Now that we have your attention with the ludicrous title, we can set some ground rules. To anyone who carries a knife daily, the question is absurd. There is no such thing as a ‘best pocket knife’, just like there is no such thing as a ‘best tool.’ A hammer is minimally useful for cutting across the grain of a piece of wood. Does that make a saw better than a hammer? Not if you need to pound stakes or drive nails. Point proven.
Rather, there are pocket knives that are suitable to the tastes of individuals and those that are well designed to execute certain tasks. That makes the definition of the best pocket knife subjective, and that’s alright. You are the one who will be carrying it after all.
It’s hard to determine where to start, but let’s make it easy and go with what is probably the most basic question of all. Do you want a locking blade or not?
If you don’t want a locking blade, you’re going to have to stick with a friction folder, of which an example will be extremely hard to find, or you will have to go with a slipjoint. Nearly all commercially produced pocket knives today that are non-locking contain a slipjoint, including nearly all Victorinox Swiss Army knives and tools. A slipjoint is the familiar mechanism that keeps a blade open with a little bit of tension that can be overcome by pressing down on the spine.
Having gotten that out of the way, folding knives that don’t lock are all but impractical but all for the lightest cutting chores. Knock yourself out cutting slices off an apple or cutting through tape, but don’t go any further than that. If you plan to really use your knife, you’ll want a lock.
For light work, a liner lock or a frame lock will probably suffice, but keep in mind that twisting or prying can sometimes cause the lock to fail, which is something you will never want to experience. Then again, most knife manufacturers advise against prying and twisting anyway. Then you will have axis locks, ring locks and lock backs. Arguably the strongest mechanism of these is a lockback. Inconvenient to unlock but remarkably strong, most of the heaviest duty locking folders today use lockbacks.
Then you need to figure out what type of blade profile you want. For very fine carving and minute detailing, a clip point is practical, although some wharncliffe and sheepsfoot blades offer the same level of precision, with much stronger points. A straight backed blade (fairly uncommon in folders) or a drop point blade offers a lot of strength at the tip and a lot of belly for slicing tasks. Ultimately the choice is up to you; you’ll have to do some investigating and soul searching to find out.
These are only two considerations you will need to make when you are shopping for the best pocket knife for you. In truth, a lot more goes into selecting one than just settling on a blade profile and locking mechanism. Take some time to figure it out, and when you know what you want, visit White Mountain Knives at WhiteMountainKnives.com. There you will find a huge selection at great prices – and don’t forget while you’re shopping; all orders in the U.S. ship free!