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The best knife for everyday carry
The Drifter offers a compact size and a butter-smooth blade deployment. The grip area works with all hand sizes and remains comfortable even during tough cutting.
The CRKT Drifter shares the two basic characteristics of most of the knives we tested: The blade is about 3 inches long, and you can open and close it with one hand. On paper, the Drifter offers nothing unique, but it excels at all of the small elements that make for a successful knife. The most impressive of these is the smoothness of the blade’s pivoting action, which is among the nicest we tested and on a par with that of knives costing four times as much. The Drifter’s handle is contoured to fit both big and small hands, and it has a light texturing that improves the grip. This model has excellent fit and finish, and it doesn’t have a cheap plastic feel like many of the knives in its price range—usually costing under $30, it’s a bargain.
Blue Ridge Knives ESEE Zancudo
A little larger and more heavy-duty
The robust metal build of the Zancudo, combined with the excellent ergonomics, makes this the knife of choice for tougher work.
If the Drifter isn’t available or if you’re looking for a real workhorse of a knife, we also like the Blue Ridge Knives ESEE Zancudo.1 Compared with the Drifter, the Zancudo has a larger handle, a stronger blade lock, and a lot more metal in the body. Those features, as well as the unusual and comfortable teardrop-shaped handle, make this model a great knife for tougher work and more aggressive cutting. We think that this added durability and performance are unnecessary for standard everyday use, and that the Drifter, with its adequate strength, lighter weight, and smaller footprint, is the better option for most. Still, in our tests the Zancudo was our choice for tougher jobs, such as when we headed into a DIY project.
Solid quality, very inexpensive
The 710 has many of the same high-quality touches as our main pick, but the all-metal body can be slippery. Often available for under $15, it’s a steal.
If you’re new to knives and want to make the smallest investment possible to see if you like carrying one, we like the Sanrenmu 710 (aka 7010). It’s similar in a lot of ways to our main pick—it has roughly the same size and the blade pivot is almost as smooth. But the all-metal handle is less comfortable and can become slippery in damp or sweaty hands; we noticed this problem when holding the knife and when flipping the blade out. The good news is that the 710 is typically sold for under $20 and sometimes available for less than $10. This pricing is impressive seeing as the overall quality in our tests was better than that of many of the $20 to $40 knives we tried.
Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556
A luxury knife
The Mini Griptilian has a steep price tag, but it’s better than the others by nearly every measure. The distinctive blade-locking system and movable pocket clip make this knife fully ambidextrous.
If you have a larger budget and want a knife that nails all of the little details, we recommend the Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556. Compared with our other picks, it’s simply a better knife—better pivot, better blade steel, better ergonomics, and better locking system. Because of the lock and the reversible pocket clip, this model is a fully ambidextrous knife. We believe that most people will be more than satisfied with the CRKT Drifter, but if you take good care of your knives and want one with premium touches, the Mini Griptilian is a great investment.
Buck Knives 55
For a traditional style
The 55 has none of the modern convenience features of the other knives we tried, but it does have a timeless feel, a comfortable handle, and a durable build quality.
We also tested two traditional knives, and if you prefer a more classic look and style, we recommend the Buck Knives 55. Its design has an unquestionably age-old feel, but that comes at the expense of more modern touches such as a pocket clip, a one-handed open and close, and a textured handle. Still, the Buck Knives 55 has a very sturdy body and nice overall construction, which is evident in how the lock snaps open and closed. To us, the biggest drawback is that you need two hands to open and close this blade, but if you’re okay with that, this Buck model is a fine choice.
Source: The NY Times
Keyword: The Best Pocket Knife