It should be everyone’s goal to buy American-made products to support manufacturing and jobs in the country. However, prices and quality of knives compared to foreign competition can be tough to ignore.
But, if you think you can’t get a solid American-made knife for less than $35, you’re sorely mistaken.
Here is a selection of 10 knives you can pick up for less than $35.
Gerber E-Z Out Skeleton
After some missteps over the years, Gerber has really righted the ship by focusing on more US-made knives and ensuring classics are well cared for. One thing Gerber does very well is provide US-made knives at reasonable prices. Just take the Gerber E-Z Out Skeleton, for example.
The E-Z Out line has been a staple of Gerber for decades. This is a highly versatile knife with a long 3.52-inch blade and a polycarbonate handle. Along with a lockback mechanism, this knife is an easy and reliable EDC folder.
Case Sod Buster
This is the first of many Case knives to grace this list. The Sod Buster is a legendary slip joint pattern that has captured the hearts and minds of knife enthusiasts everywhere. The knife has a single blade that measures about 3.5 inches. The handle is black impact resistant synthetic material.
KA-BAR BK13 Becker Remora
Not all cheap US-made knives have to be folders. KA-BAR and Becker make an excellent lightweight fixed blade that can work as an everyday carry. The total length is only about 5.12 inches with a blade of about 2.3 inches — all made with black-coated 1095 Cro-Van steel. Thanks to a skeletonized handle, the knife almost disappears at less than 2 ounces.
The next time I update the best EDC fixed blades post, I’ll seriously consider adding this one.
Gerber Ultralight LST
The Gerber LST has a long and interesting history. In fact, Blade Magazine recently did a writeup on how the knife changed the industry. Even after all these years, the LST remains a great choice for an American-made EDC that’s less than $35. If you want something even smaller, I recommend checking out the Gerber Ultralight LST, which is an even more compact version of the original.
The Ultralight LST has a sub-2-inch blade made from 420HC stainless steel and the glass-filled nylon handles. This version comes in at under $15. Hard to beat that.
Buck Mini Spitfire
Buck makes a fair amount of solid American-made knives, though many are just above that price threshold. The Spitfire line is a worthy addition, however.
The Mini Spitfire has a reasonable 2.75-inch blade length made from the 420HC stainless steel Buck does so well with. The aluminum handles are often anodized with various colors — though I am quite fond of the gray version. It’s hard to go wrong with the Mini Spitfire for EDC.
Bear & Son One-Arm Bandit Barlow
Bear & Son makes some pretty inexpensive US-made blades. You can get a classic Peanut pattern for about $25, but I lean toward the Bear & Son One-Arm Bandit Barlow. The knife features an interesting blade design that opens with a nail notch.
It is a knife you can depend on and not be afraid to take anywhere you go.
Ontario Old Hickory Sticker
Ontario makes a line of knives called Old Hickory that dates back to 1924. These very inexpensive American-made knives are mostly for kitchens, but a few can be used out in the field like the Sticker.
Although the general design is for sticking hogs, people have used the Sticker for tons of purposes, including as an all-around outdoor knife. In other cases, people have used Stickers as throwing knives. For about $13, you get a 6-inch 1095 high carbon steel blade with a wood handle. And just like all of these knives, it’s made in the United States.
Case Mini Trapper, Camo Zytel
Yes, this list is filled with Case and Gerber knives, but there’s a reason. You can get some quality American-made knives for pretty cheap. Take this Mini Trapper, for example. The trapper is a legendary slip joint pattern with two blades. While you can get the trapper in many different iterations, the Camo Zytel version is excellent.
The handle on the Mini Trapper is durable and good-looking, not to mention the immense usefulness of the pattern itself.
Although it has the same basic outline as the LST, this is a more modern update on the classic knife. It features a 2.6-inch drop point blade with black coating. Complementing the 420HC blade is a GFN handle with rubber overmold.
This lightweight folder is only an ounce and excels as a small EDC.
Case Executive Lockback
Finally, we end with another small lockback folder — this time an even simpler version from Case. This version of the Executive Lockback from Case features an all stainless steel design. The small 2-inch blade is 420J2 surgical steel that opens via a nail nick. The backlock is embedded in the stainless steel handle.
This makes a nice little EDC because it is small and unassuming. It’s the kind of knife you can take anywhere without a second look. Oh, and the steel handles leave an empty canvas for engraving.