Open main menu

Folding Knives

Top Picks

How we choose: The best folding knives highlighted here were selected based on 200 reviews of 129 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a folding knife that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

Disclosure: Trailspace never accepts payment for gear reviews, product placement, or editorial coverage. When you buy through affiliate links on our site, Trailspace may earn a small commission, which helps cover the costs of running the site.

Opinel No. 8 Folding Knife

user rating: 5 of 5 (5 reviews)

In the 1980s, Opinel folding knives were a camping store fad in North America, and I fell for them hook line and sinker. Since then, I've always had at least one. While Opinel's U.S. distribution has been spotty through the years, Coghlan's, the Canadian supplier of small camping gear has offered them, blister packed on their familiar green cardboard. Opinels, whether sold by Opinel or Coghlan's, are inexpensive workhorses and because they don't cost a mint, if your knife gets lost or beat up, it's not the end of the world.

Read more: Opinel No. 8 Folding Knife reviews (5)

Benchmade Mini Griptilian Family

user rating: 5 of 5 (6 reviews)

Custom Mini-Griptilian (S30V): Well constructed, factory sharp knife. Handle gives good grip, and the opening hole (Pardue) is more comfortable than any other design.

Reasons to Buy

  • Light
  • Sharp
  • Good design

Reasons to Avoid

  • Handle looks a bit cheap

Purchased this through Benchmade's "custom" ordering process. The order was easy to specify precisely what blade, steel, and grips I wanted. Overall, the knife is light but well put together. It's sharp and the S30V steel will keep its edge longer over other steels. My only complaint is that the handle is not "open" to allow dust and lint to fall through. I think this would have been an easy design change. 

Read more: Benchmade Mini Griptilian Family reviews (6)

Opinel No. 6 Folding Knife

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4 reviews)

Light, small, tough, and available. The blade you may find you need, at a price you definitely can afford.

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent carbon steel
  • Solid lock up
  • Reliably tough.
  • Tactile and ergonomic
  • Feather light
  • Dirt cheap
  • Lifetime warranty (materials and manufacturing defects)

Reasons to Avoid

  • Needs a lock ring: the UK legal versions are useless
  • Carbon steel and wood, require basic maintenance

A simple design—one sharp, thin (1mm), pointy blade, which folds into a thinly finished beech handle. A chromed, spring steel lock ring, at the riveted pivot point, is a wonderful low-tech way to keep the knife open-or closed—until you change your mind. Available in many lengths; the seven centimetre blade works, for me. It weighs a negligible 27 grammes . If your daily life involves building wilderness shelters, batoning firewood, or rope access, at industrial sites, you'll need a different product.

Read more: Opinel No. 6 Folding Knife reviews (4)

Kershaw Leek

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (6 reviews)

I've owned and used this knife as an EDC for nearly four years. It's been used camping, backpacking, and everything else I needed a knife for. I even abuse it by cutting cardboard once in a while.

I also have three Benchmade knives, a Gerber fixed blade, and a Boker knife. This Kershaw doesn't hold an edge as well as the Benchmade knives, but it's fairly easy to sharpen. The blade appears to be pretty strong. Even though the tip is pretty fine, I've never had a problem with breakage, but I wouldn't try prying with it (and you shouldn't—with any knife). The mechanisms still work well after probably thousands of actuations (it's a fun knife to just flick open—sort of addictive), and there doesn't appear to be any wear.

Read more: Kershaw Leek reviews (6)

Buck 110 Folding Hunter

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (6 reviews)

This folding knife has been around for a long time. Not to many have lasted as long as this one.  This knife has a classic shape and classic looks. The brass and wood make for a lot of eye appeal. Folded up it comes in around 4 inches. The blade has a nice point to it, it goes by different names, clip, pointer, drop point, etc.  The blade is stainless, which seems to be the standard for store bought knives now.   The wood handle feels good in your hand when it is cold out. Unlike a plastic or metal handles.

Read more: Buck 110 Folding Hunter reviews (6)

Benchmade 940/943 Osborne Family

user rating: 4 of 5 (2 reviews)

The 940BK is my EDC and is one of the finest blades I have ever seen or used. I have the blade sharpened to 25° and it's only needed to be sharpened once in all the time I have owned it.

Reasons to Buy

  • CPM-S30V steel holds a wicked edge
  • BK1 black finish provides ultimate protection to the blade
  • Very lightweight for the size: 2.87 ounces
  • 3.4" blade is big enough to get most jobs done

Reasons to Avoid

  • Expensive — this is no $5 knife. Then again, this is no $5 knife. :-)

The first Osborn I owned was the 943SBK.  It was an outstanding knife that I used every day for about 7 or 8 years. I was so bummed when I lost it at a football game... really, really bummed.  But there were two things about the blade that I didn't like, so I fixed it when I bought this 940BK. The 943 blade is more of a very cool looking stiletto style.  While the steel is crazy strong, the thin steel at the tip of the blade creates a weak point that I was constantly being careful of (though it never did break).

Read more: Benchmade 940/943 Osborne Family reviews (2)

Benchmade Barrage Family

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

The best pocketknife I've ever owned...drops mic, walks away.

Reasons to Buy

  • Ultra sharp
  • Customizable
  • Spring assisted
  • Free lifetime sharpening
  • Lifetime warranty you'll never need

Reasons to Avoid

  • Expensive
  • Some may find it large
  • Some may find it heavy

My Old and New Barrage knives I received my Benchmade Barrage knife as a Christmas gift from my wife 8 or 9 years ago and loved it. I carried it in my pocket every day and used it at least once on most of those days... seriously. When traveling I'd have to pack it in my checked bags and I always felt naked without it. So why the past tense you ask? Because it managed to find its way across a bank of batteries and was destroyed by the arc-flash. Long story. That one was so loved that I purchased a new, custom Barrage 580 to replace it, because nothing else would do.

Read more: Benchmade Barrage Family review (1)

Opinel No. 9 Folding Knife

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

The Opinel No. 9 is a highly utilitarian, customizable knife that is perfect for the camper, hiker, hunter, backwoods cook, and farmer alike.

Reasons to Buy

  • Inexpensive, high-quality outdoor tool!

Reasons to Avoid

  • An archaic locking system on an even older folder platform works very well, but is not for the reckless individual.

Opinel has been making the same pocket knives with very few changes since 1890. It is a testament to the design that it has not only been around that long, but is one of the most popular knives in the world. The No. 8 is the most popular, but I am a fan of the No. 9 because that extra centimeter in the blade and the handle make it ideal for a man's hands. The Opinel No. 9 comes in two different steel options: Inox (stainless) and Carbone (carbon). Personally, I prefer non-stainless, high-carbon steels in a knife because of the greater utilitarian properties and they aren't so brittle as stainless blades are.

Read more: Opinel No. 9 Folding Knife reviews (3)

Spyderco Tenacious

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

I've owned the Spyderco Tenacious for more than a year now, I have zero complaints. I own several (read more than i can remember) knives, mostly Spydercos. Prices ranging from 30 to over 200$, and the Tenaciuos is the one that stays in my pocket. ease of opening and closing and edge retention are great. You can not go wrong with this knife.

Reasons to Buy

  • Price, it is the lowest priced full sized knife from Spyderco.
  • Edge retention, ease of sharpening.
  • 4 position pocket clip placement.
  • size, not too big not too small.
  • smooth opening and closing.
  • secure detente so it won't open in your pocket.(unless something goes wrong, which it could)
  • variations of edge and colors now.
  • flat grind so its easy to sharpen and slices well. blade is leaf shaped so its easier to hold onto for close work like getting out splinters (done it, it works)

Reasons to Avoid

  • It's made in China, but that's also what keeps the price down.

EASE OF USE- pull it out of your pocket and open it up, it flips open nice once you get the hang of it. took me about 2 tries.ymmv. FEATURES- 4position clip, good solid liner lock, solid detente to keep it closed in your pocket. CONSTRUCTION, DURIBILITY- relatively rust resistant, I've sweated mine soaked a bunch of times, wash it off put a little oil on it and you are good to go. blade steel hard enough to hold a good edge, but soft enough to sharpen easy. mine stays razor sharp with very little trouble.

Read more: Spyderco Tenacious reviews (2)

Benchmade Griptilian Family

user rating: 5 of 5 (3 reviews)

A great quality blade with a unique and fun locking mechanism. The only downside are the handles. Everything else about this knife is fantastic.

Reasons to Buy

  • Blade steel is amazing.
  • Smooth deployment
  • Axis lock mechanism is unique and fun to fidget with.
  • Secure pocket clip

Reasons to Avoid

  • The handles on this knife can be uncomfortable in hand.

The Benchmade Griptillian is a fantastic knife. The blade steel is amazing. It comes with a great edge and holds that edge very well. The blade is large and performs well in various EDC and outdoor tasks. Its size makes it great for whittling wood. The axis lock is not only fun to play with, but is also reliable. It holds the blade fast in its place. There is no play in the blade or pivot. The handle has a lot of jimping on the top, which I guess gives the “grip” in griptillian. However, the sides of the handle is very jimpy as well.

Read more: Benchmade Griptilian Family reviews (3)

More Reviews of Folding Knives

Trailspace reviewers have shared 200 reviews of 129 different folding knives.

Show All »

or add yours

Other Types of Knives

Find more knives reviewed in these related categories:

Fixed-Blade Knives

all Knives

Review Your Outdoor Gear

If you've found this site helpful — or if we've missed something important — please consider paying it forward by some of your favorite outdoor gear.

Why? From professional gearheads to outdoor novices, everyone has an important point of view to contribute. will support the outdoor community and help others find the best gear.

Trailspace reviewers are outdoor enthusiasts like you: hikers, climbers, paddlers, backcountry skiers, and trail runners who share our experiences with the gear and clothing we rely on to get outside. Learn more about Trailspace