OUTDOOR BASICS

Pocket Knife Brands: Top Brands That Make the Cut

Pocket Knife Brands
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

Are you into carving, hunting or hiking? Do you want a pocket knife for the most basic EDC uses or are you in the market for one that would be the perfect addition to your collection? Then you need to research the best pocket knife brands first.

These companies have built their reputation on manufacturing and selling pocket knives, possibly along with other different sorts of tools and accessories. With a high-quality craftsmanship, design and top materials, they have a huge pool of loyal fans. But all these brands focus on different knife models and come from different parts of the price spectrum.

Pocket Knives

So in this article, we’ll tell you all about the most famous household names in the pocket knife market. We’ll analyze the prominent features of each company, telling you a bit about their history, materials of choice and main models retailed, so read along!

Aaron Frederick Custom Knives

If you’re after knives that are easy to customize, this is definitely the right brand for you. This brand is represented by its leader, Aaron Frederick, who has been making custom knives for over two decades. And it’s not just neck or pocket knives either, he can deliver all sorts of knives like tactical or automatic, manufactured under the auspices of functionality.

Aaron Frederick Custom Knives

Image credit: knifecenter.com

The best part is that you can rely on the high-grade quality of the materials used. That’s because Aaron Frederick can forge Damascus steel too, so he doesn’t buy it from questionable providers. Besides, you can rest assured you’ll benefit from the expertise of someone who’s been in the US Navy.

Benchmade

Another great company that’s been on the market since the late 1980s, Benchmade is a true believer in tradition and quality. Located in Oregon City, this brand has been deemed as one of the best folding brands manufacturers not just in the USA. Take Griptilian for instance – you can find laudative reviews about this almost at every virtual world-wide-web corner since it’s so durable and reliable.

On the other hand, even the lower-priced items are pretty expensive by some standards, though you will definitely be glad you’ve made the right investment in a quality product. And apart from pocket knives, you can also look at their wonderful array of combat knives, which are quite state-of-the-art, really taking advantage of the latest technologies on the market.

Benchmade Pocket Knife

The design of all their knives is forward-thinking, functional and durable, meaning they’re easy to use even with just one hand. They also use top-notch materials, such as stainless steel for the blade or G10 for the handle, so you have water-resistant and ergonomic knives suited for most purposes.

Boker

This is a company that can pride itself on the manufacturing of some terrific pocket knives, though they’re not as recognized or as praised as they would merit. They can easily compare themselves with the best, particularly thanks to their rich tradition and well-established roots in the business.

So Boker saw the light of day in the 17th century Germany when it was a mere corner shop like any other. But they grew and became a respectable brand, with multiple factories throughout the country, one of which actually burnt down in the Second World War. Being determined and confident in their star, Boker rebuilt and now they are a versatile manufacturer of knives.

Boker Pocket Knife

We love the quality of the craftsmanship too, not just the lengthy tradition. Take their Anti-Grav folding knife for instance; with its ceramic blade, you can imagine how powerful and enduring such a gadget is. But this brand is also famous because it offers a lot of different styles like trapper or canoe, along with combat and tactical folding knives.

Buck

Going back to the USA, we’re visiting Buck Knives, another top company in the country. There are various smaller pocket knives you can pick, like the Buck Folding Hunter, which is incredible for hunting, fishing or even hiking. And if you get one of their folding knives you love, you can also browse their combat and hunting sections too.

We also appreciate their wonderful tradition and interest in quality. With over a century of arduous work in the market, Buck Knives has developed under the patronage and leadership of Hoyt Buck who wanted to manufacture better, more enduring knives. So he set out to find a new way to temper the steel, in order for the blade to last longer.

Buck Pocket Knife

And after so much time dedicated to finding and using the best materials and newest technologies, we can honestly say that Buck is the top company for hunting pocket knives. Its knives are first and foremost functional, so they won’t bring a lot of bling to the table, but they also have a quiet, professional design you’ll love.

Case

If durability is your main priority, then you should definitely take a look at some of Case’s pocket knives.  That’s because each knife is hand-crafted from the best materials, so they’re all incredibly resistant and they can easily become your family’s heirloom.

Case Pocket Knife

Image credit: pocketknivesblog.com

This is a company that values communication, tradition, and versatility. You can order different pocket knives models, like trapper or canoe, as well as fixed-bladed or hunting knives. However, there’s a higher retail price to take into account here too, though it’s worth it if you’re making just a once-in-a-lifetime investment. Or a once in a couple of generations investment for that matter.

Chris Reeve

If you’re on a tighter budget, but still value quality and durability, you can always analyze the Chris Reeve selection. These are better suited for people who prefer functionality over appearance, though that’s not to say you’ll be getting an ugly knife.

Chris Reeve Pocket Knife

These knives are hand-crafted too, and you can count on getting a unique piece of gear made using up to date technology. The craftsmanship is really good, and there’s only the highest grade of steel used in manufacturing the blade.

Cold Steel

This company may appeal to you if you want a brand that’s constantly improving itself. So you can rely on a high degree of user-friendliness and emphasis on user experience with Cold Steel, from their products to their support team.

Cold Steel Knife

They’re also a very creative company, even deemed a bit weird by some. But that’s just because they are really innovative and because they sell a wide array of blades and axes. So we love their patents and innovations like the Tri-Ad lock as well as the fact that they’re constantly improving their older models.

Columbia River

With a bit over two decades worth of tradition in the market, Columbia River Knife & Tool is the best choice if you want some additional tools along with your knife. So you can get a wide array of different knives for various purposes, with all the accessories you might need.

These knives are custom-made and suited for daily use, along with professional activities or sports. However, you will benefit from really affordable prices and good quality materials and equipment used. This brand is always constantly improving its older models too, which is why they’ve gained their rightful place among the best.

Columbia River Knife

Image credit: knifeemporium.com.au

But don’t forget about the tool-free field strip technology they’re using. They also work with top designers, so they might as well be recognized as true innovators in the field of pocket knives.

Dangerous Places Extreme Gear

Dangerous Places Extreme isn’t really well known, but they’re extremely reliable. If you’re a survivalist or a prepper, this brand is definitely the one for you. The name should give you a hint about the environment and weather conditions suited for these knives, so that’s a good start.

Dangerous Places Extreme Gear Knife

Image credit: knifecenter.com

And Robert Young Pelton, the founder of this brand is no stranger to living in the wilderness. A master of survival, he knows exactly what blades are the best and most resilient when nature is not on your side. So if you want a knife you can count on in emergency conditions, the DPX pocket knives should be the first on your list.

Emerson

The Emerson knives are some of the sturdiest on the market, which is why this brand is among the top dogs in its category. Besides, since they are all about consumer loyalty and user experience, they have a pretty big brand community too.

Emerson Knife

Image credit: knifeart.com

We also appreciate the quality of their products, but be advised that the retail price completely reflects this quality. But since you’ll be getting tactical, custom knives manufactured by a company whose founder is a famous hand-to-hand combat instructor, we think it’s totally worth it.

Gerber Gear

From pocket knives to multitools, to combat knives and flashlights, Gerber Gear is a well-established name in the outdoor equipment world. The first thing that recommends this brand is almost a century worth of manufacturing reliable, praised and functional products, bought by a lot of people throughout the world.

Gerber Pocket Knife

Their modern, high-quality knives are innovative and focus on user experience. This is a brand for you if you love forward-facing designs and value durability. Their pocket knives are great for EDC, but they’re also great for fishing enthusiasts, or lovers of the Great Outdoors.

KA-BAR

With its headquarters in New York, this brand has a worldwide reputation that precedes it in most EDC circles. You can find different utility knives here, either for hunting, fishing, hiking or camping. You can even find some professional knives for fighting or for your personal collection.

Ka-Bar Knife

Image credit: knifeemporium.com.au

They have different designs you will love, and the manufacturing is really top notch. The steel blades are awesome, and the variety of handles boast a really ergonomic grip, so the knives are sharp and easy to use.

Kershaw

Another highly popular brand, Kershaw is among the legends when it comes to delivering the sharpest tools on the market. “Shaving sharp” is the actual phrase, and you can understand why they’re so appreciated in the EDC community. Besides, they offer really low prices.

Kershaw Pocket Knife

Pete Kershaw has worked under the tutelage of Gerber Gear, so you can understand where he got his interest in quality from. He even worked with Ken Onion to develop and improve the Speed Safe technology, an assisted-opening feature that offers increased protection for folding knives users, so that’s another strong point.

Leatherman

Leatherman has a wide array of multi-tools you can choose from, so you’re not just getting a simple pocket knife. You’ll benefit from the help of other mini-tools like screwdrivers or strap cutters, so that’s a definite advantage.

Leatherman Knife

Image credit: soldster.com

Tim Leatherman, the founder of this brand really believes that multi-tools are better than simple knives, so he dedicated his life’s work to develop newer, better models. The materials used are state-of-the-art, the multi-tools are easy to open, use and close, and they don’t weigh much either.

Ontario Knives

This is another brand that prides itself on a diverse assortment of weapons sold, from bayonets and machetes to tactical folding knives. All these products are well-made under the umbrella of a company with more than a century of tradition.

Ontario Knives Pocket Knive

Some of these products have even been used by the US Military, so you can rely on that recommendation. And although pocket knives are not their main specialty, these knives are manufactured with the same care and quality materials they use for the rest of their products.

Opinel

This 19th-century old French company is another well-reputed name in the brand of folding knives thanks to their cool design, increased resistance, and affordable price. The brand started as a family shop, and it’s responsible for putting the peasant’s knife in the limelight.

Opinel Knife

Today, this brand is a household name in the folding knife industry, with a whole range of products that have a cutlery-like design. The knives have, therefore, a basic and functional design but they are still extremely well-built for their low price.

SOG Specialty Knives & Tools

For all you people out there interested in a rather aggressive design and uses, SOG is a great place to start your searches. The reason we’re saying this is because SOG bases its designs on a combat knife that was used during the Vietnam War by a very secretive special ops team.

SOG Pocket Knife

So the blades manufactured here are mainly tactical, you can even get a look at some of the Navy SEAL’s knives. The folding blades featured in the SOG catalog are also mainly tactical, but you can use them for different purposes ranging from hunting to EDC to industrial use.

Spyderco

Spyderco is a synonym for quality because this company prides itself on the vast amounts of research used for manufacturing their knives. Backed by the latest technological improvements, Spyderco uses only the best materials and designs, so that its knives are ergonomic and easy to use. And don’t forget this is the first company that has ever used powder metallurgy in making their knives, so they’re quite innovative.

Spyderco Pocket Knife

The thumb hole pull is amazing in terms of design because it means you can open each with just one hand. And since these knives have a carry clip, they’re also very portable and safe. We love the leaf shape used for the blades too, it’s not something you see every day. These are just some of the qualities of this brand, that has worked with a list of impressive designers in the field, among which we count Ken Onion and Tim Wenger.

Victorinox Swiss Army

Victorinox doesn’t  simply feature “Swiss Army” in its name for no reason. It is, in fact, a Swiss Army company that features all sorts of knives in its portfolio for almost 150 years. So that means these are high-quality knives, really functional, and extensively tested.

Victorinox Swiss Army Knife

You can take a look at some of the best multi-tools on the market if you check their online catalogs. In fact, these are some of the most admired products in the EDC community, featuring qualities like careful craftsmanship, high performance, and versatile functionality.

Zero Tolerance

ZT Knives is another pinnacle of the tactical knives, boasting a lot of designer names like Tim Galyean and Ken Onion. The blade materials used are among the classic choices, taking, for instance, the sturdy and lightweight ELMAX stainless.

Zero Tolerance Pocket Knife

Image credit: knifeblog.com

In fact, ZT and Kershaw have the same parent company, and they too manufacture all their products in the US. Even if it’s only been on the market for about a decade, ZT has rapidly become known as a trustworthy brand which uses quality materials and premium crafting techniques. On the other hand, the price tag reflects this top construction.

Final Thoughts

We’ve taken you through a series of undisputedly amazing pocket knife manufacturers of the highest caliber. But each of the brands above features a specific design and they’re also intended for a specific budget. We’re confident that we’ve covered the entire price spectrum as well as the whole pool of preferences, so you have a good starting point in choosing your knife.

So now, we’re curious to hear more from you. Which brand are you leaning to and why? What features convinced you? Do you already have a pocket knife or are you just in the research stages? The comment section is right below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jerry Mueller

Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.