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Every person has their favorite knives, so we are all biased, but if you are looking for survival folding knives then your options are reduced drastically. A survival folding knife is a small pocket knives that you can keep in your pocket for EDC so just in case you are in a survival situation you’ll have at least some gear with you.
A quality knife should feel like an extension of your hand and here are a list of knives that will make you feel like Tarzan.
Best Folding Survival Knives
- Best Overall Survival Folding Knife – Kershaw Link Pocket Knife
- Best EDC Folding Knife – Spyderco Endura 4 Signature Folder Knife
- Best Budget Knife Option – Ontario RAT-1 Folding Knife
- Best for Law Enforcement – Spyderco Police Model Folding Knife
- Best Premium Knife Blade – Benchmade Freek 560-1 EDC Folding Knife
- Best Paraframe – Gerber Paraframe I Knife
- Best Mini Blade – Kizer EDC Folding Knife Sheepdog V3488
1. Kershaw Link Pocket Folding Knife
Best Overal Survival Folding Knife
Dimensions: 3.25L x 1W x 1H inches
Weight: 4.8 ounces
Material: Stainless Steel blade with black matte glass-filled textured handle with highly ergonomic features
Pros: Corrosion-resistant, Good edge, Comfortable to hold, speed safe opening
Cons: Nothing we can think of
Description: This Kershaw knife is pocket-friendly, sharp, and most importantly a reliable stainless steel blade. It is a high-quality (as it’s made in the USA – not China) is a high-performance knife that is affordable for both survival and EDC carry.
A Kershaw blade is one of the most widely known brands in the world. This blade will not just be for opening your boxes and letters, though it can handle your camping food prep, whether it’s slicing through bacon or peeling potatoes without even flinching.
This is an everyman’s knife, no bells of whistles, just a sleek simple design. The blade features speed-safe assisted opening, so it can be opened with one hand in an emergency situation.
It also includes Liner locks to help ensure safe use as well as a reversible pocket clip
With all these qualities combined into only 4.8 ounces, this knife is tough enough for any endurance event but still light enough not to weigh you down.
2. Spyderco Endura 4 Signature Folder Knife
Best EDC Folding Knife
Dimensions: 6-inch length, 1-inch width, & 1-inch height.
Weight: 4.5 ounces
Material: Steel, with a handle of Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon
Pros: Four-position clip, Strong lock mechanism, Saber Grind blade
Cons: Opens slowly
Description: This Spyderco Endura 4 Signature Folder Knife is claimed to be one of the best-selling folding knives “ever-made”. While those types of claims may or may not be valid. The original Spyderco Endura was one of the first lightweight designs that came out in the 1980s.
Due to its popularity, it is now in its 4th generation and comes in several variations of colors. Endura 4 knives include a stout saber ground VG10 blade with your choice of PlainEdge™, CombinationEdge™ or Spyder Edge ™ configurations.
Its sturdy back lock mechanism ensures that it remains securely open when in use yet allows for easy ambidextrous release from its locked position. A bi-directional texture pattern found on the black handle provides an excellent non-slip grip as well as four positions to store anywhere.
3. Ontario RAT-1 Folding Knife
Best Budget Knife Option
Dimensions: 3.5 x 1 x 1 inches, open blade length 8.5
Weight: 4.9 ounces
Material: AUS-8 Stainless steel blade with Synthetic handle
Pros: Simple to clean, Small, Beginner-friendly
Cons: Need sharpening after delayed use
The original design of this folding pocketknife features a 3-1/2″ AUS8 Stainless Steel blade (don’t worry that’s a good thing) that are available in either satin or black finishes with a plain edge or combo plain-serrated edge.
For the price point, you really can’t beat this knife. Its small, lightweight and can be used for any type of outdoor scenario whether it’s dressing, skinning or even plain ole EDC.
4. Spyderco Police Model Folding Knife
Best for Law enforcement
Dimensions: 6l X 1w X 1h
Weight: 5.6 ounces
Pros: Heavy-duty, Compact, Out of the box sharp cutting edge, Satin-finished stainless steel handle, Keeps its edge for a while, back lock mechanisms
Cons: Just one color alternative, branded with the words ‘police’
Description: Spyderco is a brand name you can trust when it comes to blades as they have been making them since 1976 out of Colorado. The handle consists of hardened steel that is corrosion resistant.
It weighs just 5.6 ounces- light enough not to tire out your arm but heavy enough so that you feel like the knife is an extension of your arm. This specific blade was originally made with security and law enforcement in mind, as can be seen by the small decal on the knife blade.
Spyderco knives are legendary in the knife world for combining a beautiful design together with a rugged durability. You can find Spydercos that will serve you faithfully through just about any task, whether you are stuck in an emergency survival situation or looking to have it for around the house.
5. Benchmade Freek 560-1 Folding Knife
Best Premium Blade
Dimensions: 6 x 2.75 x 1.25 in
Weight: 4.3 oz
Material: Stainless steel blade
Pros: Lifetime warranty, Lock mechanism, Serrated and plain edge option
Cons: On the more expensive side
Description: A giant in the blade business, Benchmade has been building quality blades since 1979. This folding knife is accompanied by a G10 handle with CPM-M4 that ensures it will remain in prime condition.
With the Benchmade CPM-M4 steel, you can cut through anything without compromising the blade edge. The hub locking component is easy to open and close for simple use.
With their limited Lifetime Warranty and LifeSharp Services, Benchmade will take care of all repair or sharpening needs so your knife stays in perfect condition no matter where life takes you.
6. Gerber Paraframe I Knife
Best Paraframe Knife
Dimensions: 7l x 5 x 5 inches
Weight: 2.8 ounces
Material: Stainless Steel
Pros: Lightweight, Easy to clean, easy to open and close, Titanium Nitrade Coated Blade, 8 variations of this knife
Cons: No bells and whistles
Description: The Gerber Paraframe I Knife has a minimal design making it extremely lightweight. The body is produced using tempered steel coming in at a cool 7″.
The Paraframe I is a beautifully simple, open frame, titanium finished knife that has a fine-edge locking blade and weighs less than three ounces and opens effortlessly. The stainless steel handle has an easy to grip handle while the clip ensures it can be carried securely when not in use.
This knife is so light that you’ll be cutting the breeze. It’s a snap to open and close and will make your cutting oh-so much easier.
What we like about this Gerber knife, along with the price, is the brand behind the knife, who have been making EDC and survival knives for years. The Paraframe is a good bet if your looking for something simple with a price to match.
7. Kizer EDC Folding Knife Sheepdog V3488
Best Mini Blade
Dimensions: 5.77in length
Weight: 3.17 ounces
Material: 54CM stainless steel
Pros: A number of color options, Huge range of draw weights available, Artistic design, Sexy looking
Cons: Some may not like the cleaver design look
Description: The Kizer Folding knife as you will notice features a heavy-duty cleaver design that traditionally comes from Sheepdog Knives. The blade is made from premium stainless steel with an elegant stonewashed finish with a smooth ball bearing pivot, allowing the blade to whip out super quick and lock solidly in place.
The Kizer knife has 54CM stainless steel which is great against wear and tear and helps in edge retention. There is a G-10 handle that gives you a comfortable grip. It has tactical functionality which is paired with a refined style.
The Kizer mini is a great little knife if you want a knife that is small, easy to carry and quick to deploy. This knife is small, just to underline, but that why people like it.
Best Folding Survival Knife’s Buyer’s Guide
There really is no such thing as the best survival folding knife. That said there are some things that you can look at while you are shopping around that will help you determine what is right for you.
What to Look for in Folding Survival Knives?
What will determine what type of knife you are to get will be dependent on what you are going to use it for.
A good folding survival knife needs to be durable above all else. If it has a lifetime warranty – then you know that they’re going to last for the long haul.
As we are not talking about your traditional survival knife, where you would want to look out for a full tang, a good pommel, or a good size, a folding knife has a whole different set of criteria.
Below are five key features to look for when selecting any type of collapsible blades:
A sharp and well-designed blade will ensure that you won’t have difficulty slicing through whatever it is, whether its rope, canvas, or meat if needed during an emergency situation.
There’s no set rule as to what length of cutting edge is best; however, smaller pocket blades measure between 2″ and 6″, which makes them small enough to easily slip into pockets when necessary.
There are two main types of steel:
1. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is more versatile, in that it is rust-resistant and can handle extreme temperatures without it affecting the composition. Although they are softer than carbon steel and are more expensive.
2. Carbon steel
Carbon steel will often give you a better edge and that is because it is easier to sharpen, which also makes them very sharp. Carbon steel is also harder than stainless steel and will therefore keep an edge longer. The major disadvantage of carbon steel is that it rusts easier and it does not stand the test of time as well as stainless steel.
The difference between stainless steel and carbon steel is the amount of chromium in the composition of the blade. While they are both made of iron and carbon the difference is in the alloy content. Carbon steel has under 10.5% whereas stainless steel has 10.5% or more.
What you chose is up to you and what your preference is. There is no single winner here, although many people do prefer carbon steel because it is cheaper
2. Material & Aesthetics
Not all knives come with appealing designs. In terms of blades, some folding knives have serrated edges, rigged blades while others are just your plain ole swiss army knife.
In terms of a handle, you have folding knives which have exoskeleton designs, rubber, hardened plastic, Titanium, G-10, stainless, steel and aluminum to name a few. Again there is no best, just different.
3. Lock mechanism
There are a number of different locking mechanisms.
Liner locks – As the blade opens there is a separate liner that acts to hold the lock in places
Frame locks – Similar to a linear lock in many respects though the whole portion of the knife locks the blade in place
Proprietary locks – specialized locking mechanisms that are patented by manufacturers
What matters most is how well balanced it feels while still being comfortable in your hands using different grips–be sure you find something capable of adapting to your grip and versatile enough to be able to cover different forms of use.
5. Price point
Depending on your budget you will want to find something that works within your range. We picked out a wide range of options that will suit just about anybody. Choosing a good knife, however, is like choosing stereo speakers, you can tell the difference in quality depending upon the price tag. From a knife perspective, quality costs.
Your choice of finding the best folding survival knife should be based on what you need. There is no best, there is only what is best for you depending on your circumstances and what you are looking for. Flexibility, comfort, blade type, material are all different variables that you can consider, but ultimately the choice is yours!