The Cutting Edge

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Category: Best Knives (page 2 of 4)

10 Best CRKT Knives

CRKT M16

This post was originally posted in August 2018 and is updated every year.

Formally known as Columbia River Knife & Tool, CRKT is a relatively new company in terms of big knife brands, having only been established in 1994.

However, over the nearly three decades the company has been around, it’s put out hundreds of different models. There’s a lot to love about CRKT, from its truly innovative designs to its collaborations with some of the top knifemakers. Unfortunately, the use of inexpensive materials leaves a lot to be desired by the knife community. In the last few years, CRKT has tried to remedy these failings.

Picking the 10 best CRKT knives was easy at first until I realized all the knives I was forgetting. The company puts out dozens of new models every year and discontinues a ton. Unlike many of the other brands, this list is a mixture of new and old.

Let us know if you think we missed any.

CRKT M16

We’ll start with the flagship series from CRKT: the M16. The late great Kit Carson, who pioneered the flipper tab, helped propel CRKT to where it is today, thanks to his M16 series. His knife was named one of the 10 best tactical knives of the decade by Blade Magazine, and the CRKT interpretation is nothing to scoff at.

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10 Best Cold Steel Knives

This article was originally published in July 2018 before being updated with newer models.

We’re continuing our run-through of the best knives from each brand.

Narrowing down the 10 best currently in production is no easy task, but I did the best I could using personal experience, consensus around the internet, reviews, and more. Here are the 10 best Cold Steel knives.

Cold Steel Recon 1

Let’s start with a gimme: the Cold Steel Recon 1.

The Recon series helped usher in a new era for Cold Steel, one that is currently dominated by tough knives with a tactical bent that use Andrew Demko’s famous Tri-Ad locking mechanism.

The Recon 1 uses high-quality material with a 4-inch blade made from S35VN steel (recently changed from CTS-XHP). The handle is a grippy G-10. One of the great things about this flagship model is that it comes in tons of sizes and blade shapes, so you can get exactly what you want.

Cold Steel Ti-Lite

Cold Steel Ti-LiteReminiscent of the switchblades of the 1950s, the Cold Steel Ti-Lite is a thin yet lengthy folder with an eye on self-defense. There’s a 4-inch or 6-inch version — both come in either budget or premium builds.

The larger one is a legend with a long 6-inch blade made from S35VN steel and an aluminum handle. You can pull the knife out of your pocket while engaging it thanks to a protruding quillon that catches the edge of your pants. The reach on this thing is insane, which is why some people opt for the smaller Ti-Lite. We also really like this budget version with AUS 8A steel.

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10 Best KA-BAR Knives

KA-BAR is a legendary brand that’s been making knives under different names for a century. While the KA-BAR knife is the most well-known model from the company, the Olean-based company makes a diverse group of knife designs.

Teaming up with some of the best knife-making minds out there, such as Ethan Becker, Rick Hinderer, and Bob Dozier, shows this brand is committed to quality designs.

There have been a number of great new models over the years, but none have been quite strong enough to topple these classics.

Here are the 10 best KA-BAR knives right now.

KA-BAR USMC Fighting Knife

Let’s start with the icon — the original KA-BAR. I won’t go too deep into the history of KA-BAR (because I’ve already done that) but a few companies actually made the KA-BAR knife. However, the knives that were made by what is now KA-BAR were always considered the best. Even all these years later, the fighting knife remains a favorite among civilians and military personnel alike.

I could have easily made this list nothing but KA-BAR utility knives, but I thought the classic USMC could also stand in for the dozens of other iterations, such as the Kraton models, tanto models, and smaller versions.

You can pretty much find the perfect KA-BAR for you, including a Kraton version, commemorative versions, a short version, and more.

KA-BAR BK2 Becker Campanion

Just as I could have made list of only the fighting knives, I could also make this list nothing but models from the KA-BAR Becker line. Ethan Becker is a knife-designing savant and his line of Beckers at KA-BAR proves it. Few are as great and versatile as the BK2 Becker Campanion.

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10 Best Ontario Knives

This post was originally published in 2019 but was updated in 2022 with newer models.

Over the past year or so, I’ve been going over the best knives from each brand. Some have been really easy to narrow down such as Spyderco and Kershaw.

However, few brands have been harder to pin down than Ontario Knife Company. Ontario, sometimes known more simply as OKC, has a surprisingly robust and diverse selection of knives that all serve a purpose and do it well. There are some obvious choices — ahem, the RAT folders — but there are so many other serviceable knives that could have been on this list.

These lists always carry some level of bias and subjectivity, but I feel like this list may contain more whimsy and randomness than others.

If I’m alive and kicking and still have this job, I’ll redo this next year and may swap out some others, but this is the list for 2019. Let me know which ones I missed in the comments.

Ontario RAT Folder

Ontario RAT Folder

Let’s start with the easiest addition to this list: the RAT Folders. I’m cheating a bit because this includes the RAT 1 and RAT 2 folders. They are essentially the same knife but in different sizes.

The RAT folders are a perennial favorite among knife people because they are relatively cheap, reliable, and solid knives. The fact that they are now available in D2 at a low cost means they may be the best budget knife on the market.

Along with D2, you can get an assisted version, an AUS 8 version, and some with different blade finishes and handle colors.

Ontario Black Bird SK-5

The next no-brainer is the Ontario Black Bird. The series is designed by Paul Scheiter. The survival knife was named the best of the best by Field and Stream Magazine in 2011, and it’s evolved over the years. It’s a pretty simple bushcrafting knife with a 5-inch 420HC stainless steel blade and multicolor Micarta handle scales.

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Modern EDC Slipjoints

If you don’t have a tactical folder that can hold the weight of a car, do you really have a functional knife?

Yes! The truth is for countless years people have successfully used nonlocking folders for all kinds of jobs. In fact, in more recent years, companies have started making slipjoint knives you can carry as an EDC folder.

While these knives aren’t something you’d want to baton with (get a fixed blade for that unless you’re Advanced Knife Bro), nonlocking folders are a great option for an EDC. You don’t have to settle for an old Case knife either (not that there’s anything wrong with that). You can now get a modern-looking slipjoint that uses higher end materials.

Here are some of the best modern EDC slipjoints currently available.

Byrd Tern

Unfortunately, Spyderco recently did away with many of its best slipjoint models — such as the Pingo and the PITS. OK, so the PITS isn’t really a slipjoint, but it’s still a nonlocking folder. However, the sub brand of Spyderco called Byrd Knives has an inexpensive slipjoint called the Tern that features a modern look.

The knife is essentially a cheaper version of the UK Penknife.

CRKT Symmetry

There was one point a few years back when CRKT discontinued most of its modern EDC slip joints. However, they’ve made a comeback. The CRKT is a relatively new slipjoint designed by Richard Rogers.

Boker Plus Wasabi

Boker is probably the brand with the most modern EDC slipjoints, as you’ll see farther down the list. One of the best and newest is the Wasabi, an interesting design from Kansei Matsuno.

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10 Best Kershaw Knives

Article was originally published in May 2018.

Kershaw Knives has a long history that dates back to 1974 when Pete Kershaw left his job at Gerber to form his own company. More than 40 years later, the Oregon-based company continues to flex its muscle and show why it remains one of the best knife companies around.

The company has evolved over the years with popular and revolutionary knife models coming and going, but we wanted to take a look at the best knives currently in production at Kershaw.

Note: Best is obviously a very subjective term. While there will be some bias in which knives to include, I will try to select the knives that receive generally widespread acclaim from professional reviewers and customers. Some knives may also get some bonus points for being important to the company. New knives often need a few years to gain the stature needed to be called the best but there are always some that are obvious additions.

If you feel any knives have been slighted or want to mention a knife you feel is the best, let me know in the comments.

1. Kershaw Leek

Kershaw Leek

I’m kicking off the list with the most iconic Kershaw knife ever made: the Leek. This Ken Onion design has always been lumped in with the historically important knives (it made our own list of most iconic knives) and for good reason.

The Leek is simple, effective, and is a gold standard for EDC knives. The knife features a 3-inch modified Wharncliffe blade made from quality 142C28N steel, a stainless steel handle with a frame lock, and the SpeedSafe assisted-opening mechanism.

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Best Work Folders

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While all knives are meant to cut, there are only a few knives you’d really want to put through the wringer on a busy job site. So I did my best to pick out a few folding knives you can bet your fingers on at work after getting some recommendations from blue-collar workers (not some blog boy like myself).

The pocket knives on this list are a mix of “overbuilt” knives that you can pretty much pry with and less expensive but very serviceable blades you could happily carry onto a construction site.

I tried to take price into consideration, which is why you won’t see a Medford Praetorian, Hinderer XM-18, or a few others that are around $500. Also, if you’re serious about a true work knife, you might want to consider a more reliable and easier to maintain fixed blade. With those caveats out of the way, let’s get to the list.

Post originally posted in September 2018 before being updated in February 2023 to include current knives.

Cold Steel AD-10

When it comes to hard-use folders that are overbuilt and ready for work, there’s a new king in town: the AD-10.

This relatively new knife boasts a 3.5-inch chunk of S35VN steel for its blade. The sculpted G-10 handle feels great in the hand. The AD-10 also has a Tri-Ad lock for even greater power. This may be pricier than others, but it will never fail on you.

There is also a “lite” version of the AD-10 that’s a bit cheaper.

Benchmade Adamas Auto

The Benchmade Adamas is one of the most common models you’ll see on lists about work knives. The reason? It’s large, reliable, and strong. The blade is 3.78 inches and uses exceptionally strong CruWear steel on a no-nonsense drop point blade. Not only is the blade stock thick but so are the liners and G-10 scales.

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10 Best Gerber Knives

This post was originally published in May 2018 but was updated in October 2021 to include newer models.

Gerber has a long history dating back to 1939. The brand has evolved over the years — undergoing some ups and downs as some of the best designers and knifemakers around left the company to start their own ventures.

Gerber has been relatively quiet the past few years, releasing an assortment of higher-end knives mixed with brand-new budget designs. None have really stood out from the bunch, and plenty of the older models that were great have been discontinued.

It’s been a rocky two decades, but Gerber seems to be on firm footing by doubling down on their best knives. Here is a look at Gerber’s 10 best knives currently in production.

Note: As always, these best-of lists are highly subjective. However, I do my due diligence through personal experience as well as consensus from around the internet. These lists will always skew toward the tried-and-true models, but new models will always make the jump.

1. Gerber LMF II Infantry

Gerber has remade itself over the past few years thanks to three very reliable (and pretty similar) fixed blades. The Gerber LMF II has an undisputed spot on this list for good reason. Gerber says the knife was originally designed to free an aircrew from a downed aircraft, and it remains an adaptable fixed blade that can be used in all types of situations.

The blade is 4.84 inches made from 420HC stainless steel. It has partial serrations and glass-filled nylon with TPV overmold handles.

You can see all the Gerber LMF II Infantry variations here.

2. Gerber Gator

Gerber Gator

This list is heavily populated with perennial favorites, and the Gerber Gator is no exception. It was first introduced in the early ’90s when it was named “Most Innovative Knife of the Year” at the 1991 Blade Show. Despite being so old, the knife remains one of the best Gerber has to offer.

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Knife Depot’s Best-Selling Knives of 2022

With our selection of the best knives of 2022 posted last week, it’s time to look at the knives the people voted for with their wallets. So, I combed through the data on the best-selling knives from Knife Depot in the 2022 calendar year.

A few things to note: This list is in no particular order because we factored in the price of these knives as well. If we sold 500 $30 knives and 500 $150 knives, we gave some special considerations to the pricier model because purchasing is more of a hurdle.

We did our best to get this list as accurate as possible.

Kershaw Launch 6

The first thing you’ll notice on this list is the surprising number of automatic knives. I argue no knife series is more popular than the Launch series from Kershaw.

The Launch 6 was one of the most popular knives from the series this year. That’s meaningful considering it sold a ton of units and it’s a fairly pricey knife.

It’s hard to argue with the sleekness of the Launch 6. It has a 3.75-inch CPM 154 stainless steel blade with a black aluminum handle and a red push button that fires with force.

Smith & Wesson SWFR2S

Smith & Wesson knives were also very popular this year. But the Smith & Wesson SWFR2S was by far the most popular.

Two factors contributed to the overall success of this knife, which is a best-seller year after year. First, the knife is a workhorse. This is a knife I have in my personal collection and one I often recommend to people looking for a reliable folder at a good price.

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Best New Knives of 2022

It was another fantastic year of knives. So, with 2022 almost in the rearview mirror, we thought it was time to look at the best knives to come out this year.

Like all of our best-of lists, this selection of knives is biased and somewhat arbitrary. Here are a few qualifications. In order to qualify for this list, the knife had to have been available at Knife Depot. There are a ton of great knives out there, but we thought it would be somewhat odd to choose knives that we weren’t very familiar with.

We did take into account the reviews and opinions of others when selecting these knives, but they were pretty much selected by myself.

Let us know your favorite knives of the past year.

Kershaw Outlier

Let’s start with an easy one: the Kershaw Outlier.

The Outlier has been one of the top-selling knives of the year at Knife Depot, and the feedback has been positive all around. The design is nothing mind-blowing. It’s a tactical folding karambit, but it just works so well and the price is great. It reminds me of the great Fox Karambit, but at a much cheaper price price point.

It has a 2.6-inch hawkbill blade with a black glass-filled nylon handle. It can be opened with a flipper and assisted-opening mechanism or via thumb stud.

When I look back at 2022, I’ll think of the Outlier.

Hogue Deka

The Hogue Deka is not a new design, but 2022 saw the release of the definitive edition of the Deka.

The new Deka is one of the first production knives to receive the super steel MagnaCut on its blade. This steel is widely considered the best all-around steel ever made. For steel nerds, check out this highly in-depth article from Larrin over at Knife Steel Nerds.

Along with the MagnaCut steel, this version of the Deka has polymer handle scales which help cut down on the weight and price of the knife.

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