafted from 154CM stainless steel, which is a high carbon material with a high amount of molybdenum for superior edge retention.
I really appreciate the G10 handle on the Sheepdog V3488 that is lightweight, well-balanced, easy to grip, and maintains superior traction whether in dry or wet conditions.
Another brilliant feature is the caged ceramic ball bearing pivot, which is great because it allows for responsive, swift blade deployment.
But the pivot system that makes the blade so easy to deploy could easily malfunction and interfere with the opening mechanism.
- Incredibly smooth to deploy flipper tab
- Well-balanced and easy to grip handle
- Superior edge retention and durability
- Multicolor options for preference
- Pivot system is bound to fail at some point
- Could be more ambidextrous with a reversible pocket clip
Should you buy it? Definitely, yes. It is compact, has an excellent cutting edge, easy to deploy, and it feels solid on the handle.
Overall Rating – 4.6
8. Spyderco Ladybug 3 Folding Knife — Best FRN Handle
When it comes to a classic small pocket knife that still maintains a good amount of usability, the Spyderco Ladybug 3 is one of the favorite choices.
- Blade length of 1.9 inches
- Handle length of 2.48 inches
- VG-10 steel blade
- FRN handle
- Lockback lock type
With the Spyderco Ladybug 3, you do get one hand opening functionality, thanks to the signature thumb hole on the blade.
Despite the small size, it is still very easy to use, and it even gives you a nice thumb ramp to help you hold the knife properly.
The quality of the VG-10 steel blade is very good, which is a great stainless with good edge holding qualities and steadfast rust resistance.
What I surely find most impressive about this micro knife is the fiberglass reinforced nylon handle, which is injection molded to provide you with a sleek textured grip.
But lads, this knife is way too small to handle most of your everyday carry. Its usefulness is limited to opening packages and some minor outdoor cutting jobs.
- Quick, easy, and safe one-handed operation
- Blade has remarkable edge holding ability
- It’s very easy to control and hold properly during use
- FRN handle offers a sleek textured grip
- Conceals easily and safely in a pocket
- Way too small for serious EDC cutting chores
- No pocket clip is provided
The Spyderco Ladybug 3 is a small knife, but do not let its size deter you. It can exceed your expectations, if you use it within its limits.
Overall Rating – 4.5
9. Gerber Jukebox EDC Pocket Knife — Best Straight Edge Blade
At first glance, the Gerber Jukebox is a throwback to the kind of edge tool you would find back in the day. But look closer and you will see the modern technologies to this classic blade.
- Blade length of 2.7 inches
- Closed length of 3.8 inches
- 7Cr17MoV steel blade
- Sheepsfoot blade style
- Acrylic handle scales
This knife has an extended finger flipper tang, which is great because it gives you instant access to the full edge modern Sheepsfoot blade.
I really appreciate the Sheepsfoot blade with the tip of the knife closely aligned with the main cutting edge, considering how effective it is at slicing and cutting.
Its acrylic handle scales are available in two unique styles (marble and tortoise shell) for preference. Not to mention that the scales offer a strong grip.
But the thing is lads, the straight edge blade isn’t the most incredible choice for piercing, stabbing, or even carving.
- Extended flipper tab allows for swift deployment
- Sheepsfoot blade is great for slicing and cutting
- Acrylic handle scales provide a strong grip
- Liner lock allows for safe one-handed closing
- Straight edge blade isn’t great for piercing and stabbing
- Could be much easier to control with a larger finger choil
The Gerber Jukebox brings old school style up to date with its unique blade design and ergonomic handle.
Overall Rating – 4.4
Buying Guide: Things To Consider When Buying A Small Knife
If you have gone through our top reviews and you haven’t been able to choose the best small pocket knife for your needs, don’t worry. This chapter of our guide contains all the necessary factors you need to take into account during your search.
Here is what you should consider:
Folders or Fixed Blades
All small knives fall into one of two categories: folding or fixed blade. Each has its own pros and cons, but it always comes down to personal preference when selecting a pocket knife.
The ultimate choice when looking for a small pocket knife is usually a folding knife or a folder. These knives are pretty straightforward. They’re edged tools with a blade that folds into the handle.
This means the blade isn’t fixed. What makes them a great choice for an everyday carry (EDC) is that they have a locking mechanism that keeps them from closing when in the open position.
Small folding knives are great to have because they are readily available for daily cutting jobs, such as opening letters and packages. It is also good to have one on hand in the event that you need a self-defense tool.
This is so, since they’re crafted to be opened quickly with one hand. Folders are more compact, easier, and safer to carry in your pocket.
As much as there are many positive things to say about folders, there’re also a few downsides to these knives. There are some locking mechanisms that aren’t long-lasting, and if they fail so is the integrity of the knife in question.
Fixed blade knives are great tools to have for tactical, survival, emergencies, rescue, and self-defense. Some people even prefer to have a small fixed blade knife over a folder as their everyday carry because they can be drawn so swiftly from their sheaths.
Fixed blades are also considered to be tougher and more suitable for hard cutting jobs than folders. They are sturdier and less prone to failure.
What length of small pocket knives do you need? The most basic utility knife has a blade length of about an inch, which is ideal for opening letters and packages.
The one- to two-inch blades are very useful for most everyday carry cutting tasks. They’re usually tough enough to handle most EDC jobs, and light enough for easy pocket carry.
The best pocket knife with a one- to two-inch blade is seamlessly sized to slip into a pocket clip or a pocket. Depending on the type of shape and grind of the blade, most one- to two-inch blades provide deep penetration without unwanted aggressiveness.
Once you have decided which blade length (1 to 3 inches) works best for you, the next important step is to choose the appropriate blade type.
The most popular blade types that I recommend for small pocket knives are: spear, tanto, clip, and drop point blades.
Spear point blades are popular for piercing, and are most commonly suitable for self-defense, military, and tactical situations.
The main feature of a spear point knife is that the top and bottom halves of the blade are symmetrical, and both drop from the handle end.
The tips meet to form a narrow point that is unmatched for piercing. On modern small pocket knives, the top side of the blade may or may not be sharpened. It’s usually considered a double-edged blade, if the top side is sharpened.
Clip point blades have a clipped point, which means the spine of the blade appears to be clipped off. They come in different shapes and sizes, and they’re good for piercing and delicate cutting.
They usually have a rounded, larger belly that makes them more versatile for utility cutting chores. A clip point blade does have a stronger point compared to a spear point.
Tanto or Chisel Point
Tanto blades are most recognized for their distinct shape and Japanese style sword-like appearance. The thick, tapered point is so good at resisting breaking or cracking.
The dual angled design features a short edge at the tip for precision cutting of soft materials, and a long sharp edge for slicing through tough materials.
Some tanto blades may feature a partially serrated edge for added aggressiveness when cutting fibrous materials. But this blade is popular with combat, rescue, emergency, and personal defense.
Drop point blades are popular for general utility, bushcraft, survival, and hunting due to their unique tip that drops from the spine of the knife to create the point. I consider traditional drop points to be strong and very versatile.
This is so due to the full width of the spine, which continues until it approaches the tip of the knife. Many drop point blades you will find on small pocket knives have a rounded belly for general slicing and cutting.
Blade Edge Grinds
In addition to the size and shape of the blade, the other important consideration is the ground on the edge. The edge grinds that are highly versatile include: hollow, flat, and saber.
- A hollow grind has a thinned section of the blade behind the edge. It makes the blade lighter and still maintain its stiffness and strength. A hollow grind also overcomes the resistance the blade meets when cutting.
- A flat grind edge has a single bevel that extends from the spine to the edge. This edge is usually very sharp and ideal for food preparation. But the edge is also very fragile and not ideal for aggressive cutting jobs.
- A saber grind is almost similar to a flat grind, but with a small part of the edge that remains unground. A saber grind provides the much-needed cutting strength and prevents chipping.
Blade Opening Mechanisms
When choosing a folding pocket knife, you must take into account the opening mechanisms. There are basically three types of blade opening systems: manual, assisted, and automatic.
- Manual pocket knives are normally fitted with a thumb hole on the blade. To open a manual knife, you have to push the thumb hole towards the opening position until it is fully opened.
- Assisted opening small pocket knives are usually fitted with a spring system that is integrated with the blade. This type of opening requires you to apply a little pressure on a flipper tab or a thumb stud to open. What this mechanism requires is a little help and the spring does the rest.
- Automatic knives are usually the easiest to open because they only require you to push a button or a switch. Automatic opening or switchblade doesn’t require you to touch the blade in any way. But automatic knives or switchblades aren’t normally legal in most countries and states.
Our overall winner for this roundup is the Case Cutlery LT1225L SS Pocket Knife. A truly solid blade that comes extremely sharp out of the box.
This is a very compact knife when it is folded up, but thanks to the ergonomic Camo Zytel synthetic handle, you get a nice full grip for maximum control.
Its tru-sharp surgical stainless steel blade with a drop point shape gives you one of the best factory edges in the industry for slicing, cutting, and general utility.
The manual opening system is accompanied by an ambidextrous lockback for a super smooth blade deployment and security.