This post was first published in 2016 but updated in 2023 to include different models.
In this world of big-box stores and 128-ounce sodas, some say the bigger, the better. In the world of knives, however, that’s not always the case. Sure, you could get a truly massive folder like the Cold Steel Counter Point XL (which has a 6-inch blade) for hard-core tasks, but what about when you need to carry something light that can cut some twine or open a package.
That’s when smaller is better.
For those who want a lightweight knife that will slip unnoticed in any pocket or attach easily to a keychain, we searched our store for the smallest knives around. There are a lot of tiny knives out there, but these come with blade lengths around 1.75 inches and under.
CRKT Squid Compact
Blade length: 1.75 inches
Overall length: 4.65 inches
The Squid was already a small yet bulky folder that was consistently called one of the best little big knives ever made.
So when CRKT decided to shrink some of its popular folders even more, the Squid was a natural choice. The Squid Compact has a small but capable 1.75-inch blade and an overall length of 4.65 inches.
Despite its small size, it’s still a very capable knife.
Spyderco makes some minuscule knives like the Ladybug and HoneyBee, but the Spyderco Bug is the tiniest of all. This cute little guy fits in the palm of your hand with a 1.27-inch blade. When engaged, the knife comes in at less than 3 inches long.
The great thing about this knife is that it looks like all the other Spydercos. From the picture above, you couldn’t tell just how small it is, but it will fit on your keychain with no problem.
Old Timer 1OT Small Lockback
Blade length: 1.6 inches
Overall length: 3.8 inches
The Old Timer 1OT Small Lockback is the smallest of the Old Timers. It’s a simple knife with a blade that’s a little more than 1.5 inches. Unlike many of the other knives on this list, the 1OT uses a lockback to keep the blade engaged, making it better for tougher tasks.
It comes with a keyring for easy carry.
Boker Plus USB OTF
Blade length: 1.77 inches
Overall length: 4.72 inches
We all know how small and portable USB drives can be. But what if there was a knife that was as small and could be mistaken for a USB stick? Well, wonder no more.
The Boker Plus USB OTF is a small California-legal automatic with a 1.77-inch blade and an overall length of 4.72 inches.
Blade length: 1.4 inches
Overall length: 4 inches
The Cinder is a Rick Hinderer design that isn’t like your typical Hinderer design. This is a tiny knife with a 1.4-inch blade and an integrated bottle opener and pry bar.
The size lends itself nicely to putting on a keychain. This version has a copper handle that gives the knife some extra personality.
KA-BAR TDI LDK
Blade length: 1.7 inches
Overall length: 3.6 inches
You don’t usually see fixed blades this small, but if you are in a last-ditch situation, this is the perfect knife.
The Last Ditch Knife small and thin fixed blade is designed to stay concealed somewhere on your person until you need it most. It can fit in your boot, in your wallet, on your belt, or around your neck.
Gerber Key Note
Blade length: 1 inches
Overall length: 3 inches
The Gerber Key Note has by far the smallest blade on this list, measuring on 1 inch. Because it’s a tanto profile, the blade has a fairly long cutting edge that makes it surprisingly useful.
This knife is mainly designed to be carried on a keychain, so it’s a bit stubby. There’s even a “flipper” tab that allows you to push the blade out to open it further with your fingers instead of fiddling with the nail nick.
Electrifying CA OTF
Blade length: 2 inches
Overall length: 5.25 inches
This is a bit larger than the others on the list, but there’s a reason this knife is among our best-selling knives of all time: it’s seriously compact.
The blade is a hair under 2 inches long, but its slim profile makes it feel very small. It’s hard to beat this knife for the price.
SOG Key Knife
Blade length: 1.5 inches
Overall length: 4 inches
Then, of course, there’s the SOG Key Knife. This is a convenient little knife that’s designed to blend right into your keys. It features a 1.5-inch blade and an overall length of 4 inches when fully engaged. Just remember to take it off before you go to the airport.
Blade length: 1.55 inches
Overall length: 3.94 inches
The Ki-V is a fun little slip joint designed by Ostap Hel. It has a 1.55-inch modified tanto blade that opens via front flipper.
This version has a natural G-10 handle that makes it stand out from the bunch.