Best Pocket Knives Under $100: Budget Friendly Options For 2020

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Introduction

No list of must-have tools for survivalists, preppers, and outdoor enthusiasts would be complete without the pocket knife. Incredibly handy and versatile, a pocket knife can be used for an exceptionally wide variety of purposes – from opening packages to removing splinters, cutting rope, cutting vegetables, tightening and loosening screws, defending yourself, and many, many more.

At a Glance: Our Choices for The 10 Best Pocket Knives Under $100

Click on one of the links to go directly to our overview, opinion, and features of each knife.

How to Choose a Great Pocket Knife

Given below is a list of the key factors you should consider while choosing the best pocket knife under $100.

Blade Length

The length of the blade is an important factor you should consider while buying a pocket knife. Ideally, it should be between 2.75 inches to 4 inches in length, as you can use it for intricate and delicate tasks as well as heavy chores.

In some states, however, you are prohibited from carrying knifes whose blade length exceeds 2.75 inches. So, it is a good idea to find out whether your state has any restrictions with respect to the size and length of the knives that you can carry before you buy one of the best knives under $100.

Blade Material

A vast majority of folding knives available on the market today are either made of stainless steel or high carbon steel. You cannot go wrong with either of these materials, but you should know their strengths and weaknesses so that you can make the best choice.

Stainless steel is exceptionally sturdy, durable, and can last a lifetime if maintained properly. It does not corrode easily and can be used in inclement weather conditions. Sharpening a stainless-steel blade, however, can be a difficult task, especially if you are out in the field.

High carbon steel is just as sturdy as stainless steel, except for the fact that it is not corrosion-resistant. So, it needs to be maintained with the best possible care. It is clearly easier to sharpen compared to a stainless-steel blade.

Handle Material

You have a wide range of options to choose from for a folding knife under $100 when it comes to handle materials. The most commonly used materials for a knife under $100 are aluminum, stainless steel, zytel, G-10, wood, mother of pearl, bone, and rubber.

Steel, aluminum, zytel, and G-10 are commonly used in modern everyday carry knives, as they are incredibly durable. Wood and bone, on the other hand, are mostly used in classic steel knives for aesthetic reasons.

Blade Design

Not all blades are designed for the same purpose. Some are ideally suited for chopping and slicing while some others are meant to be used for self-defense purposes. Generally, drop point and clip point blades are considered the best choices for survivalists as they can be used for a number of purposes. In some cases, the manufacturer may have the rights reserved for their product design.

Opening Mechanism

Any EDC knife which requires you to use both your hands to open it should be avoided, as you might find it difficult to use it in case of an emergency. So, look for an assisted opening knife under $100 which can be easily opened with one hand.

Locking Mechanism

A reliable locking mechanism is absolutely essential, as it allows you to use an under $100 knife without worrying about the steel blade accidentally snapping down and injuring your fingers.

The two most common types of locking mechanisms used in knives are frame lock and liner lock, both of which are equally effective in keeping the blade length in its place once the knife is opened. So, you cannot go wrong with either one of these locking mechanisms.

Plain Edge vs. Serrated Edge

A plain edge is ideally suited for performing push cuts and is easy to sharpen. It cannot be, however, used to perform any action that requires a sawing motion.

Folding knives with a serrated edge is one of the best for cutting hard materials and can be used as a saw. They are, however, less accurate than plain edged EDC knives and are difficult to sharpen.

In terms of utility and versatility, the plain edged design is a much better choice than a fully serrated one. If you want, you can choose a knife which has a partially serrated edge, as it combines the best features of both types of knives.

Now, let us take a look at the list of the 10 best pocket knives under $100. These are high-quality, budget-friendly knives that come with reasonable prices based on a number of factors and are ideally suited for every day carry as well as survival situations.

Top 5 Pocket Knives under $50

 #1

Kershaw Cryo

Kershaw Cryo G-10 Pocket Knife (1555G10) 2.75” Stonewashed Stainless Steel Blade; G-10/Stainless Steel Handle, SpeedSafe Assisted Open, 4-Position Deep-Carry Pocketclip, Frame Lock, Lock Bar, Black

Our Rating: (4.8/5)
Steel: D2
Blade Length: 2.75″
Overall Length: 6.50″
Weight: 3.67 oz.

Pros:
(+) Thick, heavy, and sturdy blade
(+) Can be used for multiple purposes
(+) Easy to carry around
Cons:
(-) Difficult to open using the thumb stud
(-) Pocket clip screws might damage the fabric of your pockets

For knife enthusiasts, Opinel is a brand that needs no introduction, as the company has been making quality knives for more than century. With its beechwood handle and yatagan shaped blade, the Opinel No. 6 is the very definition of a classic knife.

The 2.87” blade is made of carbon steel and is very sturdy and easy to sharpen. The knife features a safety ring, which can be used to lock the blade firmly in its place when the knife is open as well as closed. So, you do not have to worry about the blade accidentally closing down when you are using it or opening up when you are on the move.

The Opinel No. 6 is compactly designed and can fit comfortably. It is easy to grip and light to carry around.

On the downside, the Opinel No. 6 is not easy to open with one hand, especially if the wooden handle is swollen. This is one of the major problems with a wooden handle, as it tends to swell if there is an increase in humidity.

The blade, as mentioned above, is made of carbon steel, but it is not one of those super alloys that are known for their edge retention capability. So, it is unlikely to hold an edge for a long time, especially if you use it regularly. It also needs to be cleaned and oiled on a regular basis.

 #2

Opinel No. 6

Opinel No 6 Carbon Steel Folding knife

Our Rating: (5.0/5)
Steel: 12C27MoV
Blade Length: 2.90″
Overall Length: 6.50″
Weight: 1.00 oz.

Pros:
(+) Simple, elegant design
(+) Can be locked when it is open and closed
(+) Lightweight
Cons:
(-) Requires both hands to open
(-) Carbon steel blade needs careful maintenance

For knife enthusiasts, Opinel is a brand that needs no introduction, as the company has been making quality knives for more than century. With its beechwood handle and yatagan shaped blade, the Opinel No. 6 is the very definition of a classic knife.

The 2.87” blade is made of carbon steel and is very sturdy and easy to sharpen. The knife features a safety ring, which can be used to lock the blade firmly in its place when the knife is open as well as closed. So, you do not have to worry about the blade accidentally closing down when you are using it or opening up when you are on the move.

The Opinel No. 6 is compactly designed and can fit comfortably. It is easy to grip and light to carry around.

On the downside, the Opinel No. 6 is not easy to open with one hand, especially if the wooden handle is swollen. This is one of the major problems with a wooden handle, as it tends to swell if there is an increase in humidity.

The blade, as mentioned above, is made of carbon steel, but it is not one of those super alloys that are known for their edge retention capability. So, it is unlikely to hold an edge for a long time, especially if you use it regularly. It also needs to be cleaned and oiled on a regular basis.

 #3

CRKT Pilar

CRKT Pilar EDC Folding Pocket Knife: Compact Everyday Carry, Satin Blade with Finger Choil, Thumb Slot Open, Frame Lock Stainless Handle, Reversible Pocket Clip 5311

Our Rating: (4.9/5)
Steel: D2
Blade Length: 2.40″
Overall Length: 5.90″
Weight: 3.11 oz.

Pros:
(+) Sturdily built
(+) Compactly designed
(+) Retains its edge well
(+) Affordably priced
Cons:
(-) Requires both hands to open
(-) Meant to be used only for cutting

The Pilar is a compactly designed knife from Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT). The 2.4” blade is made of 8Cr13MoV steel with a satin finish. The handle is also made of steel and is quite sturdy.

The blade has a thumb slot, which can be used to open the folding knife safely. The lock keeps the blade from closing down on your fingers when you are using it. The downside is that you might have to use not one but both your hands to open it.

The Wharncliffe design and the fine tip make it easier for you to perform delicate cutting and slicing tasks. The pocket clip on the handle allows you to carry it safely.

The Pilar comes with a limited lifetime warranty. If there is any defect in the material or workmanship, you can get it replaced. The warranty, however, does not cover breakage caused by what the manufacturer calls ‘misuse of the product’.

For instance, if you use the Pilar to pry or pound things, and if the blade is damaged as a result, you cannot get it replaced, as the manufacturer clearly states that it should only be used for cutting.

 #4

Gerber Freeman Guide Folding Knife

Gerber Freeman Guide Folding Knife, Fine Edge, Drop Point [31-000591]

Our Rating: (4.8/5)
Steel: Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 3.60″
Overall Length: 8.10″
Weight: 6.60 oz.

Pros:
(+) Sturdily built blade
(+) Easy-to-grip handle
(+) Limited lifetime warranty
Cons:
(-) No pocket clip
(-) Difficult to open using the thumb stud

The Gerber Freeman Guide is a neatly designed product which features a sturdy drop point blade. The blade is 3.6” long and can be used for a variety of purposes. It is sturdily built and can take a beating.

One of the unique selling points of this model is the handle. It is textured and provides an excellent grip even when your hands are wet. The large finger grooves make it easier for you to grip the knife. It is one of the reasons why the knife remains the favorite choice of hunters.

You can use the thumb stud to open the knife. Once you do, the lock makes sure that the blade length does not slip back into the handle. The knife comes with a sheath made of water-resistant nylon fabric.

The Freeman Guide folding knife, like all other products from Gerber, comes with a limited lifetime warranty. If you find any defects in the material or the workmanship, you can get your knife repaired or replaced free of cost.

One of the notable downsides of the Gerber Freeman is that it does not have a clip. It only has a lanyard hole on the handle. So, you might find it difficult to carry it around on a daily basis. Also, it is not easy to open the knife one-handedly using the thumb stud.

 #5

SOG Twitch II

SOG TWI8-CP Twitch II 6.20 Inch EDC Folding Knife

Our Rating: (4.7/5)
Steel: AUS-8
Blade Length: 2.65″
Overall Length: 6.20″
Weight: 2.60 oz.

Pros:
(+) Razor sharp steel blade
(+) Can be opened one-handedly
(+) Locking mechanism for added safety
(+) Excellent customer care
Cons:
(-) Difficult to reposition the pocket clip
(-) Locking mechanism is difficult to unlock

The Twitch II from SOG is a solidly built model. The straight-edge, satin-polished blade is 2.65” long and is made of AUS-8 stainless steel. It is sharp, sturdy, and does not corrode easily – just what you expect of an everyday carry knife.

The Twitch II can be opened one-handedly by flicking the ‘kick’ on the handle. It has a safety lock-back mechanism to prevent the knife from accidentally opening when you are on the move. The hard-anodized aluminum handle is just as sturdy as the blade and is easy to grip.

The clip makes it easier for you to carry the knife around. The compact size of the knife means it can fit deep into your pockets without protruding out. The handle has a lanyard hole as well.

SOG knives are made in the USA. They have an excellent support team to assist you in case you have any issues with the knife. This is paramount, as the lack of reliable customer support can make you think twice about buying a product, even if it happens to be of exceptional quality. SOG also offers lifetime warranty for all its knives.

On the downside, the clip screws are secured with the help of smooth cap-nuts, which make it difficult to reposition the clip. Also, the safety lock-back mechanism it too tight and is not easy to unlock these knives one-handedly.

Top 5 Pocket Knives under $100

 #6

Kershaw Blur

Kershaw Blur S30V Folding Pocket Knife (1670S30V); 3.4” S30V Blade with Stonewashed Finish and Anodized Aluminum Handle with Trac-Tec Inserts, SpeedSafe Assisted Opening, Reversible Pocketclip; 4 OZ

Our Rating: (4.4/5)
Steel: 14C28N
Blade Length: 3.375″
Overall Length: 7.875″
Weight: 3.90 oz.

Pros:
(+) Made of high-quality steel
(+) Easy to open and close
(+) Easy-to-grip handle
(+) Easy to carry
(+) Beautifully designed
Cons:
(-) Thumb stud might damage the fabric of your clothes
(-) Difficult to sharpen the recurved blade

The Kershaw Blur is a high-quality EDC pocket knife which is designed to last a lifetime. The 3.4” blade is made of S30V powdered steel, which is known for its durability and edge retention capability. It is slightly recurved, which enhances its slicing and piercing capabilities. The stonewashed finish contributes greatly to the knife’s rugged appearance.

The Blur can be opened one-handedly by pressing the flipper or by pushing the thumb stud. Once opened, the liner lock prevents the blade from accidentally closing down. You can fold the knife by moving the lock bar sideways and sliding the blade into the handle.

The anodized aluminum handle is stain and scratch resistant. It contains rough-surfaced Trac-Tec inserts and provides an excellent grip. Interestingly, the inserts do not make the handle feel heavy.

The clip allows you to carry the best EDC knife – tip up or tip down – depending on your preference. The textured handle also contains a predrilled lanyard hole.

The most notable downside is that the thumb stud is angled in such a way that it might damage the fabric of your pockets. It can also make it difficult for you to draw the tool from your pockets.

Also, the recurved blade, while no doubt increases the functionality of the knife, is more difficult to sharpen than a regular blade.

 #7

Spyderco Tenacious

Spyderco Tenacious Value Folding Knife with 3.39" Black Stainless Steel Blade and Durable G-10 Handle - PlainEdge - C122GBBKP

Our Rating: (4.5/5)
Steel: 8Cr13MoV
Blade Length: 3.39″
Overall Length: 7.76″
Weight: 4.10 oz.

Pros:
(+) Blade is ideally designed for cutting
(+) Easy to open and close
(+) Easy-to-grip handle
(+) Four position pocket clip
Cons:
(-) Light for a knife of its size
(-) Not easy to close the blade if you are left-handed

This is a solidly built, affordably priced product from Spyderco. The leaf shaped blade is 3.39” long and is made of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. It is sharp, sturdy, and can cut up or slice through things with the greatest of ease.

The G-10 laminate handle is easy to grip and is designed for fatigue-free cutting. It is unlikely to slip out of your hand, even when it is raining or snowing.

There is a large hole on the blade, using which you can open the knife. The lock keeps the drop point blade in its position for as long as you want. There is absolutely no friction when you open or close the knife, which is very impressive.

The four-position clip makes it extremely easy for you to carry the best EDC knife around. Tip-up, tip-down, left side, or right side – the choice is entirely yours. You can also use the lanyard hole to carry the knife around if you want.

On the downside, the Tenacious feels much lighter than you would expect, especially for a knife of its size. While it does make it easier to maneuver the knife, particularly while performing delicate tasks, you have to be careful while exerting any amount of pressure, as the blade might not be able to withstand it.

The closing mechanism is not ambidextrous. If you are left-handed, you might find it difficult to disengage the liner lock and close the blade one-handedly.

 #8

Kizer Begleiter

CRKT Homefront Aluminum Folding Pocket Knife: Take Apart Field Strip, Satin Blade, Flipper Open, Liner Lock, Aluminum Handle, Deep Carry Pocket Clip K270GKP

Our Rating: (4.3/5)
Steel: 1.4116
Blade Length: 3.50″
Overall Length: 8.125″
Weight: 4.30 oz.

Pros:
(+) Durable steel blade
(+) Easy-to-grip handle
(+) Great fit and finish
(+) Affordably priced
Cons:
(-) Pocket clip makes it difficult to grip
(-) Takes some practice to open with the thumb stud

Kizer products are generally known for their high price-to-performance ratio and the Begleiter is not an exception. It comes with a 3.5” blade which is made of VG10 steel. The gray titanium coating accentuates the aesthetic appeal of the knife.

The thumb stud allows you to open the knife one-handedly – whether you are right-handed or left-handed. Once opened, the blade stays open thanks to the liner locking mechanism. The handle is made of G-10 and provides a nice grip. The pocket clip on the handle allows you to carry the knife around securely.

There is nothing about this knife that can be termed outstanding. At the same time, it does not look or feel cheap. It is somewhere in the middle, which makes it a superlative value knife.

On the downside, the clip is positioned in such a way that it interferes with your grip. Nor does it offer deep carry. Also, you might find it difficult to open the mechanism using the thumb stud – at least for the first few times.

 #9

CRKT Homefront

kizer-cutlery-begleiter

Our Rating: (4.4/5)
Steel: VG-10
Blade Length: 3.50″
Overall Length: 8.125″
Weight: 3.80 oz.

Pros:
(+) Classic look
(+) Can be used for multiple purposes
(+) Innovative field strip technology
(+) Can be opened and closed one-handedly
Cons:
(-) Average quality blade material
(-) Flimsy pocket clip

The CRKT Homefront is a pocket knife that combines modern technology with a classic look. It looks like a WWII knife, but incorporates innovative technology that cannot be found in most other folding knives in its price point.

It has a 3.5” blade which is made of corrosion-resistant AUS-8 steel. You can cut and slice through things without worrying about damaging the blade. You should be, at the same time, careful not to use the knife for heavy chores like batoning wood, as it is not designed for such purposes.

The handle is made of 6061 aluminum. You can flip the knife open one-handedly in an instant. The built-in liner lock ensures that the blade stays in its position without accidentally snapping down.

The USP of the CRKT Homefront is the Field Strip technology, which allows you to disassemble it, clean it, and put it back together effortlessly without using any tools. The best part is that you do not have to be an expert to be able to do it.

A couple of small motions – pushing the lever up and turning the wheel clockwise – is all it takes to disassemble the knife. Similarly, once you have cleaned it, you just need to hold the components together, turn the wheel anti-clockwise, and push the lever down.

On the downside, the choice of material for the blade leaves a lot to be desired. At this price point, we expect a higher quality stainless steel than the AUS-8. This is not to say that the AUS-8 is of low quality. It is just that we have higher expectations at this price point. Similarly, the clip feels flimsy.

 #10

Cold Steel Recon 1

Cold Steel EDC Tactical Folding Pocket Knife, Recon

Our Rating: (4.3/5)
Steel: CPM-S35VN
Blade Length: 4.00″
Overall Length: 9.375″
Weight: 5.06 oz.

Pros:
(+) Exceptionally sturdy blade
(+) A great choice for hunting and self-defense purposes
(+) Resistant to rust, stain, and wear and tear
(+) Easy-to-grip handle
Cons:
(-) The locking mechanism is too tight
(-) The pocket clip is too tight

The Recon 1 is a beast of a knife from Cold Steel. It has a 4” blade which is made of S35VN steel with a DLC coating. It can cut, slice, carve, and skin its way through things effortlessly. It is resistant to stains, corrosion, and wear and tear.

The handle is made of dual-tone G-10, which is known for its durability. It is thin, flat, light, and easy to grip. It does not feel slippery even if your hands are wet. It has a pocket clip, which is ambidextrous and allows left-handed and right-handed draws with equal ease.

The locking system on this knife is quite amazing. Once you open the knife, it stays open, no matter what you do. Similarly, once you close it, it stays closed. You do not have to worry about the blade accidentally opening or closing on its own.

The strong, razor sharp blade makes the Recon 1 an excellent choice for a tactical weapon. In fact, it is one of the most preferred choices of servicemen, law enforcement personnel, emergency services personnel, and martial artists.

The downside is that the locking mechanism is so effective that you might find it difficult to open and close the knife one handedly. While it is a salient aspect from a safety perspective, it can prove to be a hindrance in a survival situation.

The clip is very tight, which can make it difficult for you to draw these folding knives out quickly. Again, this is not something you should be concerned about under normal circumstances. It can, however, prove to be a problem in a survival situation.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a reliable, budget-friendly pocket knife, you cannot go wrong with any of the 10 knives we have listed above. If we had to choose a winner in the under $50 category, it would have to be the Kershaw Cryo. It is solidly built, can be used for a variety of purposes, and comes with a price that’s highly respectable.

If we had to choose a winner in the $50 to $100 category, it would have to be a tie between the Kershaw Blur and the CRKT Homefront. They are easy to use, easy to carry, exceptionally tough, and are ideally suited for everyday use as well as hiking, camping, hunting, and self-defense purposes. You would be hard-pressed to find a knife that offers more strategic value at this price point.

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