Updated: December 21, 2020

The Best Folding Knives

The best folding knife should be sturdy, sharp, and easy to carry. It is important that the knife remain opened until the user, himself, closes it, as accidental closing during use can be dangerous. There are several different brands that feature their own safety system to prevent accidental closing.

 AegisCold Steel Folding KnifeBlur
NameAegisVoyager Tanto 5.5 inch folderBlur
BrandSOGCold SteelKershaw
Rating3star 5star 4star

What to Look for In a Folding Knife


Any folding knife should have a good grip. Grip” refers not only to the shape of the knife when it is opened but to the size and texture, as well. In many applications, the knife will become wet during use. Without a solid grip, the knife will slip in the hands of the user. It may also twist, causing grievous injury. The size of the handle, therefore, is important, as well as the texture. A person with big hands should be careful to look for a knife that is wide enough to wrap his fingers around, providing proper grip surface. Many folding knives are equipped with a textured surface or rubberized insets. This will keep the handle steady in the hands of the user. Some handles have finger grooves for added security. However, some users find that this feature causes the knife, when folded, to “hang up” on their pants pockets when they try to put the knife away.


The spine of any folding knife must be strong enough to withstand extreme use by the owner. Torque can occur in just about every situation, and a spine that snaps will cause dramatic failure of the knife.


The pommel of a folding knife is the butt of the knife that extends behind the hand during knife use. On shorter knives, the pommel may rest in the hand itself. The pommel is important for knife control in that, if the user is pulling the knife out of an object it has been stuck into, it will keep the hand from slipping off of the back of the knife. The pommel should be well attached and of sturdy material, as users often use it to hammer such things as tent pegs.


The guard is just as important, if not more so, than the pommel, in protecting the user’s hand, The shape of the guard will keep the user’s hand from sliding forward onto the blade during use. This is especially crucial in wet conditions, such as when fishing or skinning game, when the knife may be covered in blood.


The blade is equally important and should be made of a material that will withstand the user’s particular needs. Knives that will be exposed to constant moist or wet conditions should be rust-resistant, while those used by mechanics and electricians should be corrosion resistant. The angle and type of blade edge is worthy of consideration, too, because this may affect the usability of the blade.


The tang of the blade is the part of the blade that extends into the handle.  A threaded tang will grip the material in the pommel more securely, and prevent the pommel from coming loose under heavy use.


With these features in mind, let’s look at three models, and see which one will be the best folding knife.

Kershaw S30V Blur Knife

Click on Image for More Photos

Click on image for more photos.

The Kershaw Blur Knife is a folding knife that has an anodized aluminum handle. This makes it lightweight, yet strong, resisting torque. The Trac-Tec inserts are a patented method of providing texture so that the knife doesn’t slip in your hands, even when they are covered with water or blood.

The Blur features the patented SpeedSafe opening and closing system, as well. It is not a switchblade, but the user can open the knife one-handed. It is not push-button-operated, but a torsion bar is pushed with the thumb, releasing the blade, which the user can then snap into place with a flick of the wrist.

The construction of the handle is wider in the middle, where the palm will hold it, then narrower where the knuckle and thumb will grip, with a swell where the guard would be. While this is not an actual guard, the swell should keep the hand from slipping up onto the blade during use.

The blade of the Blur is 13C26 stainless steel, which means it is corrosion resistant. The S30V distinction means that the blade is hard without being brittle, yet easily sharpened.

The vast majority of people who bought this knife gave it a 5 of 55-starrating. They say that the blade movement has never locked, and the grip fits well in the hand. The 30v blade has remained very sharp, and the assisted opening is very consistent and safe. Once the blade is opened, there is no play or wiggle. Click here to read more about the Kershaw Blur.


Cold Steel claims the Voyager is the stronger than 99.9% of its competitors’ folder knives – ounce for ounce!  That’s a bold claim, but they stand by it and say it’s “FACT”.  Why?  Well, a stiff spring and meticulously machined parts along with a locking mechanism they call “Tri-Ad” which is arguably the strongest, lowest maintenance and most reliable lock on the planet (according to Cold Steel of course!).  The AUS-8A steel is a decent metal, but it’s not the hardest, best steel you can buy that’s for sure!  The edge is ground very thin which allows the maximum shearing potential, and the blades are extra wide for strength.

Cold Steel Folding Knife

Cold Steel Voyager

The handle is made ergonomically with Cold Steel’s proprietary Griv-Ex construction (reinforced with heat treated 6061 aluminum liners).

The Cold Steel Voyager series is designed to be the true “everyman” knife. We like it because it is lightweight, super sharp out of the box, and looks unlike anything else – very impressive and aggressive!  We found ours to be an excellent camping knife (which is what we use it for) and users online say it’s excellent for hunting as well as general daily cutting chores. According to Cold Steel, Voyagers excel in survival and rescue applications, and they have proven to be very popular with Police and Military personnel, who appreciate the combination of the cutting performance and safety that they offer.

We also like the tanto style that gives us 2 blades in one so we can focus on keeping one edge unused (and therefore sharp) longer when applications allow for such a situation.


SOG Specialty Knives & Tools AE-04 Aegis Knife, Serrated Blade TiNi

Sog Is a Great American Brand

SOG is a great American brand.

The SOG Aegis features the patented DigiGrip handle. The handle has rubber inserts that are tacky, preventing the knife from twisting in the hands of the user. He handle itself is made of Zytel, which is a compound that contains glass. This makes the handle lightweight, and resistant to impact and abrasion, as well. The handle is designed to fit the palm without slipping and has a thumb grip for extra control. However, there is no finger guard.

The blade of the Aegis is treated with SOG’s cryogenic heat process. This is intended to increase toughness, and make the blade more durable. During this process, the blade is frozen cryogenically, then gradually brought up to room temperature. This atomically re-aligns the molecules, producing a hard metal that will keep its edge.

Opening the Aegis is aided by the patented use of the S.A.T. technology. High-tension coil springs pop the blade into position, once the user levers it open. It features an ambidextrous opening. In addition, the blade has a safety, so that it cannot be accidentally opened.

Consumers who purchased this knife report an almost unison 5-star rating out of 5. They say that the blade is very sharp, and retains its sharpness very well. Although the blade is very strong, it is not heavy. The balance of the knife receives good reviews. Customers also like the textured grip.

The locking mechanism of the knife is very strong, and the spring-loaded opening is strong, as well. About the only problem reported with this knife is the force of opening, which could jolt the knife out of the hand of a person not expecting the force. Read more about the AE-04.


In view of the characteristic of a good folding knife, it appears that the Cold Steel Voyager Tanto is the best knife of the three listed here.  That’s MY OPINION of course!  It’s not a fact!  However, for me, it has all of the qualities of a safe and dependable folding knife, with finger grips, finger guards, ambidextrous opening, and a strong spine. The blade is exceptionally strong, yet retains its edge beyond what a regular knife normally does. Even if the Teflon wears off, this is still the best knife for the money.

Peter Stec
Latest posts by Peter Stec (see all)
  • Comments

  • Jack says:

    Recon 1 is the best. Been using it for years.

  • Jon Feuerborn says:

    There’s a mistake in your rundown on the Kershaw Blur. You say that the steel is 13C26, which may have been true on earlier (the current normal steel is Sandvik 14C28N), but you speak of the S30V as a “distinction”. The S30V is another type of steel altogether.

    I almost purchased one of these. I came across its American made cousin, the ZT 0350SW, and opted for that instead. A little more money, yes, but a lot more knife. Couldn’t be happier with that decision.

  • jgregory says:

    SOG Magnadot.

    SOG Magnadot

  • Dave P. says:

    I myself would add the SOG Flash II. I bought one for my dad last Christmas, and it is TOP OF THE LINE; excellent pocket clip, and I tried to sharpen it before giving it to him (it was already super sharp, but it’s kind of a rite of passage for every tactical knife in my house), and it hardly made an impression! SUPERB blade steel, has the safety lock on the side (hasn’t dulled a bit since he got it 8 months ago under light-to-medium use),and the lock is actually an interior mechanism, actuated with a sliding button on the side. One can be had for about $70 at Cabela’s (he still doesn’t know what he paid for it……..) and is COMPLETELY WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ron Champion says:

    Benchmade 940 hands down.

  • Bronco says:

    Nice article, but I think list could have been better. I found latest list on the best top 5 folding knives. List has some great quality Folding Knives!!!

  • Matt says:

    I agree, of the 3 I would also choose the Recon 1. However, I’d probably choose the Mini-Recon 1 with a spear point. I find the Recon 1 to big for an EDC, the mini has a 1″ shorter blade and almost 2oz lighter. Good stuff nonetheless, thank you…

    • Cold Steel Nut says:

      aww, the Recon 1 isn’t too big! I carry the CS Spartan and it is way heavier and bigger, and it is still very comfortable!
      so you’ll appreciate the extra blade length in the regular Recon 1.

    • BOZ says:

      My EDC for the longest time was the ”Kershaw 1556Ti Cryo II Assisted Flipper 3-1/4″ Plain Blade, Rick Hinderer Framelock Design” . I always had to have a knife with a thick blade that could take lots of abuse at work because I wouldn’t think twice about using it like a chisel to clean up some burrs on a 1/4” steel plate or stick the tip down in a hole I just drilled to do the same. The smaller Cryo l had introduced me to/spoiled me with the speed and one handed operation of Kershaw’s Assisted Flipper. It wasn’t until I retired that I allowed myself to try out a Tanto blade since now I had the time to go find a metal chisel instead of using my EDC for one 🙂 …I picked up a ”Kershaw 3840 FreeFall Assisted 3-1/4″ Plain Stonewash Tanto Blade, GFN Handles” I did not expect this to replace my Cryo ll but it did…#1 reason….the Tanto tip made it so much easier opening these clear plastic clam shells retailers love to package everything in these days !

      (Sorry for the long lead up to the knife I now own that is relevant to your Recon 1 and the Mini-Recon 1 knives mentioned above.) Wanting to own a better quality knife with a Tanto blade I did my research and bought me one of Cold Steel’s Gen2*’s….. ” Code 4 features sturdy, hard-anodized gun metal grey 6061 Aluminum handles, our world-renowned Tri-Ad locking mechanism, and high satin polished, razor sharp USA CTS XHP* blades” at 4.3 oz it is right at an oz lighter then your Recon 1 and less then an oz heavier then your 3,6 oz Mini-Recon , PLUS it has a 3 5/8 inch blade with an overall length of 8 1/2 inches ! Here is a guy that does a pretty good review on this knife… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0g5MtouJo0&t=116s

      Hope you find this knife of interest….not saying your choices are wrong , I would love to have either or both of them. Just sharing my love of knives with others that share that love ! Thanks for your time. BOZ

  • Fred Sweeney says:

    Been looking into buying a gun and gun information is abundant. I own a few knives (maybe15) but I have been buying and using knives without research. Time to fix that.

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