‘EDC’ stands for every day carry; all it really means is what you carry around in your pockets on a daily basis, it might include a torch, wallet, watch, first aid items and of course always a knife. There is plenty of choice when it comes to the knife, or knives, that form part of your edc and you can read about some of those options here and also find some advice on what to look for when you are choosing your edc knife. First of all why carry a knife every day? Well there are always packages to open, string to cut, boxes to break down, apples to peel and any number of tasks that require a pocket knife, for those of us who work outdoors we have even more reasons to need a knife. Consider as well that most every day carry knives will feature more than just a knife blade and the number of simple tasks you can tackle increase dramatically. To put it simply an edc knife and pocket tool means we can make it through the day without constantly having to search for a box cutter, scissors, screw driver or pliers.
So of all these great knives, all of which I can recommend, which would I pick if I could have only one? Perhaps because I have had it so long I am biased towards it but truly it is the perfect combination of tools. The Victorinox Hunter has a blade as large as any of the fixed blades in the list and a robust lock, if I wasn’t only picking a single knife I might go for a fixed blade and multitool combination but the hunter gives me not only a large blade but a saw large enough to deal with quite a lot of wood processing. Be aware though that the picture of the roe buck on the handle will soon wear off with use, as will the Victorinox logo and as there is no pocket clip or pouch you really should consider a lanyard.
This knife will absolutely not let you down though and will be an excellent companion no matter what your daily routine, adventure or emergency is.
Below is a list of the top 10 best edc knives, choosing one can prove to be tricky, please view our Buyers Guide should you require more information to help you make an informed purchase.
The 10 Best EDC Knives:
Let’s get into the top ten edc knife recommendations, here you will find a few of each knife in the categories I have set out above, a few ‘standard’ folding knives, a couple of multi-tools and a few fixed blade knives too. As an edc knife is going to be in and out of your pockets regularly and will be carried with you at all times you stand a fairly good chance of losing it and for that reason most of these knives are fairly inexpensive, that’s not to say that I can’t recommend more premium tools but you might not want to risk losing more expensive tools on a daily basis.
Most of the knives I recommend here won’t break the bank and with the risk of losing them so high you wouldn’t want to risk losing a very expensive knife, where I have recommended a more expensive tool I have considered it’s carry arrangement, such as the Bark River Mini-Fox River which retails at between $189 and $270 depending on handle options but also comes with a robust sheath making it safe to carry and fairly difficult to lose. Do consider that as you choose your edc knife, do you have a sensible carry solution to minimize your risk of losing it? Consider pocket clips, belt pouches, and lanyards to keep your knife fastened securely to your person, if you do lose it at best it’s a minor inconvenience but might be a loss of an expensive tool or at worst you may lose your knife and find yourself in an emergency situation where you really need it. Let’s get to the recommendations.
Cold Steel President Lynn C Thompson has always admired the sleek lines and dependable, highly functional blade shape of the classic Pukko. Ever since our inception in 1980, this classic Finnish hunting, and utility knife has never been far from his thoughts.
Over the years, we have released numerous versions of the Pukko, and now, in a design collaboration with custom knife maker Andrew Demko, Lynn is proud to introduce a new folding Pukko – the Finn Wolf!
Taking the classic Pukko as inspiration, Andrew Demko brought his engineering genius to a new, hard-working folding knife. Thin, super lightweight, easy to carry and even easier to use, this modern EDC (Every Day Carry) knife is perhaps the perfect “everyman” knife.
Equipped with our Tri-Ad lock, adding new levels of safety and security, the Finn Wolf is utterly impervious to shock ‘ making it reliable in the toughest, most uncompromising conditions.
Its satin polished Japanese AUS8A blade is ready to put in long hours and hard work, and, with its keen zero ground edge, it’s a breeze to resharpen.
With this much performance packed into this comfortable, strong, practical and inexpensive a package, there’s simply no excuse not to add one to your collection today!
Technical SpecificationImperial Metric
- Weight 3.36oz 95.3g
- Blade Thickness 0.12″ 3mm
- Blade Length 3½” 8.9cm
- Handle 4.37″ 11.1cm
- Handle Details Grivory
- Steel Stainless Steel – AUS-8
- Overall 7.87″ 20.0cm
- Colour Silver
- Clip Ambidextrous Pocket/Belt Clip
The Finn Wolf is a very robust pocket knife that would be an ideal knife to carry if emergency preparedness is your reason for carrying a knife. Its strong lock back makes it very robust and a perfect option for backwoods use. It has a zero ground Scandinavian grind perfect for working wood for campfires and other survival and bushcraft tasks. It retails at only $60 dollars so is an absolute bargain at the price. Even though it is so robust it is very lightweight and will easily fit in your pocket without weighing you down.
Available at : Amazon.com
The Mini-Fox River is the perfect addition to our Professional Series as an EDC and light field knife. The Mini-Fox is smaller in the blade than the Woodland Special and larger than the Little Creek and Pro-Scalpel. It fits perfectly in its place in this series. The blade is just the right size to be legal in most jurisdictions that allow any kind of fixed blade carry. It has plenty of handle for quick or even sustained use with security and comfort. You can use it in confidence for both fine work and tougher usage. We have designed a special sheath for the Mini-Fox River that can be worn strong Side or cross-draw.
This knife is available in both A2 and CPM 3V. A2 is a hearty, resilient, and very durable tool steel, that is sure to last you a lifetime. The CPM 3V is an easily sharpened, very tough, and resistant professional grade steel that is guaranteed to give you years of worry-free usage. In addition, this model is made in S35VN, attractive, edge-holding steel that will take an edge quickly and without any struggling or hassling. Besides looks, this steel is quite tough and will give you countless hours of performance with no worries.
- Blade Length: 2.9″
- Cutting Edge Length: 2.5″
- Steel: A-2, CPM 3V, CPM S35VN
- Steel Thickness: .150 in/3.81 mm
- Weight: 3.875 oz
- Hardness: 58RC
One of my favorite edc fixed blades. All the fixed blades I would recommend for edc either come with sheaths suitable for left side cross draw or appendix carry, or can easily be adapted for it. The mini fox river comes with a beautiful leather sheath that can be worn in a standard configuration for strong side carry on the right or in cross draw position on the left and that is how I choose to wear it. Carrying this small fixed blade on my left side allows me to leave my right side free to carry a multitool in a belt pouch and drawing a knife across your body is actually an easier movement than trying to draw one at your side so this might be something to consider if you plan on carrying a fixed blade for self-defense.
This knife has a convex grind making it very strong and robust and suitable for a range of tasks, the fact that it has a handle large enough for a full hand is also a huge positive feature and one of the factors which led me to purchase it. Although a lot of smaller fixed blades tend to have handles which will only fit three fingers on the handle, this just isn’t enough for me I find it uncomfortable, especially for extended use and as I don’t own knives just for them to look pretty I do use my knives a lot and if I’m carrying a fixed blade its normally because I anticipate extended use such as game preparation or whittling and a three finger handle just isn’t enough.
As far as an everyday fixed blade goes this offering from bark river is close to perfect.
Available at: Amazon.com
3. Enzo Necker
The EnZo Necker 70 is the most compact fixed blade of EnZo. You can easily place it in a bag or pocket or can be worn as a neck knife. The Necker 70 is very comfortable in the hand, especially for such a small blade. The shape of the handle fits your hand nicely and gives a lot of control.
The blade is full tang and is finished in Sandvik 12c27 steel with Scandi-grind. 12c27 stainless steel is easy to sharpen and very user-friendly. Not without reason the most popular Scandinavian steel for knives.
- Type of steel: Sandvik 12c27
- Blade length: 7 cm
- Blade shape: drop point
- Length: 15.6 cm
- Handle length: 8.8 cm
- Blade height: 2.1 cm
- Blade thickness: 3.2 mm
- Hardness: 58 HRC
- Grind: flat or scandi
- Type of edge: plain edge
- Sharpening angle: 16º
- Blade finish: polished
- Weight: 67 grams
- Material handle: birch wood, wood or micarta
- Sheath: kydex or leather
- Country of origin: Finland
Although the name suggests that this is a neck knife and neck knives are certainly popular as every day carry knives I find wearing a knife around my neck uncomfortable but this one is certainly light enough not to be too much of a problem. Personally, I adapted the kydex sheath of my knife for appendix carry on my left side so the knife is sheathed along my belt to the left of my belt buckle with the handle pointing toward the buckle. In this position, I can easily draw it with my left or right hand very quickly and it is so slim that it feels as if it’s not even there at all.
The enzo comes with a scandi grind, although it is available in a flat grind too the scandi is perfect for whittling and woods use which is what I would recommend it for.
Available at: Amazon.com
The Boker Arbolito 02BA371M El Heroe Micarta Knife is a compact everyday carry, designed in collaboration with Peter Farkas. It features a 3 inch modified drop point fixed blade made of Bohler N695 stainless steel, with a top swedge, and a notched spine scoop for precise control. The El Heroe Micarta has full tang construction for strength; two-tone black and grey micarta scales with contrasting red fibre liners, and an extended pommel with lanyard hole. A horizontal carry black leather sheath is included. The El Heroe Micarta has an overall length of 6 3/4 inches, and it weighs 4.7 ounces. Made in Argentina.
- Overall Length: 6.75″
- Blade Length: 3.0″
- Blade Steel: Bohler N695
- Blade Type: Drop Point
- Blade Edge: Plain
- Handle Material: Micarta
- Designer: Peter Farkas
- Origin: Argentina
- Weight: 4.7 oz.
- Blade Finish: Stonewash
- Steel Type: Stainless Steel
- Model: El Heroe Micarta
The full flat grind on this Boker knife makes is perfect for skinning and game prep and the leather sheath designed for appendix carry is well made. It has a rather bulky belt loop arrangement though so it doesn’t sit as neatly on the belt as the enzo or the bark river. It does give you a slightly bigger blade than either of the other knives though. The full handle gives great control and is comfortable for extended use.
This particular knife more than any of the others here is absolutely built to fit the human hand, it has a slight thumb ramp which extends to about half way along the blade to allow you to support your cuts with your thumb easily and the handle is shaped to provide you with an excellent secure grip.
Available at: Amazon.com
The new PowerAssist takes multi-tools to a new level. This is the first in the world to house not just one but two SOG Assisted Technology™ blades. Start to open the main blades, which are available when the main tool is closed, and S.A.T. takes over to complete opening. When not in use, these blades lock closed using our patent pending side release. Flip open the tool and experience the precision of the heavy-duty plier capability and large wire cutters. Smooth handle surfaces promote comfort on even the toughest jobs.
The pliers of the power assist operate using SOG’s compound leverage mechanism; SOG’s proprietary Compound Leverage technology works by employing multiple pivot points that generate greater handle travel in relation to plier movement. The result is a leverage advantage of approximately twice the power of a conventional multi-tool, which makes every cut smoother and easier.
- Overall Length: 7″
- Closed Length: 4.60″
- Product Weight: 9.60 OZ
- Product type: Multi-Tool
- Finish: Satin On Black
- Tool Count: 16
- Lanyard Hole: Yes
- Blade Steel Type: 420
- Handle Material: 420 Stainless Steel
- Hardness RC: 51-53
- Lock Blades: Yes
- Lock Tools: Yes
- Assisted Opening: Yes
Moving on to the multitools, the power assist has two assisted opening blades, a strait blade and a serrated blade but bear in mind that although assisted opening blades are not strictly automatic knives or gravity knives the spirit of any law prohibiting either auto or gravity activated knives would certainly prohibit assisted openers too. An assisted opening blade is started off by the pressure of your thumb on a stud on the back of the blade and a spring mechanism inside the knife finished the movement off causing it to flick out and deploy. This does allow you to easily deploy your knife quickly and easily with one hand but may cause you to run afoul of the law.
The power assist is a large multitool with a full range of tools and features and is quite a heavy piece of kit. The compound leverage pliers provide a huge amount of cutting power and this multitool has no trouble cutting through even heavy fence wire which most multitools would really struggle with. It also features a ‘v’ cutter for cutting seat belts and cordage although this is only accessible once you have opened up the tools it ‘self rather than being accessible while the tool is closed like the two main knife blades so if you need to cut a belt in an emergency it will be more expedient to use the standard knife blades.
A great feature of SOG multitools is that you can customise them, you can buy additional tools for them and fit them yourself as long as you have the appropriate torx driver bit to adjust the hinge section of the tool compartment and then you can add and remove tools as you prefer.
Available at: Amazon.com
At a mere five ounces, the Leatherman Skeletool has a stainless steel combo blade, pliers, bit driver, removable pocket clip and carabiner/bottle opener. The Skeletool is just what you need in one good lookin’ package.
- Closed length: 10.7 cm
- Blade length: 6.6 cm
- total length opened: 17.1 cm
- total length opened: 15.5 cm
- Width: 3.3 cm
- Height: 1.8 cm
- Blade height: 1.8 cm
- Blade thickness: 2.5 mm
- Type of steel: 420HC
- Hardness: 59 HRC
- Type of edge: partially serrated
- Sharpening angle: 20º
- Finish blade: satin
- Colour: silver
- Weight: 150 grams
- Material handle: stainless
- Lock: liner-lock
- Can be opened with one hand: yes
- Pocket clip: yes, tip-down (right)
- Country of origin: USA
- 420HC Stainless Steel Clip Point Combo Straight/Serrated Knife
- Needle nose Pliers
- Regular Pliers
- Wire Cutters
- Hard-wire Cutters
- Large Bit Driver
- Bottle Opener
- Carabiner Clip
- Included Bits: Phillips #1 and #2 Bit, Screwdriver 3/16″ and 1/4″ Bit
A much lighter and pocket portable multitool option, the skeletool easily fits in a pocket and if you are looking for something lighter than a full size multitool but still with the capability of pliers and screw drivers. I can’t think of any other multitool that I’d be happy to carry around in my pocket. The slightly unusual reverse tanto style blade is incredibly strong and although with it’s serrations it wouldn’t be my first choice of blade for backwoods use this multitool combined with a small fixed blade would take some beating.
Available at: Amazon.com
The Swiss Army Hunter Pocket Knife is a compact knife with a selection of 11 useful tools. Precision crafted in Switzerland, this knife is constructed with an acid-resistant plastic and aluminum handle, and 100-percent stainless-steel components that will hold their edge and last for years.
The Hunter is lightweight and measures 4.375 inches when closed. This Swiss Army knife features; large locking blade, corkscrew, wood saw, gutting blade, cap lifter, can opener, screwdriver, wire stripper, and reamer. Tweezers and a toothpick pull out of the ends of the Hunter and it is even equipped with a handy key ring. As with all Swiss Army knives, the Hunter Knife comes with a lifetime warranty.
The Hunter pocket knife was specially designed to accompany hunters and serious outdoor enthusiasts. It packs all the features you’ll need for a day out in the wilderness. And thanks to the curved shape and rounded tip of the special gutting blade, game can be dressed quickly and easily right there in the field. It sets a new standard in hunting knives.
- Height: 18.5mm
- Length: 111mm
- Weight: 126g
- large blade
- screwdriver 5 mm
- wire stripper
- bottle opener
- can opener
- small gutting blade
- reamer, punch
- wood saw
- key ring
Of all the knives I go to as an edc option this is probably the one I have carried most. I was given it by my parents on my 18th birthday and you can see mine has been very well sharpened and all the markings have been worn off long ago. The large blade and saw are unbeatable for woods processing and the dedicated skinning blade is fantastic for skinning tough skinned animals although it isn’t great for soft skinned game like rabbits. Whether you consider this a multitool or not is a matter of personal preference but what it definitely is, is a very versatile pocket knife capable of a lot more than your average small knife. Unlike most of the other knives in this list though it features no sheath of pocket clip and you should really consider using a lanyard to secure it to your belt so you don’t loose it.
Available at: Amazon.com
Not just any old knife, but the B.W. Baker Peasant Knife. Such an old concept that it’s new; so new that it’s old. B.W. Baker, Master Cutler, felt that the idea of creating his latest knife range was calling to him from the past. Using old fashioned methods and relying on the oldest low-tech methods, Svord™ proudly present their Peasant Knife. What does it do? Well, it cuts. Sure, there are knives around today that sprout scissors, sawblades, an entire motor mechanic’s tool kit, laser beams and micro cell phones. Such knives have lost the very reason for their existence – that’s high-tech for you. If you want a knife, a knife to cut things with, the Svord™ Peasant Knife is for you.
If you’ve got style, you’ve got the class to be a first-rate peasant. Peasants are proud. Who actually did anything in history? Royalty? Nobility? Leaders? No way. We peasants carried the can for centuries. We also carried Peasant Knives too. The B.W. Baker Peasant Knife, from the days when peasants had pockets, but no money to fill them. Just the knife. The B.W. Baker Peasant Knife is based on models used in Bohemia and Bavaria 3 – 400 years ago. It’s easy to use, easy to carry and to open. But it’s awfully hard to put down. You can open it one-handed. Hang it from your belt or whisk from your pocket by its handy tang. Beautifully simple, but crafted by Svord from the finest steel, hardened and tempered to a secret formula. All peasants know value when they see it. Beware of imitations!
Peasant Knife fun. Tap it open – snap it shut- click it, flick it. Whittle the hours away. Pare your nails. Sharpen your writing stick. Free hostages…. Every hovel should have one (or more!) Remember “Peasants rule, and your knife’s your tool”. The ultimate exclusive possesion – your B.W. Baker Peasant Knife. Older than yesterday, but fascinatingly later than tomorrow. Svord™, by appointment to peasants of the world, from executives to errand boys.
- Length of Blade: (inches) 3″
- Over All Length: (inches) 8 1/4″
- Blade Shape: Drop Point
- Handle Material: Polypropylene
- Steel Specifications: 15N20
- Blade Thickness: (mm) 1.8mm
A no frills knife that is near enough indestructible and although it doesn’t feature any kind of lock the extended tang once open fits inside your palm along with the handle and makes it impossible for the knife to close. With the secure locking mechanism and relatively large blade this knife is almost as good as a fixed blade but comes without the complications of having to justify carrying a fixed or locking blade on you. It is large enough to be a bit of a pain when it comes to fitting it in your pocket though.
Available at: Amazon.com
We would like to introduce you to the first “Emerson Multi-Tool”, actually it’s more like a swiss army knife on steroids. Our customers were after us for years to do this and we finally did it. We worked with Multitasker Tools, one of the finest Multitool manufactures in the business to bring the first Emerson Tool called the E.D.C (Every Day Carry) to the market. They are designed by Ernest Emerson and built by Multitasker in one of their offshore plants to the highest standards of quality, fit and finish and performance. They come in both serrated and non-serrated versions and the Micro Commander blade features the Emerson “wave feature” for ultra-quick opening.
Both screwdrivers for the EDC-1 multitool utilize a compact, patent-pending “toggle lock”; it has stops at 90 and 180 degrees, and the lockout toggle can be easily accessed even when wearing gloves. Not strong enough to secure a blade, but fine for a screwdriver. Simple and effective.
- Blade Length: 2.9″
- Closed Length: 4.5″
- Overall Length: 6.875″ (with main blade deployed)
- Handle Thickness: 0.70″
- Blade Material: D2 Steel, PVD Coated
- Handle Scales: Black G10
- Weight: 6.5 oz.
- Tool Made in Taiwan, Blade Made and Assembled in the USA
- Emerson Micro Commander Plain Blade
- Phillips Head Screwdriver
- Flat Head Screwdriver
- Belt Clip
This knife features an opening mechanism designed by knife designer Ernie Emerson, it was originally included on his knives as a blade catching feature when he made a knife to the specification of some special forces soldiers who requested an integrated guard in their folding knives. In use this ‘guard’ turned out to be more useful as a snag on the inside of the pocket as the knife was drawn flipping the blade open as the knife is withdrawn from the pocket. This feature is normally seen on Emerson folding knives most of which are designed as tactical and self-defence blades. This knife though combines the ‘wave’ feature as it has become known, and a range of other tools to make this knife a complete package rather than a dedicated knife.
Being tenacious means one holds fast. One is persistent and cohesive. It means being tough and tireless until achieving your goal: all knife-worthy definitions for a worthy knife. The mid-sized Tenacious has a black G-10 laminate handle, milled with prolonged fatigue-free cutting in mind. Tucked inside are skeletonized steel liners increasing the handle\’s rigidity and strength without adding non-functioning weight or bulky thickness.
The 8Cr13Mov stainless blade is leaf-shaped and ground flat from spine to cutting edge for cutting performance. The blade\’s shape coupled with an oversized Spyderco Round Hole and textured spine jimping allow you to open the blade and position your thumb on the spine in slip-proof confidence ready for work. A Walker Linerlock (with jimped liner) and a 4-way pocket clip lets you set your carry and draw preference: Tip-up/tip-down left-hand/right-hand. Screw together construction.
- Overall Length 7.76″ (197mm)
- Blade Length 3.39″ (86mm)
- Steel 8Cr13MoV
- Closed Length 4.45″ (113mm)
- Edge Length 3.39″ (86mm)
- Weight 4.1 oz (117 g)
- Blade Thickness .118″ (3mm)
- Handle G-10
- Clip Position Ambi
- Tip Carry Position Tip-Up/Down
- Lock Type LinerLock
- Grind Full-Flat
- Sheath N/A
- Origin China
A spyderco knife was always going to feature in this list and the tenacious is one of the budget friendly offerings from spyderco. A no frills, fairly plain knife other than it’s distinctive spyderco style with the ‘spydie hole’ feature to assist with one handed opening it is a knife dedicated to being used. As a bit of an experiment I modified mine to include the ‘wave’ feature made popular on Emerson knives.
Available at: Amazon.com
Before choosing a knife for edc though consider your local laws regarding carrying a knife in a public place. Carrying your choice of pocket knife at home or on your own property isn’t an issue, you can have a seven inch bowie knife strapped to your hip at home and no one can tell you not to, even at work as long as you work on private property and you’re not proposing to carry anything completely illegal or inappropriate for your work place you are not breaking the law.
When we talk about edc we do need to make a distinction between what you can legally possess and what you can have on you in a public place though and if we are to understand that we need to be sure about what different kinds of knives are. Common sense tells us the difference between fixed and folding blade knives but there are specific types of knife which are often the subject of legislation due to their function as a weapon. As we are about to talk about knife law it’s worth understanding a few of these types of knives that feature often in knife law before we go any further, generally they are mentioned in law to prohibit them but there are some very specific styles of knife, and knife mechanism, that it would be useful to understand.
Ballisong or butterfly knife; these are knives concealed within a handle that splits open down the middle to reveal the blade inside. They work in exactly the same way that most multi tools work except with a blade instead of pliers and they are often spun around and people will do tricks with them. There is a perception of them as weapons though and historically a lot of people were have been hurt with them, even if a lot of the wounds were self-inflicted.
Check out some of the tricks that can be done with a ballisong :
These are thin pointed knives specifically designed for stabbing. The concept is very old and was used in medieval times in the form of rondell or ballock daggers for stabbing through the chinks in armour. Modern knives which share characteristics with stilettos are the classic Fairburn Sykes commando dagger and the U.S Marine Raider Stiletto. The blade shape was often adapted into automatic ‘flick’ knives when they became popular.
These are folding knives, although they do not all fold at a hinge but rather in a lot of models the blade collapses back into the handle like a telescope. The blade is deployed by pressing a button on activator which under the power of a spring releases the blade which flicks out and locks into place.
Often confused with automatic knives as they are also sometimes called ‘flick’ knives these deploy with a flick of the wrist which allows the blade to deploy and lock into place.
For example in the UK I can legally carry a pocket knife in a public place, so on a train, in the street or a park for example, as long as it has a folding blade and a cutting edge of 3 inches or less,. Also consider this, that in the UK a lock blade is not considered a folding knife, the exact advice given on government websites are as follows;
Lock knives are not classed as folding knives and are illegal to carry in public without good reason.
Have blades that can be locked and refolded only by pressing a button.
Can include multi-tool knives – tools that also contain other devices such as a screwdriver or can opener
This doesn’t mean I can’t own other types of knives, or that I can’t carry other types of knives just that I would need a good reason to have them in a public place, according to the government good reasons might be, but aren’t limited to;
- Taking knives you use at work to and from work.
- Taking it to a gallery or museum to be exhibited.
- If it’ll be used for theatre, film, television, historical re-enactment or religious purposes, for example the kirpan some Sikhs carry.
- If it’ll be used in a demonstration or to teach someone how to use it.
A court will decide if you’ve got a good reason to carry a knife or a weapon if you’re charged with carrying it illegally.
So I could carry a lock knife or fixed blade knife if that’s what I use at work and justify having it in a public place between work and home. Types of knives and edged tools/weapons that are never justifiable in the UK and are illegal whatever the circumstances include;butterfly knives (also known as ‘balisongs’) – a blade hidden inside a handle that splits in the middle
- disguised knives – a blade or sharp point hidden inside what looks like everyday objects such as a buckle, phone, brush or lipstick
- flick knives (also known as ‘switchblades’ or ‘automatic knives’) – a blade hidden inside a handle which shoots out when a button is pressed
- gravity knives
- stealth knives – a knife or spike not made from metal (except when used at home, for food or a toy)
- zombie knives – a knife with a cutting edge, a serrated edge and images or words suggesting it is used for violence
- swords, including samurai swords – a curved blade over 50cm (with some exceptions, such as antiques and swords made to traditional methods before 1954)
- sword-sticks – a hollow walking stick or cane containing a blade
- push daggers
You read it right the phrase ‘zombie knife/knives’ really is used in UK legislation. They were banned in an amendment to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and are defined as;
“Cutting blades of up to 25 inches, have a serrated edge and include images or words that glamorise violence.”
Other countries will have different laws regarding what you can carry and where: A fairly common requirement in European countries is that if you are to carry a knife in a public place it can’t be opened with one hand, although this rule which was law in Denmark was overturned in 2016. This design requirement would have restricted your choice of edc knife to things like Swiss Army Knives but well known knife makers Spyderco have been particularly responsive to these requirements and have worked with designers and online knife forums over the years to produce knives to meet the requirements of their various countries.
They worked with the BritishBlades knife forum to produce the Spyderco UK penknife to meet the requirements of a non-locking sub three inch folding knife for every day carry, and with Danish knife makers Jens Anso and Jaesper Voxnaes to produce the Pingo to produce a non-locking knife which couldn’t be opened with one hand.
As well as these specific products for the UK and Danish markets Spyderco produced the Roadie in 2013 in response to proposed new rules, never actually implemented, by the Transportation Security Administration to allow certain knives on commercial aircraft again. This knife would have been suitable for carry on aircraft and is a small two-handed opening, non-locking blade suitable for light daily tasks. Given the popularity and impressive quality of Spyderco knives it is no surprise that one is featured in the top ten edc knives that you can see here. It’s almost a shame that we can’t include more Spyderco knives as they do produce a huge range of excellent knives.
As well as the laws on knives which vary from country to country remember that within the United States laws will vary from state to state as well, and that cities and regions also have the right to enact their owl laws in relation to knives as well so what applies in Florida might not necessarily be the case in Massachusetts.
As an example let’s look at Utah where it is permissible to own and carry;
- a Balisong, or butterfly knife
- a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
- a stiletto knife
- a bowie knife
- an automatic or gravity knife
- a disguised knife, such as a lipstick or belt buckle
Restrictions on carry in Utah relate more to the person carrying the knife than the knife it ‘self and whether the knife is deemed by law to be a ‘dangerous weapon’. Whether or not it is a dangerous weapon is determined by factors such as the character of any wound produced by the weapon, it’s character and appearance, the way in which it was used and other lawful purposes for the item. Not all of these four factors have to be considered to determine that a knife is a dangerous weapon, for example there doesn’t need to be a wound, the knife doesn’t have to have been used for it to be a dangerous weapon. People which may not be allowed to carry knives or ‘dangerous weapons’ include;
Category ‘I’ persons, these are people who:
- has been convicted of a violent felony under Utah Code Ann. § 76-3-203.5
- is on probation or parole for any felony
- is on parole from a facility is under contract with the Division of Juvenile Justice Services, that provides 24-hour supervision and confinement for youth offenders who have been committed to the division for custody and rehabilitation
- has been adjudicated delinquent, within the last 10 years, for an offense that if committed by an adult would have been a violent felony under Utah Code Ann. § 76-3-203.5
- is illegally or unlawfully in the United States
A category ‘II’ restricted person is someone who:
- has been convicted of any felony
- has been adjudicated delinquent, within the last seven years, for an offense which if committed by an adult would have been a felony
- is an unlawful user of a controlled substance as defined by Utah Code Ann. § 58-37-4.2.
- is in possession of a dangerous weapon and is knowingly and intentionally in unlawful possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance as defined in Section 58-37-2;
- has been found not guilty by reason of insanity for a felony offense
- has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial for a felony offense
- has been adjudicated as mentally or has been committed to a mental institution
- has been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces
- has renounced his citizenship after having been a citizen of the United States
So in Utah more or less any knife is legal to carry unless you are a category ‘I’ or ‘II’ person. Compare that to the tighter laws in New York City. There are five types of knife completely prohibited in NYC and these include;
- Switchblade knife; any knife which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife.
- Gravity knife; any knife which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force which, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever or other device.
- Pilum ballistic knife; any knife which has a blade which can be projected from the handle by hand pressure applied to button, lever, spring or other device in the handle of the knife.
- Metal knuckle knife; a weapon that, when closed, cannot function as a set of metal knuckles, nor as a knife and when open can function as both a set of metal knuckles as well as a knife.
- Cane Sword; a cane or swagger stick having concealed within it a blade that may be used as a sword or stiletto.
As well as an outright ban on these items it is also illegal to have in one’s possession any of the following knives if there is ‘unlawful intent’;
- ‘Dangerous knife’
Bear in mind that the law allows the carriage of any of these types of weapon to be used as evidence of unlawful intent;
“The possession by any person of any dagger, dirk, stiletto, dangerous knife or any other weapon, instrument, appliance or substance designed, made or adapted for use primarily as a weapon, is presumptive evidence of intent to use the same unlawfully against another”. §260.15(4).
Also consider that although automatic knives are illegal in New York City they are not illegal in the State of new York of which NYC is a part, so not only do you need to consider the legality of a knife you might want to carry as part of your edc if you are traveling from country to country but even from state to state and sometimes even within a state.
Many people each year are caught out by the particular issue of automatic knives as the enter NYC and find that they are arrested for carrying a knife that is legal in the rest of the states but not in the city itself. New York City also has unusual laws about carrying knives and how they are determined to be automatic or gravity knives and people have fallen foul of the law by carrying knives clipped with their integral pocket clip to a trouser pocket as this is classed as ‘open carry’ and contravenes a city ordinance and can get you a ticket.
To determine that a knife is a gravity knife there is often an arbitrary ‘wrist flick’ test performed to determine whether a knife is a gravity knife even if it isn’t designed to be one and there has been at least one case of wrongful arrest which have left the city red in the face. In 2014 the city paid $7,500 dollars to a man who was arrested for possession of a knife which was not in fact illegal even under NYC’s strict laws, you can read about those events HERE.
Remember as well that no matter what country, state or region you are traveling in there will be places where you are prohibited from carrying any kind of knife such as on commercial aircraft or in schools. You can send you knives in checked luggage on aircraft but not have them on your person and there will be no getting around that rule no matter how expensive your collectable pocket knife that you have forgotten is in your pocket is, it will go in the sharps bin at security along with the nail scissors.
Although the examples here aren’t exhaustive what should be made clear to anyone planning to carry a knife as part of their edc is the need to be aware of your local laws regarding knives and to abide by them. Even if you don’t agree that a lock knife is a dangerous weapon or that a ballisong is any more dangerous than a little Swiss Army Knife you must abide by the law otherwise your freedom to appreciate and own knives at all might be severely restricted by a spell in prison or a heavy fine.
With so many knives available for edc let’s consider a few general types of knives which might be suitable;
Traditional pocket knives might contain one or more knife blades and possibly additional tools as well, I don’t know many people who would classify a simple Swiss Army Knife as a multitool even is it does contain a screw driver, scissors and can opener as well as a blade but a pocket KNIFE is primarily a knife whereas a true multitool’s main feature is its multi-functionality. Pocket knives have been the mainstay of edc knives for the best part of two centuries and were even the go to backwoods knife of many. Take George Washington ‘Nessmuk’ Sears a 19th Century American outdoorsman famous for his 1884 book ‘Woodcraft and Camping’ for example. He recommended a backwoods tool trio of pocket knife, often referred to at the time as a jack knife, fixed blade knife for skinning and game prep and a double bit hatchet.
The folding jack knife would have been the tools of choice for whittling and carving while the skinning knife would have been strictly dedicated to game preparation and its fine razor sharp edge preserved for its intended purpose. Nowadays we tend to lean towards fixed blade knives for outdoor tasks and sometime forget the value of a simple folding knife. ‘Classic’ style pocket knives are still popular nowadays and are available from many quality knife makers but with the easy availability of modern materials which might present advantages in terms of strength and ease of care a lot of modern pocket knives feature handles of milled aluminium, titanium and even carbon fibre, with steel liners instead of the bone, wood and brass of yesteryear.
If you are only going to carry one type of knife it will generally be a pocket knife of this sort, a single knife blade with perhaps a few additional tools, this is the kind of knife which will be unobtrusive in a pocket and will never really raise any eyebrows unless it is particularly large or ‘tactical’ in appearance. Some pocket knives will attach to the inside of your pocket for ease of access but if they are heavy they will pull on your trousers and frustrate you, and remember this won’t always be allowed.
Larger pocket knives almost fall into a category of their own and some would advocate carrying a ‘tactical’ knife for self-defence. This is something I never do as I live somewhere where larger knives and knives which lock would not normally be permitted to carry without reason and also somewhere where should I use a knife in self-defence that I had deliberately carried for the purpose of self-defence I would certainly be convicted of some crime or another. Larger folding knives and lock knives might be justifiable for some uses and there may be a need to consider them as a self-defence option where it is legal to carry them but do consider the law before you choose your pocket knife.
Defined by their multitude of tools many now feature pliers as a central feature but some people will call larger swiss army knives equipped with a large number of tools multitools as well. Larger multitools tend to be carried in belt pouches rather than where their heavy and angular construction can be a nuisance in a pocket.
Fixed blades are not often considered for every day carry even where the law allows you to carry them openly as people just don’t need them on a daily basis and let’s face it even if it’s not illegal to carry a bowie knife on your belt at all times how many people are going to call the police about you because you look like a maniac?
I often can justify carrying a fixed blade because I work outdoors most of the time with wildlife and might need something a bit more robust but generally fixed blades are too big and unwieldy for everyday use. I like them though when I can justify it as they are so much stronger and the fact that there is no hinge or flex in them they promote confident use rather than that niggling fear in the back of your mind that a folding knife is suddenly going to fold up on your fingers at any moment. I never carry a large fixed blade on an everyday basis though it tends to be a smaller blade that can be carried in a pocket or on a horizontal carry sheath so it’s not obvious I am carrying it. I use larger fixed blade knives for bushcrafting and hunting but while I do spend lots of time doing these activities not quite enough to call a full size bushcraft knife as an edc.
The guys from Blade HQ discuss the pro’s and con’s of fixed blades and a couple of options to consider for your every day carry here;
Proper Preparation or Overkill?
With all the options that exist for your edc knife it might be tempting to carry more than one, Youtube gear reviewer nutnfancy shares his thoughts on some combinations of edc knives that he is excited by here;
I’d argue that under most circumstances a lot of these combinations are overkill though, having two single bladed knives of just slightly different sizes seems too much, unjustifiable in terms of weight, pocket space and just imagine trying to justify that to a police officer. There are some combinations that make sense though perhaps a combination of a multitool and a simple folding knife, or a small fixed blade and a Swiss Army Knife but in general carrying more than one knife on an everyday basis will be too much unless you have a very specific need for it.
While our options listed are all made out of some form of metal or aluminum, you will be pleased to know that there are also ceramic knives on the market. The appeal of these are the idea that they do not need to be sharpened ( Specially when made out of Zirconium oxide)
Knives and an edc for emergencies
Some advocate edc’ing kit specifically in preparation for emergencies and survival scenarios and while this isn’t a bad idea remember that what you really want in an emergency survival scenario is your survival knife and a well-stocked bug out bag rather than relying on the contents of your pockets. Are you really going to try and pack loads of survival kit into your pockets on a daily basis or would you be better off upskilling and improving your survival skills rather than contriving ways to carry more and more kit on a daily basis?
If your reason for edc’ing a knife is so you are prepared for emergencies though consider very robust knives as you will presumably want to press them to backwoods tasks that you would prefer to have your survival knife for. Small fixed blades or very robust lock knives are what you want to fill this role.
Justifying your EDC knife
As we get closer to considering our top ten edc knife you need to remember that you may have to justify your choice of edc knife if you are asked about it by a police officer, the burden of proof might be on you to justify why you have that knife on you and that you need it for work or other legitimate reasons so be sensible when you pick your edc knife. Remember no one is going to believe you if you are saying that you carry a seven inch KaBar as your edc knife to sharpen pencils because you’re an artist. You need to pick a knife that suits your daily routine isn’t too heavy or large for your pockets and will get everything done which you need it for.
Don’t buy into the hype that you need loads of knives in your pockets on an everyday basis, you don’t need a multitool AND a ‘tactical’ folding knife AND a small folding knife on you all the time and when you add the rest of your edc items let’s face it you are either going to have to carry it all in a handbag or your trousers are going to fall down under the weight.
So regardless of what you do or where you go – having an edc knife can be nothing but beneficial. Sure there are downfalls as mentioned about but we highly recommend that you explore the options above on our list. You never know when you might need one.