Experts Say These Are The 4 BEST Pocket Knives Of The Year

by | Jun 6, 2018 | Emergency Preparedness, Experts, Headline News | 40 comments

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Over the past weekend, more than 1,000 exhibitors from more than 20 countries around the world congregated in Atlanta, Georgia for the annual BLADE Show. The event culminated on Saturday evening with the Knife of the Year Awards, and here are the best four pocket knives.

The Knife of the Year Awards recognize the best knives of the year, as voted on by more than 200 industry professionals. All entrants in the Knife of the Year competition were judged on a number of factors, including utility, design, creativity, materials, aesthetics, feel, and other traits. Representatives from BLADE ( distributed BLADE Magazine Knife of the Year awards in 13 categories. Two of the awards (Industry Achievement and Publisher’s) went to a retail knife store and a knife-related organization, respectively, for their contributions to the world of knives.

The best four pocket knives won the awards below:

Overall Knife of the Year: Fox Knives SURU

The knife that took home the grand prize is a collaboration between Fox Knives and designer Jesper Voxnaes. According to the duo, the SURU is the first pocket knife to employ a carbon fiber frame-lock, which assists it in reaching an incredibly light 2.04 ounces. The SURU’s steel blade is 2.32 inches long, and all of the hardware is titanium.

American-Made Knife of the Year: Chris Reeve Knives Impinda

Chris Reeve is well-known in the knifemaking world, and his folding Sebenza pocket knife has become a benchmark against which many knives are judged. The Impinda is the manufacturer’s first slip-joint pocket knife. To maintain safety within a non-locking design, Chris Reeve and designer William W. Harsey leverage differential spring pressure so that opening and closing are smooth and safe actions. The Impinda has a 3.12-inch blade, weighs 3.38 ounces and is made of CPM S35VN stainless steel with titanium handles.

Imported Knife of the Year: Spyderco Paysan

Spyderco’s highly-anticipated Paysan is the evolution of the discontinued Peter Rassenti-designed Nirvana. The knife uses an integrated frame lock design and Spyderco’s iconic circular thumb hole, which allows for one-handed opening. The S90V Wharncliffe blade is 3.88 inches long, and the handle is titanium. The Paysan weighs 4.4 ounces.

Best Buy of the Year: CRKT Caligo

CRKT’s Caligo employs a flipper tab and a ball bearing pivot system to create a super-fast opening action. The knife’s plain edge, black oxide finish, and blue accent give it subtle and stealthy good looks to match that speed. The Caligo has a 3.19-inch blade and weighs 3.4 ounces. It represents as much quality as one can hope to find in a $50 pocket knife.

Those are the best pocket knives of 2018, according to experts. See the full list of Knife of the Year Awards here.

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    1. Menzoberranzan

      When I renewed my NRA membership I selected the pocket knife as my gift. It arrived, I opened it and the blade was stamped CHINA!

      • NorthGeorgiaIdiotsCousin

        Hey Cuz what did you think,You was going to pay $35 for dues and they was going to send you a 70 dollar knife?

        • Menzoberranzan

          Something besides made in friggin China, cuz

          • The Deplorable Braveheart

            Menzo, just ignore NGIC. He’s a dickhead, LOL.

            • Menzoberranzan

              Yes BH. This man has no dick.

              • The Deplorable Braveheart

                Menzo, ROTFLMAO! That’s a damn good one, man!

          • Infidel

            NRA would sell you American flags made in China too, just as they are selling our rights away from under us. I was an NRA member for 30 years before I realized their true colors. Fuck the NRA.

        • TharSheBlows

          EXPERTS? Experts are like A-holes, every body has an expert opinion.

          NONE of those knives listed above have any sort of serrated cutting edges and this article is an advertisement only.

          For my EDC every day carry knife, I carry a Bear Grylls folding pocket knife. I have 2 GB folding knives in 2 sizes and a larger strait fixed full tang GB knife and they all have the serrated cutting blade edges.. I also have the sharpening pole file to sharpen the serrated edges at well. I did the research years ago on knives.. And went with this GB Knives set.

          Go see here for the GB review. The ultimate cutting knife. ht tp://

          You will clearly see what I’m talking about.. I use it all the time and most strait edged only will not cut the tougher materials but with the serrated edge it cuts so much faster and more efficient.

          The fixed BG knife also comes with a nice sheath, knife sharpening stone and a fire starting stick and small whistle for signaling. A real survival knife kit all in one About $59 to $69. Wal-Mart sells them. I would definitely put this long strait GB knife in your BOB back pack. And a folding GB pocket knife in your pocket for every day carry. I also put 550 paracord lanyard on the knife with a quick snap clamp so I can secure it to my person if needed and not lose it.

          How much does Mac Get paid to advertise these OK cheap looking knives above as a product review written by some one else who claims to be an expert? WTF is a knife expert??

          • DMONIC

            Bear Grylls? BWAHAHAHAHA! The same douchebag that stays in a 10 star hotel every night when hes supposed to be “roughing” it in the wilderness? You’re a dumbass.

            You want a good, tested knife, try this one.

            http ://

          • Ya'aqov ben Ya'aqov

            Bear Grylls knives are Chinese manufactured. Seriously??? JUNK !!

      • DuckPlucker

        When I noticed the same thing on my “gift”, I put it back in the box and there it remains to this very day, years later.

      • rellik

        Years ago before I became a life member,
        I got a gift of a knife for a donation
        to the NRA.
        I still have it, it was an 3 blade
        “Imperial” made in Ireland.
        Times have changed.

        • Menzoberranzan

          They’ve changed a bunch rellik. I’ve dulled the china steel already and cannot get a good edge back on it. In the drawer it went.

          • The Deplorable Braveheart

            Menzo, your Chinese blade actually lasted awhile? You’re lucky. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve ever seen break on other people. I always knew I was right to stick with the Swiss Army Knife. Keeps a good edge and I’ve never had one break on me. Plus with the other tools on it it’s saved my ass in more than a few situations.

            • NorthGeorgiaIdiotsCousin

              Cuz why would you call me a dickhead, I never said bad things like that about you. You probably think them Swiss Army knives are made in Switzerland don’t you, well they’re made in China too.

              • wanderer

                They are not made in China. Look it up.

    2. Jim in Va.

      I like Benchmade………

      • The Deplorable Braveheart

        Jim, I also have a Benchmade which I keep put up as a spare knife. But my favorite has always been the Swiss Army Knife made by the Wenger Corp. of Switzerland and is still made in Switzerland, NOT China. I’m also something of a knife collector and have some older models of Swiss Army Knives from years past. The quality of their knives has always been the same. Also have a few Gerber fixed-blades. I don’t spend hundreds of dollars on any one single knife.

        • Plan twice, prep once

          Gerber knives when made in Germany were awesome knives. The company was bought by China and production moved to China. I bought only one after the move and it sits in a drawer.

          If you have an original made in Germany Gerber knife, don’t let it go.

          I have one that’s been sharpened so many times the serrated part is almost unrecognizable. (One of the reasons I don’t like serrated blades). A good pocket knife could spend 15 years in my pocket, and it will always be shaving sharp.

          Things in pocket knives I hate:
          ?There is a federal regulation that bans pocket knives that are longer than 2.5 inches from government facilities, so what the “F” gives with so many knife makers making pocket knives that are 2 5/8″ to 2 3/4″ long? I’ve had to shop long and hard to find a quality folder that’s exactly 2 1/2″ long. Is it too much to ask?

          I hate these cute laser cutouts in blades that make knives lighter and sexy looking. They are traps for dirt and junk. More than likely if I stay in a hotel that has a breakfast bar, my pocket knife is my number one choice for slicing my bagel. I want my knife always clean for foods.

          I hate these cute laser cutouts on knife handles that let coins in your pocket jam up a folding knife.

          Locking blades, my pocket knife must always lock open for safety.

          Easy open, I only buy pocket knives that I can open one handed, should I be on a ladder or in a similar situation. Anything else is Dangerous.

          I don’t like serrated blades, I prefer my pocket knives razor sharp and keep it that way. After a couple years of sharpening, serrated blades just look stupid.

          By the way, I still have the Boy Scout knife I got when I was 9. OK, the blade is much smaller, but you can still shave with it…..

          My current daily carry is a made in China “Kershaw” Speedsafe. It meets my requirements.

          As for pocket knives you hate. I put a $29 on sale + 20% off coupon Harbor Freight tire inflator in each of my cars, it came with a canvas carry bag. There’s just a little extra room in that bag. Add a tire gauge, a tire repair kit, a ten pack of extra tire plugs, a BIC lighter, a small flashlight, and one of those pocket knives you don’t like (Don’t forget to sharpen it). It should all fit. What else would you add, I still have a little room.

          The extra tire repair plugs? More than once I’ve seen multiple cars pulled over with multiple flats, due to debris in the road. I carry a ten pack, plus what comes in the kit with the plug insertion tool. How are you going to get home? Watch a YouTube video on using these tire repair kits, it’s easy cheesy. I once had a hole in the sidewall, not repairable. The hole was big it took four plugs doubled over, I drove into the tire place to an irate tire guy that said you can’t do that, it’s dangerous. I chuckled and said it was easier than putting on the spare, now I need a new tire.

          I have a neighbor who bought a car that came with run flat tires that they say can’t be repaired if ever punctured. He got a screw in one, these tires are like $300 each, and they last no longer than regular tires. We put a 99 cent plug in the tire…. a year ago. What’s the worst, the plug pops out and he runs flat? Really? Moral of this story, don’t ever buy a car that comes with run flat tires. You will hate yourself. They are so expensive, not repairable, and basically useless. Really you are talking $1200 for four new run flat tires vs $400 to 500 for four regular tires, and that’s every 20,000 to 30,000 miles.

          Don’t forget to teach your children how to change and repair a tire.

          • Plan twice, prep once

            My daughter went to Italy as part of a college course work. Daddy insisted she pack her German made Gerber pocket knife that I spent two hours sharpening. She was in group housing with five women. They had a kitchen, food, no sharp knife…..

            She was the most popular women there.

            An interesting story. My wife was an IT exec. One woman was entitled to a promotional gift of her choice, due to time served and a promotion, she asked, your husband knows stuff, could he pick out a pocket knife for me? I always wanted a good one. I did.

            Recently, decades later, we reconnected with her, she still has it, it is one of her most treasured things. I sharpened it for her. Aren’t people and pocket knives amazing. Ladies, the moral of the story is step up. Get the tools you need. Be prepared.

    3. Elkhound

      Most people cannot afford 3 out of the four folders listed here..You don’t have to spend $150 and up to get a quality folder..My $50 Cold Steel Voyager Large Tanto (4inch blade) will do ANYTHING these four folders do,not to mention My Cold Steel Voyager has a stronger locking system than any of the four folders listed here..Cold Steel’s Tri-Ad lock is the strongest lock available for folders..Cold Steel also offers folders in The $100 range made from XHP and CPM-S35vn steels,which are powdered steels and have better edge retention compared to non powdered steels.. There’s several brands producing sub $50 folders that are good values; Ontario RAT series in D2 and Aus8 steels..Steel Will brand,Ruike,Real Steel,Bestech,Stedemon,Buck Bantam and Spitfire lines,and even Kershaw and CRKT’s imported 8cr13mov steel folders are decent values..Do some research and you’ll be able to find a folder that suits your needs and not break the bank..

      • Stuart

        I met Lynn Thompson (the owner of Cold Steel) in the mid 1980’s at a knife seminar Cold Steel was hosting at the Soldier of Fortune convention.
        The poor bastard standing next to me who Lynn was murdering in a knife fight turned out to be Robert Duval. Naturally I didn’t have a camera.
        Cold Steel makes excellent products at reasonable prices and warrants them forever. Highly recommended.

    4. rellik

      I quit carrying pocket knives years ago.
      I always carried one as a kid, but other than on airlines, I now carry a Stainless steel Gerber multi tool everywhere and have done so for the last 30 years( 2.25 inch blades).
      I wore one out and they replaced it, they also replace worn out sheaths. I have two sharp strong blades and some other stuff I don’t even know what they do.

      • The Deplorable Braveheart

        Rellik, I’ve got 2 Gerber multi-tools. One I keep in the toolbag in the truck and another I keep at home. They are good and useful but I still use the Swiss Army Knife the most. The knife is just like my wallet; I never go anywhere without it.

        • NorthGeorgiaIdiotsCousin

          Cuz your knife is just like your wallet, broke.

    5. Jethro

      Kershaw Ken Onion Leek.

      9/10 popcorn bags imo.

    6. Silverbuck

      Ordered a second K-Bar from Amazon and a second box arrived that contained a SOG Seal Pup for Zip $ . Now I’m testing an Ontario Kukri , whole lotta blade for under $50 . I do have a folder or two , that’s my free knife story .

    7. Slap Happy

      Those all look like nice knives and I sure I would appreciate them all.

      Never-the-less, I will stick with my Buck knives. I stop in @ their factory when they do their sales (twice a year). I still have the one I bought 40+ years ago.

    8. Bigbluedrew

      I’ll stick with my spring assisted Kershaw, indestructible knife.

    9. bran

      Only one of these is any good in UK where a knife with over a 3″ blade is illegal to carry.

      • Infidel

        Yeah as if the criminal thugs and punks always abide by that dumb law, a law written by lawmakers who are protected by guns? Don’t bring a 2.5″ knife to a 5″ knife fight.

    10. Ya'aqov ben Ya'aqov

      Think I’ll stick with one my vintage Case XX folders! Or perhaps one of my vintage USA Browning folders, or maybe my vintage USA Kabar folder. Any one of ’em would be infinitely superior & preferable to the overpriced crap being peddled above.

    11. JRS

      I have one of them Eyetalian FOX knives. OK but I prefer good old USA vintage carbon steel slip joints for everyday utility and pocket carry.

    12. Elkhound

      Contrary to popular belief China produces several good knives but it all comes down to how much $$$ the knife brand is willing to spend to have their knives made..There’s several respectable brands that have many of their knives made in either China or Taiwan..Several of Spyderco’s knives,and the overwhelming majority of Cold Steel knives are made in Taiwan..It doesn’t matter where the knife is made,what actually matters is the heat treatment/temper,and blade/edge geometry the knife receives..If a knife doesn’t receive the proper heat treatment/temper,and doesn’t have the correct edge/blade geometry,it’s not going to perform like it should..Those cheap,flea market and gas station knives often received a poor heat treatment/temper,or no heat treatment at all, and thus many people believe that all knives made in China or Taiwan are the same which is totally false..Check out some of these Chinese brands and you’ll have a whole new attitude towards knives made in China…Ruike knives..Steel Will knives..Kizer knives..Bestech knives..Byrd knives by Spyderco..Stedemon knives..Real Steel knives..Those are just a few of the brands that produce their knives in China and their quality rivals the majority of US made knives of similar prices..

      • Ya'aqov ben Ya'aqov

        Knives manufactured in Taiwan are vastly superior to knives manufactured in China (but that is also true with most products). As a general rule knives manufactured in Taiwan are very comparable to knives made in Japan, Germany or USA.

        Can there be found quality knives manufactured in China? Yes, however it’s the exception to the rule. Whereas quality is the general rule when it comes to knives manufactured in Taiwan.

        It is basic consumer ignorance that causes buyers to conflate Taiwan made products in general & knives in particular with Chinese made products & knives.

      • Plan twice, prep once

        Bingo, it’s all about $$$$$

        You get what you pay for, buyer beware.

      • Bob Davis

        I just got a Real Steel Megalodon Eclipse folder made in China.The blade steel is M390.It has a titanium frame lock and carbon fiber front scale.It is a flipper with ceramic bearings and a 4 inch blade with a titanium pocket clip.The action is silky smooth.Price was $165.Weight is 3.7 ounces.It has become my favorite edc.The quality on Chinese knives has come a long way in the last few years.I prefer USA made but I could not resist this one after seeing some rave reviews.

    13. Ya'aqov ben Ya'aqov

      Chinese knives will never have any collectable value (ok never is a long time – not in our lifetime) because serious collectors regard them as landfill fodder. And rightly so! The perception of them being junk is well deserved. And that perception will take generations to change even if they immediately began making a conscious effort to inject quality into their products.

    14. AckAck

      Kershaw always seems to screw up somwhere in thier knife designs, IMO.
      ESEE makes some great folders.
      And a Spyderco Caly absolutely kicks ass for an EDC.
      I don’t carry cheap knives anymore, life’s gettin’ too short.

      My $.02

    15. Son of patriot

      My EDC is a Buck Selkirk folder, 420 HC, 4″ blade, Micarta scales. It’s Chinese made, but to Buck’s specs. It’s as good as any of their blades made in the USA. I paid $60 at bass pro, but if you want to pay $400 for an exact same knife but made by Zero Tolerance or Spyderco, knock yourself out. I’ll use the savings to improve my property or pay off bills.

      The Selkirk is razor sharp and the frame lock doesn’t bend away with use, like a lot of frame locks do. It’s also easier to keep clean than some knives I’ve owned. I use it for everything, from cutting apples and fruit to potential self defense.

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