Blades and Knives

10 Best High-End EDC Knives

High-End EDC Knives

A good knife is an essential component to your everyday carry (EDC) setup. Good EDC knives don’t have to be expensive, but with an increase in price, you get some great features and design elements that many users desire.

All of these EDC knives feature rock-solid lockup and are constructed of high-quality materials. Because of the high-end construction, these knives are all above $100.

I’ll be listing MSRPs as prices, but most of these knives can be found for a much lower street price.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at what I consider (yup, my opinion) are the 10 best high-end EDC knives for your money.

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

1. Spyderco Yojimbo 2

The first knife on my list is a little polarizing, you’re either going to love it or hate it. The Spyderco Yojimbo 2 certainly looks unique with its large 3.11-inch Wharncliffe blade.

It was developed with personal defense in mind and could certainly be used for such applications.

The blade shape also lends itself well to the utility tasks most of us use our knives for like opening boxes, packages, cutting tags, etc.

The knife flings open quickly and can be closed one-handed due to the fidget-friendly compression lock. Further, the Yojimbo 2 features premium CPM S30V steel for the blade and high-traction G10 handle scales.

The handle is comfortable, however, it may be a little cramped for larger hands. The only con to the knife I can think of is its delicate tip.

Specs:

  • MSRP: $216
  • Grind Info: Hollow
  • Blade Style: Wharncliffe 
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.11”/7.55” Open; 4.51” Closed / 4 oz.
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: CPM S30V/G10
  • Locking Mechanism: Compression Lock
  • Pros/Cons: Large Cutting Edge/Delicate Tip 
  • Purposes: The Yojimbo 2 was Designed by Michael Janich to Be a Self-Defense Knife.

 

Spyderco Yojimbo 2
Source: Spyderco

 

2. Spyderco Para Military 2

The next knife on the list needs little in the way of introduction. Possibly one of the most popular EDC knives, the Spyderco Para Military 2, or PM2, is an incredible choice.

Utilizing the same compression lock found on the Yojimbo 2 previously mentioned, this knife opens and closes one-handed with ease.

Additionally, the clip-point blade can be commonly found in S30V for the standard version and CPM S110V for the upgraded model, as well as several exclusive sprint runs the company offers.

The 3.4-inch blade is great for general use and will perform well for any EDC tasks you may throw at it. The handle has a comfortable shape for extended use and a large gripping surface.

If you like the design but would prefer a smaller version, take a look at the Spyderco Para Military 3

Specs:

  • MSRP: $216
  • Grind Info: Full-Flat
  • Blade Style: Clip Point
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.4”/8.2”Open; 4.8”Closed / 3.9oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: CPM S30V Standard, CPM S110V Option/G10
  • Locking Mechanism: Compression Lock
  • Pros/Cons: Great Do-All Blade Shape/Delicate Tip 
  • Purposes: General Use, EDC

 

Spyderco Para Military 2
Source: Spyderco

 

3. Microtech Dirac Delta

Next up is an out-the-front (OTF) option. The Microtech Dirac Delta is a relatively new option from the company, taking all the great features of the Ultratech and beefing them up.

This is a double-action OTF automatic knife, meaning that you push a switch forward to deploy the blade and pull the switch back to retract it.

With a 3.8-inch dagger-style blade, this EDC knife is a great choice for self-defense if it is legal in your area.

Microtech’s steel changes frequently, but they are currently using CTS 204 P, a premium steel comparable to M390.

The only con I can think of is the blade style isn’t necessarily the best for general EDC tasks and because of the OTF mechanism, there is slight blade play when locked open to allow it to reliably function.

If you like this blade but would prefer something smaller, take a look at the smaller Microtech Dirac or an Ultratech.

Benchmade also offers models called the Infidel and Mini Infidel for those that like this design but would prefer a Benchmade, though those come in at a higher price point.

Specs:

  • MSRP: $350
  • Grind Info: Flat
  • Blade Style: Dagger 
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.79”/9.4”Open; 5.5”Closed / 4.6oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: Steel Changes by Year, 2020 Is Carpenter CTS 204 P/6061 T6 Aluminum 
  • Locking Mechanism: OTF Automatic
  • Pros/Cons: Quick Open and Close/Slight Blade Play (Wiggle) Required  
  • Purposes: General EDC, Self-Defense, the Dagger Blade Style Excels at Puncturing

 

Microtech Dirac Delta
Source: Microtech

 

4. Benchmade 940

This is another hall of fame EDC option for most knife enthusiasts. The Benchmade 940 — or whatever variant you prefer — is a classic choice for everyday carry.

With options for either a tanto or clip-point blade, and G10, carbon fiber or aluminum handles, this Benchmade can be tailored to your individual preferences.

The G10 offers more traction, which is useful for use, but the carbon fiber and aluminum have a bit more style.

Additionally, with the AXIS locking mechanism, this knife is just as fidget friendly and quick to deploy as Spyderco’s compression lock.

The 3.4-inch blade of this knife is a great all-around choice for general-purpose EDC. If you like the idea of this knife but would prefer something automatic, check out the new Benchmade 9400.

Specs:

  • MSRP: $205
  • Grind Info: Flat
  • Blade Style: Reverse Tanto, Clip-Point Options
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.4”/7.78” Open; 4.47” Closed / 2.9oz(Al)2.44oz(CF)2.65oz(G10)
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: CPM S30V, CPM S90V/G10, Carbon Fiber, Aluminum
  • Locking Mechanism: AXIS Lock
  • Pros/Cons: Smooth Action/Some Models Are a Bit Slick
  • Purposes: General EDC Tasks

 

Benchmade 940
Source: Benchmade

 

5. Zero Tolerance 0308

If all of these previous options seemed a little small to you, then you will be happy to see the Zero Tolerance 0308 on this list. This is a heavy-duty EDC knife that is built to withstand the toughest conditions.

The CPM 20CV drop-point blade is a great option for most tasks and the premium steel will hold an edge through a lot of hard use.

The handle features a side with high-traction G10 and a solid slab of titanium with a frame lock on the other.

The 3.75-inch blade performs most tasks well and the only con is that it is bulky, and that is subjective and may also be a benefit to some users.

If you like this style but would prefer something slightly more trim and less expensive, take a look at the Zero Tolerance 0350.

Additionally, Zero Tolerance is the higher-end brand for Kershaw, so if you like some of these designs but are on a budget, take a look at some of Kershaw’s EDC knives. 

Specs:

  • MSRP: $300
  • Grind Info: Flat
  • Blade Style: Drop Point 
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.75”/8.9” Open; 5.2” Closed / 6.9oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: CPM-20CV/G10 with Titanium Lock Side
  • Locking Mechanism: Frame Lock 
  • Pros/Cons: Durable/Bulky and Heavy 
  • Purposes: Hard-Use EDC

 

Zero Tolerance 0308
Source: Zero Tolerance

 

6. Benchmade Bugout

On the other end of EDC knives, the Benchmade Bugout is an incredibly light knife for its size. At just 1.85 ounces, this featherweight will almost disappear in your pocket.

Additionally, the Bugout features the AXIS lock to allow for the ultra-fast opening and closing of the blade one-handed.

Its 3.24-inch drop-point blade is incredibly useful for daily tasks, and the CPM S30V offers good rust resistance and will stay sharp for a while.

The Bugout’s incredibly light weight is achieved through the use of the Grivory handle scales without steel liners. They are textured and offer a decent amount of traction.

This makes it a great choice for lightweight everyday carry. If you like the Bugout but would prefer something smaller, take a look at the Benchmade Mini Bugout. 

Specs:

  • MSRP: $150
  • Grind Info: Flat 
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight:3.24”/7.46” Open; 4.22” Closed / 1.85oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: CPM S30V/Grivory (Also Have Carbon Fiber Option)
  • Locking Mechanism: AXIS Lock
  • Pros/Cons: Lightweight/Short Blade
  • Purposes: Lightweight EDC

 

Benchmade Bugout
Source: Benchmade

 

7. Microtech SOCOM Elite

This is probably my favorite EDC knife on the list — well period — because it does everything I want my knife to do well.

The clip-point blade shape, four-inch length and high-traction handle make it great for both defensive use and general everyday tasks. The handle features comfortable contours and isn’t overly large.

The Microtech SOCOM Elite is available in both manual and push-button automatic versions depending on your preferences or local laws.

The steel is the same CTS 204 P Microtech is currently using, but again, this could change based on the year of manufacture.

If you like this style but would prefer something smaller, there are old production Microtech Mini SOCOMs as well as the current Microtech L.U.D.T.

Specs:

  • MSRP: $300
  • Grind Info: Flat
  • Blade Style: Clip Point and Tanto Options
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 4”/9” Open; 5” Closed / 5.4oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: Changes by Year, 2020 Is CTS 204 P/6061 T6 Aluminum 
  • Locking Mechanism: Button Lock for Automatic or Liner Lock for Manual 
  • Pros/Cons: Blade-to-Handle Ratio/Price 
  • Purposes: EDC, Defensive Use

 

Microtech SOCOM Elite
Source: Microtech

 

8. Kizer Uprising

The Kizer Uprising is one of those knives that just feels great in the hand. It is available in both clip-point and Wharncliffe blade style options, though I prefer the clip point.

With a 3.6-inch blade made out of CPM S35VN steel, this knife is a good size to handle most tasks. The Uprising is a titanium handle frame-lock knife that flexes into the category of hard-use EDC in my mind.

It has a thick blade stock that can take a beating, but doesn’t sacrifice and ultra-sharp cutting edge. The edges of the handle are beveled for comfort so there are no hot spots when you get a tight grip on the knife.

Made in China out of parts sourced from the U.S. and Japan, this knife is of equal quality to others on the list, but can be found at a much lower street price.

If you don’t like the uprising, Kizer makes tons of other titanium, frame-lock blades in various different styles that are all of equal quality and would make excellent EDC knives.

Specs:

  • MSRP: $260
  • Grind Info: Hollow
  • Blade Style: Clip Point or Wharncliffe 
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.6”/8.25” Open; 4.6” Closed / 5.6oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: CPM S35VN/6AL4V Titanium 
  • Locking Mechanism: Frame Lock
  • Pros/Cons: Value Street Price/Not U.S. Made 
  • Purposes: Hard-Use EDC

 

Kizer Uprising
Source: Kizer Cutlery

 

9. Hogue EX-A01

The Hogue EX-A01 is another great automatic knife. With options in either a drop-point or tanto blade style and satin or black-cerekote blades, there is a version for everyone.

The handle is constructed of anodized aluminum, but there are also versions with high-traction G10. The blade locks with the auto button lock and incorporates a manual safety for those concerned about unintentional opening.

The four-inch 154 CM blade is a great choice for both self-defense and general EDC tasks, allowing this knife to serve dual roles.

The EX-A01 features classic lines and a style that never gets old. Additionally, the Hogue EX-A01 comes with either a four-inch or 3.5-inch blade for whatever size you prefer.

Specs:

  • MSRP: $249
  • Grind Info: High Flat
  • Blade Style: Drop Point and Tanto Version
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 4”/8.9” Open; 4.8” Closed / 5.6oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: 154 CM/6061 T6 Aluminum 
  • Locking Mechanism: Button Lock Auto, Manual Safety
  • Pros/Cons: Comfortable Grip/Has Manual Safety 
  • Purposes: EDC, Self-Defense

Hogue EX-A01

10. Great Eastern Cutlery (#54 Big Jack)

This next best EDC knife is more of a category than a specific knife, and that is Great Eastern Cutlery. GEC makes high-quality traditional knives that are typically slip joints or lockbacks.

They have a number of different models and handle variations depending on your preferences, but my favorite is the #54 Big Jack.

GEC produces their knives in lots, so the version you want may not be available at the time, as they are currently working on other models.

But with a little patience, or searching the secondary market, you can find the version you’re looking for. The Big Jack features a clip-point and a spear-point blade on the same knife.

All GEC knife blades are constructed of 1095 high-carbon steel which means they will patina with use (which adds character) and rust if left exposed to moisture.

A little mineral oil on the blade can help prevent this. The #54 is a slip joint and has a stiff, two-part backspring supporting the knife blade.

Though not one-handed deployable or super tactical, these knives are great for general ECD tasks and have been in use for decades.

Specs:

  • MSRP: Depends on Model
  • Grind Info: Flat
  • Blade Style: Depends on Model, Clip Point and Spear Point on #54
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3”/7” Open; 4” Closed / 3.92oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: 1095 High Carbon/Different Options
  • Locking Mechanism: No Lock, Slip Joint — Stiff Two-Part Backspring
  • Pros/Cons: Multiple Blades/Prone to Staining and Rust, Two-Handed Deployment 
  • Purposes: General EDC, Food Prep at Lunch

 

GEC #54
Source: Great Eastern Cutlery

 

Honorable Mention: Chris Reeve Knives Sebenza 31 Large

Love it or hate it, the Chris Reeves Sebenza is a well-known EDC knife.

With a comfortable handle and an incredibly useful drop-point blade, the Sebenza 31 (the new upgraded version of the Sebenza 21) is as rugged and useful as it is beautiful.

The knife features a titanium frame lock design and a CPM S35VN blade for ultimate durability. Additionally, the Sebenza comes in both a large and small version, so there is a knife for whatever size you prefer.

The only con to the Sebenza is its high price point. However, if you can stomach the cost, it makes a great do-all EDC knife and collector’s piece.

The Sebenza also comes in different models with various handle engravings and inlays if you’re looking for a custom knife appearance.

Specs:

  • MSRP: $450
  • Grind Info: Hollow
  • Blade Style: Drop Point 
  • Blade Length/Overall Length/Weight: 3.6”/8.4” Open; 4.8”Closed / 4.7oz
  • Steel Options/Handle Materials: CPM S35VN/6AL4V Titanium 
  • Locking Mechanism: Frame Lock
  • Pros/Cons: Great Blade Shape and Construction/Price, No Steel Insert on Frame Lock Bar 
  • Purposes: Collector’s Piece, General EDC Use 

 

Chris Reeve Sebenza 31
Source: Chris Reeve Knives

 

Conclusion: EDC Knives

Deciding on a knife for everyday carry is a personal decision. There are a lot of personal preferences that come into play for both style and function.

However, there are several EDC knives that offer exceptional style, durability and functionality that everyone should consider.

Whether you use them, collect them or both, there are a lot of great high-end EDC knives out there.

What are some of your favorite high-end 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 (11)

  1. If you are looking for EDC Knife that is rugged, has amazing design options & are Made and owned in the USA! By an Emerson Knife! I’m really enjoying the CQC-15 right now.

  2. Since my work puts me in a car most of the day, I like a glass breaker(good quality) and maybe a seatbelt cutter. I say “maybe” because it is already knife. I tend to agree with Dr Hess about cost,I too tend to misplace a pocket knife every few years. Just keep it sharp, in fact after reading this article i remember its time to sharpen mine again.

  3. I have been carrying a MicroTech Stitch since they were made available and it has never been used, but is in my right front pocket at all times along with my Titanium & Scandium S&W Airlite 342 in my right rear pocket. Unless you are a collector, once you find a edc that is perfect for you, there is absolutely no reason to swap out your weapon. Muscle memory and the ability to use your defense weapon in a split second without thought of which one you stuck in your pocket before leaving home, may be the difference in living and dying!

  4. I carry a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife with a locking blade. I use it multiple times/day. Model is Evogrip S557. Great for backpacking as it has tools I use much more than the blade. As far as the blade goes, the Stainless Steel blade holds a very good edge. And it is only around $60.00. As a collector, I have over 200 different knives, so I have my pick of the litter. This is my pick for all-round use.

  5. I’d like to recommend Southern Grind; I carry a Spider Monkey. Not only are they well made, the proceeds go to support Southern Ground – a camp that tailors to transitioning military & (originally) military kids.

    I’m a retired Marine & have carried Benchmade, Spiderco, Ka-Bar (of course) and a number of Swiss Army knives, but my Spider Monkey has been my EDC since it came out of the box.

  6. Don’t care what it looks like; don’t care what it cost; if the the blade is some variety of stainless steel I walk right on by. SS looks pretty, but won’t hold an edge which is the most important factor when it comes to knife selection unless you’re using it as a letter opener. Sharp today-dull tomorrow,

    You’re looking Chrome Vanadium (1095) steel with a high carbon content. There is a reason Gillette Razor company buys up ‘pulled’ railroad tracks to make their razor blades.

  7. To me an EDC knife is used for mundane task; opening a box, an Irish pennant or to get me in that darn plastic clamshell packaging. “Tactical” class knife in my mind is a fixed blade able to get the job done. I’m not carrying that every day, that’s what my pistols for. I’m not going for that kind of knife and a pistol. Would be better served carrying another magazine.

    That said my choice is the Benchmade 485 Valet. It has the Axis locking system which I prefer over anything else I run into. Melts into my pocket. Even had them laser engrave with name of my sub and “Dolphins” on other side.

  8. I have a problem with carrying an expensive knife EDC. I loose a pocket knife every 5 or 10 years, and loosing a $25 or $35 knife hurts me a lot less than losing a $250 or $350 knife. I carry a Kershaw Vapor, which works well for me, and doesn’t break the bank. The one in my pocket is my 2nd, as I lost the first one 5 years ago. My other EDC criteria is that it has to be thin.

  9. EDC knives. I got my first real one almost 50 years ago when I was in the Army. During our initial training time in the Army, we were trained in a variety of Close Quarter Combat skills because we were in the Army and they wanted us to kill certain other people and not the other way around. I remember we went to several classes on edged weapons; there was an instructor who told us something that has stuck with me, lo, these 50 years. He told us that if the SHTF, and we were using a knife for self-defense, the first thing we needed to do is come to grips with the fact that, if it were really a life-and-death knife fight, we were going to get cut and it would be bad. He went on to say that most people who use a knife and have not resigned himself to being cut badly will lose the fight if they are cut first. Something about if they get cut first but have not prepared themselves for that reality, well, it is traumatic and generally does not end well at all. More so than a gun, a knife requires considerable training if it is used for self-defense. We were told, more than once, that a knife is a last ditch, there is nothing else to use, self-defense weapon, and a poor one, at that.
    We also learned that most of the knife fights in the movies and on TV are as fake as the cowboy saloon fights. You can’t break a hard liquor bottle over someone’s head, no matter how you hit them, the bottle is more sturdy than the head, the head will break before the bottle. Beer bottles are another matter, but that will result in a lot of blood, on the person who is hit, and just as frequently, on the hand that was holding it and there usually is a lot of blood. Same with a knife fight, expect a lot of blood… and pain. Knife wounds hurt… I know, I have been cut more than once to the point of needing stitches and not just one or two. If your knife is really sharp, you will not feel it at first, but when you do… Not any fun at all, trust me. And some people really start freaking out when they see blood. After the Army and 30 plus years in the ER, I really don’t mind blood, particularly when it is not mine.
    Since that time in the Army, I have carried a number of different knives. In my pocket right now, I have a small folder that I use for most tasks and a couple of Swiss army knives on keychains. I also carry a tactical knife that doesn’t get pulled out except when I move it from one pair of pants to the other. And I carry it, well, just because… Some habits die hard. In my mind, tactical means tactical and I will not use it for anything else. I want it to be out of the box sharp at all times. I have several of those but my favorite tactical is an Emerson CQC-7 made by Benchmade back in the early 90’s. Emerson Knives went out on their own in the mid 90’s, ’96, I believe it was. They make superb tactical knives, but they are not cheap. The CQC-7 knives they make now are now multiple generations away from the one that I have, but I am not young and I really doubt (read hope not) that I will have to resort to using it so I will not shell out what they are asking… But, some things cannot be predicted, so I continue to carry it.
    The biggest problem with EDC knives is if you use them frequently, they get dull quickly, so learning to keep them sharp is of vital importance or they become either almost useless or at least not as useful. Sometimes they become more dangerous than useful to the user because the blade has not been attended to properly. When it doesn’t cut in the manner expected or desired, the person wielding the knife applies more force and bad stuff happens, knife slips and someone gets cut. In the ER, I saw more self-inflicted knife wounds in the ER than I can count. I have also seen too many people who thought the knife they carried was all they needed to defend themselves and they would figure it out. They did not. As I said above, training with a knife is probably more important than training with a gun when it comes to being a weapon as opposed to just a tool.

  10. I EDC an Ontario XM 1. Great, durable, although a bit heavy. It’s like American Express…don’t leave home without it!

  11. Aside from the Microtech OTF, I only trust a solid straight blade. No matter how well made a folder is, its primary purpose is to fold. Sometimes when you do not want it to. Even a Microtech can fail you at the worst possible time. EK, Gerber, Ka-Bar make excellent knives. Winkler, Chris Reeve, Spartan, the old Al Mar S.O.G. Bowie knives top the charts. How much are the lives of your loved ones worth? If you need a boy scout knife for the little things, they are easy to come by. But for EDC … trust the things built for that singular purpose.

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