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June 29, 2009 1:14 PM   Subscribe

What is your favorite pocket knife?

I recently lost the use of my last pocket knife and I'm looking for a quality replacement around or under $60 (higher suggestions are good too though...) What is your favorite (legal) folding pocket knife?
posted by tdreyer to Grab Bag (46 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
I love my Gerber L.S.T. - light and durable, and the blade really holds its edge.
posted by ryanshepard at 1:19 PM on June 29, 2009

I know it's lame, but there's a reason it's popular. I love my Swiss Army knife. Those tiny tweezers have saved me more times than I can count. (And the bottle opener!) They have so many now that I can't link you to the exact model, but it's got the usual bells and whistles.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:23 PM on June 29, 2009

Buck Metro if you need a bottle opener, Boker Subcom if you don't.
posted by box at 1:25 PM on June 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Quite seriously, these things are the best general-purpose knives I've ever used. Sharp as a razor, takes standard box-cutter blades, cheap enough that you can buy six and not worry about losing a couple...

It really depends what you're using your knife for of course, but for most household and DIY tasks I can't live without them.

Absolutely useless for skinning a deer or gutting a fish though.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:26 PM on June 29, 2009

Leatherman Juice XE4 if you want a bloated-but-still-pocket-size multitool, Juice CS4 if you want to keep it simple, Skeletool if you want to keep it simple, lockblade-style.
posted by box at 1:27 PM on June 29, 2009

Ooh, yes -- I gave the Buck Metro as a present last year and it has been much loved and well used.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:28 PM on June 29, 2009

Oops--That's Juice C2, not Juice CS4, if you want to keep it simple. Probably the closest Leatherman tool to the military-issue SAKs.
posted by box at 1:28 PM on June 29, 2009

I do believe my boyfriend has a similar Spyderco knife, although maybe not quite that pricey. He is a fan.
posted by sararah at 1:29 PM on June 29, 2009

I usually carry a Benchmade Kulgera and a Victorinox Soldier. The former is a slim one-hand opener with high-end steel and an awesome locking mechanism. The latter has the all-important bottle opener and can opener.

For more general recommendations, I would say anything by Spyderco or Benchmade would fit the bill.
posted by meowzilla at 1:34 PM on June 29, 2009

The knife I've worn daily for the past (holy crap, maybe almost 10 years?) is a Benchmade 710 (McHenry & Williams) Opens smoothly with one hand,.. blade locks in place, large enough blade to get most jobs done, serrated if you need that sorta thing (which I occasionally do). Belt clip so it hangs right inside my right front pocket.

Its pretty much knife-perfection. (atleast for me.. ;)
posted by jmnugent at 1:36 PM on June 29, 2009

Not truly a pocket knife, but the Leatherman Skeletool has a good blade on it along with decent pliers and driver bits, and it's much thinner and lighter than a lot of multi-tools. I think mine is great.
posted by exogenous at 1:41 PM on June 29, 2009

It really depends on what you're using it for. I carry a Victorinox Cadet because of the slim build. Things like screw drivers, a bottle opener, and nail file are not essential but are certainly handy.
posted by Roman Graves at 2:03 PM on June 29, 2009

Maybe it's my dad's influence, but I've always been fond of the Case Peanut. For a slightly bigger knife that is still incrediably useful, I like the Case Trapper.
posted by teleri025 at 2:09 PM on June 29, 2009

I'm also a Skeletool fan. One big advantage of it over every other multitool I know is its ease of use as a simple pocket knife. There's no unfolding the tool or any extra effort to get at the blade -- you can draw it just like any other dedicated pocket knife. The cheapest prices for it are around $60.

It doesn't have the pleasing heft and feel of a good pocket knife, though, so if I wanted something for more than occasional use, I'd probably use something else.
posted by Zed at 2:10 PM on June 29, 2009

The knife I carry daily is Leatherman Juice, specifically the xe6. My one complaint with them is the lack of locking blade. Oh, now that I look at the price, the xe6 is nearly $100 street pricing. I stand by this recommendation though. I use the screwdrivers and pliers as often as I use the blades.

For just a simple blade, my preference of late has been the CRKT M16-Z EDC (with the straight blade, no silly half straight and half serrated for me). Readily available for about $40.
posted by fief at 2:12 PM on June 29, 2009

nth'ing the Leatherman suggestions: the Charge TTI is the best, and most useful, tool I've ever purchased. Downside: while it is small and light enough to be carried in a pocket, it's a lot more accessible carried in a leather sheath on my hip. With my belt also laden with a silent sentry keychain, one of these and a case for my iPod, I can be mistaken for being either an off-duty cop or, well, a bit of a gadget dweeb.

I'm also a believer in the mantra "two is one, and one is none". The thing about any daily-use tool is that you have to carry it with you daily in order to be useful, otherwise it is guarenteed to be missing when you need it most. I usually also carry a folder or a fixed-blade design with me, ideally as a backup, or in temporary substitute for the Charge - most recently, this.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 2:18 PM on June 29, 2009

I've found the most useful knife is the smallest Gerber or Schrade I can find, like a keychain knife. Around twenty bucks, and used all the time.
posted by atchafalaya at 2:22 PM on June 29, 2009

My current pocket knife is the Leatherman Juice S2 which I got for less than $50 a Target. I also agree with ryanshepard on the Gerber L.S.T. I carried one of those for 15 years, and still have it tucked away in a dresser drawer. Fantastic little knife, and I'd still be carrying it if circumstances didn't often dictate the need for a small multi-tool type knife.
posted by ralan at 2:43 PM on June 29, 2009

the best blade i've ever owned for all-purpose was a standard spyderco serrated blade w/plastic handle. i've absentmindedly lost two of them to our dear friends in the TSA. I tried replacing it with a CRKT tanto blade folder but I feel like it's too imposing to use casually to open a box or something. So, back to the spyderco.
posted by Señor Pantalones at 2:54 PM on June 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, really depends on what you want to use it for.

nthing the Gerber LST as the lightest, simplest, sharpest edge. sharp as a razor and weighs next to nothing, only costs $20 if you lose or break it. One in my Ultralight camping kit.

most portable and functional would be the Leatherman Squirt models - S4 if you want scissors, tweezers, and a nail file, P4 if you want pliers and a metal file. more a mini-toolkit than a knife per se, but the -quite- small blades on the Squirts are nice and sharp - just don't use them for prying - they'll snap off. One in my jacket pocket.

nthing the CRKT K.I.S.S as the simple "i just need something to cut other things, not a pocket toolbox" knife. sharp, strong, cuts (or pokes) through anything knifeable. I often carry/use it for its only other function - the thin (basically handleless but comfortable) body and full-length belt clip make it a great money clip. I was wary of pulling out a knife every time I reached for cash, but the minimalist design means most people have to be told/shown how it opens to recognize the KISS as a pocket knife.
posted by bartleby at 3:03 PM on June 29, 2009

I own and have owned many. Ten years ago I realized that the Victorinox Tinker Small was it for me. It is easily pocketable without being bulky and heavy.

I keep either a Leatherman or fake Leatherman tool in every camera bag, lighting case, and location case I own, but the SAK Tinker Small lives in my pocket and I use it at least half a dozen times daily.

Over thirty years ago I made a vow to myself that I would never let a bottled beer go unconsumed for lack of an opener. That functionality is but a small part of the genius of this knife.

One time I was shooting a brand new Saab convertible for a publication and the driver's side door sprung open and wouldn't close. Had I not had my SAK, I'd have had to call for a mechanic since the car wasn't drivable with the door open at a 90 degree angle.

That's also why I've never considered buying a Saab.
posted by imjustsaying at 3:15 PM on June 29, 2009

Again on the little Gerber LST. Love it, great value. A little small for deer gutting, but it works. And it wipes down easier than the fancy knives. I also like the fact that it's smaller than the lighter in my pocket.
posted by okbye at 3:15 PM on June 29, 2009

Another vote for Leatherman if you are looking for a multitool, and Gerber for a solid, cheap locking blade. I get a lot more use out of my multitool than I ever did out of my blade, but I still keep it around when I am outdoors.
posted by sophist at 3:33 PM on June 29, 2009

My best friend swears by his mauser. I have a normal swiss. But I do envy his big green one.
posted by gergtreble at 3:51 PM on June 29, 2009

I have a little no-name penknife that's about an inch and a half long. But it takes a wicked edge and it rides in the watch pocket of my jeans. Unless you need tools in addition to a blade, that's what I'd recommend.
posted by bricoleur at 4:11 PM on June 29, 2009

Legal differs by area. Around these parts, the knife carried by about half of my co-workers is the Kershaw Leek. My attorney dad says it's illegal, but I bought mine in a hardware store. *shrug* But I don't take it to New York, where one of my co-workers was thrown in jail simply for having that knife clipped to his pocket.
posted by mollymayhem at 4:15 PM on June 29, 2009

My favorite knife is a "Hawg Tooth" designed by Mike Franklin. It's a fun knife, and small enough to put around your neck on a loop. I couldn't find it for sale online, and even had a tough time finding images if it, though this one comes close (the one that I have has a wooden handle).
posted by kensch at 4:17 PM on June 29, 2009

I love my Gerber knife. And they even replaced it for free when I had a problem with it.
posted by fourmajor at 4:30 PM on June 29, 2009

I love my Leatherman Juice S2. All the right tools and just the right size.
posted by schrodycat at 4:31 PM on June 29, 2009

a little large but I love my leatherman wave. main cutting blades lock and can be opened like a knife without having to open the pliers aspect of it. truly awesome sawblade that I use MUCH more than I would've thought. when that's too big, schrade makes a cool knife that looks like a carbiner. excellent locking blade, plus straight and phillips drivers
posted by Redhush at 4:40 PM on June 29, 2009

I have purchased three Kershaw knives of varying sizes over the last few years and have been very satisfied.
posted by Phoenix42 at 4:54 PM on June 29, 2009

I have the Gerber Ultralight L.S.T. folding knife and the Leatherman Micra multi-tool.

The Gerber goes everywhere with me on my key chain. Has a great little locking blade that I can open single-handed with my thumb, and took two years of fairly regular use before I even thought about sharpening it.

The Leatherman is great to carry on a hike or while fishing.
posted by zennie at 4:59 PM on June 29, 2009

The Opinel. Simple, cheap, unbreakable.
posted by SageLeVoid at 5:48 PM on June 29, 2009 [3 favorites]

The tiny Swiss Army Classic SD. Wee blade, but takes a surprisingly good edge. Cheap. Easily replaced.

If you just want a blade, the Opinel N°06 Carbone is the smallest, carbon steel locking knife in the range. Takes and keeps a wicked edge, ages nicely, cheap as chips.
posted by scruss at 6:01 PM on June 29, 2009

The Opinel is a great choice if you live in a knife-unfriendly jurisdiction. If you're having to explain that you carry a knife to cut up your apple for lunch then an Opinel is a lot more believable than a tactical Tanto.
posted by tim_in_oz at 6:09 PM on June 29, 2009

Pennsylvania sells its surplus knives (ie, from the airports) in medium sized lots on ebay. You can get 10-20 for your price range
posted by shothotbot at 7:01 PM on June 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

My whole family uses the Victorinox Supertinker. It's nice, because we know right where the blades are when we are borrowing someoe else's. I keep mine in my purse, so I borrow DH's sometimes.

Most used items: Scissors. Good for everything from cutting yarn to cutting toenails. Second most useful: the large blade. Then the screwdriver.
I have no need for the small blade though.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:14 PM on June 29, 2009

If you want a variety of functions, I'd get some form of Leatherman. Swiss Army Knives have a wonderful charm and feel nice in the hand, but I have a personal aversion to non-locking blades. I keep a large-ish leatherman in the car whose blades lock nicely, which feels a lot safer for hard work than trusting the Victorinox hinge.

In my pocket, I have a tiny Leatherman Micra for itty-bitty tool needs. For an actual KNIFE, I carry something a bit... larger.

I've had a CRKT M16-13T, and I have a black red-series Benchmade as a backup, but neither of them hold a candle to my Cold Steel Recon 1. Personally, I have the clip-point smooth blade, but that's mostly a matter of personal preference. Cold Steel's knives are built to incredible durability standards, the lockwork is really smooth and strong, and the handle is incredibly grippy. In addition, the blade still flies through cardboard after a few years of use and the teflon coating has held up rather well. The only downsides are that the belt/pocket clip is rather strong, the handle sticks up a bit above the clip, and the knife is on the large side. However, I'll wager that Cold Steel has other knives in their collection that might not be quite so brutish. But if they're made at all like the Recon, they'll be tough and loyal companions.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 7:49 PM on June 29, 2009

Along the same lines as the Opinel is the Okapi (A little over halfway down the page. The company page seems a little unworkinglinessable)

Light, strong, cheap, holds a great edge, non-threatening looking, but, hell, it's a ratchet-knife rudeboy.
posted by Seamus at 7:55 PM on June 29, 2009

I have the CRKT Koji Hara Ichi. I can't find it on their site so here is a link to one I just found. I love it because it is small enough to fit in that small pocket on the front of your jeans. It has a spring release which makes it incredibly easy to open with just one hand. The blade comes to a sharp point so it can be used in lieu of an exacto knife, but the blade is sharp enough (if kept well) to cut through anything I have come across. It has a great feel in your hands, and for $30 bucks, its the best knife I have found for the money. Unfortunately, I think they have been discontinued, but you can still get them at a lot of retailers. I originally got mine at about a year ago, it's held up really well.
posted by MaHaGoN at 8:33 PM on June 29, 2009

Leatherman Juice CS4

Got it as a gift 7 years ago and have carried it every day since
posted by mysterious1der at 8:35 PM on June 29, 2009

I'm pretty old-school, I guess. My knife of choice is a simple Schrade Old-Timer. I always have it with me and it hasn't let me down yet.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 9:58 PM on June 29, 2009

Ken Onion Chive is the best pocket knife I've ever had. It is the awesome. I tell anyone that asks to get one, they always love it. (There's also the Leek if you want bigger, imo Chive is just fine unless you have certain needs.)
posted by [@I][:+:][@I] at 6:57 AM on June 30, 2009

I carry different knives for different occasions. My "everyday" pocket knife is a Victorinox Tinker. Two blades, small and large flathead bottle opener (that actually works), can opener (that actually works), awl and a philips screwdriver that's solid enough to really use. For more "formal" occasions I have a Victorinox Rally which has a small blade, a nail file (having this on hand can win serious points when the need arises). and a small bottle opener. For work, I carry the Victorinox Swisstool which is a hefty block of steel, but has pliers you can actually put some weight behind and tools that you can get out without having to open the pilers, and that you can put back without having to open other tools. I stick to Victorinox, because I've damaged more than one (generally through doing things with it that I shouldn't) and they replaced them no-questions-asked.
posted by Morydd at 8:31 AM on June 30, 2009

but I have a personal aversion to non-locking blades

Victorinox actually makes a fair amount of them now, like the Centurion that I've had my eye on.
posted by Roman Graves at 12:19 PM on June 30, 2009

I carry this knife. I love it. I love the fact that even when it's covered with guts it's not slippy (that's my problem with the Ken Onions), I love the assisted-open feature, I love the serrations, and I love the tanto end. I also love the lifetime warranty.

It's also much cheaper than that at Wal-Mart.

I've used it to strip wires, remove the vital organs from all manner of God's creatures, saltwater fishing...all of it. Highly recommended.
posted by TomMelee at 2:28 PM on June 30, 2009

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