11 Tips for Choosing an EDC Knife

Spyderco Assist copyThere’s a common misconception about knives. People often think of knives as weapons, and while those people are technically right, that’s not the point of carrying a pocket knife. You should think of an EDC knife as a tool rather than a weapon. And as with any good tool, you need to make sure you have the right one for the job.

Typically, an EDC is going to be used for basic tasks and chores: opening packages or letters, breaking down boxes, cutting tags or string, slicing fruit, etc. If you need something more specialized or burly, by all means go for it, but those knives don’t really fall into the realm of EDC. EDC means every day carry, meaning an unassuming knife that is suitable for the basic tasks you might encounter during the course of a normal day.

Knowing how to choose an everyday carry knife isn’t difficult, but there are a few things that you should keep in mind when making your decision. Here’s what to look for in an EDC knife.

Weight

Generally speaking, the lighter the better for EDC knives. Of course, you don’t want to buy a cheap knife that will break on you just because it’s lightweight. While you don’t want your knife to be too heavy, you do want it to be sturdy.

Size

Slim and compact is the best route. It’s going to be in your pocket all day, every day. You don’t want it to be bulky, but at the same time, you don’t want it to be so small that it’s impractical, or that it doesn’t feel good in your hand.

Blade length

2.5″ – 3″ is what you should aim for, though you may want your EDC to be a little larger, or maybe a little smaller. This is the most practical size for most daily tasks without the knife being too big or too small. Arkansas’ knife laws are pretty lax, but check the laws in your state before making a purchase.

Zancudo Display copyLock

Some folding knives still use a slip joints, and while these are fine for many people, it’s generally a good idea to have a lock on a folding EDC knife. The type of lock isn’t especially important, although some people will defend to the death that a frame lock is better than a liner lock, or that a back lock just can’t be beat. The important thing is that your knife is able to lock into place. Do not opt for fixed blade, unless your first name is John and your last name is Rambo.

Clip or no

A pocket clip on your EDC knife will allow easy access, however some people don’t like the look or feel of a knife clip. If you do decide to purchase a knife with a clip, make sure that the clip is on the appropriate side for your dominant hand. Some knives are ambidextrous, or allow you to switch the placement of the clip to accommodate both right and left handed people.

Opening

The way that your knife opens is important. Some knives require two hands to open, so if it’s important for you to be able to open your knife with one hand, make sure you get a knife that allows you to do so. Some features to look for are thumb holes, thumb studs, blade protrusions (the “flipper” on the back of a knife), etc. Also decide whether you want a manual, assisted, or automatic opening knife.

Blade type

Most people recommend a non-serrated blade for everyday carry knives. If your work or hobbies involve cutting rope regularly, however, you can make the case for a serrated edge.

Knife Counter with Sneaker copyBlade material

Most people want their everyday carry knife to keep a good edge. This prevents the need to constantly sharpen your knife, and can help prevent injury. There are many different steel types with varying levels of hardness. You can get by with pretty much any type of steel for an EDC knife, but some popular varieties include AUS8, D2, 1095, and 154CM.

Handle material

Avoid a dinky plastic handle that looks like it could snap in two. You want a handle that is lightweight, rugged, and durable. Think G-10, micarta, carbon fiber, steel, aluminum, etc.

Price

You can get a decent EDC knife at an affordable price, but you should try and avoid anything under $10 if you want your knife to last more than a year. Ideally, you will purchase an EDC knife that will last a lifetime, but not everyone is looking to make that big of an investment. The $30-$60 dollar range will typically get you a solid knife, that will be reliable for a long time.

Benchmade knives Black Class copyWarranty

Some knife manufacturers – such as Benchmade knives – offer lifetime warranties. While not necessarily a deciding factor on an EDC knife, it’s good to be aware of, and it can definitely sweeten the pot.

Ultimately, choosing an EDC is a matter of preference. The absolute best tip for choosing an EDC knife is to get your hands on one before making a purchase. At Uncle Sam’s in Fayetteville, we have one of the best knife selections in Northwest Arkansas. Stop by and see what we’ve got!

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