Choosing your first everyday carry knife can be a pretty daunting task. There are near endless possibilities. Locking mechanisms, blade steel, manufacturers… the list of options gets intimidating, fast. So to provide a good starting point, we’ve assembled a list of the best EDC knife options on the market. Each comes from a well known manufacturer, has been around for a long time, and costs less than one hundred dollars. Any of the three is a great option, but they are all good examples of what you should look for in an entry level EDC blade.
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Spyderco Delica 4
Spyderco’s Delica 4 is an incredible knife with a cult following among knife enthusiasts. It is not rare, doesn’t deploy it blade with mechanical assistance, nor does it have an amazing high end set of scales (handles). So what makes it so popular? First, a great design. Second, a reasonable price. And, third… a blade crafted in Sekei City Japan from our favorite knife steel, VG-10.
The Delica is super sharp, holds an edge, and will last forever. If we could recommend a single knife for everyday carry. This would be it. The Delica is the perfect size. Our recommendation; get the flat ground plain edge model.
-Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon Scales
-7.125″ Overall Length
-2.875″ VG-10 Full Flat Ground Blade
Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556
Still reading? Not sure if the Delica is for you? Enter the US built Benchmade Mini Griptilian. This well regarded family of folding pocket knives is Benchmade’s answer to Spyderco’s Endura/Delica series. Like the Spyderco above, the Griptilian is well made, sharp, and similarly priced.
The Griptilian’s 154CM stainless steel blade performs almost as well as the Spyderco discussed above. The Delica’s VG-10 blade has a slight edge on 154CM when it comes to corrosion resistance. However, that difference is relatively negligible. Both are excellent options.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two, other than styling, is the opening mechanism. The Axis lock is slightly more sophisticated compared to the Spyderco’s lockback mechanism. Both are reliable and safe. However, the Benchmade’s is considered, by some, to be slightly better.
-Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon Scales
-6.78″ Overall Length
-2.91″ 154CM Plain Edge Drop Point Blade
Kershaw Leek – Perhaps the Best EDC Knife Value
Kershaw’s Leek, designed by the legendary Ken Onion, is another affordable blade with a cult following. In fact, it might be one of the best values out there for an entry level EDC knife. It’s especially impressive when you consider that this US made knife is significantly more affordable that either the Spyderco or the Benchmade.
How is that accomplished you ask? Well, the steel used in the Leek’s blade is a not in the same league as the Delica’s VG-10. Because the steel is softer, its edge retention is not on par with the two knifes we recommend above. Not that its a bad steel; it’s just not VG-10.
Fun fact: VG-10 was developed for the horticulture industry. A strong steel that could take a very fine edge to make incredibly clean cuts was the goal. VG-10 was the answer.
Back to the Leek… it’s still a great knife. Especially for everyday carry duty. It even features Kershaw’s Speedsafe assisted opening mechanism for easy one-handed deployment. When open the blade is held safely in place by a liner lock mechanism. If you’re looking for a great option that won’t break the bank check out the Leek. It’s a very solid choice for your first everyday carry knife.
-6061 Anodized Aluminum Scales
-7″ Overall Length
-3″ Sandvik 14C28N Blade
Bottom line: If you’re on a tight budget, the Leek might be the best edc knife you’ll find.
At the end of the day finding the best edc knife is all about finding a knife you’ll actually use. Too big to carry? You will never have it when you need it. Poor quality steel? It will dull quickly, and will only serve as a source of frustration when it comes time to create a serviceable edge. Terrible components and materials? It might look great in a display case or on the screen of your mobile device, but poor quality becomes apparent once the knife is in hand.
So, do yourself a favor. Save the years of trial and error many enthusiasts endure. For your first everyday carry knife, buy a high quality pocket knife. But, please buy something you can afford. Something you will use every single day.