Best Budget EDC Knives 2020 : Buying Guide & Reviews

Expert Contributor

Rose Annemarie

From making it easier to open a parcel to skinning wildlife, EDC knives are some of the most common types of knife currently in circulation. Featuring a variety of locks and brands it can be difficult to figure out what budget knife suits you the most. Featuring, Smith & Wesson, Spyderco and CRKT, here is our article containing a list of best budget EDC knives currently available on amazon to help you make a purchase!

Best Budget Knife: Smith & Wesson SWFR2S

Cheapest Budget knife: Case XX Sod Buster

Premium Budget Knife: Ontario Rat

1. Spyderco Persistence G 10

Spyderco Persistence G10


Best Features: Sturdy Fiberglass base. Fumble free opening and closing feature.

Spyderco are one of the first names people think of when it comes to purchasing an EDC. Consisting of a skeletonized steel liner tucked inside the base, improving the handles rigidity without adding bulkiness. It utilizes a one-handed knife opening and closing function increasing it’s accesiblity. The knife itself is a modified flat skinning EDC making this a one of the best budget choices for hunters and butchers alike. With a 2.75 inch blade and a fibreglass base, this Spyderco knife made to last a longtime. You would be hard pressed to find a budget EDC like this!


Steel: 8Cr13 MoV Stainless Steel | Handle: Fibreglass | Blade: 2.8 Inches

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2. Buck Vantage 0345BKS

Buck Knives 0345BKS - Black

Best Features: Removable pocket clips. Sleek style and comfortable thumb rest.

The well-made, top of the line, razor sharp Buck Vantage features a black reinforced handle with removable carry pocket clip design. The cold steel 3.25 inch blade can be opened with one hand allowing for quick access. This is down to the liner lock for extra security. Buck uses an exclusive heat treat specifically to create a durable knife. It’s easy to see why this would be a worthy addition to any budget knife collection especially at this price range.


Steel: 420HC Buck | Handle: Reinforced Synthetic Polymers | Blade: 3.25 Inches

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3. Victorinox Cadet Swiss Army Knife

Victorinox Swiss Army Cadet Knife

Best Features: Removable pocket clips. Sleek style and comfortable thumb rest.

Swiss army knives have featured in many knife enthusiasts’ collections and this one is no different – it’s an essential part of your stock, and it comes at great value, so it’s truly available for anyone. The Victorinox Cadet is a budget everyday carry knife consisting of a multitude of tools. Not only just a folding knife it also acts as a multi tool.

The Cadet features many other tools such as a bottle opener and screwdriver. Due to such a range of tools this is perfect for everyday use. Alox handle scales add to the robustness of this multi tool providing both an aesthetic and practical design. There is no doubt why this is such a popular and versatile budget knife.


Steel: Stainless Steel | Handle: Alox | Blade: 2 Inches

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4. CRKT M4-02

CRKT M4-02 Folding Pocket Knife

Best Features: Lifetime warranty. Ambidextrous thumb studs.

With features such as satin finish and a white bone handle scales, this budget EDC is given a cool, old school look that no one can deny. An outburst knife deployment mechanism instantly reveals the 3 inch long razor sharp knife which can be used in one hand – what an easy way to use this, everyone will agree – it’s made with your comfort and ergonomics in mind. This is aided by an adjustable pivot adorned by bronze bearings and washers offering smooth action.

The Carson custom handle also features two thumb studs for ambidextrous utilization. Perfect for a multitude of EDC tasks such as carving and cutting this is a budget EDC you will quickly return to. This is why CRKT are such a big name in the industry.


Steel: 8Cr13MoV | Handle: White Bone | Blade: 3.4 Inches

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5. Kershaw Chill

Kershaw Chill 3410 - Black

Best Features: Designed by popular knife maker RJ Martin. Combines the benefits of both an EDC and Gentleman.

With both slim and lightweight features, the Kershaw Chill is one of the best budget knives currently on amazon. With an ambidextrous thumb stud the Kershaw is capable of getting any job done. Designed by famous knife maker RJ Martin, this sleek knife offers reliable performance and unsurpassed cutting ability. This great knife combines a classic EDC and Gentleman’s folder design for a unique end result.

The woven base is both attractive and non slip. The steel designs is resistant to both long time wear and corrosion! Which is due to the bead-blasted surface which offers an easy to clean and non reflective knife. The chill is one of the best EDC knives under 50 dollars. Not only this but Kershaw offer excellent customer service so you can buy with confidence.

If you’re unsure about this knife and want to see some other options, after this list you should check out our best cheap bushcraft knives!


Steel: 8Cr13MoV | Handle: Woven fibreglass | Blade Size: 3.1 Inches

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6. Ka-Bar BK11

Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker

Best Features: Comes with a plastic Sheath and 550 cord. Incredible durability and balance.

Ka-Bar has been used by both military and service members for a while now and it’s easy to see why. Easy to mount on objects ranging from belts to vest due to the TDI metal belt clips allowing for multiple everyday carry options. Which is a perfect fit for outdoor servicemen. Stamped with the BK&T KaBar marking to show authenticity, this knife is also suited for collectors.

The supplied plastic sheath helps protect the fixed blade from any wear and rust, meaning you don’t have to go searching for your own. Each knife is tested to ensure quality meaning you can be assured that this knife is going to last you a longtime


Steel: Cro-Van Steel | Handle: Cro-Van | Blade: 3.1 Inches

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7. CRKT Ripple


Best Features: Designed in collaboration with Ken Onion. Features an IKBS pivots for smooth access. Curves add to aesthetic.

The CRKT Ripple is the best of both worlds as it utilizes a dual edged knife. Featuring both a serrated and plain sides, these great products suited for any situation. This Gentleman’s tactical knife was designed through a collaboration between Ken Onion and CRKT, so immediately this looks like a sturdy model.

Considerate pocket clip point give this budget knife a low profile. Smooth flowing lines and curves give this it’s titular ripple effect making this one of the best looking knife models on this list. An IKBS pivot system provides one of the greatest pivot systems on the market which is an incredible bonus for this price tag.


Steel: Acuto 440, 57-58 HRC | Handle: Bronze Titanium Nitride Coated 420J Stainless Steel | Blade: 3.16 Inches

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8. Smith & Wesson SWFR2S

Smith & Wesson SWFR2S

Best Features: Smith & Wesson offer Excellent customer service and lifetime guarantee. Offers extra tools for added functionality and reliability.

Smith & Wesson are one of the greatest knife brands in the world, easily in a top position, and these budget EDC models only help reinforce this. Combo EDC’s can offer the benefits of both a serrated and plain without sacrifice and the SWFR2S is perhaps the best budget EDC combo knife on this list. Smith & Wesson have also provided a glass breaker and cutting tool built into the base of this budget pocket knife giving this a multi tool vibe. Thanks to this added utility this is a great EDC for a police officer or other first respondent.

If you weren’t already sure of the quality you will receive when purchasing this one handed knife then fear not as Smith & Wesson offer a lifetime warranty as well as excellent customer service!


Steel: High Carbon Black Oxide | Handle: Aluminum | Blade: 3.3 Inches

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9. Case XX Sod Buster

Case XX Sod Buster Jr. 00032 - Yellow

Best Features: Easy to sharpen. Comfortably sized enhancing portability.

Built with durable action and all-day work in mind, this small sharp blade offers a lightweight build without sacrificing durability. The skinner tool means this is a brilliant trapper knife. Chrome vanidium is created with outdoor attention, edgeholding and easy maintenance in mind. The overall build of this knife is also suited to portability, coming in at 4.13 inches when closed. Portability is what folding knives specialise in and this is no different. At this price point you can’t go wrong with the Case Sod Buster.

You’ll have absolutely no issues, and instead lots of praises to give to your crowd of friends… recommend this knife to someone today.

In no time at all, you can have a knife like this that’s at the top of its kind, and perfect for every person. With easy deployment systems and all kinds of purposes of operation, this model is a worthy addition to the sort of assortment you’ll have at home.


Steel: Chrome Vanidium | Handle: Yellow Delrin | Blade: 3.7 Inches

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10. Ontario Knife Rat

Ontario Knife Rat-1 Knife - 5 Inches

Best Features: Bronze brushings offer a firm feel. Long lasting plainedge gives a product built for toughness.

Last but not least is this Aus 8 steel budget EDC. A sturdy and well made knife offering everything you expect from knives of this sort. Bronze brushings and nylon handle give this a firm build meaning you can and will be using this for years to come.

You just have to look at each and every Amazon review to see why this is one of the highest rated best EDC knives currently available. Offering great handling, the Ontario Rat can be used in one hand. Potential buyers should also check out the Ontario Rat II.


Steel: Aus 8 | Handle: Coyote Brown Nylon Handle | Blade Size: 2.75 Inches

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Buyers Guide

Plain vs. Serrated vs. Combo

Most EDC knives come in one of 3 forms, Plain, Serrated or Combo. Plain edged knives have always been the most popular until recently. With a rise in serrated knives, we have created a breakdown of the 3 types to help you make an informed purchase.

Blade edges are commonly tested using two types of cut. Pushing, pushing a knife through something such as peeling a piece of fruit. Pulling, where you pull the knife across something such slicing an apple or severing rope. Most knife enthusiasts would agree that plain trims are first when it comes to tasks requiring pushing. A plain knife allows for finer control and higher accuracy. They also have the added bonus of being easier to sharpen, meaning you don’t need the help of an expert to sharpen your tool. A Plain edged EDC however doesn’t share the benefits of serration when it comes to pulling so take this into consideration when choosing the best knife for you.

A serrated knife are some of the best EDC knives for pulling and cutting tasks. This is to due to the added pressure due to the serrations. They do however run the risk of being clumsier to use and much less accurate than their plain brothers. A serrated blade is also much more difficult to sharpen meaning these knives typically requiring an expert to do it. This means that you will have to pay each time you need to sharpen this knife as opposed to being able to sharpen it yourself, unless of course you are an expert.

If you can’t decide between the two there is always a combo edge blade. With the means to be effective at both pulling and pushing cuts due to its dual edged knife, this could be a perfect middle ground! It still runs the risk of needing an expert to sharpen the serrated edge however.

Blade Length

There are a multitude of blade lengths when it comes to EDC Knives. Ranging from a whopping 7.5 inches all the way to the much smaller 2 inches. Although it may seem pretty trivial the the correct size can help get the job done effectively. A smaller EDC has the advantage of being legal in almost every county. This is due to most laws setting the limit to no more than 2.75 inches. They may be more portable but sadly they are rarely as strong as their bigger variant. This makes them suited to things such as opening post and severing thinner objects like string.

Medium blades, those between 2.75 – 4 inches are perhaps the most common available. They hit a perfect medium of small enough to be portable but strong enough for every day use. EDC’s of this overall length typically have a locking mechanism which allow you the freedom of more power when using them. However the big disadvantage of medium sized knives is that not all counties deem them legal.

At first glance larger blade appear to be the best, however this is not usually the case. Due to their size and weight, they lack the portability of the medium and small variants. They are most commonly used for defending yourself. Always check whether pocket knives of this size are legal in your state!

Blade Types

When it comes to finding the right EDC to suit you, the type of blade is a very important factor to consider. EDC knives come in a vast multitude of styles, which is why we have created this brief breakdown of each for you:

  • Straight-Back: Commonly referred to as simply the “Normal Blade” due to it’s traditional appearance. A Straight-Back knife is best used for all-purpose tasks, which is why it is mostly found amongst kitchen knives.
  • Drop Point blade: Another all encompassing knife typically used by hunters and butchers. They are best used for skinning and are commonly found on a Swiss army knife.
  • Clipped point: One of the most popular shapes available, featuring a concave knife adding sharpness to the top. They are most commonly used for hunting, but are also very useful for every day employment.
  • Tanto Point: Sometimes called the chisel due it’s resemblance to a chisel, the Tanto is extremely effective at pushing through tough objects.
  • Needle Point: With a sharp apex at the end, the needle is great at piercing objects. Due to how thin it is however, it is very fragile and can break easily with mistreatment. They are mainly used for self defense.
  • Spear Point: Featuring a perfectly centred as long as both sides are sharpened, this knife blade shape is ideal for piercing tasks.
  • Sheepsfoot: A dull point but still with a flat edge, this is perfect for amateurs and people prone to clumsiness. Very commonly found being used by emergency responders as a seatbelt cutter due to their safer design, and great for getting through cardboard.
  • Trailing Point: Easy to spot due to their curved back, trailing points are perfect for skinning. However, they are prone to breaking due to their fragile tip.
  • Pen: Often found on Swiss Army Knives, this small knife type is very similar to spear points. As they are not exceptionally sharp they are easy to carry around in a bag.
  • Hawkbill: Named after their resemblance of a hawkbill’s curved beak, this knife features a sharp curved cutting edge perfect for opening parcels and other mail.
  • Wharncliffe: Commonly mistaken with a Sheepsfoot knife, these thick knives are best used for carving. An exceptional all rounded design.
  • Spey-Point: Most famously used to spey livestock, this knife is best used for skinning due to it’s multi-faceted design effective at getting the job done.

Above are just a few common types of EDC and regular knife types, there are however many more which all come with glowing reviews – just check out the comments section on Amazon. Whether this is an original design or a modified version of one of the ones listed, finding the best form for you is really important when it comes to purchasing an EDC to suit you.

Handle Materials

Contrary to popular belief, the material chosen is not only an aesthetic choice but also a practical one. What is used can alter how easy it is to wield your knife and how long it will last. Here are just a few:

  • Aluminum: Extremely popular in many modern knives. Aluminum provides excellent grip and is resistant to wear due to it’s sturdiness.
  • Wooden: A Wood handle is an excellent option, due to both it’s aesthetic details, smooth texture and it’s natural robustness. Wooden handles can come in many forms such as rosewood, beechwood and buckeye.
  • Celluloid: Popular due to how it can be molded to resemble most natural materials such as ivory and bone and it’s superb functionality.
  • G10 Handle: Strong but surprisingly light weight, the G10 handle is made using fibreglass. Extremely water resistant this is perfect for survival knives.
  • Stainless Steel: Extremely durable and resistant to wear, this is a great option It lacks some portability due to being heavier than other similar metals, but it makes up for this in strength.
  • Rubber: Many items employ rubber due to how easy it is to grasp. Because of it’s popularity it is also an instantly familiar texture.

Opening Mechanisms

Most EDC knives come with one of 3 opening Mechanisms:

  • Manual
  • Switchblade or Automatic
  • Assisted-Opening

Finding the right mechanism can be a matter of life and death. Manual opening methods are just as they would appear to be. They require you to manually take the blade out. There are however variants that only require your thumb, known as thumb studs.

Switchblade or automatic mechanisms were made illegal in the United States in 1958 due to many people perceiving them as dangerous. As more counties are beginning to legalize these more manufacturers are adopting them. The knife appears at the press of a button making these exceptionally quick to access. This is perfect for emergency situations! Make sure to check the laws in your county, however, before purchasing a switchblade.

Assisted-Opening mechanisms were created by Blackie Collins in 1995 and are quickly gaining traction and becoming one of the most popular mechanisms in the world. Very similar to the switchblade, these require a button to be flicked using a fair amount of force. This is what distinguishes these from switchblade’s as they are deemed safer to wield.

Locking Mechanisms

Locks are extremely important, you don’t want the knife to accidentally snap down onto your fingers! This is why locking mechanisms are something every would be buyer should consider when purchasing a knife. Here are a few to look out for:

  • Liner lock: You can’t think of locking mechanisms without thinking of the classic liner lock. One section of the liner angles towards the knife keeping it stationary, it can only be moved manually. The other section, the tail secures the bottom of the knife.
  • Slip-Joint: Although it is called a lock, a slip-joint doesn’t actually fasten the knife. It uses a flat bar or a spring to hold the knife in place. When enough tension is applied to the knife, the blade moves down into the handle.
  • Back lock mechanism (Lockback): An extremely classic locking system, a locking arm is used to latch onto the blade and hold it still. This hook is locked securely by applying tension to the rear spring.
  • Midlocks: Very similar to backlocks, with the main difference being that the release mechanism can be found in the center of the knife as opposed to towards the rear.
  • Framelock: Unlike the other locks featured, a framelock knife uses the handle itself to help fold the knife. Using liners, the frame engages the bottom of the knife preventing the knife from moving. When pressure is applied to the frame, the knife is released.
  • Ringlock: Very straightforward and easy to wield. The user turns a safety ring that is wrapped around bottom of the knife. When the break in the ring is reached, the blade can be opened. The reverse is then used to secure the blade.
  • Leverlock: Lastly we have the leverlock which is mostly used in switchblades. When pressed a small pin is inserted into a pivot at the base of the blade. This then locks the blade, either open or closed.

About This Expert

Rose Annemarie
Full-time writer. Blogger. Dedicated wife. Mother of 3 amazing kids. I love learning about everything from the latest tech gadgets, innovative new home designs and can be found regularly reading up on parenting tips. There is always room to grow!