Looking for the best lightweight folding pocket knife you can carry every day?
One that won’t weight you down?
Every ounce you can cut out will add up. Less weight and bulk means you can move faster and it lowers your risk of people noticing that you are carrying gear.
Knife makers have greatly improved folding knife design, materials, quality and durability over the years.
Manufacturers of the best knives now use materials like, titanium, G10, carbon fiber to reduce weight without sacrificing performance.
You still get a strong, robust knife but without the extra weight. This is perfect for everyday carry. It’s also a plus for a gray man situation when you need to move fast and light without being noticed.
So when you are looking for a good quality folding knife for your everyday carry, consider these factors:
If you’re looking for the best lightweight folding pocket knife for EDC, then these knives, arranged in 4 different price ranges (from budget to high end), deserve your attention:
This well built, budget friendly knife is one of Ontario Knife Company’s most popular. It uses the versatile AUS-8 stainless steel for its blade and comes with the nylon 6 handles.
The knife exhibits good balance, is lightweight and fits well in the hand. Ontario paid attention to the ergonomics with this knife. The shape of the handles allows for good controlled handling.
The handles are just over 4 inches which means if you have extra large hands, I would recommend Ontario Knife’s Rat I (the Rat II’s bigger brother).
Construction is precise and has a very smooth opening and closing.
The Rat II blade has a nice belly and is perfectly ground for optimal utility.
The pillar construction makes for easy cleaning.
Overall fit and finish far exceeds that of a budget knife.
For its high level of quality, in my opinion this knife provides the best value for a lightweight folding pocket knife.
With a 3 inch blade length, 2.8 ounce weight, this is one of the most affordable knives for everyday carry. This is my top pick for the budget price range.
The Rat II is one of Ontario Knife Company’s top sellers for a reason.
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OVERALL LENGTH: 7.0 in (17.8 cm)
LOCK TYPE: Liner Lock
HARDNESS: 55-56 HRC
EDGE TYPE: Plain
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Taiwan
BLADE GRIND: Full Flat Taper
BLADE FINISH: Satin
BLADE THICKNESS: 0.095 in (0.241 cm)
BLADE MATERIAL: AUS-8 Stainless Steel
BLADE LENGTH: 3.0 in (7.6 cm)
HANDLE MATERIAL: Nylon 6
CLOSED LENGTH: 4.1 in (10.4 cm)
POCKET CLIP CONFIGURATIONS: Tip Down & Up, Left & Right Handed
DEPLOYMENT MECHANISM: Thumbstud
WEIGHT: 2.8 oz (0.8 kg)
(Source: Ontario Knife Company Rat II)
The Tenacious has the Spyderco leaf shaped blade that is ground flat from spine through to the cutting edge for higher cutting performance.
Using the Walker Linerlock with jimped liner combined with the 4 way pocket clip, the tenacious allows you to set your carry and draw preference (left hand/right hand, tip up/tip down).
With a good fit in hand and high build quality, this Chinese made knife continuously ranks high for a budget blade. It has a proven track record for durability and function.
The Spyder hole is easy to use and makes flipping the blade open effortless. The liner lock is strong and the handle scales have plenty of jimping for that grippy feel.
If you have larger hands, the 4-1/2 inch handle can feel a little small. But that’s typical of folding knives with blade lengths less than 4 inches. (It’s important to remember, larger blades with longer handles mean more weight. And this is all about lightweight folding knives for EDC.)
The Spyderco Tenacious provides that balance. At 4.1 ounces with a 3-3/8 inch blade length, the Tenacious makes for an extremely useful lightweight folding pocket knife well suited for EDC.
Similar in quality to the Rat II, but a little heavier and a little more expensive makes this a solid pick in this category.
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Overall Length 7.76″ (197mm)
Blade Length 3.39″ (86mm)
Closed Length 4.45″ (113mm)
Edge Length 3.39″ (86mm)
Weight 4.1 oz (117 g)
Blade Thickness .118″ (3mm)
Clip Position Ambidextrous
Tip Carry Position TipUp/Down
Lock Type LinerLock
(Source: Spyderco Tenacious )
Sporting a Tanto Style Blade, the Brawler is Kershaw’s low cost EDC that would be a valuable tool to have in any urban gray man survival situation.
With a decent 3 inch CrMoV steel blade and Kershaw’s well known quality, I just couldn’t ignore this knife.
The Brawler is not our top pick but what is hard to ignore is the price. It won’t cost you much at all to get your hands on this solid folding pocket knife.
With the Kershaw name behind it and tons of highly positive reviews, this knife is worth checking out.
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Steel: 8Cr13MoV, black oxide coating;
Handle: Glass-filled nylon
Blade length: 3 in. (7.6 cm);
Closed length: 4.1 in. (14.3 cm);
Overall length: 7.1 in. (18 cm)
Weight: 3.9 oz. (110.6 g)
(Source: Kershaw Knives)
Moving into the mid-price range for a folding knife finds better quality steels, a move up in craftsmanship and design, and typically better (and lighter) handle materials.
Kershaw hit a home run when they teamed with Ken Onion to design this knife. A big blade with a slight recurve, excellent for slicing and piercing, made from Sandvik’s high quality 14C28N stainless steel, a definite step up in steel quality from the cheaper knives.
It comes with Trac-Tec grip tape inserts for excellent grip. The handles are made from 6061-T6 anodized aircraft aluminum for durability plus its lightweight.
The Blur is equipped with Kershaw’s SpeedSafe assisted opening. An easy push of the thumb stud will open this knife easily and safely.
The pocket clip is reversible for both tip up or tip down carry.
This slim profile knife comes in under 4 oz. which makes for an ideal EDC carry weight. It has a great shape that feels good in your hand.
And I have to say, I like the look of the all-black DLC coating (diamond-like carbon).
All-in-all, the Kershaw Blur is an excellent choice for a durable EDC folding knife with assisted opening.
And the Kershaw Blur is made in the USA.
This bad boy is my top pick for the mid price range best lightweight folding pocket knife for EDC.View on Amazon
Spyderco introduced the Delica 4 in 1990. It has been one of Spyderco’s best-selling knives ever since.
It has undergone many ergonomic tweaks and refinements and has developed into a gem among knives.
With a blade length of 2-7/8 inches, a closed length of 4-1/4 inches and weighing 2.5 oz., this knife is a mainstay for EDC. Lightweight and not too long so it fits into your pocket inconspicuously.
The blade is built to last with VG-10 steel, a step up from budget folding knives.
It’s built with durable screw together construction and comes with Fibreglass reinforced handles and dual skeletonized steel liners to improve strength without adding weight.
This knife uses a back-lock locking mechanism instead of a liner lock.
It is worth noting the Delica 4 is made in Japan.
Spyderco’s Delica 4 is a very close second to the Blur and will come down to personal preference which one you choose. I happen to prefer the liner lock of the Kershaw a little better than the back lock – but that’s just me. And I’m drawn towards the Blur’s look a little more.
You could easily flip these choices depending on your preferences. We are splitting hairs here, you won’t go wrong with either knife.View on Amazon
The Spyderco Paramilitary 3 is the smaller version of the Paramilitary 2. It comes with a 2.95 inch blade (0.145 inch thickness) made from premium CPM S30V stainless steel.
The knife has a closed length of 4.29 inches and weighs 3 oz.
G-10 is used for the scales while stainless steel is used for the liners. But Spyderco cleverly designed this knife so the steel liners nest into machines recesses in the G-10 scales. This reduces the handle thickness and saves weight.
The Paramilitary 3 comes with Spyderco’s Compression Lock system.
This folding knife is starting to get into the higher price range but you are getting way more knife for the money. It uses high quality materials such as the S30V steel. This steel may be a little harder to sharpen but retains a razor sharp edge for much longer.
Spyderco makes this knife in Golden Colorado to high quality standards and it shows.
For those who are looking to have a substantial weapon in their pocket for gray man survival, the Para 2 may be your better option.
But if you’re looking for a superior quality EDC folding pocket knife, then you should consider the Para 3.
With the blade length just under 3 inches, you won’t have to worry about the 3 inch blade length restriction in some areas (check your local and state regulations for legal blade carry).View on Amazon
Benchmade’s new knife is called the Bugout.
Taking its design more from bushcraft knives rather than tactical, the 3-1/4 inch drop point blade shape provides a very versatile, all-purpose cutting tool.
Combine the blade design with S30V steel and you get a high quality knife with exceptional edge retention, from a high quality knife company.
Benchmade has been making top quality knives for a long time and they have produced another winner with the Bugout.
And weighing a remarkably light 1.85 ounces, the Benchmade Bugout is an everyday carry dream.
The comfortable handles are made from glass filled Grivory which is tough and ideal for hard outdoor use while cutting down on weight.
It uses Benchmade’s very strong Axis blade lock, it’s made in America and of course it carries Benchmade’s lifetime guarantee.
The higher quality of this knife comes along with a higher price tag. But if you are serious about owning a knife that is a step above, you need to take a closer look at the Benchmade Bugout 535 knife.
This lightweight folding pocket knife screams EDC knife, that won’t let you down.View at Benchmade
The Chris Reeve Large Sebenza 21 is simply one of the best lightweight folding pocket knives for EDC. Period.
Look, I’m not going to blow smoke at you. It’s a knife. It’s meant to cut. A budget folding knife can do that just as well.
But if you are someone who just has to have the best of the best, this knife needs to be part of your collection.
The Sebenza uses top quality Crucible S35VN stainless steel for its 3-5/8 inch long, 0.121 inch thick blade. It uses 303 stainless for its hardware, titanium for the handle and clip material.
The folded length is 4.793 inches, the handle thickness is 0.15 inches and weighs 4.7 oz. A very manageable size and weight for EDC.
If blade length is a concern, Chris Reeve Knives makes a smaller version of this knife with a blade length of 2.94″ (which makes it more legal-carry friendly in many areas), and weighing only 3 oz.
Made from top quality materials, this beautifully designed and manufactured knife is utilitarian as well as a work of art.
From all of our selections, we consider the Chris Reeve Large Sebenza 21 the best lightweight folding pocket knife for EDC, if you’re comfortable with the price tag.View on Amazon
Who is this knife for?
It’s for those who are not so concerned about weight as they are about strength.
The Adamas is one of the strongest Axis Lock folding knives ever made by Benchmade.
This tactical style knife boasts a beefy 3.82 inch long blade that is 0.160 inch thick D2 steel.
With a 4.88 inch closed length it still fits comfortably in your pocket. But with a handle thickness of nearly 3/4 inch thick and weighing 7.68 oz, you will notice it. This folder is one substantial everyday carry.
But if you want an American made, tactical style knife that is made of the highest quality, guaranteed for life and is practically bombproof for a folding knife, this is it.
The Adamas is one of Benchmade’s top picks for rugged, versatile tactical knives. It is well designed and comfortable in your hand with those thicker handles.
It is made from top quality materials, D2 steel blade and G10 handles. And Benchmade’s Axis Lock is exceptionally strong.
A portion of Benchmade’s profits from the sale of these knives goes to Three Rangers and the Navy SEAL Foundation, to help members and families of special operations.View on Amazon
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