Top 15 Best Budget Folding Knives (2021 Review)

Are you looking for a budget-friendly and reliable folding knife for any use? Then this list is definitely for you!

When it comes to budget folding knives, it can be quite overwhelming to find one that suits your specific needs. 

In fact, it’s so easy to fall into the mindset of thinking that you have to spend a ton of your hard earned cash to get a quality product.

While you can certainly get a premium knife design like the Emerson Super Commander or Zero Tolerance 0308 featuring premium materials at definitely higher prices, it’s downright incorrect to dismiss all knives that don’t drain your wallet.

In fact, there are plenty of excellent budget knives that deserve your attention. Yes, it is possible to obtain a quality, affordable folding knife with great structural integrity and materials that will last a long time.

For example, the Buck 110 Slim Pro Folding Hunter has S30V steel (an upgrade from 420HC), a G-10 handle (an upgrade from the classic wooden handle) and a strong lock back mechanism. This budget folder will not let you down.

Since these folding knives are wallet-friendly, it is less likely you’ll be afraid to actually use them.

Whether you’re new in the world of folding knives and looking for the best budget-friendly knife or a seasoned pro looking for a beater or something new, we are here to help.

Lucky for you, we’ve found the 15 best reliable and budget-friendly folding knives you can put in your pocket or carry on your belt with confidence. 

In this ProSurvivalStrategies Guide, you will learn:

  • Why should you consider a budget-friendly folding knife?
  • What does budget-friendly actually mean? 
  • What are the dangers of buying a cheap unreliable $25.00 folding knife?
  • And much more!

Check out our Top 15 Best Budget-Friendly and Reliable Folding Knives in the quick comparison chart below. 

No.

product preview

product name and

specific features

1

Buck-110-Folding-Hunter-Slim-Pro-Folding-Hunter-Knife-Post-Image

BUCK 110 SLIM PRO FOLDING HUNTER

  • This is America’s iconic folding knife.
  • A more updated design to the classic Buck 110 Folding Hunter.
  • S30V steel upgrade from the traditional 420HC.
  • G-10 handle updated from the traditional hardwood scales.
  • Classic rock solid design that has proven itself over the past 50 years.
  • Made in the USA.

2


CRKT-M16-14SFG-EDC-Folding-Pocket-Knife-Post-Image

CRKT M16-14SFG

  • Tactically inspired and universally useful. 
  • Iconic handle design.
  • Carson Flipper opening allows rapid deployment.
  • Veff Serrations makes for superior cutting of cordage, rope and fibrous materials.
  • Automated liner lock safety.
  • Open chambers in the handle reduce weight and make the knife easier to clean in the field.

3

Kershaw-Blur-Black-Knife-Post-Image


KERSHAW BLUR BLACK

  • High quality exceptional folding knife.
  • Ideal for multi-tasking.
  • SpeedSafe assisted opening.
  • Durable light anodized aluminum handle with Trac-Tec inserts.
  • Ambidextrous speed safe open.
  • Secure locking system.

4


Victorinox-Swiss-Army-Hunter-Pro-Alox-Knife-Post-Image

VICTORINOX SWISS ARMY HUNTER PRO ALOX

  • An icon since 1884.
  • Iconic design of utility.
  • Durable and solid construction.
  • Fit for all tasks.
  • Comes with a paracord pendant.
  • Victorinox provides a lifetime guarantee against defects in material and workmanship.

5


Spyderco-Delica-4-Knife-Post-Image

SPYDERCO DELICA 4

  • The quintessential Spyderco knife since 1990.
  • Tight and solid construction. 
  • Slim, strong and tough.
  • Excellent for every day carry.
  • Slip resistant FRN handle with bi-directional texturing.
  • Available in different colored handles.

6


Ontario-Rat-II-Knife-Post-Image

ONTARIO RAT II WITH D2 STEEL BLADE

  • Great inexpensive EDC knife that gets the job done.
  • Good to have in a gear bag or toolkit.
  • Variety of handle colors to choose from.
  • Impressive fit, finish, ergonomics and action.
  • Tough inexpensive folding knife.
  • Designed for comfort and performance. 

7

Kershaw-Leek-Knife-Post-Image

KERSHAW LEEK

  • One of the most popular Kershaw knife series.
  • Slim and versatile.
  • High performance blade steel.
  • Slim blade tip is excellent for piercing and detailed work.
  • SpeedSafe assisted opening allows for easy blade deployment.
  • High-tech blade finish. 

8


ESEE-BRK-Zancudo-Knife-Post-Image


ESEE ZANCUDO
  • Exceptionally lightweight. 
  • Handle materials come in a variety of colors.
  • Great general usage drop point blade.
  • Strong framelock safely secures the blade.
  • Blade is deployed lightning fast.
  • Great budget folding knife.


9


Kershaw-Link-Knife-Post-Image

KERSHAW LINK

  • Sleek and lightweight.
  • Drop point blade constructed of durable and reliable steel.
  • Easy to sharpen and takes a good edge.
  • GFN handle provides a secure grip.
  • SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism.
  • Made In the USA.

10


CIVIVI-Elementum-Knife-Post-Image

CIVIVI ELEMENTUM 

  • Excellent everyday use knife.
  • Effortless blade opening.
  • Stylish locking liner.
  • Razor sharp cutting performance. 
  • G-10 handle provides a secure grip.
  • Lifetime guarantee against defects in material and workmanship. 

11


CRKT M21-14SFG EDC-Knife-Post-Image

CRKT M21-14SFG

  • Tactically inspired and universally useful.
  • Iconic handle design.
  • Carson Flipper opening allows rapid deployment.
  • Veff Serrations makes for superior cutting of cordage, rope and fibrous materials.
  • Automated liner lock safety.
  • Open chambers in the handle reduce weight and make the knife easier to clean in the field.

12


Gerber-Freeman-Guide-Folding-Knife-Post-Image

GERBER FREEMAN GUIDE FOLDING KNIFE

  • Gerber is an American brand whose products have a global reach.
  • Great sturdy folding knife.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry.
  • TachHide Onlay provides a secure grip in any condition.
  • Comes with a sheath you can carry on your belt.
  • Built for heavy duty use. 

13


Cold-Steel-SR1-Lite-Knife-Post-Image

COLD STEEL SR1 LITE

  • The smaller version of the “hard use” Cold Steel SR1.
  • For tactical and military use.
  • Thick, durable and designed for rugged use.
  • Tri-Ad Lock, one of the best on the
    market.
  • Ready for your toughest task or biggest adventure.
  • Thick solid blade.

14

Kershaw-Emerson-CQC-6K-Knife-Post-Image

KERSHAW EMERSON CQC-6K

  • A favorite among military, rescue and law enforcement.
  • Versatile with excellent fit and finish.
  • Textured G-10 handle provides an excellent secure grip. 
  • Blade can be engaged as it is removed from your pocket.
  • Terrific everyday carry knife.
  • Excellent frame lock is dead center and locks the blade tightly in place.

15


Buck-Knives-112-Ranger-Knife-Post-Image

BUCK KNIVES 112 RANGER

  • An Iconic American Legend.
  • Excellent for any outdoor task.
  • A mini version of the well-renowned Buck 110 Folding Hunter.
  • Lightweight and reliable.
  • Genuine leather sheath included for safe and secure transportation on your belt.
  • Made in the USA.

All of the above-mentioned budget-friendly folding knives are excellent choices. Any one of them would be a more than suitable choice for anyone. However, after hours of deliberation, we had to pick the best one. 

OUR #1 TOP-RATED BUDGET-FRIENDLY PICK IS THE BUCK 110 SLIM PRO FOLDING HUNTER. 

Our #1 Top-Rated Pick

Buck-110-Slim-Pro-Folding-Hunter-Knife-Post-Image

BUCK 110 SLIM PRO FOLDING HUNTER


  • This is America’s iconic folding knife.
  • A more updated design to the classic Buck 110 Folding Hunter.
  • S30V steel upgrade from the traditional 420HC.
  • G-10 handle updated from the traditional hardwood scales.
  • Classic rock solid design that has proven itself over the past 50 years.
  • Made in the USA.

When we hear the term “survival knife”, we immediately think of a large fixed blade and not a folding pocket knife. Yet, the Buck 110 Slim Pro Folding Hunter, a modernized version of the iconic Buck 110 Folding Hunter, may change your thought process.

The Buck 110 Folding Hunter was a familiar sight for many years and mostly worn in the belt encased in a leather sheath. Even those who know little about knives immediately recognize it. For decades it was proudly worn by hunters, farmers and avid outdoorsmen and women.

When a single model of any knife becomes synonymous with a company’s product line for decades, it absolutely inspires other designs. In fact, it qualifies as an iconic masterpiece.

The original Buck 110 Folding Hunter was designed and introduced to America in 1963 as a folding hunting knife. It featured a lock back that held the blade in a solid position. The blade had a clip point profile which has a very narrow tapering point that’s critical for delicate cutting and a slender tip for poking precise holes. The blade is robust enough to tackle anything.

Although 420HC stainless steel is not as complex as higher grade steels, it has proven to be very durable and corrosion-resistant.

The Buck 110 Folding Hunter has always been Buck’s number one seller and there are literally tens of millions of them throughout the world.

The Buck 110 Slim Pro Hunter is the rebirth of its proven ancestor the Buck 110. If you want something more upscale, this upgraded design is your knife.

Buck recognized the need for an updated version and refitted the Buck 110 Slim Pro Hunter.

The 110 Slim Pro Hunter fits the First Commandment of survival knives which is “have a knife”. It’s small enough to have with you whenever you need it. It will serve you well as a skinner, utility knife for cutting cord and as an edged tool for chores around the camp.

The blade is made of S30V stainless steel which is better than 420HC. It contains carbon and higher amounts of Chromium, Molybdenum and Vanadium which combines excellent edge retention, high ductility and corrosion resistance. A great upgrade to a classic.

The lock back mechanism was retained due to its proven history for decades and the clip point profile remained unchanged.

Unlike the Buck 110 Folding Hunter, the 110 Slim Pro has a thumb lug on the blade for easier deployment. What really stands out is the G-10 handle which is more durable and weather-resistant than the classic wooden handle.

Instead of the belt sheath, the 110 Slim Pro Hunter is equipped with a stainless steel reversible deep carry pocket clip.

The Buck 110 Slim Pro Hunter packs modern materials and is based on one of the most proven designs ever created.

Top 15 Budget-Friendly and Reliable Folding Knives For Any Use!

In a hurry? Check out our top 15 picks below. 

Why Should You Consider a Budget-Friendly Folding Knife?

Let’s face it, we don’t always have money to burn. When people talk about best folding knives, they commonly refer to Emersons or Chris Reeves knives which can go for over $300.00. These knives are manufactured with the best materials, but it’s not always a reasonable purchase for most of us that just want a reliable workhorse we can pit against tough, dirty everyday tasks.

Even if you did have $300.00 or more to spend on a quality folding knife, it’s almost certain you wouldn’t want to use it for tough everyday tasks. Most likely, it would be considered a prized possession and safely stored away. That’s why these high-end knives are referred to as “safe queens”.

To the contrary, the knives listed below are the complete opposite of “safe queens”. This is a list of the 15 best everyday carry knives that won’t drain the wallet and you’re not going to be afraid to abuse.

These are knives that you will love to carry wherever you go. 

What Does Budget-Friendly Actually Mean?

It’s so easy to fall into the mindset of thinking that you have to spend a ton of your hard earned cash to purchase a quality product. So let’s ease you out of this mindset. Why? Because it’s just incorrect to dismiss all knives that don’t have a high price tag.

Of course you are looking for a folding knife that will provide the very best for your hard earned cash. We all look for value in terms of both performance and materials relative to price.

Each person will analyze variables differently. Thus, no two people will have the same opinion as to which folding knife is the “best bang for the buck”.

Before we venture below, let’s talk about money. Since we all come from different socio-economic backgrounds, not everyone’s budget is the same. Prices continue to fluctuate, but you can generally find a great budget folding knife for under $100.00 dollars.

The folding knives listed below range from $33.00 to $100.00, which isn’t an unreasonable amount to spend on a quality budget folder.

They have been purposely selected for anyone looking for the best value, but with a particular price range in mind.

Please feel free to disagree at any point because that’s what makes lists interesting! I would personally love to know what you think are some of the most valuable “bang for your buck” folding knives. 

What Are The Dangers of Buying a Cheap And Unreliable $25.00 Folding Knife?

There are plenty of budget knives on the market today under $25.00 that are advertised as “best bang” for your buck. However, reliability and quality is highly questionable. Budget should not mean hazardous!

A drawer full of cheap, unreliable folding knives does you no good if you carry one and breaks, is unable to perform its function or you're far from home and need to use it. Even worse, it can fail and jeopardize your safety.

You can certainly spend twenty bucks and walk away with a stainless-steel folding knife in an aluminum casing that may not lock in place when it’s open or closed.

Cheap folding knives have flimsy locks that fail and lacerate the fingers of the person holding it. Others have weak detents and open up in pockets stabbing their owners in the leg.

Not only are they hazardous, they have substandard blades that easily chip or break during use, easily corrode and prone to folding. They will not retain a sharpened edge, which means more frequent sharpening and a shorter life expectancy for a knife. Inferior edge retention is the most significant downfall. After all, it’s a cutting tool.

Cheap budget knives are mass produced and not given the time or attention necessary to manufacture something solid and reliable. This is a red flag because quality control significantly suffers.

Ultimately, buying and replacing cheap knives will cost you more than buying one solid reliable folding knife and maintaining it. 

Why Should You Pay More When Considering a Reliable Budget Folding Knife?

Now that you have read the above-mentioned, you might still be wondering why you should invest in a higher-priced budget knife. So let’s look into several reasons why. 

Safety.  As mentioned above, the last thing you need is a cheap folding knife that instantly becomes hazardous to your health. If you purchase a substandard folding knife, you are putting yourself at risk. 

Longevity.  A quality knife that is well-cared for will last. Think of your pocket knife as an investment. There is always the possibility of passing it down to future generations. On the other hand, if you decide to live in the woods, imagine your folding knife breaking. It is not as if you can easily return to civilization and purchase another one. That can easily be avoided. 

Sturdier Construction. This definitely goes hand in hand with longevity. With quality construction comes longevity. If you pick a folding knife with durable materials (i.e. from the end of the handle to the tip of the blade) it will perform rigorous tasks and be by your side forever. 

Aesthetics.  Cheap $25.00 budget knives are never going to be as eye catching as budget knives between thirty and one hundred dollars. For example, the handle on the Buck 112 Ranger made of genuine ebony hardwood is a work of art. Thus, the colors and markings make each handle unique. 

I advise spending a little more money when considering a budget folding knife. It will definitely make a difference and you will not suffer from “buyer’s remorse”.

Are Budget Knives Ranging From $33.00 to Just Under $100.00 Reliable? 

Budget knives ranging from $33.00 to just under $100.00 are reliable because of the quality materials used in their construction. You don’t have to spend tons of your hard earned cash to find a quality budget folding knife in this price range.

The knives listed below are well-equipped with sturdy, reliable locks such as back, automated liner, frame, and the well-renowned Tri-Ad. These locking mechanisms ensure safe and secure deployment during use.

The handle materials are diverse and range from G-10 which is commonly used for high-end folding knives to genuine ebony hardwood which is almost indestructible. These handles provide a safe and secure grip during use.

Blade steel is a very important asset in any folding knife because you want it to last. The knives listed below have stainless steel blades from S30V to Sandvick 14C28N. These blades are durable, hold a great edge, are corrosion-resistant and not a burden to sharpen.

Some models such as the CRKT M16-14SFG and Kershaw Blur Black have blades coated with titanium nitride or DLC (Diamond-Like Coating) for maximum corrosion resistance.

It gets even better, the Kershaw Emerson CQC-6K comes equipped with the patented Emerson “wave shaped feature” which enables the blade to be deployed as it is removed from your pocket. A great feature for those looking for quick blade deployment.

Not only are budget knives listed below durable and reliable, some manufacturers such as Buck, CRKT and Kershaw come with warranties which provide consumer protection from defects in materials and workmanship.  How great is that!

DID YOU KNOW?

Buck-Knives-110-Folding-Hunter-Knife-Post-Image

Buck Knives introduced its first folding knife, the Buck 110 Folding Hunter in 1963. It was nearly as strong as a fixed blade and priced anywhere from $12 to $20. It was a familiar sight for many years, mostly worn on the belt in a leather sheath secured with a single snap. It is still an iconic American made masterpiece.

So now it’s time to look at our Top 15 Budget Folding Knives for any use. 

Top 15 Best Budget-Friendly and Reliable Folding Knives Reviews! 

Buck-Knives-110-Folding-Hunter-Slim-Pro-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 8.625 In. 
  • Blade Length: 3 ¾ In.
  • Weight: 3.4 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: .120 In.
  • Blade Material: S30V Stainless Steel Blade
  • Blade Profile: Clip Point
  • Handle: Black G-10 
  • Lock Mechanism: Back Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual thumb stud which facilitates one-handed use.
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes 
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Buck 110 Folding Hunter has been worn by countless hunters, farmers and craftsmen since 1963. Even those who are unfamiliar with knives, can recognize it immediately.

The original Buck 110 is an iconic masterpiece which inspired countless designs. However, the Buck 110 Slim Pro Plus is the upgraded version of America's iconic legend.

The Buck 110 Slim Pro Plus incorporates all the traditional features but with a more modern look and upgraded material.

A Back Lock gets its name from a rocking lock bar that is visible on the top of the knife. Opening the blade causes the rocker to lock against the blade so it locks open. Pushing down on the rocker releases it and enables the user to close the blade.

This mechanism is reliable and provides a secure blade lock up because the lock bar is the same width of the tang of the blade itself.

The classic Buck 110 Folder has 420HC steel blade which is very durable and corrosion resistant. However, this upgraded model has S30V stainless steel which contains carbon as well as higher amounts of Chromium, Molybdenum and Vanadium. This steel combines fantastic edge retention and corrosion resistance.

The clip point profile makes the blade thinner with a sharper point. This shape provides excellent control for detailed work, cutting in tight spaces and puncturing objects.

The Black G-10 handle is an almost indestructible resin laminate that is resistant to heat, cold, chemical impact and other abuse. These tough and durable qualities make G-10 well-suited for a knife that will be used in extreme conditions.

For those who have outgrown the classic Buck 110 Folding Hunter, this upgraded version with modern materials is definitely for you. 

Pros: 

  • The Buck 110 Slim Pro Plus is an upgraded American Legend.
    Back Lock provides a secure blade lock up.
  • S30V steel is combines fantastic edge retention and corrosion resistance.
  • Clip Point profile is excellent for detailed work, cutting in tight spaces and puncturing objects.
  • G-10 handle is resistant to heat, cold, chemical impact and other abuse.
  • Buck Knives Forever Warranty (Buck warrants each and every knife to be free of defects in material and workmanship for life). 

Cons:

  • Accumulations of lint and dirt over time in the recess of the locking tang can prevent the lock from fully engaging. (Keep it clean).
  • Blade can be difficult to sharpen yourself. However, Buck offers a sharpening service for a nominal fee.
CRKT-M16-14SFG-EDC-Folding-Pocket-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 9.25 In. 
  • Blade Length: 3.99 In.
  • Weight: 5.9 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.14 In.
  • Blade Material: 8Cr14MoV with black finish Titanium Nitride. 
  • Blade Profile: Tanto and Spear Point
  • Handle: G-10 
  • Lock Mechanism:   Automated Liner Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual Carson Flipper Opening. 
  • Blade Edge: Partially-serrated (Veff Serrations makes for superior cutting of cordage, rope and fibrous materials). 
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes 
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The CRKT M16-14SF is just one of the many M16 designs available such as the CRKT M16-01S and CRKT M16-03KS. The CRKT M16 lineup is tactically inspired and universally useful. All knives in this series were designed by the military for special forces use.

This folding knife has an overall length of 9.25 inches, and is well-equipped with a partially serrated blade that is 0.14 inches thick and measures 3.99 inches. The overall weight is 5.9 ounces.

The blade is made of 8Cr14MoV stainless steel which is a vast improvement over carbon steel knives. It has a high hardness, high wear resistance, good abrasion and corrosion resistance. The black titanium nitride coating further enhances corrosion resistance.

This knife is also equipped with a partially serrated blade. The patented Veff Serrations are outstanding and cut through cordage, rope and fibrous materials with ease.

The handle immediately stands out. The bored holes and ergonomic design sets it apart. It allows for easy cleaning so you never have to worry about dirt, mud or grim.

It also incorporates G-10, which is an almost indestructible resin laminate that is resistant to heat, cold, chemical impact and other abuse. These tough durable qualities make G-10 well-suited for a knife that will be used in extreme conditions.

This Liner Lock mechanism is uniquely designed with safety in mind. When the blade is fully engaged, a pin is set between the liner and frame to keep it secured when in use.

The Carson Flipper Opening System provides rapid deployment and once opened, the flipper acts as a blade guard to protect the user.

This is an excellent no-nonsense folding companion. 

Pros: 

  • Designed by the military for special forces use.
  • 8Cr14MoV stainless steel blade maintains a wicked edge, has high wear resistance, corrosion resistance and abrasion  resistance.
  • Patented Veff Serrations easily cut through cordage, rope and fibrous materials.
  • Unique handle with bore holes makes this knife easy to clean. G-10 is durable-resistant to heat, cold, chemical impact and other abuse.
  • Unique Liner Lock with additional safety mechanism.
  • Carson Flipper Opening System not only provides quick blade deployment but also acts as a blade guard. 

Cons:

  • The jimping on the blade guard may be too aggressive for some users.
  • Some users feel the blade guard is too long. 
Kershaw-Blur-Black-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 7.9 In. 
  • Blade Length: 3.4 In.
  • Weight: 4.2 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.12 In.
  • Blade Material: Sandvik 14C28N With Tungsten DLC (Diamond-Like Coating).
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point
  • Handle: Anodized Aluminum with Trac-Tec Inserts. 
  • Lock Mechanism:  Liner Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual Thumb Stud
  • Blade Edge: Plain with a slight Recurve or Partially Serrated. 
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes 
  • MOLLE Compatible: Yes

The Kershaw Blur is a perfect companion for outdoor adventures and home-related tasks.

This folding knife has an overall length of 7.9 inches, a 3.4 inch blade which is 0.12 inches thick and weighs 4.2 ounces.

The blade is made of Sandvik 14C28N stainless chromium steel optimized for high quality professional knife applications. Edge retention is maintained with ease. Its high corrosion resistance lends to a particular appeal in moisture intense applications as anyone would encounter in the outdoors.

The blade also has a strong Tungsten Diamond-Like Coating which offers added hardness and corrosion resistance. This knife will remain sharp after repeated use.

The drop point profile is the most sought after and for good reason. Its lowered point provides more control, strength and thickness at the tip.

It allows you to extend your index finger on the spine of the blade for more precise cuts and just as effective when performing thrust cuts. It is a well-balanced design due to its tip strength and ability to hold up to heavy use.

The handle is made of Anodized Aluminum with Trac-Tec inserts. This design has a textured surface inlay which provides greater traction. You won’t have to worry about it slipping out of your hand even in damp conditions.

The Blur is fitted with a liner lock which is perfect for an everyday folding knife. It utilizes a sturdy steel plate inside of the handle’s scales, and prevents closure while ensuring quick, safe blade deployment. 

Pros: 

  • DLC coated Sandvik 14C28N stainless chromium steel provides excellent edge retention, corrosion resistance and hardness.
  • Drop Point Profile is a well-balanced design.
  • SpeedSafe Assist quickly deploys the blade.
  • Anodized Aluminum handle is lightweight.
  • Trac-Tec inserts provide great traction even in damp conditions.
  • Liner Lock is sturdy and secures the blade in place. 

Cons:

  • The Trac-Tec material can catch on your pocket. 
  • Thumb stud could be slightly bigger. 
Victorinox-Swiss-Army-Hunter-Pro-Alox-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 9.00 In. 
  • Blade Length: 4.0 In.
  • Weight: 5.5 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11 In.
  • Blade Material: 440C
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point
  • Handle: Zytel
  • Lock Mechanism:  Lock Back
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes with Paracord attached.
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

Established in 1884 and still issued to the Swiss Army, no one can dispute the legacy and versatility of Swiss Army knives.

As you can immediately observe, this model doesn’t house the iconic multi-tools in a pill shaped design. To the contrary, it is a big knife with a single blade and ergonomic handle.

The Swiss Army Hunter Pro Alox had an overall length of 9.00 inches, well-equipped with a 4.0 Inch blade and weighs 5.5 ounces.

The blade has a drop point profile which is the most sought after and for good reason. Its lowered point provides more control, strength and thickness at the tip. It allows for more precise cuts and due to its tip strength, holds up to heavy use.

The 440C stainless steel blade takes a high, mirror finish better than any of the other stainless steels.

There is a distinct advantage of having a highly polished knife in the field. First, it is easier to clean and most importantly it acts as a signaling device by bouncing sunlight off the blade in the same way you’d use a mirror.

440C is resistant to corrosion with only a minimum of care needed to protect the blade from rust. It has a high wear resistance which is very important if the knife is used outdoors and it takes and maintains a sharp edge for a long period of time. It is also easy to sharpen even for a novice.

The lock back is a proven and solid locking mechanism. A rocking lock back bar is visible on the top of the knife. Opening the blade causes the rocker to lock against the blade so it locks open. Pushing down on the rocker releases it and enables the user to close the blade. The lock up is solid and there is no blade play.

The handle is made of aluminum and has durable and design conscious Alox scales (hence the name Swiss Army Hunter Pro Alox). The handle is ribbed which provides a secure grip. The edges are well-rounded and the finger depressions enhance the user’s grip.

The Pro Hunter Alox is a solid design that doesn’t disappoint. 

Pros: 

  • Victorinox provides a lifetime guarantee against defects in material and workmanship.
  • 440C stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion, has a high wear resistance, takes a sharp edge and is easy to sharpen.
  • The blade’s “mirror finish” acts as a signaling mirror in a survival situation.
  • Lock Back mechanism provides a solid lock up with no blade play.
  • Ribbed handle provided a secure grip.
  • Compact and sleek design. 

Cons:

  • Some may not like the ceremonial appearance as an outdoor knife.
  • May be heavy for some as an everyday carry. 
Spyderco-Delica-4-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 7.125 In. 
  • Blade Length: 2.875 In.
  • Weight: 2.5 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: .093 In.
  • Blade Material: VG-10
  • Blade Profile: Leaf
  • Handle: FRN
  • Lock Mechanism:  Back Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Available in Plain, Partially-Serrated, and Serrated
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Spyderco Delica 4 is one of Spyderco’s most popular knives. It is a simple, reliable folding knife that is designed with easy carry and utility in mind.

It has an overall length of 7.125 inches, a 2.875 inch VG-10 steel blade and weighs 2.5 ounces.. With a slim and lightweight design, it’s a perfect everyday carry.

The VG-10 or V Gold 10, is a high-quality cutting stainless steel. It is very durable, has great edge retention and is easy to sharpen. It is a favorite due to its balance, durability and maintaining an edge after repeated use.

You have three options of the type of blade edge suitable for your needs. The Spyderco Delica 4 is available in plain, serrated and partially-serrated edges.

The rocking lock back bar is visible on the top of the knife. Opening the blade causes the rocker to lock against the blade so it locks open. Pushing down on the rocker releases it and enables the user to close the blade. The lock up is solid and there is no blade play.

The handle is made of textured FRN (Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon) sometimes called GFN (Glass Reinforced Nylon) which is a high strength plastic well-suited for handles on folding knives. This material is super strong, resistant to bending, abrasion and practically indestructible. It is a cheaper alternative to G-10 or Micarta.

Another quality budget folder that shouldn’t be passed up. 

Pros: 

  • One of Spyderco’s most popular knives.
  • Slim, lightweight design makes it easy to carry.
  • High-end VG-10 stainless steel.
  • Robust lock back locking mechanism.
  • FRN handle with a unique texture that won’t slip from your hand.
  • Very well-made and popular with experts and newcomers.

Cons:

  • Handle has a cheap plastic feel.
  • Handle may be too slim. 
Ontario-Rat-II-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 7 In. 
  • Blade Length: 3 In.
  • Weight: 2.75 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.09 In.
  • Blade Material: D2 Steel
  • Blade Profile: Modified Drop Point
  • Handle: Nylon
  • Lock Mechanism:  Liner Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Ontario Rat 2 is another exceptional budget EDC knife. It is also the most popular if not the most popular budget folding knife of all time.

The overall length is approximately 7 inches, which makes it excellent for a light everyday carry option. The weight is 3 ounces and you have a 3 inch blade with a 2.75 inch cutting edge.

The handle is larger than the cutting edge which is nice for added control.

The Ontario Rat 2 is popular because of the cost. At approximately $32 - $40.00, it simply can’t be beat. There are also lots of variants from black, green, coyote tan, carbon tan and pink.

This is a manual folder with a liner lock knife which houses a D2 tool steel blade. If D2 is going to become the new standard for budget steel, it’s hard to imagine many knife users complaining.

The RAT 2 in D2 is one of the go-to recommendations in the budget knife category, and it’s easy to see why. D2 may be an older steel but it can hold its own even decades after its creation. Edge retention is a marked improvement over other budget steel regulars like AUS-8 and 8Cr13MoV, and although it isn’t stainless, it’s still easy to maintain.

The handle material is nylon/plastic, which is durable enough for the tasks at hand.

The liner is made out of steel. The locking side is hardened. There is no blade play up, down left or right. This knife has excellent action.

Ergonomics are great with the larger handle on a smaller knife. You can hammer grip this knife. The pocket clip design is excellent.

This knife does the job it is designed to do. Thumbs up for perfection and cost efficiency.

In terms of “bang for your buck” this is another great option. 

DID YOU KNOW?

The Ontario Knife Company is an American knife manufacturer founded in 1899. Throughout its history, it has won awards and has been acclaimed for its service during WWII. 

Pros: 

  • A great choice for those nasty jobs you don’t want to risk a more expensive knife with. (A serious bang for your buck).
  • Lightweight and easy to carry.
  • D2 steel is the “go to” in budget knives because it has better edge retention than AUS-8.
  • Great ergonomics.
  • Thumbs up for perfection and cost efficiency.
  • Liner Lock mechanism is sturdy. 

Cons:

  • Handle is smaller than the Rat 1. (If you have large hands consider the Rat 1). 
  • Plastic scaled handle. 
Kershaw-Leek-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 7 In. 
  • Blade Length: 3 In.
  • Weight: 3 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.09 In.
  • Blade Material: Sandvik 14C28N
  • Blade Profile: Wharncliffe
  • Handle: 410 Stainless steel with Chromium
  • Lock Mechanism:  Frame Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual with SpeedSafe Assist
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Kershaw Leek is without a doubt one of the most popular of the Kershaw knife series. It comes in a variety of colors, steels and finishes.

With its sleek and versatile design and SpeedSafe assisted opening, it is highly sought after by knife enthusiasts, collectors and everyday knife users.

The Kershaw Leek has an overall length of 7 inches, has a 3 inch Sandvik 14C28N blade and is well-equipped with SpeedSafe Assist for rapid blade deployment.

This folding knife has a Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel Wharncliffe blade. Sandvik 14C28N is an upper mid-range steel. It represents a formidable price-to-performance ratio and is highly rated in this category. The edge retention is impressive, it maintains a high level of hardness, has excellent corrosion resistance and easy to sharpen.

The handle is constructed from 410 stainless steel with a bead-blasted finish. It is durable, provides excellent corrosion resistance and incorporates ridging for a less slippery grip.

The frame lock mechanism is strong and provides a safe, secure and sturdy blade lock up. The knife handle, or frame, has two metal plates on either side of the blade, and when open, the lockbar butts up against the blade’s backend to prevent blade closure. To close the knife blade, push the frame to the side to unlock the blade and fold the blade back into the handle.

The Leek is well-equipped with the SpeedSafe Assisted Opening. The flipper is located on the top of the knife and is fully ambidextrous. The blade is immediately engaged by using the flipper.

The Kershaw Leek is a perfect price-to-performance budget folder. 

Pros: 

  • One of the most popular Kershaw designs.
  • A perfect choice for precision cuts.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Bead-blasted finish enhances the knife’s aesthetics.
  • SpeedSafe Assisted Opening allows for fast blade deployment.
  • Secure Frame Lock mechanism keeps the blade securely in place. 

Cons:

  • The tip of the blade is not recommended for hard use. (Stick to basic cutting tasks and you will be fine).
  • Although the handle is strong and durable, it may be slippery. 
Esse-Zancudo-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 7 In. 
  • Blade Length: 2.9 In.
  • Weight: 3.1 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: ⅜ of an Inch
  • Blade Material: D2 Steel
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point
  • Handle: FRN/Stainless Steel
  • Lock Mechanism:  Frame Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual / Flipper
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

Before we get into the meat of this review, ESEE was founded by Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin. They have taught survival courses since 1997 in Georgia and South America. So it’s fitting that ESEE stands for Escula de Superveniência (named after the Peruvian Air Force’s jungle survival course) Escape and Evasion. 

The term Zancudo is Spanish which refers to a long-legged “mosquito” which is etched on the blade.

Built and designed to be compact and lightweight, the ESEE Zancudo has an overall length of 7 inches, a 2.9 inch blade which is ⅜ of an inch thick and weighs 3.1 ounces.

The Zancudo in D2 steel, is one of the go-to recommendations in the budget knife category, and it’s easy to see why. D2 may be an older steel but it can hold its own even decades after its creation. Edge retention is a marked improvement over other budget steel regulars like AUS-8 and 8Cr13MoV, and although it isn’t stainless, it’s still easy to maintain.

The Zancudo has a drop point blade profile that is the most sought after and for good reason. Its lowered point provides more control, strength and thickness at the tip. It allows for more precise cuts and due to its tip strength it holds up to heavy use.

The frame lock mechanism provides a safe, secure and sturdy blade lock up. When engaged, the lockbar butts up against the blade’s backend to prevent blade closure. To close the knife blade, push the frame to the side to unlock the blade and fold the blade back into the handle.

On one side of the handle you have stainless steel while the other side has textured FRN (Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon) which is a high strength plastic well-suited for handles on folding knives. This material is super strong, resistant to bending, abrasion and practically indestructible. It is a cheaper alternative to G-10 or Micarta.

If you are looking for a really good affordable folding knife, don’t pass this one up. The ESEE Zancudo is strong, dependable and built to take on the rigors of everyday life. 

Pros: 

  • Tough and rugged little work knife.
  • Handle is simple and ergonomic.
  • An amazingly slim well-built folding knife perfect for everyday carry.
  • Tough frame lock keeps the blade securely in place.
  • D2 steel is the “go to” in budget knives because it has better edge retention than AUS-8.
  • Thumbs up for perfection and cost efficiency. 

Cons:

  • Thin handle.
  • Not the most aesthetically appealing. 
Kershaw-Link-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 7.60 In. 
  • Blade Length: 3.25 In.
  • Weight: 4.70 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11 In.
  • Blade Material: 420 HC
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point 
  • Handle: Textured GFN
  • Lock Mechanism:  Liner Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual with SpeedSafe Assist
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

Kershaw did a great job with this knife. With a durable design, it’s a great outdoor companion.

The Kershaw Link has an overall length of 7.60 inches, a 3.25 Inch blade that is 0.11 inches thick and weighs 4.7 ounces.

The Link has a drop point blade profile which is the most sought after and for good reason. Its lowered point provides more control, strength and thickness at the tip. It allows for more precise cuts and due to its tip strength it holds up to heavy use.

The blade is made of 420HC steel which is highly resistant to corrosion with only a minimum of care needed to protect the blade from rust. It has a high wear resistance, maintains a sharp edge, and easily sharpens which is ideal for a novice.

The handle is thick, nicely chambered and extremely comfortable to use in multiple grips. It is available in multiple styles, but for our purpose, we focused on the GFN model. The textured GFN (Glass Filled Nylon) is a tough substance specifically designed to withstand abuse and has excellent wear resistance.

The Link is well-equipped with a Liner Lock that safely secures the blade and prevents unwanted blade closure. When activated, the lockbar angles towards the back of the blade (i.e. blade tang) and locks it into position. To disengage the blade, manual force is applied to move the lock bar to one side and safely fold the blade back into the handle.

The Link is also equipped with the SpeedSafe Assisted Opening. The flipper is located on the top of the knife and is fully ambidextrous.

The Link is made here at home in the U.S.A. It is a great budget option that will surpass your expectations. 

Pros: 

  • Designed to withstand abuse.
  • Most sought after Drop Point blade profile.
  • Speed Safe Assisted Opening.
  • Sturdy GFN handle provides a safe and secure grip.
  • Safe and secure Liner Lock.
  • Made in the USA.

Cons:

  • No jimping on the back of the blade to rest your thumb when cutting or whittling.
  • Some users are not fond of the SpeedSafe Assist. (It’s a matter of preference).

CIVIVI-Elementum-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 6.99 In. 
  • Blade Length: 2.96 In.
  • Weight: 2.89 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.43 In.
  • Blade Material: D2
  • Blade Profile: Drop Point 
  • Handle: G-10
  • Lock Mechanism:  Liner Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual with Flipper System
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Civivi Elementum has so many details and options that makes this knife a serious contender in the budget realm.

The Elementum surpasses expectations and is available in 22 configurations, from scale materials to handle colors. Its design is classy and very civilian-friendly unlike tactical folding knives.

The Elementum is 6.99 inches long, with a 2.96 inch blade and weighs 2.89 ounces. The blade length is important because it makes it legal to carry in some restrictive jurisdictions that limit the blade length to 3 inches. 

The blade is made of D2 steel which is one of the go-to recommendations in the budget knife category, and it’s easy to see why. D2 may be an older steel but it can hold its own even decades after its creation. Edge retention is a marked improvement over other budget steel regulars like AUS-8 and 8Cr13MoV, and although it isn’t stainless, it’s still easy to maintain. It’s not prone to rolling or chipping and is easy to sharpen.

The drop point blade profile is the most sought after and for good reason. Its lowered point provides more control, strength and thickness at the tip. It allows for more precise cuts and due to its tip strength it holds up to heavy use.

The handle on the Elementum is made of a scaled G-10. It is an indestructible resin laminate that is resistant to heat, cold, chemical impact and other forms of abuse. These tough durable qualities make G-10 well-suited for a knife that will be used in extreme conditions.

The handle has well-rounded edges which provides a comfortable grip.

The Elementum is equipped with a Liner Lock that safely secures the blade and prevents unwanted blade closure.

When activated, the lock bar angles towards the back of the blade (i.e. blade tang) and locks it into position. To disengage the blade, manual force is applied to move the lock bar to one side and safely fold the blade back into the handle.

The Elementum has great materials for a budget knife. It definitely has its own feel and is beautifully executed. 

Pros: 

  • At 2.89 ounces, it is lightweight.
  • Drop Point profile performs every cutting task well.
  • D2 steel blade has great edge retention, not prone to rolling or chipping, easy to maintain and easy to sharpen.
  • Jimping on the spine of the blade allows for more precise cuts.
  • Textured G-10 handle provides superior grip security and is mostly found on high-end folding knives.
  • It carries extremely well, the micro pattern on the G-10 handle isn’t so grabby that it will destroy your pockets.

Cons:

  • Not designed for tactical use.
  • Flipper action takes time to get used to. 
CRKT-M21-14SFG-EDC-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 9.25 In. 
  • Blade Length: 3.88 In.
  • Weight: 6.1 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.14 In.
  • Blade Material: 8Cr14MoV
  • Blade Profile: Spear Point
  • Handle: G-10
  • Lock Mechanism:  Automated Liner Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Partially Serrated (Veff Serrations)
  • Lanyard Hole: No
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The CRKT M21-14SFG is just one of the many M21 designs available such as the CRKT M21-04G and CRKT M21-12G. The CRKT M21 lineup is tactically inspired and universally useful. All knives in this series were designed by the military for special forces use.

This folding knife has an overall length of 9.25 inches, and is well-equipped with a partially serrated blade that is 0.14 inches thick and measures 3.88 inches. The overall weight is 6.1 ounces.

The blade is made of 8Cr14MOV stainless steel which is a vast improvement over carbon steel knives. It has a high hardness, high wear resistance, good abrasion and corrosion resistance. The black titanium nitride coating provides enhanced durability and corrosion resistance.

The patented Veff Serrations are outstanding and cut through cordage, rope and fibrous materials with ease.

Similar to the CRKT M16 models, the M21-14SFG also has bored holes on the handle. This allows the operator to easily clean contaminants such as dirt, mud or grim.

The G-10 handle is an indestructible resin laminate that is resistant to heat, cold, chemical impact and other abuse. These tough qualities make G-10 well-suited for a knife used in extreme conditions.

This Liner Lock mechanism is uniquely designed with safety in mind. When the blade is fully engaged, a pin is set between the liner and frame to keep it secured when in use.

The Carson Flipper Opening System provides rapid blade deployment when the situation calls for a rapid response.

This is an excellent no-nonsense folding companion. 

Pros: 

  • Designed by the military for special forces use.
  • 8Cr14MoV stainless steel blade maintains a wicked edge, has high wear resistance, corrosion resistance and abrasion resistance.
  • Patented Veff Serrations easily cut through cordage, rope and fibrous materials.
  • Unique handle with bore holes makes this knife easy to clean.
  • G-10 is durable, resistant to heat, cold, chemical impact and other abuse.
  • Unique Liner Lock with additional safety mechanism.
  • Carson Flipper Opening System not only provides quick blade deployment but also acts as a blade guard. 

Cons:

  • The jimping on the blade guard may be too aggressive for some users.
  • Some users feel the blade guard is too long. 
Gerber-Freeman-Guide-Folding-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 8.10 In. 
  • Blade Length: 3.60 In.
  • Weight: 6.60 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 3.28 mm
  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel 5Cr15MoV compatible to 420HC. 
  • Blade Profile: Available in Drop Point and Gut Hook
  • Handle: TacHide/Rubber
  • Lock Mechanism:  Liner Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: No
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual/Dual Thumb Studs
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes
  • MOLLE Compatible: Yes, Nylon Sheath for belt carry. 

Founded in 1939, Gerber is an American brand that has reached global status. For decades, Gerber has provided quality, innovative and reliable products throughout the world.

The Gerber Freeman Guide Folder is a large knife. It is 8.10 inches in length, with a 3.60 inch blade that is 3.28 mm thick and weighs 6.60 ounces. Although not very pocket-friendly, it comes well-equipped with a sheath that’s attached to your belt.

The plain edge blade is made of a moderately priced 5Cr15MoV stainless steel. Although an economical steel, it has gained popularity due to its good corrosion resistance. Its best characteristic is its ability to achieve an extremely high level of sharpness. Although not a super hard steel, edge stability is pretty good and it is not prone to chipping or rolling.

5Cr15MoV is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to learn how to sharpen their own knives.

The drop point blade profile is the most sought after and for good reason. Its lowered point provides more control, strength and thickness at the tip. It allows for more precise cuts and due to its tip strength it holds up to heavy use.

Thanks to the jimping, finger grooves and thick rubber grip, it really does fill up your hand almost as much as a fixed blade.

The liner lock design safely secures the blade and prevents unwanted blade closure. When activated, the lock bar angles towards the back of the blade (i.e. blade tang) and locks it into position. To disengage the blade, manual force is applied to move the lock bar to one side and safely fold the blade back into the handle.

The Gerber Freeman was specifically created to be your “go to" folding knife. 

Pros: 

  • Handle provides a secure grip.
  • Drop Point Profile is the most versatile for any use.
  • Solid lockup.
  • Easy to sharpen and a great option for beginners who want to learn how to sharpen their own knife.
  • Comes with a Nylon Sheath.
  • Gerber Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Cons:

  • Rubber on the handle may flake off after a prolonged period of time.
  • Good knife but too big for the pocket. 
Cold-Steel-SR1-Lite-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 9.375 In. 
  • Blade Length: 4.00 In.
  • Weight: 6.30 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.19 In.
  • Blade Material: 8Cr13MoV
  • Blade Profile: Available in Clip Point and Tanto 
  • Handle: Griv-Ex
  • Lock Mechanism:  Tri-Ad
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual / Thumb Stud
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Cold Steel SR1 Lite mimics its hard use brother the SR1 which is featured in our “hard use” folding knives article. 

Make no mistake, the SR1 Lite is no push-over despite its smaller size. It’s just as tough and rugged as its larger brother. You can throw anything at it and it will simply shrug it off.

The SR1 Lite has an overall length of 9.375 inches, a 4 inch blade and weighs 6.30 ounces.

The blade is 0.19 inches thick and made of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. It is a tough steel that can handle significant abuse, corrosion resistant and will hold up to real-world applications and conditions.

While many new ultra high-end steels are difficult to sharpen, 8Cr13MoV takes a very fine edge with standard sharpening tools.

The SR1 Lite is available in two blade profiles, clip point and tanto.
The clip point provides more control when using the knife. This design has a long belly which is ideal for slicing and tip for precise cutting. The spine of the blade is unsharpened allowing you to apply more force for controlled cutting.

The tanto point has a very flat and straight belly with a sharply angled tip that almost resembles a chisel point. The reinforced point is specifically designed to maximize penetration.

The SR1 Lite has a Griv-Ex handle, which is the latest in fiberglass reinforced plastic. Grix-Ex is UV and heat-treated which makes it incredibly durable, lightweight and weather-resistant. 

The Tri-Ad locking mechanism is one of the best on the market. Think of it as a back lock on steroids. It is indisputably a safe and solid locking mechanism.

The very essence of this locking mechanism is the “Stop Pin” which is the cornerstone of the locking system’s strength. It redistributes the vertical positive and negative pressures on the lock into the handle frame which safeguards areas prone to being damaged.

The SR1 Lite is a tank of a knife! It is incredibly strong and just as tough and rugged as its larger brother the SR1. A battering ram that doesn’t batter the wallet. 

Pros: 

  • Thick blade designed and built for abuse.
  • 8Cr13MoV Stainless Steel blade is easy to sharpen with standard sharpening tools.
  • Available in Clip Point and Tanto blade profiles.
  • Superb Tri-Ad Lock, one of the best locking mechanisms on the market.
  • Tough and rugged with a superior hefty feel.
  • Griv-Ex Handle is durable, lightweight and weather-resistant.

Cons:

  • Not significantly lighter than the SR1 but it is lighter on the wallet.
  • The handle is less coarse than the G-10 fitted on the SR1. 
Kershaw-Emerson-CQC-6K-Knife-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 7.75 In. 
  • Blade Length: 3.25 In.
  • Weight: 5.01 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11 In.
  • Blade Material: 8Cr14MoV
  • Blade Profile: Modified Clip Point
  • Handle: G-10
  • Lock Mechanism: Frame Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual / Thumb Disc
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: Yes
  • MOLLE Compatible: No

The Kershaw Emerson CQC-6K is a collaboration between two well-renowned knife makers. With combined precision engineering and uncompromising functional design, this budget folder exceeds expectations.

The CQC-6K has an overall length of 7.75 inches, a 3.25 inch blade and weighs 5.01 ounces. It is the perfect size for an everyday carry.

The blade is 0.11 inches thick and made of 8Cr14MoV stainless steel. It is a variant of 8Cr13MoV and an excellent steel for the money. It's reasonably tough and can handle significant abuse before it will chip or break. It is corrosion-resistant and will hold up to real-world applications and conditions.

While many new ultra high-end steels are difficult to sharpen, 8Cr14MoV takes a very wicked edge with standard sharpening tools. For a budget folding knife 8Cr14MoV is really tough to beat.

Another great feature is the modified clip point blade profile. The clip point features a very long cutting surface with a belly that juts out straight for a nice straight edge but then trails upward to a tight point at the end.

A modified clip point profile includes a more straight area where the convex curve would be almost appearing to look like a reverse tanto.

The handle’s front scale of textured G-10 is contoured for grip security even in the most demanding situations. It is extremely durable and almost impervious to harsh weather conditions.

The CQC-6K is well-equipped with a solid frame lock. As you open the blade away from you, you will notice the left section of the handle move inwards as the blade fully opens. This section of the frame is cut to engage the bottom portion of the blade under the pivot to prevent closure.

Due to the thickness of the locking portion of the frame, the blade is securely locked into position.

The manual opening blade is accessed by either a thumb disc or the patented Emerson “wave shaped feature”, which enables the knife to be engaged as it is removed from the pocket.

The tab on the spine of the blade catches on the pocket seam, engaging the blade as the knife is removed from your pocket. If you are looking for quick and flawless deployment, this is your knife.

If you are looking for a great budget knife with quick blade deployment don’t pass this one up. This is an amazing collaboration between two well-renowned knife makers. 

Pros: 

  • A great collaboration between two well-renowned knife makers.
  • Quality 8Cr14MoV steel for the money.  It’s tough, corrosion-resistant and holds a wicked edge.
  • Modified Clip Point blade profile is thicker than the traditional Clip Point.
  • G-10 handle provides a safe and secure grip.
  • Frame Lock is rock solid and firmly holds the blade in place. 
  • Emerson Wave technology is beautifully integrated and allows the knife to open effortlessly. 

Cons:

  • The Emerson Wave Opener takes practice to get it right.
  • The disc can come loose but can be easily tightened with a small Phillips head screwdriver. 
Buck-Knives-112-Ranger-Post-Image

Specifications: 

  • Overall Length: 7.27 In. 
  • Blade Length: 3 In.
  • Weight: 5.6 Oz. 
  • Blade Thickness: 0.120 In.
  • Blade Material: 420 HC
  • Blade Profile: Clip Point
  • Handle: Crelicam / Genuine Ebony Hardwood with finger grooves. 
  • Lock Mechanism:  Back Lock
  • Fully ambidextrous: Yes
  • Opening Mechanism: Manual
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Lanyard Hole: No
  • MOLLE Compatible: Yes/Leather Case

The Buck 112 Ranger is another original classic which is the smaller version of the iconic Buck 110. Just like the 110, the 112 is another traditional favorite. This is a true piece of history.

The Buck 112 Ranger has an overall length of 7.27 inches, a three inch blade and weighs 5.6 ounces. Not only is it lightweight, it comes with a genuine leather carrying case.

The plain edge blade is 0.12 inches thick and made of 420 HC steel. This is the standard steel used by Buck because it provides excellent rust resistance, good edge retention and easy to sharpen. 420 HC also has the wear resistance of high carbon alloys while delivering the corrosion resistance of chromium stainless steels.

The clip point blade profile is one of the most sought after because it provides excellent control for detailed work, cutting in tight spaces and puncturing objects.

The handle itself is a work of art. It is made of genuine ebony hardwood that is nearly indestructible. Since the handle is constructed of wood, nature leaves its own brand marks. They are not flaws but nature’s designs. Thus, colors and markings make each handle unique.

A lock back mechanism firmly holds the blade in place. It gets its name from the rocking lock bar that is partially visible on top of the knife. Pushing down on the rocker releases the blade causing the rocker to firmly lock up against the tang or end of the blade. To close the blade you push down on the rocker which releases the blade enabling you to close it safely.

This is a historic masterpiece that has been used by countless outdoorsmen and women. If you are looking for a cultural icon that has been tested through the sands of time, this is for you! 

Pros: 

  • The Buck 112 Ranger is a traditional favorite and a smaller version of the Buck 110 folding hunter.
  • 420 HC steel which has excellent rust resistance, good edge retention and is easy to sharpen.
  • Clip point blade profile is excellent for precision cuts.
  • Lock back mechanism safely and securely holds the blade in place.
  • Each wooden handle is unique due to mother nature’s own brand marks.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Buck Knives also warranties each and every knife to be free from defects in material and workmanship. 

Cons:

  • Does not have a pocket clip or lanyard hole. (This isn’t a problem because it comes with a belt-friendly genuine leather case).
  • Some users don’t like how the handle feels. 

A Final Note!

Buying and enjoying knives doesn’t have to drain your wallet. There are numerous knives that fit our budget or taste.

Remember don’t compromise your safety with a cheap and hazardous $25.00 folder with substandard materials.

Though our list isn’t exhaustive, it is a great example of budget knives available to anyone. These excellent folders are made of quality materials that ensure longevity, reliability and safety.

They are well-equipped with sturdy, reliable locks such as Back, Automated Liner, Frame, and the well-renowned Tri-Ad. These locking mechanisms ensure safe and secure deployment during use.

The handle materials are diverse and range from G-10 commonly used for high-end folding knives to genuine ebony hardwood which is almost indestructible. These handles provide you a safe and secure grip during use.

The blade steels are reliable, durable, corrosion-resistant and easy to sharpen.

There’s bound to be something affordable and enjoyable for your personal taste. Most importantly, you must be happy with your investment. Don't suffer from buyer’s remorse.

So what’s your best budget folder, I would like to know. 

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We are survival enthusiasts with a penchant for all things off grid. From knives to knots, and all things in between, we’ve got your pro survival strategies for when sh*t hits the fan.

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