The Best Folding Knife

Updated on 10 November 2022

After 14 hours of research among 25 folding knives and testing 8 of them, we felt that the CRKT Drifter offered the best value for money.

This comparison is certified 100% impartial and follows our selection process.

Our choice, Best budget

CRKT Drifter

The CRKT Drifter has the best grip, comfort and handling. Thanks to its versatile blade, it also performs well.

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CRKT Drifter

With its good overall quality and careful ergonomics, the CRKT Drifter has few faults. Indeed, it is grippy, comfortable in the hand and easy to handle. In terms of performance, it delivers a versatile and highly resistant blade that ensures precise cuts. Its slightly reduced size leads us to believe that it is perfect for delicate and meticulous tasks. During our tests, we were impressed by its design quality and its good grip.

 

 

Best high-end

Benchmade Gryptilian

In addition to its handling and design quality, it is one of the most reliable in terms of safety and one of the easiest to handle thanks to its ingenious opening system.

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Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556

Lightweight and comfortable, this model proved in our tests that it is as easy to carry as it is to hold. Firstly, because it does not slip, secondly, because its various opening and locking mechanisms make it very ergonomic and thirdly, because of its versatility and cutting precision. In short, it has everything you would expect from a pocket knife. Its great sturdiness and durability make it the perfect tool for your daily tasks if you are willing to pay the price.

 

Budget alternative

Gerber Paraframe Mini

Easy to handle, its small size allows you to work with precision on small objects and to take it everywhere with you without the slightest discomfort. What’s more, it doesn’t get damaged.

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Gerber Paraframe Mini

This all-stainless steel model is a perfect combination of quality and durability, including a strong lock. Lightweight and ultra-compact, it is ideal for small tasks and offers certain ease of transport. Our tests confirm the good impressions buyers have had of its value for money. Although it requires two hands to open and is not suitable for large cuts, it guarantees a clean and precise cutting edge and is easy to maintain.

 

Our selection

Our choice, Best budgetBest high-endBudget alternative
CRKT Drifter Benchmade Gryptilian Gerber Paraframe Mini
The CRKT Drifter has the best grip, comfort and handling. Thanks to its versatile blade, it also performs well. In addition to its handling and design quality, it is one of the most reliable in terms of safety and one of the easiest to handle thanks to its ingenious opening system. Easy to handle, its small size allows you to work with precision on small objects and to take it everywhere with you without the slightest discomfort. What's more, it doesn't get damaged.
£ 10.04 on Amazon £ 87.93 on Amazon £ 16.52 on Amazon

 

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How did we do the tests?

As far as grip is concerned, we put each model in different-sized hands as well as dry or clammy ones. To check the grip, we even went so far as to put oil on our palms. We used both right-handed and left-handed people. Then we looked at the practicality of the opening and closing mechanism and the locking system, using one or two hands.

To evaluate the sharpness and quality of the cuts, we took different items to be cut that require different force intensities and different types of cut due to their volume or nature (apple, onion, pineapple, rope, cardboard, tree branch, meat, etc.). This allowed us to analyse the precision and resistance of the blade, particularly in terms of strength and corrosion.

 

How to choose a folding knife?

Folding knives are an integral part of everyday emergency tools. Even though they are not as strong as traditional survival knives, they are more compact and therefore have the advantage of being more portable. Of the many models on the market, which ones are best suited to your use?

Couteaux Pliants
Some of the models we have tested. | Source: Selectos

We have drawn up a list of criteria to check when buying:

  • The blade: its size varies according to the type of knife and its use. It can be smooth or partially serrated. The drop point is the most versatile. The clip point has a cut point (similar to a sabre) and offers a better cutting edge. The spear point has a symmetrical point. The tanto has a point similar to that of pruning shears. The needlepoint is extremely sharp, while the trailing point has a rising curve at the end of the blade. To maintain the sharpness of the blade, remember to sharpen your knife regularly with a sharpener.
  • The steel of the blade: this element defines the durability of your knife, and its resistance to wear and tear and to extreme conditions. There are two types of steel: oxidising steel, which contains carbon, and stainless steel (more popular). Oxidising steels are not resistant to corrosion but are stronger, tougher and easier to sharpen. Some stainless steels make the knife very strong, such as 8Cr14MoV or S30V.
Gerber Paraframe Mini
Stainless steel is the most popular material but is less easy to sharpen than those that oxidise. | Source: Selectos
  • The handle: to avoid slipping, it should ideally have a non-slip coating. The balance between the handle and the blade must be optimal to facilitate handling and to give more or less power. The materials used to determine their resistance to cracks, knocks or extreme conditions. For a lower cost and good robustness, we prefer fibreglass composite materials such as G-10.
  • The opening system: each brand develops its technology to carry out this process. The thumb button is a button that allows the knife to be opened with one hand. The Thumbhole is a hole that is used to extract the blade from the handle. The Flipper is located at the back of the knife and when pulled, the blade extends. Finally, the Nail Nick is a small notch into which the nail can be placed.
CRKT Drifter
It is important that your knife has a good opening and locking system. | Source: Selectos
  • The Liner Lock: is a mechanism in which a short steel rod locks the blade. The Frame Lock system acts in the same way but with a stronger structure. The Back Lock consists of pressing a pump on the handle. The ferrule mechanism uses a ring placed between the blade and the handle. Finally, the Axis Lock comes from Benchmade and works with a spring and a pin that comes across to lock the blade.
  • The additional features: some of them are sometimes equipped with disguised features. This is particularly true of multi-functional knives. They can take the form of a knife but also a nail file, screwdriver, scissors, toothpick or tweezers. However, these tools are often less sharp.
  • Accessories: in most cases, a pocket clip is provided by the manufacturer. Some are reversible, so you can choose to place your knife on the left, right, up or down.
AmazonBasics Cutter
In most cases, a pocket clip is provided. | Source: Selectos

 

Honorable mentions

Spyderco Tenacious C133p (£70.90 upon publication): excellent performance regardless of the size and nature of the obstacle. As useful for DIY as it is for everyday life, this folding knife is easy to handle and ergonomic, despite its weight and size (which are much larger than those of its competitor). It has a simple and smooth opening mechanism and an excellent grip. But where we were convinced during our tests was in its durable design and cuts that offer excellent results, even on medium to large rough items.

 

Other tested folding knives

Opinel n°8 (£13.99 upon publication): a low-cost option for hiking, DIY or scouting. It is very solid and has good cutting potential. Although it is not the most ergonomic, it is still safe and pleasant to use. On the other hand, we deplore its strong sensitivity to corrosion and it will be necessary to maintain it regularly. In our experience, we do not recommend cutting food with it.

 

 

Translated by Ramsés El Hajje

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