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Pocket Knives - Reviews & Guides For 2020

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Pocket Knives buying guide

From peeling fruit to cutting thick ropes, pocket knives come in handy no matter what situation you face in the wilderness.

The tool is quite versatile and can help you in dealing with different challenging situations. So, you must carry a suitable knife when going into the wild.

With a wide range of knives all around, picking up the appropriate one is challenging. While the heart says one thing, the brain contradicts, and we end up buying the unwanted one.

To finish this ongoing battle, a buying guide is necessary. This guide will ease your task and give some relief to your tired eyes and soul. Besides looking for the benefits, also focus on the essential features that you should look for while investing in them.

Without wasting any time, let's see what unknown treasures lie in a pocket knife.

What do you mean by Pocket Knives? Why do you need them?

The first human being invented sharp tools before he discovered how the fire was ignited. Do you know why?

While the food was his immediate need, animal flesh and fruits were the only energy sources. The question now was how to cut the meat? Hence, sharp tools were made, giving birth to knives.

A pocket knife is similar to an ordinary kitchen knife. The difference lies in its shape and its ability to fold.

The foldable characteristic makes it easier for the knife to be carried along. It does not occupy too much space and is always within reach.

With a tiny build, this knife is used for many purposes. You will find it convenient to use a pocket knife to open any sealed bag or envelope.

You can also use it to sharpen up your blunt pencil, cut the price tag of your newly purchased clothing, etc.

Not only in the house, but it also finds its way on outdoor trips. Even while you face space crunch while traveling, you won't be bothered to carry a small knife with you.

You can use it to cut down your food into manageable chunks, divide the adhesive tapes, cut the ropes, etc. With a sharp knife around, you can face every challenge fearlessly and protect yourself.

Types and Uses of Pocket Knives

Before purchasing any pocket knife, you should be aware of the different types of blades and their specific uses. To make things easier for you, the different types of blades with their benefits are listed below.

  1. Clip point

The knife with a clip point blade is very commonly used these days. This blade works efficiently because of its sharp tip acquired by the concave shape of its back edge. This type of blade is ideal for hunting and piercing the tough skin of animals.

  1. Drop point

This blade can serve many purposes. The blade near the handle is wide and tends to narrow down to form a sharp and pointy tip. You will find that the knives designed for survival activities have drop-point blades.

This blade pierces through any object. It also helps in skinning. It provides control in movement, preventing you from hitting the internal organs of any animal.

  1. Straight-back blade

This type of blade derives its name from the straight back edge design that it has. This is the regular shape that we see in our kitchen knives also. This blade is a multi-purpose blade. You can use it for everything, be it chopping, slicing, etc.

  1. Needle-point

Needle-point blades are not very common. These, unlike other knives, have sharp edges on both sides. This tapered shape enables you to pierce anything with great precision. If not for slicing or any other regular use, this blade is excellent for safety knives.

  1. Spear-point

The Spear-point blade has a very sharp tip and pierces any object with great ease. The design does not require too much pressure to do the work. It is very efficient for piercing, but a little bit of slicing can be done using it.

  1. Tanto-point

This blade has a unique shape similar to that of a chisel. It is firm and offers ease to use. Tanto-point is ideal for making deep cuts and piercing through very robust materials.

  1. Sheepsfoot

If you are afraid of using a knife, you can always rely on a sheepsfoot blade. This blade has a straight cutting edge with relatively less sharpness. It is used for cutting and slicing with very few chances of harming yourself.

  1. Trailing blade

A trailing blade has a deep belly and a curvy back that faces up. This design makes your blade and knife very lightweight. You can assure your safety because this blade has a fragile tip. It is ideal for removing the skin and slicing an object.

  1. Pen blade

The pen blade is tiny in size compared to all others. The swiss army knives use this type of blade. This blade is used for small purposes like sharpening a pencil etc.

  1. Wharncliffe blade

The blade is thick and has a design like a sheepsfoot blade. The curvature starts near the handle of the knife. This blade is used for purposes like carving wood into different shapes and other cutting tasks.

  1. Hawkbill blade

This blade has sharpness on one edge only, and this edge has a concave design. The design is inspired by the shape of the hawk's bill. It is primarily used for opening wooden crates and boxes, cutting any wire or cord, etc.

Different Models of Pocket Knives

After the introduction of the pocket knife to the world, everyone desired to own one. The portability, multiple uses, and comfort were standard features that helped these knives gain popularity in a short span.

Back then, in the initial days, pocket knives had a basic design. Now, due to the want of something new, excellent designs have come into circulation. Let's see some of them here.

  1. Barlow knife

This knife has a long handle within which are two blades. The handle offers excellent support to the user.

  1. Congress knife

This knife has a handle that has a concave or a straight back with a bulging out belly. Four different blades consisting of the pen, sheepsfoot, spear point, and coping blade are there.

  1. Canoe knife

This knife has a design similar to a canoe and hence the name. This knife either has two spear point blades or a spear point blade accompanied with a pen blade.

  1. Elephant's toenail knife

This knife has a handle just like the wide toenails of an elephant. This wide handle houses two wide blades like a spear point and a pen blade.

  1. Stockman knife

A classy body housing three blades is none other than a stockman knife. This knife is lightweight and can be carried easily. The combination of blades includes a clip point, spey, and sheepsfoot blade.

  1. Trapper

A trapper knife has a large body with two blades in it. The blades share the same opening, unlike others. Clip point and Spey blades are used.


Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Pocket Knives

Knife Edges

The first pocket knife featured only a plain edge. With the advancement of technology and the need to fulfill different requirements, the edge designs were regulated.

Listed below are some upgraded designs of knife edges along with the plain design. All the types of edges have their pros and cons. Depending on your needs and intention, you can opt for any one of them.

  1. Plain edge

A knife with a plain edge enables you to make precise clean cuts at the same place. With the ease of sharpening, the reliance on the factories ends. This is an ideal knife to perform push cuts.

Cons
  1. You cannot use it to make pull cuts like on the ropes etc.
  2. This knife is ineffective if you want it to use for slicing objects like fruits etc.
  1. Fully serrated edge

The abilities that a plain edge lacks are all incorporated in a fully serrated edge. This type of edge design is appropriate to cut rigid objects. Serrations increase the surface area that, in turn, increases the pressure exerted. These cut more efficiently than the ones with a plain edge.

Cons
  1. The cuts are not clean.
  2. These edges are more difficult to sharpen than the plain edges.

  1. Partially serrated or combo edge

The knives with combo edges are more popular. This type of edge design allows you to carry out every kind of cutting style. These cater to the majority of your needs and are very efficient.

The cutting edge is divided into two halves: one half having a plain edge and a serrated design on the other

Cons
  1. This type of edge poses difficulties to sharpen because of the serrations.
  2. The placement of the two edges restricts the knife for usage regarding some tasks.

Blade Length

Pocket knives feature blade lengths starting from 2 inches to 8 inches. This difference plays a significant role. Before you make a purchase, you must focus on the blade's length.

  1. Small blades (under 2 inches)

A short blade length serves various needs. The small size enables portability. Also, large knives are not allowed in many places.

Having a short knife does not violate the rule, and you can easily carry them wherever you go. You can use them indoors for cutting cords or wires or opening letters or boxes.

Cons
  1. If you opt for a small blade, you are likely to get hold of a slip joint knife.
  2. Short blades are not durable and tend to break soon.
  1. Medium blades (2-4 inches)

You will find that the majority of the knives have medium blades in them. These blades are neither too large for being carried nor too small to face challenging tasks.

Knives with moderate blades have lock mechanisms that make it easier for you to fold them when not in use. These blades are an all-rounder and used for multiple tasks.

Cons
  1. The knife law of some countries does not allow any blade bigger than 2.75 inches. So, a moderate blade may be thrown away if you are not cautious about that country's rule.
  1. Large blades (more than 4 inches)

These blades have a more threatening appearance and are thus used for self-defense.

Cons
  1. These cannot be used to carry out everyday tasks.
  2. These are quite heavy.
  3. Large blades violate the rules of many countries and are not used very frequently.

Number of blades

While additional blades in your pocket knives are beneficial, sometimes they are not at all required. This is a personal preference. Confused? Have a look at the sections below to have a better understanding.

  1. Single blade

A knife with a single blade is an excellent option if you want a lightweight knife that caters to your needs. It is made strong and durable to make it capable enough to carry out every task.

The unique design and the simplicity of the blade are the attractive features. This knife comes in various forms. Due to the locking mechanism that these have, your knife gains strength.

Spring is loaded inside the body that pops out the blade in no time. Thus, making it easier for you to use your knife even in times of emergencies.

  1. Multi-blade

With access to a multiple blade pocket knife, you get the liberty to carry out many different tasks with one knife. The maximum number of blades that these knives can accommodate is four.

To eliminate the last moment of panicking and ensure safety, opting for a multi-blade knife is smarter. You can use it for slicing, piercing, carving, and lots of other purposes.

Though you get the ease to carry out multiple tasks, you will have to compromise with your knife's strength and durability.

  1. Swiss army knives and multi-tools

What would be your reaction if you got many different tools in a small knife? Surprised? You will be much more surprised after knowing the features of a swiss army knife.

A soldier is always on the move and cannot carry everything in just a small bag. This was why swiss army knives were invented. These knives are not only equipped with blades but also with many tools like a magnifying glass, scissors, corkscrews, can openers, and many more.

These knives gained popularity overnight and became the most beloved knives of every person.

You get everything in just one knife. It is effortless to carry, and every single tool is within your reach.

Now that you have seen the different advantages of using other blades search for your preferred variant and opt for the best one.

Knife Steel

Your blade's steel makes a huge difference. Hence, focusing more on it instead of any other feature is the key to get hold of the best pocket knife.

There are five critical aspects that you should consider to opt for the perfect pocket knives' blade steel.

  1. Intended use

The primary purpose behind using your knife affects your blade's steel. If you intend to use your knife for cutting tough materials, opt for blades made of strong alloys that are wear-resistant.

  1. Blade geometry

A thick blade cuts more accurately than the thinner one. It is more durable and robust. Look for a blade that is made using thick steel.

  1. Edge geometry

Different types of steel alloys work differently. Before you select your blade, check the angle at which it works and then pick the one you prefer.

  1. Corrosion resistance

Stainless steel is the best option when blades are concerned. These do not get corroded easily and last long.

  1. Carbon and tool steels

If your blade's corrosion doesn't bother you, then opt for different steel for a change. There are many options to choose from, and the most preferred ones are the carbon and tool steels.

Handle Materials

Pocket knives have to be strong, durable, and comfortable. To make them that way, using the best materials is very important. To increase their lifespan and performance, these knives are made from the best materials. These are listed below.

  1. Aluminum

Aluminum is a very lightweight material. This is an ideal material to withstand harsh conditions. Handles made out of aluminum offer a comfortable grip.

  1. Celluloid

Celluloid is a synthetic material. This material is excellent because it can be changed into any natural color. Your handle can be camouflaged into ivory, tortoiseshell, pearl, etc. this ability of the celluloid gives your handle a very natural appearance.

  1. Bone

The handle of some knives is made using the bone of a giraffe or any other animal. The bone of any animal is solid, and this characteristic is imparted into your handle as well.

  1. Wood

Wood is also very comfortable to hold and is very durable. Being a natural material, it can withstand a lot of pressure and lasts long.

  1. G-10 or fiberglass

This is a very lightweight material and highly durable. Fiberglass is water-resistant and ideal to use in bad weather.

  1. Titanium

Known for their corrosion-resistant ability, the handles made out of titanium are very lightweight and extremely durable.

  1. Stainless steel

Stainless steel is highly corrosion-resistant and durable. Steel is quite heavier than any other material but is the best material for a knife's handle.

  1. Rubber

A rubber handle offers an excellent grip and holds no risk of getting corroded. The only drawback of using rubber is that you have to compromise with the handle's durability.

Locking Mechanisms

Your pocket knife's locking mechanism keeps the blade of your knife at the place when in use. Having a proper and firm lock ensures that the blade doesn't get closed by itself and hurts your fingers.

The different types of lock mechanisms in pocket knives are listed below. Depending on your preference and ease, choose the one that matches you well.

  1. Liner lock and frame lock

This is the most effortless locking mechanism found in any knife. You can effortlessly lock the blade. A liner on the knife's handle is the backbone of any liner lock.

In contrast, the frame lock uses the whole handle to lock the blade. Just open the blade of your knife and use your manual force to lock the blade in place using the bottom's tip.

  1. Slip joint

This locking mechanism is found in traditional knives. A tiny spring keeps the entire blade at its designated position. A slight push and the blade rests at its place inside the handle.

  1. Lockback and mid lock

A small button is present on the edge of your knife's handle. This button is present at the back end of a Lockback mechanism and in the middle of a knife with a mid lock mechanism.

This hook, when pressed, opens the blade. This system is quite similar to the knives that the robbers use in the movies!

  1. Ring lock

A knife with a ring lock mechanism is relatively cheap and easy to use. By just turning a ring, you can unlock the blade and use it.

  1. Lever lock

This mechanism uses a pin to lock the blade in place. A tiny hole is drilled at the bottom of the blade. When it is opened, this pin is inserted in the hole hence preventing the blade from locking on its own.

Opening Mechanisms

While locking the blade is essential, opening it correctly is another challenge. A blade should respond quickly, especially in emergencies. To ensure that you are getting hold of a good knife, have a look at the various mechanisms described below and opt for the one that suits you.

  1. Manual-opening

Since the advent of pocket knives, hands have been the primary method of opening a pocket knife. You can either use your nail or your thumb to grab the blade and pull it out.

  1. Automatic

A switch or a button is engaged to open the blade. You just have to push it, and your blade opens with a snap. This mechanism is speedy.

  1. Assisted opening

This is a new mechanism and very popular these days. Like an automatic mechanism, you need to apply some pressure on an internal device engaged in opening the blade. The application of force is the critical difference between an automatic and an assisted opening mechanism.

Price

Price is the primary factor to consider when purchasing a knife. Pocket knives range between $1 to $250. The critical aspect behind this wide range is majorly the material used. The more expensive the material, the more expensive your knife will be.

Not only does the material, but the quality also matters. There are chances that you might get a high-quality knife at a cheaper range.

Many retailers can fool you by making baseless claims, but you should not follow their words. Look for the best material and high-quality knife at an affordable price. Ensure that your knife doesn't compromise with the safety.

FAQs

1. Can you carry a knife on the plane?

No, the planes do not allow you to carry any sharp object with you. If you carry it, your knife will not pass security, and they will confiscate it.

2. Which is the best material for pocket knives?

Carbon steel and Stainless steel are considered to be the best materials owing to their high durability, sharpness, and sturdiness.

3. What is the best knife for whittling?

The pocket knives with extra-sharp blades are best-suited for whittling. Also, the blade must be thin to perform the precision work efficiently.

Final verdict

Pocket knives are like your best pal that will save your day no matter the situation. All you need is to select the best product.

Here in this guide, you will find all the critical pointers that will aid you in funneling down the best product. Sift them carefully and choose an ultimate knife for your trip.

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