The Best Pocket Knives of 2021
A quality pocketknife can be one of the handiest tools in day-to-day life. Compact and lightweight yet equipped with a sharp blade and sometimes other useful tools, they can come in handy in just about any situation. Cutting boxes and unwieldy packaging open, removing loose threads and cutting food when away from the kitchen are some such uses for a pocketknife that you might deal with every day. If you work in the military or the police, live on a farm or lead an outdoorsy lifestyle, pocketknives become even more useful for everyday use.
However, even something as simple as a pocketknife has many intricacies and specifications that make searching for one as a beginner a difficult task. In bringing you this list of the best rated folding blades in Canada, we were determined to have a knife for anyone, whether they know their knives or are new to this item, or are looking for an EDC knife (Every Day Carry) or something to have around just in case.
Below, you will find our choices for the best pocketknife in Canada for you.
Our top picks
How to choose a pocket knife
There are a surprising number of variations between different makes and models in pocketknives. If you are not sure where to start when looking for a knife, here are some important factors to consider along the way:
- Sharpness: It is no surprise to anyone that one of the most important aspects of any knife is its sharpness. Sharp blades are much safer than dull ones, as they require less force and cut cleaner than a dull counterpart. But consider how long a knife will stay sharp and how often it will need to be sharpened too, as these are important qualities for the life of your blade. After all, what is the use of a sharp knife that gets dull after just one use?
- Size & Shape: A pocketknife is designed to fit in your pocket, so it should be pocket-sized after all. But the right pocketknife for you is one that fits your hand perfectly and has the right amount of weight to it. While knowing this might be difficult for first-time users, almost all knives will have these specifications easily accessible so you can shop around for the right knife for you.
- Versatility: While not everybody needs a knife, many people will find the multi-purpose Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman Wingman useful for the full range of tools they incorporate into your product. It is recommended that you think about what you need most in a multi-tool when you search the web for one.
Why trust us
With so many things to think about before settling on a knife, and so many pocketknives on the market, it might be difficult to find the one that suits your needs perfectly. It was our goal in the creation of this list that anyone could find a knife that they would find useful, regardless of lifestyle or price.
Our team spent over 16 hours researching and compiling good pocketknives in Canada to help take out the hassle of searching for the right pocketknife for you. We prioritized pocketknives with a 4+ star average on online retailers and used verified user reviews and guides from trusted sites like the NY Times and Popular Mechanics to find the best knives available for Canadians.
Best pocketknife overall
Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556
The Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556 is also the best easy open pocketknife
Benchmade has established itself as one of the leaders in pocketknives. If you are looking for a compact EDC knife that can handle whatever is thrown at it and still stays sharp, users think it is worth the extra money to spring for a Benchmade.
The Mini Griptilian comes in at 17 cm, with a blade a little over 7 cm, and a weight a little over 70 grams, meaning it a perfect size for an EDC. The blade is constructed from a high-quality 154CM stainless-steel, that gets super sharp, holds its edge well and is easily sharpened if you know how. The drop point blade opens super easily, even single-handedly. Benchmade offers two versions of the Mini Griptilian: one with a smooth blade edge, and another with a half-serrated blade edge, so you can choose which blade will suit your lifestyle better.
The ambidextrous handle is made from glass-filled nylon for superior grip and durability. The Axis locking system ensures your blade stays where it is meant to be and opens and closes easily. Reading through
the specs and users reviews, it is very clear that Benchmade is so revered for the overall thought and quality they put into every aspect of their knives.
Overall, people have little bad to say about the Mini Griptilian, as it has quality materials, a sharp blade, an ergonomic handle, and overall excellent build quality. While the Benchmade has a higher price tag than most other comparable knives, users seem perfectly happy shelling out the money for a quality knife that will last them.
- Solid build construction.
- Stainless steel blade.
Best swiss army knife
Victorinox Evolution 11
A classic red Swiss Army Knife from Victorinox might be the first thing that jumps into your head when you hear the term “pocketknife”. If you are looking for a multitool with a legacy of build-quality and functionality, we recommend the Victorinox Evolution 11.
In addition to the 6cm stainless steel blade, the Evolution 11 also is equipped with a nail file, wire stripper, can opener, cap lifter, reamer, tweezers, a toothpick and 3 different screwdriver heads. With the functionality the Evolution 11 provides in it’s small 85mm profile, it’s really no wonder why the Swiss Army knife has become the standard of pocket knives and multitools alike.
Users were overall very happy with the quality and utility of the Evolution 11, many citing the multitude of tools it provides in its sleek shape as the main reason they were content with their purchase. However, many users mistook the nail file on the picture to be a second smaller knife blade, which frustrated some users.
While there are more advanced Swiss Army Knives available, we liked the combined versatility, size and price of the Evolution 11. If you’re in need of a quality blade, we recommend considering other knives, as the Victorinox blade is not going to keep up with that of higher quality knives. However, we feel any Canadian could find a use for this Swiss Army Knife in their day to day life.
- 13 different functions.
- Legacy of good build quality.
- Solidly affordable.
- Only one knife blade.
- Each tool has limited functionality.
Best multitool pocket knife
Sometimes, a typical pocketknife multitool will not be able to do the job. If you find yourself in need of something much more versatile and heavy-duty than your typical pocketknife, then the Leatherman Wingman is our recommendation. More than just a pocketknife, this 14-in-one multitool is sure to get the job done.
Some of the tools included in the Wingman are a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, a wire stripper, scissors, a package opener, bottle and can openers, a file and a ruler – all of which are easily accessible with only one hand. The 420HC combo knife of the Wingman is easily accessible due to its blade-out design, making it more convenient than the other multitools offered by Leatherman. The pliers, wire cutters and scissors are all spring action for ease of use. While the knife and scissors lock in place, none of the other tools on the Wingman lock, which reduces the utility of the screwdrivers, for example.
Users found the overall multi-tool very convenient and effective, with users getting different mileage from each tool. The knife and can opener get consistently solid marks, but the scissors, wire cutter and plier tools receive mixed grades for the ergonomics of each. Users are happy with the build quality, which Leatherman has maintained for years.
- 14-in-1 (extreme versatility.)
- Easily accessible knife.
- Spring action tools improve ease of use.
- Some of the individual tools are not as ergonomic as they like.
- Only the knife and scissors lock.
Best EDC Knife under $50
Opinel NO. 8 Carbon Steel
I recently went camping with an Opinel that my parents had bought me as my first pocketknife years ago. Surprisingly, after a childhood’s worth of use, the knife still proved sharp and durable. If you are looking at a knife with a timeless design and a long lifespan, the Opinel is a solid and affordable option.
Opinel was founded in 1890 in the French alps, and over the years, nothing much has changed. Quality was the name of the game then and still is now, with quality components used throughout the knife. This Opinel knife features a Carbon Steel blade with a flat grind that is over 8 cm long. The collar lock on the device is simple and effective, holding the blade tightly in place and requires effort to activate. When the blade is extended, the collar locks back in place for added rigidity. The handle is made from beech wood, which is both light and comfortably fits in your hands.
Users find the Carbon steel blade both sharp, durable and easy to sharpen. Many users are impressed with how long the blade stays sharp, and how easy they cut. If you find yourself in need of a solid knife, the Opinel provides that with both a comfortable weight and comfortable toll on your wallet.
- Quality blade that keeps sharp.
- It requires two hands to open.
- Moisture is this knife’s enemy.
Best small pocketknife
Buck 382 Trapper (35-49)
If you want a versatile knife with a classic design, the Buck 382 Trapper is a unique pocketknife with two blades that give this knife a range of versatility unseen in single blade knives.
Trapper knives are a type of knife that was commonly used by trappers, surprise surprise. Trapper knives often have two different blades: a narrow clip blade with a very sharp end that was used for piercing and skinning hides, and a long spey blade with a blunt end that was designed for slicing. While the original purposes are outdated, trapper knives are still useful tools with two distinct blades. The Buck 382 Trapper has both knives constructed out of 420J2 stainless steel for resistance to corrosion and rust.
The woodgrain handle with nickel silver bolsters and stainless-steel slip-joint looks classic and elegant. At only 2.35 oz, this a small, lightweight pocketknife with plenty of utility that you can always keep on your person.
Users seemed to be happy with the overall quality of the build and blade of this knife. Some users found that out of the box, the blades were difficult to deploy due to the tightness of the joint, but should loosen up with use. Overall, the 382 Trapper is a solid knife by Buck for many everyday applications, all in a small, lightweight body.
- Two knife blades in one knife.
- Blades may be difficult to deploy at first.
Best EDC under $100
Kershaw Shuffle II
The Kershaw Shuffle II is also our choice for the best pocketknife with a bottle opener
If you are looking for an ergonomic and truly pocket-sized knife, the Kershaw Shuffle II is an excellent choice. Due to its size and additional hidden utilities, we believe this knife is the best EDC for its price range – just missing the $50 cut-off!
The heat-treated 8Cr13MoV steel blade gives the blade edge retention, durability and sharpness. The tanto blade itself is 6.6 cm long, putting it on the shorter side of things. The Shuffle II also is a convenient multi-tool, with a screwdriver head and bottle opener advertised. While it will not replace a swiss army knife in utility, the quality of the blade combined with these tools makes it a very appropriate EDC.
The blade locks with a liner locking system. Dual thumb studs allow for ambidextrous one-handed opening. The handle is glass-filled nylon for a solid grip in most instances.
Users found the knife sturdy, solid and light at the same time. Users were mixed on the size: this is a small knife after all, so users with bigger hands found opening this knife on the difficult side on things, but due to its small size it is easy to carry while big enough to get a grip on the knife.
- Quality 6cm blade that stays sharp.
- Affordable price.
- Screwdriver and bottle opener included.
- Not ideal for big hands.
Best large pocketknife
Gerber Gator poin
If you are in the military, police, or an avid outdoorsman, the perfect knife for you should perform its best whatever the conditions throw at it. If you are looking for a quality knife that can handle whatever is thrown at it without breaking the bank, we recommend the Gerber Gator Point.
While Gerber might evoke baby food (it did for me at least), Gerber Gear is a different company with a long-storied past of quality knives and products that are anything but baby soft. The Gator Point is no different. With a drop point blade of 154cm material, the gator holds its sharpness up to twice as long as knives made from the comparable 420hc that find their way onto the list and previous Gator knives. Over 20cm unfolded, the blade itself is a decent 9cm long. While it might be a little bit for an EDC, it is solidly big, and people with big hands will enjoy that.
The gator grip handle employs thermoplastics that maintain the grip and reliability of this knife in any weather. Included with the Gator Point is a ballistic nylon sheath that can attach to a belt for easy access when you need it. Users find that the blade stays sharp and the handle is comfortable and ergonomic. Overall, users were happy with the quality of this Gerber knife, and little was said to detract from this blade.
- Super long-lasting blade.
- Thermoplastic handle remains its grip in any conditions.
- Comes with a nylon sheath.
- On the bigger side.
Best tactical pocket knife
CRKT Provoke Earth
Tactical knives are an important tool in the equipment of military personnel and police. If you work in these fields, you may be looking for different qualities in your pocketknife, and the CRKT Provoke Earth is a sleek, foldable knife with tactical applications.
The CRKT Provoke line are karambit knives, a style that arose from Indonesia and are distinct for their curved shape. CRKT’s take on karambit is to have the blade fold back into the handle, so it folds up inconspicuously but easily unfolds for an intimidating profile. Holding it so your index finger goes through the loop, the downward pressure of your thumb deploys the knife downwards, extending the blade safely as your fingers never cross the blade’s path. The blade is slightly over 6 cm when open and crafted from D2 steel that provides the blade edge retention and high durability.
However, this knife seems to have tactical use strictly in mind – the karambit design ultimate means that this knife will be next to useless in many situations. Its sharp blade would be useful for cutting rope or boxes, but the blade faces outwards and its curved blade will make this knife no replacement for a typical pocketknife in most day to day applications.
- Unique shape and design.
- Unfolds quickly and safely.
- Unsuited for non-tactical applications.
- Comes very stiff out of the box.
Best high-end pocket knife
Cold Steel Recon 1 Tanto Plain Edge
The toughest jobs and lifestyles require gear that are equally tough. Whether you need a powerful knife for tactical, survival or utilitarian purposes, the Cold Steel Recon 1 Tanto knife delivers in all categories.
Featuring CPM-S35VN steel that comes sharp out of the box, the Cold Steel Recon 1 cuts clean with little effort. The 10cm blade found on the Recon 1 makes it quite the large knife. The Tri-Ad lock of the Recon 1 guarantees the blade stays in place when needed, however, it makes opening and closing the knife on the difficult side of things, although users note it usually gets easier with use. While the handle does not have a liner (which, admittedly, turned many users off at first) users found that the G10 was very sturdy, durable and grippy while being surprisingly light for a knife of this size.
Users overall are very happy with the durability of this knife. The main concerns users had was how difficult the Tri-Ad lock made the knife to close. However, this knife proves tough enough for whatever users throw at it, and if you want a knife with a great build quality that will last, Cold Steel is a trusted company with a legacy of quality-built knives.
- Large knife with a quality blade.
- Sturdy yet lightweight construction.
- Tri-Ad lock ensures blade stays where it needs to be.
- Tri-lock makes opening and closing a bit difficult.
Best engraved pocketknife
Spyder Delica 4 Titanium Damascus
If you are looking for a pocketknife to wow others, there are many gorgeous knives on the market. However, if you want beauty and utility from your pocketknife, Spyderco’s popular Delica 4 series has a model with a Damascus blade which proves effective as a pocketknife as well as jaw-droppingly stunning.
The term “Damascus” comes from the Syrian capital, which at one point thousands of years ago was renown for the beautiful and strong steel products. The technique of heating and folding the steel over many times led to a beautifully patterned blade that modern Damascus blades imitate.
The Delica 4 is a compact pocketknife great for everyday use. The blade is more than just beautiful, but also well made and razor-sharp. The blade is just over 7 cm, and just under 20 cm when fully folded out. The Delica 4 is considered by experts to be one of the best lockback folding knives on the market, so you can trust your blade will stay locked where it needs to be.
Users are enamoured by the Damascus blade and the utility as a light, compact pocketknife. One negative of the Delica 4 that users noted was the stiffness in deployment, many noting that opening took some effort. However, overall, Users were very happy with the build quality and the art that is involved in a quality Damascus blade. We put this knife in the “best engraved pocketknife” category as its flat and smooth handle would be perfect for a custom engraving to make that special gift even more special.
It is important to note that for Damascus craftmanship, you should expect to pay a premium price for the Delica 4 Titanium Damascus. If you like the design and specifications of the Delica 4, the base model is available for a much more affordable price.
- Gorgeous Damascus blade.
- Superior cutting quality.
- Very expensive.
Best 2-inch pocket knife
SOG Centi I & II
If you find yourself in need of a sharp edge every once in a while, but do not want to dedicate useful pocket space for a knife, there are plenty of options. If you are looking for a pocketknife that is super compact that can easily fit on a key chain, lanyard, or in even the most packed pockets.
Both these blades are approximately 2 inches or smaller (or 5 cm if you think in metric like myself), with the Centi I being 1.4 inches long (3.5cm) and the Centi II being 2.1 inches long, so there is an ultra-compact pocketknife with the size you need. While price and size might be your main attractions to a compact knife like the Centi I and II, these knives pack a sharp blade for those moments when you need them. An important distinction between these two knives is the slightly larger Centi II locks into place, whereas the Centi I does not, which in our mind makes the Centi II an overall safer product.
Users find the size of these knives convenient on lanyards and keychains, but the consensus is that the utility of the knife is limited.
- Tiny size perfect for keychains and lanyards.
- Blade is sharp for the size.
- No locking mechanism.
- Limited utility.
Best made in Canada pocketknife
North Arm knives Shaka II Folding Knife
If you are looking for a Canadian made knife for anything that Canada can throw at you, our choice is the Shaka II by North Arm knives. North Arm Knives is a father-son duo who hand-make all their knives in Burnaby, BC. If you want true, hand-made artisanal quality, this is the knife to go for.
With a CPM S35VN Stainless steel blade that is over 8 cm long, and a lock bar, wire clip and most other components made from stainless steel, it is clear that care has been put into every component of the knife. Additionally, the handle is made of G10 handle scales for comfort and durability.
Users are ecstatic with the quality of these knives – from blade sharpness to the ergonomic handle, to how smooth the blade opens and closes – the Shaka II is the whole package. These knives are so popular that the team at North Arm Knives have a waitlist for the Shaka II. If that does not say enough quality of these hand made knives, we do not know what will. One user said that he waited over a year for his Shaka II, and felt the wait was a cool part of the process – not an inconvenience.
- Amazing scores across the board in sharpness, ergonomics and look.
- Handmade in Canada.
- There is a waitlist for this product.
How we picked the best pocketknives
There are many kinds of pocket knives on the market, so before writing this buying guide, we did extensive research for various types of pocket knives for various applications. Overall, we found that people prioritized knives that hold a sharp blade that cut well, and other aspects, like material, style, and additional tools came secondary.
We found user feedback through reading verified Amazon reviews and checking other websites that had pocketknife reviews. We prioritized knives with a 4-star average or higher.
Frequently asked pocket knife questions
What is a pocketknife?
Pocket knives are understood to refer to a knife that features a folding blade and can fit into an average-sized pocket.
How do pocketknives work?
The defining feature of a pocketknife is the folding blade, which typically folds into the handle and can lock in place in several possible ways. When you need to access the blade, you disengage the locking mechanism and pull the blade out from the handle. When you are finished, you can fold the blade back into the handle until next time.
Are pocketknives legal in Canada?
According to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CSBA), it is illegal to carry a folding knife that opens by “centrifugal force” or requires “some preliminary or simultaneous minimal manipulations” to open. This forbids some pocketknife varieties, like Automatic knives, Centrifugal or butterfly knives, or Gravity knives. However, pocketknives that do not have these specifications are legal in Canada.
What is an EDC knife?
EDC means “Every day carry” and refers to gear that you can always have on hand just in case. We feel that everyone has different criteria that they are looking for in an EDC knife, and knowing what you need most often is a good first step if you are looking for a pocketknife you can use every day.
What is a Swiss Army Knife?
Swiss Army knife refers to the classic red multi-tool produced by Victorinox, Wegner or other Swiss companies, that were introduced to the rest of the world after WWII. These tools come equipped with the main blade, and often many other tools including screwdrivers, can openers, corkscrews and scissors that also fold inside the handle.
Are switchblades and pocketknives the same?
Switchblades are a variety of automatic knife that extends by spring or button. Switchblades are a type of pocketknife but are illegal in Canada.
What is the average price for pocket knives?
A pocketknife can range from a matter of dollars to hundreds, due to the wide range of quality. We expect a quality pocketknife under most circumstances to be upwards of 40 or 50 dollars, however, the range of prices for a pocketknife perfect for you will vary on what you need in one.
What do you do with a pocketknife?
Pocket knives are great for those who live a hands-on lifestyle. If you find yourself reaching for scissors or a knife often, having a foldable pocketknife can really be handy and improve your productivity. They are great for working certain jobs, or if you live on a farm or acreage. They are also very useful for fans of outdoor activities like hiking and camping.
What are the best pocketknife brands?
In our research, the brands of pocketknife that popped up most were CRKT, Benchmade, Victorinox, Spyderco & Gerber.
Are pocketknives dangerous?
Pocket knives are only as dangerous as the user. If you practice knife safety, a pocketknife will not be significantly more dangerous than any other type of knife. We recommend catching up on your knife safety if you have never used a pocketknife before.
Are minors allowed to carry pocketknives?
A cursory look into Canada’s knife laws finds nothing regarding an age-restriction, however, many stores may have their own policies not to sell to youths.
Why are pocket knives so expensive?
You can find a cheap pocketknife in any dollar store, but if that is what you were looking for, you would not be reading this list. Many higher quality pocketknives feature high-grade steel, premium materials for the grip and flip mechanisms, and are often handcrafted in the US. These factors can add up, however, we found in our research that people that regularly used a pocketknife in their everyday life found these improved features worth the higher price tag.
What are the types of pocket knives?
There are many styles of pocketknives, from knives defined by how they work like slip joint knives, locking blade knives and drop point knives, to knives defined on their intended users, like camper knives, pen knives, trapper knives and tactical pocket knives.
Can I sharpen my pocketknife?
You can sharpen a dull pocketknife using a sharpening stone or honing rod. You may also be able to find businesses that can sharpen a dull pocketknife for you in your city. We recommend that if you are unfamiliar with sharpening a knife for you to read about how to do it and practicing before attempting to sharpen your new expensive knife, as an inexperienced hand can do more harm than good to your blade.
What is the best way to open a pocketknife?
The best way to open a pocketknife is generally whatever is easiest: pulling the blade out with the nail notch or stud, or by pressing a button on the side will open most pocketknives. We did not include any spring-loaded knives on this buying guide due to Canada’s ban on them.
Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife: Which one is better?
The answer really depends on which you think would be better for your uses. The Swiss Army Knife generally is the smaller multitool that is light and pocket-sized, whereas the Leatherman is bulkier, heavier but provides heavier-duty build quality. While the Leatherman might be a bit too heavy for use as a pocketknife, it would be a great tool to keep in your garage or your truck.
Are pocketknives allowed on planes?
You are not allowed any type of knife in your carry-on. You may place a knife with a blade of over 6cm in your checked baggage for flights within Canada or to any non-US international location. Please ensure you are familiar with the laws related to passing through Customs for any country you may be travelling to or from to ensure you do not end up in trouble.
Can I carry any knives in Canada?
Do not take the following entry as legal advice. As previously stated, knives that open through centrifugal force are illegal, same with knives that can conceal themselves as other objects. Knives are otherwise legal in Canada. It is important to note that in Canada, knife laws are very vague, and it is illegal to carry a concealed knife or to carry a knife with the intent to do harm. Knives are the most important tools after all, and it is perfectly legal to use them as tools in Canada.
Where can I buy pocketknives in Canada?
An outdoorsy store will carry pocketknives, like Canadian Tire, Cabelas, or Walmart. Amazon or dedicated online knife retailers like House of Knives are also solid places to find pocketknives in Canada.
Are pocketknives worth it?
It depends on your lifestyle. Many urban dwellers might not need a pocketknife in their day-to-day life; myself, for example, only really needs a pocketknife when out camping. However, if you regularly engage in outdoor activities, live in rural areas, or work certain hands-on jobs, a pocketknife might be an everyday tool that will have lots of utility.
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