I was interviewed for a magazine about what a customer should look for in an EDC knife. Below is the questions I was asked and the answers I gave. This should help anyone looking to purchase a high quality everyday carry knife. Along with a couple of my favorite EDC options.
1. Can you give me a tip or two on what to look for in an EDC knife—blade steel, handle material, quality, weight, size, etc.?
Answer: Generally speaking you will want to look for a lightweight, slim, and compact knife with a blade length between 2.5” - 3”. You want to find something that is capable of handling any task that you would find during your normal daily routine, but is also light and small enough where it isn’t burdensome in your pocket all day, everyday.
2. What, in your own opinion or mind, is the number one thing to consider in trying to decide between a $25 knife from Wal Mart or other big box stores, and a $300 knife from a knife purveyor?
Answer: In my opinion, the main things to consider when purchasing an EDC knife is the quality of the fit, finish, and materials. You also receive a more personal experience when you shop small. At American Edge, we always try to find the best knife for the customer based on what they would be using the knife for and the price range that he or she is looking in. It is hard to go to Walmart and receive the custom experience of going to a small business that specializes in knives. We help take the stress of the guess work off of customers by really customizing the right choice of knife.
3. Can a customer get a quality knife for $25, and why or why not?
Answer: As the old saying goes, you usually get what you pay for. That’s not to say there are no good knives available at the $25 price range, but the quality of the fit, finish, and materials will not compare with a higher priced knife. You can get a decent knife at $25, but the knife will probably not last nearly as long as one that is a more experience.
4. What would your suggested price range be for a quality EDC knife?
Answer: I personally would suggest purchasing a knife between $100-$300 for an EDC knife. The quality should be great, and the knife would hold up better than the cheaper options.
5. What would be the main differences in knives and quality of knives, steels, mechanisms, handle materials and craftsmanship between the knives on the high end of that price range and the low end?
Answer: On the higher end, you will see more ultra premium blade steels. Handles would be upgraded as well, using materials such as carbon fiber, titanium, micarta, and some natural materials. Mechanisms on a high end knife will be smoother to operate with solid lock up.
6. What can customers expect to get for their money when buying a low-end knife ($25? $50? $75? $100?) versus a high-dollar EDC knife?
Answer: When you purchase a knife in the $25 range, you will generally be paying for an imported knife with low quality materials (plastics, inexpensive blade steel) and poor performance. As you approach the $50-$75 range, you’ll begin to see some quality imported knives as well as some good USA made knives. Once you hit the $100 mark, you’ll start to see the more premium options such as better handle materials and smoother mechanisms, and for the most part the higher you climb the better you get.
7. What should they mainly look for quality- and craftsmanship-wise?
Answer: When looking for a knife, you should look for tight machining tolerances, a company with a good reputation that is willing to stand behind their products, and knives that are both hand-fit and hand-assembled.
8. What “gimmicks” should they avoid?
Answer: While they may be unique, even high end knives can have strange opening and locking mechanisms. These may be different and interesting, but they can be confusing and certainly not practical to use everyday.
9. What not-so-user-friendly mechanisms should they avoid?
Answer: A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t look at the knife and figure out how it operates without much effort, the mechanism is probably not user friendly.
10. What would be your “top five” things to consider?
Answer: The top five things that I would encourage any potential knife buyer to consider would be: weight, size, mechanism and lock, materials, and the manufacturer’s reputation for quality product and their customer service.
11. Anything I’ve missed or that you’d add to this article?
Answer: In the end, choosing the proper EDC is a matter of personal preference. What works for you may not for the next guy. It is best to find something that you not only like the looks of, but something that also feels comfortable in your own hand and in your own pocket.
The first is a Microtech LUDT Auto 135-1. It has a premium M390 stainless steel blade (depending on the date of manufacture) with 6061-T6 Aircraft Aluminum handle. Top notch automatic action. 3-3/8” blade length, 4-5/8” closed length, weighs 3.5 oz. Its size, blade geometry, and design let it very well to a comfortable and capable EDC knife. Many people regard it as the perfect tactical EDC. Priced at $235
The second photo is of a Zero Tolerance 0450CF Sinkevich Frame Lock Flipper. It has a carbon fiber front scale with titanium rear scale. It is a manual knife so should be legal to carry almost anywhere but it opens so smoothly on a KVT ball bearing system. Premium S35-VN stainless steel blade. 3-1/4” blade length, 4-1/8” closed length, weighs 2.7 oz. This knife is what I have personally carried over the last year and a half and I love it. It is slim and lightweight with smooth operation and solid lock up.