Best All-Around EDC Knives in 2021
Spend as little as two minutes doing research, and you’ll see how many different EDC knives are on the market. And as with any type of product, each knife seems to be marketed as being the ideal knife for your everyday needs. One might even wonder, “What’s the point in buying a premium blade when a cheapie will get the job done all the same?”
Well, there may be a few overpriced knives out there. But in most cases, you get what you pay for. The costs of quality materials and the resources invested in design and production, among many other factors, play into the price of any given knife. And since each person has a unique personality and preferences, who can say that a single knife is the best EDC knife for everyone? No one, really.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have our opinions! Ridgerunner Blades has a few favorite EDC knives that we think have something to offer everyone. And we’ve broken them down by blade, ergonomics, and more:
The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 has been around for over a decade, and its popularity among knife enthusiasts seems ever-growing. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons that may be:
This knife cuts right there with the best of them. Sure, there are some knives on the market that will provide a bit more slice, and there are some with a stauncher blade. But in terms of the overall blade geometry, the Spyderco PM2 is nearly flawless.
The PM2 uses S30V steel for the blade, which offers impressive edge retention and is a joy to sharpen. The charm of the PM2 blade lies in its versatility. The back edge is just the right amount of beefiness, making it really useful and durable for the harder tasks. Yet, the thin edge of the blade’s front is super slicey.
Small hands, medium hands, large hands—it doesn’t really matter. The PM2 will feel like home for whoever is holding it. And unlike with many other knives, the handle provides plenty of grip, yet it won’t tear your skin or pockets. Moreover, the PM2’s forward finger choil proves especially helpful when doing detail work—another example of the exceptional design we see so often from Spyderco.
The three-hole pocket clip on the PM2 is second to none as far as function and usefulness go. And it does it while remaining low-profile. If you prefer a deep carry clip, however, you’ll want to explore aftermarket options.
The Benchmade Bugout is one of the most important EDCs to be released in recent memory. It’s pretty much all the knife community talked about when it came out in 2017, and we know it was more than hype because it remains a favorite among first-time and seasoned knife guys alike.
The Bugout is incredibly lightweight and is an excellent companion for everyday tasks like opening mail and cutting cardboard. It does a lot more than its 1.85 ounces would suggest, but you may want to leave the harder use to a different knife. Nonetheless, in terms of quality and value, the Bugout is one of the most practical knives you can purchase.
Benchmade is known for manufacturing some of the most utilitarian knives on the market, and the Bugout is no exception. Its drop point blade comes in handy in a wide array of situations, whether you’re camping, in the office, or anywhere else. The S30V steel gets the job done without pushing the Bugout out of the budget-friendly price bracket.
The handle on the Benchmade Bugout is ultra-slim, and all the edges are smooth. All and all, it’s a very comfortable knife to hold and carry. The only caveat is that the polymer handle can get slippery when wet, so you may not want the Bugout to be your go-to EDC when fishing or doing other activities that involve lots of water.
The Bugout comes with a mini deep carry clip that works well with jeans, gym shorts, and pretty much any other type of bottoms you can imagine. It’s ideally designed to stay secure without compromising comfort.
The Microtech Ultratech is easily among the top OTF (out-the-front) knives on the market. It offers top-notch design, dependable action, and premium materials to go with a wealth of color combinations.
When it comes to achieving a thin, satisfying grind, the UTX-85 is hard to beat. It makes cutting feel effortless, even for harder tasks like shaving dried-out wood. The blade stock is rather thick, and it gets super thin and sharp at the edge, which makes for a cut that is as versatile as it is effective.
The UTX-85 uses CTS-204P steel for the blade. In a word, this steel is functional. Whether you’re camping in the woods or doing the daily grind at the office, the UTX-85 blade will provide most of the functions you will need from a pocket knife.
Thinness is the name of the game for the UTX-85. Despite its slim design, however, it offers exceptional ergonomics. It’s easy to hold and grip, no matter the size of your hand. It’s longer than some other knives, but as long as you get used to it, you’ll likely find it among the most comfortable EDCs you can purchase.
The UTX-85 comes with a pocket clip/lanyard hole design. If you’re wearing thick pants, you might find a deep carry to be difficult. Nonetheless, the pocket clip gets the job done, and you don’t have to worry about the knife slipping out.
Many enthusiasts consider the QSP Penguin to be the best all-around EDC for the price. Along with its gorgeous design, let’s see what else the knife has to offer:
Like others knives on this list, the QSP Penguin can cut a wide variety of materials. Need to slice up some upholstery or shave some wood? No problem. What about cutting a piece of string or plastic wrapping? That’s a cinch too.
There’s no off-the-wall design involved in the Penguin’s blade. It’s a straight-edge sheepsfoot blade with D2 steel. It’s very straightforward, very reliable, and very effective. The sanded spine adds a nice touch, as does the soft angle at the tip.
The Penguin offers an exceptionally natural feel when holding it. You know—the kind of EDC that feels like you were born with it in your hand. The sides and edges are smooth, yet grip is somehow not an issue. At 3.14 ounces, the Penguin isn’t the lightest knife on the market, but it’s not going to weigh down your pocket either.
Another staple in the EDC market, the Kershaw Leek is uniquely designed. Yet, it looks and feels completely natural whether you’re cutting or carrying.
The Kershaw Leek is one of the best knives you can buy for precision tasks, thanks to how the blade narrows to an exceptionally fine point. While it isn’t ideal for heavy-duty cutting tasks, it will serve you well for simple, daily needs.
The Leek uses 14C28N for the blade—steel that’s known for its price-to-performance ratio. Not only is this blade among the easiest to sharpen, but it holds its edge incredibly well. The Leek’s blade features a modified wharncliffe design with virtually no belly and an edge that is mostly flat.
For a smaller knife, the Leek feels natural in hand. If you opt for the stainless steel handle, you may find it a little slippery, but it’s also very durable. So, if you stick with simple cutting tasks, the handle shouldn’t be an issue. All things considered, the Leek’s minimalist design will work in your favor; it’s a thin, lightweight knife with wonderful front-to-back balance.
The pocket clip on the Leek is uniquely designed, but it won’t draw too much attention when carrying. It offers excellent spring retention, and its considerable length makes it perfect for deep carry. Though the knife isn’t ambidextrous, you can reposition the pocket clip between tip-up and tip-down.
Choosing an EDC is a big deal. And while you want to do your research, it’s important to be skeptical when you’re looking at all the different knives on the market. We’ve told you about some of our favorite all-around EDCs, but there are other great knives that didn’t make this list.
At the end of the day, the right EDC for you will depend on your needs and preferences. Don’t hesitate to contact Ridgerunner Blades to learn about our selection and hear our thoughts on the plethora of EDCs out there!