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Hey guys, John here with another no holds bar knife review to keep you on point. Today we are going to be looking at what it takes to be crowned the best small pocket knife. Don’t let their small size fool you, these blades are extremely capable tools that are sure to get tons of use. It’s hard to compete with the ease of a small pocket knife, and I always keep at least one of these knives on me to help tackle little daily tasks.
We have been using folding pocket knives since ancient times, with the earliest known versions dated back to 500 BCE. In these times, this type of blade was referred to as a Peasant Knife. This is very ironic because these blades were very expensive for the time, and the chances of an actual peasant owning one were nil. The point I’m trying to make here is this versatile tool has stood the test of time.
The Best Small Pocket Knife – Why you need one
A small pocket knife can be the perfect addition to your tool collection. They can be used for everything from opening envelopes to whittling spears. This extremely capable companion comes in handy more than you would expect. When space is a concern, a small pocket knife can be the answer.
This is especially true for multi-tool versions that allow you to have access to a variety of tools, whenever you need them. For example, I probably use my screwdriver blade as much as my cutting blade, on my small pocket knife.
This type of design combines a lightweight frame with one or more blades, to give you an all around helpful tool. Small pocket knives are usually under 6″ in length and they can come in a variety of different styles.
Small Pocket Knife Types
Slip Joint Knife – This is by far the most popular pocket knife configuration, it is characterized by a non-locking blade that is held in place by a tension bar. This tried-and-true style of small folding pocket knife was developed in England during the 1600’s. This design grew in popularity because it could be integrated into smaller knives with ease. Below are the most popular versions of small pocket knives found on the market today.
- Lady Leg
- Dog Bone
- Sow Belly
Lock-Blade Knife – This style of pocket knife has a distinct locking mechanism to hold your blade in place. This improves the overall safety of this knife by preventing accidental blade closure. The original lock-blade design comes from a 1 5 century Spanish inventor and over the last couple centuries this design has been improved upon to modern day standards.
Multi-tool Knife – Multi-tool knives have more than one blade, many give you access to a large combination of tools to select from. This tool can be a real lifesaver if you ever find yourself in a pinch. Don’t take it from me, this type of knife has been part of our standard issue military equipment since the second world war. Recently, there has been a breakthrough in multi-tool designs, such as pliers, but today I am focusing on the small pocket knife variations.
Top 5 Best Small Pocket Knives – The Best Pocket Knife Brands
There is no shortage of small pocket knife manufacturer’s and because of this, it can get confusing trying to sort through the garbage. Lucky for you, I already did the hard work and narrowed our selection down to the top 5 small pocket knives.
Victorinox Swiss Army Swiss Champ Pocket Knife (Red),One Size
You can’t have a discussion about the best small pocket knife without including this all time classic. There are so many good reasons to own this knife, it’s hard to decide where to start at. For one, the quality of this knife is unmatched, and there is a lifetime warranty to back up this extreme durability. You get 32 separate tools including a wire cutter, wood saw, magnifying glass, fish scalar, scissors, and that’s just to name a few.
- High Quality
- 32 Tools
- Polished Cellidor Case
- Lifetime Warranty
- No Sheath
Victorinox Swiss Army has been a trusted name in pocket knives for over a hundred years. You can’t beat the amount of tools they cram into this little guy and the stainless steel blade is very resistant to wear and tear. Everyone needs one of these blades close by at all times. You won’t be able to battle a wild boar with it, but you can strip wires and cut wood.
Higgins and Peak Gentlemen’s Folder Pocket Knife Desert Ironwood
This blade sets the bar in terms of craftsmanship and quality. These small pocket knives are individually handcrafted in Bennet, Colorado. This extremely high-end blade can be handed down as a family heirloom. The 416 layer Damascus steel keeps its razor sharp edge, even over extended use and the handle is made from a small gnarled desert tree; this gives it a unique grain and feel.
- Fine Craftsmanship
- Titanium Liners
- Hand Assembled
- 416 Layer
- Damascus Steel
- High Price
The Higgins and Peak Gentlemen’s folding pocket knife is designed with the knife collector in mind. Every material used in the construction of this blade is exquisite. Think of this knife kind of like the Ferrari of small pocket knives. The downside is, just like a Ferrari, it’s so nice, you end up not using it as much as you would like.
Benchmade 15056-2 Hunt Series Small Summit Lake Folding Knife With Smith’s Sharpener
The Benchmade 15056-2 Hunt Series pocket knife comes in a classic lock-back design. I really like the overall feel of this knife and the Drop-point blade comes with a nail nick to assist you with the blade opening. This blade can get extremely sharp because of the CPM-S30V Stainless Steel used in construction. The Dymondwood handle really gives this blade a unique appeal that puts it ahead of the pack.
- CPM-S30V Stainless Steel
- Dymondwood Handle
- Drop-Point Blade
- Not Razor Sharp Out of the Box
This knife is just the right size and weight for me. The lightweight design and overall thickness make this a comfortable EDC knife. I am impressed with how capable this little blade is. My only complaint is that this blade did not arrive, out-the-box, razor sharp. I gave it a little touch-up, and I am happy to report, this blade has held its edge ever since.
Ka-Bar 6112CU Dog’s Head Coppersmith Lockback Folding Knife
This small pocket knife has a classic appeal that makes it very easy to fall in love with. The jigged bone handle has been buffed smooth and polished to a crisp shine. This blade uses a classic Slip Joint Lock style with a blade length of 3″. I like this blade because it is slightly lighter than your traditional trapper style pocket knife. This makes it a perfect fit for your already crowded pockets.
- Root Bear Brown Bone Handle
- Slip Joint Lock
- Copper Bolster and Shield
- D2 Steel Blade
- Not Stainless Steel
This knife has a great weight-to-strength ratio that makes it a strong contender for the best small pocket knife. The only downside I have noticed is that the blade does not do well with moisture. It’s not as picky as 1095, but you do need to be a bit more careful to keep it dry. I think this is a smart buy for someone who doesn’t already own a small pocket knife. The quality is there and the price point is excellent.
Case 5532 Genuine Stag 510096 SS Small Texas Toothpick Knife
The Genuine Stag 510096 SS Small Texas Toothpick Knife comes with a surgical stainless steel blade that gives it excellent cutting properties. I really think this is a great knife for hunting and hiking. The long clip blade makes it more suitable for uses along hikes through rough terrain. This little blade is extremely durable and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
- Tru-Sharp Surgical Stainless Steel Blade
- Stag Antler Handle
- Long Clip
- Odd Shape
The shape of this knife takes a little getting used to, but after some time it feels very natural. I would recommend this small pocket knife to anyone that does a lot of hunting like myself. The surgical steel blade can come in handy when you’re out in the woods and the price point is excellent. If you are looking for a great mid-level small pocket knife, look no further than the Stag 510096 SS Small Texas Toothpick Knife.
For the last four hundred years, man has been using folding pocket knives to tackle small day to day tasks. If you haven’t already, you should definitely consider getting a pocket knife to make your life easier. I’m a knife guy, and even with my impressive collection, I still always find myself using my small pocket knives for a large majority of tasks throughout my day.
The best blade for you is out there, use this blog to help narrow down your search to the top 5 best small pocket knives and be sure to check in soon to see what new and exciting blades will be coming under the microscope.