Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Folding Knives

Hinderer XM-18 3.5” Flipper – Slicer Grind (Gen 4)

99

2017

Hinderer XM-18 3.5” Flipper – Slicer Grind (Gen 4)

This fourth generation XM-18 3.5” Flipper is the flagship hand-built midtech knife from Hinderer Knives with a titanium frame and hardware and premium stainless steel blade.

Spyderco Para 3

98

2017

Spyderco Para 3

The Para 3 is a compact, ergonomic, military-inspired folding knife suitable for every day carry.

Ontario Knife Company Carter Prime

95

2017

Ontario Knife Company Carter Prime

The Carter Prime from Ontario Knife Company is a robust, everyday carry utility flipper knife.

Helle Bleja

97

2017

Helle Bleja

The Bleja, from the nearly century-old Helle Knives, is a mid-sized folder utility knife with a triple-laminated steel blade, stainless steel liners and curly birch wood handles.

Benchmade 928 Proxy Flipper

94

2017

Benchmade 928 Proxy Flipper

The Benchmade 928 Proxy Flipper has a titanium frame, a glass-based epoxy resin laminate handle and features a steel alloy drop point blade.

CRKT Homefront Flipper

92

2017

CRKT Homefront Flipper

The CRKT Homefront Flipper is a folding knife designed for hard use that can be field-maintained without tools.

Spyderco Southard Folder

98

2016

Spyderco Southard Folder

The Spyderco Southard Folder is a curvy flipper-style knife with a thin profile and minimal pocket presence.

Benchmade Crooked River

94

2016

Benchmade Crooked River

The Benchmade Crooked River is a familiar looking, full-sized folder that features a 4” long CPM-S30V Clip Point blade which is ideal for hunting and long term excursions in the outdoors.

Chris Reeve Large Sebenza 21 w/ Insingo Blade

95

2016

Chris Reeve Large Sebenza 21 w/ Insingo Blade

The Chris Reeve Large Sebenza 21 is a premium knife made from titanium, carbon fiber, and  S35VN blade steel.

Lasky Pteryx L2

91

2016

Lasky Pteryx L2

The Lasky Pteryx L2 is hand-built off of two skeletonized stainless steel handle scales with a very sharp burly drop point blade and a unique approach to one-handed deployment and locking.

Opinel No. 8 Folding Knife

86

2016

Opinel No. 8 Folding Knife

Something of a cult-classic, the Opinel No. 8 folding knife features a wood body, patented Virobloc locking ring, and Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel blade for everyday use and ordinary adventures.

Spyderco Rock Lobster

93

2015

Spyderco Rock Lobster

The Spyderco Rock Lobster is a strange and wonderful, full-sized folding knife that not only carries well for every day use but can prove to be an added benefit in the kitchen.

Gerber Gator Premium Folder – Clip Point Blade

83

2015

Gerber Gator Premium Folder – Clip Point Blade

The Gerber Gator Premium Folder is based off of a fixed blade model converted to a folder for easier carry. It features Gerber’s “Gator Grip” which is great dry but poor when wet. This particular model features a clip point style blade making it shoe-in for hunting, fishing, and the like.

Gerber 39 Series Micarta

86

2015

Gerber 39 Series Micarta

The Gerber 39 Series Micarta is a lightweight, classically designed gentleman’s utilitarian knife that features premium materials. For Gerber, this is about as good as it gets in a pocket knife.

Boker Plus S2 by Sniper Bladeworks

92

2015

Boker Plus S2 by Sniper Bladeworks

The Boker S2 is a big folding flipper knife made of common 440C knife steel which blurs the lines between every day carry and survival knife.

555HG Benchmade Mini-Griptilian

96

2015

555HG Benchmade Mini-Griptilian

The Benchmade 555HG Mini-Griptilian is an all-around, well-balanced everyday carry pocket knife designed to withstand use and abuse and still be a reliable too for years to come.

Spyderco Rubicon C187CF Flipper

98

2015

Spyderco Rubicon C187CF Flipper

The Spyderco Rubicon Flipper is an extremely lightweight pocket knife comprised of premium materials. 

Zero Tolerance 0450

92

2015

Zero Tolerance 0450

The Zero Tolerance 0450 Flipper is a more accessible and affordable version of a knife designed by knife maker Dmitry Sinkevich and previously offered by ZT.

Spyderco Manix 2 Black Lightweight Folder C101BK2

99

2015

Spyderco Manix 2 Black Lightweight Folder C101BK2

The Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight is an ergonomically superior, lightweight folding knife. This full-sized blade is designed to be ambidextrous and features Carpenter CTS BD1 Specialty Alloy Stainless Steel. It is almost impossible to find a knife that feels and functions like the Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight, for under $150.

Kilimanjaro Gear Morsa Flipper 910028

94

2015

Kilimanjaro Gear Morsa Flipper 910028

The Kilimanjaro Gear Morsa flipper is an elegant pocket knife designed with a beautiful balance of form and function.

Kilimanjaro Gear Firma Folder 910016

95

2015

Kilimanjaro Gear Firma Folder 910016

The Kilimanjaro Gear Firma Folder is an ergonomic wonder of an every-day carry folding knife.

Kershaw Link Flipper Knife

90

2015

Kershaw Link Flipper Knife

When Kershaw was challenged to make a folding knife that boasted the quality, features, and materials common to their usual suspects—and make it affordable—they responded with the Link flipper. 

Helle Dokka Knife

94

2015

Helle Dokka Knife

The only folder in their line-up, the Dokka opens up to be a full-sized powerhouse of a blade, boasting Helle’s proprietary knife steel blend and Curly Birch handles.

CRKT Hootenanny Flipper Knife

87

2015

CRKT Hootenanny Flipper Knife

The CRKT Hootenanny is slim and stylish, affordable folder designed by renowned knife maker, Ken Onion.

Camillus CK-9 Review

96

2015

Camillus CK-9 Review

The Camillus CK-9 is a battle-ready centurion-type of fixed blade knife. Complete with a multi-faceted sheath and survival whistle, the CK-9 is made from black traction coated 1095 high-carbon steel and features high-grip Micarta handles. This knife was built to last but it might be a little too rich for your wallet.

Spyderco C186TIP Slysz Folding Bowie Review

95

2015

Spyderco C186TIP Slysz Folding Bowie Review

The Spyderco Slysz Folding Bowie is a fine example of what happens when you take premium materials, a classic design and excellent craftsmanship: you get a knife, which you seek out and keep for a lifetime.

Boker Plus Impetus Flipper

94

2015

Boker Plus Impetus Flipper

The Boker Plus Impetus’ sheepsfoot blade style really shines for utility work.

Benchmade North Fork

98

2015

Benchmade North Fork

Although I felt the Benchmade North Fork was a little small for bigger jobs—especially when out hunting—it’s a fine pocketknife that can handle any daily task or a few days in the woods.

Zero Tolerance 0350

90

2014

Zero Tolerance 0350

The Zero Tolerance 0350 is a perfectly balanced knife and works well as an EDC knife or as a backpacking knife. 

Victorinox Swiss Army Junior

93

2014

Victorinox Swiss Army Junior

The Victorinox Junior 09 is the knife that you could get into a Cub Scout’s hands and they could use for the rest of their lives, or it could serve as a capable adult daily-carry pocketknife for light duty tasks.

Kershaw Rake

75

2014

Kershaw Rake

The Kershaw Rake excels in its construction and quality of materials, edge retention. Overall, we believe the Rake will make a great everyday carry or even backpacking blade.

Benchmade 484 Nakamura

93

2014

Benchmade 484 Nakamura

Knives like the Benchmade 484 Nakamura are rare. This knife is both an everyday-carry knife and one you can wear with a nice suit.

Spyderco Clipitool

82

2014

Spyderco Clipitool

I truly love the design of the Spyderco Clipitools as they are compact and effective. They make a great pocket tool, but you’ll want something more substantial for any long-term outdoor adventures.

Spyderco Para-Military 2

98

2014

Spyderco Para-Military 2

The Para-Military 2 is made of high-end materials, right in our backyard, and I know I can rely on it for anything. After more than 3 weeks of it in my pocket, I am still intimidated by the viciousness of the blade, but am welcomed by the sleek style lines and ultra-thin frame. 

Emerson EDC-2

95

2014

Emerson EDC-2

Rugged individuals who puts a lot of demand on their knives and tools will benefit greatly from the Emerson EDC-2.  Someone looking to just put a nice knife in their pocket to open mail from time to time should keep moving—nothing for them to see here.

Spyderco Sage 1

93

2014

Spyderco Sage 1

I think the Spyderco Sage 1 would make a great pocket knife for the average user. In my mind, this knife is a pretty but tough S.O.B!

Spyderco Delica 4

99

2013

Spyderco Delica 4

The Spyderco Delica 4 exemplifies what an outdoor, backpacking pocketknife should be. It is user friendly and will become the knife you depend upon for years to come. 

Kershaw Thermite

97

2014

Kershaw Thermite

After forcing myself to use the Kershaw Thermite as an every day carry–it initially felt too big for that–I found knife doesn’t impose on my back pocket as much as I thought it would.

CRKT Carajas

93

2014

CRKT Carajas

The CRKT Carajas is a versatile high-roller. If it were a person, it would drink Patrón and wear Gucci weekdays but it would spend its weekends in the woods, living off of the land.

CRKT Drifter

91

2014

CRKT Drifter

The CRKT Drifter provides more functionality than its retail price suggests. The company’s knives typically are good choices for the average outdoor enthusiast and the Drifter maintains that standard. 

Gerber GDC Tech Skin

88

2014

Gerber GDC Tech Skin

The Gerber GDC Tech Skin really is a knife for the iPhone generation. It is a great pocketknife for the person going into the office who just likes to have a nominal blade on hand. 

Gerber Outrigger XL

85

2014

Gerber Outrigger XL

After substantial use of the Gerber Outrigger XL, I found I really like this knife and the fact that it provides a open-assist on an aluminum frame for less than $60.  

Benchmade 300 Axis Flipper

100

2014

Benchmade 300 Axis Flipper

This is the first production knife we've tested that bridges the gap between custom and production. You’ll find this knife to be an incredibly reliable, long-lasting treat.

Benchmade 551H20 Griptilian

96

2014

Benchmade 551H20 Griptilian

I own multiple incarnations of the Benchmade Griptilian, and this is by far the best one.

SOG Flashback

71

2013

SOG Flashback

The Flashback is a sharp looking knife that boasts some expensive features (assisted opening), but its locking feature isn’t very smooth.

Spyderco Dragonfly2

98

2013

Spyderco Dragonfly2

The Spyderco Dragonfly2 boasts some of the key features that put Spyderco on the map; all in a small package.