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15 Best Wharncliffe Blade Knives

For nearly two centuries, the Wharncliffe blade design has remained a staple of the knife community.

While the function has evolved from a whittling knife to more of a self-defense or EDC purpose, the Wharncliffe continues to be a useful tool.

A few weeks back, I wrote about the History of the Wharncliffe, and now I’m taking it to the next step with a look at the best production knives with Wharncliffe blades.

I’m capping the list at 20, although I will undoubtedly be missing a few essential additions, so let me know in the comments.

1. SOG Snarl

Let’s start small with this popular and versatile Wharncliffe fixed blade from SOG. Designed by Jason Brous of Brous Blades, the Snarl is one thick knife.

It has a 2.3-inch Wharncliffe blade and a skeletonized handle. The whole thing is made of steel and fits into an included sheath that you can clip to your boot or belt or wear around your neck.

2. Gerber Pledge

The Gerber Pledge is a compact folder with a price you won’t believe. For a little over $20, you can get this knife with a longer 3.7-inch Wharncliffe blade and urban blue handle made from GFN.

This EDC really extols the virtues of a Wharncliffe blade for everyday activities like opening boxes and envelopes.


KA-BAR TDI LDK Small Wharncliffe Knife

The KA-BAR TDI Last Ditch Knife takes cues from Janich’s Ronin. This small fixed blade is made to be used in last ditch self-defense situation. The overall length is only 3.6 inches and it is meant to be put in its sheath in a boot or wallet. The backup knife is great at slashing and piercing.

4. Spyderco McBee

Spyderco went crazy the past few years making Wharncliffe versions out of almost every one of its folders. While they cut back on most of those designs, the McBee with its Wharncliffe-style blade is still among the best.

The McBee is a tiny thing with a 1.52-inch blade. The Wharncliffe profile works well on this small knife because it allows the user to put a finger on the spine of the blade for extra control. This small but capable knife almost works like an Xacto knife.

5. Kershaw Leek

Kershaw Leek Wharncliffe Blade

Wait, the Kershaw Leek? Although Kershaw calls it a modified drop point, I would classify it more as a modified Wharncliffe. Janich says a Wharncliffe must have a straight edge, but the gentle curve of the Leek edge is just subtle enough to be nearly straight.

What else is there to say about the Leek that hasn’t already been said? This is an EDC all-timer.

6. Cold Steel Kiridashi

The Kiridashi is actually a specialized knife originating in Japan, but Cold Steel repurposed the knife into a compelling everyday carry folder.

The Kiridashi is essentially a Wharncliffe blade except the edge of the knife tapers up toward the point.

7. Kershaw Launch 13

Kershaw Launch 13 Black Wharncliffe Knife

Who says Wharncliffe knives have to look old and stuffy? This automatic knife from the renowned Kershaw Launch series boasts a sleek design with a lightning fast blade.

You can’t go wrong with a Wharncliffe auto that’s made in the United States.

8. Spyderco Canis

The Spyderco Canis is designed by Kelly McCann is a self-defense folder. Its uniquely designed spine reinforces the tip and cuts down on the overall weight of the knife.

It uses Spyderco’s Compression Lock along with carbon fiber and G-10 laminate scales and S30V steel.

This knife is an absolute beast.

9. CRKT Minimalist

CRKT Minimalist Wharncliffe Blade

The Minimalist comes in a few different designs, including a drop point and a Bowie blade. But the best is probably the Wharncliffe. Designed by Alan Folts, this is a perfect EDC fixed blade that excels at all types of tasks. The handle is almost nonexistent but somehow still very comfortable and reliable.

10. Smith & Wesson Sideburn

I’ve always said the Sideburn has a ridiculous name, but you can’t deny the look and functionality of the knife.

It has a reasonable 3-inch Wharncliffe blade that opens via flipper tab while black G-10 scales offer a solid grip. It’s a budget-friendly knife that will leave you wondering why you never loved sideburns before.

11. Condor Norse Dragon Seax

The Seax is actually the precursor to the Wharncliffe, but it still counts. This fixed blade from Condor Tool & Knife pays homage to the Viking ethos of bravery and strength.

The blade is 7 inches long and the wood handle uses Norse imagery.

12. Cold Steel Tuff Lite

Cold Steel Tuff Lite

The Tuff Lite is an unlikely little knife. At a time when Cold Steel was making these huge, massive folders, they released the Tuff Lite. People love this knife.

Cold Steel calls the blade angled but it’s really just a Wharncliffe blade. The length is only 2.5 inches and uses AUS8A steel. The grip allows you to choke up on the blade for more control.

13. Hogue A01 MicroSwitch

Here is a great Wharncliffe option from Hogue. This is a California legal automatic knife with a 1.95-inch blade made from CPM 154 steel. Its black aluminum handle is nicely textured for a comfortable grip.

This version is an auto and a reliable one at that. It features a safety lock mechanism to prevent accidental opening and closing. You can also get nearly the same knife but with a flipper instead.

14. CRKT CEO MicroFlipper

The CEO MicroFlipper is the newest addition to this list, having only come out in 2023. This is a miniature version of the beloved slim CEO everyday carry knife.

It has a small but capable 2.21-inch blade with a textured blue aluminum handle. If you’re looking for a small EDC with a Wharncliffe blade, it’s hard to go wrong with the CEO MicroFlipper.

15. Hogue Deka

And finally, we come to the Deka. This extremely lightweight folder is marketed as having a Wharncliffe blade, but I argue it’s a highly modified Wharncliffe blade. However, since we’re being a little lenient with blade profiles, this definitely deserves a spot on the list.

This version of the Deka has lightweight polymer scales and a superb MagnaCut steel blade.

The Hogue Deka has been among the most popular models of the past few years on Knife Depot.

Bonus: There are a host of great discontinued models, such as the Spyderco Urban Safety, Benchmade Gravitator, Kershaw Needs Work, Spyderco Air, Kershaw Ken Onion Centofante, Benchmade Opportunist, Boker Plus Wharcom, BlackHawk BeWharned, and more.


  1. No mention of Bradford ?

  2. Why no mention of the Buck 110 Hunter w/the Wharncliffe blade.

  3. The Black Hawk Be-Wharned also designed by Michael
    Janich ets no menion? And some of these knives like the leek aren’t wharncliffe blades- a true wharncliffe has ZERO belly at all, a perfect straight edge.

    • Tim

      February 6, 2018 at 12:05 pm

      I believe the Be-Wharned has been discontinued after Blackhawk stop its knife production. Either way, the Yojimbo 2 is more of an updated version of the Be-Wharned (almost) so I didn’t want to include a similar design twice.

      I admitted I was being lenient with the definition of a Wharncliffe in that I allowed knives with a little belly to be included when a Wharncliffe is most commonly defined as having a straight edge.

  4. You really make it seem so easy together with your presentation however I in finding this topic
    to be actually one thing which I think I might by no means
    understand. It seems too complex and extremely extensive for me.
    I am having a look ahead to your next post, I will attempt to get the hang
    of it!

  5. Ontario’s Carter Prime is a great D2 warncliff, I’ve been carrying one for close to a year now for work and it’s been great!

  6. 5 Hasting Rd

  7. Just got my first wharncliff (a delica version). I’m lovin it!

  8. Forgot Tops Comanche Hawke 😀
    Great that so many love this style..

  9. Kershaw – Needs Work
    I’ve had one for a few years and love it.

  10. The Case sway back jack and The Case Tear drop .

  11. You did a good job on your list

  12. The Kershaw Bareknuckle is another great option,I believe Kershaw considers it a drop point but I personally think it’s more like a modified wharncliffe

  13. No mention of the Emerson Seax…unfortunate.

  14. You missed the Half Face Blades SHPOS Gen3 Folder!

  15. BEAR OPS BOLD ACTION XVII AUTO KNIFE, SATIN S35VN WHARNCLIFFE BLADE… auto Wharncliffe, is this a good idea or not ? Great price when you consider the type of steel.
    Available at Blade-Ops and possibly others .

  16. Artisan Proponent….Spyderco Canis….TwoSun Integral…and plenty more…

  17. Frederick Chevalier

    January 23, 2023 at 11:38 am

    I’m currently crafting (through stock removal method) my first Wharncliffe blade and it’s coming out nice, definitely love this blade shape

  18. You have a very close definition of Wharncliffe. In that list I see sheepfoot, seax (It’s part of the knife’s name!), kiridashi (Again, part of the knife’s name!), seax styled blades, cleaver, and I don’t think anybody knows what the McBee is.

  19. I have three knives with Wahrncliff blades; only one made this list. Oddly, it is my least favorite knife, and I rarely use it. Conversely, my favorite EDC knife is a Spyderco Dragonfly 2 with Wahrncliff blade and K390 steel. If I lose it, I’ll buy another.

  20. I think we have to include the Michael Janich designed Spyderco Yojimbo 2 and Yojumbo 2 in this list of best Wharncliffe blades – especially after reading your previous article about Mr. Janich’s contributions to the history of the Wharncliffe in re-inventing it as a modern tactical blade!

    I understand there are so many knives out there – it is hard to create a “best” list, but in this case, I think we need to change the article’s name to, “17 Best Wharncliffe Blades”, and include the Yojimbo/YoJumbo!

    Thanks for another great article Tim!

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