Busting your hump all day long is tough. Doing it with a knife that doesn’t step up as hard as you do is hell on Earth. Frankly, any basic knife can go into your pocket for everyday carry. Serious people who do serious jobs and need reliable knives can’t cope with an average blade. They can’t be sharpening their cutter every fifteen minutes. Quality matters, as does trustworthiness, and only knives from the pockets of working women and men who keep the world running will do. Ask the hardest people what knives they pick, and they’ll say these are the 8 best EDC knives for taking into the fray.
How To Choose an EDC Knife For Work
First off, high carbon steel is what you want in a quality knife. Nothing holds an edge as well, or can be resharpened on the fly like carbon steel. Stainless steel can be workable, and anyone who encounters a lot of wetness day to day will certainly want stainless, as it’s better built to fight the elements.
Outside of the steel, we suggest hard-core scales. G10 is a favorite material, as is titanium and carbon fiber. They’re each comfortable in the pocket, light on your hip, and reduce fatigue from repeated cutting. While those are mere suggestions, what matters is how it feels in your hand. Sometimes finding a knife with supreme steel, and a replaceable handle or set of scales is the way to go. But aim for strong items that can stand pressure, as work
The other thing to think about is the overall strength of your blade. A fixed knife with a full tang blade – that means it’s steel from tip all the way through the handle – is going to be stronger than a folding knife. It’s also harder to carry everyday, unless you’re in the field or your vehicle day after day.
Folding knives come with their own issues, as locking mechanisms can be tricky to navigate. The key here is to focus on quality brands. A good name will give you a strong lock. The cheaper your folding knife, the more likely it is to cost you fingers, because a poor lock doesn’t care how strong the metal is. The moving parts need to work, and that’s where you need to pay attention. This is partly about preference and partly about testing a knife to see if it can stand up to the jobs you do. There’s no one-size-fits all for knife locks.
The one thing to note: Slip Joint & Friction Folder locks are to be avoided for hard work. Unless you like to EDC a Victorinox Swiss Army knife. That’s the exception that proves the rule.
When we’re not making internet words, we’re using these. Period.
Kershaw Zing SS
In the EDC knife world, Kershaw usually gets noticed for the Ken Onion Blur – because it’s an amazing low-profile knife. The Zing SS is a very similar blade, aesthetically, but it’s a little different. Designed by RJ Martin, the Zing is 8CR13MoV stainless steel up and down, bead blasted for a grippable finish. It’s heat treated for added strength against both whatever you’re prying, and the rain, snow, sleet, hail, and sunny hellfire of this odd little world. Purchase: $25
Columbia River Knife & Tool Ignitor
Most of the knives on here are a little costly, because we’d rather suggest good products that allow you to avoid cutting yourself. Do not let the small tag on the Ignitor fool you. It’s a very solid little knife, with a low-profile ideal for carrying every day. What helps us back the Ignitor is the G10 handles and the titanium nitride finish that ramps up the resilience and utility. Purchase: $32
We shouldn’t need to tell you about the 110, or any Buck item, really. While the build is a little traditional, the brass endcaps, forever warranty, and hardened Ebony Dymondwood handle all make this a pocket must, as main or backup. Feel free to branch out into the 110 family. The Folding Hunter actually works well as an all-purpose hunter/work/camp knife. Purchase: $40
Cold Steel Pocket Bushman
Frankly, the only reason we’re picking one option from Cold Steel is because the damn Bushman is so superior to everything else. Like most of the names on here, Cold Steel doesn’t make a misstep, and the Bushman is a prime example. It’s a folding sword with a 4116 stainless steel blade that is “sub-zero cryo quenched” according to Cold Steel. We don’t know what that means, but it makes this knife harder than impressing the Queen Mother. Purchase: $45
The deep bench of Spyderco makes much of their lineup ready for EDC. The Paramilitary 2 is often mentioned, and is also a decent choice. The issue with Spyderco knives is the build isn’t always good for work, more for combat and self-defense. The Tenacious breaks from this a bit by having a thicker tip than most of the nasty slicers that Spyderco produces. This adds a lot more strength to the 8Cr13Mov ambidextrous, stainless blade, making it better for labor than battle. Purchase: $60
CRKT HoodWork Survival Knife
If you want to make a knife for the workperson, call it HoodWork and there’ll never be any confusion. CRKT might focus mostly on mid-range and budget folding blades, but they cap put it down with a full tang work blade. Made in the USA from 1095 high carbon steel, this piece alone makes the CRKT name one of true craftsmanship. Purchase: $158
Benchmade 940 Osborne
You get a little something special with a Benchmade folding knife: Axis locks. This is a proprietary knife lock that makes folding and unfolding faster, and simpler than most others. It also hold the blade fast, which is why the Osborne has been an EDC staple since it came out more than a decade ago. Still top of the heap, the customizeable CPM-S30V steel and various liner options leave nothing to chance but the color. Purchase: $183+
Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter
You’re not going to find many knives that work harder than Bushcrafter blades. And you’re not going to find many companies that work as hard as Benchmade to produce unrivaled quality throughout their product line. All American made with a CPM-S30V stainless steel blade that can quickly sharpen on a car window,and a full tang build that balances perfectly in your mitt, it’s almost more than you need. Purchase: $196