In this post we’ll talk all about the best small EDC knives you can buy right now. Read on to see our top recommendations.
There’s something inherently masculine about a great pocket knife. It can create a sense of can-do; it makes you feel like you’re ready for anything.
A trusty pocket knife can help during mundane tasks opening a letter or package. It can also get you out of a jam or emergency, and knowing you can rely on your knife in these situations can go a long way.
A lot of guys don’t carry pocket knives every day, though. While it doesn’t make them any less manly, it does make them less prepared. The most common reason for men to not carry a pocket knife is that they don’t like the heft or the awkward way a pocket knife sits in their pocket.
These are valid complaints, but these aren’t insurmountable hurdles. They just need a smaller knife.
The best small EDC knives make short work of these issues. They’re short in length, lightweight, and relatively thin. They also look less aggressive and threatening than most popular EDC knives on the market today.
If you’re looking for a small EDC knife that’s as home in the boardroom as it is on the trail, there’s an option in this guide for you.
Short on time? Here are our top three picks for the best small EDC knives you can buy right now:
Read on for more info and the complete list…
Choosing the Best Small Pocket Knife: What to Know
When it comes to choosing the right knife for everyday carry, you need something that fits your needs. With that in mind, there are some things that you should consider when shopping for the best small pocket knife.
Size and Weight
Since the aim here is to find a solution to large, burdensome knives, the most important factor when choosing an EDC knife is size and weight.
A large knife will be uncomfortable, and you’ll feel less inclined to carry it. You should look for a knife that fits in your pocket nicely and doesn’t weigh it down.
You can find knives on this list that are under 3 inches when completely open. Some of them weigh under an ounce. As a rule, knives between 2.75 and 5 inches are pretty easy to carry, and they often weigh less than 2 ounces.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind here. While small is good, you do need it to be functional. Choose a knife with a blade long enough to tackle everyday jobs.
Also, some areas have blade length restrictions, so bone-up on the rules in your area to make sure the knife you choose is legal.
The type of knife you choose for EDC has to fit your style. Choosing a knife that falls in line with your typical footwear and other accessories adds a bit of continuity to your outfit.
Most folding pocket knives today fall into two categories; tactical and traditional. Tactical knives look tough and intimidating, while traditional knives remind you of the trusty blade your grandfather carried in his pocket.
If you’re an Oakleys, G-Shock-type guy, you’d probably have no problem working a tactical knife into your everyday style.
On the other hand, if you prefer a more traditional Ray-Ban and field watch style, a traditional folder will work better for your aesthetic.
Keep in mind that there are some very high-end folding pocket knives that will work well with a suit and tie. They typically have exotic wood or animal horn handles and rare steel blades.
Clip or No Clip?
Another aspect of knife shopping that you need to keep in mind is whether you want your new knife to clip to your pocket.
Most of the knives on the market come with pocket clips, so if it doesn’t matter to you, you’ll likely end up with a clip by default.
A clip is great if you need your pocket knife to stay put throughout the day. It will keep your knife in place, making it easily accessible in an emergency.
It also keeps your knife from hanging out uncomfortably at the bottom of your pocket.
The problem with a clip is that it advertises to the world that you have a potential weapon. If you unclip your knife and allow it to drop in your pocket, the clip makes the knife thicker than necessary.
It can also snag on things like cash and the seams in your pockets. Luckily, most clips are removable, so if you like a knife but aren’t keen on the clip it comes with, chances are you can take it off.
There are several metals used to make pocket knife blades, and to discuss them at length is beyond the scope of this article. Different steels have different properties, from strength to hardness, corrosion resistance, and how well they keep a sharp edge.
In general, purchasing a knife from a reputable company will somewhat ensure you’re getting a decent quality blade.
In general, you’ll want to look for a knife from a well-established company with a stainless steel blade. Most stainless steels are relatively easy to sharpen, durable, and corrosion-resistant.
Pocket knife blades come in as many shapes as they do sizes, so you should do a bit of research before choosing a knife:
- Clip point: A clip point blade has a straight back that appears to be “clipped” at the final third of the blade. These blades have sharp points which are excellent for piercing packages or making small incisions.
- Drop Point: Drop point blades have straight backs that dip a bit, but closer to the point than clipped blades. Drop points aren’t as pointy as a clip point, but they are more durable and less likely to snap at the tip.
- Tanto: Tanto blades are popular on tactical knives. They’re thick and sturdy, with straight backs and the edges follow rigid angles. Their shape makes them proficient at stabbing items or heavy work around a campsite or survival scenario.
- Pen: Pen knives were used to cut and shape writing quills. They have small, thin blades that look elegant but aren’t well suited for heavy work.
Those are four popular styles, though the list can go on and on.
The Best Small EDC Knives for Men
Now that you’ve got a primer on what to look for in the best small EDC knives, you’re ready to start shopping.
The knives listed below are all great options for everyday carry, and they vary from traditional, classy folders to hardcore tactical knives.
You should be able to find something that will work for you.
Spyderco Bug Knife
If you’re looking for a lightweight, compact, and sleek pocket knife for everyday carry, the Bug knife from Spyderco could fit the bill.
This stainless steel knife features 12.5% chromium to help it resist staining and corrosion. The blade has no curve, clip, or drop to speak of.
When closed, the Bug Knife measures just 1.63 inches long. With the 1.27-inch blade deployed, it measures 2.9 inches overall, making it extremely compact.
It also weighs less than half an ounce, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever notice it in your pocket until you need it.
- Extremely compact and sleek
- Minimalist design
- “Round Hole” for easy opening
- No texture on the handle for grip
- No blade lock
The only real issues with the Bug Knife are the handle is a bit smooth—a sure grip is not a guarantee—and that there isn’t a blade lock.
Other than that, it’s ideal for guys looking to keep a sharp blade on them without noticing they have a sharp blade on them. If you’re interested, you can find a full review of the Bug Knife here.
Kershaw Cinder Pocket Knife
The Cinder Pocket Knife from Kershaw is a uniquely-shaped knife with style all of its own. This knife features a sheepsfoot-style blade and a half-skeletonized handle, as well as a built-in bottle opener.
While the knife blade may be unique, it’s sturdy and thick, making it a great choice for EDC tasks.
The Kershaw Cinder has a 1.5-inch long blade with an overall length of 4.33 inches. It weighs in just under 1 ounce, making it very lightweight and easy to carry.
- Built-in bottle opener
- Robust knife
- No pocket clip
The only complaint might not be a concern for everyone, but it’s that this knife doesn’t come with a pocket clip. A knife this small can be hard to find in a pocket, so a pocket clip could help you keep it on hand when you need it.
WESN Micro Blade 2.0
The WESN Micro Blade 2.0 is a rugged little knife with a clean design and some top-notch build quality. It has a sturdy titanium handle and a tool steel blade, as well as a liner lock to secure your blade in place.
It has a lanyard hole and a pocket clip to help it stay put. It also has a large thumb stud as well as a flipper (though no assisted opening), making it a great knife for one-handed use.
The Micro Blade 2.0 is stocky, with its 1.5-inch long blade, 2.25-inch closed length, and a deployed length of 3.75 inches. And, it only weighs 1 ounce.
- Clean design
- Sturdy build quality
- Could use some texture on the handle
The only jab to take at the WESN is really more like splitting hairs. The titanium handle has a gorgeous finish, but only the green one has any texture to help maintain a solid grip.
Kershaw Shuffle II
When you need a tough, rugged small knife for EDC, the Kershaw Shuffle II is hard to beat.
This tough guy has a nylon, glass-filled handle for strength and durability, a sturdy stainless steel tanto blade, and a reversible or removable pocket clip.
The Kershaw Shuffle II has a 2.6-inch long blade and measures just over 6.25 inches long when open.
Closed, it measures roughly 4 inches long, which brings it to the upper edge of the small EDC pocket knife realm. It weighs about 3 ounces, so it’s a bit heavy.
You could complain about the weight, but this is a confidence-inspiring little knife. Trading that weight for lighter, possibly less durable materials would be a shame.
- Robust design
- Reversible (or removable) pocket clip
- Longer than most other knives
If anything, Kershaw could shorten the handle a bit to make the Shuffle II a more compact package.
Opinel No. 3
If you’re looking for a gentleman’s knife that looks great but non-aggressive, the Opinel No. 3 folder is worth a look.
This French-made, carbon steel-bladed knife has a beechwood handle that looks incredible paired with casual and rugged EDC gear. It has a semi-clipped blade, though it’s very slight.
The No. 3 is the second smallest knife from Opinel. It has an overall length of 3.88-inches when deployed, with its 1.68-inch long blade and a handle just over 2-inches long. At only .23 ounces, it’s incredibly lightweight.
- Classic wood handle
- Very affordable
- No blade lock
The No .3 doesn’t have a blade lock, which is a shame considering Opinel’s large knives come with a unique collar-style lock which the company calls Virobloc. Other than adding a bit of weight, it seems that this knife would benefit tremendously from the Virobloc system.
Boker 111006 Pocket Stag
The Boker 111006 Pocket Stag is an excellent choice for guys looking for an heirloom-quality pocket knife in a tiny package.
Unsurprisingly, the Pocket Stag has stag-horn handles, as well as Boker’s own Soligen stainless steel. It’s a durable, long-lasting combination that also looks incredible.
The Pocket Stag measures just under 4.5-inches when open and has a 2.17-inch drop point blade. It also has a back lock to keep the blade securely in place.
- Great, rugged styling
- Locking blade
- Mid-range weight
As a premium knife, the cost could be a concern to some guys. However, this knife’s only real drawback is that it weighs a bit more than some of the other knives on the list (1.41 ounces).
Gerber Paraframe Mini Knife
Guys that want to stretch their knife-buying budget as far as it can go can benefit from checking out the Gerber Paraframe Mini Knife.
This folding stainless pocket knife has a high carbon stainless steel blade, a liner lock, a pocket clip, and a clip point blade. Best yet, you can often find this knife for well under $10.
The Paraframe Mini Knife measures 5.25 inches long when open, with a 2.22-inch blade and a 3.07-inch closed length. It weighs 1.4 ounces, and the entire knife is stainless steel.
Gerber using “Mini” to describe this knife might be a bit misleading. While it has a skeletonized handle to save weight, it’s still not the lightest on our list.
- Downright inexpensive
- Lightweight design
- A bit long
- Mid-range weight
Also, the length might be a little longer than some guys would prefer to carry.
Nite Ize Doohickey
The Nite Ize Doohickey is by far the most convenient-to-carry small EDC knife on the list.
It has an aluminum body to keep it lightweight, a stainless steel drop point blade, and a back lock for securing the blade in the open position.
It comes with a locking carabiner as well, so attaching it to your keys doesn’t have to be a headache.
The Doohickey’s blade measures 2 inches long, with a 2.6-inch long handle. It weighs less than half an ounce, as well, so you’re unlikely to notice it on your keyring.
- Back lock
- The aluminum body is lightweight
- Not great for heavy-duty work
The only problem with the Doohickey is that it’s not a heavy-duty knife like some other options in this guide. Nite Ize never intended it to be a hardcore survival knife, so it’s best suited for opening packages and other light-duty tasks.
Buck Knives 505 Knight
There’s something iconic about a Buck knife, and the 505 Knight is no exception. This traditional knife looks incredible and features a high-quality stainless steel blade and a beautiful rosewood handle.
It has a back lock as well, keeping your digits safe while working with this classic beauty.
The Knight has a 1.87-inch long blade and a closed length of 2.75 inches, making it an excellent choice for pocket carry.
- Great, classic design
- Back lock
- Mid-range weight
It’s hard for a classic knife to keep the weight off, and the Buck Knight suffers that curse. While it’s not a paperweight, it does weigh 1.5 ounces, keeping it from the featherweight class some of the other knives on this list fall under.
SOG Money Clip Pocket Knife
The SOG Money Clip Pocket Knife is a great knife if you’re looking to add a knife to your EDC without noticing it’s there. The Money Clip Pocket Knife has a built-in clip to hold your cash, ID, or business cards in place.
The Money Clip Pocket Knife has a 2.75-inch long blade, a 3.38-inch long handle, an overall length of just over 5 inches. It weighs 2 ounces and has a clip point blade.
In order to allow the Money Clip to blend in seamlessly with your other pocket contents, SOG made it extremely thin. This is great for carrying, but might take some getting used to.
- Built-in money clip
- Built-in lanyard hole
- Slim grip could take some getting used to
To offset this learning curve, SOG included three finger grips to help maintain a positive grip.
Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD
When it comes to iconic knife designs, the Victorinox Swiss Army knife will always get a mention. This knife comes in over 30 different colors and features several tools.
You’ll get a knife, a file, a screwdriver, a pair of tweezers, a toothpick, and a pair of scissors.
Despite all its function, the Victorinox is incredibly compact. It’s small and lightweight, at just 2.3 inches long and weighing only .7 ounces, making it an excellent option for EDC.
- Plenty of function
- Iconic Design
- No blade lock
This is the first knife that most boys get in the youth. Many of them (yours truly, included) become painfully aware that these knives don’t have blade locks.
Think about the children, Victorinox.
You can see our full review of the Victorinox Classic SD here.
Whether you’re looking for a new knife to take hiking while staying within blade restrictions, or you’re interested in a classic, heirloom-quality accessory, there’s a knife out there for you.
If you’re a classic-style guy, check into the Buck 505 Knight or the beautiful, simplistic Opinel No. 3. If you’re a guy that spends as much time on the range as he does in the office, the Kershaw Cinder or Spyderco Bug might scratch the itch.
Whatever your choice, keeping one of these high-quality knives in your EDC gear will help you stay prepared, confident, and stylish.