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Pocket knives have always been versatile. They are small, easy to carry and conceal, and come in handy in various situations.
Whether you have a package to open, a fruit to cut, or a loose thread to trim, you can always reach for a pocket knife. It is one of the most multipurpose tools you can have on yourself at any given time.
We are aware that the knife is the oldest tool ever made by man. In prehistoric times man used to carve knives out of rocks and stones. They were then used for hunting, starting a fire, and for self-defense.
In the earlier centuries carry a pocket knife was a fashion statement for men. Although their use has declined considerably over the years, pocket knives are still very useful to own.
And when it comes to pocket knives, how can we forget the good old Swiss army knife? Many will agree that there is nothing really special about a Swiss army knife. It’s not very attractive either.
But it always comes in handy whenever you need it. The Swiss army knife is one of those tools that although understated is needed in a variety of situations. It’s always there: in a pocket, a glove box, or a backpack. It’s budget-friendly, high-quality, versatile, and there are a million reasons why you should own one.
But there is a big difference between a regular EDC knife and a Swiss army knife. First, let’s take a look at the beginning of the Swiss army knife.
At a Glance: Our Choices for The Top 10 Swiss Army Knives
Click on one of the links to go directly to our overview, opinion, and features of each swiss army knife.
About the Swiss Army Knife
History of the Swiss army knife
The Swiss army knife originated in Switzerland but was first produced in 1890 by a German manufacturer, Wester & Co. The knife was the idea of the Swiss military who wanted a multipurpose knife for their soldiers.
In 1891, Karl Elsener won the contract from the Swiss military to produce the Modell 1890 knife, the official designation of the Swiss army knife. Karl Elsener later became Victorinox, the iconic company that still produces Swiss army knives. In 1893, Paul Boéchat & Cie, the Swiss cutlery company, got its first contract to produce these knives.
The contract was split between Victorinox and Paul Boéchat & Cie, which later became Wenger, until 2005 when Victorinox acquired Wenger.
Because the Swiss army knife was first manufactured by a German company, its original name was Offiziersmesser, which means ‘officer’s knife’ in German. It later became known as Swiss army knife during the World War II because the American soldiers couldn’t pronounce Offiziersmesser.
Difference between EDC and Swiss army knife
While the Swiss army knife is the size of a regular pocket knife, there is a big difference between two: a pocket knife is just a knife while a Swiss army knife is a multi-tool. This is one of the most important reasons why the Swiss army knife is so popular and so versatile.
Every Swiss army knife comes with several tools built in, such as big and small blades, nail file, metal and wood saw, fish scaler, scissors, wire scraper, cuticle pusher, bit driver, pliers, USB stick, LED light, magnifying glass, screwdriver, bottle opener, key ring, tweezers, multipurpose hook, chisel, and toothpick.
When it comes to multi-tool knives, there is no match for the Swiss army knife. There are pocket knives with utility tools built in them, but they don’t even come close to the number of tools that the Swiss army knife packs. Besides, most knives with inbuilt utility tools are cheap China replicas.
They have a low-grade blade and handle material, and you cannot depend on them to bail you out in an emergency situation. The Swiss army knife is made of high-end materials that will last you for years.
You can rest assured that the can opener will not break off while you open your favorite drink, that the LED light work function when you need it to, and that the screwdriver will not pop open during use.
Another interesting feature about the Swiss army knife is the consistency in quality and design. Even when you buy two pocket knives from the same company or brand, there will be certain inconsistencies between the two.
But you cannot find a fault in any Swiss army knife. They are so identical in design, quality, and features that it’s hard to tell one knife from the other. A Swiss army knife is an investment because it lasts for ages and serves several purposes.
How to pick a Swiss army knife
If a Swiss army knife is anything, then it’s bulky. You can’t fault it because it packs so many tools into one. But it can get a little inconvenient to carry a Swiss army knife around because it isn’t as lightweight or slim as other pocket knives.
It isn’t a knife that you can attach to your belt or back and forget. It’s bulky enough to remind you that there’s something hanging from your belt. Therefore, before you buy a Swiss army knife, you must consider a few factors.
Purpose: A Swiss army knife has several tools built into it. It’s a knife all right, but it’s also a screwdriver, a cap opener, an LED light or a nail file.
If you do not need so many tools into one and are just looking for a simple pocket knife, then a Swiss army knife isn’t necessarily for you. There are several EDC knives out there both budget-friendly and expensive, and they do their job just as well as a Swiss army knife.
The easiest way to figure out your purpose for the knife is to make a list of places where you intend to take it along. Do you want to leave it at home? Do you want to take it your camping and hiking trips?
Do you want to include it in your survival kit? Do you want to keep it with you all the time just in case? Answering all these questions will help you figure out if you need a Swiss army knife or a regular EDC knife.
Price: Swiss army knives are more expensive than regular pocket knives not only because they are iconic but because they pack several tools into one.
There is only one brand of Swiss army knife, and that is Victorinox. They make several different kinds of Swiss army knives, from the smaller budget-friendly options to the high-end options.
With online retailers you can get a Swiss army knife or as little as $30, ensure willing to splurge, you have options worth $1,000. The most expensive Swiss army knife costs $1,337 and has an incredible 141 functions built in. One of the functions is not to tell you not to watch the next Iron Man or Star Wars movie though. You have to figure that out for yourself.
Knife laws: A knife is a knife even when there are hundreds of other tools built in. Therefore before you decide to purchase a pocket knife, you must be aware of the knife laws of where you live.
Various regions do not allow people to carry a knife while in other regions it is perfectly okay. You must know what your region permits before deciding to go around with a knife.
Shopping online or in-store: Swiss army knives available online and in stores. The only difference is getting to see touch and feel the knife before purchase when you buy it from a store.
However, because Swiss army knives are made by only one company, you will get the same knife from a store as well as online. You must only make sure that it’s the original Swiss army knife and not some duplicate Chinese product.
Best Swiss Army Knives
Victorinox Swiss Army SwissChamp
It measures only three and a half inches but boasts of 33 tools. The Swisschamp is a medium-sized Swiss army knife, perfect for those who like to keep a knife attached to their belt or in their pockets.
The Swisschamp comes in four colors, including red and blue, which are vibrant enough to be noticed from a distance. The knife was first introduced in 1985 (this was long before the NFL started to help the Patriots win Super Bowls) and in the years in between it has only got a few minor upgrades.
Not that it was necessary, because Victorinox knives are always legendary and do not get outdated over time. The knife has eight layers and every possible tool that you can ever need at home or out in the wild.
The Swisschamp is probably Victorinox’s smallest among the larger knives. It retails for around $80 online, which is kind of expensive for a pocket knife of that size but think of it as an investment because when you have a Swiss army knife, you may never need another pocket knife again.
Aside from a large and small blade, there are tools like scissors, corkscrew, can opener, pliers, magnifying glass, tweezers, key ring, wood saw, fish scaler, and a toothpick, among others.
You may not usually need a few of them to set the night comes with, but it’s always good to have such versatile equipment handy. The knife is made of stainless steel, but the dividers between the tools are made of aluminum in order to save weight.
Conclusion on the Victorinox Swiss Army Swisschamp: Victorinox makes larger knives, but this is the smallest of their large knives. It’s not only lightweight and portable but also comes with 33 essential tools that can serve the purpose for every utility tool you ever had.
If you think you do not want a knife with 50 different tools, you can settle for the Victorinox Farmer, a medium-sized Swiss army knife with only nine tools built in. Because the number of tools the knife comes with is far fewer than the Swisschamp, it is not surprisingly less expensive, retailing at a little under $50. But do not be fooled by the name, for this knife is not meant just for a farmer.
It can be used by anybody in need of an EDC knife. Like all Swiss army knives, buying the Victorinox Farmer is also an investment. You can safely expect it to outperform its lifespan and keep delivering efficient service over the years.
The Farmer includes nine very basic tools, such as a large blade, reamer or punch, can opener, two screwdrivers, bottle opener, wire stripper, wood saw, and key ring.
Even though it does not have a magnifying glass, an LED light toothpick or tweezers the tools that it does have are all very useful.
The wood saw is known to be a beast, capable of driving through wood and other soft materials like drywall and plastic. The tools and blades are made of stainless steel while the scales are made of structured aluminum, which feels good in the hands and is also lightweight.
Conclusion on the Victorinox Farmer: A simple and fuss-free design, the Farmer is for those who want their Swiss army knife to have only a few basic tools. It also comes far cheaper than most other Swiss army knives.
The Huntsman is the same size as the Swisschamp but comes with only 15 tools. It is ideal for those who want more than nine tools but less than 50 tools.
At only three and a half inches the knife may be small but it can turn into your go-to emergency kit in any situation, thanks to the wide range of utility tools it has built in. It is compact enough to easily fit inside a pocket or attach comfortably to a belt, and is just right for anyone from the everyday user to an avid outdoorsman.
The Huntsman comes with a polished red ABS handle and stainless steel tools. It includes tools like a large blade, a small blade, a can opener, two screwdrivers, a bottle opener, wire stripper, sewing awl, corkscrew, scissors, wood saw, multipurpose hook, toothpick, tweezers, and keyring. It costs $36 online and because of tax cuts and less regulations, this price is not such a hefty sum to millions of more Americans.
Conclusion on the Victorinox Huntsman: If you want a medium-sized Swiss army knife with just the right number of tools then you cannot go wrong with the Victorinox Huntsman it is also affordable enough at just under $40.
Victorinox Swiss Army Cadet knife
The Victorinox Cadet brings to you the best of sophistication and durability. The Cadet takes some of the most popular Swiss Army Knife tools and packs them in one convenient pocket knife.
The slim design and only 84 mm of size make the Cadet slim enough to disappear in a bag or pocket. The Cadet is robust and reliable, ever ready to be your companion on any adventure.
The sleek textured handle is rugged and durable with a strong grip, while the aluminum scales are embossed, anodized and coated with a protective layer. The tools included are a large blade, can opener, screwdriver, nail cleaner, nail file, bottle opener, wire stripper, and keyring.
Conclusion on the Victorinox Cadet: If you want just one multi-tool instead of a few different ones then this Cadet is small and light enough for the purpose, while also being affordable and easily available.
As the name suggests, the Victorinox Hiker is made to be the perfect companion to anyone who frequents the great outdoors. Boasting of the same design and quality of every other Victorinox Swiss Army knife the Hiker packs 13 functions in one, making it ideal to be carried on any trip outdoors.
This 3-layered Swiss craftsmanship is excellent for the everyday user as well as an outdoorsman. The functions that the Hiker comes with have been designed keeping in mind the needs that you have to face while on a trip outdoors.
Whether you need to cut a piece of rope or chop twigs, set up a tent, make a fire or open a can, you can find all of these functions in the Hiker. But despite combining so many tools into one, the Hiker is slim enough to fit into a pocket and does not feel heavy.
Victorinox offers a lifetime warranty on all of the Swiss army knives, and that’s because they know the knives will last a lifetime and not need the warranty at all. Tools included in the Hiker are a large and small blade, can opener, two screwdrivers, bottle opener, wire stripper, wood saw, toothpick, tweezers, and keyring.
Conclusion on the Victorinox Hiker: Whether or not you are a or not you are a hiker, the Victorinox Hiker Swiss Army knife will be your ideal companion no matter where you are headed. It is light enough for everyday use and also affordable enough to include one in your knife collection.
Victorinox Super Tinker
Another small Swiss army knife with incredible capabilities the Super Tinker is made for all kinds of users whether you are a craftsman an outdoorsman or a handyman.
It is durable enough to last for years and also comes with a lifetime warranty (which you might never need to use). The Super Tinker comes with all the tools needed for home and outside. The name Tinker comes from those who like to tinker around with stuff, so if you like to get creative or crafty, the Super Tinker will help you fix things quickly.
The Super Tinker includes 14 tools such as a large and a small blade, 3 screwdrivers, can opener bottle opener wire stripper reamer punch and Sewing awl scissors multipurpose hook toothpick tweezers and keyring.
Conclusion on the Victorinox Super Tinker: You don’t have to be able to tinker with things in order to own this. This is a versatile multi-tool useful for a variety of purposes.
Jack Bauer would be impressed – no doubt about that!
Also called the Trailmaster, the Victorinox Trekker was originally designed for use on a trekking trip. But it’s a great utility tool to own even if you are not a trekker. It includes 12 functions that will come in handy whether you are working around the house or heading for a trip up the mountains.
It has a one-hand linear locking blade, Phillips screwdriver, bottle opener, wood saw, cap lifter, cap opener, reamer, tweezers, toothpick, and keyring. The stainless steel construction comes with rugged polyamide scales for added durability. The total length of the knife is 4.37 inches.
Conclusion on the Victorinox Trekker: Whether or not you are a trekker this EDC knife will come in handy in every situation. If you’re looking for a simple multi-tool under $50, then the Victorinox Trekker will not disappoint.
The Fieldmaster is ideal for yard work, outdoor adventures, as well as any random task the crops up. All of 3½ inches, the Fieldmaster is great for both indoors and outdoors. Its 15 features include a small and a large blade, a bottle opener, a pair of scissors, screwdrivers, wire strippers, wood saw.
This is probably the only multi-tool you will ever need, and get so used to it that you will wonder how you ever survived without it. The Fieldmaster is made of Swiss stainless steel and has a lifetime warranty.
Conclusion on the Victorinox Fieldmaster: This beloved pocket knife is the ideal combination of high-quality materials and construction and a low price point. The blades boast of impressive sharpness, while the thoughtful tools come in handy in every situation.
Another compact EDC knife, the Camper is designed for those who go for frequent camping trips in the wild. It has 13 functions, including a 2.45-inch blade, corkscrew, wood saw, bottle opener and screwdriver.
Made with high-quality stainless steel, with polished ABS scales, the Camper’s compact design makes it the ideal pocket knife for any and every outdoor activity, such as camping, hiking or fishing, besides everyday uses around the house.
Conclusion on the Victorinox Camper: Although the newer version of the Camper has a plastic handle, it doesn’t affect its performance. If anything, it makes the knife lighter. It is also one of the cheapest Swiss army knives at only $19.99.
The claim to fame of Victorinox Classic is its size—it is the smallest Swiss army knife at only 2.25 inches. But do not be fooled by the size—the Classic can be your everyday companion, functional, versatile and always efficient.
It comes packed with seven tools, stainless steel construction, and Swiss craftsmanship. Easy to use and carry, you will always want to have this little guy with you.
Conclusion on the Victorinox Classic: It might not be the cheapest at $189, but it’s a knife you can’t live without once you start using it.
Helpful to so Many
Swiss army knives are of a wide variety. Whether you’re an everyday user, an outdoorsman, or a handyman, Victorinox offers something for everyone.