The Best Folding Knives

The best folding knife should be sturdy, sharp, and easy to carry. It is important that the knife remain opened until the user, himself, closes it, as accidental closing during use can be dangerous. There are several different brands that feature their own safety system to prevent accidental closing.

sog ae04 cold steel recon 1 kershaw blur 2
Name AE-04 Recon 1 Blur
Brand SOG Cold Steel Kershaw
Handle DigiGrip Grooved Aluminum
Spine SAT 6061 SpeedSafe
Guard Great Great Great
Blade AUS 8A AUS 8A S30V
MSRP $110.00 $119.99  $139.95
Amazon $59.99 $61.10 $75.99 
Rating 3star  5star  4star

What to Look for In a Folding Knife

Handle

Any folding knife should have a good grip. “Grip” refers not only to the shape of the knife when it is opened, but to the size and texture, as well. In many applications, the knife will become wet during use. Without a solid grip, the knife will slip in the hands of the user. It may also twist, causing grievous injury. The size of the handle, therefore, is important, as well as the texture. A person with big hands should be careful to look for a knife that is wide enough to wrap his fingers around, providing proper grip surface. Many folding knives are equipped with a textured surface or rubberized insets. This will keep the handle steady in the hands of the user. Some handles have finger grooves for added security. However, some users find that this feature causes the knife, when folded, to “hang up” on their pants pockets when they try to put the knife away.

Spine

The spine of any folding knife must be strong enough to withstand extreme use by the owner. Torque can occur in just about every situation, and a spine that snaps will cause dramatic failure of the knife.

Pommel

The pommel of a folding knife is the butt of the knife that extends behind the hand during knife use. On shorter knives, the pommel may rest in the hand itself. The pommel is important for knife control in that, if the user is pulling the knife out of an object it has been stuck into, it will keep the hand from slipping off of the back of the knife. The pommel should be well attached and of sturdy material, as users often use it to hammer such things as tent pegs.

Guard

The guard is just as important, if not more so, than the pommel, in protecting the user’s hand, The shape of the guard will keep the user’s hand from sliding forward onto the blade during use. This is especially crucial in wet conditions, such as when fishing or skinning game, when the knife may be covered in blood.

Blade

The blade is equally important, and should be made of a material that will withstand the user’s particular needs. Knifes that will be expose to constantly moist or wet conditions should be rust-resistant, while those used by mechanics and electricians should be corrosion resistant. The angle and type of blade edge is worthy of consideration, too, because this may affect the usability of the blade.

Tang

The tang of the blade is the part of the blade that extends into the handle.  A threaded tang will grip the material in the pommel more securely, and prevent the pommel from coming loose under heavy use.

Reviews

With these features in mind, let’s look at three models, and see which one will be the best folding knife.

Kershaw S30V Blur Knife

Click on image for more photos.

Click on image for more photos.

The Kershaw Blur Knife is a folding knife that has an anodized aluminum handle. This makes it lightweight, yet strong, resisting torque. The Trac-Tec inserts are a patented method of providing texture so that the knife doesn’t slip in your hands, even when they are covered with water or blood.

The Blur features the patented SpeedSafe opening and closing system, as well. It is not a switchblade, but the user can open the knife one-handed. It is not push-button operated , but a torsion bar is pushed with the thumb, releasing the blade, which the user can then snap into place with a flick of the wrist.

The construction of the handle is wider in the middle, where the palm will hold it, then narrower where the knuckle and thumb will grip, with a swell where the guard would be. While this is not an actual guard, the swell should keep the hand from slipping up onto the blade during use.

The blade of the Blur is 13C26 stainless steel, which means it is corrosion resistant. The S30V distinction means that the blade is hard without being brittle, yet easily sharpened.

The vast majority of people who bought this knife gave it a 5 of 5 star rating. They say that the blade movement has never locked, and the grip fits well in the hand. The 30v blade has remained very sharp, and the assisted opening is very consistent and safe. Once the blade is opened, there is no play or wiggle. Click here to read more about the Kershaw Blur.

Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife With G-10 Handle Clip Point and Black Blade

This knife is raved about by knife enthusiasts.

This knife is raved about by knife enthusiasts.

Cold Steel says that the Recon 1 is over-engineered to make it the toughest knife on the market. The handle of the Recon 1 is made of G-10 laminate scales, providing a strong handle that won’t shatter under use. The handle is textured to reduce the danger of slipping, and the handle is molded with finger grooves for the first two fingers.

There is also a finger guard to keep the fingers from sliding forward onto the blade, and a series of ridges behind the shoulder of the blade to increase thumb grip.

The blade of the Recon 1 is made of Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel. It was heat treated in a vacuum, then submersed in sub-zero temperatures, to get a hard, sharp blade. It is then coated with black Teflon. This keeps the blade from rusting, and keeps it from being reflective. The Teflon also makes the blade very fast, able to slide through the toughest of materials with little friction.

The blade has a thumb disk on each side, providing easy ambidextrous opening. It is not a switch blade.

Almost all of the consumers who purchased this knife gave it 5 stars out of 5. They say that the knife is tough, durable, sharp, and very “cool” looking. Critics said that the Teflon wore off. Users say that it is easy to open one-handed, and that the grip is solid, even in wet conditions. Read the reviews here.

SOG Specialty Knives & Tools AE-04 Aegis Knife, Serrated Blade TiNi

SOG is a great American brand.

SOG is a great American brand.

The SOG Aegis features the patented DigiGrip handle. The handle has rubber inserts that are tacky, preventing the knife from twisting in the hands of the user. He handle itself is made of Zytel, which is compound that contains glass. This makes the handle lightweight, and resistant to impact and abrasion, as well. The handle is designed to fit the palm without slipping, and has a thumb grip for extra control. However, there is no finger guard.

The blade of the Aegis is treated with SOG’s cryogenic heat process. This is intended to increase toughness, and make the blade more durable. During this process, the blade is frozen cryogenically, then gradually brought up to room temperature. This atomically re-aligns the molecules, producing a hard metal that will keep its edge.

Opening the Aegis is aided by the patented use of the S.A.T. technology. High-tension coil springs pop the blade into position, once the user levers it open. It features ambidextrous opening. In addition, the blade has a safety, so that it cannot be accidentally opened.

Consumers who purchased this knife report an almost unison 5 star rating out of 5. They say that the blade is very sharp, and retains its sharpness very well. Although the blade is very strong, it is not heavy. The balance of the knife receives good reviews. Customers also like the textured grip.

The locking mechanism of the knife is very strong, and the spring-loaded opening is strong, as well. About the only problem reported with this knife is the force of opening, which could jolt the knife out of the hand of a person not expecting the force. Read more about the AE-04.

Recommendations

In view of the characteristic of a good folding knife, it appears that the Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife With G-10 Handle Clip Point and Black Blade is the best knife of the three listed here. It has all of the qualities of a safe and dependable folding knife, with finger grips, finger guards, ambidextrous opening, and a strong spine. The blade is exceptionally strong, yet retains its edge beyond what a regular knife normally does. Even if the Teflon wears off, this is still the best knife for the money.

Comments

  1. Been looking into buying a gun and gun information is abundant. I own a few knives (maybe15) but I have been buying and using knives without research. Time to fix that.

  2. I agree, of the 3 I would also choose the Recon 1. However, I’d probably choose the Mini-Recon 1 with a spear point. I find the Recon 1 to big for an EDC, the mini has a 1″ shorter blade and almost 2oz lighter. Good stuff nonetheless, thank you…

    1. aww, the Recon 1 isn’t too big! I carry the CS Spartan and it is way heavier and bigger, and it is still very comfortable!
      so you’ll appreciate the extra blade length in the regular Recon 1.

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