If you like hiking, or camping or backpacking you’d agree with me that asides your backpack and your tent/hammock, there’s always need for a knife, no matter the size from small pocket knives to large machetes, there’s always the need for a knife.
This article would be adequately covering the importance of owning the a good small pocket knife or if you like having an assortment – the top small pocket knives.
There’ll be detailed reviews to highlight the most capable small pocket knives in the market today.
The Top 8 Best Small Pocket Knives
This question is usually posed by curious knife lovers. While it’s a rather tough question to answer at a go, it’s better answered by the user after going through certain considerations. These considerations would guide you in deciding what the most popular small pocket knife for you is!
This Buck 0379 Solo folding pocket knife is one of the best small pocket knives available in the market.
The knife measures about 3-inches when locked and weighs about 0.9 ounce (0.05 pounds).
The overall build quality is top-notch as it’s sturdily made and its blade is made of 420J2 steel which can be easily sharpened, is remarkably hard and also built to resist wear.
The handle is made of wood grain with a fine mix of Nickel silver bolsters.
Buying the Buck 0379 solo folding knife guarantees you of a Buck’s lifetime guarantee so if you need to have your knife sharpened to razor sharpness after several years of use, then the lifetime guarantee could come in very handy.
Features and Pros
- The Buck 0379 Solo folding knife is made of high quality 420J2 steel
- Comes with Buck’s lifetime guarantee
- The blades can be easily sharpened
- The knife is lightweight, soothing for a small pocket knife
- Well thought out ergonomics
- Sturdily built handle made with wood grain and nickel silver bolsters
- Folding knife with a length 3-inches when closed.
- The knife is imported from China.
- Sadly, unlike several other Buck knives which are made in the USA, this folding knife is stamped made in China. But that doesn’t have any impact on the quality as it’s still one of the best made pocket knives available.
- There’s no locking mechanism to prevent accidental closure.
This MT-A882 spring assist folding knife is like the Buck 0379 Solo folding knife in size (when closed that is), measuring 3-inches when locked.
When it comes to aesthetics, it’s one of the prettiest little things we’ve come across. The handle is made of black nylon fiber. There’s a bottle opener and a lanyard hole on the end of the knife handle.
Like said earlier, this is a spring assist folding knife and as such can be easily opened with one hand. The blade is made of a toughened stainless steel and has a straight cutting edge.
One key advantage of the MTech USA MT-A882 Spring knife is the competitive and affordable pricing, making it one of the best small pocket knives with an incredible bargain price tag. This is also made in the USA.
Features and Pros
- The MTech MT-A882 is made in the USA
- The blade of the knife is made of high quality stainless steel and has a straight edge
- The machine is actually a beauty – aesthetically speaking
- The blade of the knife is 2.75-inches and the overall length when closed is pegged at 3-inches, while thickness is 3.25mm
- The handle is made of black nylon fiber
- Spring assist mechanism that opens in seconds
- The knife is dirt cheap and can be afforded by any knife lover on a budget
- There’s a pocket clip for a safer and easier carry, making it a great everyday carry knife.
- The spring assist lever tends to be a bit difficult or rather strong to operate due to the very minute frame.
The STL 2.0 is made by Gerber Legendary Blades which have been making high quality consumer knives and multi-tools since 1939.
The SLT 2.0 is made of high grade 440a stainless steel blade; the overall length when closed is 3-inches while the blade length is 2.1-inches.
The handle is made of stainless steel with titanium PVD coating. The STL 2.0 is built for one-handed opening although this can be difficult to achieve no thanks to the narrowness of the knife’s handle.
The lock of the Gerber STL 2.0 is very secure and makes for a reduced or impossible accidental release. The blade doesn’t wobble either making it feel like it’s a fixed blade.
Features and Pros
- Sturdily built knife with fixed-blade like rigidness
- High grade 440a stainless steel blade
- Toughened stainless steel handle coated with titanium PVD finish
- Full length of 3-inches when closed makes it a perfect small pocket knife
- Made by a highly revered company with several decades of producing high quality consumer knives.
- Lightweight knife weighing shy of 1 ounce.
- As cheap as it is light, making it very affordable for lovers of quality knives.
- Secured lock helps prevent accidental release
- This is an assist opening and thus can be opened with one hand but would require practice to do so.
- The titanium finish of the knife tends to peel off with time
- Typically requires practice to get a hand of the one-handed opening, due to the narrowness of the handle.
If you are all about value for money, the Columbia River Squid folding pocket knife is your best bet. The device isn’t just priced reasonably, it’s pricing puts it on the list of the best budget knives not just small pocket knives.
The CRKT Squid knife has its blade made from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel and has a good edge. The knife blade is also easy to sharpen and has a stonewash black finish which is great for great for hiding the scratches of daily usage.
The knife has a thumb stud to make it easy to open with one hand. The handle ergonomics is great and fitting for the size of the knife.
Overall, the CRKT knife is one sturdily built knife that’s both affordable and effective. It doesn’t possess the scary look to let neighbors or coworkers want to alert the police.
Features and Pros
- Very cost effective piece of gear for any backpacker/camper or a knife lover/collector
- Good handle ergonomics
- Tough 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade
- The knife is built to last.
- It’s comfortable and easy to use
- The knife is also aesthetically sound has a nice stonewash finish.
- Very lightweight and comfortable to sit in the pocket
- Handle is made of 2Cr13 steel and features a frame lock
- Measures 4.49-inches full length when open, the blade itself measure 2 ¼ .
- The knife can be difficult to open with one hand
The Schrade old timer 180T folding knife bags a spot on our list of the best small pocket knives and for good reason too. The knife is a cheap gear that’s affordable by all and sundry.
Its blade is made of 7Cr17 high carbon stainless steel and its lock blade can be opened with an attached steel clip point with nail pull.
The blade has a length of 2.0-inches while the handle length is 2.8-inches. The overall length of the knife is 4.7-inches and the weight is 0.06 pounds making it a very lightweight tool that would sit comfortably in the pocket. The Old timer 180T mighty mite folding pocket knife has its handle made of Old timer saw-cut handle with Nickel silver bolsters and brass pins.
Features and Pros
- The Scrade Old timer 180T mighty mite folding pocket knife is made of a high carbon stainless steel clip point blade with a nail pull for opening.
- Uses Old timer sawcut handle with Nickel Silver Bolsters and Brass pins.
- The knife is lightweight (about 0.06 pounds) and an effective cutter/slicer
- The knife is also very affordable and budget friendly
- With an overall length of 4.7” it’s still a good sized small pocket knife and can sit comfortably in the pocket
- The knife doesn’t have the menacing look to give co-workers a heart attack or want to alert the police or security personnel
- Opening this old timer mighty mite can be very difficult. Would not be a perfect knife for kids as they would find it very difficult to open.
- The handle is made of old timer saw cut plastic and can be difficult to use if it comes in contact with liquids.
This solar eclipse made key shaped concealed pocket knife another great small pocket knife. The knife itself is concealed in a key shaped tool.
The knife blade is a very petite 1.5”. The blade is made of stainless steel with a straight sharp edge. There’s a safety locking mechanism which ensures the knife doesn’t close when it’s in use.
The knife is also a very budget tool with a price remarkably affordable for any knife loving person or collector who’s on a budget. It’s also a very uniquely styled tool that would serve well as a gift.
It would also fit on any key holder or keychain making it one of the best everyday carry and camouflage knife you can buy for yourself.
Features and Pros
- Nice shaped key knife, that’s fitting for an everyday carry knife
- Sturdily built knife with strong, straight edge stainless steel blade
- Blade length of 1.5-inches makes it petite enough to be nicely concealed
- Has a perfect camouflage size/length and can fit on any key chain or key holder
- Budget friendly small pocket knife
- Great aesthetics
- Good for use as a gift for friends or family
- Comes with a safety inclined locking mechanism to ensure the knife blade doesn’t flip close while still in use.
- This key-shaped knife is pretty lightweight, weighing just 0.8 ounces.
- It’s also easy to open and close
- Built with high quality materials and designed to last several years.
- While this key-shaped knife is easy to open and close, it seems not to hold steady when placed in the close position. However, this ultimately makes it easy to open so not much of a negative.
This made in Switzerland piece of gear is a universal gear with several functionalities including nail file, key ring, screwdriver, toothpick, scissors, tweezers, and of course blade.
This is an adventurer’s perfect tool box.
The classic pocket knife which is its main function is a sleek stainless steel constructed blade which is encased in polished Cellidor/ABS scales which makes it more durable.
The knife has a length of 2.3-inches, a height of 0.4-inches and a weight of 0.8 ounces.
Features and Pros
- Made in Switzerland by Swiss Army Victorinox, a company with several decades of producing high quality knives and cutleries.
- This Classic SD pocket knife is a multi-versatile tool with 7 functions including a knife, toothpick, scissors, tweezers, screwdriver, key ring and a file
- The knife is pretty lightweight, weighing just about 0.8 ounces.
- The knife is made of stainless steel and encased in polished Cellidor/ABS scales which gives it ultimate durability
- The knife comes with a lifetime guarantee from the Swiss Army Victorinox which covers defects in workmanship and material build.
- This piece of gear is also very inexpensive and reasonably priced for all.
- Sturdily built blade with precision engineering that’s also handy in all the other additions of this compact knife.
- The knife is also easy to clean and sharpen
- Very colorful – comes with dozens of colors
- If you are expecting a pen sized knife, then you are probably going to be disappointed as this knife is very (emphasis on the very) small.
If you are a lover of small pocket sized knives, then this Kershaw Chive SpeedSafe folding knife is what you need. This 1600 Chive small pocket knife weighs about 1.7 ounce (0.1 pounds) making it very lightweight and thus easy to carry.
The overall length of the knife when open is 4.8-inches with 1.9-inches of blade length. The knife is made in the USA.
If you are bordered about safety, the SpeedSafe assist opening mechanism and the tip-lock slider has got you covered. The blade of the knife is made of 420HC stainless steel bead-blasted finish.
The handle of the knife is 410 stainless steel bead-blasted finishes.
Features and Pros
- Safety first with SpeedSafe assist opening frame lock and tip-lock slider
- High quality steel blade made of 420HC bead blasted finish
- High-grade 410 stainless steel handle
- Made in the USA by a reputable company with several decades of knife production.
- Pocket sized length – overall length of knife when open 4.8-inches
- Lightweight knife weighing just about 1.7 ounce or 0.1 pounds.
- The spring assist tends to malfunction according to several users. This makes the blade open unexpectedly several times and can cause hazard if not watched carefully.
Considerations before opting for a small pocket knife
Of course you are interested in the best and only it. However, you can’t just wake up one cold morning and decide this small pocket knife is the best for me without taking into considerations some factors that should influence your decision.
A few important factors to consider are:
The small pocket knife blade
Surely you don’t want to over look the blade of your pocket knife before purchase. The blade of any knife/machete and/or even axe is basically the heart and soul combined of such tool and thus it must be carefully selected and looked over. This is why most knife makers’ emphasis on their knife’s durability, ability to withstand corrosion, how easy to sharpen it is, properties such as hardness, toughness, wears resistance, strength, edge retention etc (all these properties solely depend on the element/steel type it is made from). Thus, before buying a pocket knife, ensure you go over the properties of the blade and find out if the properties can withstand your intended usage.
Handle of the pocket knife
The handle of a good (or in this case – best) pocket knife should be well made. It’s supposed to be tough, easy to grasp/hold, should be resilient but is shouldn’t have the ability to absorb moisture as this would make it slippery. Some good handle for pocket knives include; the G-10 fiber glass, Zytel, Titanium and FRN. It’s also important to note that the design of the handle is also very handy – a well sculpted handle with no curvatures or contours would make it less comfortable and slippery.
Ergonomics and design of the knife
Like I was saying at the handle of the knife section, the ergonomics of the knife and its design is also a key pointer in getting a great knife. A knife may be made with all the right materials but lack the proper design, ergonomics and a poor aesthetic and thus would result in a disastrous creation. You don’t want to be caught in battle with a poorly designed knife that’s not comfortable to hold. The ergonomics design oversees this and ensures you knife is not flawed in this crucial criteria.
One of the most important factors when deciding if the knife is worth it is the cost factor. You and I know that there are thousands of small pocket knives available on the market today. A vast majority of them are either over priced or not just worth it to say the least. There is also a small fraction of these knives which are actually well worth the price and some even a bit easy on the wallet. Before deciding if you are going to be going for any of the pocket knives touted as the best, be sure to have their price tag weighed against their functionality and consider your budget as well.
Never underestimate the importance of a brand name. A known brand would never want to slander its image by releasing low quality materials. This is why notable brands like Spyderco, Ontario CO, Benchmade, Kershaw, Buck, SOG, Gerber and several other highly revered companies come first when deciding which knife is worth it. These brands have taken years to build up their reputation and are not ready to have it soiled by producing inferior/low quality products. You are also guaranteed of a better customer service if you choose a known brand and best part is probably the lifetime guarantee offered by some big known brands on their knives. Thus you’ll probably have to pay more upfront but surely, you’ll get to enjoy the benefits several years to come.
When it comes to getting the right best small pocket knife, it all boils down to how small you want the knife to be, budget, style (fixed opening, assist opening), blade material and several other factors. This review has covered all the basics and taken a keen look at some select knives which would come in handy for an everyday use or as a backup for an outdoor expedition. They are all made of high quality materials, budget friendly and with unique designs and general look.
It’s now left for you to decide which of the above pocket knives would suite your needs and take on the tasks you’ve planned out.