Gear, Parts and Accessories

10 Under $50: Top 5 EDC Knives and Flashlights

Picture shows a Glock 19, Kershaw knife with black handle and a Streamlight Microstream flashlight.

In today’s market, there is no shortage of quality knives and lights to choose from. In fact, finding a selection to look at is as easy as a Google search. The problem is finding the items that are right for you — even if budget was not a consideration. We scoured the manufacturers best offerings and compiled a list of our top choices that you can typically pick up for under $50.   

Taking into account some of the most important specs and pairing them with my personal experience with each, here is my budget gear recommendations!

Knives

Spyderco Tenacious

Spyderco tenacious
Spyderco Tenacious

The Spyderco Tenacious is going to straddle the line under $50 category or possibly take a step or two over it. You can order it with different blade finishes, edges, and even handle materials. Spyderco’s famous Round Hole, makes for an easy ambidextrous one-handed opening. Regardless which configuration you decide on, you’ll wind up with a well-rounded (EDC) knife.

Blade Length3.39 inches
Blade ShapeLeaf
Steel8Cr13MoV
Handle MaterialG-10
Weight4.1 ounces
Lock TypeLinerlock
Tip Carry PositionTip-up/Tip-down

Ontario Rat II (D2)

Ontario Rat II D2 open black
Ontario Rat II D2

The Rat Model I was a huge hit, which made this second model a much-anticipated release. The Rat II is slightly smaller than its predecessor and features D2 steel. The Ontario Rat II is an absolute workhorse and can be found for under $40. There are plenty of color options to suit your taste as well.

Blade Length3 inches
Blade ShapeDrop Point
SteelD2
Handle MaterialNylon
Weight2.8 ounces
Lock TypeLinerlock
Tip Carry PositionTip-up/Tip-down

Kershaw Cryo II

Kershaw Cryo
Kershaw Cryo

Built with first responders in mind, the Kershaw Cryo II is made to be extremely sturdy. Tons of stainless steel means it weights a bit more than others, but it feels great in hand and can be opened by using either the flipper or thumbstuds. It’s aesthetically pleasing in any finish and sure to be a conversation starter.

Blade Length3.25 inches
Blade ShapeDrop Point
Steel8Cr13MoV
Handle Material410 Stainless Steel
Weight5.5 ounces
Lock TypeFrame Lock
Tip Carry PositionTip-up/Tip-down

CRKT Pilar Large

CRKT Pilar Large
CRKT Pilar Large

One of CRKT’s best-selling knives, the Pilar, now has a larger brother.  This knife, as CRKT accurately puts it, is where minimal design meets maximum utility. It has a great flipper deployment and can be carried tip-up or tip-down. I don’t think you’d be disappointed grabbing one of these as your next knife.

Blade Length2.6 inches
Blade ShapeSheepsfoot
Steel8Cr13MoV
Handle MaterialStainless Steel
Weight4.2 ounces
Lock TypeFrame Lock
Tip Carry PositionTip-up/Tip-down

Kershaw Shuffle II

Kershaw Shuffle II
Kershaw Shuffle II

The Shuffle II is small, yet it boasts the most features. It has a bottler opener, lanyard hole, and flathead screwdriver tip. Although it has a purely manual opening style via thumbstuds, it still remains easy to open. Kershaw added a nice, deep-carry, pocket clip making this knife a top option for concealability.  

Blade Length2.6 inches
Blade ShapeTanto
Steel8Cr13MoV
Handle MaterialGlass-filled nylon
Weight3 ounces
Lock TypeLinerlock
Tip Carry PositionTip-down

You can’t go wrong with any of these knives, especially given their low price tags. I’ve found that after owning all of them at one point or another, the one that saw the most use and pocket time was the Kershaw Shuffle II. 

Lights

Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA

Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA
Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA

Accepting either a single AA or a CR123A, the ProTac 1L-1AA is a great EDC option. It has Streamlight’s TEN-TAP programming feature that allows you to choose the sequence the high/low/strobe modes are activated. The strobe is extremely disorienting for defensive purposes or can be used for signaling. This has been one of my favorite lights for years.

Output (H/L)350/40 lumens
Run Time (H/L)1.5/14 hours
Battery TypeCR123A or AA
Weight2.5 ounces
Length4.25 inches
Water ResistanceIPX7

ThruNite T1

ThruNite T1
ThruNite T1

The T1 is compact yet powerful. Not only does it have the typical high/low/strobe modes, it also has a Turbo and Firefly mode, in case you want to get fancy. Other nice features include a magnetic tailcap and an included rechargeable battery with low voltage indicator.

Output (H/L)685/0.5 lumens
Run Time (H/L)65 minutes/12 Days
Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion
Weight2.5 ounces
Length2.7 inches
Water ResistanceIPX8

Fenix E12 V2.0

Fenix E12 V2.0
Fenix E12 V2.0

The Fenix E12 V2.0 is a solid and dependable single AA carry light. It features a convenient two-position clip, easy to manipulate tail switch, and is constructed from durable aluminum. Don’t need or want a ton of extra features to jack up the price? Check out this light and discover an affordable EDC option.

Output (H/L)160/5 lumens
Run Time (H/L)1/70 hours
Battery TypeAA
Weight1.8 ounces
Length3.1 inches
Water ResistanceIPX8

Streamlight Microstream USB

Streamlight Microstream USB
Streamlight Microstream USB

Ultra-compact, durable, and affordable typically don’t go hand in hand, but they do go perfectly with the Streamlight Microstream USB. It doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles, but it has just what you need. It has a rechargeable battery that charges quickly and comes with the USB cord to do so. You can get it in either black or coyote, with a removable pocket clip.

Output (H/L)250/50 lumens
Run Time (H/L)1.5/3.5 hours
Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion
Weight1.2 ounces
Length3.87 inches
Water ResistanceIPX4

Olight I1R 2 EOS

Olight I1R 2 EOS
Olight I1R 2 EOS

The I1R 2 EOS isn’t actually a pocket flashlight; it’s a keychain light. It’s extremely small, puts out 150 lumens on high, and comes in either black or tan. If you carry a keychain, this makes for a great addition.

Output (H/L)150/5 lumens
Run Time (H/L)0.25/6 hours
Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion
Weight0.46 ounces
Length1.73 inches
Water ResistanceIPX8

If I had to choose only one of these EDC lights, I’d have to go with the Streamlight Protac 1L-1AA for the dual battery and custom programming features. With that being said, all of these would make a great addition to your EDC.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, any knife or light will be better than nothing at all. So, decide which features are important, establish a price point you can afford or want to spend, and start your search from there. You don’t have to choose just one of each either. You have my go ahead to order a few!

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Which EDC knife and light would you recommend for under $50? Share your favorite choices in the comment section.

Ryan is a firearms and tactical gear enthusiast that has maneuvered himself into the firearms industry over the past decade.  While his full-time career is outside of the industry, he has consulted for dozens of firearms and tactical gear related companies.  He enjoys conducting tests and evaluations, shooting product photography and developing marketing strategies for them.  

If he’s not spending time with his family, you’ll likely find him at the range or driving around looking for photo shoot locations. You can check out some of his photos and other content on Instagram (@theguygearreview).

About the Author:

Ryan Domke

Ryan Domke is a freelance writer, photographer and social media consultant with a passion for guns and tactical gear. He works with some of the largest manufacturers in the firearms industry, allowing him the opportunity to continuously learn from and knowledge share with the 2A community. When he’s not spending time with his family, you’ll likely find him at the range or starting a new DIY project. If you’d like to check out some of his other content, you can find him on Instagram at (@TheGuyGearReview).
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 (2)

  1. Love the little Olight 2 EOS. While most of my WMLs are stream light and I also own a protac for edc, that little keychain light has been awesome for over a year. Far more useful than a cell phone light and it’s certainly handy and since it’s on my keys, it’s certainly always on me. For the price of less than $20, I’ve given out about a dozen last year for the holiday and another 3 are gifts for my coworkers this year. Everyone seems to like them and use them.

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