Pocket knives are one of the most useful tools there is. A light pocket knife is great for every-day-carrying, and can help you out in all kinds of situations. Not to mention, they’re just fun to have.
Having a giant pocket knife can be fun, but can also be cumbersome and annoying in your pocket. Fortunately, there are plenty of small, lightweight pocket knives that can easily fit into your pocket, while still providing a ton of utility.
In the article below, we will be discussing what to look for in a small pocket knife, and then reviewing a number of different small pocket knives to discuss the pros and cons of each. If you’re looking for the best small pocket knives, you’re in the right place.
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What to Look For in a Small Pocket Knife
There are many different pocket knife styles and models, which each have their pros and cons. When choosing a small pocket knife, there are a variety of things to consider. Make sure you find the best pocket knife for you by considering the following points.
Ease of Opening
Different pocket knives open in different ways. These include:
- Pocket knives that easily open with a single hand by using a thumb stud or other manual opening assistor
- Pocket knives that have a spring or other assisted opening
- Pocket knives that are designed to be opened with two hands.
Although there are other variations as well. For a small, lightweight pocket knife, I generally find that something that is quick and easy to open with a single hand is best. For this kind of every-day-carry knife, ease of use is generally a priority.
One other factor to consider here is the ease of opening in the left hand. A knife that is easy to open with a thumb stud may only be easy to open with the left hand. Some knives are designed to be opened with specifically the right (or left) hand, others are reversible, and others are easy to open with either hand out-of-the-box.
Grip and Size
One thing that you want to keep in mind when purchasing a small pocket knife, is that there is only so much space. Some small pocket knives may have a larger blade and a smaller grip; some may have a larger grip and a smaller blade; and some might be somewhere in between.
Additionally, size is not the only factor that influences how well you can grip a knife. The knife handle design is also relevant. Different materials grip differently. Ergonomic grips may make your knife easier to hold.
When making decisions about what size knife you want, and how you want it to grip, you should also keep in mind your personal hand size. The knife that might work best for you may be too small or too large for someone else.
Blade Lock Quality
When a pocket knife is opened, it should stay open by locking into place. If a blade lock comes loose, or breaks, this can cause various problems. This will generally prevent the blade from being used effectively, since it will flop around if not locked correctly. Because of this, a blade that has a good lock is a good choice.
I’ve had small pocket knives in the past that had mediocre locks, which later either broke or came loose. While I was able to repair some of these, a low-quality blade lock is always going to be a problem. In my experience, this is the single most common area where a pocket knife can break. I’d much rather pay a little extra for something with a decent lock than to have to constantly be fixing and replacing knives.
There are also a number of different blade locking systems. In my experience, they can all work well, it just depends on how well built they are.
Best Small Pocket Knife Reviews
This is an excellent folding knife. In particular, I like that there is both a flipper and a thumb stud. They both work cleanly, which is great. This knife works great for all kinds of household tasks, such as cutting open packages, opening letters, and I’ve even used it to cut sausage. It’s sharp out of the box, so be careful! This knife also looks and feels great. It’s well centered and I didn’t notice any flaws when I looked it over.
As far as the size goes, this is an extremely small knife. It’s 1.7 inches when closed, which is very small. Regardless, this knife is still easy enough to grip and use, and for a knife of this size, the grip is great. The knife also opens and closes easily.
Overall, this is one of my favorite small pocket knives; I think I’d say it’s the best on this list. For the size, it can handle all kinds of tasks, since it’s durable and sharp. If you want a great knife, pick this knife up.
This is a great, lightweight knife for every-day-carry. The knife is big enough that you can easily use it for whatever task you might need, but it’s still small enough that if you put it in your pocket, you won’t even notice it. For the price, this knife can do a lot. The lock release on the back of the blade is easy to push, and the lock sticks in place firmly.
Overall, I would say that this knife is the best bang for your buck on this list. There are knives out there that are fancier, but this one is extremely good for the price. This can do as much as knives that cost twice as much, in some cases, so it’s a great deal.
For a knife in this price range, this is a solid tool. Typically, the problem I have the most with inexpensive knives is that the locking system breaks. However, this knife is quite sturdy. It’s a good addition to my every-day-carry rotation and even after having it for four months at this point, it’s still working great.
The knife is very lightweight. The use of hollow sections in the knife body to reduce weight is interesting and effective. I was worried that this might feel cheap or poorly made, due to the price it sells for, but it was well-built and sturdy. After having this knife for a few months, the blade lock still works securely, the pocket clip is still sturdy, and it’s still cutting great.
I tested this knife out of the box by cutting a few boxes open, and the cuts were smooth and easy. I’ve sharpened it up since then, and you could consider sharpening it up when you first get it, but it’s got a good edge to it out-of-the-box.
Even though I have at least a hundred pocket knives at this point, this knife is still one that I reach for every now and then to carry with me. It’s small enough that it fits in your pocket without thinking about it, and the knife has kept it’s edge despite having seen a fair amount of use.
All-in-all, this is a pretty good knife. It’s in a similar price range to the Kershaw Chive. Personally, I lean a bit more toward the Kershaw Chive than this model, but this model is similar. If you’re looking for a budget version of the Kershaw Chive, this is an option. Regardless, this is an all-around decent knife.
The first thing I checked out on this knife was the locking mechanism, and it’s well-designed and sturdy. The knife does not wobble at all when locked into place. The clip is also nicely built, and slides on and off of your pocket easily. It does take a very deliberate motion to get the blade open, which is a little slower than some other knives. This isn’t necessarily a problem, though, depending on what your priorities and preferences are.
Overall, this is a solid product. Personally, I lean more toward the Kershaw Chive, since it opens a little easier and feels a bit easier to grip. Regardless, this is still a good knife, especially if you prefer that your pocket knives be very small.
Final Thoughts on Pocket Knives
There are a ton of great, small pocket knives out there. I can never get enough of them. But, if I were to narrow this list down to my top picks, it would be these three:
- In terms of the single best small pocket knife in terms of pure quality, the Kershaw Chive Pocket Knife is my pick. The knife’s assisted-opening mechanism works great and the knife flips open with ease. Cutting boxes and other tasks is easy and quick. The whole device is very well built and should last you for years. One of my favorite knives
- If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, the Gerber LST Ultralight Knife is unbeatable. This simple design makes this knife one of the smallest I’ve used. The knife’s lock-release is easy to use, and the blade slides in and out smoothly. There are fancier knives out there, but this does a great job while easily fitting into your pocket or bag.
- If you want a simple, inexpensive knife that can still take a beating, the Gerber Paraframe Mini Knife is a great choice. For a knife at this price point, this is quite durable, which is one of the main criteria I look at when choosing a knife. This is a great, light every-day-carry.
Which knife is the best in your opinion? If you decide to pick up one of these knives, leave your opinion below. I’m always interested to hear what you have to say. If you have any questions on these knives, or you’re still thinking through your decision, feel free to leave any questions or comments below!