Blades and Knives

10 Best Budget EDC Knives

many different budget edc knives on wooden table

Having a solid knife is a great addition to your everyday carry (EDC) loadout. You don’t have to pay a ton of money to get a quality knife for everyday carry.

There are plenty of great inexpensive EDC knives out there that will serve you well for years to come. I’ve kept this list to pieces that are under $100.

I’ll be listing MSRPs as prices, but most of these knives can be found for a much lower price, especially if you shop at Cheaper Than Dirt.

Without further adieu, here are what I consider the 10 best budget EDC knives that are sure to get the job done.

Disclaimer: It is important to check state and local laws on blade length, lock style and action.

1. CRKT M-16 (14ZSF Tanto Version)

I own both this larger version, as well as one of the smaller versions, and have used both extensively.

These knives are durable and have a distinct, tactical flair that you don’t tend to find at this price level.

The handles can be had in either a wood-looking glass-reinforced nylon material or G10.

I have both, and while the GRN looks nice, the G10 offers improved traction.

On versions like this one with the double finger guard, these knives can be waved open from the pocket as you retrieve the knife.

I prefer the larger version with the near four-inch blade, but I like larger knives.

I also selected the version with a tanto blade, but they are available with different blade options.

These EDC knives are great for general cutting tasks, as well as self-defense.

Specs:

  • MSRP: $89
  • Grind Info: Hollow 
  • Blade Style: Tanto Partially Serrated (Other Options Available)
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.99”/9.25”Open; 5.38”Closed / 6.3oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: AUS-8/Glass-Reinforced Nylon or G10
  • Locking Mechanism: Liner Lock with LAWKS Safety
  • Pros/Cons: Can Wave Open, GRN Handles Can Be Slick
  • Purposes: Self-Defense, EDC

CRKT M-16

2. Kershaw Emerson CQC-4KXL

This Kershaw/Emerson collaboration makes for a great blade. You get that great Emerson style and the wave opening feature at a much lower price point.

I selected the spear-point version of the Kershaw CQC for this list because it does a great job for self-defense and general use, however they have tons of other blade shapes and lengths for whatever you prefer.

It features a steel lock side with a frame lock so it is heavy, though I believe there are aluminum versions with a steel lock-bar insert that are much lighter.

The other side of the handle utilizes textured G10 so there is no trouble getting a good grip on this blade in wet conditions.

Specs:

  • MSRP: $89
  • Grind Info: Hollow
  • Blade Style: Spear Point (Other Blade Shape Versions)
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.9”/9”Open; 5.1”Closed / 6.1oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: D2 or 8Cr13MoV/G10 with Steel Lock Side
  • Locking Mechanism: Frame Lock
  • Pros/Cons: Wave Open Feature, Heavy
  • Purposes: Self-Defense, EDC

Kershaw CQC

3. Spyderco Endura

Next up is the Spyderco Endura, but it could easily be replaced by the Delica if you prefer a smaller blade.

These knives have a higher MSRP, but they can easily be found for under our price limit for standard versions.

The Endura is constructed with a fiberglass-reinforced nylon handle that comes in a number of different colors and has a VG-10 steel, which is great for this price range.

The lockback mechanism is sturdy but makes opening and closing a little more difficult and slower than some of the other types of locks.

The main things these knives have going for them are the flat-ground blade that is an incredible slicer and the incredible light weight for the blade length.

If you like the design of these EDC knives but don’t like the price, Spyderco has the Byrd line that offers very similar models for around $30.

Specs:

  • MSRP: $120 ($87 Street Price)
  • Grind Info: Flat
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.75”/8.75”Open; 5”Closed / 3.6oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: VG-10/Fiberglass-Reinforced Nylon
  • Locking Mechanism: Lockback 
  • Pros/Cons: Lightweight, Thin, Slow to Open
  • Purposes: EDC, Backpacking
Spyderco Endura
Source: Spyderco

4. Spyderco Tenacious 

This is a classic choice for everyday carry and provides a great value. The Spyderco Tenacious is an incredibly ergonomic knife that cuts well with its flat-ground, 3.4-inch blade.

If you want something smaller, they offer the Persistence and Ambitious, and if you want something larger, they have the Resilience.

They are all liner-lock knives with G10 handles and an 8Cr13MoV blade.

The only drawback I can think to the Tenacious is that it carries a little wide in the pocket, it doesn’t bother me, but may bother some.

The Tenacious is a great choice for general use and EDC. 

Specs:

  • MSRP: $75
  • Grind Info: Flat
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.4”/7.76”Open; 4.45”Closed / 3.8oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: 8Cr13MoV/G10
  • Locking Mechanism: Liner Lock
  • Pros/Cons: Ergonomic, Wide
  • Purposes: General EDC

Spyderco Tenacious

5. Cold Steel Finn Wolf

This is a knife that has flown under my radar for a while. The Cold Steel Finn Wolf features a 3.5” drop-point blade with a Scandinavian grind that is great for outdoors use and bushcraft.

Andrew Demco’s Tri-Ad lock is incredibly durable and offers very secure lockup. This is also a lightweight knife that can excel at everyday carry, even if you’re not working outdoors.

I’d say that the only drawback to this knife is that the AUS-8A steel isn’t the strongest, however it was probably chosen because it would be easier to sharpen in the field.

If you like the idea of this blade but don’t like the design, Cold Steel has plenty of other designs with the Tri-Ad lock that you may want to take a look at. 

Specs:

  • MSRP: $65
  • Grind Info: Scandinavian
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.5”/7.9”Open; 4.4”Closed / 3.4oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: AUS-8A/Griv-Ex
  • Locking Mechanism: Tri-Ad Lockback
  • Pros/Cons: Durable Lock, Weaker Steel  
  • Purposes: Outdoors, EDC

Cold Steel Finn Wolf

6. Ka-Bar Dozier 

This is the least expensive knife on the list with an MSRP of just $32. I don’t think it wins any points in style, but it sure does function.

You can also get the Ka-Bar Dozier in a number of different colors that make it feel kind of personalized.

The drop-point blade is hollow ground and cuts very well, and the knife is a good size for most uses.

It utilizes a lockback mechanism so it isn’t the quickest to open or close, but it does its job well.

This would make a great knife for those wanting something lightweight and slim, or anyone who has trouble with losing their EDC knives.

Specs:

  • MSRP: $32
  • Grind Info: Hollow
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3”/7.25”Open; 4.25”Closed / 2.4oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: AUS-8A/Zytel
  • Locking Mechanism: Lockback
  • Pros/Cons: Cost-Effective, Slow Opening
  • Purposes: EDC, Hunting

Ka-Bar Dozier

7. Ontario Rat 1

This is another popular option for budget EDC knives. The Ontario Rat 1 (or Rat II if you prefer something smaller) offers a great value for the price.

It is a liner-lock knife with nylon scales that mimic G10. The drop-point blade can be had in the standard AUS-8 or D2 if you purchase the slightly more expensive upgraded version.

AUS-8 will be slightly more rust-resistant and D2 will hold an edge for longer. The only con for this knife is the weight for its size.

An ounce per inch of blade length is typically the standard, so the Rat 1 is slightly portly.

That said, I have no trouble carrying heavier EDC knives and some people like the sturdy feeling the weight provides. 

Specs:

  • MSRP: $35 (Standard AUS-8), $59 (D2 Upgrade)
  • Grind Info: Flat
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.5”/8.6”Open; 5”Closed / 5oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: AUS-8 and D2 Versions/Nylon Scales
  • Locking Mechanism: Liner Lock
  • Pros/Cons: Great Value for Price, Heavy for Size
  • Purposes: Outdoors, EDC
Ontario Rat 1
Source: Ontario Knife Company

8. Boker Kalashnikov

If you like automatic EDC knives, take a look at the Boker Kalashnikov. There are tons of variants of this knife in both size and color options, so you’re sure to find one that suits your tastes.

There are both drop-point and spear-point AUS-8 blade styles and the handle is constructed of aluminum.

This is a button-lock automatic, so you simply press the button and the blade springs open, then to close, you press the button and manually press the blade shut.

This is great for self-defense, however, the slick handle is not ideal.

Specs:

  • MSRP: $70
  • Grind Info: Flat
  • Blade Style: Drop Point and Spear Point Versions
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.25”/7.5”Open; 4.25”Closed / 3.7oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: AUS-8/Aluminum
  • Locking Mechanism: Button Lock Automatic
  • Pros/Cons: Automatic Opening, Slick Handle
  • Purposes: Self-Defense, EDC
Boker Kalashnikov
Source: Boker

9. CRKT Homefront EDC

The CRKT Homefront EDC is an incredibly unique knife due to its fieldstrip capability. Simply slide a lever and the knife can be disassembled in seconds. Reassembly is equally as easy.

This is great if you get your EDC knives dirty and want to be able to clean them and perform maintenance without having to deal with dozens of small parts and screws.

CRKT has a number of knives using this technology, as well as a few different Homefront models including one geared toward hunting.

I chose the EDC version for this list because it was designed for everyday carry. The main drawback to this knife is that it is running fairly weak blade steel.

This should be fine for most uses, but if you do some serious cutting throughout your day, you may want to select something else.

Specs:

  • MSRP: $99
  • Grind Info: Hollow
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.54”/8.25”Open; 4.72”Closed / 4.3oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: 1.4116 Stainless Steel/Glass-Reinforced Nylon
  • Locking Mechanism: Liner Lock
  • Pros/Cons: Field Strip Capability, Weaker Steel
  • Purposes: EDC, Hunting Model
CRKT Homefront EDC
Source: Columbia River Knife and Tool

10. Kershaw Al-Mar AM-4

This is a knife that has some style and would make an excellent gentleman’s (or lady’s) knife.

The Kershaw/Al-Mar collaboration AM-4 (and AM-3 if you prefer something smaller) is an incredibly lightweight and slim knife that is assisted opening and utilizes a frame lock.

The polished G10 handles can be had in black or OD green. The spear-point blade works well for cutting and looks good too.

This would make an amazing light-use EDC knife for office workers or tuxedo wearers.

The AM-4 gives you a great taste of the Al-Mar design and function for a much cheaper price point, while still providing fairly comparable blade steel.  

Specs:

  • MSRP: $50
  • Grind Info: Hollow
  • Blade Style: Spear Point
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight:3.5”/7.6”Open; 4.1”Closed / 3oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: 8Cr13MoV/G10
  • Locking Mechanism: Frame Lock
  • Pros/Cons: Assisted Opening, Thin, Slick Handle
  • Purposes: Light Use EDC
Kershaw AM-4
Source: Kershaw

Honorable Mention: CRKT Seismic

This next knife is a great choice if you want the ultimate in durability without the higher-end price. I love this EDC knife because of the locking mechanism.

The CRKT Seismic utilizes the Deadbolt locking mechanism which is touted as extremely durable.

The G10 grips provide an ample amount of traction and the drop-point, flat-ground blade is great for cutting.

You can find this knife in both partially-serrated and non-serrated versions depending on your preference.

I typically prefer plain blades, but the Veff serrations perform well and can be easily resharpened with a ceramic rod.

This is one of the best hard-use EDC knives in my opinion.

One drawback to the durability is the added weight can be hard on the pocket, but if you don’t mind a few extra ounces, the Seismic is a great choice.

Specs:

  • MSRP: $99
  • Grind Info: Flat
  • Blade Style: Drop Point, Both Plain and Partially-Serrated Versions
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.97”/9.44”Open; 5.46”Closed / 6.3oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: 1.4116 Stainless Steel/G10
  • Locking Mechanism: Deadbolt Lock
  • Pros/Cons: Durable, Heavy
  • Purposes: Hard Use EDC
CRKT Seismic
Source: Columbia River Knife and Tool

Conclusion: EDC Knives

Choosing the perfect knife for everyday carry can be a daunting task. With so many options, it can be hard to decide.

It is important to remember, despite what some will tell you, EDC knives do not have to be expensive.

There are plenty of great budget EDC knives that not only provide you with incredible service, but they also offer exceptional value as well.

What are some of your favorite budget EDC knives? Why? Let us know in the comments section below!

About the Author:

Alex Cole

Alex is a relatively young firearms enthusiast who’s been shooting consistently for around seven years. Though he is fairly new to the industry, he loves consuming all information related to guns and is constantly trying to enhance his knowledge, understanding and use of firearms. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t do something firearms-related.

Alex tries to visit the range at least a couple of times a month to maintain and improve his shooting skills. He also enjoys disassembling and reassembling firearms to see how they work and to keep them properly cleaned and maintained. He installs most of the upgrades to his firearms himself, taking it as a chance to learn.

Additionally, he is very into buying, selling and trading guns to test different firearms and learn more about them. He is not only interested in modern handguns and rifles, he appreciates the classics for both historical value and real-world use.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (4)

  1. All look like great knives personally I edc a Benchmade Adamas auto and love it had it for years and am not easy on it

  2. Assisted or auto knives are verboten[naturally]in Marxist New York State.If you’re cursed to be in NYC:maximum blade length is 4″ and no”flippable”opening,no wearing/clipping onto a pocket,no butterfly or gravity knives,no”blutgeons”-do the hammers that Antifa members carry count[or are they exempt??]

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